Thursday night comes faster than expected and I'm short five dollars. It's raining, late, and the technician isn't giving me a hassle on it. We exchange whatever pleasantries that have grown from our recurring money-for-VHS exchanges. He leads the conversation, always.

"Evenin' Kodac," he says. I blame it on the fact that he's old and isn't used to adult men wanting to be called by an alias. I guess when he was twenty two years old, everyone called him by his first name. Tony, Harold, Marcus, whatever. People were so with it and not fucked up back in the day. I'm jealous.

"Hey man. Fucking raining tonight, huh? Oh, it's also C-O-D-I-C." I say that last part slower than the earlier stuff. He takes offense at my intonation speed and grips the store shopping bag with my VHS tapes a little closer to his fat guy belly. I tense. The little nagging needle in the back of my head is pressing along my skull a little harder tonight. I'd like these formalities to go a little faster.

"Kodac or codic who cares, right?" I give him the accompanying 'it was my fault, really' chuckle and he calms down. He gives me the bag and the usual intructions. I think he can see my acupuncture needles sticking out of my neck and the back of my lower head.

"Ok, there's three birthday parties, one wedding, and some kind of office party in there. Those are master edits so don't fucking give me your copies by accident again." I apologize (again), and hold my hands out. Left hand contains a twenty, twenty, and a fiver. Forty five dollars American. Right hand is open, palms up for plastic bag retrieval.

He calmly pinches up and away the bills and tells me to just remember the five spot next Thursday. When I was walking down to this place tonight, I thought this would be a problem. Maybe the technician drinks heavily or buys hookers. For some reason I slotted this fat man in the lab coat as some lower class fuck for not giving me trouble over being short five bucks. I don't know why I think like that.

Tonight the early dusk drizzle turns to a slaughtering downpour and it's everything I can do to keep the VHS tapes dry under my sweatshirt and slicker. I get home, power up the surge protectors, and let my boxes run through their boot ups. The new dual head matrox cards arrived for my editing deck and I run the second cables through my VCR array. The default bluescreen of the television auto clicks and mews its little digital sound before going to standby. My ghost in the shell poster is falling off my wall, near my old stereo speakers and sound mixer. I must have rotten wood along that side of my apartment, I think. I insert one tape, labeled," Krytslyn Mathery, twelfth birthday" into my input deck and press play. Adobe premiere autosyncs the playback and begins the video and audio capture to my NT. Quietly somewhere, a little circuit is running 100mbs fast while making calls through my hub to necessary video codecs on the 400mhz. I walk downstairs to the kitchen and take four aspirin with a half slug of Guinnes. I recheck the stability of the five little steel needles protruding slightly from my skull area. None seem to have fallen out on the walk back to my place. The VHS master copy is completed and the vcr deck triggers a macro program. Pre programmed clicks and recorded mouse movements play out. An AVID startup screen pops onto my dual head monitors.

I take a seat at the corner of my rig closest to the bathroom door. I recheck plug attachments, go over the data log of the master tape capture, and drink more beer. 2 percent of file lost during capture. Everything else is pretty optimal. Together with the alcohol, aspirin, and needles, the painful stabbing reminders of my current three hour migraine begin to subside and fail out of me. The voices are contained and I see the monitors more clearly.

Click. Alt+TAB. Type File search C:/ *.mpeg, *.mov. I load up old footage of me trying to suffocate myself with water and plastic coolant bins while multitasking a bootleg live catpower cd into my stereo. I switch the AVID stage to record at 24 frames per second. On the preview monitor my gasping becomes slower and grainier. Water seems to float in air when I pass out and slump my lower naked torso into the half filled bathroom tub. Chan Marshal sings something perfect all around me. Coolant bins topple off the toilet.

The next hour is quick and precise. Beer helps me sync up timelines to footage. Splices and marks are applied without problem. Krystlyn Mathery is a beautiful young girl who, from the tape, seems to have a lot of little friends. The celebration of her birthday moves into the family backyard, where hot dogs and burgers have already been set out for all the raucous, screaming little people. Krystlyn runs to the end of the long patio table and waves to the camera.

Double Click. Import file.

Cut to me unconscious, bleeding red purple mucous out of my left nostril. Through the bathroom window, 5am streetlights fall and shine off clear bathtub water.

Little person Krystlyn comes back onto my preview construction window and takes two hot dogs onto a plate. Next to her an adult hand comes out of nowhere and begins to fill dixie cups with Coca Cola.

Cut back to a young man suffering erratic heartbeat complications from an attempted suffocation. I remember when I woke up from that. It felt like my eyes had been bleeding, later dried, and even later encrusted with a shell of red black goo onto my eyelids and socket corners. I couldn't tell which way was up and I remember everything smelling like plastic. My chest hurt too.

Back to four little children handing Krystlyn presents that had previously been stacked up on a lawn chair. Lots of smiles. Group singing of the 'happy birthday' flavor. Little Ms. Mathers seems to enjoy the clothing presents the most.

I cut the last ten minutes of her party out to buffer some of my timeline for the next footage splice and audio track. I've imported ten minutes of a Godspeed you Black Emperor sample from my mp3 collection. As it converts to a workable .wav format, I save and resave my editing and return the master copy to the plastic bag. A little metal needle catches on my sweater and I wince as it scrapes a bone running along the back of my head.

I'll probably vomit into a little cereal bowl for this kind of shit. I wonder if other people need to do things like this to not go super crazy. I wonder if they feel just as degraded and get super sick in the process, too. In my journal tonight, I'll write about the scene splicing and edits I did with the master tapes I got. I'll write down the time I finished copying the work onto VHS. I'll write down how long I watched each video and how many beers I drank and how many times I had to stick more needles into the back of my skull.

When the shit starts to come back into me and my eyes go blind and I lose the ability to speak, it'll be time to go back to the fat man in the lab coat for more of his customers' home movies. I wish I didn't have to spend my Thursday nights like this. I lean back into the chair, vomit a little more, and set my alarm for tomorrow morning.

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