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Twisting all the bad things into good

Mar 26, 2012

CHAPTER 17: THE PATRON SAINT OF . . . WHATEVER. Stroke of Genius (Part 2 of 3)


                                    And the white coats just don't get it
                                    I'm a genius with a headache
                                              Senses Fail, Sick or Sane

SATURDAY. 9/11/10

            I had just whacked off in a mental facility.
            (How many people can say that?)
            I was so relieved to go flaccid.
            (Another first)
            At least now, I'll be able to have children if I want.
            But I won't.
            Fuck kids.
            (Not your kids. Your kids are cool)

            I felt like celebrating. If I was able to whistle, I would have. None of the other inmates whistled either while I did the jimmy shimmy in my little shorts all the way across the rec room to the tech station. The lack of catcalls allowed me to feel like a man for the first time since my unsettling wardrobe change that felt dangerously close to a sex change.
            Maybe I should spank it again later, just to double check the equipment. Even if it's not tonight, at least I know that the next time won't be an exercise in futility, that is, if I don't relapse on painkillers within an hour of my release.

            The tall blonde tech is sitting behind the counter. Sparky refers to her as "Amazon", usually loud enough for her to hear. She ignores him. Even though I want to laugh, I don't. I hide my smile behind my fist. Besides the Haitian with his wake up calls, I genuinely like all the techs, but Amazon is the only one I would  like to fornicate with. Unfortunately, she is not very friendly. Amazon seems way too uppity to ever play doctor with a mental patient. In her defense, she's never seen me dressed in men's clothes.

            It feels like I'm approaching the only girl at a crowded bar. The one who is drinking alone and wants to be left that way. When she sees me walking up to her, I smile and turn on the Jimmy Mac charm that I haven't had since around 2006.       
           "Hey. How's it going?"
            Her silence indicates that she isn't in the mood to talk to some guy who thinks he's got it together, but doesn't realize or just won't admit how fucked up he really is.
            I lean on the bar and start the sweet talk.
           "Can you do me a big favor?"
            She reacts as if I asked her to meet me in the bathroom.
           "Can you change one of my meds for me?"
           "I can't. You need to discuss that with your doctor."
           "Alright, then."
             I wait for a response but never receive one. 
            "Sooo, can I talk to a doctor then?"
            "The doctors aren't here on the weekends. You'll have to wait until Monday."
            "Honestly, I'm not trying to be a pain in the ass. Everyone here has been awesome, so I'm the last one who would ever give you guys a problem. Seriously."
            I lean closer to tell her a secret.
           "I know that working in this place, you must deal with crazy people doing and saying crazy shit all the time, but I'm not one of 'em. I'm only in here because of drugs. Mostly."
            I got no game. Still, I play on.
           "I'm not asking you to actually switch  my meds, I just don't think I should take the one anymore."
            She looks at her clipboard.
           "Which medication?"
           "The Trazodone. They should call it Trazodon't."
             I Trazodon't think this one's coming home with me.
            "Side effects?" she asks.
            "Sometimes it takes your body a few days to get used to it, and then any side effects will usually subside."
            "Well, when I got here, the girl who admitted me mentioned it as a possible side effect, but then someone else said it's actually an adverse reaction."
            "What kind of reaction?"
            "Yes, but what kind of adverse reaction?"
             Like my prolonged erection, this is a lot harder than I thought it would be.
           "Hold on one second" I tell her. "I'll be right back."

            Monica's sitting at the table. I walk over and kneel down next to her. I get as close as possible without risking being told to keep my distance from a fellow prisoner.
           "Hey, Monica. What did you say that was called when you can't get it up?"
            She's puzzled.
           "I meant, what's it called when a guy can't get it down? Something with a "P"?"
           "Oh, priapism. Why?"
           "I'm trying to explain why I want to change meds."
           "I don't think it's that common."
           "Yeah, but still. Just to be safe."

            I return to the Amazon.
           "Hey, sorry. It's called "pria...pria". Shit, I already forgot. Pria something."
           "What are you talking about, James?"
            I have nothing to lose. Well, besides the ability to never have crazy kids or crazy sex again.
            I won't be having either with this tech, so, what the hell?
           "I don't mean to be crude, but I woke up at like 5 in the morning with an erection that didn't go away until about five minutes ago."
            She doesn't look turned on. Instead, she looks at the clock and then back at me.
            I nod my head. "Yeah. Ridiculous, huh?"
           "I'll let the nurse know."
           "Hey, just let everyone know, it's cool. I'm just kidding. Thank you. I really didn't feel like doing that thing where I pretend to swallow a pill, but I really hide it under my tongue or something."
          She must not have seen that movie.
         "Well, I guess if I was going to do that, I would have just given myself away."
           I laugh. She doesn't. That was like strike 12.
          "I'm gonna shut up now."
           After knocking twice on the counter, I give one last smile and nod, then turn to join the other fuck ups who don't think they're fucked up.

           It's hard to take part in the drug related conversation going on at the table. I don't know why, but I am so amused that I rubbed one out it in a mental joint. As open as we are about our drug abuse, our meds, and their mental problems, and even though Monica mentioned something that appalled even me called 2 Girls 1 Cup, I still didn't feel that it would be an appropriate conversation topic to share with anyone who wasn't...myself, I guess.
           I told myself  that this is the kind of thing you don't talk about at parties. Then I thought about how Things I Don't Talk About At Parties would be a good title for the kind of book that I would never have the balls to write.
           What would people think?
           Probably that I'm pretty sick.
           They do it too.
           Maybe just not in a Crisis Stabilization Unit.          

           Besides being a complete degenerate, something caught my eye that made me start wondering if I may also be some kind of genius.

Mar 16, 2012

CHAPTER 16: THE PATRON SAINT OF . . . WHATEVER. Stroke of Genius (Part 1)

The quality which makes man want to write and be read is essentially a desire for self-exposure and masochism. Like one of those guys who has a compulsion to take his thing out and show it on the street.
James Jones

SATURDAY. 9/11/10

            There was no way to know what time it was.
            I couldn't stop tossing and turning.
            It's always been hard for me to fall asleep on my back. I would usually end up ruminating until I turned over and buried my face in my pillow. It's not the best way to keep a healthy complexion, but even to someone as vain as myself, I'll take an occasional blemish over insomnia. It's nothing that a nice Pomegranate purifying clay mask can't take care of, I mean, if you're a woman. Whether you're a woman, a gay dude, or a straight guy who can admit he's completely secura shopping at Sephora, as far as I know, even the biggest zit in the history of Homecomings has not resulted in an involuntary stay in a mental health facility.

            I couldn't even sleep on my stomach on this Saturday morning.
            After enough time had passed, it became clear that it was the medication that was keeping me up. The term "prolonged erection" was an understatement. "Throbbing hard on" would be more appropriate. Wow. Ridiculous. Painful. When the nurse and her silent partner introduced me to the term, I was secretly hoping the "prolonged" part was in regards to length of size, not time. When I worked in the porn industry, I stayed behind the camera (mostly for moral reasons, of course).
            I'm guessing this is what Viagra feels like.
            Even when I had unlimited access to them, I never tried those little blue pills. Obviously, I'm referring to the Viagra, not the the little blue pills I took ten times a day that ruined my life. Way back in those days, when I used to have a girlfriend, a sex drive, and a life, I asked my ex-girlfriend if I should grab a few and give it a try. Due to my "prolonged" stamina and her petite little package, she responded, "Please don't."
            Just thought I'd throw that in there, because it is vital to the overall story.

            On this particular morning, I did not wake up from a dream about sex or cheesecake, so I knew my boner was not a result of any sort of arousal. Besides, I was not going to indulge in a wake and shake in the shower of some mental facility. That in itself might justify my being here.
            The other cause of morning wood, besides Trazodone, is due to urine building up in the bladder during sleep, putting pressure on the prostate and ...basically, so we don't just piss all over ourselves or the person passed out next to us.
            Back when I used to sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time, I always tried to avoid getting out of bed to take a leak, because then I can never fall back to sleep after. It would have been easier to fall asleep on an eightball than on this monster, so I figured taking a whizz couldn't hurt, not as much as my urethra did.
            This is not as simple as it seems.
            Even if I had the strength or balance necessary to do a handstand, there was no way in hell I was planting my palms on a filthy bathroom floor. Being a righty, I put my left hand on the wall behind the toilet, and leaned forward as far as possible until my body made a 90 degree angle. The vertex being my waist.
             About four seconds after I let loose, I finally hit the water.

             About forty minutes after I wiped my piss from the toilet seat and bathroom floor, the tech came in, and in a much less dickish fashion than the Haitian the previous morning, let us know it was time to get up. I was already there.
             There was no choice but to take this thing into the rec room with me. I don't wear my clothes 3 sizes too big like some fucking wigger. Due to my lack of  any hippity hoppity fashion sense, my appropriately sized large t-shirt was only going to go so far in covering this. I've been worried about by junk slipping through the bottom of my Daisys, not popping out the top. It's not like it was some rash that I could go around showing to people and asking, "Hey, check this out. Does this look normal to you?" It was a fiasco enough when I walked into the rec room without a shirt on the morning before. Maybe I should just walk out there in my boxers, if nothing else but to have a funny story to tell at parties.
            No. That's stupid. Nobody wants to hear some inappropriate and unnecessary anecdote about my junk. I would need to get some new material if it ever came to that.

            It' s come to this. There's this thing I used to do when I was a tween in tighty whiteys. I don't know if other guys did this, because I would never discuss such personal things with others.
            Because I'm smart, and because I was lucky enough to be wearing boxer briefs when the police came to institutionalize me, I may actually get through this ordeal without anyone ever knowing about it. I used the elastic waist band to hold myself against myself.
            When I walked into the rec room, I acted like everything was cool. Everything was not cool. It was feverish. I could feel it burning against that part of my belly where a woman's fupa would be.

            Besides having the polar opposite of erectile disfunction, it was the usual routine this morning.
            Meds. Vitals. Breakfast.

            At breakfast, Sparky noticed I wasn't being as talkative as usual.
           "James, you feeling alright?"
           "I just didn't sleep very well last night."
           "You think it was from the meds?, Sparky asks.
           "You should tell them to take it down."
           "Yeah. I was thinking the same thing."
           "Any other side effects?"
           "Nothing that I've noticed".

            Ken asks,"What are they giving you, Seroquel?"
           "No, they give me Lexapro in the morning, and before bed they give me, it's like Trazadol and Risteral?"
           "Trazadone and Risperdal," Ken says.
            Sparky says, "Ken, you really know your meds."
           "That's because I've been on all of them."

            It's funny how openly we all discuss our meds and how much easier it is for some to discuss their drug or mental problems outside of group therapy. What's not funny is that I'm talking to a couple dudes while I have a "prolonged direction" under the table.

            Monica asks me, "Are you bipolar, James?"
           "No, I'm just moody. Why?"
           "Because of the medication you're on."
           "Well, I'm not sure what does what, but they gave an antipsychotic because of the hallucinations the first night. Then they put me on antidepressant to help with the depression that follows coming off opiates."
           "You should be careful with the trazodone," she says.
           "Why's that?"
           "One of the side effects can be erectile disfunction."
            I laugh. "To be honest, it had the opposite effect on me."
            DJ says, "What do you mean?"
           "I mean, it works like Viagra on me."
           "James, don't ever take that again", Monica tells me.
            I tell her, "The girl told me it was a possible side effect."
           "That's not a side effect, that's an adverse reaction. It's called priapism."
           "What the hell is that?"
           "That's when your erection last longer than like four or six hours. Then you're supposed to go to the hospital. My friend's a nurse and she told me about a guy came who came in after like a day or something and had to have surgery and was never able to get it up again".
           "Yeah, I better tell them not to give me that anymore".

           After trying to play it cool through breakfast, I immediately approached the tech counter.
          "Can I get a towel? I need to take a shower."

           I had to kill this beast before it killed me.
           I chose to save the children I would probably never choose to have.
           So, I did what I had to do.
           I won't go into detail.
           Some things are private.


Mar 15, 2012


I never appreciated 'positive heroes' in literature. They are almost always cliches, copies of copies, until the model is exhausted. I prefer perplexity, doubt, uncertainty, not just because it provides a more 'productive' literary raw material, but because that is the way we humans really are.

Jose Samarago

FRIDAY. 9/10/10

            He wasn't as much stumbling as he was falling forward.
            Whether he knew it or not, he made a big entrance around 4.
            This kid was fucked up.
            He was barely conscious.
            I liked his style.

            The tech, Herb, had to help him to a couch.
           "Woah. Look at this guy," Sparky announced.           
           "Brian, stop", a female administrator said.
            The kid curls up the second he hits the couch.
           "Damn, buddy. Take Xanax much?" I say.
           "Is that what he's on?", Sparky asks.
           "If not, he's the most tired person who's ever lived."

            Takes one to know one.
            Herb stands behind the administrator, who is kneeling next to the Cuban kid, who has either just passed out or away.
           "Felip. Felip. Felip", she kept saying. "Felip? Felip? Felip."
            I lean towards Sparky and whisper, "I think his name's Felip."
           "Felip? Felip? Felip. Felip."  
           "How many times is she gonna say his name?"

            Beating a dead horse.         

            Sparky tells her,"You might want to take his pulse."
           "Brian, come on", says Herb.
           "Felip. Felip? Felip?" She turns to Herb. "He must have taken something."
            I bust out laughing.
            They both look at me. I immediately put my head on the table and cover my face with the inside of my elbow.
           "Felip. Felip. Felip?"
            Every time she says it, I laugh harder.
            "Felip! Felip! Felip?"
             I can't stop laughing.
            Then I hear The Voice.
           "Feeleep? Feeleep?"
            I stop laughing.
           "Feeleep? Feeleep?", Viviana keeps repeating.
            I look up with tears in my eyes. "Oh, hell no."
            Sparky points at Viv and says,"Herb. Come on, man."
            Herb tries not to laugh and tells Viv that they have it under control.
           "Felip. Felip".           
            Me and Brian look at each other, shaking our heads.

            Holier than thou.

            An hour later, it's almost time for dinner.          
           "Felip. Felip? Felip. It's time for dinner, Felip. Do you want to eat?"
           "Noooo", he says, with his eyes still closed.
           "I think we should just let him sleep,"she says.
            Ya think?

            When Herb told us it was time to head to dinner, Ken, Sparky, and I got up from the table, and were the first in line. Herb stood at the door waiting for everyone else to fall in behind us. He notices that I'm dressed like a white trashy skank.
           "James, what happened to your jeans, man?"
           "They made me cut 'em off."
           "Who made you cut them off, a tech?"
           "No, this guy", I nod my head at Sparky, "and the girls. The tech, that big guy. He actually did his best, but I would've never let him do it if I knew I'd have to walk around like this."
            Herb laughs and asks Sparky, "Why'd you guys tell him to cut his jeans?"
           "Did you see those things? James looked like a homeless person."
           "Yeah", I say. "Now, I look like a village person."

             Dead ringer.  

            My denim hot pants now make the gash on my left knee visible.
            Herb asks me what happened.
           "I thought I was fighting for my life on a boat, but now I have no idea." 

            Licking one's wounds.

            Friday night felt different.
            We should be doing something.
            Our only option was dominoes.
            I was so bored. After all, I was in Vegas last Friday.
            Having nothing to do made me want to smoke.
            I hate cigarettes. They're addictive.

            I just wanted to do something to break the monotony.
            When the time came for smoke breaks, each smoker would receive one from their packs kept behind the tech counter. Nobody was allowed to share their smokes. A few times, I snuck a few drags from Mikael. Otherwise, I would just go out for the break and walk around the courtyard to stretch my back.
            Being bored made me look forward to meals, snacks, groups, and meds. The only other thing we did was sit around the rec room.
            This was still better than sitting around my bedroom.


            Between games, Loretta asked,"Do you guys like me?"
           "Are you kidding?" DJ asked.
           "Of course, we do", Monica says. "We love you."
            Sparky and I stay out of this one. Ken stays quiet as usual.
            DJ asked,"Why would you even ask that?"
           "Because I don't want to be hanging out if you guys don't like me. I don't want to be annoying like Viviana, and not know it."
            They convinced her that she was just being paranoid. This must have motivated them to do some female bonding, because they went to their room to do each other's hair.
            Sparky liked to think they were diking out.

            It was late Friday night when they decided to stop calling Felip's name, and to call him an ambulance.
            8:30 is late when bedtime is 10.
            As soon as the EMT's arrived, it was clear that the female was running the show. I would have been happy to let her run my show.
           "What's his name?", she asked.
            About six people said, "Felip".
           "Felip, can you hear me? Felip?" She turns and asks the administrative assistant, "How long's he been like this?"
           "Since about four. He was okay when he arrived, but by the time he was admitted, he couldn't stay awake."
           "Do you know what he took?"
           "No. Whatever he took, it was before he got here."
            The EMT asks,"What did you take, Felip?"
           "Nothing", he says."Leave me alone."
           "Felip. We need to know what you took so we can help you."
           "I don't need help."
           "If you don't wanna tell me, the cops are outside, you can tell them."
           "Fuck the cops and fuck you."
           "You'd rather go to jail than the hospital?"
           "I'm not going anywhere."

            He was right.
           They let him sleep.

            Meds were distributed an hour before bedtime.
            Monica tried to teach us how to play a simple card game, but, within minutes, it was more than I could grasp. I was fading out too quick to even Go Fish, so I decided to go to bed a half hour early.

            I've had better Friday nights.
            Not lately though.
            Not in the last year.
            Not that I can remember.


Mar 11, 2012

CHAPTER 14. THE PATRON SAINT OF . . . WHATEVER. Confessions of a Rapid Cycling DramaHo

The world is tragic to those who feel 
and comic to those who think.

 Robert Walpole

FRIDAY. 9/10/10

           "Drama ho," I say as I lay down my last domino.
            I'm like the World Domino Champ of South County.

            As DJ approaches the table, I notice her sneakers for the first time.
            They're hightop white Reeboks with no laces.
           "You got that old school Run DMC thing going on", I point out.
           "I know. They took my shoelaces so that I can't try to kill myself."
           "Oh, okay."

            Speaking of killing oneself, I could really use a razor right now.
            I couldn't remember the last time I shaved.
           "Hey, Brian. Are we allowed to shave?"
            Sparky says,"Yeah. One of the techs has to stand there and watch you though."

           "Hey, buddy", I say as I approach the tech counter. While shredding my cheek open with an invisible razor, I ask, "Is it cool if I can get a shave?"
           "Sure," he says as he gets up.
            He has long dreads and weighs at least 300 pounds. Maybe 400. I don't know. I didn't ask.
           "It doesn't have to be now," I tell him. "Whenever you have a chance".
           "No, we can do it now." He goes into the other room and brings me a cheap razor and a can of shaving cream. I follow him to my room.
            He stands in the bathroom doorway while I'm lathering up.
            It's hard to read this tech. Looking at his reflection in the mirror, I can't tell if he is irritated or if it's just that his activities are limited while having to supervise somebody while they shave. He leans back against the doorway, looking up at the ceiling, instead of staring me down in the mirror.
           "I'll try to be quick," I tell him.
           "Naw, man. Just take your time".
           "Alright. Thanks, bro."
            Besides the Haitian tech with his kick down the door wake up calls, everyone of the guys who work here is really cool. The patients here are lucky to have them.
           "Thanks, man," I say as I hand him the razor. "Appreciate it."
           "No problem."
            I rinse off my face and pat my face dry with a towel. I check my face one last time, and then look at the tech in the mirror. "How do I look?"
            He shakes his head and kind of laughs.
            When I walk back into the rec room looking ten years younger, DJ says,"James. You look ten years younger."
           "Thanks." I say, pretending that compliments embarrass me.
            Sparky looks at me as if I'm his little boy walking out of the barbershop with my new haircut.
            He says," All we gotta do now is cut those jeans off."
            Before I sit down, I look down at my torn jeans.
           "I already told you I can't cut them off. Look how high they're ripped. I'll be walking around in little jean shorts."
           "James, besides the clean shave you look like you're homeless."
            I like Sparky. That's why I don't remind him that he lives in a tent and eats strangers' leftover pieces of fried chicken at a waterpark.
            Monica, a pretty lady in her mid forties, says,"You know who you look like, James? A young Ben Affleck".
           "I think he looks like Keanu Reeves," DJ says.
            Sparky strokes his chin, and to nobody in particular, says, "Maybe I should shave?"

            Besides the two women who saw me puking outside Walgreens when I couldn't even hold it together long enough to go inside to buy Gatorade, this is the first female attention I've had in a long time.
            It's not roadhead, but it still feels pretty good.
            As much as I'm enjoying, and totally agreeing with their "James, you should be an actor" talk, I'm distracted by one of my supporting actors offscreen.
            It's Ken.
            He has not spoken a line of dialogue yet, but his physical performance is mesmerizing enough that I can't stop watching him.
            Without looking away from Ken, I lower my voice and say to Sparky,"Brian. Dude, check out Ken."
           "Jesus Christ," Sparky says.
            You can hear the pity in Monica's voice.
           "Oh, my God. Poor Ken," she says.
            You can tell how bad DJ feels for him.
           "I feel so bad for him," she says.
            Ken's trembling like a five foot Shake Weight with glasses and a beard.
            It wasn't funny, at least, not until I just described it that way.
            A nurse is trying to help him to safely get a drink from the water fountain without headbutting himself  into a concussion. Hopefully the water is for washing down some kind of anticonvulsant. Otherwise, this dude's about to shatter.

            If Ken had ever said anything, it must not have been very memorable, or else he had just been drowned out by my big mouth. Either way, he was usually there. Ken listened and he  laughed. He used to sit alone, but slowly eased his way into eating and playing dominos with me, Sparky, Monica, Loretta, DJ, and Mikael. Occasionally, Jesus and Viv with the voice would make a cameo. Usually, nobody could understand what the fuck Viviana was saying, so it was almost like she wasn't there. Any patients that were not part of our cracked out crew were part of  the silent majority who never spoke.

           "James, those things have to go", Sparky says.
            I turn my attention back to him and the girls.
           "You gotta let me cut those jeans," Sparky says.
           "Why do you want to cut them so bad? And what the hell are you talking about anyway? They won't give me something to write with, but they're gonna give you a pair of scissors?"
           "One of the techs will do it," DJ says.
            I stand up and ask, "Ladies, are they really that bad?"

            Big Boy is taking scissors to the legs of my jeans, while I stand at the counter watching and wearing three hospital gowns tied together because I couldn't figure out how to tie one correctly.
           "Just cut them as low as you can. I don't want to be prancing around in little shorts".
           "I don't want you to either," says Big Boy, who really is being quite meticulous.
           "Thanks, I'm used to wearing Dickies that hang down below my knees."
           After a few cuts, my jeans are no longer.
           "Here ya go. Best I could do", he says and hands me my jean shorts.
           "Thanks, man".

           "Fuck, man".
            My new, and only, pair of jean shorts did not even reach halfway to my knees. If they were any shorter, the inside of my hip pockets would be showing. I really have no other option. I don't want to walk around in a hospital gown, a constant reminder that I'm a patient in a mental health facility, not a kid at summer camp.

            When I saw myself in the bathroom mirror, I never looked or felt so fucking gay in my whole life.
            My favorite TV show is now Glee.
            My favorite singer is now Britney...
            Don't hate.

            By the time I'm fabulous enough to come out (of my room), Monica, Loretta, and DJ are in their room. Everyone else is focused on the television. I take the closest seat so I don't have to sashay my shit across the center of the rec room, which is noticeably void of almost all the women.
            I'm just glad this place doesn't have a pinball machine.
            I'm so self conscious. I always have been, but this is probably closer to paranoia. Maybe it's just my hormones, or some strange "intuition" that I never had before my castration. It feels like something's up, like I'm being fucked with. It feels like everyone is ignoring me because they don't want to ruin my surprise birthday party that is about to be thrown almost two months early.
           Then I remember where I am and that these people have seen crazier shit than some newly emasculated dude who, if he did have any balls left, they would be visibly hanging out the bottom of his short shorts while he sits there with his legs crossed, questioning his previously unexplained devotion to all things Morrissey.

            I remind myself that I shouldn't care what anyone else thinks about me. I'll never see these people again after Monday, and besides whoever gives me a ride home, nobody will ever hear about this or anything else that has happened over the last week. God willing.

            It feels like I'm standing on a ledge.
            I keep pleading with myself, "Whatever you do, don't look down."
            So, I look down.
            Some mad scientist type fucker has obviously replaced the bottom half of my body with that of a woman's who is wearing Daisy Dukes and has her ugly, unshaven legs crossed, and is wearing tan ballet slippers with cute little happy faces on them that may as well be screaming,"NICE PEOPLE SWALLOW!"
            I have to stand up because I just don't even know how to sit anymore.
            Legs crossed, I look and feel like a tall, ugly woman.
            Legs not crossed, I'd probably be showing sack, if it hasn't already shriveled up, up and away.

            Either everyone was purposely ignoring me or they were actually watching television. It's possible that not every wreck in this rec room is as self obsessed with myself as I am...myself. Me.          

            When I noticed Ken sitting alone at the table, his Shake Weighting now reduced to nearly pocket rocket levels, I figured he would be a good person for me to talk at in an effort to ignore my lower half.

            This is how it must feel when some glassed up gay street hustler, who is wearing my exact same shorts and slippers, propositions a "john", or in this case, a "ken", for a "date". I just had to remember to say,"Hey, Ken, how's it going?", and not,"Hey, Kenny, how's about ten for the hand and twenty for the mouth?"

            For the first time since before my pseudo sex change, I had a thought that wasn't entirely self centered. I thought that maybe Ken had never said anything because nobody ever spoke directly to him. He was the kid in class who wouldn't raise his hand, but wanted nothing more than to be called on because he knew all the answers, if there ever was such a kid.

           "Ken, how's it going, man?"
            I take the seat across from him so he doesn't think I'm going to try to jack him off under the table.
           "Hey, James. I'm okay".
           "Yeah? You didn't look okay earlier."
            He knows.
           "I had some tremors when I got here," I tell him. "Nothing like yours. You had them really bad,  bro."
            He knows.
            I hope he also knows that my intention is not to sodomize him.
            In our search for common ground, we found it in drugs. In South County, this search always ended in the same place and it always took about three minutes to get there.
            I can picture Ken more with a beaker in his hand than a glowstick. I can only imagine what he can picture in my hand. He kind of looks like a chemistry teacher, so unless he had accidentally invented it, I would have never guessed that ecstasy had been his D.O.C.
            I mentioned my own rolling experiences before segueing into my recent adventure, something I was still trying to make some sense of.

            "Insomnia?", Ken asks. "No other diagnosis?"
            "Nope. I didn't ask for one either.I expected him to say something like schizophrenia, so when he said it was lack of sleep, I was like "okay, doc". Honestly, I don't think he knew what the fuck he was talking about."
            "What do you mean?"
            "I mean, I've heard of people being up for days on meth or something, seeing like shadows, or shit like that, but, I was like walking around in a dream for 6 days. And the shit that I remember, I can remember it as if it really happened. You know how you wake up from a dream and it slowly fades after a little while. I remember that shit like I remember us having dinner last night. It would take me 2 hours to tell you everything that I thought happened."
            Ken says,"Yeah, I was gonna say that it sounds like more was going on than lack of sleep".
           "Ken, do me a favor?"
           "Don't tell that to the doctor."

           "Are you bipolar?", Ken asks me.
           "I don't know. I don't think so."
            Ken laughs. I didn't realize I said something funny.
            I tell him, "I've been so fucked up on pills for so long that any of my emotions on a given day were pretty much a direct result of how many pills I had taken."
           "What about before drugs?"
           "Before drugs? Ken, that was like 18 years ago."
           "I think being bipolar and going untreated is what got me into drugs."
           "I've always been a moody bastard, but most people's idea of bipolar means some chick who loves you one minute and tries to stab you the next. I know it's not really like that. I might be up and down, but I've never been like depressed for weeks at a time, well besides for the last year or so."
           "Some people do rapid cycling."
           "What's that, like spinning class as therapy or something?" I ask, half kidding.
           "No, just some people can be up and down more often than every few weeks".
            Then I look right through Ken's glasses and straight into his eyes.
           "Hey, Ken. How about I jump up and down on your head more often than every few weeks, mother fucker?"
          "Jesus, Ken. I was fuckin' kidding, man. Ken. Please stop shaking. It's making me really nervous."


Mar 10, 2012

The Other MJ

"You write about him as you remember him and then if  he came here I will remember him."
"We will see," I said.
   Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

           I walked along the train tracks near my house today.
           The tracks were a reminder.
           It hurts to think about, but I couldn't stop. I didn't even try.
           My thoughts have become something I no longer run from or chase away, no matter how morbid they may be.
           I kept thinking about what it must be like to walk those tracks into an oncoming train.
           This was something I had not thought about in some time.
           It hurts to think about, but I couldn't stop. I didn't even try.
           He deserved a few minutes out of my day.

           His name was Michael Jackson.
           Not that Michael Jackson. He was older.
           That's what he used to tell just about every caller immediately after he introduced himself.
           He was born in 1950.
           The reason I remember that is because every time he mentioned his birth year to a co-worker, he would look down the aisle at me, while he told them he was the same age as "Jimmy Mac's dad", and he would smile.
            He was a good man.
            His jokes were corny.
            His face would turn bright red when he would tell me about how disrespectful the president of our company had been to him.

            In October of 2003, the Florida Marlins were going to the World Series. I lucked out and got through to Ticketmaster and scored 6 tickets to Game 5 of the World Series.
            Michael failed to get through to buy 2 tickets for him and his son.
            I could see in his face how disappointed he was.

            A few days later, I decided that I would rather sell my tickets for 3 times what I paid, and use the money to go to Fantasy Fest in Key West to celebrate my birthday.
            A manager at work was going to give me $200 for each ticket that I had spent $67 on.
            She was going to use them as a prize for a sales contest.
            She came to my cubicle and asked how many tickets I had to sell.
            I looked down the aisle and saw Michael on the phone.
            I told her that I had 4 tickets.
            She brought me back a check for $800.
            When I saw that Michael was off the phone, I wheeled my chair backwards down the aisle to his cubicle.
            "Hey. Jimmy Mac. What's happening?"
            "Not much, buddy. Going to Key West this weekend for my birthday".
            "It's Fantasy Fest too, isn't it?" he asks.
            "Oh, yeah."
            "And you got the game Thursday night, then Fantasy Fest. That's gonna be a hell of a time."
            "Yeah, I'm not gonna go to the game though."
            "What about your tickets?"
            "I sold them to Amy. She gave me $200 bucks each. They're gonna use them for the sales contest. I figured that having my vacation paid for beat one baseball game. You ever find any tickets for you and your son?"
            "No. Any that I did find were like $500 bucks."
            "That sucks. Well, buddy, I only sold her 4. I kept 2 so you could go with your son."
            I wheeled myself backwards to my cubicle as if making his day didn't also make my own.
            "Jimmy Mac", he said with a huge smile.

            A few minutes later, he came over and leaned into my cubicle. He wanted to know if he could get me $200 at lunch and if he could give me the other $200 when we got paid next week.
            "Don't worry about the money until next week. Otherwise, I'd just end up blowing it over the weekend anyway. And you only have to give me what I paid for them, just don't tell anybody."
            He appreciated the offer, but insisted on giving me at least an extra hundred.
            "Mike, seriously. I don't care about making a profit off the company, but I didn't sell those 2 because I wanted you to be able to go with your son. It's one of those things you guys will remember the rest of your lives."
            He went back to his cubicle and immediately called his son. He told him that they were going to Game 5 of The World Series. Loud enough to make sure I heard, he told him that he got the tickets from his friend, Jimmy Mac, with a huge smile.

           I was always glad that I did that for him and his son.
           It made me feel good on that day in 1997 and on this day in 2012.
           A few years ago, I found out that Mike had gotten out of his car while waiting at a Boca Raton rail road crossing. He walked down the tracks into an oncoming train.

           I tried to find the date of his death online today, but all I came across were stories about the "other" MJ.       
           I can still see Mike's face and hear his voice.
           It still breaks my heart to know that he was so sad.
           It still kills me to wonder what was going through his mind that made him get out of his car, step on those tracks, and then never step off.         

            I walked along the tracks today with my headphones drowning out everything but my memories. Even though I was a safe distance from any train that might sneak up behind me, I could barely walk 5 steps without looking back.


Mar 8, 2012


"But when Fate destines one to ruin,
 it begins by blinding the eyes of his understanding."
 James Baillie Fraser,
 Short History of the Hindostan Emperors of the Moghol Race

THURSDAY. 9/10/10

            It was almost 4 o'clock.
            Our group therapy would be starting soon.
            Group was held at the same table where we had just played Pictionary, so Sparky and I just stayed at the table talking. I told him about the porn thing. He told me about how he would walk around a waterpark in West Palm Beach and would eat leftover pieces of fried chicken from other people's lunch.

            Mostly, we talked about crack.
           "You ever smoked crack, James?"
           "Man, I've never even seen crack."
            Sparky loved smoking crack.
            He said that I would love it too.
           "I'm sure I would," I admit. "Probably a good reason not to try it."
           "Ya know, James, when we get out of here, you need to come up to West Palm so we can hang out."
           "Yeah, right. You'll have me smoking crack and eating left over fried chicken."
           "No. We can hang out without getting jimmy."
           "What the hell is "jimmy"?"
           "It's crack."
           "You call crack "jimmy"?"
           "Great. My parents and closest friends call me Jimmy."
           "Your name's not James?"
           "Yeah, my name's James, but I've always introduced myself as Jim, but for some reason my best friends and girlfriends always end up calling me Jimmy. I kind of take it as a term of endearment. I don't know, to me, Jimmy sounds like a little kid's name."
           "So, should I call you Jim?"
           "Call me whatever you want."
           "I like "Jimmy"."
           "I know you like jimmy. But Jimmy's fine. We're friends."
           "So then we should hang out. We'll go get some drinks. I won't try to get Jimmy to smoke jimmy."
            I laugh. "Yeah. You say that now."

            Our crack conversation stops when a pretty Hispanic woman approaches the table. After she walks by, me and Sparky look at each other and grin.
            She puts her clipboard down at the head of the table. She turns to the white board and picks up the eraser. As she's about to erase the green image left over from the last round of our movie Pictionary game, she pauses when she realizes what it is. It's basically a stick figure with a huge dick that Loretta drew. The movie was Boogie Nights. Sparky and I laugh.
            I say,"We were playing..."
           "I don't wanna know", she interrupts, then erases.
            Dirk Diggler will not be sitting in on group today.

            The white board has "Maria" written across it.
            After the entire group is at the table, Maria introduces herself. She also works at the hospital.
            Today, we are talking about our addictions. She said that her addiction was food. You would never know by looking at her body. She used to eat to not only fill her belly, but also the void that she felt inside.
            Sparky speaks up. "Hard to believe that you had an eating disorder. You're hot."
           "Thanks. What's your name?"
           "I'm Brian. We should hang out some time. You ever smoke crack?"
            Me and Mikale look at each other across the table and try not to laugh. 
           "No, Brian. I've never smoked crack, and I never would."
           "Aw, you'd love it", he tells her.
           "What is it that you love about smoking crack?"
           "Crack saved my life."
            Maria can't believe what she's hearing. Neither can I.
           "How did crack save your life?", she wants to know. So do I.
           "It got me to quit drinking."
            Sparky's awesome.
            He tries to explain to her how just because he smokes crack, that doesn't mean he's not maintaining a good lifestyle.
           "My life's good", he says. He's being completely serious. "I got my own tent, I own it." He says it like he's paid off his mortgage. "Technically, I'm squatting on the land where I'm staying, but we don't need to get into that."
            This reminds me of a river that starts in the Sudan.
            Maria asks if anyone is there involuntarily. I'm the only one with their hand raised.
            I give her a Cliff's Notes version of my story.
            She asks me what I am going to do when I get released on Monday.
           "Well, the first thing I have to do is deal with a bunch of ants that have probably taken over my room by now." That's when I realize something. "Actually, I don't think there were any ants. Wow. Now that I think about it, I think that was my first hallucination. Thank God I don't have to deal with that. I guess the first thing I have to do is my laundry. Then I have to start packing up my apartment for my move."
           "Do you think it will be a struggle to stay clean?", she asks.
           "Honestly, not really. The last year or so, I've just been eating pills mostly to try to keep myself from getting sick. Yesterday was the first time in years that I felt fine physically without the painkillers. Once I got some sleep and stopped trembling from the xanax, I was all good. As soon as I decided to move back with my family, I was able to let go of all the things that had been stressing me out. I'm actually feeling surprisingly good."

           I'm thinking that I'm the only one at the table who feels this way.
           I'm also thinking of a river that ends in Egypt.


Mar 7, 2012

THE PATRON SAINT OF. . .WHATEVER. CHAPTER 12:1-45 Shortest Chapter and Verse


                      If a bird sees a trap being set,
                      it knows to stay away
                     But these people set an ambush for themselves;
                     they are trying to get themselves killed.
                          Proverbs 1:17-18

FRIDAY 9/10/10
       1  Nobody gets this.
           They only act like they do.
      2   Everyone is confused.
           They just pretend to understand.
           I'm the only one who knows what this is all about.
      3   This is not a movie.
           It's not even a book.
           This is gospel.    
      4   It seems simple enough. It's not.
           These words lend themselves to different interpretations.
           It all depends on the reader.
      5   Some see this story as being about one person.
           Others see in it something bigger.
      6   Some twist these words into blasphemy.
           Same words. Same story.

      7   Everyone thought he was dead.
           They were right. He was.
      8   They knew that people do not come back from the dead.
           They were wrong. He did.
      9   Nobody believes in miracles.
           Not until they see one.

            Jesus arrived four days after Lazarus had died. When he got there, he witnessed Lazarus' sisters and friends overwhelmed with grief.
            Jesus wept. 
            When he was taken to where Lazarus had been laid to rest, Jesus told the people to remove the stone that covered his tomb. Jesus prayed aloud and then ordered Lazarus to come out. Lazarus, resurrected from the dead, emerged from his tomb still wrapped in burial linens.
            John 11:35 is "Jesus wept".
            This is the shortest verse in the Bible.

    10  "Jesus wept" is not a movie.
            It is the title of a P.M Dawn album, but this was not about music.
            This was supposed to be a movie title.
            There was no winner in this round of Pictionary.

    11    Jesus was a crackhead.
            Maybe that's why he didn't follow the rules.
            I think that he just didn't know any better.
    12    I liked Jesus.
            Everybody liked Jesus.
            He was a nice guy.
     13   Sparky called him Jesus because he walked around the rec room in his hospital gown with a Bible in his hand. His real name was Reggie. Reggie was not allowed to eat with us. He ate alone in the rec room. He was the only one who was not allowed to use the phone. I never understood the reason for his punishment. As far as I knew, he never caused any problems. That's why when Jesus asked me to break the rules, I didn't hesitate. He asked me to call his sister and ask her what time she was coming to visit him. When I asked her, she didn't know what I was talking about. I told Reggie that she was not feeling well. She would not be able to make it today.

    14   "Praise Jesus", Sparky says.
            Reggie stops walking and looks up from his Bible.
            DJ turns in her chair."Reggie, why don't you play a round with us?"
            Loretta and Monica tell him that he should play.
    15    Reggie smiled at the invite and closed his Bible. "Yeah, I'll play".
            I do my part to let him know that we're happy to include him.

    16   For five minutes, we sat at the table, racking our medicated minds trying to guess the title of a movie that was never made. Jesus isn't much of an artist. That may be the only thing we have in common. On a white dry erase board, he drew a green face with a few green tears under both green eyes.  
    17    I quickly call out, "The Crying Game".
            Reggie shakes his head to indicate that the 1992 movie with the girl who was really a guy is not the correct answer.
    18   "Boys Don't Cry" is my immediate follow up guess.
            The 1999 Hilary Swank movie where she plays a guy who was really a girl is the wrong guess.
    19    Nobody has a clue. Nobody but me.  
    20  "Crybaby" I say.
            The 1990 Johnny Depp movie with the social outcasts, but no transgenders, is also incorrect.       
    21    Reggie uses the green marker to tap the tears on the face.
            No shit, Reggie. I see the tears, that's why every one of my  three guesses were movies with the word "cry" in the titles.
    22    Sparky speaks up. "Tears of the Sun?"
            Reggie shakes his head.
    23    I offer up, "A Cry In the Dark".
            Wrong. I do take advantage of this rare opportunity to use my Australian accent to mimic Meryl Streep crying out her famous line, "A dingo ate my baby!" Nobody knows what I'm talking about. Well, it's famous to me.

    24    After we all give up, Reggie reveals the answer.
           "Jesus wept", he says with a smile.
    25    Everyone is lost.
    26    Monica pretends like she should have guessed this,"Ohhhh".
            Loretta does not play along. "Is that even a movie?'
    27    Jesus now looks as lost as the rest of us.
    28    For Christ's sake, I speak up.
           "Jesus wept is actually the shortest verse in the entire Bible".
            He nods in approval at my knowledge of Scripture.

     29   The game goes on.
     30   In the beginning, it was fun.
     31   That initial enthusiasm wears out. When it starts to get old, we find that we are only going through the motions in an attempt to pass the time. After we've all taken a few too many turns, we're finally over it.

     32   Reggie is already back to reading his Bible.
           "Hey, Jesus," Sparky says."How 'bout spreading the word?"
            Reggie looks up. He doesn't know if Sparky is being serious.
            Before Sparky can say he's joking, DJ speaks up.
           "Yeah, Reggie. Why don't you read us something?"
            Sparky gives me a look to show that he's sorry he asked.
            Reggie asks,"You really want me to read something?"
      33 "I'm sure we could all use some inspiration," says DJ.
      34  Reggie seems a little hesitant. As often as he reads his Bible, he's never spoken to anyone about it."Okay," he says. "Let me find something".
            Sparky looks at me again and rolls his eyes. "Something short, Jesus".
      35  Reggie never takes offense to anything. He just smiles.
           "Okay, Brian." Reggie continues searching until he finds what he's looking for.
            Sparky shakes his head at me while we wait.
           "Alright. This is from the Book of Romans", Reggie says.

      36  Reggie is not a speed reader.

          "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good."

      37  Reggie makes this sound like a tongue twister. 

          " As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it."

      38  He stops stumbling.

          "So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me."

      39  Reggie closes his Bible.
            He doesn't look to see our reactions.
            I do.
      40  Nobody shows any reaction.
            Nobody looks at anyone.
            Nobody says anything.
            Even Sparky is at a loss.
      41 "Thanks, Reggie", DJ says. I've never heard her speak so softly. She leans in towards him. "That was really good". She sounds as if she is trying to encourage a scared little boy.
      42  If Reggie wasn't black, he would be blushing. Even though he has not raised his head, I know he's smiling. I wonder how much time has passed since someone gave Reggie a compliment.
           "Nice work, Reggie", I add.
      43  After a few seconds, Reggie whispers,"Thanks". I can't tell who he's thanking, because he hasn't taken his eyes off his good book, the only one I imagine he's ever read.
            Either nobody knows what to say, or, like me, they are letting Reggie enjoy the moment.

      44  Sparky breaks the silence.
           "WELL, HALLELUJAH!"

      45   Jesus laughed.

Mar 5, 2012

CHAPTER 11: THE PATRON SAINT OF . . . WHATEVER. Hell Bent For Hollywood

If I read the articles about me,
and I didn't know me,
I would think I was Satan.
Jack Abramoff  

FRIDAY 9/10/10

            It must have been after midnight by the time I fell asleep.
            I don't know what time it was when I woke up to a door swinging open and a bright light in my face. I put my hand up to keep the light from my squinting eyes.
            "What the fuck?" I say to whoever is behind the flashlight.
            "Go back to sleep", says a tech with a Haitian accent.
            "I was sleeping".
            "Nightly room check", he says. "Go back to sleep."
            "Yeah, you said that the first time".
            After the tech left the room, I took his advice.
            For the first time in a long time, I had a dream.
            It was about ice cream. 
            My shopping cart runneth over with dozens of nonexistent flavors of Ben & Jerry's. .

            It's 6AM when Kid Creole makes his startling wake up call. He bursts through the door again and flicks on the lights while shouting,"GOOD MORNING!"
            I flip from my stomach on to my back.
            "What the fuck, man? What time is it?"
            "Time to get up", he says.
            After zoning out on the ceiling for a minute, I sit up and put my feet on the floor. When I realize that palming my eyes is not making me any less sedated, I take my hands from my face to see my roommate laying in his bed. He's not as vocal about his disdain for our wake up call. Maybe he's used to it. I have no idea how many mornings he has woken up in this room. He's never opened his mouth, so I don't even know if he speaks English.
            "Dude, what the hell was that all about?"
            He just shakes his head.
            Nice talking to ya.

            I'm way too drugged up to know whether I'm supposed to brush my face or wash my teeth, so I do neither. I just zombie my ass into the rec room where everyone is looking at me. Maybe it just feels like they are.
             From across the room, the tech asks, "James, what are you doing?"
             What is this guy's problem?
             "James, where is your shirt?"
             He sounds more demanding than curious.
             Good thing I slept in my jeans because they're all I have on.
             "Oh, my bad. I think I'm still half asleep".
             "James. Where are you going? Go put your shirt on".
             "I'm grabbing a towel so I can put my head in the shower so I can wake up."
             "Go put your shirt on".
             "Goddamn, man." I turn and walk back towards my room.
             "What is your pwoblem, James?"
              I turn back around. "I don't have a problem, I just don't get why you have to wake us up like that. That shit's completely unnecessary."
              From my room, I hear Loretta.
              She asks the tech, "Why do you do that?"
             "Yeah, seriously. It is pretty rude", DJ adds.           
             When I come out, I sit on a couch next to Sparky.
             "Hey. Good morning, James", he says with a smile.
             Sparky asks how I'm feeling today.
             "I'm fine. I just don't see the need for this guy to come through the door like he's Elliot Ness or some shit."
             In response to my Untouchables reference, Sparky says,"Maybe he thinks you're running a speakeasy in your room."
             "Right? I don't know what he's thinking. All I know is, from what I can tell, all the other guys who work here seem pretty cool. This guy sucks."
             "Ya know something, James? You're right." Sparky does more than agree. He gets the tech's attention and tells him, "You know what, buddy? You're going in my report."
            The tech is amused. "Bwian, what are you talking about?"
            "Oh, yeah. You'll see. You, everything that goes on here, it's all going in", Sparky assures him. "I'm in here undercover for the state. You can't treat people like this".
           I look at the tech to see his reaction. When he laughs, it becomes clear that he's not really a bad guy.
           "Okay, Bwian", he says.
           "Just wait," Sparky says. "You'll see."

           After breakfast, me and Loretta talk music.
           We liked a lot of the same bands and had been at the same Radiohead and Coldplay concerts in West Palm Beach. We discussed some of our favorite songs and lyrics that have a personal meaning to us. I recited some lyrics to my favorite Bright Eyes song, Lua.

          You're looking skinny like a model with your eyes all painted black
          You just keep going to the bathroom always say you'll be right back
          Well it takes one to know one kid, I think you got it bad
          But what's so easy in the evening, by the morning is such a drag

              I tell her that this makes me think of the girls I know who would hit the bathroom every fifteen minutes to do key bumps of coke. It reminds how what's seems like so much fun at midnight is just depressing at 7AM.
              Loretta thought it was about bulimia.
              I thought about how I would probably fuck her.

              When you get passed the withdrawal from an opiate addiction, your sex drive comes back in an overwhelming way. You lower your standards to none. You remember every girl you passed up a chance to sleep with. You think about those last few months with your exgirlfriend, how if she wanted to get laid, she had to initiate it, and how that was probably one of the reasons that when you found out on her friend's MySpace page that she was moving out, she seemed so excited. You tell yourself that you should have fucked her everyday, three times.

               Loretta's tells me that she's been in South County three times in the last month.
               She tells me that she thought she had been possessed by the devil.
               I thought about how I would definitely not fuck her.
               This was the perfect time to steer our conversation away from evil and back to entertainment. With demons in the rearview, we left Hell for Hollywood.

               "You seen any good movies lately?"
               This was my attempt at avoiding a detailed account of her own personal horror movie that I expected would be as drawn out as banging on Percocet. This "go to question" of mine was usually reserved for being out with a girl who had either too little to say or too much to say about topics that only one of us found interesting. Even if the sex is great, if our dialogue descends to me reciting movie lines, that's a pretty good indicator that there probably will not be a second date.               
            Loretta was the first girl I had ever met who had demonic tendencies. Actually, that's probably not true. She was just the first to admit it.
            I wondered how I would have reacted if I had ever been out with some other girl who also confused manic depression with satanic possession.
            I would have handled it the same way.
            Bring up the devil and I'll bring up The Joker.
            The words of a dead actor who pretended to be a villain.

            If she mentioned "exorcising", but had never heard of "spinning", bet your ass my next question would have been "Why so serious?"
            Speak of the devil and watch me do my thing.
            Even if she'd never done a pilate or seen The Dark Knight, I probably still would have done my damndest to piledrive away the evil spirits from inside her. After putting on my jeans and channeling the spirit of a dead actor, I'd tell her, "I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself".
            She would have spent the rest of her night considering the possibility that the only demon she ever had inside her just made his escape through her upstairs bedroom window.
            I would have spent the rest of my night wondering how I got involved with someone so disturbed.
            The actions of a villain who pretended to be a dead actor.

            Loretta tells me about the last movie she saw. After she got released last Friday, she went to the theater with some friends. I could not fathom what possessed them to go see The Last Exorcism.

               We were back in Hell.
               We never left.