In Security Magazine, there is a study done by "The Privacy Group" alleging that an extraordinary number of firms that make and export arms, chemical weapons and military hardware are also major exporters of surveillance technology. Fascinating!

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised—of course people who are into security tend to have a militia-ish edge. It's the same reason necrophiliacs become morticians or pedophiles become PE teachers. You just gravitate. Isn't it a great world?

Still, despite the high level of paranoia and extreme cheese, I had yet to be really impressed. Then, I swear, a blond suited guy leaned in and said, "You here for the Smokecloak feel?"

If you don't trust any other method of security presented at the convention, the people at Smokecloak have a product for you. If someone breaks into your abode, you can rig a machine that will quickly emit a vapor that reduces visibility practically to zero. And the demonstration was just about to begin!

"You should sit up front so we can get you out,"Talk! the Smokecloak rep said to me, a Sri Lankan businessman, and, of all people, Ty. He told us how two machines can fill a 1500 square foot room with impossible fog. It is a water and glycol mixture. "Is it like that like fake smoke substance in clubs that like faintly smells like cotton candy?" I ask. "Yes, but a purer version," the rep said, as if he's been asked this every day.

"Let's go!" he says and turns on the machine, which hisses like a pent-up humidifier. The room quickly begins to fill up with a thick smoke. Ty says, "That's while!" (wild in an Alabama accent). I can't see more than five feet in front of me. The salesman disappears into the smoke. "So as you can see, or not see, you can't see anything!"

"Follow my voice," he says from somewhere off to the right, "I'm here, hello. Hello." Following the voice down the aisle of empty seats, I am floating in the Smokecloak feel—Safe, secure, blind, Ty by my side.

I leave the Expo smelling of Smokecloak, walking out onto 34th street by myself like I'd been at a club all night. The lonely end-of-the-party jolt is exaggerated by a K-Hole of paranoia. I am hyperconscious—checking every clock for hidden cameras, every mirror for two-way observers. I will never feel alone again.   </end>

Photos by Larry Shea

MIKE ALBO is a writer/performer and frequent contributor to STIM. His last article, Witchcraft for Fun and Profit, appeared in issue 6.2. He lives in Brooklyn.