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Twisting all the bad things into good

Nov 19, 2011

The Nitty Gritty, Part 17: Revelries of Roaring Lions & Red Dragons



 "Things are always darkest before they go pitch black"
    


            When we got to the dock, I immediately recognized "the boat". I had spent a lot of time on it a few years back. The only thing different was the name. It had been changed to I.P.O.D.S. I had no idea what this stood for. I didn't really give it too much thought. I was just relieved to get on board. I wanted to get far from this ghetto and this city. The further we got from the dock, the safer I felt. I had been through too much that Monday night to even start to talk about it. I was doing my best to not even think about the events of that day. Monday was in the past.
            It was after Midnight.  It was Tuesday.

TUESDAY. SEPTEMBER 6th, 2010

            I sat there quietly, stuck in my own head, staring at the water from the back of the boat. I just watched the land get smaller and smaller until it was out of sight. I found a little bit of comfort in hearing my favorite songs playing. It did not seem odd that the same songs that I was hearing were all on my favorite playlist on my IPOD. It did not seem odd that these guys who only listened to rap were playing my kind of music. It did not even seem odd that the these familiar songs were coming from the same exact portable IPOD player that I had. The same one I had been taking with me everywhere I went like a little boombox. I played it every minute of my day and night to avoid letting an unbearable silence seep into the void that was my life. It was my only way to hear another person's voice. Nobody ever called my phone. I had no internet. I had no cable. I sold my Playstation a few days earlier, so I couldn't even watch free DVD's from the library. My books and my music were my only friends. I tried not to even think about what might happen if this IPOD died like my last one. It was all I had left.
            Except for the sound of the engine, it was quiet. I wondered if there was any chance that I may get some sleep. Nothing would be better than a few precious hours of sleep. I just wanted enough to rest my exhausted, but still racing mind. Maybe I could even sleep deep enough to have a dream or 2. Just a few hours would be a gift. I took 10 Tylenol PM's a few nights earlier and did not sleep for a minute. Instead, I tripped out from whatever they put in those things. My pupils were the size of small planets and I was catching trails off of everything that moved. Nothing helped. 12 or 15 melatonin had no effect. I prayed for some kind of temporary escape from this nightmare life. Usually, when people are depressed, they sleep a lot. They want the hours to pass as quickly as possible, hoping to wake up to find that things have gotten better on their own, that maybe the pain will have subsided. Maybe they can wake up to find out that their life was just a bad dream. Maybe they could fall asleep and never have to wake up. That would have been Heaven to me. Anything was better than this. 
            Even when I was able to get a few hours sleep in the previous months, waking up was depressing. I had nothing to look forward to. My nightmares were better than my life. Everyday started the same exact way. My eyes would open. I would look around my dirty ass, self imposed prison of a bedroom that had become a microcosm of my life. As I was thrown out of sleep and back into life, it took a moment to realize that this was my reality, not the dream I had just woke from. As soon as I recognized this sad fact, I would utter out loud with disgusted disappointment the same exact thing that I always said to myself to start the next miserable day of my miserable life:
           "Fuck".
            I actually missed waking up and cursing my life. At least that meant I had slept. I was suffering from acute clinical depression and insomnia. That meant I was face to face with my depressing thoughts every minute of the day. There was not a moment of release. There was nowhere to hide, nowhere to retreat to. I needed a break. I just needed some goddamn sleep. That's all it is, sleep. It's not sex. It's sleep. It's a given. If a person hopes to survive, it is a necessity. It is food. It is water. It is shelter. How was I ever going to get better if I couldn't sleep? I needed it now more than ever. As bad as things had been, they were getting worse by the day. The last sleep I got was Friday night before the unexpected flight to Vegas. 
            Besides that, I could not even remember the last time I slept.
   
            I sat on the back of the boat, dreaming of sleeping when I heard the cabin door slam open behind me. I turned to see 2 Japanese men emerge from beneath. The one was wearing an expensive black suit. I had seen enough Japanese films to recognize a member of the Yakuza when I saw one. The other was his henchman, who looked and dressed exactly like that huge assassin from the James Bond movie, Goldfinger. I think his name was Handjob, or maybe Oddjob? Probably the latter. If this brute wasn't Handjob, then he was definitely the parody of his character, Random Task,  from Austin Powers. He was the one who threw a shoe as a weapon. I believe Handjob threw a hat in the Bond film. The only thing this version of the character threw was me to the ground. Then he picked me up by my head and slammed the right side of my face down on a table and held it there. Once I could focus my eyes, I saw Yakuza unsheathe a Samurai sword and walk towards me with it pointed directly at my face. I was so dazed that I couldn't even say,"What the fuck?" as I typically would have in such a situation, even though before the Criss Angel incident a few nights earlier, I had never been in any situation remotely like this. Yakuza started yelling in his version of Japanenglish. He basically wanted to know who I was and what I was doing there. 
            Why do I keep putting myself in these situations?
            I was still reeling from having my face slammed down. Handjob pushing my face into the table was not helping me gather my thoughts. He had my hair in his hand and made a fist, pulling it hard enough to indicate that I better respond. 
           "I USED TO WORK WITH THESE GUYS! THEY KNOW ME!" 
            Yakuza puts the blade on my neck and raises the sword above his head with both hands. I keep expecting someone to set this asshole straight. Nothing. None of my old "friends" are speaking up on my behalf. Somehow, even though they do and say nothing, I know that the security guys want to step in and stop this.
           "GUYS? COME ON! PLEASE! SAY SOMETHING! TELL THESE FUCKING GUYS WHO I AM!" I plead to no avail. Not a word. I can't see them, but I know they are there. I can feel them watching. I call out to the security guy that I was especially close to. 
           "SQUEAK! SQUEAK! WHERE ARE YOU? HELP ME, MAN. I KNOW YOU'RE HERE SOMEWHERE. PLEASE JUST SAY SOMETHING!"
            Despite his nickname, Squeak does not make a sound. It's desperation time.
            SQUEAK. IT'S ME, MAN! WE WERE ALWAYS TIGHT, REMEMBER? FROM DAY ONE. JUST..PLEASE... SQUEAK. JUST SAY I'M YOUR FRIEND".
           I know that he is the only one who ever genuinely cared about me and, even in his silence, I am sure that it is killing him to not be able to help me. It's a nice thought, but Squeak's best intentions aside, I'm about to be fucking decapitated. I try a different approach. I stop shouting and I resort to using the closest  thing we had to a term of endearment for each other.
          "Squeak! It's me, your buddy. You can't let them kill your buddy."
           I'm all alone and I know it. The tears start to flow and my voice cracks as I struggle to force my words in one last futile attempt. My voice has about as much authority as someone trying not to wake the person in bed next to them while they cry themselves to sleep. Like that same person whispering a bedtime prayer, I was the only one who could hear me.  
           "It's me. It's Jimbo Jones. Don't let them kill me. Don't let them kill Jimbo Jones".

            He did not have a choice. He would lose everything if he interfered with whatever business is going on between Yakuza and DJB, who I can now see in the background. The son of a bitch is standing there smiling. He is finding my display of fear and desperation amusing. I yell at him to tell Yakuza that I am not some rat. He says nothing. When I see how much he is enjoying this, my fear turns to anger. I make the last choice I was ever going to make. I had lived my life like a coward, but I was not going to die the same way. I was not going to beg for my life. I would not give him the satisfaction. I would not provide the punchline to one of his sick late night stories. I would happily die before spending my last words pleading with him to show me mercy.
           That would not be the last act I performed in my shitty waste of a life.
           "FUCK YOU!" I shout at him as our eyes meet under Yakuza's raised elbow. Handjob still has the whole right side of my face buried in the hard table surface. Yakuza brings the sword back to my neck and raises it back to prepare for my beheading, which I can only hope will be done in one clean chop. I see DJB again as Yakuza raises the sword. 
          "FUCK YOU!" I shout at him again. 
           He's snickering. I roll my left eye around for another face to spit my venom at.
          "FUCK ALL OF YOU MOTHER FUCKERS! YOU'RE NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF FUCKIN' COWARDS!" 
           I look up at Yakuza's face with my left eye.
           I realize my angry words do not faze him.
           I am only amusing him.
           I stop screaming.
           I take my final breath.
           I am calm.
           I know this is it.
           I wink at Yakuza.
           I see his confusion.
           I smile.
           I know something they don't know.
           I choose my last words.
           I laugh.   
          "You're all gonna rot in fuckin' Hell".
           I continue to laugh like some lunatic. I laugh like this so I won't cry. No matter how hard I force it, I am still somewhere in the middle of  laughter and tears. My small victory is being able to laugh a little harder than I cry while I tell them their futures.
          "You're all gonna fuckin' rot in Hell. Every fuckin' one of you".
           The harder I laugh, the harder it is not to cry. When I feel the laughter begin to give way to the tears, I force myself to be silent. 
            I close my eye and try to think of something.
            Something that might bring me peace. 
            Something good I did with my life. 
            Something I am proud of. 
            Something.
            Nothing.
            Nothing comes to mind.
           "HIYAH!" Yakuza shouts.
            I deserve this.
     
     

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