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Twisting all the bad things into good

Dec 1, 2012

Dude, Interrupted. CHAPT 29

These novels will give way, by and by, to diaries or autobiographies -captivating books, if only a man knew how to choose among what he calls his experiences that which is really his experience, and how to record truth truly.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


      I wondered how it made the group feel to know I was leaving. The silent majority were probably glad that my voice would be one less echoing in their heads. Unfortunately for their ears, Vivian, who arrived the same "deesgusting" night I did, was not "ready" to go home. I never figured out what her problem was, then again, I never figured out what my own was. 
      As for the "talkers", even though the only drugs we never discussed were inhalants, I still felt like I had been the sniffing glue that held our little group together.  

     Like anytime I say good bye and good luck, I wanted to think that after the door closed behind me, I hoped whoever I left behind would feel the lack when I was gone. Maybe everyone feels that way, that they'd like to be missed when they're gone, not because they want to leave a void, but to feel like they made things a little bit better by having been there. 

     This was one of the few times in my life, I recognized that this chapter of my life would close with the door behind me.
     I knew when I arrived at South County on Wednesday, my life would never be the same. When I woke up Thursday morning, I realized the same thing, but for different reasons.  I fell asleep as one person, and I woke up as another. That's what I really wanted when I hoped to fall asleep and not wake up. I just knew that things like that do not happen. Maybe in the movies, maybe in fiction books, but not in real life, not in the non-fiction section.  


     Sparky got up from the table in the middle of Filip talking about how his father used to have him go get his cocaine from the kitchen for him, and how his dad would send him to deliver it. 
     Filip was 8 at the time.
     "Brian? Where are you going?" asked Maria.
     "I'm goin' to say goodbye to James," Brian said as if she asked him a stupid question.
     Sparky came over and sat down next to me.
     "So, you're leaving, James?"
     I could tell was sorry to see me go.
     "Yeah. My friend's gonna be here anytime now."
     Neither of us knew what to say, so we just sat there.

     It really is the little things that people do that show they care. Too often for me to take comfort in, these little things go unrecognized until it's too late to thank them. Besides my  "English table manners", Brian also noticed something that drove one of my ex-girlfriends crazier than anything I ever did with my tongue. I like to have a lot of napkins when I eat, paper towels are even better. In South County we only received the one napkin that came with our spork. I thought it was only because he wasn't as concerned as I was with keeping his hands clean and wiping his mouth after every bite that he started to give me his napkin at every meal. It went unsaid that Sparky and I were glad to have unexpectedly found a friend in the other.
     He was the only one I would miss. He was the first person who spoke to me. He was the first person who called me by name before I ever knew his.
     For those five days, Brian hid his pain well with his jokes and his unapologetic attitude, but I knew, hearing it in his voice and seeing it in his eyes, he was sorry to see me go.

     I wondered what he was going to do without me there.
     I wonder what I would have done without him there.
     This isn't one of those choose your own adventure books I read as a kid. I'd always mark the pages so I could go back and see what would have happened if... 
     Is your book going to be a mystery? A whodunit?
     Nah, I dunit.
     Over and over, I dunit.
     No spoiler alert there.
     I'd tell you on the first page and remind you again on every page until the last.

     The only mystery revolves around the main character, a delusional man desperately searching for the right place for his character study lacking any character arch, unwritten by and about a guy with no character.

     Sounds character driven.

     But what's it really about?
     Really, it's about Jimmy Mac and the Whoevers.

     Who are the "whoevers"?

     Anyone who isn't me.

     Me, myself, and I never shut up long enough to listen to anyone's short stories because I never stopped trying to finish telling my own epic without any interruption.

     Did I mention no editing awards for this one?
     As far a critical praise for the writing, I'll include a few early and unbiased reviews to lure readers shopping at the Dollar Store to splurge on my marked down masterpiece instead of donating a dollar to buy a toy for the child of some soldier or inmate.

     "It's like nothing I've ever written"

     "This book changed my life!"

     - Jimmy Mac

     Sounds inspirational.

     Maybe you can do a Sunday morning book signing at our church bookstore?


     God no.
     Hell no.
     Absolutely not.
     Don't get it twisted by the title.
     It's nonsense. Absolute nonsense.
     It's true I was known as "The Patron Saint of South County".
     But this was known only to me.
     To everyone else in the South County Congregation, I was known by my real name, my Christian name, the name given to me by my parents, back when I was perfect, back when I could've been anything.
     Always sounded like a limo driver's name to me.
     Prayers go out to you and yours in hopes that neither you nor yours confuse this book about a selfish, self-sabotaging, self-absorbed, self-centered, self-destructive, self-annointed false prophet of a "saint" with any actual saints, like the kind of saints actually canonized by the church, not themselves.

     There are 2 Patron Saints named James.
     It is a sin, forgivable and understandable, but still a sin, how easy it is to confuse me with Saint James the Greater, The Patron Saint of Pharmacists and Druggists. 
     And that's where any confusion should cease. 

     James the Greater was the first Apostle to be martyred. 
     As far as his story goes, James the Greater brought an unjustly hung boy back to life. This was before the whole autoerotic .... choking thing. 
     The father of the resurrected boy's was about to eat dinner when he heard the news of this miracle. 

     He called bullshit. 

     He said his dead son was about as alive as the roasted chicken he was trying to eat before being interrupted with the great news.  
     This little story, as well as his dinner plans, ends abruptly when his supper sits up, grows wings, and flys away.

     Truly an unbelievable story.

     The other actual Patron Saint James is known as "the Lesser".
     You might take it as a diss, but it ain't, yo.
     What seems a slight is simply a differentiation between he and the other martyred Apostle, James the Better.
     James the Lesser is The Patron Saint of Hatmakers. 

     As for Aint James the Nothing, he ain't the patron saint of shit.

     He rarely wears hats.

     Definitely never made a hat, or a cheesecake, or anything.
     He can't even make his bed anymore.
     He just lies awake in it.
     South County left me wanton when it came to material and a proper mental disorder diagnosis, but maybe I can still write about my hallucinations. Nice to know my best material for a nonfiction book are things that never happened. One could roam Barnes & Nobles for what feels like eternity trying to figure out which section such a book would be fit to be shelved. Unwritten books of any genre are so hard to find, you just stop looking after a while.. Sometimes, you don't even start.

     Never having written anything, I think I deserve my own genre.

     Dick Lit

     Chick Lit, but for dudes.

     Dude, Interrupted.

     I get the reference to the book adapted into the movie where you can catch Best Supporting Actress Winner Angelina Jolie stealing the show from that actress who got caught stealing the makeup, but I don't get the title in either case.

     Does it mean the dude interrupted something or does it mean someone interrupted the

     Dude didn't want to go down again, back down into the darkness, where Dude kept everything Dude thought would make Dude happy. Dude would rather go the next 10 days without changing than descend to a place haunted by the clothes of season's past, because Dude was too much of a sentimental packrat to throw out any unworn clothes Dude's parents bought Dude 10 years earlier, because everything in Dude's God forsaken room had attached itself to a memory, and like Dude's favorite burgundy Doc Marten's Dude's dad bought Dude in Vegas before he went to prison for 8 and a half years, there were even a few things Dude had so long that the distant memories attached to them were actually good ones. It was the best memories that hurt Dude worst. Dude thinks that's why Dude lost Dude's mind. Dude thinks maybe it was Dude's best option. The past, and the pain, and the pictures, they all became too much for Dude to take, but Dude refused to leave them behind. And now, Dude would have to confront all that remained unchanged while Dude came undone. Dude was going to have to look at them, and  Dude would have to remember, so Dude could decide what Dude could take and what Dude could let go down the trash chute. It was something Dude had to do alone. Dude couldn't wait a week for Dude's dad to get there and decide for Dude. Before Dude could make Dude's way up North, Dude would have to take a road trip down South to the unhappiest place on Earth, at the bottom, where Dude been down so goddamn long that it looked like hell to Dude.

     It didn't matter if Dude could look out my bedroom window and see the ocean to the left and the intracoastal to my right. One person's paradise became my purgatory. At the time, I thought it was hell, because if there is a hell, there is no hope there.
     No indulgences to purchase.
     No interventions to plan.
     No one is coming to pick you up.
     Sorry, Dude.
     You're not going home.
     You're not going anywhere.
     You're there forever and you're there alone.
     Your friend is not on his way.
     Nobody can ever take you home.

     And that's as about as dramatic as it gets.
     No rising conflict.
     No climax.
     Well, other than when I, you know.

     Look out literary world, here I come.

     And I gots me a thriller.

     And now I needs me an agent.
     Hell, I might needs me a whole agency.

     I wish you could be in the room with me to see me bestselling  the shit outta my book and myself. 

     If there's one thing the world needs now, it's another aspiring writer.
     Let me tell you a secret, agent man. What you've been waiting for is waiting outside your door.
     I hear this agent looks and acts just like Spiderman's boss.

     Inside the door, the agent hears me knocking. 
     He asks his assistant, "Who the fuck is that? I told you I didn't want to see anybody today."
     "I called. I guess he didn't get the message." 
     "Just tell him when to come back. Maybe he'll luck out and catch me on a day when I'm not pissed at my idiot assistant and the rest of the literary world."

     I'm standing outside the door, repeating the only positive affirmation I've ever had.
     "I'm cool as shit, I'm cool as shit."
     I knock again.
     They're gonna love me.
     "I don't like this guy already" the agent grumbles. "What's he written?"
     "I really don't know. He didn't make much sense. He said 'it defies conventional genre' or 'deserves it's own genre' or something. I can't remember."
     "Are you high?'
     "No, but I'm pretty sure he was. Or else psychotic. I don't know, I'm guessing it's another memoir. "
     "I hate memoirs. No more memoirs starting immediately. A memoir? About who? About him?"
     "Yes. By it's very definition, that's what a memoir is."
     "Well, Webster, what did he do? Who gives enough shit about this shmuck they'd wanna read his diary?"
     "I guess he was in an insane asylum for the criminally insane."
     "What good are you? If I don't know the details, I have to tell him the same thing I tell everyone, 'Sorry, kid, memoirs just ain't selling. Drugs and mental illness memoirs aren't hot anymore, these days, everyone's got one. You know who you can blame for the current critical backlash against books like yours? James Frey and his  Million Little Pieces of Bullshit. People don't know what's fiction and what's non anymore, all because..."
     "If you stop talking to yourself, I'd tell you his story is about some idiot who never wrote shit, but said his material is so good, it will write itself.  Then he called back and left a message saying that even though his book will write itself, he still wants to be the one who gets paid for it.  Up front."
     "Jesus Christ in A Christmas Carol, it's not even written? Don't even let this guy in the door until he's actually written...don't let him in ever. No more memoirs."
     I walk in after overhearing this exchange.

     "Hi, I know my book's not written yet, but..."
     "You got 2 minutes to tell me about the craziest shit that happens in your book...material. Go."
     "Some chick threw a phone."
     "Yeah, her name was Loretta. And she got real pissed, about something, and, so, she threw the phone...across the room, at the Haitian tech, the one who was bursting through the door, highbeaming his flashlight..."
     "This tech sounds like a bad guy. He rape any of the female patients? How about the male patients? Did he use his flashlight to beat or sodomize any of them?"
     "Did you just ask me if he beat or sodomi...? No. Not...that I...know of. I mean, as far as I witnessed, the only thing he used his flashlight for was when he did his middle of the night room checks to make sure none of the patients were beating or sodomizing each other."
     "I thought this tech was evil personified."
     "Who told you... no, he wasn't evil. Actually, he was real involved with his church. All the techs were good guys...and girls. No beatings or sodomy. Sorry."
     "So, if this insane asylum was void of any assholes or assrapes, I don't know who you expect to read your book."
     "It gets better."
     "It better."
     "The devil made her do it."
     "The devil made her do what? Was she in there for sacrificing her parents to the devil?"
     "No. She was just really emotionally unstable when her friends took her to see The Last Exorcism. I don't know if they did it as a cruel joke or what."
     "Sounds bipolar to me."
     "That's exactly what I..." 
     "So, then what the hell did the devil make her do?"
     "I just told you. He made her throw the phone, and call the tech a 'fuckin' piece of shit'."
     "We're still on the phone?"
     "Yeah, I wasn't done."
     "Well, talk faster, I'm about to hang up."
     "About 2 or 3 minutes later, the devil made her go say she was sorry."
     If you were up all last night reading Stephen King, try to keep your eyes open for Me and the Devil In Ms. Loretta.
     We'll be hanging together, haunting ourselves in your psychological horror section.

     No fear in the writer, no fear in the reader.

     I'm not scared.

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