Underground Radio

In 2118 all music had been made illegal 30 years ago by the Administration. The Administration had decreed “Music promotes diversity. Diversity is the enemy. One nation, one race, one people.”

When the Administration made the law it did everything it could to purge the country of anything related to music. Wood instruments like guitars, violins and cellos were burned in massive public fires. Wind instruments that were metal like Trumpets got smelted into new guns and bullets for the police and the army. Record stores were burned down and every iPod and mp3 player was smashed. Conductors were dragged from their beds and shot. Music teachers were sent to either dig ditches or prison, they at least got a choice.

Because there was no music all other self expression was practically non existent, but the Administration always made it clear that self expression itself was not banned, just music. However one could not tell that self expression was still allowed because everyone practically dressed the same. A pair of slacks and a t-shirt. That was what everyone wore, no dresses skirts shorts, not even swim suits when they went to the beach. Slacks and a t-shirt. The one avenue of self expression was that you got to choose what color of shirt you wanted. Some people choose red, others yellow, some had just given up on that and just wore brown to match the slacks.

The only people who got to dress differently were the police, military, and members of the Administration. The first two wore standard uniforms, but the administration was different, they all wore suits. The men in the administration wore top of the line hand tailored suits. The women wore pant suits of the same quality. No one in the administration ever dared wear anything but their nice suits(they would never be caught dead dressing like a civilian).

But still, the Administration stuck to its motto: ‘One Nation, One race, One people.”

The tailors all worked for the Administration making their suits, but even they were only allowed to dress as civilians. Dave’s father was a tailor, and he lived with his dad across the street from the shop. Dave would watch people file in and out of the store in their jackets and ties and Dave would hate them, and he hated them when he had to work in the shop.

Dave’s father used to play in a punk band. Dave never heard punk music, or any music, but everything about it sounded wonderful. His father told him the stories of the songs they would play, about the concerts and these things called “mosh pits” He heard stories about wild hair cuts dyed all sorts of colors, about people who were so into this scene they would get holes punctured in their face in order to put pieces of jewelry into their lips, eyebrows, and even their tongues. Dave was lucky to have a father who remembered what life was like before the Administration banned music. Very lucky.

On Dave’s 19th birthday, his father said he had a present for him, but they would have to go out of the house to get it.

“Dad,” Dave said worried, “You know that the Administration moved the curfew time up to 10pm right? Anyone caught outside their house without military clearance is immediately…”

“Shot.” Dave’s father finished for him. “Yes I know, that’s why I have been waiting to tell you.” His father took a deep breath and sighed. “David,” His father began, “You are an adult now. When you were a boy, I was always worried. Worried that something may happen to me and then that would mean something happened to you. I would never be able to live with myself if I lost you the way I lost…”

Dave knew he was talking about his mom, and he also knew his dad did not like talking about it, so Dave just nodded to show he understood, and his father moved on.

“It’s why I became a tailor for the Administration. I had to distance myself from that past I always told you about. But now that you are old enough, old enough to protect yourself, it’s time that I share this with you.”

“What?” Dave asked.

“Just wait son,” his father replied. “And happy birthday.”

When it was 9:30, Dave’s father told him that it was time to go. “Go where?” Dave asked. His father told him nothing except that they needed to hurry.

They went out the back door of the house through the alley to avoid being seen by the street cameras. The Administration had cameras everywhere but the alleys for some reason, so that was where the underhanded did their dealings. Dave’s father took him on what felt like a maze of concrete and trash, zigzagging all the way across the city. They turned a corner went one way, then turned a corner to do the opposite, until finally they hit a dead end.

The dead end was just a giant brick wall with a pile of trash underneath a large arch by the wall. Dave was confused when his dad told him to be quiet, and then his father kicked the pile of trash three times. The bags of trash and stack of wooden debris sounded hollow when he hit them with his foot. Dave moved back with a jolt when the pile started to rise revealing it had been on top of a door. The door popped up like a garage door to reveal a long set of concrete stairs that appeared to lead to the cellar of this black building they were by, but as the stairway disappeared into the darkness it seemed like the steps went on forever.

“Come on” his father said, pulling out a flashlight from his pocket.

They walked down the stairs and into the darkness with the spot of light to guide them. As the went down the stairs Dave could hear the trash door close behind them with a thud that echoes in whatever cellar they were in. The echo was large though, too large for just one cellar. When they got to the bottom of the stars they had reached a corridor of a tunnel, a long brick tube that stretched in either direction for miles. David and his father started walking down the tunnel and as they did the echoes of their feet began to be drowned out by other noises, noises that Dave had never heard before.

As they walked to the noise it had gotten louder. Dave could not tell what it was but it was a sound that intrigued him rather than terrified him. It was rhythmic and fast, and the closer they got the more they could hear voices along with the pacing rhyme.

Eventually Dave could hear what it was, his father was already singing along, Dave had never heard singing before.

“Neat, Neat, Neat.”

Then more of the rhythmic interlude. Then the voices again “Neat! Neat! Neat!”

“Neat! Neat! Neat!” Then with a sudden burst of sound then it had ended. “The Damned,” was all his father said to David. Before Dave could ask him what that meant suddenly another one started, again with his father singing along at first.

“I want to be classified, I want to be stereotyped!” Rang out from a distance, and it grew louder and louder with each step.

Dave could not help but bob his head along with his father, not knowing what he was doing or what he was listening to, but he knew that the more he could hear it the more he liked it, and he was hearing it clearer with every step.

“I want a… SUBURBAN HOME! SUBURBAN HOME! SUBURBAN HOME!”

The noises grew louder until finally they reached a metal door on the left side of the tunnel. The noises that they were enjoying seemed to come from this one room. Dave’s father knocked on it the same way that he had the garbage door, three times with his foot, and the door opened, but the door was opened by a person with blue hair that looked like spikes and a piece of metal sticking through their eyebrow, exactly as Dave’s dad had described to him.

The song was peaking and coming to it’s conclusion as Dave and his father entered the room, which was filled with people dressed like they were from the stories he had grown up with. The sounds were coming out of this little wooden box with a dial and speakers on it. Dave’s father told him that it was a radio and what they were listening to was Punk rock. The musicians that had just been playing were called the Descendants, according to Dave’s father, and there were plenty more songs to be played.

Dave’s father went around introducing his son to the people, some of them were people Dave recognized, even though they were wearing things that had long been banned. Torn jeans, military shorts, thick boots, and piercings and hairstyles that were impossible to imagine on the Administration’s surface world. Yet it didn’t prevent Dave from recognizing Mary who ran the corner grocery store by their tailor shop, or Phil, who even though he had a ring in his nose could still be placed as the physics teacher from the high school.

After Dave’s father had properly shown him around he told him that the box with the speakers was a radio, an antique from sometime in the 20th century. “What they used to do is have things called radio stations, and they would play songs. The stations would then transmit these songs through the air, and these radio things would pick up the signals and play the songs the station was playing.”

Dave then learned that this was what they were doing, listening to radio, and they were listening to the punk rock radio station, being run out of a different spot underground just like this one. “There are lots of us David.” His father told him, “and not just Punk Rockers either. There is an underground Hip Hop radio station, a Classical radio station, a show-tunes station!” Dave didn’t know what any of those things were, but he was just glad to finally experience Punk Rock because it was everything as his dad had described. Fast paced, energetic, and full of the most expressive people you could ever see.

The station had begun to play a different band and song, and on a loop the radio was screaming ‘I fought the law and the… LAW WON. I fought the law and the… LAW WON!”

The night had been the greatest birthday present Dave could receive, and he was even more thrilled when he found out they would be going back every night. “The administration can ban music,” his father told him when they returned home. “But they will never stop it.”

Each night for the next six weeks Dave was brought to the underground listening station where they rocked out and mingled with like minded punk rockers. For one night at a time people would shed their civilian dress and put on clothes from a bin in the corner which held jeans of all sizes, black t-shirts with holes and giant A’s on them in a circle. There were also studded belts and shoes. Some people took this chance to dress up, others just came for the music. Dave just came for the music.

One night the station was playing a female lead punk band called Bikini Kill. Dave was enjoying the gritty vocals and rapid guitars, but he could not help but notice his dad was not himself that night. Normally his dad was very sociable at the Underground. He would usually be off in the corner chatting with some of the civilians he recognized from their neighborhood. Tonight though he was sort of slow, down and moping. He just shuffled around nodding at people when they said hello and looked at his feet.

Dave went up to him. “Dad,” he said. “What’s wrong?”

He looked up at his son. He did not say anything at firs. At first he just put a hand on the back of his son’s head. Then finally with wide watery eyes he said, “This really does mean you’re grown up. I kept you from this because this, all of this…” he trailed off as he looked around at the people moshing or the neighbors shedding their t-shirts in exchange for their chains and studs. Then Dave’s father gave a deep sigh. “You know how big of a risk this all is right?”

Dave was about to say yes but then, almost as if on queue, there was giant explosion somewhere that shook the entire Underground. The radio was almost knocked off its stand, but was saved as the people nearby it caught themselves on it to keep from falling when the shock wave came. The bricks and mortar all around them danced. Still the music was playing, but something was wrong and everyone knew it.

The fast paced drums on the radio playing were being drowned out by different thudding rhythm. “One two One two.” That was coming from the hall and echoing throughout the tunnel.

They grew louder and louder as if there were more of them coming with each beat. Everyone seemed to realize what was coming all at once. They were trapped, the only way into the room was the only way out, and everyone knew what that beat in the hallway was. It was the rhythm that can only come from boots marching. It was the Administration’s army, and they were closing in on them.

Suddenly the steps all came to a stop at once. Within the next second the metal door was hit with a different rhythm. “BANG!” A beat, then “BANG!” Another beat. Then with the third “BANG!” the battering ram had shoved the door in, and the troopers began to swarm. They flank left right and center as they entered the doorway to keep anyone from getting away. They filled the room from corner to corner. Even when they had the whole room flanked, they kept pouring in, and soon enough the beatings started.

With the thuds of rifles came the the screams of everyone begging for mercy. ( Pleading that they would come peacefully.) Some got the butts of riffles plowed into there stomach or smacked across their noses. Skulls were cracked under the weights of a soldier’s boots as some people fell. Others were lucky enough to hit their head on the brick floor before getting away. The luckiest were the ones who took a bullet to the brain when some of the soldiers opened fire.

Dave and his father were near one of the flanked corners and each grabbed the butts of rifles as soldiers took swings at them. Dave’s father used the moment to butt his head into the guard’s while swiftly kicking him in the crotch. That soldier went down just before three shots from the other side of the room cut into Dave’s father. One of them made it all the way through his chest and ended up cutting Dave in the back of the leg, sending him to the ground.

“Dad!” Dave screamed back.

But his father said nothing, he just lied there bleeding out.

The song kept playing amidst the gun fire and the screams. Dave just lay there on the ground as bullets whizzed over his head. He tried dragging himself closer to his father only to be blocked by the body of Joan from the pharmacy when she collapsed thanks to the bullet now in her brain.

Dave just lay there, trying to make the most of his impeded view of his father. Trying to think of some way out of here. But the pain in his leg was too great, and for some reason the darkness was growing around him. He couldn’t keep his eyes open much longer.

The darkness was growing around Dave as the song kept playing. The music didn’t stop until one of the soldiers finally kicked over the radio and smashed it.

When the music stopped was finally when Dave let the darkness consume him.

Gramercy, The Journey of Jack Lewis. Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 Fun Playing God

Needless to say our star crossed lovers spent that night in each others arms.  In fact they had spent every night for the last three weeks in each others arms.  Never had either one been so happy, so warm, so full of joy. Kate was used to men being douche-bags, but she felt Jack was soft and sweet, but so masculine at the Same time. Plus she wanted to take care of him. She felt she understood him, and the world didn’t. The world just locked him up.  But she wouldn’t shun him, she wouldn’t hurt him.  And Jack knew this, and for the first time in his life he felt comforted and at peace.  What Jack couldn’t believe was how much light and change had come into his life, in a single night.

They awoke each day at her apartment.  A studio a few blocks away from Hal and Conners home.    This morning, he heard her sing in the shower, she was singing “God’s gonna cut you down” by Johnny Cash and Jack was simply intoxicated by the beauty of her voice.  

While lost in her song, he danced about her apartment and by her impressive bookshelf.  Upon which he decided to grab a book and lose himself in both her voice and her books.  He walked the shelves until he found the one that struck his interest the most

He picked the one with the most worn out spine.  A collection of short stories by some author who had 17 manuscripts lying around from his teen years after he died.  “Clearly she reads this one a lot,” thought Jack, “I should get a sense for her taste in books if this is going to work out.”

He cracked open the book the first story and began, losing himself in Kate’s songs.

Fun Playing God

by *******************

*Authors Name Omitted for Liability

I am God.  I Control the heavens and the Earth.  I crafted and molded the peak of Everest and I spread the water across the seas.  Life is a canvas and all that is and all that you see is my masterpiece, the beauty of the stars and galaxies are my Mona Lisa, and the majesty of my creatures are my David.  Out of the billion and billions of my creations among my stars, Earth was my masterpiece, my requiem.  

Yet, when I created this Earth I found something was missing.  There was nobody to appreciate it but me.  I thought I was being selfish, so I created other beings, humans, to share these gifts.  I gave you the planet out of selflessness hoping that you would in turn bless another soul by returning the kindness of the Earth .  I also hoped that all would give to the Earth as it gave to them.  

But I was wrong.  You humans have raped my beautiful creation.  The earth has become a filthy scum ridden infestation.  Greed is as constant as oxygen.  My perfect blend of sea and land, unlike all the other planets, my perfect piece of art, my child, my greatest creation, full of evil. pain, and greed, all thanks to you.   Don’t worry, like most artists will tell you, when there is something wrong with a picture, you fix it.  Robert Louis Stevenson created three drafts until he perfected DR. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I just need to do the same to earth.  

Actually, you humans are doing that for me.  Climate Change , Depressions, Wars, disease, all because of your lack of responsibility.   You guys sort of took all the work out for me.

THE ANSWERS

What are the Answers?

Where are the answers?

Are they hidden?

Is there a definite answer?

Answer to what?

What is the question?

Do you know?

Does anyone know?

Who is anyone to say that they know?

I thought no one knows?

Maybe some do, and most of us don’t, so that’s why they are so hard to find?

But then how did those people find the answers?

I hear these so often, truth be told the answer is there is no answer.

YOU ARE NOT THE SUBJECTS OF A GRAND LEADER.  WE ARE EQUALS IN THIS WORLD. WE NEED THE BEGGAR AS WE MUCH AS WE NEED THE WORKER, FOR THERETO BE UP THEREMUST BE DOWN.  IF DOWN WAS ALWAYS DOWN, AND UP DIDN’T EXIST, DOWN WOULDN’T EXIST, BECAUSE DOWN WOULD ALWAYS BE DOWN, IT WOULD BE CONSTANT.  REMEMBER THIS, ALSO REMEMBER TO  SEE THROUGH THE PROPAGANDA EJACULATED TO YOU BY YOUR COMFORTERS.  LIVE BEYOND THE ILLUSION OF COMFORT, ONE FREE OF COMFORT AND DISCOMFORT IS TRULY AT PEACE.  THEY SEE THE WORLD AS IT IS.  

And so it was, the word of the lord.

Peace.

Love.

Happiness.

This was all there was supposed to be to life, but thanks to you cowardly fucks overcomplicating everything by creating your mirage.  You have destroyed what was Eden,and you bastards raped it to shreds.

When I look back I wonder what happened, I wonder how It came out of my grasp.

Let’s tell a few stories, maybe you can get my point.

With every believer there is a prayer, and all those prayers have to come to me, do you understand what it is like to have millions of voices in your heads at once?

Every prayer someone is almost always asking for something, rarely is it ever just one of thanks.  Some things I can help with and something’s I can’t.  I can’t make your dreams come true, I cannot grant wishes, I am merely a teacher, you are the own who must evaluate my lessons.

THERE IS NO DIVISION, THERE IS NO SEPARATION.  EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED, WE ARE ALL ONE, GIANT INFINITE BEINGs ALWAYS EXPANDING AND EVOLVING.    

WE ARE ALL ONE THING, THIS DIVISION IS SIMPLY A MIRAGE.  A MIRAGE THAT IF YOU FAIL TO SEE THROUGH, YOU WILL SUFFER, AND YOU WILL FAIL TO SEE THE SEPARATION OF SUFFERING AND JOY.  YOU WILL BECOME ADDICTED TO THE RUSH OF THE DEEDS BUT THE COMEDOWN OF SUFFERING IS FOREVER THE PRICE OF THIS HIGH.  ABANDON THE MIRAGE.  MIND IS THE FORERUNNER OF ALL ACTIONS.

And so it was, the word of the Lord.

Even an evildoer feels happy

Before his negative actions reach fruition.

However when the evil ripens

He will have a bountiful harvest of evil results.

The Dhammapada

I found how blind you humans are somewhat hilarious to be honest.  I look around at my children and I see them taking medicines which hurt and destroy them with chemicals and synthetics.  I gave you humans a bounty of medicine in nature.    I gave it to you free for the taking.  But because you people are blind deaf and dumb, you created more disease, more filth.  Having a beautiful clean world shouldn’t be a chore, it should be your joy.  I only have one earth, I thought that meant you’d appreciate it.

Perceive the world as a bubble.

Perceive the world as a mirage.

If you see the world in this way,

You render the Lord of Death powerless.

The Dhamapada

I willed for many a tragedy to happen.  I also will for every miracle, it entertains me to reward humans for their successes, and it satisfies me to punish you when you deserve it.  Your failures of classism, racism, and all the rest of your fuck ups, have been restituted with the deaths of numerous benevolent leaders, musicians politicians, actors, you name it.  The scandals of those who preach my name, it is there restitution for abusing my name.  They use my name to hate other innocents, so I make them sex and coke addicts and give them incurable cancer.  Oh the fun I have killing the unworthy, but I cry when I kill the innocents to punish you, it seems sometimes that’s the only way I can teach you a lesson is to take away the good.  

 But hey, shit happens.

Free will.

It comes with responsibility.

For there to be moderation there must be overconsumption.

For there to be up there must be down.

Life cannot exist without the positive and the negative.

For there would be no balance

LOOK AROUND THE ANSWERS ARE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU.  A FINGER IS POINTING AT THE MOON, DON’T FOCUS ON THE FINGER OR YOU WILL MISS THE BOUNTY AND BEAUTY OF THE MOON.

And so it was, the word of the Lord.

A question I hear from you a lot is, “How was this planet created?”  Well as I said I am God I control the heavens and the earth.  I pull the strings with my own two hands without you ever seeing it.  The laws of gravity are constant thanks to my planning.  As for how the Earth was created essentially I clumped a big ball of nothing together into a dense mass, until the mass was so dense it imploded upon exploding into the world.  You humans evolved from the puddle of ooze that was the Earth into carbon based living beings.  Marvels of the majesty that is art and science can be seen throughout nature and even the naked body.  Yet you let ancient metaphors block your judgment keeping you blind to the beauty of the body and the joy of sex.  

Don’t you think there is a reason I made sex feel so good?Because I wanted you to enjoy yourselves.  Death is inevitable. So I gave you simple pleasures, like sex and natural intoxicants, such as wine.  Yes, I gave you wine. Wine comes from nature, look it up.  

Why do you humans think you need to suffer your whole life to be rewarded in death?  Don’t you see I gave you Earthly pleasures to enjoy your short time there?  Think about it, “Heaven on Earth!?”  What the hell do you think awaits you in the afterlife?   So long as you don’t hurt anything or anyone you should feel free to do as you please.  Enjoy your entire time on earth, don’t suffer in the long run in order to be happy in short run.  Life is not a wave you have to work and paddle to ride and enjoy, life is the ride of the wave itself.  So drink up and grab your lover.  Those of you how enjoy others suffering are doomed to suffer.

I have all the answers, and I am always willing to give them.  I recall a meeting with one of my children, just weeks ago.

She approached me but she dared not to get to close, she was a young woman, and you have no idea what joy it gives me that some people care enough.

“Are you God?” she asked.

“Yes my child,” I replied and she wrote something on her notepad, I could tell she wanted to hear what I had to say, she wanted to write it down and remember it all.  She continued to ask me questions.

“Do you know everything?” She asked, I could tell she was just a little skeptical, they all are when they first meet me.

“Yes,” I said.  She decided now to seize the opportunity and put to rest her quest for answers.

“What is the meaning of life?”  She asked first.

“Peace, Love, and Happiness, I suppose.  Come back to that question in little bit so I can think it ove because there are a lot of right answers to that problem.”

She wrote it down without hesitation.  “Why did you create suffering?”

“So you may know what joy is.”  She wrote this down.

“Do you control everything?” She asked, I not buried her skepticism.

“Essentially, I do, but I do it without you ever seeing it.  I keep you on Earth with gravity, it holds you on the planet, and I don’t have to do a damn thing after I invented gravity.  You invented the label for it though.  Remember all labels are subjective.ook at the different labels that are my children’s languages.”

She nodded and continued to write.  “Did you settle on an answer for the first question?”

“I’m afraid there is no answer to that question my child.”

She nodded, “I understand,” she gave me an offering as a thanks, and left.

THE MEANING TO LIFE IS THERE IS NO MEANING TO LIFE.

And so it was, the word of the Lord.

HUMANS INVENTED RAPE, HUMANS INVENTED MURDER, YOU ARE THE GUILTY INNOCENTS.  YOU ARE ALL SAINTS AND YET SINNERS.  YOU ALWAYS ATTEMPT PERFECTION.  YOU FAIL TO SEE THAT WHAT MAKES YOU IMPERFECT IS WHAT MAKES YOU THE SAME.  YOU ARE ALL VICTIMS AND VICTIMIZERS BOTH.

And so it was, the word of the Lord.

People under the idiotic notion that the only way to be happy is to be free of stain.  You forget no one is free from stain.  No one is free of criticism.o one is free of pain.No one is free from attack.You humans look for ways to be free of these things, but you cannot be.

Why do you humans waste your time asking me all these questions when you already know the answers?  You ask me what is the meaning of life is, and you know what it is, but you can’t accept the fact.  You are always preparing for the future.   There is no future.

MY NAME IS NOT A TOOL TO BE USED FOR ANY MATTER.  YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING THE WORLD “HEAVEN ON EARTH”. THE WAY IS NOT BY YELLING MY NAME AT PEOPLE BUT YELLING MY MESSAGE.

AND I MEAN MY MESSAGE NOT YOURS.  LOVE THY NEIGHBOR, GIVE YOUR COAT TO THE MAN WITHOUT ONE.  YOU ARE INDIVIDUALS, BUT YOU LIVE IN A COMMUNITY, WE PERCEIVE THE WORLD SEPARATELY YET TOGETHER.  WE CAN MAKE THIS WORLD THE PLACE IT WAS BEFORE YOU HUMANS INVENTED WAR.  YOUR ANIMAL INSTINCTS WERE SUPPOSED TO BE USED IN SELF DEFENSE.  NOT MURDER.  

ALL WAR IS JUST AN EXCUSE FOR PILLAGE, RAPE, AND MURDER WITHOUT SUFFERING ANY CONSEQUENCES, SO I CREATED CONSEQUENCES.  

And so it was, the word of the Lord.

When I say I’ve killed innocents, I’m talking about Martin Luther King or Gandhi. They died to show you the suffering which you have inflicted on others.  I also felt that they could serve a higher purpose in death than in life.  Because in death their lessons can be appreciated, in life they remain the subject of debate.  In death they are subjects of history.  They are the symbols in death they couldn’t be in life.  I truly cried when I had to kill Lincoln, King, the Kennedy’s, and I laughed my ass off when I popped Hitler, Stalin, and Jerry Falwell.  I  cried when I had to open the gates of heaven to Hitler’s 11 million.  

THIS IS HEAVEN YET THIS IS HELL. THIS IS REAL YET THIS IS FALSE.  THIS EXISTS YET IT DOES NOT.  I’M REAL, YET I’M NOT, I’M EVERYWHERE YET NO WHERE.  INFINITE YET CONFINED.

And so it was, the word of the Lord.

She visited again.

“Do you still control, the heavens and the Earth?”  She asked.  I understand her skepticism.he debauchery and sin of the world has reached shocking levels under my radar.  But fear not, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

“I understand your skepticism, it would seem I have lost control, fear not my child, it is all part of the divine plan.  But it gives me hope for my people when I see them so concerned about my kingdom.”

She looked back at me, “I was more concerned about you.”  Then she smiled, this one is truly a gift to this Earth.  She then gave me two blue offerings and scoop from the well, and she was off again. I always want to follow her, but I can’t.   I want to run and tell her how much this world needs people like her, so considerate of the welfare of so many beings, even the Lord.  But this locked door, these padded walls, keep me from getting to her.

Why do so many question if ‘I’m god?  They say “No, you are Isaac J. Constantine,” why can’t I be both?

You humans keep your own creator in containment because you have wandered so far away from me, you don’t even recognize me.  You don’t even recognize your father.  You have become so unfaithful. You’ve taken my words for heresy and follow the priests and preachers like the Hitler youth.  It’s okay, abuse me all you want, one who can take abuse without delivering retribution is truly in control of themselves.  I can only lead by example and hope those follow.    But remember, God is everywhere. I am everywhere. I am everything. Just as I am the plants in the ground and the clouds in the air. Look in the mirror, and you will see I’m also you.

So, you can keep my hands tethered to my sides in this jacket,. You can keep my body in this padded cell.  You can throw the word “insane” around all you want.  You can fuck with your free will all you want. Just remember, I have the final say in reality.For I am God, and I control reality.  I am reality.  So…

SO NOW  GOODBYE.  IT’S TIME I KEEP THE PROMISES MADE IN REVELATIONS.  I HAVE MUCH WORK TO DO!

GOODBYE, GOODBYE,  GOODBYE.

Jack found the work weird and confusing, he heard Kate get out of the shower and he could hear her singing even louder now that the water was off.

Lost in her song once again, he turned to another story and kept reading.

Gramercy, The Journey of Jack Lewis. Chapter 12

Chapter 12  I’m With The Band

 

The next morning they all awoke one by one at the early hour of dawn.  They all rubbed their twinging necks and backs and gave each other shit for being so stupid for sleeping sitting up on the couches, especially these couches which they found in a scrap heap, and had hints of scabies when they first got them and cleaned them.

 

They recovered from their twinges with whiskey and a hearty breakfast, as well as a hash pipe session that Seth was so kind to initiate.  Jack asked what the plans were and Conner responded, “Well, we have practice today at five to eight.  Before and after that we’re free, but before practice I’m gonna take a nap.”

 

“You know what we should do today,”  said Hal, “role a fat joint, and I mean cigar sized, and we go to the forrest, drink some beers and have some fun.”

 

After about forty five minutes of rolling joints, packing food, and arguing for shotgun, they shipped off in what was an hour long drive into where Jack had no idea, it was some transcendent place in the Cascades.   The more they went on these nameless freeways and roads that went deeper and deeper into the trees and fields the more Jack was getting lost in the awe of the sights before him.  With every turn, with every mile came more and more beautiful blue sky lines dotted with puffs of white and the ground was just a bloom with the most vibrant greens, browns, and reds.  The almost neon technicolor wildflowers sprung from the hills and dotted the green horizon.  Jack had never seen anything so beautiful, so worthy of awe, in his entire life.

 

They eventually reached some huge park that Jack had never heard of, it was a popular local spot.  After they parked the group carried their blankets, food, and drugs deep into the forest on some painful yet pristine path.  Eventually settling on a spot deep in the woods far away from everyone, right next to a small lake surrounded by a grove of trees like a white picket fence, protecting our friends from the harms of the outside world.

 

They began their day.  Joints were lit and the boys talked, some vented about their girl troubles, Hal went on tangents about the need for music and art in society, while Conner strummed a small acoustic guitar, and Jack just got high and listened.  He was paying attention to what his new friends were saying and taking all of their words and perspectives truly to heart.  However, he wasn’t in the conversation; he was not even looking at them when they passed him the joint.  He was still lost in the awe that was before him; the shimmer of the lake, and the shine of the sun with its sweet reflection on the clouds in the sky, along with the circle and the bounty of the trees before him.  Jack couldn’t help losing himself in it for some reason.

 

Jack was amazed and lost in the beauty before him.  It wasn’t until Hal said something that he was shaken out of his nature coma.

 

“JACK!”  yelped Hal with a smile.  “You good over there bro?  You haven’t said anything for a while.”

 

“I’m fine,” Jack replied.  “Just, you know…”  Jack was too stoned to think of an eloquent response.

 

“Just lost in the forest, huh?”  Hal completed with a smile and without hesitation.

 

Jack nodded, “Yeah.  I don’t know why, it’s just so..”

 

“I know why!” Hal interjected again.  “It’s because its’ the brain kicking in your natural instincts.  Our brains are so caught up in the artificial world we feel we need to survive we ignore the states of emotions we get just by coming out of the artificial.  Just by coming out here you’re just getting a taste of what prehistoric man saw and experienced.  You’re getting a taste of what the Natives saw before we stole their land and you’re feeling what the first pioneers must have felt when they saw the world beyond what they were used to.  Now anyone could say these aren’t natural instincts, these are romantic fairy tales, that being awe struck isn’t a natural instinct but just psychological romanticism.

“But they are wrong.  All our emotions, are somehow in-tuned to some animal instinct we have.  Our awe of nature is our instinct of reflection on the self and the world.  It’s through this reflection that we are able to see who and what we really are and can be the more wiser for it.

“It was the awe and beauty that ancient man felt that inspired him to create song and paint on walls, which are the things that make life worth living.  Now some say that still isn’t natural and we don’t need those things, but again they are wrong.  If it wasn’t for our songs and our art and these outlets, these entertainments, then we would be just like every other animal. That’s what makes humans so cool, we not only have animal instincts but our instincts also become both analytical and psychological while still standing in the romantic.”  Hal paused for a minute and tried to remember what he was originally talking about.  His speech returned to its normal speed when he said, “So I know why you felt awe struck.”

 

Jack didn’t say much in response.  he just smiled nodded, he said that it made sense, and passed Hal the joint.

 

The hours passed, Jack and the others had become incredibly stoned, they were blotchy and red from the sun, and were out of food.  As the sun slipped away and the sky began slipping to its tri-colored beautiful warning sign of the night, they shipped off and returned home.

 

Once back, Seth gathered his things and left to go back to his place.  He said his goodbyes to Conner, Hal, Jason, and Jack and promised to be back for practice the next day.  Jason left soon after.

 

Once Seth and Jason were gone, Conner got a big box of Pizza Bagels and heated them up while Hal put on a movie.  Conner then passed out beers and they sat and passed the hours of the night once again.

 

“When’s your guys gig?” asked Jack when he remembered.

 

“In two more days, at 10:30 at some house party.”  said Conner.  “It should be pretty awesome.  Tons of beer, tons of girls, you know just a fun time and a hopefully good show.”

 

“It will be good,” said Hal with his usual enthusiasm.  “We got lasers and bubbles!”

 

The days passed in the manner that Jack had become accustomed, in a smoke filled haze.  After hours and hours of pot smoking and cartoon watching, the day of the gig came.  They all left for the party, and Jack acted as sort of a roadie.  He helped them set up and enjoyed the benefits of telling the passers by at the party he was with the band.

 

The crowd grew and built in mass.  Soon the house was full to burst with people like a 19th century ship on the Atlantic filled with East European immigrants. Jack was front and center when the show began, first with a cover of the Red Hot Chili peppers’ “Can’t Stop.”  It was the minute the intro peaked with the guitar solo that she walked in.

 

Jack was frozen stiff.  Jack had never seen anyone so beautiful, so original, and so soft of an air.  Thanks to a stroke of luck, her eyes caught his, and both looked away with a smile, and both drifted closer and closer to each other as the band played their set.  Eventually they met, and Jack extended his hand.

 

“What’s your name?” he yelled over the deafening guitars and drums.

 

“Kate.”  She said with that sweet auburn smile that hypnotized Jack.

 

“I’m Jack,” he responded, searching for the next thing to say.

 

“You have a very strong grip.”  Kate said to him.  Both couldn’t help but giggle at how awkward and dorky the other felt.

 

The night carried on with the most minimal and awkward of back and forths between the two, but one thing was desperately obvious.  The two were already falling in love with each other.

Jack didn’t want to believe it, but he did.  He didn’t know what it was, but there was something about this girl.  The more time he spent next to Kate, dancing with her, talking with her, the more he couldn’t bare the idea of being apart from her.  He wished the music wouldn’t stop and that this party would never end.  Jack had never felt like this before in his life.  The warmth of her body as he held her close sent a sensational tingle up his spine.  He didn’t want her to leave, he did not want to let her go.

Soon the gig ended, and the party slowly dispersed, but they still held each other close and still talked.  On the surface it seemed like idle chit chat.  Yet Conner and Hal could see in Jack’s eyes that he was falling for Kate, and decided to help him seal the deal.

 

“Hey Jack,” said Hal, “I see you met our friend Kate.”

 

“I did.  She was telling me she’s learning to be a nurse.”  Jack replied.

 

“And I was about to ask Jack about his tattoo,” added Kate, much to Jack’s despair.

 

Kate saw the frozen look of despair on Jack’s face and she knew that it was her last comment that made it happen.  But it confused her to no end.

 

“What’s wrong?”  She asked.

 

“I didn’t want to tell you so soon.  The barcode is a prison tattoo.  They’re my numbers from when I was in Leavenworth.”  Jack, for the first time, felt pure unadulterated shame when he had to say that, the only thing Jack was ashamed of before this was trying to tell his dad he loved him when he was five, and his dad laughed and beat him and called him a faggot.

 

Jack couldn’t even look her in the eye when he said it.  Hal was so uncomfortable he just slipped away.  But Kate only smiled, she lifted Jack’s chin up with her fingers, and led his face toward hers.

 

They kissed, and for the first time in his whole life, Jack let his guard down, and he let the warmth of the woman he loved into his life.

Gramercy, The Journey of Jack Lewis. Chapter 11

Chapter 11 Portlandians

On the third day, the rain had not stopped, and Jack rose that morning in such a hungover stupor that he felt like he was rising from the dead.  He stumbled drunkenly into the bathroom and emptied his water-ballooned bladder.  He was groggy, he didn’t realize how strong those ales Nancy drank were.

Jack could tell that the place was empty, Nancy was nowhere to be found.  Jack thought nothing of it and proceeded to load bong hits.  Nancy returned fifteen minutes later with another twelve pack of beer and a few groceries, soaked from the storm still raging outside.

“We are in luck,” said Nancy.

“Why is that?” asked Jack.

“I just cashed my last check, and now I got hella beer money.”  Nancy chuckled and lit a cigarette.  He gave one to Jack along with a beer.  Jack reluctantly accepted, remembering it was blasphemy in his world to pass a free drink.

They resumed their past activities of shit talking trash tv while getting drunk and stoned.  Until after a loud crash of lightning and thunder, when the entire house went black.

“Ah fuck!” said Nancy with a chuckle, which made it hard to tell if he was seriously upset or not.

“Well let’s just drink and smoke.” Jack proposed.

They continued and jabbered on to twiddle the hours.  This time Nancy went on a tirade about how it’s unconstitutional to pay taxes, which didn’t sound quite right to Jack, but he decided not to challenge it. He was not in the mood for a debate; he didn’t care if he was right or not.  Jack liked Nancy, and he wasn’t about to instigate conflict by challenging his views.

The conversation then shifted to Nancy giving a thirty minute tirade about how stupid twitter was, and it ended with Jack admitting he had no clue what twitter was.  Nancy explained it to him as “stalking made easy.”  Then asked if he hadn’t heard about prisoners sneaking in phones where he got locked up.

“All the time,” Jack admitted.  

“That’s one of the things they do with them, they actually updated their facebooks and twitters with shit like, ‘Oh shit some nigga just got shanked and shit like that.’”  Nancy explained.  “Charles Manson actually just got in trouble for that, but it makes me wonder how the fuck he got a cell phone.  I mean a guy like him has to be pretty hard to get to.”

Jack pointed out that Manson did have a wife who visits him, and Nancy and him both had a laugh about how desperate that bitch must have been.  Then they both cringed a little at how crazy the bitch must be.

The conversation shifted back to an explanation of twitter.  Which led to a conversation about Facebook, which Nancy also hated, and from Facebook trends in general.  Which lead to a conversation about dub-step.  Jack admitted had no idea what it was, and Nancy immediately told him, “Good,  it’s the worst trend in music and it’s an embarrassment to guys like you and me who don’t waste our time when we get fucked up.  All dub-step is, is techno on ecstasy and acid.  It sucks.  It is the shittiest music genre ever.  It’s worse than country, hell with country you have to at least have enough intellect to come up with lyrics, shitty though they may be.  But with dub-step all you need is a mix-table and a laptop, hell you don’t even need the fucking mix table.  All you need to make dub-step is a laptop, mainly because any dub-step song you make no matter what you use sounds the fucking same.  The people who make dub-step don’t think so, they think they’re being fucking artists, and they get all pompous and bull-shitty about it.  Now every jerk off with a PC can “make music” while spanking it to Bree Olsen and then go around calling himself a musician.  It pisses me OFF!”

Jack had seen people in his cell block get stabbed, he heard them getting raped during quiet hours, and he had seen his father beat his mother to the point of death.  None of those things scared Jack anymore.  This reaction of Nancy’s, scared the living piss out of him, but like usual, he kept his composure and all he did was nod, and reply with, “I know what you mean.”

The time passed, Jack and Nancy passed the hours by drinking more beer, smoking more pot, and swapping stories.  Jack told Nancy about meeting Leonard Peltier and how many shankings he had witnessed, 75, and Nancy told him about countless nights of blurred drunken escapades that generally involved either a sardonic take on satanism or some anti societal bias.

The storm passed the next day.  Jack resolved it was time to leave his friend and carry on.  Around noon they shared one last beer and bong rip, and they parted ways.  As he walked away Nancy yelled out, “Remember you’re out and you can stay out. I know your girlfriend Bubba will miss you, but you’re a good guy, you don’t belong in jail.”

Jack said his thanks as he walked away, he felt bad he didn’t show more emotion because that was actually one of the nicest things anyone had said to him.

“A little kindness from a stranger can go a long way.”  Jack resolved to himself.  He knew he would miss Nancy just as much as he missed Fiona, Alex, and Kobe.  He wondered if they ever thought about him, but soon resolved that he didn’t care.

“I don’t need people,” Jack always told himself, “I didn’t need them in prison and I don’t need them now.”  Jack was very much in denial in regards to these matters.  Like anyone in denial he knew he was, but still like everyone of them he told himself he didn’t care.

It was immediately after he had this thought that a homeless thug came up from behind and bashed him in the head, and robbed him blind.

Jack didn’t wake up for nearly two days, when he woke up he had no shoes and no cash, not even his books.  Blood covered half of his face, some of it still wet and other parts drying to a deep red crust.  He was slumped in front of a free clinic, according to a homeless man, he got dumped in front of the free clinic when he was taken to a hospital and it was found he had no insurance.  They didn’t notice he was also an escaped felon.

Jack got his wound sewn shut after a three hour wait.  He wandered the streets circling block upon block, his beard dirty and stained with dried crusty blood, lost in a confused amnesia like daze.  For the first time in years Jack felt alone, scared desperate, and confused.  He was like a three year old lost in the supermarket looking for his mom.  He was clutching his dirty hobo hair on the verge of tears, lost in fear and anxiety.  As soon as the world started to spin, Jack passed out again.

Every few hours Jack would open his eyes, only for few seconds, and then suddenly they would close again.  Every time he opened them he saw something different.  First he saw what looked like the shadows of humans surrounding him.  Then he felt like he was being carried, moved , as if he was flying, he opened his eyes only to a bright beam of sun behind a form sitting next to him.  He still felt like he was flying.

He didn’t wake up until the next day.  It was to the smell and sizzle of fresh bacon.  He awoke with a start.  Could it be he was back with his college friends?

No, he wasn’t.  He immediately realized thathe was not in a beachfront house, but an apartment, that looked like it was decorated by Tommy Chong and the Grateful Dead. Tapestries with celtic knots and tie dye covered the windows.  Hendrix, Morrison, and Zeppelin posters decorated the rooms.  The person cooking in the kitchen was some hipster in a thrift store sweater, fitted jeans and a beanie with a strand of hair sticking out over one eye.  At the table was a pale kid with brown short hair and a lime green sweatshirt with the faded logo of some college no one’s ever heard of, he was strumming a baby blue nylon string guitar and singing about things he saw around the room. “Lamp, Lamp, Oh Oh I looovve Lamp.”  He stopped when he noticed Jack coming to.  

“He’s awake.” he told the guy in the beanie cheerfully.  

The man cooking turned around to show he had a thin beard and glasses.  He smiled along with his friend at the table. “Good, he looks way better.”

“Yeah he’ll be alright,”  replied the guitarist.

“Where am I?” Jack asked still delirious from his pulsating brain.  

“You’re in our apartment, we found you lying on the sidewalk with that bump on your head and that mutilated hand of yours and we thought “Wow, this guy needs help,” said the guy with the guitar.

“We were going to take you to a hospital but a guy lying knocked out outside of a free clinic doesn’t seem think you would have insurance,” said the guy in the beanie.  “So we brought you here, did what we could for your wounds, you know, cleaned them and treated them with this balm.”

“Then we laid you down on the couch.  You’ve been out for almost a day,” completed the guitarist.  “I’m Hal, and this is Conner.”

“Nice to meet you.”  Jack said, “I’m Jack.  Thank you, that was an incredibly nice thing of you to do.”  He was amazed, that was probably the nicest thing anyone had done for him, up to this point at least.  These two had such a happy friendly air that Jack couldn’t help but feel happy along with them despite his pain, which was thankfully starting to die away.

“How are you feeling?” asked Conner.  

“I’m feeling better, thank you.”  Jack replied.

“So what’s your story stranger?”  asked Hal after a dramatic strum.  “How did you get all these wounds if you don’t mind me asking?”  

Jack explained to them about the gash on his head and how the store clerk mutilated his palm.  There only response was “Damn that’s fucked up,” followed by a comical tirade by Hal about how bad guns are.  

Jack sat down at the table as Conner served the breakfast and joined them.  Jack also explained that he was homeless because he was an ex convict, and about his past thefts.  Hal sympathized.  “I was put on probation for Opium possession when I was in college.”

“Bummer,”  was Jack’s reply.  Jack remembered when he was first put on probation when he was seventeen.  Some bitch in school lied and told the cops he held a knife to her throat.  Jack got two years probation and had to see a counselor.  He faked his way through therapy then got busted again.

Jack enjoyed the company of these two.  They had the air of living cartoon characters who were only concerned with having fun.  Through their talks they revealed to Jack that they were musicians in a band.  The had been working a lot of local gigs for the last couple of years, to the point where they can even make a decent living off of it.  They had a few demos recorded but no official album.  “Our dream is to get a record deal,” said Conner.

“We are getting there,”  added Hal.  “Our gigs are getting bigger and bigger and a lot of people follow our shows.  So we already have fans.”

“We are going to be having practice soon if you want to hang out and listen,”  said Conner.  “The other members should be here around three.”

“I’m down.” said Jack, he felt the least he could do for these guys was listen to their music after they took him out of the cold, fed him, and treated his wounds.  

The two smiled and were happy to have someone to play for.  They spent the morning smoking a joint and playing Super Smash Brothers, waiting for the rest of the band to show up.  The other two members showed up and introduced themselves.  One was a long haired hippie named Seth, who Jack decided he liked immediately because he had as friendly of an air as Hal and Conner.  The other guy, was Jason, a non pot smoker but avid drinker who showed up with two bottles of whiskey for everyone.

The band got their stuff together and started playing.  They rehearsed their songs and covers, then worked on a new song for an hour or so.  Jack enjoyed their sound, they sounded like a return to the rock n roll of CCR in an indie band with synthesizers added to the mix.  Jason was a fantastic drummer, and Seth’s bass was perfect with Conner’s vocals and his guitar.  From song to song, Hal jumped from a drum to a keyboard to a rhythm guitar, and he did it with such ease that Jack was impressed.  When their practice was finished Jack gave them a genuine applause and praise.  

“We have a gig in a few nights if you want to come?” said Seth.

“I’d love to.”  Jack said

After the rehearsal, Jack spent the hours smoking with the members of the band and conversing.  Jason didn’t partake but he stayed and hung out while serving everyone whiskey.   While they got stoned, Seth and Conner began doing some half baked philosophy.

“You see I don’t think you can say humankind is good or evil,” said Conner as he toked up.  “I think that people are what their surroundings make them and what they choose to be.  You know, like good and evil aren’t really real things”

“That’s not a hundred percent accurate,”  interjected Jack, which surprised no one but Jack, he was never one for philosophy.  “I’ll agree that humans are not intrinsically or naturally one way or another, but good and evil are very real things.  For there to be people who are nice decent and good there has to be people who are pure scum.  I’ve been in Jail for a long time, I’ve seen both the most disgusting scum ridden piece of shit, and I’ve seen decent guys who just got a bad stroke of luck.  It’s half luck, half effort when it comes to making your own world or defining who you are.  But good and evil are very real.”

“Yeah but what defines good or evil?” said Hal, “Who’s to say what is good or evil?”

“Evil is the unnecessary harm of living things. Harm may be necessary at times, but people who profit or amuse or relish in the suffering and pain of others are evil.  I’ve seen these people.  I can say they were evil.  As for who creates the written in stone definition of the two, that’s completely up to the individual.  I said good and evil were real but I never said they were not relative.”  

Jack was shocked at himself.  That was the most eloquent and intelligent thing he had ever said.  The others nodded their heads and mulled it over, then Hal suddenly changed the topic to opium laws and Andy Warhol.  

Jack didn’t talk for a while after that.  He was confused, awe struck even.  He couldn’t figure out how a schmuck ex con like him, who didn’t even show up for most of his schooling, put together such an intelligent sounding thought.  Then he realized, it was the reading and the travel.  He was finally starting to see a world beyond that which he knew.

The gentlemen got more and more stoned or drunk until they were basically glued to their couches. They eventually passed out on the couches slumped in manners that would destroy their backs and necks the next day.

Gramercy, The Journey of Jack Lewis. Chapter 10

Chapter 10   Nancy

 

Jack walked and walked, depleted of memory or energy.  He felt weak, he needed food and needed it fast.  He was glad to find water fountains so he could drown his dehydration.  Jack hadn’t been in so much pain in years.  So devoid of energy and strength, he felt open and exposed, as if anyone could get him at any time if they wanted to, and it was true.  Any one could get him at this time, Jack was surprised that nobody tried.  Then again they already had.

 

Jack eventually found a mom and pop liquor store.  He walked out with his bags as full as if he had just gone grocery shopping.

 

He walked up half the block before the pop from the store, a sixty something Vietnam vet, fired and reloaded a shot from a small handgun, grazing Jack’s palm, taking out a healthy sized chunck.  Jack looked back and was lucky the old coots eyesight was failing him because he just dodged another bullet meant for his stomach, the last bullet was supposed to go into Jack’s spine.

 

Jack easily outran the bastard but now became aware of the sound of sirens behind him.  Jack thought the sound was coming from at least two blocks behind, and he saw a dumpster ten feet ahead.  He timed it just right and laid low in the dumpster as he heard the sirens pass.  He didn’t hesitate to see how far they were. He just grabbed his stuff and went in the opposite direction of the old coot and the cops.  His palm smeared blood on all his clothes and a big red deformed animal print was left all over the dumpster.

 

The cops hunting Jack would never find it.  They still thought Jack was in Boise.

 

Jack ran grasping his palm in horrific pain.  He took out the pimp’s shirt from his back back and tore a long thin strand of its fabric and wrapped it as tightly as he could around his  hand.  He choked off the bleeding, but couldn’t move a single finger except his thumb.  He could actually see the gap in his palm and see the pool of blood filling it in.  Jack wondered what to do, and he resolved to get the hell out of the city as soon as he could.

 

Jack got out of Portland in a matter of hours and before the day was over, he had entered Washington state.  Jack decided to continue his trek north, as far north as he could go.  Jack would do what it takes, but he resolved he would start a new trek in Canada.  It was far from the authorities and he could fight extradition easily. he wasn’t Leonard Peltier after all, what do the cops have to gain by putting one schmuck like him back into some already over crowded and diseased infested prison.

 

Cops only had the bragging rights to gain, saying they brought in a dangerous, escaped convict. It was all they had to gain by putting Jack back in, and it was all they wanted.  It was all the reason they needed.

 

Some of the guards at Leavenworth even hoped they would bring him back there, and in their hopes were already preparing their taunts and teases for the bugger.  One was going to take Jack’s chains off and leave the front door open and pretend he didn’t have his gun.Then if the bugger made a move for it he would bash his brains into the depths of his bowels.

 

That guard had a heart attack and died the same day he had the idea.

 

Another was going to dangle keys in front of Jacks cage like a game of keep away in an elementary school play yard.

 

Jack was completely oblivious about the fact that the law was going insane trying to bring him in.  The media hadn’t even mentioned the story since Jack first walked out which Jack also hadn’t realized it but that was six months ago.  It had been a whole six months since he saw Kobe Alex and Fiona, he missed them.  Especially the warmth of their home.

 

He decided to camp in a clearing under the stars when his energy was no more.  When he lied down to go to sleep, he could not help but find it a little funny that after he might have knocked up a girl he got shot in his hand.

 

By the time Jack reached Seattle he had finished Ivanhoe and was now beginning The Art of War.  He had been moneyless for days and had stolen every drop of food and alcohol he had when he ran out of goods from the old coot’s store.  The palm caused Jack horrific pain daily, yet with almost everything else Jack saw, he didn’t care.  He honestly couldn’t care less about the safety and cleanliness of his wound, he was more concerned with the lessons to be taught by Sun Tzu.

 

Jack still had no use of his hand except his thumb, but he still managed to get by alright.  The blood had thickened into an almost perfect circle, and had solidified as if Jacks palm had a big red circle in the middle of it creasing into the bottom edge of his pinky.  The streaks and lines on his gushy circle looked like a cross hairs of a sniper rifle.

 

Jack slumped in an alley behind a pizza shop, and stuck his nose in his books, but he was interrupted by the rain.  It started to come down in bucket sized drops, and the wind blew harsh like a tempist storm.  Jack consented to sit in the pizza place until they kicked him out.  He knew that since he couldn’t buy a slice they wouldn’t let him stay too long, but Jack just wanted to be out of the rain.  Now he started to miss his old friends even more.

 

He sat in the farthest corner of the parlor, a 21 year old covered in tattoos came from around the counter and asked if there was anything he could get him.  Jack told him he didn’t have any money and just wanted to get out of the rain.  The obvious death rocker told him it was cool, and he understood. He told Jack he could stay as long as he needed, or until they have a rush and needed the table.

 

Jack thanked the guy and returned to reading.  “The man’s generousity definitly conflicted with the bloody sea creatures and deformed mutants he had tattooed on his arms,” though Jack.

 

Ten minutes later another person, much older and probably the owner, came up to Jack asking the same question, but in a much more forceful irritated and rude manner.  Jack told him the same story, and the man asked him to leave.  Jack told him the other guy told him it was cool.  The man asked to be excused for a second.

 

In the back room he could hear them screaming and shouting.

 

“ITS NOT YOUR FUCKING RESTAURANT ITS MINE.  YOU GOT IT?” the boss screamed.

 

“FUCK YOU,” screamed the tattooed employee.  He continued knowing he was definitely fired after that outburst.  “HE’S JUST A BUM TRYING TO STAY OUT OF THE RAIN.  WHAT THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THROW HIM OUT ON THE STREETS?”

 

“YES!” screamed the owner back, soon following it up with a yelp of pain, a gurgling of blood, and a crash which was then followed by benign yelps of, “PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST GET THE HELL OUT!”

 

Jack soon saw the employee storm out and throw his apron on to the counter.  He put on his leather jacket and walked out into the rain.  Jack followed after him.

 

“THANKS.” Jack cried out sincerely.

 

The tattooed death rocker had let his hair down since leaving, revealing curly untamed Tarzan locks. His combat boots were stained with paint, and like the rest of his clothes they were black.  He puffed away at his cigarette under a shoddy umbrella as he turned to face Jack.

 

“No problem!” he yelled over the traffic and wind.  “Don’t trip, it ain’t your fault, this was just a long time coming.”

 

After a brief pause the man made Jack an offer he couldn’t refuse. “You wanna come smoke some pot!”

 

Jack jumped on the opportunity and followed the man up four blocks to a townhouse that reeked of pale ales and pot.  When Jack stepped through the door it was like being back in Santa Monica, only with one other person in the house.

 

“I’m Jack by the way.” Jack said as they stepped through the door.

 

“Nancy, and if you make a joke about that I’m going to punch you in your crotch.”  He replied soon following it with a vibrant smile and chuckle.

 

“It’s cool,” said Jack, “I’ve been to the pen so I’ve heard weirder names. Trust me.”

 

“Oh,” he said following it with another chuckle, “No shit?  Well, whatever dude.  We’ve all had a run in with the law.  Do want a beer?”

 

“Sure.”

 

Nancy retreated and soon returned with two large pale ales.  “Yeah a couple of these fuckers, and they’ll put me in my place, and its a good place.”

 

They both chuckled and drank their beer, as they talked Nancy packed and lit a bowl in his bong.

 

Jack did think it was odd that a man with bloody skeleton tattoos and psychedelic sleeves would go by the name Nancy.  But Jack was fairly open minded for your self educated ex con. The guy could be named Pinky Mcgee and Jack wouldn’t have cared.

Nancy was different. He had the look of a death metal Marilyn Manson worshiper but the air of a friendly and good natured person.

 

Then the conversation somehow shifted to Charles Manson,  apparently although he thought he was a horrible person, Nancy admitted that Manson’s writing Helter Skelter was in some aspects true and should be given credit where credit was due.  “I mean he was right about a lot of shit, I mean, yeah, he’s responsible for killing innocent people and almost killing a president, but he was right about shit, like how everything is going to have to be destroyed before it can be rebuilt.”

 

Jack didn’t quite agree with what Nancy was saying, but he consented to give Helter Skelter a read.  He was slightly irritated over how he didn’t agree with what Nancy said about Manson, but Jack couldn’t think of anything to counter or prove him wrong.  He knew he was wrong but he could not figure out how to explain why, as with almost any other intellectual debate Jack had ever had remote involvement in.

 

After Jack was drunk on pale ale and high on Nancy’s home grown, Jack pardoned himself and said he did not want to be a mooch and consented to leave.  Nancy assured him it was no problem, and he extended an offer of his couch for a couple of nights. “This storm is supposed to last half the week, I couldn’t just turn someone out into this weather, even if I knew them or not.  I mean I trust you.  You’re not like a baby fucker or creeper,or anything like that right?”  Nancy followed it with his usual chuckle to reassure Jack that he wasn’t being serious, and it was just his twisted sense of humor.

 

Jack appreciated it. Jack had developed a twisted sense of humor since prison, and he was glad someone else had one two.  Jack had to admit, Nancy was brutal at times, but it was funny none the less.

 

Jack accepted and slept on the couch, both men had passed out into comas by seven, and had awoken by nine.  Jack arose to Nancy stewing a big can of baked beans over his stove.

 

“Just in time,” said Nancy, grab a plate and a coffee, and there’s some bread on the table.

 

Jack sat down and helped himself to a slice of the white bread on the table and put another on his plate. He then sat down as Nancy poured two big scoops onto both of the plates.  They ate quietly as the storm outside raged.

 

“I appreciate you taking me in dude,” said Jack after they had finished their beans and started nursing the coffee.  “I mean most people are less than open to..”

 

Nancy interrupted him with his palm and a shake of his head, “Don’t worry about it dude.  When all you’re trying to do is live your life, you shouldn’t be fucked just for that.  It’s super messed up that I actually had to fight my boss over shit like keeping someone from catching pneumonia or some shit like that.  I mean… what was I supposed to do be a dick and kick you out into the storm?”  He answered his own question with another chuckle.  “Hell no.”

 

Jack nodded in complete agreement.  After the meal they washed it down with some more pale ales and bong rips. Then Nancy put on a copy of the Big Lewbowski. Jack had never seen it before and loved it.  He loved John Goodman’s character, and knew he was going to quote him more than once.  “YOU’RE ENTERING A WORLD OF PAIN!”

 

“Classic,” thought Jack.

 

The two stayed up for a few more hours watching basic network shows as Nancy made fun of each sitcom and commercial.

 

“What moron would need that!”

 

“Isn’t it funny that someone can be as much of dick like Charlie Sheen, and they get ridiculously paid just for acting to a bad laugh track?”

 

“Why the fuck did Jim Belushi’s brother get a show again?”

 

All of which were followed by Nancy’s usual chuckle and smile.  All of which Jack agreed with as well and thought were funny.

Eventually Nancy couldn’t help but ask.  “So what happened to your palm there,” he took the voice of a crotchety old mining prospector “Ol buddy.”

 

Jack made up some story about being caught in the middle of some gang crossfire and was too poor to get health insurance.

 

Nancy sympathized, and said he didn’t have insurance either.

 

As the hours of the night passed, Nancy retreated back to bed, and Jack was left awake in the weed filled living room, furnished with an old leather couch and milk crates.  He sat on the couch until the start of dawn with his nose in a copy of Ivanhoe and Macbeth.

 

Jack was starting to think that Shakespeare was his favorite.

 

He slept for a few hours.  He was awoken once again to the sound of sizzling beans and bubbling coffee.  The rain still pounded outside, so Jack and his new friend were stranded for another day.  It consisted of downing pale ales and of Nancy giving an estate lecture on Rembrandt and Marcel Duchamp.  It also consisted of Nancy’s explanations of why he hated Aretha Franklin and Chevy Chase. Jack defended them, not entirely sure why seeing how he wasn’t a die hard fan of either, but he didn’t dislike them.

 

They mixed their pale ales and conversations with more bad television and Weed.

 

“I just thought of something,” said Jack. “That Helter Skelter book, you got a copy around here?”

 

“Oh yeah.” said Nancy as he finished his sixth beer.

 

“I don’t suppose you got a copy I could borrow, at least for my time here?” Jack asked, figuring he could probably read through the thing in a night or two.

 

But Nancy ecstatically responded, “Actually I got an extra you can have.”

 

Before Jack could even officially accept Nancy had already gone back to his room and reemerged with a little black book with red letters and handed it to Jack.

 

“Thanks,” Jack said nervously.

 

Jack was interested in the perspective of another convict, but he did have the feeling it wouldn’t be as insightful as Hamlet, or Moby Dick.

 

“No problem,” replied Nancy, happy to share something he enjoyed with someone else who wasn’t scorning him, or thinking he was insane for reading a book by Charles Manson.  Jack could appreciate Nancy’s enthusiasm, he could tell other people didn’t.

 

“Yeah, my mom gave me a copy for my birthday last year, but I already had a copy so you can have this one,” continued Nancy as he swung back more beer stumbling back into his seat and returning his attention to the rerun of Two and a Half Men.  Then he made a smart ass comment about a tampon commercial.

 

“They should have Carlie Sheen do one of those ads, he’d be perfect especially if they put them in during his show. Think about it.”

 

Jack chuckled as he took another bong rip, grateful to finally be sharing someone’s company again.

Gramercy, The Journey of Jack Lewis. Chapter 9.

Chapter 9  Don’t Dance With Molly

Jack was in an awkward spot.  He spent the next day trying to find this girl and her sorority.  He walked every path and every walkway of every street and of every-which way by, to , and through the school.  He saw her nowhere.  

He found the closest free clinic.  After a four hour wait, he saw a doctor and he found out that nothing was wrong.  He was relieved.  Jack decided to get the hell out of Eugene.

So Jack left the city where it was quite possible that the mother of his child was off binge drinking and enjoying menage a tuas.  

Jack was glad to be out of this town more than he was to be out of Sacramento or Boise, at least there he didn’t have a possible love child.

He packed and got out of there by checkout time and was back on a road in the middle of a green nowhere in a matter of hours.

Three days later he ended up in Portland.

He found a hostel and paid for a few nights.  His cash wad was getting progressively thinner and Jack resolved to get some money soon.

He thought about stealing some cash, but decided against it.  He was already on the run   and had crossed countless state lines.  He chuckled to himself and thought how it was the fact he was a fugitive from the law that was making him more law abiding.

The next day he wandered onto some street called Hawthorne which was just a block from the hostel.  The street was full of college hipsters, punks, hippies, and nerd punk hippie rockers, Jack decided.  He looked for any potential cash opportunity.  He eventually stumbled on one.

Apparently Portland has a huge problem with bank robberies.  There was a bank on Hawthorne that got robbed as he walked past.  The men ran out and jumped into a car only to have the paint bomb go off.  Except on the bag they didn’t manage to close which had a huge trail of twenties falling out of it.  The cops were so busy busting the guys in the car, they didn’t even notice the homeless hippie sweeping up the cash until both the cash and the homeless hippie were long gone.

Jack had made another thousand and couldn’t believe his luck.  He then wondered if this made him an accessory to robbery or if this counted as tampering with a crime scene.  Actually it was both, with the process of “staking the charges” Jack could be charged for both.

Jack didn’t know and didn’t care.  Jack was just glad that he didn’t have to worry about money for a while and he was glad to now have this time to read.  So after he went back to get his books he settled in a coffee shop with a large black coffee while reading his Shakespeare and Ivanhoe.

He didn’t like Ivanhoe as much as the others but he liked how it was like reading a Shakespeare play in the form of a novel.  It was different, and Jack liked that.

Jack walked back to his hostel.here he found he would be sharing the bunk with a hippie named Toasty.  They shook hands, Jack was polite but immediately decided he didn’t like the guy.  That changed when the guy asked the question, “You wanna do some Molly shots.”

Jack asked what that was and the guy told him, “Pure Ecstasy.”

Jack had heard plenty about Ecstasy, and had been with tons of people when they did it, especially back in 2005 when hyphy was blowing up in California.  He had never taken it himself though.  Out of curiosity he took two shots of Molly and water.

After an hour of impatient waiting, Jack started feeling better than he ever had before in his life.  He felt so ecstatic and happy.  As if he was climaxing at a nonstop rate.  He felt alone in his hostel.  He wanted to get out and be around people, and listen to music.  Jack hadn’t wanted to listen to music more than at this moment in his entire life.

He wandered the town in the dead of night, enjoying every sight he saw, even the people he saw passing by.  Jack loved it, he felt energized to an endless point, and he couldn’t understand it, but he loved everyone.  He felt like his life time of indifference has been a mistake.  He actually loved these people walking by him, and he just smiled and gave an emphatic hello.  Eventually he came across a house party full of college students, who were blasting good music.  Jack walked in as Superstition just ended, and Thriller just got started on the speakers.  Jack immediately walked in, not having to pay anything, and stayed on the dance floor until the cops came.

When Jack returned to the hostel, he rubbed the sheets like they were the last piece of cloth on earth, loving their texture, and wishing he had Ann with him right now, and Alice and Fiona too.

Jack didn’t feel half as happy the next afternoon, when he awoke to what felt like the flu and a hangover combined.

Still, Jack felt he had to take this in with the ecstatic joy he felt last night.  It was worth the trade off, and Jack was glad he was feeling something.

Jack resolved to get more Molly from the guy, but by the time Jack woke he was gone.

Jack thought it was for the best.  

He soon changed his mind about Molly as he felt like shit for almost half the week,  and after the woman running the hostel regaled him with all of the retarded things he said like apologizing for dropping his own cigarette.  After the woman was done laughing in Jack’s face about that night and Jack stormed off to her laughter he simply resolved, “Never again, it’s not worth it.”

Jack soon forgot about the Molly, recovered his state of indifference and recovered from his cluster fuck morning after disease.

The next day Jack felt much better, and felt ready to conquer the word.  However,  instead he resolved just to find a spot to read some more.

His plans changed when he saw a white windowless van parked across the street.

Jack got the fuck out of there with all of his bags.

The van eventually faded into nothing, and he was safe, but still scared stiff.

“The fuckers are on my tale.” He thought.

He continued to wander the city in paranoia and eventually settled on stopping at a bar to get a drink to calm his nerves.  He drank his beer while constantly peeping over his shoulder to make sure no under-covers followed him, and to make sure the van wasn’t waiting outside with a  swat team to beat him into submission, drag him back to Leavenworth and keep him there the rest of his life.

The van wasn’t an undercover cop. What was inside was a man raping his girlfriend at gunpoint.  Jack was so paranoid he didn’t even try to check somehow.

Jack felt ashamed, as if this desperation of his was pathetic, but sadly necessary.  It was run away from strange white vans, or be on your guard 24/7 surrounded by iron and concrete.  Jack knew he had made a few mistakes, but he also knew he didn’t deserve twenty five years to the rest of his life just for following instinct.  He didn’t deserve that kind of a life.

Hell, he started to realize he didn’t need the kind of a life had now, but he decided he would rather be running from the law instead of in its grasp.  At least when you’re on the run, you get the pleasure of outsmarting the law.

In its grasp, the law reminds you every single day you could never be smart enough to out run it, never strong enough.

Jack felt that by walking casually out of Lampoc he had been strong enough, and indeed he had.

He had no idea how pissed Judge Bachman was when he found out one of his convicts had escaped.  He prayed when that they brought him back, they brought the escapee back to him in his court, but when he found out it was Jack Lewis, he only remembered that cold lack of emotion, and he couldn’t help but tremble just a little.

If he had seen Jack now, in a state of drunken paranoia, he would have had his ego restored.  Jack was lucky he was only having a panic attack.

Eventually he was drunk enough to forget about it all, and stumbled out onto the street.

When Jack woke up the next morning he was in the middle of some intercity park, his bags were spread out and emptied on the grass next to him.  All his food and all his money was gone.  They only left him his clothes and his books.

Jack tried to figure out what time he passed out, and he was glad his books were still okay.  He simply repacked his books, grabbed his now empty bags and started looking for a place where he could get some food.

Gramercy, The Journey of Jack Lewis. Chapter 8

Chapter 8  Missing Raincoats

 

Jack awoke the next morning to a hot coed with long hair and bangs snoring next to him, completely naked.  As she stayed asleep while hugging the pillow to her side, Jack stared at her ass that was twice as big and better than the tan girl’s from Boise.  He remembered her name miraculously, Ann.

She consented that she forgot his name too, and he told her that it was Jack.  She had changed since the last night.  He didn’t remember her voice being so high pitched.  He also didn’t notice how chipper this girl was.  It was as if she didn’t even have a hangover which both surprised and impressed him.

 

“So, would you wanna get some breakfast?” she asked not bullshitting, genuinely interested in sharing more time with Jack.

 

“Um, sure.” He conceded,  but he didn’t hesitate in exempting himself from further responsibility.    As pretty as the girl was Jack was in no position to be starting anything serious.  “I’m sure you can tell by the fact that I’m in a motel that I’m not a permanent resident.”

 

She smiled and relieved Jack.  Literally, she reassured him by jerking him off while she said this;

 

“Guys aren’t the only ones who like to have fun.” She timed it perfectly so that she said it right when he came all over her clenched yet soft, delicate fist.

 

Jack was surprised.  This girl was giggly, pretty in a Pink brand tee, but she was feisty at the same time.  She was the femme fatale you always see in movies but never in real life, thought Jack.  He started wondering if this was real life.

 

His philosophical thoughts ended as he lugged his hungover and recently sexed up self out of bed.  He got dressed and was soon off at a diner shooting the breeze with Ann.  She did most of the talking, occasionally asking Jack, “What do you think?” and then carried on again after Jack gave his one sentence answers.

 

They separated after breakfast.  She walked away smiling chipper and with a spring in her step.  Jack was glad they parted ways finally.  He did enjoy watching her marvelous big sturdy booty move as she strutted down the street back to her sorority sisters.

Jack went home alone and finished Crime and Punishment.  He smiled the entire way through and was glad to be alone again.

When he passed out he slept for a good hour, but then was awoken by one of those sudden thoughts that come leaping out at you from the dead of nowhere in your mind.

Soon, Jack panicked and jumped out of his bed and went through every scrap of garbage in every garbage can in his hotel room.

 

He knew he probably flushed the thing, but usually the wrapper was just left out or was in a waste paper basket.

 

Jack couldn’t find the condom or the wrapper anywhere.