The Shameless And The Innocent or American Activities: Quantum Nowhere

By Mike Tokars All Rights Reserved ©



The Shameless And The Innocent is the first novel in the Quantum Nowhere series by Mike Tokars. The various stories in this book will appear in upcoming, individual novels and novellas that will provide complete narratives for each title. The next book planned for the Quantum Nowhere series is The Wit Of The Staircase.


Parting ways with Cormond was difficult. I saw it coming when he gave me that once over back in Brooklyn, before showing me to the shower. People always hate me in front of the girl, and I couldn’t have anybody hating me in the middle of crisis. He was smart. He had his computer. He’d be alright. Eve didn’t respond when I asked her to help me avenge Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake after we made it to Khopfer. I’d have to work on her.

We pulled up to the studio. I parked in a handicap spot. Eve said “Move the car one spot over, jackass.”

“Why?” I said. “It’s 1 a.m. and the building’s fucking abandoned.”
“Karma, jackass. And the lot is empty.”
“Karma isn’t real.”
“How do you know?”
“Because that’s fucking retarded.”
“You’re retarded.”

I lit a cigarette and said, “Don’t make fun of my disability.”
“What disability?”
“That’s not a disability.”
“Then what did you mean by retarded?”
“Shut up.”

Eve’s instruction fell flat. The upward inflection was gone. This was a sullen moment, like seventy years ago in San Francisco. I remember thinking perhaps I should’ve left her, instead of Cormond. I thought of sex with Cormond and knew I’d made the right decision. (Eve’s legs beneath the dash. Eve’s legs beneath the dash.) I rubbed the side of my skull and thought of the lump her father’d put there when we were kids. I thought of that day at the beach, cheap beer and fun sex, fucking with the waves, using the water for motion and the people on the beach who probably knew we were fucking, tourists, flabbergasted tourists, like all the tourists between the day she left me for dead and now, who we taught how to die in Florida, time bombs we set in Florida and sent back north and west, itching for new addictions and teaching their boyfriends how to fuck, all long gone—probably insane by now, or too sane, strippers and addicts, addled bartenders, all holy saints, all the wasted time between us. I lit a cigarette and said “The apple was sex.”

“Yeah,” she said. “Obviously.”

I re-parked the car and left the lights on. The guy would either be there or he wouldn’t, which wouldn’t take long to determine. All we had to do was upload this flash drive and start the program Cormond wrote to reverse the algorithm. I wondered why he hadn’t taken it upon himself to do this. He must’ve benefitted from the madness, or maybe he was afraid. Either way, I was glad to be rid of him. Eve was worried about the girl at Khopfer who might’ve been expecting him. She wasn’t happy about the stolen Stradivarius in the backseat.

The place looked like an old mall, like leftover from 1986, some old Burdines converted into a radio station after hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes demolished everything around it. There was a broken window to the right of the entrance. Eve got out of the car and stormed at the building and kicked the rest of the glass out of the frame and climbed in. She opened the door from the inside and yelled at me while I finished my cigarette. I expected an alarm to go off, but one never did. There was nothing for me to hold against her.

The guy wasn’t there. Nobody was. The electricity was on, the lights worked. Everything worked. We found a refrigerator before we found the computer that Cormond described. There was a six pack of Coors Banquet, my favorite beer. I opened a can and saw Eve roll her eyes. We found the computer and plugged the thing in. I said “I hope this works.”

We were on our way back out when I noticed the gallery. It was dark, but I could see the turn tables through the window. I opened the door and said, “Holy shit, the light’s on.”

Eve said,“What do you mean?”
“We’re on the air right now.”
“Should we say anything?”
“Of course we should. We should say as much as possible.”
“What should we say?”
“Anything we want. Tell them about Khopfer.”
“You first,” Eve said. “You say something first.”

I took the microphone and said a poem I had in my head for a while:

I could lay with you for a thousand days,

and go down on you in a thousand ways with a thousand tongues untied,

yet systematically stimulating the manifestation of my destiny,

My love,
my muse,
my American Dream.

Eve said she liked that. I said, “Thanks,” and smiled. She smiled back. Then she kind of leaned into me and pulled at my sleeve. I said, “What should we say next?”

Eve said, “Play a song.”

"That Couldn’t Be Ann"
By Greg Kendall

That couldn’t have been her,
I don’t understand,
down by St. Mary’s,
that couldn’t be Ann

I saw a ghost car,
in a haunted garage
this town’s a desert,
and you’re a mirage,
an oasis,
a vision,
an unconscious decision
down by St. Mary's
that couldn't be Ann

Oh no,
it happens
wherever I go

Oh yeah,
pinch me I’m dreaming again


Ari al
my goddess, my light

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