Releasing my book to the web one chapter at a time

Raised in a strange place and a strange time. Where mystical things aren’t really allowed to exist. But I am a mystical man, and this is a mystical world. It is hard to come to grips with this dichotomy and that’s what this story entails. It is mostly true and it is amazing how much drama exists in each one of our lives. Love will find you, pain, friends, fear, insanity, and always that insatiable desire to do more.

I am trying to edit this book I have written and will release a chapter at a time or maybe less as I go through and edit it.

Thanks for having a look… at my book.

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The Unholy Moment

I look at my hands. I turn them from front to back, slowly examining every pore, probing deeper and deeper into my flesh, with my eyes, crawling into crevices I did not know existed, falling asleep under carbon chains in breezy burp like dreams. I look at my palms and sail through the valleys of my time-line, taking every bump in stride scraping my boat against rocks on shore, crossing the deserts of my palm, and sledding through the swamp of anxious humidity.

            Relinquishing my hands to my pockets I stare into the light in the ceiling and feel extreme terror, tempted to re-examine my hands to somehow for once make myself alive or real. Continuing with societal robotic normalities, I pull my pants up, buckle the belt and flush the toilet. The noise swirls around the room echoing off every which way in effectal/causal manner. A squeaking noise releases as I turn the cold water on. Splish. The water slides up the walls of the sink then falls, eroding away at the toxic materials on my porous hands. Squeak – again and the faucet is off. The next predictable sound is that of the paper towels unraveling out of a noisy dispenser. It echoes throughout the bathroom.  I cough a little, throw the paper towel in the trash, and walk out. The whole time I am dreading walking back into this laboratory of lights only to find sanctuary in the bathroom.

No more break for another 4-5 hours – I am in hell. Ponderance enters my mind as I am working. Actually it’s more like uncontrollable thought, and I am anxious. I feel I will not be able to stand still, or hold my head up to answer irritated customers, in fact I might even cry.

Pushing carts up and down, the corporate store’s isles, filled with return items, not knowing why I am so rejected, or what I am doing on this earth, in this building, working.

I keep my head up in hopes to not be detected. I smile, I nod, I cheer, I say yes, everything is fine, yes, yes, oh that’s nice, my weekend was cool, and yea she was so hot, damn good job man. CongratuFUCKING LATIONS I don’t care. This is what echoes in my brain but the smile that is so detached from my thoughts is left un-noticed.

            Welcome to my world, deep and filled with inconsistencies and obsessive infinities. It’s not that bad a place by any means but when I was trapped in the world of actors it was. Now I am an actor of a much different caliber. Instead of acting to not let myself out, I act to not let them in, which is the same thing as not letting them out if you get what I mean. I examine, I probe, I detect, I smirk but all the while I know. I see your mind waver and quiver and I know what chills you to your marrow, and what gives you sorrow and what went wrong.

I don’t know how I know this, but it all started coming into me as soon as I started living life for what it was, which I was unaware of the fact, could be a difficult thing at the time. See I was trapped in different rooms in life, very similar to the fact how we are trapped on earth, however, most of the universe is made of space, but we think our lives occur in earth. See I had a hard time of accepting the space thing. So here I was, young, dumb, alone, philosopher who wanted to tell the difference between heaven and hell. Why was I transported to a new place when it rained? Why does Disneyland make me feel like I’m not on the earth anymore? This was my journey and I was beginning in hell.

Hell

Chapter 2

School was a place of horrible nightmares. I would walk along the top balcony and look down at the thousands of people herded around in unrelenting social abnormalities. The sounds of thousands of students packed in a concrete cell for lunch was disturbing. If recorded it could be used as the sound the madman hears in a movie.

The voices echoed from everywhere, and every once in a while a loud mouth would yell something, knock something over, someone over, or throw a carton of milk on the ground like a child, and laughter could be heard exploding like fireworks in a corner. Then the sudden wave of information would swipe across the lunch goers and all their heads would turn. Mumbling would spew out of their mouths in reply and shock. Sometimes someone would try to outdo the raucous in the other corner, which would in turn start the whole stupid lava lamp cycle over again.

I would sit at the top balcony leaning on a wooden beam that wrapped around the entire square with red sad eyes from lack of sleep looking down at them all and wondering why they were like this. I was afraid, alone and tense, wondering what this life was.

‘What are they thinking? I have to get out of here,’ I thought.

After the lunch bell would ring, everyone would head to their next class. 2000 people heading to their classes clogging the hallways, it was inhumane. Nothing will make you feel like you are being herded like cattle more than walking through a Dana Hills hallway after lunch. How could anyone keep their sense of dignity while being packed like a sardine with a shitty generic education?

            During nearly every class when I would get sick of being inside, I would take a bathroom break. I would take a break that is if I had not already been ejected from the class by way of the teacher. This was unfortunately a common occurrence seeing how I had a loud mouth.

These breaks were peaceful and I could walk through the hallways when they were less crowded. I could walk around and ponder life while kicking rocks outside on the black top. All I wanted to do was think. I didn’t want to be mean and despise people. I just wanted time to be alone and think. I would go outside by the football field and track and look out over the horizon. The school had an ocean view. The blue of the ocean contrasted against the foreground of the yellow arches on the football field. I was so privileged to be in such a place, but all I could see and hear was the dramatically small worlds of the pea brains back in their classes.

‘God what am I doing here on this earth? I want to be the best I can, but I don’t think I can handle anymore of this place. I feel my heart will explode if I have to go back in there,’ I thought looking over my shoulder and wiping a jittery, and nervous hand across the back of my neck.

At that, I decided I must leave, and the snake of temptation seized hold of me. I could see the ocean, the sun and the waves. They were calling my name to pay the beach a visit. I looked around to see if I could sneak over to my car. I could see it.

“How am I going to get passed the gate?” I mumbled to myself. “Bah screw it I will make it out somehow, they can’t hold me.”

            Fat old ladies always sat in the guard shack and gossiped about Oprah re-runs while carefully “guarding” vehicle prone students from leaving campus. I thought of how I would pull up to the gate. The first tyrant would probably approach me and tell me I couldn’t leave. I would start explaining to her rationally, ‘hey I’m 18 and I don’t have to listen to this anymore, I’m old enough to go die in war.’ After being rejected, with an obvious fire in my eye and emotive word selection, I would continue to explain how I was going to leave anyways. ‘Ok enough thinking about this I’m going to do it,’ I thought to myself. ‘I’m getting out of here.’

 I pulled up to the guard shack, the lady walked up to me expecting me to show a little round shiny sticker on my id card that meant I could leave at lunchtime. I didn’t have one so I said “I don’t go to school here I am just dropping off lunch to my sister.”

 

“Oh please, I know you go to school here sonny I’ve seen you around here plenty.” The dirty wench chewed her gum, smacking her lips and looked at me with shrewd eyes. I smiled. I couldn’t help but take a submissive stance to her authority.

“No.. I don’t go to school here, I’m just passing on through.” I insisted.

At that the lady picked up here all-powerful walky-talky and radioed the captain lunch lady.

“Margie are you around? There’s a boy here claiming he doesn’t go to school here and…. Hey! Wait a second,” said the irritated lunch lady her voice trailing off in the distance behind me. I watched her for a second in my rear view mirror. She looked so stupid with her shocked expression, still smacking her lips on her gum, behind 2-dollar special white sunglasses, as she lifted a hand and pathetically walked after my exiting car.

 I just drove forward and left I didn’t have time for this crap, I was too busy going nuts inside my head, and I had to find some way to turn it off. I didn’t have time for these people telling me what to do when death was so ever looming. Off I went from the palace of rich slaves, and pseudo education scientist.

            I reached my home, which was really a shabby condo in a suburban land of rich snobs. My family was no brand of richness. I was nervous and tied up with a knot in my stomach. I went into my room all alone. I picked up my guitar. I tried playing a few notes but the rock of depression was weighing my stomach down too heavily. I paced around for a few moments and left. I was constantly trying to remind myself of where I was, and where I was going in the world. I would try to picture the planet and a map of it in my head and where I was exactly. As long as I was there I was ok. However no matter how many times I rationed it, it didn’t matter I had to do it again. Over and over the cycle repeated itself. This is why I had to surf. Surfing was the exit to my confusion for a few moments. I went to the garage and grabbed my surfboard. It was a short-board that I traded a small fish shaped board for and I really ripped the guy off somehow.

Surfing

Chapter 3

As I approached the beach I was uncomfortable and cold and really didn’t even want to be at the beach. It was wintertime. I grabbed my surfboard and locked the door. I felt like a beat up child who was living on the streets, dirty with a wide eye of confusion and fright. I changed into my wet suit and began to walk. I looked down at the beach and at the long stretches of overly groomed green grass next to the Ritz Carlton, and I felt like I might be able to possibly relax here. I walked underneath the bridge and listened to my feet echo underneath the thick tunnel and I felt swallowed up by the bridge for a moment. I walked on and came out from underneath it and looked at the ocean below again. The sight of it did nothing for me. I wasn’t there.

Instead, I was a bundle of rational thought on the verge of explosion. I continued walking without any notion as to why I would do anything. Then as I got closer to the water, I looked on at the waves and saw people riding on them. A tiny tinge of excitement grew in me and in response, I over reacted the whole emotion and put on a face of “wow dude!” the waves are totally awesome today. 

I got in the water and reached the outside line up where you were pretty much safe from the huge waves crashing onto you. I sat in the water and just let the ocean push me around and I gave up for a second, but the pouring stream of consciousness continued to splash all over the inside of my mind and it made me slightly dizzy.

‘Will it ever stop?’ I wondered looking at the sky, white tufts of clouds with seagulls flying by. I looked at the other people sitting in the water on there surfboards, surrounded by strands of kelp, and I wondered if they were real. I was frightened by my thoughts and tried to reason them away. ‘No they have to be real because of this and this and this.’ I tried to reason it out.

 No luck I tried again and again and again. I couldn’t prove that I was not the only one that existed there. This was the kind of thought that would send me spinning for days. I caught some waves and had a fairly decent time somehow. I was riding and turning all for the sake of crawling away from confusion with a cowardly cry. Instead of riding the waves for love I crawled for cowardess.

 I observed the older surfers and how they rode so proudly and wore their tattoos with such pride. I did not understand them, but I didn’t recognize that at the time. I merely thought nothing of them. In fact I had no formulated opinions of any kind. I was more interested in understanding if what I was seeing in front of my face was even there! I had no time to think of their interesting social battles that they must wage against each other in soap opera fashion to remain king of the beach. Now looking back their tribal rituals are interesting and very animalistic I just didn’t understand that I was outside of their tribe.

 I caught more waves and decided it was time to leave, I didn’t know why I decided it was time to leave, I just did. I got to the shore and looked at the hill I had traversed. There was an orange tinge to the sky lighting the green hills of heavily monitored grass and concrete pathways with rod iron fences. ‘How would I get back up to my car?’ I thought.

For a moment I didn’t understand how space and time worked at all. Somehow I had broken into an incessant loop of insanity. I couldn’t even tell how to put one foot in front of the other to get back to my car. I tried to move my foot but the blistering orange sunlight confused me as bad as the tears that wanted to stream down my mask of a face. My whole body stuttered, I tried again to move my leg and it finally worked but I was still ever confused as to why it was working. As I walked forward, it was as if my whole body was stuttering, it was a complete stutter that was emanating from every possible way a person could think and react. My fright was so great I thought I would never make it.

Slowly one foot in front of the other I relaxed and stopped the incessant reasoning and began to rely on the pure fact it was working and it didn’t matter how. This was the first time I had learned something. 

Barely Bonded Band of Brothers

Chapter five

My mother came home and was trying to talk to me as I sat in front of my computer. I was playing a game of strategy and wits, a first person shooter. It was the only thing at home that could keep up with my fast pace mind and somehow reach me inside a flurry of mental frenzy. The game would bring me down slowly from light speed to a relaxed trance. It must be what a hyperactive kid feels when he takes a stimulant like speed to slow himself down.

I was playing a fast pace war strategy game where two teams fight against each other in a physics environment that made the fighting feel like the players were all super human. We played over the Internet against other people throughout the world. Everyone who played these games had similar issues to mine, though we never talked about them, but we all knew. Sometimes I would play until 1:00 in the morning refusing to end the ping-pong tournament of reflexes and wits.

Sleep was bad. I tossed, turned, and rolled usually all night. I had a wave machine I would turn on that made the sound of waves. I turned this on in a pathetic attempt to lull me asleep. For some reason white noise such as a fan or ocean sound has always put me in a trance and made it easy to fall asleep. To this day, however, the sound of that exact looping ocean sound makes me sick to hear it. Every time it came on it was torture. The sound came to embody my strange surreal and empty sentiments of trying to sleep in a world that had no foothold to stand on.

            At school I was forced into the average social games of fake smiles, witty comments, and jokes that evaded everyone’s ears. It was my hope that maybe someone would get these witticisms and take me in and maybe I could have a real friend. Instead I was stuck with a group of oaf-like “amigos” that were constantly joking around about everything that wasn’t funny from someone who said it that was cool and what not and blah blah blah.

 There was nothing of any stimulation in these kinds of environments. They talked about people at the school as if they were super stars, as if people in Italy would know who they were if you mentioned the popular kids name at Dana hills high school. Everyone acted like this. I never met one person who didn’t. I camouflaged myself to fit into their little clan activities, but always felt less then them for not feeling the ability to participate in these cultural acts. Standing on the outside, alone, feeling that I was stuck on the inside, however I wasn’t. The inside was yet to come.

            These friends that I felt compelled to spend almost every hour with were a tight group of people, but they really weren’t all that tight. The only thing that kept our bond was the fact that we all saw groups of teenagers our age on TV making groups of friends and acting as if they were close. There were four of us, me, Ron Gummy, Sid Franklin, and Corey Dunce.

            Ron was a tall heavy guy who was constantly enthralled with his lack of looks. He would sit and look at himself in the mirror for hours and try to get his hair just right. He longed to be within the crowd of popular kids at school however, he just couldn’t do it. He would buy all the new clothes, and he knew exactly which size for every brand would fit his body size the best to make himself fit in properly. One time he got me to drive him around for hours to find a special pair of Converse (shoes) that would be sure to set himself apart from the crowd. He was humorous and was kind in many aspects however he would steal your last drop of food on a desert island if it would bring him glamour and prosperity.

Inside I was jealous of him because he somehow conned the girls into going with him. If any of us had a girl he would make fun of us in front of her in order to make himself look good. I never realized it but he fancied himself the leader of the group and never really valued anything I had to say because he felt like he created me.

Before I hung out with this group of friends, Ron was the one who invited me over to hang out. After that we had gravitated towards each other on a ski trip with a church. Ron was the only one who didn’t care for the rules and I didn’t either, though I pretended or thought that I did. After the trip I hung out with him and he introduced me to Cory and Sid.

Sid was a rat like character that looked up to Ron and thought of him as his best friend. Sid never realized Ron was running the show and telling him exactly what to do. Sid would have shined Ron’s shoes if he asked him too. They would always joke around and Corey and I would always end up being the butt of Ron and Sid’s jokes.

            Every once in a while Corey and I would turn on each other and end up joking with them but we were never in the cycle. Corey was a tall nerdy looking guy that happened to have a bad temper and a lot of muscles. His jaw was elongated and almost looked like he had an under bite. He looked like he was older than the rest of us yet he looked like no matter what age he was he would look older which made him look younger. Corey was the only one that would actually listen to what I had to say and thought it through without laughing or making fun of my thought process. But sometimes Corey would get mad thinking so much and he would recklessly argue with me for no reason at all.

 Ron and Sid had other things to do besides think about this strange life we lived in and this oxygen we breathe in our lungs that makes it possible. Corey and I were on the same track we were both going to church and not understanding the craziness of life and trying to find it in the Christian religion. But like the saying goes ‘you can’t punch turkeys out of a billboard.’

            The so-called friendships continued through the craziness. Ron and Sid were on their way to becoming rock star gods in the twentieth century and me and Corey were attempting to carve our own paths. One night for Corey’s birthday we decided to go to the motorcycle races in Corona Del mar, the speedway. Driving all the way up there which was only about thirty minutes from my house was a real trip, I felt so lost and swallowed up by the mouth of infinity screaming in the chaos trying to find this ground that everyone claims to be standing on.

I was quiet in the car. I was in a car with a girl driving and my good childhood friend Austin Fieldcrest was with me. I felt comfortable with him being there because I knew he was uncomfortable too. The girls were playing loud music and taking me into their world which was a disgusting compulsion of beauty magazines and loud hypnotizing rap songs of black guys singing about their bitches. I sat in the back of the car the entire time wondering what was wrong with me, and why I couldn’t sit in these situations without constant obsessive confusion. Finally the rock sank in and my palms got sweaty. ‘How am I going to make it out of here alive,’ I would think, and I would begin looking for the exits of the speeding car while traveling 80 mph down a freeway. ‘I can’t really jump out now, or can I?’ a little voice wondered in panicked derision. Little did I realize at the time that no one makes it out alive.

            At the speedway it felt good to get out and walk around. Ron, Corey, Sid, Austin and I walked in a lateral line towards the ticket booth. These times felt good to be walking with this small barely bonded band of brothers. I always felt they were better than nothing.

Walking to the booth we paid for our tickets supplied with cash from our parents – a luxury that was somehow never understood. We sat in the booths and watched the motorcyclist travel aimlessly around the tracks circle. I felt bad that the highlight of the night was when a motorcyclist crashed and was run over by his own bike.

Sid Corey and Ron walked away after they saw some girls that they thought they saw eyeing them. I felt compelled to go with them, however, Austin was sitting up top and I didn’t want to leave him alone. The two girls that were with us were also sitting up top and I began talking with them.

“What’s your names again?”

“Laura,”

“Stacy,”

Awkward pause.

“I’m Matt… So how is everything going tonight?” I said.

I talked to them even though they were fairly disinterested in me. I think it was obvious that there was too much going on in my head for me to handle.

“I’m doing good, just that smell is nauseating,” I commented about the bikes.

The smell was loud, however, I actually liked it. It was the smell of the alcohol the motorcycles ran off of. I could tell it helped them to accelerate at a much faster rate than common gas. The alcohol in the motorcycles’ engines was exploding and making loud high-pitched explosions that sounded like dynamite and a microphone strapped onto a zipper tied to a pair of blue jeans.

I looked back at the loud human engineered beasts and watched the end of the race. Two guys were battling it out for first. A man on the side of the starting line was waving a checkered flag from the booth. The two rider’s eyes were green with red flames bursting off of their heads – vacuum mouths sucking for the checkered love. If it were permitted they would have kicked each other off their bikes. They rounded the turn the man on the outside slid his bike around and skid around the last corner. The biker on the inside did a little turn but came out of it quicker and shot straight in a diagonal line in front of the other rider and crossed the finish. He did a little pop o’ wheelie as he rounded the turns. I sat watching tired from the day and wary of what other activities the hoodlums would decide to do tonight.
After watching a few stunts from dirtbikers jumping over some cars, we got some food and made our way back home. I had this paranoid feeling the entire time that I was teetering on the edge of a giant cliff about to fall off the entire night. Luckily the cart I was in that was balancing on a tight rope somehow made it to the other side, and I found myself at home in bed once again, tossing and turning into oblivion with motorcycles and angry rappers in my head fading into Roman carpets and jungles and sleep.

            The next day at school the games and dramas continued. I thought they would never ever end. I met people and talked to them but was never really myself. I was constantly inwardly thinking about life and God and how I was separating away from the religion that I was told meant everything from birth and how only evil people don’t go to church and follow the rules. I felt like Satan had somehow come into my mind and was directing me away from the path of the righteous. I was trapped I didn’t want to be evil and I couldn’t lie to myself about reality because I was slowly realizing how rational thought leads nowhere. The holy rational thought was crumbling before my very eyes. At night I would sometimes sit outside and look up at the stars and wish I were an Indian (Native American). I wished I could live in a time where confusion didn’t abound, but trees and animals abounded. I was in a white man’s world and I was a primitive man on the inside. I wanted to go for walks in forests that I knew as well as my room. I wanted to sit on rocks and meditate by streams and listen to animals rustle through the bushes while I thought about the meaning of it all and the spirit behind everything, but instead I was stuck with power hungry individuals who fed off of the crippling of busy minds.

Circumstance and Yet More Circumstance

Chapter 5

Graduation was a device of torture. I was thrilled to finally be out of high school and be a real person with my own ideas, however, I felt that it was not going to come easily. The graduation day began with an early morning mock ceremony.

The practice to see how the ceremony was going to work was in actuality a complete waste of time. Even a monkey could have done everything right the first time with a short briefing and a banana as reward. Anyways I arrived and everyone was all bubbly with joy of graduating and they were all talks and giggles. I joined in because I felt the need to be giggles too about the whole experience. I felt it was necessary because that’s what people do.

I came back home after the mock ceremony and my mom was getting out the video camera. She and my sister asked me questions about what it was like. My mom told me about what family members could make it and reminded me of who my dad was bringing. There was a little confusion on what we would do afterwards; seeing how my parents were divorced, but it was all not a big deal to me. I just wanted to get the whole thing over with so I could just be done with it. Everyone arrived at the house and I left early and got to the school. The second I got there I felt the overwhelming need to run away from the school, to – get out of there. It was yet another feeling of, ‘how can I make it out of here alive?’

I went forward though knowing it would all be over after this day. When I arrived the second time,  the whole class, of seniors, was separated out into different rooms of the school; according to the first letter of their last name – in an attempt to organize us all.

We were debriefed and given our robes and graduation caps. I opened the package and didn’t think anything of it. Some people looked at their robes and caps and gazed at them with awe that they were finally at this day. I knew this would come and I was not impressed. I put on the monkey suit and got in line. This ceremony for some was a rite of passage to a new stage in their life. For me it was as well, but it was also a ceremony that embodied a much larger scope. This passage was filled to the brim with traumas troubles, loves, lives, dying, renewal, being contorted into pain, and confusion. The ceremony embodied all my feelings and trapped claustrophobic nightmares.

It was a blistering hot sunny day, as we stepped out of the classroom and towards the ceremony field. The anxiety of the situation was already making me sweat, but the dark colored graduation robe, and the hot early morning California sun made me feel like I was in a sauna.  We all walked onto the football field. The grass was recently cut and the acrid- pungent smell of fresh cut grass slightly stung our eyes as we made our way down to the track. The stands were packed with friends and family members and we were now in line – standing on the chopping block. The chopping block that would release us into the real world – whatever the hell that was. Our names were called out and a diploma was handed to us. When each name was echoed through the loud speakers each student’s family and friends would cheer them on and put a smile on the graduate’s face. I got to the front of the line and my heart began to race a little.

“Kiv Fox”

I grabbed the diploma and sat down in the seat arranged for me. ‘Oh God it feels good to sit down’, I thought. I waited as the rest of the class had their individual names called out loud and also sat down in their respective seating arrangements. I noticed that some people got more cheers than others and I thought about the ones who did not get many cheers at all. I had received a much louder applause than I expected. For a second it seemed I could have possibly touched certain individual’s lives throughout my existence at this stupid school.

I was pleased and happy although, scared about my future and what was to come next. An acquaintance sat next to me, to my right, his name was Buddy Gallups. He was known to be the hyperactive kid and was on Ritalin for as long as I knew him – since junior high. He was sitting up with a  perky look in his eye – talking about everything.

” Hey look.. I, I, I can see umm.. Parker’s mom and Pete’s dad and oh, and John’s Dad,” stuttered Buddy.

I looked over at the girl next to me and said. “Wow… look… it’s true. Though annoying and obnoxious, kids with ADD, really can serve a purpose in society,” I put a content but nervous smile on my face.

It was my last little sarcasm I would leave amongst my peers before leaving the cannibals. Some girl that I don’t really remember anymore said something like “that’s messed up. You don’t have to ruin it.” I just shrugged. He smiled and laughed a little at my comments, I didn’t offend him.

The ceremony went on and I day dreamed as Valid dictorians gave speeches on how wonderful life was and all the things we would accomplish in the years to come. They compared our upcoming accomplishments with the cheesiest of metaphors. The speaker compared them to a mountain in a forest with clouds around the brim and how we would peak out of the top someday with a flourish of unprecedented joyousness. I think a unicorn ran by while he was speaking.

 Lastly, the principal said a few words, and then with one big Hooray we all stood up and threw off our hats. I stood up and let everyone throw theirs first than with a mental blessing on the whole occasion I took off my hat and kissed it, then nonchalantly threw it into the crowd. The whole thing was rather anti-climactic, but I acted as if it were the greatest day of my life. Ron, Sid and Corey found me, but I told them I had to go and find my family. We high-fived and hugged for a second anyways.

I found my Dad in the crowd first. I walked over to him and he shook my hand. He was standing with my grandpa and grandma. My grandpa took me and gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me how proud he was of me. My grandma hugged me and kissed both sides of my face as well. We began talking and they were wondering what we were going to do for afterwards celebration. I said I didn’t know I had to find my mom first.

My mom was always running these kinds of things because she felt that she had to be very involved in traditions and they had to be just right or they would be ruined. This was bad because for some reason she wanted me to go back with her and her side of the family for dinner. My Mom and Dad were divorced and they usually didn’t fight about who had us kids but in this situation my mom asked me what I wanted to do. I could tell by the look on her face that she didn’t want to do something with my Dad and my grandparents. She just wanted to take me without them out to dinner.

I turned to my Dad and said “Well we are going to dinner will you come?”

 He said he didn’t want to come to dinner with my Mom. He proposed that Grandma and Grandpa and he would take me out and then I could go visit later with my Mom and my family on her side. I began to sweat a little out of the pressure of both sides longing to be with me during this celebration. I was stuck and became angry with my dad for putting me in such a situation that he knew would hurt my mother on a special day in my life. I told him I could not go with him he would just have to come along. He refused and my Grandparents were hurt by the walls that had divided our family and separated me from them. They said their goodbyes to me and left with their hearts half broken and disappointed. They had hoped to spend a day with their first Grandson to graduate high school.

I told my Mom that it was messed up, but I didn’t know what to do and she assured me I had done the right thing. It was my father that did not want to come with us, however, I feel like I didn’t really invite him in a way that made him really want to come. I wish now I would have talked him into joining us so I could have spent that time with my family. We ate dinner at a local mini entertainment mall at a restaurant called Islands. Some of my cousins and aunts were with us and they were all talking amongst themselves as I sat uncomfortable and anxious in the restaurant hardly able to think because I was going to have to go to grad night that night and be amongst the people I just did a ceremony to be apart from.

A Tangled Situation

Chapter 6

Grad night is an all night of partying, but it begins with everyone getting on a bus and going to a secret destination that you do not know where it will lead. I was terribly frightened of this situation because even though I didn’t want to admit it, I was petrified of leaving the comfort of my house. It was an ongoing battle for myself to overcome. If I did leave the house, I wanted to be the driver of my car so I could make sure I knew where I was going and that no one could take me elsewhere. This night was going to be torturous. Before leaving I told my mom how much I didn’t want to go and how I thought I would go insane if I did go. She convinced me I had to go because it was a closure for high school years and I would be upset later if I missed it now. The truth is I wouldn’t be upset if I missed it and I wish I wouldn’t have gone now but it was something I’m glad I experienced.

So I decided to face my fears as my father had often told me I should. When I arrived at school we were ushered into the gym. Once inside the gym I was in the environment I hated the most, bright lights, with loud noises all around. It was very disorienting and I remember thinking to myself God just stop thinking about it, and enjoy yourself. I sat with Ron, Sid, and Corey. Austin decided he was not going to go. While we were sitting there, even Ron surprised me with a sudden burst of frustration.

He looked at me and said “God I just want to get out of this place its bugging me.” I knew what he was saying and I released a bit of tension with him, however I had a warehouse full of where that tiny bit came from.

The bus arrived after an hour of gym room bright light despair and we boarded it. My heart started racing as I got on the bus afraid of wherever the damned thing was taking me. I knew that it was going to go to some loud place with just utter craziness that was going to last the entire night. I was so not interested in going. I just wanted the whole long day experience to end. The bus took off on its journey to the unknown and I sat in the bus in a strange state. The bus was an old school bus that comforted me with childhood feelings and good times, but there was an odd feeling being in it at night, and its lights seemed rather ominous under the hew of dark blue and dirty Orange County freeways. I sat and sweated out the drive, as the driver shifted a clunky old shifter around, moving through the busses twenty five different gears.

On the freeway some kids drove by and threw eggs at the bus and then sped away.

God! I want to be with them.

I didn’t actually think that but I know I did have an undying pain to be with them instead of the conformist kids. We arrived about twenty minutes away from the school at a fancy hotel where we were greeted by the teachers we had been forced to listen to for four long years dressed up in crazy costumes. Some of the teachers looked like clowns and some just wore weird face make-up and wigs. When we got off the bus they handed us tickets to gamble with that could be used to win prizes at the end of the night. I couldn’t help but think how silly this whole thing was. These teachers wanted to give us a good time to bolster us up. I could see right through them that this was just another aspect of their jobs to ensure that we turned out like good normal people who follow the rules. I took the tickets and walked into yet another parade of bright lights and loud disorienting sounds.

What looked like a hotel at first was now becoming a party room that was on the backside of a hotel. My group of friends and I walked around the premises and checked it out. The place was full of kid stuff, and as usual I wasn’t impressed. I wanted to be with a woman and talk about dreams and meet strange people, however I didn’t know yet. I was just confused as to why I didn’t want to be amongst these kids.

There was a bungee jump, games, food, punch and phony gambling. There was a make a music video screen that all the girls insisted on doing and then there was a sumo wrestling pit. I wanted to do the sumo wrestling, but I was kind of cautious about my shoulder. I had a problem with my shoulder dislocating. It had happened three times before, but it felt like it had been healed these last couple of weeks. I figured there was no way I could get hurt in those big padded suits so I continued on with the festivities.

I waited in line and I was going to wrestle against my acquaintance Buddy Gallups. We put on the big oversized suits and laughed at each other, I began to push on him and he pushed back a little than with a sudden jolt he jumped on me and I fell over hard. The sheer weight of him and both sumo suits against my arm popped my shoulder out of socket. I fell to the ground and screamed stop! Stop! Stop! no more.

He looked confused how I could be so hurt already?

I pleaded loudly over the noisy festivities, “My shoulder has been dislocated please stop!”  He looked at me kind of confused and raised his hands like he had won the battle. The attendant rushed over to me and asked if I was ok. I explained my shoulder had been dislocated and he gave me an uneasy look. He helped me get out of the suit but it was not easy to get out of a 75 pound simulated suit of fat with an arm sticking out if its shoulder.

I somehow raised the arm enough to get the suit over my head, with the help of three other guys. The arm was all disfigured and girls walked by and stared at me confused how the hell I did that to my arm.

A paramedic rushed by and said, “oh my,” realizing he would actually have to work a little tonight.

I just asked him to please put it back into socket, it has happened plenty of times before, just do it as quick as possible. He nodded and told me to lie on my back. I knew EMT’s were not given permission to reset shoulders, but I think the man could tell I knew enough about this situation to allow him to do it. I was grateful he continued. I lay on my back while many people in my class watched me from a distance. They were vaguely blurry out of my eyes as I focused on the navy pants of the EMT lining me up to reset my dislocated shoulder… again.

I could hear their whispers, “What happened to Sam? Is he ok? Ooo oh my God, that’s gross.”

Beads of sweat began to come out of my forehead as the EMT pulled down at my fingers and told me to relax as much as possible. My heart pounded and my feet clenched up to make up for my attempt at relaxing. Than with a sudden jolt, as the paramedic pulled slowly, my arm popped back into place. I took a deep breath and lay there with my head back breathing slowly and upset. I started laughing sort of insanely at how perfect this disaster was to end my high school career. Somehow Ron had heard about the whole thing and asked me if I wanted to go outside and have some coffee. I sat out there and he made jokes about the whole situation, calling me lefty in an attempt to cheer me up.

I sat there sick of the whole thing looking down at my coffee and I started muttering something about my father and how messed up everything has become in my life. Nothing was making any sense that was coming out of my mouth but for once I was beginning to make a little sense. I babbled on about how mad I was that he had left and how I didn’t know why everything happened the way it has. I was inanely angry, and frustrated. At that moment I didn’t care or grip onto to any thought and then finally I had a moment of clear thought. I looked around at everyone and their lives and how they were living. I realized how I was on the inside and how I was not only different from all of them, but it was not a disease. I felt comfortable in my loneliness for once. I decided it was time to outsmart all of them. I had gone through hell with these people, because I did not live on my skin and my arm being dislocated was the last straw.

I am going to win myself the raffle. I don’t care how

The whole night I noticed that people were gambling away there tickets and losing and the dealers were keeping the tickets in a pile under the table. The tickets weren’t real money so the dealers weren’t keeping a good eye on them. I decided that old one arm was gonna’ steal as many tickets as I could and I was going to win the raffle. I left everyone and went on a journey around the casino tables. I watched as a detective watches, apart of the crowd yet at the same time separate. I noticed one dealer at the Roulette wheel would have to turn around and reach under the bar to get his glass of water that he was nursing.

I walked over to him and used my tickets to buy some chips. I bet small increments of money waiting for him to look away. I started with 5 on black. I lost oh well, others were there doing silly things, like acting drunk and putting all there money on a single number hoping to win a big pay off, to win a lot of tickets. I just sat and bet until finally the dealer finished and said “one second” he turned around to get a sip of his water. It was about 3:00 in the morning and he was tired. He turned around and took his time drinking the water. I reached my hand over the wheel and into where I saw he was stashing the tickets. I grabbed all of them and walked off before he turned around.

I faded into the crowd and slipped into the unknown for all he was concerned. I ran upstairs and sat on the balcony and counted the tickets I had so many it wasn’t fair. I was so excited yet not enough to laugh manically yet, I still had to win. I counted the tickets with greedy eyes thinking that my chances had to be fairly good at winning something.

After counting my tickets and comparing with others I had at least 10 times the amount of tickets as the guy who thought he had the most. I had about 2000 tickets to put in the raffle. I didn’t want anyone to know how many I had so I kept them stuffed into my sweater. The guy with about 200 tickets was walking around claiming he was going to win.

The raffle, however, was different than I thought it was going to be. The way it worked was there were various prizes to be won and each prize had a raffle box, there was a surfboard, a snowboard, a computer and a Sony Playstation. There were other prizes but they were ridiculous. I decided the best thing to do would be to choose two prizes I really want and split the tickets evenly and put them into both boxes. I went in the bathroom and split the tickets in half by length seeing how there were too many of them to count. I returned and began putting the tickets into the boxes quickly some people noticed and asked me how I got that many. I told them I put all my chips down on one number while gambling and won and got a big pay off.

I smiled and said “who would have guessed?”

They laughed and said cool man, and then chatted about my arm. It was perfect. No one wanted to accuse me of cheating. I put half the tickets in the surfboard box and the other half in the computer box. I noticed that most of the people put their tickets in the Sony PlayStation box and the snowboard box.

I went to the bathroom and when I came back they were already beginning to call out the numbers of winners. They were repeating a number for the surfboard and gave one more chance for the person to claim it. I was searching to see if I had that number in my plethora of tickets scrambling to find the ticket, then I saw it.

“Wait!” she was beginning to call another number. “I have the ticket!” everyone that didn’t have the ticket let out an exasperated aww in hopes she would have to call another number on the unclaimed prize. I hobbled up to my prize looking out at all the people staring at me with my one arm in a sling. I was so happy I won something. It made all the trials and tribulations of the whole day worth it.

I received my stolen prize, my pirate booty, proving that being an outlaw does pay. I sat in the back with the surfboard under my arm listening to them call the rest of the tickets. I didn’t win the computer some drama guy won the computer. He needed it though so he could hide from the world. I on the other hand, as soon as my arm got better was going surfing on a beautiful new short board.

All the cool surfer doods came and looked at my board and mentioned how good its shape was “damn you Sam, how come you always win things like this?”

“I don’t know I have been having a good string of luck lately.” I said sarcastically looking at my bandaged arm.

It was early morning now, I was dead tired and aching from the pain of my arm and the sun was rising. We all had to line up and prepare to leave. The teachers spout out something to us that I could not perceive. I sat and looked at the suns rays come in through the window of this unknown place and drench the students in early morning sun. I felt like worshiping the peacefulness – it was blissful. I could hear melodies of Gods in my head and the heat warmed me. I had made it out of the unknown night alive. I fell asleep on the bus and somehow got to Ron’s house where I slept on the couch. The tiredness sank in and I flew away.

TJ

Ch.7

I woke up at around 11:00 O’clock and I felt like absolute shit. I was dirty, and hairs on my head felt like cardboard needles. My face was unshaven and my clothes smelled from the all night anxious adventure. I heard murmurs coming from Ron and Sid, they wanted to go to Mexico, just down to T.J. for the day and have some kicks.

My first inclination was to run from their invitation and just go home and sleep but I didn’t feel like running anymore. I had conquered all of the school bureaucracy and won a surfboard from them on my way out. I wanted to experience more and see more. My anxiousness was still overloading, but I felt like fighting the mighty God of fear for once. Me, Ron, a guy names Gary Braggary and Doug Gordan were going to go. Ron was surprised I actually wanted to go, seeing how he knew about my fears of going places.

It wasn’t more than a few minutes after I had woken up that we all piled into the car to go. Mexico was only about an hour away from where we lived, but it felt like such a far journey, for me, especially since I had never been there before. It always seemed strange to me the way it feels the first time you go to a new place. It seems there is an uneasy silence between you and the world. Almost like you both don’t know what to say to each other for a mile long second.

The group of guys I was with spelled trouble. Gary Braggary was a loud boisterous kid who wanted to go absolutely insane in life. He wasn’t insane though by any definition of the word, he was just loud and obnoxious and did all of life’s little conformities as colorful as he possibly could. He would just yell things out like Cooooooll !! AWesome!! That’s soo cool! Even though you knew he really didn’t think what was said was cool. He just was a ball of energy yelling things out. He thought of himself to be an artist and played guitar and drums. He did have natural talent for both, but the depths of his playing and mental ability were slim. Most of the time he copied something he had heard from someone else. He would ask me if I recognized what he had just played, most of the time I didn’t. Then he would go on to explain how good this band was and how they were Gods. By the sound of what he played though I wasn’t too interested.

Doug Gordan, however, was another story he was definitely bad news. Doug was a Hispanic guy who grew up in the barrio of San Juan Capistrano. Somehow Ron had met Doug and let him into the group as he had let me. Ron always patted himself on the back for finding new and interesting people he could live his life through vicariously. Doug was one of the people that caused me not to trust Ron’s judgments anymore. Doug had the spirit of a rat. He was conniving and evil eyed, every second of the day. His spirit was trampled with the inconsistencies of this life and he held some of the most vile personality traits at the pinnacle of his pyramid. He was a criminal and had been in and out of jail a few times and now he was coming with us to Mexico.

I wasn’t certain about what was going to happen but I knew I was in for something with this group of hoodlums. Between Gary’s uncontrollable fits of unintelligible passion, Doug’s criminality and Ron’s desire to live through everyone he met, I figured I was in for a ride and I might as well just gone home. I fell asleep in the car and we arrived at the boarder of Mexico.

When I awoke we all got out of the car. The three goons told me to hide my money in my shoes and socks and separate it out. I had heard stories, but I did not realize that Mexico was so dangerous. My mind began to think of myself ending up trapped in a Mexican prison afraid. I put the money in the sock and continued to walk to the border. We walked through a big cylindrical steal gate and we were in. I had left America.

I looked up at the sky in Mexico, it looked the same. I looked at the ground and I was in a completely new land only fifteen paces away from the country I was once standing in. The spiritual poetry in this land was much different. It had a more raw tone to it, and this was just the beginning of a vast land that stretched out before me. I looked back at America and thought about it how I forget the country apart of my everyday life. I thought of the traffic jams phony smiles, and social constructs. I looked over at Mexico and could tell it had characteristics of its own. It was a very different place.

I wanted to stand at the border and look back and forth for a few minutes but the guys ushered me onward. Everything was dirty in Mexico there was no mass organization for governmental clean up crews. Things were only cleaned up if absolutely necessary. I looked around at this foreign land completely shocked that it existed. We walked down the street and saw people selling silly trinkets that tourists sometimes bought from them, in hopes that they could afford a meal. I bet at one time some young Mexican entrepreneur had an idea to sell these kinds of things and made a million dollars off them. Now everyone came to try and do the same thing and it just looked like it was unprofitable amidst the thousands of people standing along the side of the dirty roads carrying the same junk.

It must have been unprofitable because nearly dozens of children wandered up to our legs and asked for some change. I looked down at them and into their eyes. I looked all around and felt disgusted that these kids were forced to do this to live. They had no way of questioning what they were doing. They were just poor and their Mom’s and Dad’s told them they had to do it to eat.

I felt bad for them and I gave one of them some money, but more and more just came and begged me. It was like an infinite pack of seagulls at the beach. If you feed one then millions come and want to be fed, and there just isn’t enough to go around, and they start to get aggressive. I felt bad and had to start rejecting them as I walked. Ron and Gary laughed at me for giving some money and said a rude remark about how dumb the people are here.

I just let it slide but the truth is it was a sad situation and it permeated my soul. I couldn’t just come into this place and be all smiles like they were. The reason why so many people probably get robbed in Tijuana is because Americans like these hoodlums come into their country and smile and laugh, showing how well off they are, all the while they are in the midst of tiny starving children. It was a bright burning contrast to see these spoiled American rich kids against the backdrop of a starving decaying third world country.

All the stories I had heard of people robbed in Mexico were making sense to me now. We continued to walk and we went up a tightly wound upwards cylindrical pathway that reached a bridge crossing a freeway. The bridge took forever to get up. It would have been easier just to make stairs instead of such a long spiral pathway. I thought for a moment about engineering in America and was pleased that things like this were taken into account. I started noticing all over that there were buildings built in odd fashions that were obviously unsafe or just bizarre and illogical.

The whole land looked like something out of a fantasy book, nothing added up like it did in America. Things were random and sporadic. When we were on the bridge I noticed houses on the horizon that almost looked like we could be in America, but little things were different and gave it a totally different feel.

We got down off of the bridge going down yet another spiral pathway, which led out to Tijuana. There was an expanse in what seemed to be a courtyard were on holidays it looked like people came to party.

We walked through the center of it talking about it all and Ron suddenly said “Hey let’s go to a strip club.” All the other guys let out an evil laugh and we were off to find a strip club.

We walked down the main street and everywhere we went people were trying to get us to come into their bars and restaurants. Mexican men would stand at the door and try and say catchy things to us get us to go inside. They trampled us with enticements from every direction.

“Hey you guys, want to see some girls man?”

“Hey amigo, you want to buy some beer?”

“Amigo we sell you five of these for a dollar”

“Amigo Amigo Amigo”

All of them were trying so desperately to make a buck. They were more boisterous than the billboards that clutter the skyline of L.A. The road was paved and there was a steady stream of cars. You could tell those Mexicans apart who were in some kind of crime business by the cars they drove. They were gangster cars flashy and expensive, just like all the gangsters in the world who have made their success through deviant means.

The road was long and there were two story buildings lining the left and right side of the road in a straight line for about 2 miles. We were on the Tijuana strip. While walking and talking about where we would eat and what places we would go to, we noticed a guy laying in the gutter. None of the locals even seemed to notice him though, as if this were a common occurrence. Ron Gary and Doug laughed when they saw the man.

“Pffff  hehe, what happened to that guy? Haha”

“I dunno he got fucked up,” said Doug cackling to himself.

Ron walked along with his mouth opened obviously in awe of the broken man. I looked down at the man. I think he was dead or nearly on his way. He had an extremely mangled leg, which was turned completely around backwards. His foot was facing behind him and his head was lying directly on the curb. I pitied his injuries as I looked down at my arm in its sling. I realized how lucky I was to receive medical attention for my ailments. The man looked like he was a hobo and had not showered for months. It was the end for this hobo, or so it looked.

We continued to wander down the street and I noticed the guys kept looking over their shoulders, the uneasy feeling of a dying man was pulling at all of our backs. It felt like the man was reaching with his last ounce of spirit and scraping our shoulders, and grabbing our necks. We kept walking without an idea of what to do for him. We were not locals in this area, we didn’t know what the deal was. We walked on and sat down at a restaurant. A fruity waiter named Pierre came over and was talking to us like we had sat down in some fancy restaurant. The restaurant was nothing compared to a McDonalds in America, however they had alcohol and we were 18. There was no one in the restaurant and we bargained the guy’s prices down. We drank cheap Mexican beers until we got a little buzz and decided to find a strip club.

“Hey man you want to see some girls?”

We approached one of the human billboards

“Yea man you got some pretty women in there?”

“Ohh the finest amigo come with me”

We walked down dark stairways that had been painted black. I instantly did not like the feel of the place, I felt trapped in this uncomfortable environment. We were not safe inside of there, however, Ron, Doug, and Gary were too stupid to realize that. I sat in a chair with a weary eye looking and examining everyone in the dark, cigarette stained, and dreary room. The Mexican workers brought us some drinks and there was a young female dancing on stage. She was topless, her brown skin reflecting tacky lights that hung from the ceiling to illuminate her naked body. She danced for us trying to get some money, everything here is done for money, and money is never forgotten. She walked over to Doug and whispered something in his ear and pulled him onto the stage. He went with her in a half daze as she rubbed her hands all over him. She laid him down on the stage and began to rub her body all over him.

I felt embarrassed like I was some kind of pervert watching this happen to my friend. Ron and Gary looked on like it was no big deal. I just kind of put my head down watching out of the corner of my eye. We all figured she would rub herself on him a little longer and than send him back to his seat and he would pay her some amount. Instead she started putting her hand in his pants and exposed him to us. As she bent down to begin sucking his penis, I immediately was over the whole thing and overwhelmed with panic. I stood up to leave. I had no desire to see the anatomy of my friend nor to watch a prostitute get him off, trapped in this box of Mexican greed. Ron and Gary sat amazed by the whole thing. As I found the stairs in the dark room a big Mexican came over to me and said I owed five dollars for the drinks I drank. I didn’t drink any drinks, but I could tell this was trouble so I just gave him five bucks and left.

As I crept out of the dark cave of sin, I waited up top on the curb with all the drug dealers and peddlers that stood outside. The guy at the door came over to me and asked why I left? I said I just didn’t like it in there. He gave me a weird look and asked me if I was gay. I laughed and said no, for a second I felt the need to explain myself to him but I just let it go. Just as I let that slide another Mexican came up to me and asked me if I wanted to buy any cocaine or heroin. I had never been propositioned to buy these kinds of drugs before in my life. I just said no thank you. I laughed at myself using my please and thank yous taught by my mother to deny the purchasing of heroine. God I was a dumb white boy in a weird world. I waited at the top of the stairs looking up at the sky and the ground wondering what was going on in this world alone and anxious with no one who understood me in Mexico. I felt like I had been blasted out of earth’s orbit onto a foreign moon full of famine and disgust.

After about 15 minutes the rest of the group came out of the pit and they all forced grins on their faces. None of them were truly having a good time. None of them were ever truly having a good time. Even moreso I thought I saw a tinge of shame in Ron, Gary’s and perhaps even Doug’s eyes… as they knew full well why I had left. It would become a dividing line in our friendship for years to come. The flicker of remorse was gone after they faced me and they smiled because they had done something they felt they were supposed to do. They all cracked jokes at Doug. Doug got his new nickname that day. He was now called STD. While meandering down the street Ron decided we should get a picture taken with a donkey that had been painted like a zebra. We all were given hats and we posed for the picture. I couldn’t help but notice the horrible care for this donkey. He looked almost as if he was rotting from the inside out, and the appearance of wear was reaching his surface. I was given a hat that said I’m drunk on it. I don’t know if it was that or the smell of the donkey, but I realized I was thoroughly tired from all I had seen and done in the last two days. I wanted to go home.

I had faced graduating, I had faced grad night and being stuck all night in a place I did not know where it would lead, and lastly I had left the country. I was eighteen and I felt good but scared and now I just wanted to taste my sweet home. At that thought I began to propose we head back to the border. The other guys were not as easy to convince of that notion, we had only been in Mexico for about 3 hours. They agreed to head back in that general direction of the border ya’ know, but first we would get something to eat. On the way back we stopped at a taco stand. There was a musty dry smell mixed in with beef, and fried corn tortillas, it floated in the air and mixed with the Mexico smell.

Authentic Mariachi music was playing on a small radio, which sat on the counter where the chef was cooking. There was meat hanging on a pole and a dirty butcher knife was clinging to the carcass. The sun beat down hard and it was now about  3:00 o’clock. Doug, Ron, and Gary decided to get something to eat. I passed on the notion for it didn’t look that good to me. Also the dead man we had passed on the way here was about 200 feet away and I could see him where we left him. His image still lingered in my mind.

The poor Mexican kids must have radar for who they think they can get money from because they seem to ask me more than any of the other guys. When the three amigos food was done we all sat down at a table in front of the taco stand. One particularly spry young Mexican beggar continued to ask for money, however, he did it in a different way than the other kids. This young kid attempted to be our friend and wanted to really impress us. He began to speak to us in what little English he knew. Doug growing impatient with the begging children missed the point of this and told the kid to get lost in Spanish. The kid cursed back at Doug in Spanish and all of us laughed, for we all knew he had one-upped him.

Doug responded back by asking the kid if he liked chili peppers. The kid answered yes thinking he might get a bite to eat. Doug than responded by telling the kid in Spanish to suck on his chile. Doug, Ron, and Gary laughed and even I kinda smiled, but only because the kid got so angry and raised his fist to Doug cursing at him.

After we had made our way back past the dead guy over the windy bridge and through the walkway of cheap trinkets and begging children, we had made it back, back to America. I walked on the land with a different understanding of what I was standing on, and finally I felt like maybe I did want to leave my house and travel places, yet I still had not completely let go. I could see America for what it was, and the things I didn’t like about it. It’s hard to see what’s wrong with a situation when you have never experienced anything but that situation. I arrived home and relaxed into my computer and than I fell asleep.

Hook Up

Ch. 8

It was a summer day and here I was working at Longs drugs store again. I was scheduled to work from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. These were my most hated hours to work. Working from 1-9 p.m. ruined all possibilities for the day. Not only could I not do anything earlier in the day, because I usually woke up at 12:00 p.m. but when I got out from work all my friends were already off doing something.

“Fox please come to the aisle 13 for a 77.” I looked up towards the speaker-god that was ordering my service, and reluctantly walked to aisle 13. There was my manager standing waiting for me. Andre, my manager, was a pudgy hispanic guy who was about thirty years old. He had been working at Longs since he was 14, ever since he got out of juvi. He had a lot of street smarts, which were of absolutely of no use to him in South Orange County. Aisle thirteen here I am, feminine hygiene aisle I might add.

‘Foxy’ my manager said, ‘we need you to straighten up this aisle and then move over to the toy aisle ok?’ He said all of this with a happy yet somehow evil smile on his face. He liked me over other workers yet he treated everyone with this same attitude. “

“Sure thing Andrea,” I shot back at him a smile. So here I am on a Friday night dying to get out of work and who am I spending all my time with? – tampons and feminine-lubricants. At one point when I first worked here this may have amused me, however, now I just saw these things as diapers, and I didn’t care. About half way through my straightening a fellow worker/friend came with a cart of items to stack on the end of the aisle.

“psss” he called “Fox what’s up?”

“Hey buddy what’s going on?” I replied.

Brandon was an absolutely horrible worker and had been almost fired three times. As a matter of fact I believe all the managers were just waiting for him to do one thing wrong and he was out of there. He was real dumb, but really, he was a somewhat decent guy. One time we had to get hangars from the storage room up in the attic and somehow he ran into a pole that was up there and got knocked out. I remember all I heard was a huge ringing noise like someone had shook the foundation of the store. When I turned around Brandon was laid flat out on his back with a cut on his head.

“Hey,” Brandon spoke up, half stacking half talking. “I got myself a new job.”

“Oh yea where at?”

“Down in the harbor at a jet ski rental place. It’s so cool all you do is work in the harbor, drive jet skis, get a tan and talk to hot chicks all day.” At that moment the wheels in my head began to turn.

Then I said, “Oh yea why are you still working here then?”

He shrugged and said, “I figure I should put my two weeks in before I leave.”

This response nearly made my jaw drop, because if I knew anything about this guy he would have just ran out at first chance he could. I began to doubt the whole jet ski thing altogether.

“Well” I said, “I really need a new job you think he’s hiring anymore?”

“Yea the guy is so cool he is hiring about two more people for the summer. I already got my friend Don a job, you know Don right?” I thought for a second.

“Ummmm, no I don’t believe I know who he is, anyways… well damn I want to go over there and try to get a job?”

“K, well I will give you my number tonight and we will go over there tomorrow ok?” said Brandon.

That was that I landed myself a new job, free from the bright lights and disgusting, anxious ant like feeling of Longs Drugs Stores. I was free! I was new! I was at a jet ski rental shop. The days at the rental shop were easier than Longs, yet my troubled mind was still having troubles just existing.

My new boss was something of a surprise, for I had never met anyone quite like him. He was a tall lanky guy who seemed to strike fear in all of my friends who worked with me. He had a Clint Eastwood air about him and with everything he said he seemed to be threatening from behind his dark sunglasses. He was a true man. However, the guy was a complete and total wuss. He was a whiner and everything had to be done in just such a way or he would get pissed and show his “manliness.” I still liked the guy though and laughed at all of his very un-ironic jokes that he constantly shelled out. Also I pretended to be very interested about his fire-man days. It seemed to be of utmost importance, for only the best of the best become South Orange County firemen.

He treated us like we were his fire workers and he was the fire chief. It makes sense I guess. What other experience did the guy have to compare to, to run his business? On weekends he would make us drag all the jet skis out of the water and the hydro boat to clean them from top to bottom. We were at the fire station cleaning the fire truck, making it shine that rich red.

My head however, was in a different place. I was in the sunlight getting paid in the harbor, learning about jet skis. It wasn’t long before Bill could tell out of all the knuckleheads that worked there that I was aware. Bill was always trying to sum up a man’s character and he would tell me about what he thought of certain people. Usually he was pretty close to what I felt about the person he would speak of too, so this lead me to believe somewhere in his old fart heart he liked me.

Slowly, he gave me more responsibility and began to allow me to come and open up the store on my own in the morning. This was good but, being aware makes responsibility more of an issue. I remember feeling uneasy about the whole thing. I remember the first time I came and opened up the shop. I arrived at the harbor and parked my car out in front of the railing, above the dock, where all the jet skis were located. I got out of my car and stretched my arms. It was 7:00 o’clock. I took a deep breath in. Cool salty air blew across my face. I put the hood of my sweater over my head and looked out over the expanse of the harbor. The thick smell of a harbor was surrounding my spirit, saltwater, dirty oil from boats crept up my nose. It let me know where I was. The noises were as strange as any as well. Seagulls rang in my ears as they darted across the sky and the plump plump plump plump blu blump of regurgitating bubbles; idling boats encompassed my mind.

Every once in a while a guy from the docks could be heard mumbling something to someone else and a loud horn of a boat beginning to leave for some destination would sound. No matter what, through all these noises, it was peaceful here. The sky was grey and overcast and the water reflected its greyness and everything around had a grey hew. The feeling was such a contrast from my normal day to day life. I became a little frightened at first noticing it, thinking to myself once again of where I was in the world and it’s ok because my home is right there and I’m not far from it. I was constantly trying to understand this world and to prove that things existed. Alone in the harbor seemed to magnify these thoughts as I worked with my brain, half focused on my work, and the other half focused on trying to figure out what this movie of life was all about.

After setting up the jet skis, I would go and fill them up. At first I hated doing this, because I was immobile/physically stuck once I got on a jet ski as I made my way over to the fuel station. I was timid about riding the jet skis, because once you were riding on them you couldn’t just hop off. This was a major dilemma for me. I decided not to think about this though, because I really wanted to ride them anyways. After working here for some time my apprehension waned and I began to get very familiar with the jet skis and finally all timidity subsided.

One night as I was locking up the whole place and putting everything away, a thought came into my head.

What if I stole all the jet-skis right now and sold them.

This thought frightened me completely because I could not think of a good enough reason as to why I should not do such a thing. The responsibility weighed on me. Even though I did not once falter and attempt to steal these jet skis, the idea was a burden unto me. I remember the same thing happened when I got my driver’s license.

What if I just crashed the car right now while I was driving?

These kinds of thoughts plagued me and I could never find a good enough answer that would make me feel secure as to why I shouldn’t follow these impulses. As I was driving home, I was going over and over in my head why I shouldn’t steal the jet skis and I even went to sleep thinking about this over and over again. I was stuck and the idea haunted me for a few weeks as I worked at the jet ski rental shop. It was a completely silly idea, yet it was a very big problem. I even told my Dad about this idea that was bothering me and how this happens to me with different things and I can’t seem to shake them. No amount of reasoning ever felt like a satisfactory answer. He laughed a little at my troubles, but still took them very seriously as they frightened me, and told me not to worry about it, and that I would never follow through with any of these worries. Then he reminded me about when I was kid. When I was five years old, I got the words ‘Fuck God’ stuck in my head. What a strange thing for a five year old to get stuck in his head. Where did these things come from? I was depressed for weeks and water balloon fights meant nothing.

It didn’t help me very much. These same kinds of loops were what made me not want to baby-sit my sister or take on any other kind of responsibility. So many possibilities loomed in every situation. I completely feared responsibility. On top of that I was a complete wreck desperately trying to understand what life was and where I was headed in the huge scheme, afraid to go anywhere and actually see it all. I was truly feeling the burden of being at the age where you are required to finally stick your neck out and live. The only thing is you don’t know if you are sticking your neck out on an executioner’s chopping block, or just sticking it out the window for a peaceful car drive through the forest.

Golden Ticket

Ch. 9

Sitting in my room/dungeon in the middle of July, the phone rang, echoing through my chamber. My heart and spirits lifted as they do when the phone rings engorged by the excitement of who could it be. Brininininggni it rang again, I paused from the game I was playing, reached over to where the phone was sitting, hitting the talk button.

“Hello” the familiar voice of Austen Fieldcrest responded back to me from the unknown.

“Hey dude, what’s up?” I replied

“Not much.”

“What are you up to?”

“Nothing,” he responded. “I was just calling to tell you that you have been invited to come with me and my family to the Grand Cayman islands in August. My parents wanted to invite you as sort of a graduation present, or senior trip or whatever you know? Don’t worry about paying all expenses are paid for, airplane ticket and hotel room and so forth.” I paused inside hearing his words, my heart dropped and anxiety was raised up. In my head I thought to myself ‘what has happened to me?’ I use to always love the idea of going on a trip to a foreign place, I use to kick myself that I had only been to only one other state and now I don’t even want to leave my home, and I’m afraid too!

“Matt are you there?”Austen was patiently waiting for my expected excited response.

“Oh yea, sure I would love to go, thank you for asking me man. Tell your parents thank you, and that it is very nice of them to ask me. I really can’t believe it.” there was a pause again and then I said, “Hey I would love to talk to you about this more but I have to go eat dinner right now I will call you later ok?”

Austen sounding a little suspicious of my response simply said “OK I will talk to you later.”

Immediately I ran to my calendar and checked to see how long I had until I was going on this trip to the other side of the world, which would be sure to destroy me and swallow my consciousness. I was positive if I went on a trip like this one I would crack. It was at this moment of realization that I completely knew I was not well and that I was extremely paranoid of life and I was sure I would crack. I was a basket case.

Ok I have about a month until I am leaving on this trip. I felt a warm swarm of panic come over me as though I was being eaten from every limb. My belching brain stung and the more I thought of it the higher my intensity became. It was not a thought that caused me to be so fearful nor was it some feedback reason loop, it was just that I could feel the heaviness of the whole universe laid upon me, and no reasoning could make it feel any better.

I looked up maps on the Internet to try and understand where it was I was going in the world, however, looking at the maps did not make me feel any better this time. I was going into the unknown by myself, with people that I would not have any control over at all. I would be pushed around and my opinions would be lost in the mix, I would be fake and phony and false, then why did I still feel any desire to go, and to put myself through this?

Two sides were warring within me. One wanted to hide from the world, to quit, and to die. Another side edged me on and told me to break on through, break on through to the other side. When my mom got home I told her the good/bad news, she said she understood my worries, but it was important for me to go on this trip, she mentioned how it was kind of the Fieldcrest’s to invite me on such a trip and that if I went I would have a good time. The only thing that seemed to worry her was, what if my arm came out of socket yet again in such a foreign impoverished country. I was not concerned with this at all. I was just angry that out of someone’s kindness, I could not say no to a trip that I felt was certain to push me to the limits and break myself into a raving lunatic.

For now I decided to try and not think about it, even though this was near impossible to do. I felt like a small child at a theme park, waiting to go on Montezuma’s Revenge, afraid, being hurled out into space alone on this small rock in the universe, alone! ‘For now I will not think about this’ I thought, ‘maybe I won’t go, I can’t go! Ok I will make my decision a week before I go.’

The days dwindled down as they always do and I continued to work at the harbor throughout the summer. I became quite efficient at opening the store and slowly I was beginning to gain confidence that I was not going to steal all the jet skis even though I had the key to the lock. One day while working Corey came down to the harbor. I spotted Corey from a distance as he was walking up to the booth. I thought about waving, but I was in the midst of giving a brief tutorial on how to wear life jackets properly to an extremely white family from the mid-west.

“This strap goes around your waste and this one you just buckle right here like this.” I said. Corey approached and sat listening. Briefly I turned to Corey and acknowledged him. “Hey man what’s up? I’ll talk to you in half a second.”

“Ok” Corey replied. I walked the family down to the docks and gave further tutorials about how to ride the jet ski, what button does what, what not to do, and than I launched them out in the water. I am amazed it is legal to launch some of these people into the open ocean on motorized vehicles. No hand eye coordination or any idea of how to work a machine and no mental capabilities to help them out. However, nonetheless we would launch anyone out there, and they would pay the hefty price of 100 dollars per hour. Also sometimes we would send out huge enormous people on these jet skis, and they would sink them or role them. Certainly they’re going to drown out there, I would think as I said Bon Voyage. They always made it back though it seemed. I only had to do a few rescues where an overweight family had taken out a jet ski and rolled it so viciously that the poor thing wouldn’t start anymore. Another time my predictions were right and a jet ski ran into a boat.

When I returned from launching the mid-west folks I looked for Corey and found that he had come to get an application and he wanted a job. Corey was talking to Bill who had been busying himself with searching through parts in the jet ski graveyard. When I approached the conversation seemed positive.

“Well I think we could use you” Bill said. “Sam what do you think about this here rascal? He claims you’re a friend of his. Should I employ him?” This was the same method Bill used to hire me. Bill had asked Brandon if he should hire me right in front of me, asking about my character and my honesty. It was almost as though I was signing a contract with him by my confession I made on Corey.

“Corey is a good guy. You should hire him if you need someone.” With that Corey was my new co-worker.

Working with Corey was better than working with Brandon. Brandon was such a mousey squirmish guy who wanted to live life to its fullest yet he was so empty. It wasn’t very hard for anything to fill his cup – it was so small. Corey on the other hand had some substance to himself and he had been a friend for quite some time. We fixed jet skis together and we even started to take the jet skis out after work when Bill had gone home early and let us lock up. One day after working Corey cleaned up and locked everything and decided to take the hydro boat out. Slowly we idled the squirrelly jet ski/boat out of the harbor and finally we reached the open ocean. With life jackets on and hands clenched to the handle bars, Corey pushed the throttle down. The boat made a slow arch to lift itself out of the water as our speed increased. The air was cold and the sun had almost gone down. Corey and I had roughly about fifteen minutes to ride this thing before we had to go in.

The water was choppy and the wind was blowing on shore. Resisting the chop Corey pushed the throttle all the way down and the water sprayed in our faces soaking us. The fast little boat bounced up and down as we sped along the ocean. Then quickly Corey turned the wheel and the whole boat did a sharp 180 degree turn splashing water all over in the opposite direction. Corey did this several times and then stopped.

“Hahahhaha! This is so fun, this boat is awesome.” Corey said.

“I know I love this thing. Let me drive. How do you do it?” Corey showed me how to work the throttle and I was off. I was truly having a good time at this moment. I looked to my left, I careened the boat with smoothness. I rode up and down the waves and made wavy lines as I drove the boat. I looked up at the sky and down to the shore where the beach lay and I watched people who were walking on the sand.

What an amazing life this is I thought.

The sun was going down and it was time to go in. I drove the boat back into the harbor. Once in the docks Corey fastened it to the dock and I parallel parked it. The shop was all closed up and Corey and I headed to our cars.

“See ya’ later dude.”

“Adios”.

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