Monday, January 20, 2014
Meet Jake Timber
So there's this guy named Jake Timber.
I met him around this time last year. It must have gotten around social media that I was considering writing a line of pulpy...I don't know what...stories under the pseudonym "Jake Timber." That is until I found a crumpled piece of parchment underneath my windshield wiper one day at the college. The paper smelled like old mayonnaise but I read it anyway:
"JAKE TIMBER IS MY NAME, JACKASS. MEET ME AT McDONALD'S."
Given that most of what I do is against my better judgement anyway (I am trying to be a writer, aren't I?) I went to the local branch of the Golden Arches across from campus. Inside I found Jake. No, I won't describe him as he won't let me. He wants to stay clandestine and undercover. More on that in a minute but let tell you, Jake can put away McRibs. "In the time I'm from, the nanny-state liberals have made them illegal," he told me, engulfing his third McRib like a meth junkie who used to do a little, then the little wouldn't do it, and the little got more and more. See what I did there?
Yes, Jake is from the future. Or so he tells me. He gets rather testy when you push him for particulars on how he managed to traverse the gulf of time. DeLorean? British call box? Both suggestions earned me the tip of a combat knife pressed to the bottom of my chin, so I backed off.
You see in Jake's future, the United States is under the control of a dictatorship. Jake, a former Army sergeant, gathered his own band of freedom fighters to try to take the nation back. Eventually, Jake got the idea that his greatest weapon might be literature (I believe he said it was after he took a shell.) If he could get back in time, he could tell the accounts of the battles he had fought and maybe convince all of us to stand up and stop this "dictatorial regime" before it ever happens, thereby preventing decades of urban combat and hangnails.
I must admit, I expressed doubts.
"Yeah? Taken a look around lately, jackass?" he asked, wiping synthetic bbq sauce from his chin.
Jake supported his case by citing NSA monitoring of email and phone communication, the growing ubiquity of surveillance cameras in public places, facial recognition software, and x-ray machines.
"That and you got a guvmint that spends like drunken sailors to appease the 50% of the population that feels entitled to everything. It's easy to dominate sheep," Jake capped off his argument.
Needless to say, I was feeling rather uncomfortable by that point. When Jake outlined his series of "man of action" adventure books that told the alleged story of his war in the future, well...it didn't get any better. He told me "I don't really read books but I can tell you do." (Thanks?) "And I need somebody who can write my stories, you know, string words together and shit." Not only that, but Jake's unswerving aversion to being anywhere online or photographed in any regard meant that I would also have to handle all promotion of the book and all social media relations.
"I don't think so," I said.
Jake slid a stack of money over to me.
"Sorry but no," I said.
Jake doubled the stack of money and tossed the full Star Trek the original series box set into the pot.
"Take the fucking job, Nichols," he said, picking the McRib from his teeth with his combat knife.
I counted up the cash. It was enough to buy me two lattes. Last week. Yeah, I think "writer" is Old English for "whore."
I took the job. Lately I've been wondering if I should have taken the knife, but that's ok.
Jake took me to his home. It looks something like this:
Yep, tucked away in the middle of the country, living off the grid. He says I'm the only person he's ever invited over. Should I be flattered? Anyway, here's what I've learned, in all its perspicuous glory, from my preliminary interviews with Jake.
As you might imagine from the picture of his survivalist hut, Jake is adept at staying alive. He owns a fair-sized armory ("for when shit gets real") and has devised an ingenious homebrew system that renders a beer similar in taste to a can of Old Milwaukee left open for a day or two. He doesn't watch TV. Mostly because he doesn't own one. However, he admits that he once watched Two and a Half Men fervently and cites Charlie Sheen leaving the show as "the point where we as a nation really turned away from Jesus." As that quote might indicate to you, he is a member of the 700 Club and is a devout Green Bay Packers fan.
Yeah, we get along great.
Like I said, Jake wants nothing to do with the Internet as it's all too easily traced ("Them NSA bastiches.") He does, however, have a satellite phone. The signal is routed through several different hubs and he has a voice scrambler attached to it...which oddly improves the tenor of his speech. It's almost melodious the way he calls me "dickhead" through what sounds like the electro-distortion of a Kraftwerk song.
Such as the time when he called me during class to ask the number for "a guy who can repair natural gas lines." That didn't sound good to me, either. It sound incredibly less good when I learned he was calling from my house. Jake invited himself in one day when he was hungry. As usual, my kitchen had little on hand save for a couple boxes of cereal (Cap'n Crunch and Fruit Loops, natch) and a Costco-sized bag of frozen tater tots. Aside from that, the only item of any substance was a cake mix.
Jake decided to bake the cake.
I did not, however, have eggs or milk. Being a veteran of urban combat, one thing Jake can do is improvise. He used an old can of Pam leftover from when I tried to bake Christmas cookies and a tin of Crisco I use for...well, never mind. The resultant mess in the oven led to a near-evacuation for the whole neighborhood. This would have been enough to ruin my day but Jake had to go the extra nine yards and hand the fire department a fake drivers license. The card had my name on it written in gel pen alongside a photo of an action figure (see above). I spent the remainder of the day down at the station, explaining that I was not Jake Timber and teaching a drunk man to sing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."
Trust me. We are just scratching the surface of my time with Jake. Just wait until you read his books, his "true" account of our future. Do you like watching Red Dawn and enjoy leafing through the occasional Hustler? Then Jake Timber is your guy. Have you read Anna Karenina? The Sound and the Fury? Then run away. Far, far away.
You can read Jake's blog here.
You can find Jake on Facebook here.
You can follow Jake on Twitter @JakeTimber3.
God help us all.
Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets