“The Wormhole” by Peggy Knutson
By Peggy Knutson
I’ve been in a funk lately. Some people seem to think I’m merely a figment of a
social media site. Some people think I’m just a joke. Let me be clear, I am neither a
figment nor a joke.
My name is Harrison J. Bounel and I share the Social Security Number of one of
the most powerful men in the world, whom I shall refer to only as “The Other One”. I
am, however, a mystery, an enigma, a ghost. Who is the man behind this mask? Who am
I and where did I come from? What are my secrets? Those are the things I deliberately
I will, however, tell you the truth. I promise I will. But let me warn you, I lie. But
not every word is a lie. It will be like walking through a minefield. Or like catching a
butterfly without crushing it. Or like herding cats. All at the same time.
This is the Truth. The world is made up of two kinds of people. The people who
are real and who are powerful. And the people who aren’t. The people who exist and
those who don’t. The Other One never intended to be one of the latter. What he has done
best in life is manipulate the wormhole between the two.
The wormhole. Even now I hear you snickering at my use of the word
“wormhole”. I hear you whispering the names of The Other One’s alleged lovers, past
and present. Remember, the wormhole is a means to an ends and the ends justify the
means. If you happen to find it enjoyable, so much the merrier.
The wormhole is man’s country, populated with men who, in exchange for the attentions of an exotic
young man, will fill your pockets with money and your head with ideas. These men will lubricate the
wormhole and allow you to escape the Black Hole of those-who-do-not-exist and
penetrate the White Hole of Those Who Exist. And once you have turned the heads of
Those Who Exist, the worm is turned. You can twist the wormhole to your own
I, Harrison J. Bounel, was spawned from the wormhole.
I’m sure that sounds very philosophical, but believe me, it is actually very
practical. It’s really as down-to-earth as Chicago-style dirty tricks, political payoffs, and
ordinary blackmail. Only The Other One had much grander plans than Chicago City Hall.
But the incestuous cesspool of Chicago was a good place to start.
Not for the first time or the last, The Other One had need of a scrubbed and rescrubbed
identity in Chicago. You ask when I was spawned? Was it after he arrived in
Chicago for the first time or was it prior to diving into that cesspool? Did The Other One
need a “clean” Social Security Number when he applied to Harvard Law, or was being
classified a “foreign” student still to his advantage? Did he need to invent transcripts
from Columbia? Perhaps, you say, The Other One needed an American identity to apply
for the Illinois Bar or for his run for the Illinois State Senate. If I tell you the exact
moment of my creation, would you believe me? Does it matter? Chicago has a way of
convoluting the wormhole.
The Other One arrived in Chicago in 1985 after living in New York City for four
years. He became a “community organizer” for the Developing Communities Project
funded by the Woods Fund. The Woods Fund was founded by the Woods family which
owned the Sahara Coal Company, a major supplier of coal to major Illinois power
was Thomas Ayers, father of Bill Ayers.
(I see you are rereading that last paragraph, your lips are moving. A coal company
and an electric company were his benefactors? But doesn’t The Other One seek to
destroy coal companies and electric companies? Ah, such is the nature of the wormhole.)
Bill Ayers, 1960’s radical bomber, former fugitive, and son of billionaire Thomas
Ayers, returned to his home in Chicago after surfacing from the underground in 1981 and
attending colleges in New York City, including Columbia, until 1987. In 1987, he
established the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools. also funded by the Woods Fund. The
Other One worked closely with Ayers’ new organization before leaving Chicago to go to
Harvard Law School in 1989.
(Had I been spawned yet? Had a man with years of experience living underground
as a fugitive help spawn me? Had one fellow traveler aided another? At what point did
their paths first cross? So much is lost in the labyrinth of the wormhole.)
When The Other One returned to Chicago in 1991, he was hired by Sidley Austin
Law Firm. Sidley Austin, a consulting firm for Thomas Ayers and Commonwealth
Edison, also employed Bernardine Dorhn, 1960’s radical and wife of Bill Ayers, Valerie
Jarrett, and Michelle Robinson. Valerie Jarrett left to work for Daley’s City Hall and
brought Michelle Robinson with her. (That is a wormhole for a different day.)
By 1995, The Other One had became politically active in Chicago. He was taken
under the wing of Alice Palmer, black activist, communist sympathizer, and Illinois State
Senator. The 1960’s radicals, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dorhn, now scrubbed and clean,
upstanding, but non-repentant, members of the community, held a political “coming-out”
party for The Other One in their home.
(Oh, the questions that arise. How much did the former radicals actually help The
Other One? Did they see in him a kindred spirit or a blank slate or a means to their own
ends? Did Bill Ayers write the book which catapulted The Other One’s career, intending
to advance his own causes? Who was spinning whom? Did the worm turn? Ah, more
Alice Palmer designated The Other One as the heir apparent for her state senate
seat and he entered the race. When Alice Palmer lost her bid for a U. S. congressional
seat against Jesse Jackson, Jr., she asked The Other One to withdraw from the race for
her former senate seat. He refused. She filed to run anyway. The Other One challenged
her petition and had her eliminated from the ballot. (Such is nature of the wormhole. The
ends always justify the means.)
In 2004, The Other One was anxious to rise to a national platform. (Or were the
lubricators of the wormhole getting impatient? It is hard to tell the difference. Such is the
nature of the wormhole.) He ran for U. S. Senate against Jack Ryan. Strangely,
previously sealed court records detailing Ryan’s messy divorce were made public. Ryan
withdrew from the race and a last minute challenger, Alan Keyes, was soundly defeated
by The Other One. The rest, as they say, is history.
(So, why was I necessary? When and why was I created? What secrets are hidden
by my identity? What are the ambitions and aspirations of The Other One that they must
Let me return to the metaphor of White Holes and Black Holes. In the cosmos, a
White Hole is a region of spacetime which cannot be entered from the outside, but from
which light may escape. It is the reverse of a Black Hole which sucks in everything in its
proximity, but from which nothing, including light, can escape. Only a wormhole can
provide escape from a Black Hole and entrance to a White Hole.
As the spawn of the wormhole, one who can see the Black Hole of those-who-donot-
exist and the White Hole of Those Who Exist, I can tell you our goal is to banish as
many as possible from the state of free matter and energy to the inescapable Black Hole
from which they can only behold the brightness of the White Hole and believe that it
shines for them. We seek to enlarge the Black Hole so those who have been hovering at
the cusp of the abyss disappear into its nothingness. We extol “sharing and fairness”,
twisting the definitions of “share” and “fair” to our own terms. The White Hole must
share its light so that the Black Hole may have light. And we seek to have those in the
Black Hole blame those in the White Hole for their darkness. We seek to pit those-whodo-
not-exist against Those Who Exist.
If The Other One has appeared detached or bored, it is only because he cannot
reveal his true face yet and must wear a mask. He cannot revel in his accomplishments
yet. (Such is the nature of the wormhole.)
And I, Harrison J. Bounel, simply play the buffoon to distract you. So, I ask you
now, do you still think I am merely a figment or a joke?