I’m lost, and that’s okay.

This is the kind of chill I only experienced a few times in my life, travelling in winter. Stepping into the snow for the first time sent my skin into a frenzy– I had never known such a feeling.

Now the mornings are just as absent of the warmth I am used to. Walking down the street earlier, every shadowed area was covered in a thick frost. My breath came out of me in a fog. I’m not used to any of it, but it’s perfect. While everyone else curses and bundles up, I rush outside every morning to catch the freeze before the sun comes. I watch the rise over the mountains, see the reflection off the ocean.

“You must hate this, Florida is so beautiful!”

No. No, this is perfect. This is good.

I tell myself this every morning I wake up, or every night I can’t sleep. This is good. You need this. I pass out in a flurry of nightmares and tell myself, no, this is good. I watch people go about their days and lives, and constantly I tell myself. Every day.

It’s a funny thing that happens to you, when your brain has been so improperly wired for so long. You start to believe you are not just depressed, or anxious. You’re just like this, and that’s all there is to it. You’re not broken– you’re fine. It’s what you’re made for. It helps you create art, or words, or keep a distance from others… which keeps you safe. You’re impenetrable except from yourself.

I tried medication, years ago. Multiple kinds, various strengths. It all ended in public breakdowns, mental breakdowns, and a complete loss of identity. I tried to write and came up blank. I stared at nothing and debated the best way to throw myself from my bedroom window. My more recent attempt (many years ago, still) ended with me running from my home and job to live in the woods. I only came to my senses after nearly dying from the withdrawals after realizing I had to quit. (Never take Effexor, kids.)

Now, where am I? Across a country, exploring a world I’ve never known, trying not to let my one asset and curse get taken from me. Fucking brain has yet again turned on me, hasn’t it? Much more sinister fashion this time.

But I’m lost. And I’ve always been lost. All those days spent among friends, be it at my lover Undergrounds, or in Miami, or the streets of Fort Lauderdale… I was never there. You saw me, you spoke to me, you engaged me in various ways. But I wasn’t fucking there. Back, far away where you can’t reach, is that damn voice.

This is wrong. Why are you out here? What did she just say? I don’t feel well. Why am I angry? What the fuck am I doing here?

I’ve let people down by simply not showing up. I’ve stopped responding to calls or messages at various times in my life, only to pop back up out of nowhere. There’s no excuse for that, really — I’m a bad friend. I am, really. I don’t mean to be, and I’ve tried very hard not to. But in the end, I’m gone. I’ve up and left the state, the city, and my usual haunts without a moment’s notice. Turned down friends, missed birthdays.

I am a bad friend, and an even worse person when it comes to self-preservation. I am fully aware of this. But somehow, there are a few people that stick by my side no matter what I do. I never set out to hurt anyone, and I’d never purposefully upset anyone without cause. Maybe they see that. I will never know, because frankly, I’m afraid to even ask why the fuck anyone puts up with it.

Lately, I’ve seen some people I know admit to their problems and take control. I’m so proud of them, I really am.

I can’t do it. 

I’ve seen what happens to me when I try to “fix” things. Therapy. Medication. Special schools. My last meeting with a psychiatrist included these words from her mouth: “Why are you still alive?”

why are you still alive. 

1455326-two_thumbs_up

I went to med school to say retarded shit.

God, those words hung in the air over my head and crashed through me. Why? A therapist asking me why? I thought about all the things I had told her– I let it all out that day– and fuck, that’s what she gathered? Not long after came the press devouring the whole “depression is bad, mkay” debate that followed the death of Robin Williams, as if people didn’t notice it was bad before, and I got bitter. Really bitter. Suddenly everyone was an expert on how it felt to be that low, and “why don’t people just get over it?” flew out of the mouths of the masses.

I don’t know where I’m headed. All I can do is move around, have momentary encounters with people, and poof away into some weird little world where I only process music and words on a screen that come out of me in no real order.

I’d like to say I will make an attempt to fix myself. That nobody ever needs to worry about me, and I’ll take some pills and end up just fine.

I won’t. I won’t do it again, because this is what I do. It’s not some sad thing, it’s not defeatist. If I can’t make things, I’m unhappy. Not everyone loses that on medication. I hope everyone that tries to get help finds solace, and can end up better. For some people it’s amazingly helpful, but it isn’t for me. I’d rather be an asshole that forgets to hang out, an asshole that skips town, an asshole with a rotting brain and an uncertain future than what all those pills did to me. But it’s okay.

You can take this as some self-defeating, anti-whatever rant. Maybe it is, maybe it’s just me realizing my only hope is to exist as I see fit. I’m not a great writer, I’m not the best artist, but dammit it gives me purpose. I refuse to lose that.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep riding buses, going nowhere, and writing about it. ‘Cause that’s who I am, and what I do.  I’m sorry.

The best mistake I’ve made in years.

I suppose it was inevitable that I’d eventually come right out and pull a dick move on myself. I’m really good at them, and I know so many ways to piss myself off.

A few nights ago I made what seemed to be a very wise decision.

I was to quit writing and focus on what seemed far more important at the time– everything else. I am not even entirely sure what that meant, and how I could refocus creative energy outside of what I am doing now. I was getting to the point where I wanted to free my mind of the constant need to commit things to paper or text.

At least the fire was pretty.

This was the result:  My firepit filled with every notebook I could find, every scribble of a story, and all the writing from probably the last three years. A mistake? I thought so, at first. Now, I think it was probably the best thing I could have done for myself.

In those books sat a lot of awful things I thought about far too often. I filled them with great ideas, yes, but sometimes it was just a venting spot for all the stuff I could never find myself getting over.

Now, they’re gone. I intended to stop writing, ended up feeling more of a desire to do so, and removed unneeded stress from myself all at once. When I realized that I had done something I needed to do unintentionally, I was relieved. I spent perhaps only an hour upset with the loss. I don’t regret anything.

So, like most people, I found something different to do with myself this year. Instead of the usual ideas of quitting smoking or eating less, I’ll write more. I will stop keeping myself away from the situations I should be in in order to get it done properly. Needing to go out and find inspiration isn’t as dangerous to my lifestyle as I originally thought. There is so much I feel a need to say and do that denying it would be very cruel to myself. I have no right to do that to myself.

Just as much as I would hate it if someone held me back, why should I do it? I thought I was acting out of self-preservation in the burning of what seemed like an unhealthy desire. Losing something is a great way to learn the difference between a need and a want. I don’t want to write like I need to write. Not for anyone else, not for some weird desire to be seen around the world for some book I’ll never write.

Nah. It’s just there, sitting in my mind, ruling over me. I can’t quiet it, and I shouldn’t have a desire to.

All of those little overlooked details belong to me for tomorrow’s writing. Every conversation I hear becomes part of me. I watch people interact and find a source for something new in it. Everyone is my muse, and I refuse to let that die off.

It would be too much to try and silence my own mind. I’d probably go mad (more than I already am?)

I’ve run out of excuses.

I even broke my own supposed end of writing mere hours after the fact, and this was the result of it.

 

It’s 5am. The 30th. Very close to New Year’s Eve. I’ve just come out of a cluster headache haze, making it the perfect time to sit and think.

I burned the notebooks yesterday. I had a plan, then.

I was told by someone once that you may have to pretend you never wrote before to learn how to do it all over again. I had no intention of writing again, though– which lasted less than 24 hours– since I was hit with a barrage of “WHAT THE FUCK MORON NO” messages from all sides.

Alright, I get it. I was an idiot.

It occurred to me that, despite my best interests, I can’t stop. My mind was writing for me the moment I decided I had to quit. I realized why a bit after: I am useless otherwise. Extremely.

Not in that I can’t work or breathe or walk or shit.

I can certainly keep those things going.

Especially shitting.

Yes.

I’m not myself without it. I don’t care if it doesn’t always make sense, or if my sentence structure doesn’t fit perfectly, or even if the subject matter is nothing anyone cares to read. I do, and that’s why I started in the first place. It is as much a part of me as thinking. I felt liberated at the idea of stopping, but I quickly realized that liberation fed straight to a void.

My ultimate partner in all things writing is gone. His creator is, too. Yet still he pesters me relentlessly, just as he used to between 2 and 5 am when neither of us could sleep. We passed the time playing Wordscraper and bullshitting, often just needing to vent. It would turn to writing on a regular basis, as that was his sort of thing.

All the little trivial things I tried to ignore– nope, parts of a story. He’d insist.

It’s his fault I can’t stop. I can truly blame him for getting me out of a rut where I refused to believe my writing was going to do anything for me. He is at fault for being the ultimate mentor and even the occasional muse. He is the reason I am a ruined person– in the best possible ways. It took having it utterly beaten into me for the truth of it to sink in.

I blame him, and it’s wonderful.

He’s gone, but not really. It’s like a replaying audio file stuck in my head.

“You’re a writer, so act like it.”

“I bet I have more empty notebooks than you.”

The list goes on, because he could talk. A lot, and then some.

I spent nights proofreading. Debating. Cursing. Not my own things, but his. I helped to go over student papers when he felt like his mind had exploded. Thinking on all of this made me go over other memories, mostly recent ones.

I realized something.

This year brought forth so many odd turns and alterations, things falling apart and perfectly falling into place.

I aided some in betterment, probably led a few to damnation.

I managed to marry someone terribly beautiful and intelligent.

I traveled up the country to see the most amazing people in the world.

I stuck by my morals and self-preservation abilities to a fault.

I watched as people suffered, wishing I could do more.

I lost and won and failed and got my ass back up again.

All of this caused by pointless decisions of mine or others that didn’t matter at the time.

Every. Single. Little. Damn. Thing.

All of the life events you wish didn’t happen, wish could happen again, wish for them to disappear– they happened. If not to me, to someone close enough that I could feel it. Experience it by proxy.

Oddly enough, I can trace so much of it back to a few (seemingly) small decisions I made along the way.

Seeing how those events intertwine and undulate along through time to create where we are now astounds me.

I am not the kind to pray, but I pray to never lose my memory, so that I can always recall how I shape my own world through every single step. I watch people enough to see how they got there, too.

In the last few years, a five minute decision to take a weekend trip gave me a husband.

One poor choice of food landed me in the hospital in time to walk out hours before my friend never did.

One conversation cost me a friendship, and they still don’t know it.

One thought caused me to question everything I know, but especially what I don’t know, reshaping my mind.

One person moving across the country gave me peace.

One person moving across the country destroyed my peace.

One idea became a life goal.

Deciding to talk to someone I always intended to but never had the chance to led me into cultivating a relationship for them.

One person I’ve met but once changed how I view myself completely.

All the small, supposedly benign things that people overlook are more important than we give them credit for.

That stupid thing I said could come back in five years. Ten.

One false move, or one wise move, can make or break everything.

2012 is rapidly approaching me. Us. Everyone.

I decided I can:

Consider those steps. Rationalize them. Forget rationality, throw it away. Do what feels good. Rationalize them again.

Agonize over it, every single thing. Every detail. Feel miserable. Get emotional. Never do anything.

or.

Know that each and every minute detail makes a difference at some point. From the food you eat now to where you go to buy that shirt, it can do something to you. For you… or maybe even against you. Think, but don’t stop.

Never stop. When life becomes to terrifying to try something new, it’s lost the magic. Bad things happen, and always will. You can’t know what they’ll be until you get there.

Don’t let the horrible things fool you. There’s a fine chance that the risk you’re afraid to take might be the best thing you’ve ever done. Maybe it’s the worst for a while. It doesn’t matter. It all leads somewhere, and that place is filled with options. Even the threat of death.

It’s cold out here, so early. Quiet. In my head I am holding court with a dead man, and still his advice stands strong.  I think of what I never would have had if I never took those carefully executed, or hastily thrown together, risks.

If not for myself, but for those that rely on me in some way, I’ll keep listening to those mental recordings.

There’s no longer room for the what if or fear of getting in too deep.

I accept my little details, from their inception to the moment they change my life.

am a writer, good or bad.

am myself, good or bad.

This last year tried to take that from me.

This new year I’ll take for myself, for those I love, and for what I believe in.

All because I listened to one man living only among memories.

 

I’m glad I only lost myself for a short time.

 

No Decency? No Problem!

I haven’t been writing as often as I would like, due to the last week being rather… different. But hey, it was full of things to write about, so here’s the most important and first thing to set it all off.

Years ago, I was working for a coffee place where I had been rapidly promoted after my trial period, and from then on it was smooth sailing. I was repeatedly called in for overtime to cover for missing workers, and the main duties of the manager fell to me daily. I pretty much ran the place, and nobody questioned it– I was good at it. We had been facing troubles with the upper management, and went through four in the time I worked there. By the last manager, I was worn out and getting sick from my later diagnosed Crohn’s. I ended up being so sick that I was hospitalized five times in three weeks, and had to take time off. I had never used vacation or personal days, so I didn’t see a problem. The new manager that randomly disliked me, however, did.

So, shortly after his arrival and while I was sick, he started sniping at my performance. I didn’t do anything right by his standards, even though I followed the books more than anyone. Slowly, he began eliminating workers to place people he knew in their positions. They didn’t follow the rules, but he didn’t care. They kissed his ass, and that was the important factor.

During my sick time, he began calling me daily to berate me for not being at work. The time had been approved by the district manager, so I decided not to add fuel to the fire and rat on the manager for harassing me. Our store had been through enough turmoil without me making it more difficult, and for love of my job, I kept my mouth shut.

Due to this, within a week of my return I was left with the choice of quitting or being fired due to “three strikes on the dress codes.” Apparently, if it’s hot and you roll up your sleeves to show a possibly offensive (a bird of paradise adorns both my wrists) you can be fired. But, if you’re the managers friend and have magic mushrooms and a tripping caterpillar on your leg for the world to see, it’s fine.

I quit that day and didn’t bother returning for my last of the week. I was fed up, still sick, and hurt. I had poured myself into that job, forgoing social life and personal. It was brought down by one man with a grudge, for no particular reason other than I happened to be there. I lost the last health insurance I have had, right before a double diagnoses of two very problematic illnesses.

These adorable kitties make this part less depressing.

Fast forward now to a week ago. I started to see the familiar signs all over again, but this time not with my job– a worker with a grudge, trying desperately to infuriate  my husband on a daily basis. He’d come home angry and exhausted over the constant verbal abuse from this guy, but for the sake of keeping the peace, never bothered to report him. He figured it would blow over, and I tried not to let it get to me. He worked his ass off daily only to be yelled for no particular reason.

 

Luckily, he was spared for two weeks and managed to work with another crew that enjoyed his company and work ethic. They constantly complimented his quick ability to learn, and how much he had already accomplished. They even shared a dislike for his other co-worker, as everyone had problems with the guy. He was all around not someone anybody wanted to bother with. Things seemed to be going well. As all good things tend to end, he was put back on shift with the wonderful man we’ll call Earl. So Earl keeps up with verbally assaulting him, badmouthing everyone (including the upper management) and being rather vague as to what he wanted my husband to do. Still, he did his job and worked as hard as he could.

Some might think I am biased. Truthfully, it could be my own mother doing a bad job and I’d still fire her. I don’t look at friends as friends when we’re working together. I have been in such a position, and despite my own like for the person, did what had to be done if they just refused to work. If I have to boss you around, I will. If you’re doing something wrong, I will correct you. Work is work, it’s not personal. With my husband, I’ve seen his work ethic and his abilities. I’ve personally watched an old boss beg him to stay because he was such a fine employee. So when he came home and let me know he was fired for not doing a good enough job, I called a big fat bullshit.

Apparently, Earl had been quietly going to the bosses and complaining about his laziness and inability to work, none of which anyone has ever seen before and probably never will. This was, in fact, a job he had hoped for. To go out of his way to screw it up would be a stupid move on his part, and stupidity isn’t something he’s good at.

Without speaking to my husband at any point or the other workers, he was let go, all thanks to one guy that likes to kiss some ass. Now, to make a point, he was the third guy this man has worked with that magically didn’t make the cut. Nobody bothered to notice this trend, apparently.

It’s practices like this that truly bother me. All it really takes is one person to come along and ruin someone else’s job record, financial situation and desire to do well. While we’re lucky this came during my work season, it still hits hard when we were just finally catching up.  There’s nothing good to come of losing your job in this economy– except now, there won’t be more constant berating and we can move on to better things without this holding him back.

My job, however, is still awesome.

As if by sheer luck, while I was thinking of writing this my husband turned to me as we exited the highway and pointed out the work truck and his ex co-worker driving back at about 6:30 pm, alone, and a long way from the warehouse. Obviously his productivity has gone up, being three hours behind already with another 40 minutes to go. Unlike this man, though, we’re not going to stay bitter over it all. It does solidify my distrust in people offering a stable job, and it absolutely reminds me that there’s always someone who can and will try to fuck you over.

For now, I’ll enjoy having him home with me more often until we can get things straightened out. When that time comes, if someone decides to be abusive at work, it’s getting reported. People like that don’t deserve to keep coasting along screwing up everyone else’s day just because they can.

Faking the Voice

I’m not very special, but I hope to be one day.

Hunter S. Thompson was special. Ian McKellen is special. People that devote a lifetime to their work (and even lose that life for it) are amazing individuals. They deserve to be noticed, heard, and even praised. What have I done? I write in a blog seen by, tops, a thousand people. I write stories people don’t see. Does this make me amazing? Hardly. Should I ever take it as far as I’d like, perhaps. But that’s quite a long way off.

It’s that sort of knowledge that I hope to see out of the actors I meet, the dancers, musicians… there’s no denying they are talented… sometimes. Just because they’re in a play doesn’t make them a Broadway-worthy name. There are a lot of very gifted people there, though, and I respect them. Not all of them are egotistical, it’s only just enough to make you cringe.

You want to chase a dream, and that’s wonderful! Give everything you’ve got and run for it. But it’s not cute even in the greatest of stars to be a total dick, no matter what kind of draw you have. So when it’s a kid in an acting class sauntering up and treating everyone around them like an abused dog, there’s no way to take them seriously.

For real, bro.

There are others I’ve met in various situations (I hang out at coffee shops, where everyone is a future artist/writer) that seem to take on their air of importance before anyone even knows they exist. Do I know talented writers with aspirations? Oh, yes, and many other kinds of artists. They’re wonderful people with amazing works that ought to be seen. Then there are the others, the ones that magically haven’t written a word or painted one canvas, but damn it, that’s part of the process. You just don’t get it, man. Don’t tell me nobody gets it. Even serial killers will have some crazy guy “get” them. No, I get it. You need an excuse to wear a cool hat and smoke while brooding without ever holding down a job. HOW YOU GET SO COOL BRO?

Also, poets. Dear god, poets. Some are truly master wordsmiths. Some… look, I’ll reproduce your work right now.

She looked upon my suffering, unending and pure

I gazed into her empty soul

There was a moment of utter void until, I demurred 

“Did you replace the toilet paper roll?”

Now I’m a fuckin’ poet! Suck it, Robert Frost. Emily Dickenson. E. E. Cummings fuck it, I’ll say the Vogons, because the ones up there were actually good.

To my friends that neglect normalcy, forgo lives, stay up all night working on that piece or that put themselves on the line for a craft, good for you. Again– I stress this. There are millions of beautifully talented people out there, and I’m so glad to know many. Hell, there are folks I know where I just don’t get their work, but it’s theirs, and I respect that. It’s those bastards that don’t do a anything at all who ruin it for the rest of us legitimately trying to be heard. You’re faking it for an image you don’t even deserve, one that people don’t even like too much.

I want to believe that the truly talented will someday be noticed for what they are and worked for. It’s a nice idea, but with so many in existence it is even harder to be seen waving your arms above the crowd. It takes a true dedication to your work, and utter belief in yourself that you can get there.

To that dude three tables away from me at Starbucks rambling on about that screenplay he’ll totally write (if you’d send me some cash, ma, c’mon! I’m an artist!)  I kindly refer you to this bag of dicks you can enjoy eating.

I made this handy image on my phone, if you didn't know what a bag of dicks looks like.

I am a failure and I don’t finish stuff, yeah!

"But how many times can you really be tricked by ladyboy before it's gay?"

So, I have the short story completed… in writing, in a notebook. Work has held me off from actually making sense of my scribblings (I’m sure I can post it up as-is, but that would be… concerning. Most margins contain doodles of dicks with hats) and I’m still stuck on some article stuff for the magazine. So what I’m saying here is that fuck you, I will get back to that thing later. I didn’t mean that fuck you. I really like you.

In the meantime, here are some random photographs, punctuated with odd things I heard at work recently. There’s no end to weird crap to be overheard backstage, especially when dancers are involved. For example: There is an interpretive dance about the plight of sex-slave children. … Yeah. That.

So! Have some pictures.

"I'm kinda sad today. I feel like my dancing isn't... heavy. Y'know?"

"I need to really feel like you're owned by that pimp. Make me feel it."

"Someone left poop paper in the bathroom."

"Everyone is walking around like it's 'Free Anal Rape' day. See? That guy? He's walking funny too. What the hell?"

It also occurs to me to tell you about the homeless, urine-soaked man with the twitch that was at my bus stop today. Upon my arrival, he started cackling and (presumably) adding to his urine aroma. I didn’t really want to deal with that so early in the morning, but I doubt he wanted to deal with himself either. Sadly, this bus runs every forty minutes, and I had just missed the last one. He’s taking up the whole bench– which is fine, I didn’t want to sit next to the guy anyway. He flailed a lot, and it’s a rude day when you’re slapped by big hands that have been playing in pee.

So UrineMan starts to stare. I don’t think he’s so much staring at me as he is through my very bowels, because his gaze was centered somewhere around my small intestine. He started digging in his bag, which I was terrified contained the last public transportation victim of the day, but no. It contained, of all things, a pack of pornographic playing cards. Alright, I can deal with that. A guy needs to see some boob in the morning. I do every day for free, so why can’t he? Thankfully, the bus arrived shortly thereafter, because I didn’t really want to witness his intent with those… especially since he resumed staring at my digestive system. The combination of pornography and my poop area wasn’t something I wanted to entertain at 7:30am. Actually, I usually don’t at any given time if it also involves urine and men with muscle spasms.

It dawned on me while I was entering the bus to work… no matter where I am, at what time, or for whatever reason… there will always be someone nearby ready to excrete on me. And that just plain makes me feel special.

Part two of four.

I managed to stumble into another drove of those protesting kids. I got their ideas, their ideals, and their complaints. Sort of. It made sense to me that yeah, we’re being fucked. I get it. But these kids, they survives 9/11, recessions, daddy’s trust fund imploding, media and social barrages and utter failure of the system just so they can stand up against a monster they have no business fighting. They keep taking, and if you don’t give to ‘em, they fight you and expect nothing less than utter support.
This city was full of trash, though. The ground ran slick with despair. Garbage mixed with oil and mud seeped from every alley, maybe even the blood of some unfortunate. It was all here, and I figured I was ready for it. My smaller town didn’t compare, even though we had our own problems.

There was a glimmer of something I had never experienced here, something I couldn’t quite put a finger on. I could almost sense desperation, but that wasn’t right either. These kids gave me a muddled view of it all, and I was trying to extract myself as carefully as I could. I could write ballads about their faked misfortunes.
I had my own problems to deal with. Of course, every homeless shelter was packed with these guys. It didn’t make sense to me– they had homes, parents, probably even cozy apartments. I guess if you’re gonna fight, you have to play the part. By now I had found a little job sweeping up some animal shelter, full of the real victims of society. They couldn’t do anything for the situation they were in at all, and that to me was more tragic than a kid with an iPod wanting more cash.

I was told by some folks not to go out at night alone, especially looking like I do. But, as always, the night screamed at me. I couldn’t resist experiencing such horror and solitude, and I heard the darkness beckoning to me… as always, I fell for it. I was telling my own story to myself on this journey, so I never turned down a chance to throw in some excitement.

I liked to walk alone at night, really. People would usually see a guy like me wandering along and just leave me be. If I was brave enough to do it, I was obviously that which they feared. Worked out in my favor. Sure, some rat-faced bastards tried to prove themselves on me, but I’m no fighter. I’m just in it for the ride.
So, sometime after midnight I heard this girl. She was laughing like a hyena at this late-night cafe place, surrounded by a group of apes in polo shirts. I stopped and watched her for a while– overdone in every way, including her emotions– and wondered what she thought of herself. Did she know she was a fake? Does she even give a damn? After one of the thick-necked jackoffs saw me, I kept walking. If there’s anything to incite a riot in a group of guys like that, it’s glancing at the goods. She’d be railed by no less than three of them by the end of the night, I could guarantee it.

This is where things went a little haywire. I was kind of hoping to just turn around and go back to my filthy little cot next to the fat guy with a drinking problem, but nah. They closed up doors  at one am, and I didn’t think I’d make it back in time. Especially after the black kid with a gun shoved me deep into the recesses of an alleyway, about to make my walk go from a surreal daydream to a nightmare.

My own challenge, part one.

I’ve decided to challenge myself to write a short story, over the course of a few days, to see how well I can wrap it up. Figured it wouldn’t hurt to toss it on here, for the hell of it. Hope it doesn’t suck.


Many years back, when I was a bit younger, I found myself in a strange position. I could go on as usual men did at the time– find a decent job, a more decent wife, and live in the American dream.  Or I could do what I had always wanted… what that was, I hadn’t quite figured out yet. That never mattered to me, though. I just knew my ideas were not that of my fellow man. So while most guys were busy in their early years chasing tail and hunting for the good old dollar, but I spent mine dreaming. I dreamed of a life that I couldn’t even fully imagine, one where I was king of my own destiny. This is how it began and ended, and why I think you need to know.I supposed that now is a good time to note that I not only found this strange life, but is well beyond anything anyone could have expected at all.
There was no great hurrah surrounding it all. I just woke up one day and decided, oh, this is the idea… I get it now. So I left the girl I had promised to marry one day, (she ought to have known better, to be honest) ditched the petty job and shitty apartment. I took off down the road with little more than a pack of smokes and some cash I had saved by not bothering with the expenses most guys craved– loose girls, heavy drugs and expensive liquor. There was plenty of time for that sort of thing later on, I figured, well after I had the rest all sorted out. I never really did get it sorted out, but who cares.

It’s not romantic to wander off as a vagabond, despite what the books tell you. It’s dirty and cruel, rendering you no more than a hobo with a selfish cause. People will look further down on you than you ever thought possible, I found. You’re below most street urchins– at least they got there by some sad circumstance. Tell a guy you need a buck because you’re on a journey and well… doesn’t go over quite as smoothly. They whisper that you’re a nutbag, and possibly rightfully so.

I hadn’t been out tripping balls on the high of escapism for long when I met Paul, this fucked up kid that was wandering the country for kicks too. He had other plans, though, big ones that would never work out. Paul said he was out to screw the government, trying to put it back in the hands of the people. “I’m out to save the world from themselves,” he’d scream. “The American people don’t have a clue what’s going on around them, and I wanna change that.” When he offered to travel with me, I declined. I didn’t need that kind of rhetoric blinding my own tasks ahead of me. Last I saw of him he had donned a ski mask and was probably about to get shot. Kids and Utopian dreams are a ruinous mix.

I had passed over the state line when I got my first whiff of law enforcement. Some fat cop with a grudge decided I would be a good choice for his ego to smack around, so right into a cell I went for loitering. The pigs took my smokes and what little cash I had left, leaving me unable to make so much as a phone call. I didn’t expect much from these guys, so I shut my mouth and waited a couple of days until they gave up and let me go. I had to hitch a ride to a bigger town to find some side work, since they had basically robbed me blind. Can’t win against the cops, though. At least they didn’t beat me senseless. That came much later, and it wasn’t the law doing the roughing.

So here I was, shoveling shit for some pocket change. Nothing special, just cleaning up around a restaurant for some old weirdo with a strange, almost sentient hairpiece. I swear that thing spoke to me, asking for freedom to join his squirrel brothers again. It was an odd week, but I managed to get through it. I took off once I had enough money to float me through a few more cities. Still that voice in my head raged on, “Go get it.” I still had no idea what I was chasing, but it was leaving me exhausted and broken. Homeless folks tried to rob me, the regular sheep tried to pretend I didn’t exist. My shoes had worn through and my clothes looked like shit. I was nearing hopelessness when things got a million times worse.