Appetite for Redaction

Normally, the editors at Electric Literature are not handed over government materials, and don’t have to be concerned with redactions and fact-checking. However, the following case notes, pdf, and video were leaked to us by an anonymous contact. Adam Klein, The Size Queens’ singer, author of “The Medicine Burns” and “Tiny Ladies,” appears to have been held in detention upon his return from The American University of Afghanistan, and we have only the following materials with which to piece together his strange case.

US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION, ASSET MANAGEMENT

SUBJECT: ADAM KLEIN

RE: The Size Queens’ “Appetite For Redaction”

Subject expressed confusion when he entered the office, claims his bags were lost, also ticket stubs. Appears disheveled and does not remember his flight number, which carrier, or point of origin.

Provided customs forms to stewardesses before departing flight, and believes he put passport into chair pocket as opposed to pants’ pocket. Provided U.S. Department of Homeland Security Form OMB No. 1651–0111. On item 9, indicated he had entered the United States by SPACE, rather than LAND or SEA.

States he had several layovers, believes he was in Kabul or Manama, but because it was Ramadan, did not eat, fearing he would be incarcerated for doing so. Claims he remembers seeing a curtained Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the airport; otherwise it appeared empty, just a few hungry passengers and German smokers in a poorly ventilated lounge.

Suggests we can probably find his arrival gate on surveillance video. States that he is en route to New York. Does not know how he arrived in Palm Springs. Says he knows someone here, but does not know this person’s phone number. Asked to use Skype instead.

Subject says he does not know the difference between the TSA, CIA, and FBI. Asked for clarification.

Says he was full-body scanned and wanded. Wonders whether wanding is airport magic.

Claims he is en route to New York to see upscale Duane Reade in Union Square. Says he wonders frequently about the Brand Manager position at Duane Reade and whether he can exchange his teaching job for carrying a clipboard with a checklist of Burt’s Bees and Aveda products. Claims he wants a new job outside of academia in Kabul, Beirut or Mumbai, but doesn’t earn any money on Spotify, nor is he eligible for more student loans to return to school to be trained as a Brand Manager for other drug stores that may be changing their product lines. Believes such jobs are the result of nepotism, anyway.

Subject appears calmer after reunited with his bags. Says his documents have been redacted, cannot read his own history or statements as once written. Claims he is no longer interested in US Magazine article on Rachel Zoe after heavy redactions. Remembers having no credit, purchasing car to work briefly in Silicon Valley as Case Manager for displaced tech workers during economic downturn. Claims job required heavy doses of Valium. Says his Lexus provided a smooth ride, and that his sleep apnea kept him from road accidents. Expensive sleep doctor who provided diagnosis is pursuing subject, making sleep impossible while client is in country, though client is unsure of which country the sleep tests were originally performed.

Subject states redacted documents are thick black lines that connect two disparate points, like maps run through, or shadows across geographies, aporeas, visible blind spots, and truer than the original documents he kept in file folders and glove compartments. Wants to congratulate TSA, CIA, FBI on removing intent — or the philosophical, and somehow appropriate word, ‘agency’ — and creating lapses in memory, unintended connections, unusual flight patterns over his personal history.

Subject asked why his electric bills from Beirut had been collected when they were not in his name, though he was unsure if he had an Arabic name in which other business was transacted on his behalf. Claims he was normally called ‘Mr. Adam’ by Hezbollah-run businesses in his neighborhood. Wondered about electric bills racked up in torture under dictators, but quickly lost the thought.

States he feels drone-framed, but also encircled by impermeable powers that protect him from illusions of justice, progressive politics, transparency in government or finance, any brand of utopian thinking, although thinking feels tampered with, lined out, liminal

Subject believes important papers were left in a bathroom at the Red Lobster, but was unsure if it were the new Red Lobster in the lower level of the Dubai Mall, or in Scottsdale. Subject claims these documents offered proof of strip mining by Chinese companies, mostly wearing spacesuits. Subject consoled himself by thoughts of someone of conscience passing the documents on to Wikileaks, or perhaps that Julian Assange would find said documents near the hand dryers.

Subject claims he wants to determine whether CoinStar machines have been removed from upscale Duane Reade stores, and states he sometimes hears ATMs communicating across grids, whispering, “You win none, you lose none,” and “Not in my currency.” States he cannot tell New York City from Kabul, except for the drug stores, which the dead have now informed him are their fashion houses, just as war zones are parade grounds, and flight patterns the proof of hungry birds that swallow renditioned men, sometimes returning them to unknown countries, sometimes not.

For more dispatches from The Size Queens, check out Appetite for Redaction

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