live at Cafe Aloha three parts:

part 1: Live at Cafe Aloha performance with Jason Pettus in 1997
part 2: Live open Mike readings at Cafe Aloha
part 3: The Key To Believing, 12/10/02 novel release feature at Cafe Aloha
part 4: About the Author

“Type A” Person

I was in my friend’s car once, and she was driving through the streets of Chicago, and she was letting people in who were getting in the right lane at an intersection when that right lane really should only be used for turning right but they go straight and try to cut off the long line of traffic waiting at the light. Well, as I said, she’s letting these people get in front of her, and she’s stopping at four-way stop intersections and waving other cars to go in front of her, and when she is going she’s going under the speed limit, and I’m thinking, my god, she’s under thirty years old and she’s driving like she’s twice her age and I want to tell her to get going because damnit, I don’t want to die in this car, I’ve got a lot of living to do, I’ve never jumped out of an airplane or made a million dollars or been in a lustful affair with a high-ranking political candidate, and if I am going to go out I surely don’t want to die of boredom while someone else is staying in the most congested lane of traffic when they could just as easily get into the next lane and cut everyone off in front of them when they eventually have to merge, like I would most certainly do.

And then it occurred to me, and of course it filled me with a complete and utter sense of elation, because I just love being pigeon-holed into stereotypical psychological categories: I really am a Type A person.

There’s an intersection near my house where from one direction you can either go straight or turn right, and there are two streets that merge into this one, both turning right, so the middle street has a “no turn on red” sign. And usually when I’m on this road I’m on the street that’s going straight, the left-most street, and these two streets are on my right, merging into my street. And I always catch the red light on this street, it’s like the traffic gods are displeased with my constant efforts to circumvent their wrath, so I’m always catching the red light at this street, so I’ve learned a new trick: I turn right, onto the first street on my right, but instead of doing a U-turn I turn left at the next block so I can get on that second street, all so I can turn right onto the street I was on originally before both of the other streets get to go so I can beat every one of those slow bastards to the next intersection.

I mean, yes, I’m the one that’s yelling and banging the stering wheel of my car when people on the road are idiots. Yes, I’m that person who has to race so that I can slam on my brakes at that next intersection, only 100 feet away, and yes, I am only driving a Saturn SL1, a sedan with about as much power as a 1982 Ford Mustang, but damnit, I won’t go down without a fight, I will be out there cutting everyone off, weaving in and out of traffic; I will be the one getting there before you, trust me, I will.

And even when I’m tuning the radio while driving, because, you see, I do that and put on my make-up and take notes for work and check over my schedule and if I was the Hindu god BISHNU and had ten arms I’d get a cel phone and send out faxes and eat dinner and write a novel while I was at it, but, as I said, even when I’m tuning the radio while I’m driving I only let the first second-and-a-half of the song play before I’m disgusted and change the dial to the next pre-programmed station, just to instantaneously become disgusted another six times and have to find a tape to play because all those stupid corporate pieces of shit think they should play crap over and over again in order to keep the mindless tuned in.

Well, not me, thank you very much, I don’t have the patience for that.

So, needless to say, I’ve discovered that this is a problem of mine, I wish there was some sort of therapy group for this so I could go to my weekly “Type A Anonymous” meetings, but we’d probably all be pushing each other out of the doorway thirty seconds before the meeting is supposed to start, saying, “Get out of my way ass-hole, you should have thought about being late before you tried to cut me off,” and the meetings themselves would probably be filled with people yelling, “Hey, jerk, I think I was talking, what, do you think you’re god or something, show some respect.“

God, and I know this is a problem of mine, I know this “Type A-ness” transcends into every realm of my life. When I get on the elevator in the morning to get to my office on the eighteenth floor, I try to make the doors close as quickly as possible so no one can get on the elevator with me, because you know, I really do hate all people and surely don’t want to be in a cramped confined space with a bunch of strangers. But when people do get on the same elevator as me, they invariably press the buttons for floors fifteen, sixteen and seventeen, and I start pursing my lips, stopping myself from saying, “Oh, you people couldn’t stand to walk a flight of stairs, you just had to press all of these buttons and stop me from getting to my god-damned floor in a reasonable amount of time.”

Even walking on the sidewalk in the city, I always get stuck behind someone that’s a full foot shorter than me and a full thirty pounds heavier, someone who labors to walk very, very slowly, someone who actually sways rhythmically when they walk, like a metronome, or like a person standing on the edge of a dance floor, rocking back and forth, back and forth all too afraid to actually ask someone to dance, or else afraid to go out and dance and make a fool of themselves in front of the cool people who have figured out what rhythm really is. And I’m walking behind this person, almost tripping over myself because this walking pace is just unnaturally slow, so to pass the time until there’s an opening on the left side of the sidewalk so I can pass them and walk like a human being again I start to mimick them, swaying with my walk, more for my own entertainment than anyone else’s.

Yes, more than a human being I’m a human doing, and I hate having to depend on the schedules of others in order to get ahead of them all.

Yes, I am the person in line at the grocery store with three items, shifting my weight from foot to foot, frantically scanning the other lines, the person who wants to ask the person in front of them, “can’t I get in front of you, I’ve only got three items and you have two full crocery carts full of crap like Cheetos, Pepsi, fish sticks and Haagen Daz Cookie Dough ice cream.” Yes, I am the person who has four different sets of plans for any given evening because if any one event gets too boring I can pick up and say, “Oh, sorry, I’m supposed to be at a meeting by now,” instead of having to tell them that they’re too boring or that I just have no idea whatsoever of how to relax. Yes, I am the person who coasts toward an intersection when I know the timed pattern of the traffic lights, and know that I can manage to get to this intersection without ever having to make a complete stop so when that light does change I can accellerate faster than everyone else, pass everyone by, and have the open road to myself, wide open in front of me.

I’m already guessing that at my funeral, when the long procession of cars is creeping toward the cemetary, I’ll be opening that casket up and whispering to the driver of the hearse, “hey, what do you say we floor it and blow everyone off in line? We could probably grab a beer at the corner bar and still be able to beat everyone to the grave site,” because, as I said, I’m a “Type A” person, and I’m going to make damn sure I do as much living as I possibly can, I’m not going down without a fight, and wherever that god-damned goal line is, I swear, I’ll beat everyone to it.

the state of the nation

my phone rang earlier today
and I picked it up and said “hello”
and a man on the other end said,
Is this Janet Kuypers?
and I said, “Yes, it is, may I ask
who is calling?”
and he said, Yeah, hi, this is
George Washington, and I’m sitting here
with Jefferson and we wanted to
tell you a few things. And I said
“Why me?” And he said Excuse me,
I believe I said I was the one
that wanted to do the talking.
God, that’s the problem with
Americans nowadays. They’re so
damn rude. And I said, “You know,
you really didn’t have to use
language like that,” and he said,
Oh, I’m sorry, it’s just I’ve been
dead so long, I lose all control
of my manners. Well, anyway, we just
wanted to tell you some stuff. Now,
you know that we really didn’t have
much of an idea of what we were
doing when we were starting up
this country here, we didn’t have
much experience in creating
bodies of power, so I could understand
how our Constitution could be

and then he put in a dramatic pause
and said,
but when we said people had
a right to bear arms
we meant to protect themselves
from a government gone wrong
and not so you could kill
and innocent person
for twenty dollars cash
and when we said freedom of
religion we included the separation
of church and state because freedom
of religion could also mean freedom
from religion
and when we said freedom of speech
we had no idea you’d be
burning a flag
or painting pictures of Christ
doused in urine
or photographing people with
whips up their respective anatomies
but hell, I guess we’ve got to
grin and bear it
because if we ban that
the next thing they’ll ban is books
and we can’t have that
and I said, “But there are schools
that have books banned, George.”
And he said Oh.

The One At Mardi Gras

i was at mardi gras last weekend
and i got a bunch of beads from parades
(no, i didn’t lift my shirt for them) -

and a friend of mine had a balcony
on bourbon street, and so we were on it
on friday night, and the swarms

of people stretched for over a mile. it was
a mob, no one could walk and the crowd
just kind of carried them along. and all

the men expected women to get naked
for them for beads, and from my balcony
i would see every few minutes a series of

flash pops, coupled with a roar from the
crowd, and i knew a woman lifted her shirt
for the screaming masses. i refused, however,

to strip for drunk strangers, when i knew
they all expected me to, being on a balcony
and all. so men would look up at me and stretch

out their arms, looking up inquisitively, as
if to ask either for me to give them beads
or for me to strip. and since i wasn’t stripping

and had plenty of my own beads, i decided
to turn the tables and see if men would accept
the same conditions they asked of these women.

when they looked up at me for something,
i would say, “drop your pants.” they would look up
at me, confused, because the women are the

ones that are supposed to be stripping, but
in general i got two responses from the men:
either they would look at me like i was

crazy and walk away, or they would shrug,
as if to say, “okay,” and then they would
start unzipping their pants. then they would

make a gesture to turn around, as if to ask,
“do you want to see my butt?” and that’s when i’d
yell, “the front,” and then they’d turn back

around, with their pants and their underwear
at their knees, and start moving their hips
(which i never asked for, by the way).

so over the course of the evening i
managed to get at least twenty men to
strip like this for me, and i was amazed

that there was this society, this micro-
cosm of society, that allowed this kind
of debauchery in the streets, a sort of

prostitution-for-plastic-beads form of
capitalism. so i was reveling in this bizarre
annual ritual when this man, average to

everyone else, wearing grey and minding
his own business, decided to look up at me. so
i asked him to drop his pants, and instead of

disgustedly leaving or willingly obliging
he crossed both hands on his chest and looked
up at me, as if to ask, “you want to me do

what? you naughty, naughty girl.” and he
smiled and looked up at me, and it occurred
to me that i finally found someone in this

massive crowd that thinks they way i do.
now, new orleans has a population, from what i
hear, of about one million, but during mardi gras

there are about nine or ten million people, and
all i could think was that of all these people
here, i finally found someone who wouldn’t

blindly do what i asked, but at the same time
wouldn’t think i was crazy for asking.
of course as i looked at him i also happened

to think that he was stunning, by far the best-
looking man i had seen that entire night, he
looked like he had style, like he was self-

confident, but then again, i’m near-sighted
and was on a balcony drunk at mardi gras.
we hit an impasse when he wouldn’t strip

and neither would i, so his attention was
eventually diverted to other balconies. but i
noticed for that next half-hour that he never left

from under my balcony, and every once in a while
he would still turn around and look up at me. oh,
boy, i was thinking the entire time, i know

this is no way to start a relationship, hell,
i’m sure this guy lives nowhere near me, and
i haven’t even had a real conversation with him,

but he’s damn near perfect. and all that time we
were screaming and partying at mardi gras,
he would still occasionally turn around and

make sure i was still there. and finally he
looked at me, signalling that he had to move
on with his friends, and i held up my index

finger to make him wait and then i threw
a bunch of beads at him. part of me threw
them because he was a good sport, putting

up with my taunting and still not giving in,
but a part of me threw them because i
saw in him the strong values and the sense

of self-worth, the sheer love of life, the
desire to be alive, that i possessed all along
and have always longed for in someone else.

Burn It In

Once I was at a beach
off the west coast of Florida
it was New Year’s eve
and the yellow moon hung over the gulf
like a swaying lantern.
And I was watching the waves crash in front of me
with a friend
and the wind picked up
and my friend just stared at that moon for a while
and then closed his eyes.
I asked him what he was thinking.
He said, “I wanted to look at this scene,
and memorize it, burn it into my brain,
record it in my mind, so I can call it up when I want to.
So I can have it with me always.”

I too have my recorders.
I burn these things into my brain,
I burn these things onto pages.
I pick and choose what needs to be said,
what needs to be remembered.

Every year, at the end of the year
I used to write in a journal
recall the things that happened to me
log in all of the memories I needed to keep
because that was what kept me sane
that was what kept me alive.

When I first went to college
I was studying to be a computer science
engineer, I wanted to make a lot of money
I wanted to beat everyone else
because burned in my brain were the taunts
of kids who were in cliques
so others could do the thinking for them
because burned in my brain were the evenings
of the high school dances I never went to
because burned in my brain were the people
I knew I was better than
who thought they were better than me.
Well, yes, I wanted to make a lot of money
I wanted to beat everyone else
but I hated what I was doing
I hated what I saw around me
hated all the pain people put each other through
and all of these memories just kept flooding me
so in my spare time
to keep me sane, to keep me alive
I wrote down the things I could not say
that was how I recorded things.

When I looked around me, and saw friends
raping my friends
I wrote, I burned into these nightmares with a pen
and yes, I have this recorded
I have all of this recorded.

What did you think I was doing
when I was stuffing hand-written notes into my pockets
or typing long hours into the night?
In college, I had two roommates
who in their spare time would watch movies in our living room
and cross-stitch. I never understood this.
In my spare time, I was not watching other’s stories
or weaving thread to keep my hands busy
I was sitting in the corner of a cafe
scribbling into my notebook.
I was sitting in the university computer lab
slamming my hands, my fingers against the keyboard
because there were too many atrocities in the world
too many injustices that I had witnessed
too many people who had wronged me

and I had a lot of work to do.
There had to be a record of what you’ve done.

Did you think your crimes would go unpunished?
And did you think that you could come back, years later,
slap me on the back with a friendly hello
and think I wouldn’t remember?
You see, that’s what I have my poems for
so there will always be a record
of what you have done
I have defiled many pages
in your honor, you who swung
your battle ax high above your head
and thought no one would remember in the end.
Well, I made a point to remember.
Yes, I have defiled many pages
and have you defiled many women?
You, the man who rapes my friends?
You, the man who rapes my sisters?
You, the man who rapes me?
Is this what makes you a strong man?

you want to know why I do the things I do

I had to record these things
that is what kept me together
when people were dying
that is what kept me together
when my friends went off to war
that is what kept me together
when my friends were raped
and left for dead
that is what kept me together
when no one bothered to notice this
or change this
or care about this
these recordings kept me together

I need to record these things
to remind myself
of where I came from
I need to record these things
to remind myself
that there are things to value
and things to hate
I need to record these things
to remind myself
that there are things worth fighting for
worth dying for
I need to record these things
to remind myself
that I am alive



now that we have the information superhighway
we can throw out into the open
our screams
our cries for help
so much faster than we could before

our pleas become computer blips
tiny bits of energy
travelling through razor thin wires
travelling through space

to be left for someone to decipher
when they find the time


got into work the other day
and got my messages out of voice mail:
mike trisko left me his pager number
and told me to contact him with some information
mike wright told me to call him at the office
between ten thirty and noon
lorelei jones told me to check my email
because she sent me a message i had to read

so i first returned mike wright’s phone call
but he wasn’t in, so i left a message with a coworker
and then i dialed the number for mike trisko’s pager
listened to a beep, then dialed in my own phone number
then i got online, checked my email
read a note from ben ohmart, emptied out the junk mail

realizing i didn’t actually get a hold of anybody
i tried to call my friend sheri
but i got her answering machine
so i said,
“hi - it’s me, janet -
haven’t talked to you in a while - ”
at which point i realized
there was nothing left to say -
give me a call, we should really
get together and talk”


sara and i were late for carol’s wedding rehearsal
which was a bad thing, because we were both
standing up in the wedding
and we were stuck in traffic, and i asked,
“sara, you have a cel phone, don’t you?“
and she said “yes”
and i asked, “well, do you know carol’s
cel phone number, cause if you do, we can
call her and tell her we’ll be late -”
and she said, “no - do you know it?”
and i said “no”


I was out at a bar with Dave, and I was explaining to him
why I hadn’t talked to my friend Aaron in a while:
“You see, we usually email each other,
and when we do, we just hit ’reply.’
when you get an email from someone,
instead of having to start a new letter
and get their email address, you can
just hit the ’reply’ button on the email message,
and it will make a letter addressed
to the person who wrote you the letter originally.
so one of us sent the other a letter, and
it had a question at the end,
so i hit ’reply’ and sent a response,
with another question at the end of my letter.
so we kept having to answer questions for each other,
and we just kept replying to each other,
sending a letter with the same title back and
forth to each other. well, once i got an email
from him and there was no question at the end,
and so i didn’t have to send him a response.
so i didn’t. and we never thought
to start a new email to one another.
so we just lost touch.”

and then it occurred to me, how difficult it had become
to type an extra line of text, because that’s why
i lost touch with him

and then it occurred to me, no matter how many different
forms of communication we have,
we’ll still find a way
to lose touch with each other


now that we have the information superhighway
we can throw out into the open
our screams
our cries for help
so much faster than we could before

but what if we don’t want to communicate
or forget how
too busy leaving messages, voice mails,
emails, pager numbers
forgetting to call back

what if we forget
how to communicate


i wanted to purchase tickets for a concert
but i was shopping with my sister
and wasn’t near a ticket outlet
but my sister said, “i have a portable phone,
you can call them if you’d like”
so she gave me the phone, and i looked
at all these extra buttons, and she said,
“just press the ’power’ button, but hold it down
for at least four seconds, until the panel lights up,
then dial the number, but use the area code, because
this phone is a 630 area code, then press ’send’.
when you’re done with the call, just press ’end’, and
make sure the light turns off.”

so i turned it on, dialed the number,
pressed ’send’, pressed my head
against the tiny phone

and the line was busy
and i couldn’t get through


i wanted to get in touch
with an old friend of mine from high school,
vince, and the last i heard was that he went to
marquette university. well, that was five years ago, he
could be anywhere. i talked to a friend or two that
knew him, but they lost touch with him, too.
so i searched on the internet, to see
if his name was on a website or if
he had an email address. he didn’t.
so i figured i probably wouldn’t find him.
and all this time, i knew his parents lived
in the same house they always did, i could just
look up his parent’s phone number in the phone book,
and call them, say i’m an old high school friend
of vince’s, but i never did. and then i realized why.

you see, i could search the internet for hours
and no one would know that i was looking for someone.
but now, with a single phone call, i’d make it known
to his family that i wanted to see him enough to call,
after all these years. and i didnt want
him to know that. so i never called.


now that we have the information superhighway
we can throw out into the open
our screams
our cries for help
so much faster than we could before

but then the question begs itself:
is there
to listen

I Dreamt About You Last Night

“I dreamt about you last night
and I fell out of bed twice
you can pin and mount me
like a butterfly”
- Steven M.

I dreamt about you last night.
I called you on the phone
even though you passed away
over four weeks ago now.
I don’t know why I called, I
don’t know what I was hoping for,
but when you answered your phone
I said, “Dave?”
You said, “Yes.”
And I asked, “How are you?”
You said, “Fine.”
And I asked, “You’re not dead?”
You said, “No.”
“But I just told someone
you passed away a month ago.”
“Oh,” you said, “Don’t worry.
I’ll take care of it.”
And you sounded so -
so relaxed. So peaceful.

They say that dreams are your
chance to think over the things
unresolved from your day. And
I keep dreaming about you.
Don’t I think about you enough?

You’re the one that left me.
Why are you coming back,
at night, when I let my defenses
down, slipping in through my
window and working your way
into my dreams?

I dreamt about you last night.
We were sitting together,
about to go out for the evening.
You were wearing a black
t-shirt and black jeans.
We were running late, and you
were angry. “I wanted to wear
this, but I wanted to put more
black on - I wanted to wear my
black vest and my black jacket.”
You know, I thought it was
always funny, how much you cared
about the clothes you wore.
So I said, “But Dave, you look
fantastic in your jeans and
t-shirt.” And you smiled at me
and kissed me.

I wish I could have told you
more in life how good you looked.
I’m sorry, Dave. I’m so sorry.
I wish in life I could have told
you the things you wanted to hear.

I saw you today. You were in a
black car and you were wearing
dark sunglasses. He could have
been you, if I closed my eyes
and squinted just slightly. You pulled
up in the lane next to me as I
was driving to my sister’s house.
You were about to turn right and
I watched you look at the oncoming
traffic, waiting for your chance to
leave me again.

Let me think that it was you,
driving, living. Let me think that
you’re just ignoring me. Then
I can be angry with you.

I dreamt about you last night.
I was on a cruise ship, and you
were working as a waiter. You wore
one of those silly short jackets
for your uniform. It was a sea blue.
And every time I thought I saw you
you would turn away to do your
job. All I ever caught were fleeting
glimpses of you, walking away.

All I keep thinking is that
my days are finally free of you
but they’re not. I keep thinking
of you. And it isn’t enough.
I still can’t escape you at night.

And I’m Wondering

I’m wondering if there’s something
chemical that brings people together,
something that brings people to their
knees, somethings that sucks them in

And I’m wondering if you’re sensing what I’m
sensing, is it just me, am I making this up
in my head, or when I glance up and catch your
eyes, well, are you actually staring at me

And I’m wondering if it could work out this
time, if we’d have one of those relationships
that no one ever doubts, especially us,
because we know we’ll always be in love

And I’m wondering if you’d find
my neurotic pet-peeves charming
like how I hate it when someone touches
my belly because I’m so self conscious

And I’m wondering why you had to tell me
when we happened to be sitting next to each
other that the fact that our legs were almost
touching was making your heart race

And I’m wondering why I felt the need
to take your cigarette and inhale, exhale
while the filter was still warm from
your lips, there just seconds before

And I’m wondering if a year or two from now,
after we’ve been going out and should have
gotten to the point where we are bored with
each other and sink into a comfortable rut

if you saw me making macaroni and cheese
in the kitchen using margarine and water
because I’m out of milk and I’ve got my hair
pulled back and strands are falling into my

eyes and I’m wearing an oversized button-down
denim shirt and nothing else, well, what
I’m wondering is if you would see me
like this and still think I was sexy

When I glance up and catch your eyes from
across the room, when I see your eyes dart
away, when I feel this chemical reaction, well,
what I’m wondering is, can you feel it too

Other Cafe Aloha Readings

what it felt like

i think i have felt it before
i think i remember touching it, and it was
well, it was soft, and warm, and fuzzy

that makes it sound like a blanket
but a blanket can only be warm for so long
and it never is long enough to cover you
and the cold air is always getting in
and you can feel the breeze
from where the blanket fails you

no, what i have felt before,
what i am sure i have touched before
is giving, and soft, and warm
but it doesn’t give too much
or it would disappear

it is kind of like cat’s fur
have you ever felt cat’s fur before?
when you glide you hand along a cat with the fur
it is like silk, it is very,
well, how do you describe it

don’t rub that cat fur the wrong way, though
because that’s when it fights againsty you

it does not hurt you or give way too easily
it satiates you into feeling that life is good again
and when nothing seems to do that for you
sometimes all you’ve got is love,
i mean, that feeling of warmth and softness

do you know what i am talking abot
i am sure i have felt that feeling before
i must have

Wedding Lost

And she sees herself in the
passenger seat at night, her fiance
beside her, and the lights seem

all too bright, and the rain seems
all too loud, like the thunder of
soldiers running across a field to

war, swept with the drunken feeling
of patriotism, charging toward their
unknown enemy. And so it happened

that night, the lights got brighter,
the car started to spin, and then
she started to dream.

And she sees herself at the
end of the church, the bridesmaids
have just walked down the

aisle, the music changes for her.
She feels swept with the euphoria
of love, and she begins to walk,

but she falls, the bouquet falling
from her hand. And in slow motion,
white roses and lilies

scatter along the aisle. And she
looks up, and the groom is gone,
and the ground is the ashes

of the house they bought together
after they were married. She
sits up, and she’s at the desk at the

bank, trying to get the loan for the
house. His job is secure, we’re young,
nothing could go wrong. Good thing

he wore the blue tie to the bank, and
not the red one. And she sees herself
waking up from sleep, the oxygen

pipe still under her nose, her husband
there, tie in hand, asking if she’d like
to hold their baby. But she

could have sworn she heard the
baby stop crying. And she panics.
And then she wakes up, her head is bobbing,

but now she’s back, back at the
hospital, looking at the tubes running
out of her fiance’s arm.

Burning Building

This is what you don’t allow me to say.
These words I utter are a plea for help
and you tell me you want to be the hand
that pulls me from the burning building
and every time I try to be rescued
you turn your back and walk away

so I will rescue myself this time again
and I will wonder if I should stop trying
and allow myself to perish in the flames
now all I have to do is sit and wait
for another disaster to consume me
and sitting in silence is exactly what I’ll do

Why do you tell me one thing and do another?
Why do you run away when I need you most?
I’m stepping over the wooden beams now,
and the flames are all around me. Here, look
at the blood dripping from my arms. Here,
smell my flesh burning. This is what you do.

I do not walk away unscathed. I never do.
But now that I wait for my next burning building
I know I will never allow myself to enter it.
Why can’t it be easier to perish? I try and try,
and every time at the last minute, my figure
steps over the the charred remains and saves me.

If only there were no more burning buildings.
If only I didn’t have to save myself all the time.
If only I could feel free, just this once.
If only I could feel safe with you, just this once.
If only your words weren’t empty promises.
If only your words were not the burning building.

Isn’t it Amazing

Isn’t it amazing how much easier it is to destroy something
than to fight for it. It’s amazing to see people throw away
their lives day after day like a bag of trash taken to the corner
for someone else to carry away. You can forget about the trash
when someone gets rid of it for you. Now all you have to do
is bring it to the corner and then wait for them to do their work.

Isn’t it amazing how much easier it is to destroy something
than to fight for it. Isn’t it amazing. Isn’t it amazing how
willing we are to give up our chances at happiness. Isn’t it
amazing how afraid we are of life. Isn’t it funny how we
don’t want to embarrass ourselves. Quick. Take out the trash.
Hopefully no one will see you in your bathrobe as you make
your way to the end of your driveway. All you have to do
is turn around and leave it there. Someone else will clean up
the mess. Someone else will pick up the pieces. This is
what we do, in America. This is how we avoid hurt. This is
how we stay ahead. Now look who has egg on their face.

Isn’t it amazing how much easier it is to destroy something
than to fight for it. Once you’ve made that decision, once you
know that you’re going to be the one holding the aces, you can
watch the rest of the world squirm. If only those fools knew
better, you think. If only they knew what you know. It’s
emotion that gets them in trouble. Just don’t cross that line.
Isn’t it amazing how much easier it is to destroy something
than to fight for it. It seems the obvious choice. Isn’t it amazing.

in the air

Part One

Over Las Vegas with my family, my sister
and myself in one row, my parents in the
other across the way. We’re nearing the end
of our flight; mother tells me to sit in her
seat and look out the window as we fly
over the Hoover dam. Sitting next to father,
I watch him lean out the window saying,
just think of all that concrete.
I look over his shoulder, the dam
no larger than a thumbnail, the water,
like cracks in a sidewalk, like the
wrinkles in the palm of my hand.

Over Phoenix, preparing for another
descent at 8:50 p.m., but it’s usually fifteen
minutes late, as it is now, I’m getting
used to the schedule now. The mountains look
like the little mountains you see on
topographically correct globes, little ridges,
as if they’re made of sand, if you just lean
your head down a little bit, your exhaling
can make them all blow away in the
breeze. And I know that what I’m looking for
is out there, somewhere, I think this is
where it is, I better not be wrong, I just
have to search a little harder and find it.
I love the city lights from above at night.
Have you ever thought of how much power
it takes to light all those buildings?
All that energy. And every time I look,
look out that little window with rounded corners,
i see a string of yellow Italian Christmas
lights strung across the ground.

And little Champaign, Illinois, and
those little airplanes that 25 people
fit in. The airport there is really nice,
actually, it’s made for a bigger city, a city
of dreams and tall buildings, that’s what I
think. The roar of the planes are so loud, though,
not like those 747’s where you can sleep
during the flight. But they fly low enough
so that I can see the building I live in
from the sky. And where I work. There’s the
store. Neil Street. Assembly Hall. The bars.

Over Fort Myers, the city always looks
different from any other place, all those
palm trees, the marshes. Like you’ve just
landed somewhere foreign, and pretty soon
the big tour will begin. You can feel the
heat, the humidity sticking your shirt to
your back between your shoulder blades,
and your neck, sticking to your neck too,
from inside your cabin, before you even land.

Chicago looks grand from the sky
with this huge expanse of lake
next to it, like civilization crept up
as far as it could but finally had to stop.
The power of nature stopping the power
of man kind, for once. And I cannot
decide which one looks more evil.
The lake does, looks evil i mean, at least
at night, at night it looks like two spheres:
a string of lights and a huge void. Daylight,
and the snow on the ground looks dirty, too
many cars have splashed mud on it as they
drove by. And the sky always matches the
shade of grey of the snow: fitting for the
city of the Blues. Maybe the snow is already
that color, that perfect shade of grey,
when it falls from the sky in this city.

Part Two

Have you ever noticed that the air
isn’t normal air in an airplane? I mean,
I know they have to pump in the air,
and pressurize it and all in order to
keep us alive up there, but there’s just
something about the air in the cabin
that’s different. It’s got a smell to it,
that’s the only way I can describe it.
A smell of all these people, going
places, running to something, or
running away from it.

When I go on vacation and I promise
people I’ll write, I usually write from the
plane, just so I don’t have to worry about
it for the rest of my trip. And I write their
letter on an airsick bag. It’s more
interesting than paper.

I like the window seat, I like to look
out the window. Clouds look like
cotton balls when you’re above them,
and when you’re landing cars look like
little ants, on a mission, bringing food
back to their hill. Little soldiers, back
and forth, back and forth. And the
streets look like veins, capillaries in some
massive, monstrous body. And the
farmland looks like little squares of colors.
I wonder why each plot of land is a
different color, what’s growing there
that makes them different. Or maybe it’s
that some of them are turning shades of red
and brown because some of them dying.

Once I was bumped from my flight,
but on the next available flight they gave
me first class. And I sat there, feeling
underdressed. And afraid to order a drink.

And it always seems that you’re stuck
sitting next to someone that is either
too wide for their seat, or is a businessman
with his newspaper stretched out
and his lap top computer on his little
fold out table. Once, when I was on a
flight back from D. C., a flight attendant
walked by, stack of magazines in her
hand, Time, Newsweek, Businessweek,
and I stopped her, asking what magazines
she had. And she replied, “Oh, these
magazines are for men.” This is a true
story. And I asked her again what she
had. I had already read Time, so I took

i’m thinking about myself too much

all of my life it
has all been about you
what do you need
what do you want
how can i help you
what can i do for you
and now for once
i start to live
and now you tell me
that i’m thinking about
myself too much
and i think back to
all the time i’ve
spent with you
and all the care
i’ve given you
and now you tell me
that i’m thinking about
myself too much
and i’ve cooked for
you and i’ve cleaned
for you and i’ve made
sure everything in
your world made sense
and now you tell me
that i’m thinking about
myself too much
and all i can think
is that you’re only angry
because i’m thinking
about me at all

live shows at Cafe Aloha

Cafe Aloha held a weekly poetry reading at their coffee shop, where people read a few pieces, and some people came regularly to these readings. Kuypers did a poetry feature with Jason Pettus at Cafe Aloha in 1997, but came back to Cafe Aloha to do three shows in 2002. The first show in 2002 was Six Eleven (held on 06/11/02), and the second show was Stop., which was a performance all about the many faces of love, held live 09/10/02. These performances are not included in this collection because they will be released as their own books (called “Six Eleven” and “Stop” respectively). One additional feature was done at Cafe Aloha before David Rubin, the host of the weekly show at Cafe Aloha, moved to a different show space. At the end of the year in 2002, Kuypers had a novel release show for her first novel, The Key To Believing, which has been donated to Rush Limbaugh, as well as to Oprah Winfrey at Harpo Studios. A copy of The Key To Believing exists in the main libraries of the Ayn Rand Institute as well as the Libertarian Party, and other than the novel release party held 11/23/02, the only media attention this novel received was at this live Chicago show at Cafe Aloha 12/10/02.
While hard bound copies of The Key To Believing are available for sale via the Internet, these pages contain a good place to read highlights of parts of the book — material that was read before a live audience at Cafe Aloha.

The Key To Believing
12/10/02 novel release feature at Cafe Aloha

Based in Seattle, Madison Pharmaceutical’s research team, headed by the prominent researcher Sloane Emerson, developed a new drug that drastically improved the T-Cell count by lengthening the time the viral load was down for AIDS patients. With the drug “Emivir,” the new inhibitor, Madison Pharmaceuticals laid claim to the only drug to date that when taken properly reduced the viral load significantly enough for just over two years. This was an astonishing feat, because then hope was in sight for a cocktail that would eliminate the virus for more than three years, thus forcing any remaining part of the virus to die off and thus eliminating AIDS in the body.
For the first few weeks after the release of Emivir, Sloane, with Kyle, Howard and and the staff, they went to parties in ballrooms of hotels, went to parties at the luxurious homes of both the president and vice-president of the company, to parties in Los Angeles hosted by famous actors, even to parties in mansions of government officials in Washington D.C., where they stayed for the whole weekend.
These parties were just a distraction for Sloane, as it seemed she always worked more than anyone else. But her hard work produced results. After getting the green light to use the company plane for business work, Sloane met with Toby, a colleague who was a University researcher for AIDS drugs. He was getting samples from a rain forest tree in Brazil for studies, but a company just purchased the land where his trees existed and cleared the land. Since trees don’t exist in rain forests in “groves” or “forests,” Toby may have lost his only chance to continue his research for medicines for AIDS. Sloane went to Miami to console him as he drank in misery in a hotel bar in Miami one night during his layover back to their home town of Seattle, but Sloane ended up staying up while he slept - passed out - in a hotel room. She used her laptop computer, hooked up to the Internet, and learned that the company that bought the land Toby was getting samples from was intending to put up orange groves for American concentrate orange juice, which infuriated her that rain forest land was destroyed for more orange trees, but she also found out that this “company” was a government shell company, which made her wonder if the US government was intentionally destroying a chance for finding a cure for AIDS.
Although that thought frightened her, she knew she had the company plane for the rest of that weekend, so she gave a call to a college friend she hadn’t seen in years, Carter Donovan.
Carter was a classmate of hers during her undergraduate studies. They never had a class together; they were friends because her roommate was in a class with Carter and they studied together. When he first met Sloane, he thought she was stuffy and a bookworm. But after the semester was over, he called Sloane once, and asked her if she wanted to grab some coffee. “I like talking to you,” Carter told her, “even when I don’t have your roommate as an excuse to see you. Want to study at the cafŽ?” She would walk over to his dorm room, but instead of going out for coffee, they’d order pizza and drink beer and talk about religion, about how they wanted to live life. From then on they were instant friends.
They didn’t spend a lot of time together, but when they did they avoided the small talk and discussed what interested them in the backs of their minds. All he knew about her work was that she was the head of a research department for a huge Pharmaceuticals company and made great strides for AIDS patients; all she knew about his work was that he was the head of new and heavily-promoted client base for a prominent New York publishing company.
She had a day and a plane, so when she called him he welcomed her to New York, but as soon as they got together, they ended up getting pizza and staying at his high rise and talking about ideas. When Sloane mentioned the trouble Toby had in research and that she discovered on the Internet so many ways to help people stay healthy when they’re sick, Carter asked her if her staff would be interested in working on a book to help AIDS patients with a variety of treatments.
With a book in the works, they then had a reason to see each other, even if they had to fly across the country to do it.
Thinking about formulas for a vaccine and a cure for AIDS patients, she worked hard again when she returned to Seattle. Sending out a few generic e-mails to message boards, she asked people for stories about dealing with AIDS or knowing people with AIDS. She asked what worked for people; she heard stories about diet changes, herbal teas, exercises, acupuncture and acupressure, she heard stories about and finding religion again.
Then she stopped when she read the last e-mail.

Date: Saturday, 1:22 A.M.
Subject: engineered AIDS
I am a government spy. I got AIDS from an agent from another government while on a mission. U.S. government Agents cured me with one injection and three days of bed rest. AIDS was used for the U.S. government’s purposes. The cure was engineered and used. You are looking in all the wrong places to find your answers.

She saved all of the e-mail she received, but she kept thinking back to the letter she received on engineered AIDS. She had no evidence that it was right, there was no proof supporting the claims made in the e-mail.

But she couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Finding out that the e-mail came from a coffee shop’s free account in a small town in Colorado, Sloane found out from the coffee shop that there was no way the sender of the e-mail could be traced. After trying a few generic e-mail survey requests to any and all government agencies in Colorado, she found the man who sent her the e-mail and they agreed to meet in Colorado Springs at a coffee shop.
On the company plane for business to Colorado, the pilot, Jim, started talking to Sloane.

Jim: “Ms. Emerson?”
Sloane: “Please. Sloane.”
Jim: “Okay... You seem tense on this flight. What are you thinking?”
Sloane: “...A lot has been going on. On one hand, I feel afraid for my life. I don’t know why I’m on this plane, I don’t know why I’m having this meeting. I don’t think I’m going to learn anything from this meeting. But if I do, then I’ll be more afraid.”
Jim: “You’re afraid of the truth?”
Sloane felt herself starting to shake. “I’d be afraid if this was the truth.”
Jim: “Would that stop you from looking for it?”
Sloane looked up. She stopped shaking. “No, it wouldn’t. It doesn’t matter what the truth is. As long as I keep looking for it.”
Jim: “I’m sure you’ll find it.”
Sloane: “Thank you, Jim.”
Jim: “Sloane?”
Sloane: “Yes?”
Jim: “What was the other thing?”
Sloane: “What?”
Jim: “You said that on one hand you were thinking about fear and the truth. What else were you thinking about?”
Sloane: “I ... I don’t know if I can put words to it.”
Jim: “You seem confused.”
Sloane: “For once, I feel like I can’t do my work by myself. I’ve never felt that before.”
Jim: “People need people to help them work all the time. You have your whole staff helping you. Hell, I help you by flying this plane.”
Sloane: “I don’t mean that, Jim. I mean on a more fundamental level, I feel like I need someone to talk to. Sometimes I get frustrated, and instead of getting myself out of it, or continuing to work, like I’d usually do, I need to call a friend of mine to make me feel better. Then I can get back to work.”
Jim: “Do you think you can do your work without them helping you out emotionally?”
Sloane: “It’s not merely emotionally, it’s more philosophically.”
Jim: “Either way, you haven’t answered my question.”
Sloane: “Oh, I can work without them helping me out... But a part of me is beginning to wonder if I’d want to.”
Jim: “Well that’s a bold statement.”
Sloane: “What do you mean?”
Jim: “This is just one friend you’re talking about, right?”
Sloane: “What do you mean?”
Jim: “You don’t just call up anyone to talk to, you’re talking about the help of one friend in particular, right?”
Sloane: “Yes, I am, one friend.”
Jim: “If your friend is male, then you sound like you’re in love.”
Sloane stood straight; she noticed she was slouching. “Oh, no. Not at all.”
Jim didn’t say a word. Neither did she.
Sloane: “No, no, I don’t love him. We’re just friends.”
Jim: “Okay.”
Sloane: “No, I mean it.”
Jim: “Fine.”
Sloane: “You don’t believe me.”
Jim: “It shouldn’t matter to you what I believe. What matters is what you believe.”
Sloane: “I believe in things that can be proven.”
Jim: “So when I told you I’d meet you at the airport, you didn’t believe it until you were here and saw me? Then why did you come to the airport at all?”
Sloane: “Okay, I believe in things I have evidence of.”
Jim: “Well, check the facts. Do you love this man?”

Sloane: “I’m not having this conversation.”
Jim: “Why not?”
Sloane looked around. “Because I have enough to worry about today. ... You don’t mind staying at the coffee shop at the other side of the place waiting for me until after this meeting?”

Sitting in the coffee shop alone, her contact found her and she immediately started asking questions.

Sloane: “What is your name?”
Shane: “Shane.”
Sloane: “Who do you work for?”
Shane: “The Department of Defense. And you want to know if the U.S. government engineered HIV.”
Sloane: “They didn’t have the technology. But with the way you’re talking, I want to know if the U.S. government has a cure for AIDS.”
Shane: “I told you they do.”
Sloane: “But you have given me no evidence.”
Shane: “Well, we didn’t produce this disease — not entirely, at least. It was discovered in Africa. A non-fatal disease was found in Africa. It produced fevers, vomiting, the sweats, the shakes, it was a pretty ugly disease, actually, and it did do some damage to the immune system — but it wasn’t fatal. This virus was brought to a restricted area for the Center for Disease Control so they could work on a vaccine for it. One person, however, through an accident in their laboratory work, mutated the virus in such a drastic way that it could never have happened in nature.”
Sloane: “And they created HIV?”
Shane: “Imagine it. One person, trying to save people from an ugly virus, accidentally develops a deadly virus. Oh, the delicious irony.”
Sloane: “Then how did it get out?”
Shane: “The supervisor of the laboratory technician worked for the Department of Defense as well as the CDC. The DOD man quarantined the whole wing of the lab, so it would be destroyed. Of course, they didn’t destroy the virus, you know that.”
Sloane: “Why’d they keep it?”
Shane: “Because of the poor calculations of a few high-end government officials carrying out a secret agenda.”
Sloane: “What was the secret agenda?”
Shane: “A part of it involved the elimination of certain key world figures.”
Sloane: “How were they going to infect people?”
Shane: “You mean how did they infect people? Certain leaders of the drug cartel were eliminated when we switched needles at parties. Certain military officials in the Soviet Union and Europe were eliminated when we hired prostitutes at parties. You know, it looked like it was all in good fun. They got to these people by sharing their drugs and their women with them. But it was never meant to affect the general public.”
Sloane: “...And the latency of HIV caused the problem.”
Shane: “Yes, our enemies could then isolate the virus as well. At this point the Soviets were using it as a weapon as well. That’s when I came in.”
Sloane: “What were you supposed to do?”
Shane: “I was supposed to get it back.”
Sloane: “That would have been impossible.”
Shane: “This was the first year of the disease, they didn’t know trying to keep it would be impossible. And while I was on a mission, the Soviets kidnapped me. I was drugged so I was unconscious. When I came to I was in Germany. I was in a hotel room; I was sweating; my clothes were torn. I found out that I had been unconscious for almost four days. When the doctors in the States checked me out, they noticed that I had two injection marks. The Soviets gave me AIDS. To spite us”
Sloane: “You said the U.S. government had a cure though.”
Shane: “After they got food into me, they brought me to a research center at the DOD and they locked me in a room and gave me a bed and an I.V. and a single injection and left me there for three days. I was tired, from the drugs, so I was out those three days. But after that, I was clear of AIDS and HIV. I was fine.”

Assuming he was given glucose in his I.V., she tried to make the rest of the puzzle come together. “But you didn’t know that you were actually infected with the virus in the first place. You didn’t even get tested.”
Shane: “...Tested?”
Sloane: “It wouldn’t have shown up on tests for another six months to a year.”
Shane: “They found traces of the virus — dead — in my dermis and epidermis, where I was injected. They knew what had happened.”

Sloane: “But how did they come up with a cure?”
Shane: “They did it when they found the disease in the first place. They knew what created the virus. They then made a cure for it, while they still had a pure form of the virus isolated. Since it has mutated, not one sample of the original virus has even been collected.”
Sloane: “But then the cure wouldn’t work for the mutations.”
Shane: “The cure works at the base of the virus, so it works on all mutations as well.”
Sloane: ... “Why don’t they release the cure?”
Shane: “That would show that we’ve had it all along.”

Shane handed her records, that list where the DOD found the HIV virus on Shane’s skin, and the procedure they used, and that Shane was cleared of the virus. He also gave her a piece of paper with a hotel name and address in Germany to verify that he was found there. The name on the credit card that paid for his hotel was a Soviet name, of a man who died just after Shane got into the hotel.
He didn’t have the cure or the original virus contained for her, but he was giving her a starting point.

Sloane: “You can’t get the cure, even though you’ve worked with the CIA and currently work for the DOD, and by the way, you haven’t even shown me any identification yet, and you expect me to be able to get the cure without any credentials whatsoever?”
Shane: “They don’t want me going around sharing my secret. I’d be considered crazy if I tried to get this story out. If I try to do it, they’ll know it’s me. I’ll be dead in no time. We didn’t know what we were dealing with in the beginning. Our scientists didn’t even know what was going on. I also knew that if anyone could work with this information, it would be you.”
Sloane: “Why me?”
Shane: “Because you want a cure more than anyone. Because you need to know that the government can’t do this to its people. ... And because your research will be the next thing affected by the government.”
Sloane: “What does that mean?”
Shane: “The government will do more to make AIDS research extremely difficult.”
Sloane: “So they’re going to try to stop my research next, that’s what you’re trying to tell me? But there is no incentive that the government could possibly give me to make me stop my work.”
Shane: “Oh, they won’t be offering you incentives. They’ll use force.”

Toby popped into her mind, with everything happening to him. Then she thought about Tyler from the PR Department and the lobbyists trying to take from her. Seeing another contact name in the folder, Shame said one more thing before he got up to leave.

Shane: “I need to leave now. Try to act natural. Someone is watching us.”

Trying to find someone that was watching her, someone, anyone, she looked around the room; she spotted Jim on the other side of the room, then she spotted a man looking in the window from outside wearing a dark suit.
Carter came to Seattle to help with the book completion for Sloane’s department, and Sloane also had to deal with a government agency coming to ask her questions and a press conference to appease her PR department. Thinking about the words Shane said to her, that her work would be stopped by the government next, she pulled out all the stops to save her work. As more people arrived to work that morning, Sloane told them:

“A few people from the U.S. Scientific Research Advancement Department are coming to talk to me. They’re planning to come in the lab. I have no reason to expect them to snoop around the lab. But if they do, I want everyone to be as cordial as you can, all without letting them know a single thing. If you have heard what they’re implying, I’m sure we’ve all heard it, so you know that they’re implying that they were working on this research before us. Their effort to see our research is a thinly-veiled cover-up to get the information for themselves so they can doctor the dates and make it look like we in fact stole the information from them. The thing is, they haven’t shown anyone that they have had this research, not in medical journals — not even in press releases. I’m still not comfortable with them snooping around here, and I think they’re going to try to get data from us. ”
Associate: “Ms. Emerson, the servers have dated the time our research was done, so our dates on our work should be fine now.”
“That’s a good sign, but I worry about the materials that are out that we’ve been working on right now. I’ve locked away pretty much all of our current non-recorded notes and paperwork into cabinets, and I’m going to get a systems administrator to help Julie work on eliminating our additional computer files and putting them onto storable portable medium disks this morning before anyone arrives.”

Just before government officials arrived to look over their offices, Sloane was called into a meeting with Colin Madison, the C.E.O. of Madison Pharmaceuticals. She stood in his office fuming, because she knew he only pulled her away from her lab so she couldn’t start a fight with Government officials.
By the end of the day Sloane told Carter she’d meet him at his hotel to talk about how the press conference went; then she left with Tyler from the PR Department for her press conference. She figured that if she was needed for press conferences, and if the Government was going to stop her from doing her work, she’d make sure people knew the truth.
Tyler: “Before taking questions, Sloane Emerson wanted to tell you about research done. Ladies and Gentlemen, Ms. Sloane emerson.”

Sloane: “Hello. I come to you here today to tell you two things.
“First, I come here today as a scientist to tell you about the work my staff has done. Since the release of Emivir we have worked on not only trying to improve the effectiveness of Emivir but to also come up with an integrase inhibitor — a third drug to be used in AIDS cocktails to deal yet a more severe blow to the HIV virus in the human body. Because we had been working on ways to alter natural cells with Emivir, we are using previous tests and samples to come up with an effective integrase inhibitor as well.
“But I think that has already been reported on. So we have also been looking into additional methods of helping the body fight AIDS — more natural ways. That may sound like something a drug company wouldn’t promote, if it is something they can’t directly make money from, but coupling good habits with a good drug cocktail would help patients even more than taking the drugs alone. We have researched everything from exercise and weight lifting to yoga and meditation, along with vitamin supplements and diet changes. We have been compiling this data for a book, which should be printed in the next few months to help people fight this battle from every aspect they can. Half of the battle sometimes is being able to do something when you’ve got AIDS, to take control. Combining these things can improve their chances of a healthier, longer life.
“But more than all of that, I come here today to talk to you as an American. You see, that is something I’m proud to say, because this is currently the greatest country in the world. I’ve believed that all of my life. It was this country that laid the groundwork for property rights. It was the idea of owning what you earn that gave people the incentive to produce and excel, and vastly improve our standard of living — for all people, all over the world, not just for the creators and producers. It was our Founding Fathers that said that they wanted a fair and just government, ruled by the people, for the people.
“That is why this is my favorite country in the whole world. Because I love my work. I love doing the research I do. I like using my mind, making something that people need and want. This is the country that lets me work, knowing that it is mine, and that I earned it.
“My staff has worked insanely long hours to accomplish what we have, and they are to be commended for it. We’ll all continue to work like this, because this is what drives us. And we didn’t do it for money, we didn’t even do it for the idea of the ‘public good,’ although I have to admit, the work is that much more rewarding because people see that it is so needed. But the reason why we put in the long hours, the reason why we do this very difficult work, day in and day out, is because it’s who we are. It’s because we love the idea of doing something, making something, and having it be ours. Every reporter here in this room, every photographer, every cameraman, has to admit that they like the work, but they like their work, they like seeing their byline, not just because it gives them money or fame but because it is their name on their work. You deserve credit for the work you do. Every person out there, from the man at the car assembly line who checks the bolt for the left door hinge of the sedan model on the line to the real estate woman who sees her name on the sign in front of the house that she had just sold. To everyone out there. To everyone out there who loves their work. We like to see a job well done, and we like to know we did it.
“This is why plagiarism is illegal. This is why theft is illegal. Because in this country, you have a right to what you produce.

“Recently press releases from the U.S. Scientific Research Advancement Department have noted that Madison Pharmaceuticals, and my staff, have been working on our integrase inhibitors at the same time as they had been working on theirs. This is very possible, though I have noted from reading journals and press releases in the past months that nothing of their findings has even been acknowledged by any book, magazine, or paper.
“The recent government press releases, however, have implied that their work had been too similar to ours to be a coincidence. And to this I ask them to show me proof.
“The press releases from the U.S. Scientific Research Advancement Department state that they had been working on an integrase inhibitor for nearly a year, yet they have published no research reports in any medical or scientific journal. It may be possible that they did not publish anything about their research in the journals; but there was never even a mention of it in their almost daily press releases to the media in the past year as well.
“This concerns me, because they seem to imply that they have a problem with our research without showing us that they have even done any research in the same field in the first place.
“Neither I nor Madison Pharmaceuticals have spoken with anyone from the U.S. Scientific Research Advancement Department, even though they claimed to have talked to people at Madison in one of their recent press releases. Apparently they visited my laboratory today, attempting to open cabinets and ask questions about our research with no reason.
“This type of behavior from our government, our government, is not something that should be tolerated. This is supposed to be a government for the people, by the people.
“If the government has concern about whether or not someone’s work coincided with theirs, I believe they have to first prove that they were doing the work in question. If not, then there is an unacceptable amount of government intervention in the private market.
“Madison Pharmaceuticals has repeatedly done an excellent job at creating a good, reliable product for people — the fact that our product sells proves it. We want to continue to do our work. We want to continue to create better and better medicines for patients who need them. We want to continue to fill an urgent medical need. And we want to continue to work, knowing that no one will stop us from doing our best.
“That is supposed to be the American Way. This is my way. This is your way. This is the way of everyone who has pride in their work. This is the way of every person in this room who likes to see their name next to their story.
“Because our love of knowing that we did the work is one of the things that makes us want to continue working. It is our love of having the right to what we produce and what we earn.
“A number of private companies have been working on integrase inhibitors over the past year and a half. And unlike the U.S. Scientific Research Advancement Department, the progress of private institutions is documented in press releases, news articles, medical journals and press conferences like this one. And no one from any private organization has complained that our work was too similar to theirs; not one private organization has asked to see our offices and expected us to comply. Only the government has the power to do this, if we choose to give it to them.
“Our government exists to protect us from the force of others. But who protects us from the force of a government gone out of control?
“There is no one to stop them but us. If we care about keeping what we produce and what we earn, then we are the ones that have to stand up for our rights.
“I choose to not give our government that much power. The more power you give someone who doesn’t deserve it, the more they will try to take.
“I choose to continue doing my work, because it is mine. I speak for my staff when I say that this is our work, and we will not give it away to someone who hasn’t earned it, simply because they make a claim with no evidence to back it up.
“I choose to let the government be accountable for what it does. I choose to not take orders from a government agency unless there is a reason I should. Without evidence that their claims are true, there is no reason why we should answer to the U.S. Scientific Research Advancement Department.”
Not believing she read without interjection, Sloane stepped away from the microphone; she then leaned forward again. “Thank you.”

Carter sat on the edge of his bed in his hotel room watching the evening news. He had a bottle of champagne chilling in an ice bucket on the dresser with two glasses. He intently watched the news; listening to highlights from her press conference.
“Our government exists to protect us from the force of others. But who protects us from the force of a government gone out of control? “

He changed the channel and listened to the next news station.

“Without evidence that their claims are true, there is no reason why we should answer to the U.S. Scientific Research Advancement Department.”
Carter laid down on the edge of his bed and started openly laughing with delight at the news coverage until he heard a knock on his door. He sprung up from his bed and ran to the door and opened it. Sloane stood in his doorway.
“Well?” She said as Carter looked at her.
Carter stepped out into the hallway, wrapped his arms around her waist, picked her up and started spinning in the hallway. Sloane laughed and screamed.
“What are you doing? Put me down!” Carter laughed with Sloane and carried her into his hotel room. “What was that for?” Sloane asked as she got down and closed the hotel door.
“You know I just want to give you a big kiss right now...”
“Because my darling, it was fantastic! The news is all over it, showing highlights on all the news stations.”
“They didn’t even ask me a single question, Carter. You know how they usually badger you with questions after your statement?”
“The reporters just waited for a moment, then applauded. So I just smiled and left.”
“They applauded? News reporters?”
“You’d think it was a speech to a graduating class, not a press conference.”
“Well, angel, we’ll have to celebrate.”
Three thoughts were racing through her mind: one was that she had finished a fantastic speech, and another was that the government will hate her now because of it, and the third was that Carter just said he wanted to kiss her. She tried to block kissing Carter out of her head, because he said it was to celebrate, even though she watched him opening a bottle of champagne for them.
“I didn’t even speak to Tyler. I just walked right out. He’ll be furious.”
“Sloane, he’s going to have to love you. Everyone is raving about what you said, and everyone that hears the sound bites on the news will be on your side. It was perfect. Here’s your champagne —”
“...Is that music?”
“Yeah, you can choose music through the hotel, so I set music stations... and I love this song...”
“What is it?”
“‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.’ You’ve never heard it?”
“I don’t know.”
“It’s a very ... I don’t know ... it’s a sweet song.” He wanted to say romantic, but something told him not to. He handed her a glass of champagne.
“And here’s to standing up for what you believe in.”
“Here’s to getting the vaccine to work. Here’s to getting the proof I need.”
“Do you believe you can do it?”
“If I continue working like this, I think I may.”
“Well, then... (pause) Your strength and your drive — that’s the key to believing, isn’t it?”

live at Cafe Aloha

About the Author

Janet Kuypers has a Communications degree in News/Editorial Journalism (starting in computer science engineering studies) from the UIUC. She had the equivalent of a minor in photography and specialized in creative writing. A portrait photographer for years in the early 1990s, she was also an acquaintance rape workshop facilitator, and she started her publishing career as an editor of two literary magazines. Later she was an art director, webmaster and photographer for a few magazines for a publishing company in Chicago.
She sang with acoustic bands Mom’s Favorite Vase, Weeds and Flowers and , and does music sampling. Kuypers is published in books, magazines and on the internet around 9,300 times for writing, and over 17,800 times for art work in her professional career, and has been profiled in such magazines as Nation and Discover U. She has also been highlighted on radio stations, including WEFT (90.1FM), WZRD (88.3FM), WLS (8900AM), the internet radio stations,’s Poetry World Radio and Scars Internet Radio (SIR), and was even shortly on Q101 FM radio. She has also appeared on television for poetry in Nashville and Chicago, and was interviewed on her art work on Urbana’s WCIA channel 3 10 o’clock news.
She turned her writing into performance art on her own and with musical groups like
Pointless Orchestra, 5D/5D and Order From Chaos, and starting in 2005 Kuypers ran a monthly iPodCast of her work, as well as an Internet radio station (JK Radio). She has performed spoken word and music across the country - in the spring of 1998 she embarked on her first national poetry tour, with featured performances, among other venues, at the Albuquerque Spoken Word Festival during the National Poetry Slam; her bands have had concerts in Chicago and in Alaska; in 2003 she hosted and performed at a weekly poetry and music open mic (called Sing Your Life), and from 2002 through 2005 was a featured performance artist, doing quarterly performance art shows with readings, music and images.
In addition to being published with Bernadette Miller in the short story collection book Domestic Blisters, as well as in a book of poetry turned to prose with Eric Bonholtzer in the book Duality, Kuypers has had many books of her own published: Hope Chest in the Attic, The Window, Close Cover Before Striking, (woman.), Autumn Reason, the Average Guy’s Guide (to Feminism), Contents Under Pressure, etc., and eventually The Key To Believing, Changing Gears, The Other Side, The Boss Lady’s Editorials, The Boss Lady’s Editorials (2005 Expanded Edition), Seeing Things Differently, Change/Rearrange, Death Comes in Threes, Masterful Performances, and Six Eleven. Three collection books were also published of her work in 2004, Oeuvre (poetry), Exaro Versus (prose) and L’arte (art).

live at Cafe Aloha


Adobe Garamond is used for the body copy of this book, and Choc IGC is used for the titles in this book. Subheads of any sections of writings in this book are in Nueva Bold Extended, Trajan Bold was used for the bullets on the “Previously Published” page, and Zapf Dingbats was used for the scissoron the “For Sale” page. “Janet Big Cheese” (a created font) is used on the copyright page for the icon of the man holding up with weight. Quark XPress v6.5 and Adobe Photoshop 7.0 were used for designing images and layout out this book. The front covs er coffee beans and background cover images are stock photos, but the coffee cup on the front cover was photographed in Shanghai, China (03/04). The coffee cup at the top of the back cover was photographed 03/05 in Chicago at the Cafe. The two coffee mugs at the bottom center of the back cover were designed for the novel The Key To Believing; the stainless steel mug is not available for sale. The film strip images on the back cover are of: the Las Vegas skyline, the Washington Monument, a stack of books, an airplane’s propeller in Naples Florida, a temperate rain forest in Washington state, a photo of Kuypers with both hands covering her face, another airplane in Naples Florida, a , a view near Caesar’s in Las Vegas, and Pat hosting a speech at a women’s rights rally in Champaign Illinois. The author photo at the bottom of the back cover and on the “About the Author” page was photographed in Chicago.