I state it many times throughout this novel. I am a very bad writer. But I am working on becoming better with each key stroked.I balance a very fine line through this story, between my own and my characters universe. I felt these experiments were necessary to get a better grip on why it is I was chosen to write it.
These words must have come from somewhere.
The source. All my life, forever searching for the source.
The most important person in this story is not the main character at all, by any means whatsoever. He’s a rather flimsy character, so obviously fictious. The people who surround him however are to be taken seriously. As they are as real as people come, no different from you or I.
They are made up of atoms very similar to yours.In fact, some of them probably match.There are after all, only a few different ingredients to making a human.
This is my story. I’ll probably write a better one someday.
No mechanical objects lasted long in that house. As they were quickly torn apart by Joey. Who would peel them apart, searching for the mystery of their function, somewhere in between their delicate plastic shells.
Joey’s mother discovered one day, while dropping off freshly folded shells for Joey’s functions. Her iron (which she had truly gone nuts searching for a few hours ago.) was sitting on her son’s desk, each screw, each piece, laid out in a line.If she thought this was shocking, she should have opened his drawer to discover over seventy-six calculators, all disassembled in similar fashion. Some purchased, some stolen, some discovered by pure dumb luck. But all doomed to the same fate as soon as they came into Joey’s possession.
Patti Boone never mentioned her discovery to her son. She simply purchased a new one while running her errands on Saturday. She was glad in a way, she always dreamed about buying a new one. Every time she had ironed in the past.
When Joey Boone didn’t have a calculator for class, he added up these multiples on a scrap piece of paper. So 12 x 12 became 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 + 12.It was cumbersome and unfortunate. Especially since Joey never really found the answer he was looking for when he tore the calculators apart. Especially cause even simple addition like this was a big chore for Joey.
That was Joey’s big question though. “How do ya work?” He wondered it about everything. Vegetables from soil to vine to being plucked to being
transported to being sold to being washed to being eaten to being digested to being pooped to being flushed to being held hostage in some place unknown to Joey.
How is it possible that the billions of people on this planet collectively pooping over the last two thousand years not pile up? Where was all this shit disappearing to?
I’m sure there are bigger things to wonder about, but these we’re my character’s main concerns, and here I was as a writer to document them.
Another worry of my character was time. It seemed unusual thing for humans to have invented for themselves. He saw it as a constriction, because from the very instant it was invented it could not be stopped, it was out of our control. The second the seconded started to tick, it would never end.
Joey never had the time. He was not a time keeper, someone who keeps personal tabs on it. Glancing down at the clock at timed intervals to see how much had slipped past them.There was a very strange connection to time and death. Maybe people invented time, so they could keep tabs on when they could estimate themselves dying. Joey thought this one night while watching an action movie on TV. Somehow a person who was to be considered the hero was about to blast another humans head off with a large pistol When he said “Time to die.”
Joey thought that’s what he might say when he was ready to perish. He pictured himself on a hospital bed, what his family would refer to behind his back as his dying bed. Joey would feel death coming and say aloud “Well I guess it’s time to die.”
Timekeepers, that is people openly sporting wrist watches, hold themselves at risk of being asked a very familiar question. “Do you have the time?” This was a very indirect question. As it is often only asked once one is sure the person he is asking does have the time. But what the person was truly asking was for the time itself. But civilized people collectively considered it rude to simply ask “What time is it?”
Things were never this simple when dealing with humans.
One day Joey’s mother took him to the downtown market. Which had a tower that featured a giant clock atop it, it displayed the time for anyone who passed by. No one stopped anyone to ask the time on this block. There is a place inside the market that sold delicious pad thai. Joey and Patti sat out and watched time tick by as they ate. It took twenty minutes of their lives away.
The young girl who made Joey’s pad thai could whip out a batch in six minutes, a fraction of the time it took to eat it. Her mother taught her, and although her mother would never admit it, it was better than hers. Which is a funny thing about our generation isn’t it? Or every generation, compounding on the last one.
Doin’ it better.
Killin’ the planet at an exponential rate.
I don’t personally think it’ll take many more generations to do it.
The girl who made such spectacular pad thai’s name was Soo Lee. When she moved here white
girls at her first school called her Susie. She didn’t mind. It made her feel a part of it all, Susie loved the national anthem.
But it was Soo Lee who made the most impact on the nation; she was an ambassador (a gifted one) of her countries cuisine. Which may not seem like much, but a real authentic touch was a rare thing to find in a nation bloating with knock offs. Across the street from the market was a restaurant named Gangalal. Which is another name for ginger. The owner/chef is a white guy. He’s never even been to Asia. A few times he’s visited Cancun for an all-inclusive week. Most nights there he ordered room service pizza.
Which was made by a Mexican named Milo, who made a very, very good flan, which he learned to do from his father. It was not nearly as good as his dads. But, unfortunately his father would horribly disfigure himself cleaning a deep fryer at the workplace. A long depression followed, then an eventual suicide.
After this his son made the best flan in the family. But this didn’t matter, because Milo couldn’t eat it anymore, he could hardly even make it.
After Joey finished his meal, he was purposeless again. Life was confusing again, while the food was in front of him he felt a purpose, after he finished, he felt his purpose was to dispose of the waste, which he did.
Writing this story became hard at this point, as the voices in my head are discussing several scattered topics, very loudly, into my ear. It’s disorienting. Sometimes they help with the story, but mostly they just tell me not to bother with my next breathe, as it’ll
probably just be a waste.
At one point I thought salvation would come for my poor brain was possible, not so much anymore.
Joey felt similarly, which is why I created him. It’s nice to have someone you can relate too. He was not as pessimistic as me though. He really thought those pills the doctors gave him really did help heal him.
Which they didn’t. They tamed him, they chained him, they slightly dulled him, so he could do his best to not be himself.
The first week the doctor’s gave him his first type of pill he spent the whole week reintroducing himself to everyone he knew he walked up to his English teacher Ms. Smither and said “Hello I’m Joey Boone, where should I sit?” Ms. Smither laughed it off, but would make a phone call to Joey’s Mother later on that night, to question the incident.
“His doctor’s got him on that Lorazapane.” Patti informed her son’s teacher. “Oh. Of course.” Ms. Smither said, as if it were obvious.
It would become obvious though, Ms. Smither was a new teacher. This would be her fourth class she had ever been trusted with, in only her second year. By her fifth year, it would become very apparent that most doctors think a lot of kids require chaining to be healthy.
It cost Patti Boone seventy-six dollars to fill her son’s pill bottle. Every month. She wondered how long it’d take her son to reach a point where he could afford to fill his own pill bottle.
When David Boone, Joey’s father turned seventy, he bought a pill bottle that would aid his wiener in reaching its full potential. It would cost sixty-nine dollars. At this point in his life David no longer needed to wear condoms, as there were not many fish swimming in his stream anymore.
Joey heard that term at the hospital, when he was having a dysfunctional head day. A man came in vomiting horribly from radiation sickness. Joey’s father leaned over and said “Not many fish swimming in that stream anymore.”
There was a large amount of fish swimming in Joey’s stream. An abnormally large amount. He was probably the most fertile character I’d ever created.
In public school Joey once heard a rumour that drinking mountain dew would lower your sperm count. If this is true Joey could drink a thousand litres & become equal to the average man’s stream.
The pills they gave Joey disabled dreaming at night. Instead he fell into an awful habit of day dreaming, he was able to snap out of it for almost ten minutes at a time. People would say this about him “Joey you look like your on another planet.”
When Ms. Smither heard a group of students commenting on how weird of a person Joey appeared to be, she let go of a secret. The secret of Joey’s pill bottle crutch.
Secrets were something that humans practiced keeping, besides time. They were a deception though, because no one really practiced keeping them very hard, as it was more enjoyable to most to let them
out. People telling secrets they promised they’d keep looks like people farting out of their mouths to me. It’s foul. People didn’t really feel guilty telling another person a secret they shouldn’t, they removed this guilt by making this person swear never to tell another soul, ever again, again.
It’s a fact, the juicier the secret, the more and more they made them swear not to tell. Public school yards are no place for secrets. Soon everyone in his class knew his secret
He had to switch schools.
A few months later he had to switch pills.
For the first week he took this pill he needed glasses all day long, his eyes hurt so. He was very energetic, and even with his sunglasses on his teeth looked so bright,
He wore sunglasses like Lou Reed, who he had seen in a picture taken at Warhol’s factory. He was the coolest person Joey had ever seen. He bought a velvet underground album the next chance he had. When he sat at home and put it on for the first time, it just seemed to make sense to him. He would sing “You kill your European son, you spit on those under twenty one, now your blue
cars are gone, you better say so long. Hey hey, bye bye bye.”
Joey once read that the engineer had left the studio when the band recorded that song. It was recorded in one whole take, the engineer said, “I don’t have to listen to this shit.” Then he hit the record button, and left.If you were wondering what the crashing sound at the end of the lyrics was, Joey could tell you. You’d ask “Hey Joey, what’s that crashing sound in European son?” and he’d tell you: “John Cale smashing a stack of plates with a steel folding chair.” He also, depending on his mood might add “Fuck Nico.”
Joey didn’t really hate Nico, he felt that the worst thing women as a collective ever did was break up bands. Nico broke up the Velvet Underground. Yoko broke up the Beatles, Wendy & Lisa worked together to break up Prince’s best band, The Revolution.
But men on the other hand, often created guns to blow each other to bits with on other peoples soil. Joey’s grandpa was in world war two, where it was his job to make other nation’s men to stop doing their job, by filling them with bullets. He was naturally talented at his job, something he loathed, even while he did it. He would shoot (with immaculate accuracy) and say quietly “Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.”
His grandpa made it through the war, when he arrived home he was always apologizing. One of the first things he did once safe back on home soil was get himself a hamburger and fries, a meal he wrote out about with great desire in his trench journals, then he thought about getting another crack at his wife.
He was carrying his tray to a table when a pair of children running by bumped into him. His tray spilt onto the floor. The mother of the children arrived on the scene to witness his grandfather staring at the mess he’d purchased. Mumbling “Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.”
A lot of the time, apologies are expected by people, and when they sometimes don’t arrive, people get rather angry. But they don’t seem very pleased when people do apologize. People like the bad side of things, one day Joey woke up and by lunch time everyone was glued to a television set, watching a plane fly into a beloved building, over and over. They were sad, growing exponentially sadder each time they showed it.From that day on a lot of people became glued to the TV set.
Who knew when it would happen again.
Death is a very tragic thing in our continent. We should keep track of time less, might slow death down a bit.
The typewriter lets off an immense heat at this point. They keys are electric, I stop typing, yet somehow the story seems to continue.
A poem from Joey’s childhood:
“If you were an apple,
and I was a tree.
You’d probably let go,
and rot somewhere away from me.”
Some people are pounding at my door trying to get me to come out, but I shall not! I’ve got a story to tell.
Joey’s doctor was a name named Dr. Gregory Lewis. He handed out pills and ointments as he deemed necessary, to all the folks who came to him with problems. Although Joey swallowed pills happily day after day, he still thought nothing of Dr. Lewis other than that he was a well trained band-aid applicator.
Band-Aid is a brand name.
The truth about Gregory Lewis was that he was a phony. Not in the sense that he wasn’t well enough trained to do his job, it was simply that he had worse hidden problems than most of his, for lack of a better word, customers.
Gregory Lewis loved to wear woman’s underwear.
He was the first day he met Joey.
He probably was right now too.
But that first day with Joey, it was a particularly bad day for the pair of them. You see Dr. Lewis’ wife had gone out of town that weekend to escort their daughter to a soccer tournament. Their daughter was one of the finest goaltenders woman’s soccer would ever see. She would eventually end up playing in a professional league, to which Dr. Lewis would come see every game after he retired.
He always thought about it, but never did bother buying seasons tickets.
The stadium was never sold out.
But with Dr. Lewis’ wife out of the picture, he had taken the opportunity to purchase himself some new underwear, and boy howdy he was going to treat himself.
The unfortunate part of his secret was that it really had to remain a secret. It could not risk being told, it would ruin him. So every night on his way home, he would park his car in some parking lot and burn the evidence. Buying nice underpants week after week began to hurt the chequebook, which his wife would undoubtedly begin to notice. So he was forced to switch to plain jane underwear. The kind his wife actually began to wear at some point in their marriage. The kind of underwear slightly responsible for Dr. Lewis’ filthy secret.
I myself wore woman’s underpants for a short period of time once, I won’t ever again.
Dr. Lewis had the nicest pair of lace panties he could find on when he met Joey and Patti Boone. He shook their hands, it was a strong handshake, not one you’d expect to receive from one so in love with femine undergarments
“Hello Dr. Lewis, I’m Patti Boone.” His mother started. “This is Joseph.”
Joey let out a loose wave. It wasn’t even for Dr. Lewis, it was for his sectary that had her back turned to them, tidying up a magazine stack.
“Hello Joseph.” The doctor said. No one really called him by his full name except his parents. It caught him off guard.
“Who?” He questioned. “Stop it.” His mother told him.
In Dr. Lewis’ office, they went through the regular routine. Scaling him, testing him, and then finally judging him. “Say ah.” Dr. Lewis told him, with a flash light poised to peek into his throat. As the doctor bent over to do this the lace underpants rubbed gently on his buttocks. It felt wonderful.
“Okay.” He said, flicking off his light. “How’s your appetite son?” This confused Joey too. He said nothing, unsure whether or not he was the one being addressed.
“It’s pretty good. He’s never really been much on an eater.” His mother chimed in.
On the wall behind the doctor’s head a poster read “Try hugs, Not Drugs!
I personally enjoy both.
“Horrible.” Joey finally joined the conversation. This was true too, Joey never slept the same two nights in a row. It was a crap shoot.
Joey once heard his father use that term. They were grocery shopping one weekend, and strolled past a particularly ugly woman. Even Joey at his young age knew, this was a considerably ugly woman. His father leaned into him and said, “Life boy, it’s a crapshoot.”
The doctor could not get any more information about Joey’s sleeping patterns from him. He didn’t speak again. But he didn’t really need to. As Dr. Lewis didn’t really need much more to give Joey a pill, as these pills were all crapshoots too. You never really knew what they were going to do till you tried’em out.So the
doctor wrote out a marvellous little scribble on a pad, and handed it to Patti. “See Synthia for another appointment in two weeks, okay?”
“Okay, thanks doctor.” Synthia was the receptionist. Joey spoke up once more before they left the office. He said “Have a nice day!” to Synthia, who replied with,“You too."
Which Joey wanted to, but wouldn’t.
When Soo Lee had sex for the first time she thought she had an orgasm. But she didn’t. The fifth time she had sex however, she really did. In all five sexual encounters she had, there were six accounts of orgasm. Men came every time.
How do you stop a hurting heart? I don’t think the answer lies in a pill. Maybe some good loving would do the trick, but it’s rather difficult to fall in love with a hurting heart. They are rather bitter things at times. Upset at wanting to be held sincerely and utterly paranoid when they finally are.
Joey thinks people like this are amusing to god. He thinks these are the folks he sits around and watches. He’ll drop rain on them, and have a bus drive by and splash you like no other.
But he does it all with love. He’s got a strange sense of humour, but if you can get it, you’ll realize he’s actually a rather humorous guy.
Why else would he get a doctor to give Joey a pill that was supposed to relieve him of his
craziness, but really just made him crazy.
Within three hours of the doctor’s office, they were in and out of the pharmacy, and Joey was feeling the creeping effects of his medicine. His fingers felt unfamiliar, and rather unfriendly towards him. They were jerk fingers, some other asshole’s digits. Not only would they not cooperate with him, but they would say rather cruel things to Joey. They would assure him that while they were the only ones in the room saying these things, everyone else was thinking them. Joey would glance around, no one else seemed to notice these bully fingers.
After the first three days of the pill, Joey believed them. How could he not? They were the most convincing fingers he’s ever talked too.
As the days went past Joey felt more and more unsure he was still living his life. He felt indifferent to all his possessions. He could not sleep in his bed, as it did not feeeel like his bed anymore. He’d simply sit on it all night, waiting for its true owner to barge in and demand to know what Joey was doing there.
Joey had to start taking a school bus to school. It was the shortest trip a school bus had ever made for a student. As they only lived three blocks from the school, but it was necessary. As Joey could no longer get himself there safely anymore. He would wander off, sometimes he would wander into neighbourhood houses, preparing himself bowls of cereal, and running baths for himself.
One day he walked as far as the horse race track. Which he waited at all day for the races to
start. As his fingers told him he should. He waited for the horses to get close to where he was and then his fingers told him to hop the fence to try and chat to one of the horses.
Which he did.
Two horses fell over avoiding him. Even though they were wearing the maximum amount of horse shoes. Sometimes luck ain’t everything.
One of the jockeys that fell in that accident was a man named Fredrick Miller. Jockey was his second career choice. He really since his teenage years had always wanted to be a midget porn star. As he was blessed with a rather large penis, especially for a man of his size. His penis was nine and a quarter inches long.When he finally got his chance to audition for the job the director said “ I don't know, he’s a little too tall.”
His horses name was John Holmes
His horse had a large penis too, but this was normal.
John Holmes and Fredrick Miller probably would have won that race, at least that’s what the odds told people. Joey Boone cost a lot of folks a lot of money that day.
Which didn’t really matter much to Joey, who was rather upset that horses would rather injure themselves severely than to talk to him.
Joey loved seafood. He was the only one in the family who did. About once every three months or so the family would go to Bunker’s house of seafood. For Joey’s sake. Every item on the menu was seafood except for the fries and hotdog on the children’s menu.
That is what Patti & David would eat.
They would watch their son wolf down plate after plate of scallops, mussels, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, and deep fried calamari. He looked so peaceful at that moment, his motions a dance of invisible obesity. How could he have turned out so poorly? Where did it all go wrong?
They would never know. There is no way for doctors to pinpoint the start of a mental illness like that. It is not like a fire. Trained firefighters could enter a burned building, and come to the conclusion as to where the fire started. Dr. Lewis could not do the same.
I can however, as an can author tell you, I know. I don’t need any training to pinpoint the start of Joey’s illness. I just need to be his creator.
His illness started a long time ago when he visited his grandpa on his dying bed. His grandpa was sore everywhere, he was rather amazed at how uncomfortable living could become this far into life. He was in a pissy mood. He turned to Joey and said “Don’t ever become a cocksucker boy.” He paused to cough viciously for two minutes or so, and then added. “And don’t ever let me catch you wearing a policeman’s badge.” Grandpa’s tone was harsher than it had ever been with Joey. As it had ever been since he’d gotten back from the war. He quickly realized this and within seconds was back to,“Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.”
It started there.
But mental illness is something that snowballs. It’s a collection of images that once they enter the head, have no way out.
When people say “Hey, forget about it.” To Joey, he asks “How?”
Sometimes I don’t even visit Joey when I write. Sometimes I just visit his universe, his neck o’ the woods. So I can better understand the strange world he finds himself surrounded in.
Like today for example. I visited the coffee shop outside the library he borrows his books from. He would not be there today. In fact, I’d probably leave him in bed all day.
It wasn’t that nice out today anyway.
There were people playing acoustic guitars in the coffee shop, they were playing songs I knew. What other songs could they play? The cashier had a kind of smile that I like. I bought a tea from her bright chompers.
I do not drink coffee. Some of my characters do, just because it’d be strange for me not to have some of them do it. It would seem unnatural. That’s the thing about writing, you have to be fair in equally representing the globe. That’s why the coffee shop right now is filled with:
2 young mothers, with babies (one boy, one girl
6 teenagers, from catholic and public school
12 white folks
4 black folks
4 Asian folks
1 Jewish folk, carefully cutting out coupons from a newspaper.
5 folks who believed in J.C.
5 folks who had just taken a book out of the library.
1 chump with so many late fees that can’t use the library anymore.
That last one is me. I’m a bad seed. When I was in grade nine that's what my friend Preston’s mother told him. I wasn’t allowed over to their house anymore. It’s okay though, the only kind of soda pop they ever had was diet.
A new performer took the stage, a young girl, who even though I created her, would shock me with an original song that even I didn’t know was coming. Her soft, delicate voice although not strong, was utilized perfectly in getting out the words she was trying to sing.She sang
“And suicide, is on your side. When you forget up, and settle for down.”She sealed Joey’s fate.
But would be poetic, I assure you.
The next performer would just read some poems. His own were crap.
I won't bore you with his, I'll spare you:
“April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.”
Monday passed Joey by. His bed was kind to him. But that didn’t mean he wouldn’t be sore on Tuesday. Nothing much happened to him on Tuesday either. Wednesday however, was funny for him. It will
actually be the last day I tell you about Joey’s childhood. Actually, already I can tell you this is a lie. I might be forced to jump back from time to time to explain some things I may have missed now. I’m a very sloppy writer, but I mean well. After Wednesday I want to begin to focus on Joey’s teenage years. As that is what a bad secret keeper might refer to as the juicy years.
It’s when stuff gets good, it’s when all the strange becomes arranged. It’s when I’ll finally get my shit together.
But first Wednesday:
Patti waits beside Joey near the curb. Gently swaying his immature arms was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lunchbox, with a match thermos inside. That was supposed to be holding his chicken noodle soup safely. But was doing a piss poor job, as it leaked. Joey’s apple was sitting in a puddle of soup. His crackers becoming soggy hours before their actual cue.
His lunchbox however, did not leak. It was a very well constructed lunchbox.
Joeys fingers said to him “Hey didja, notice your parents had their bags packed in there? I think as soon as you get on that bus, they’re probably getting outta here.” Joey hadn’t seen the bags himself, but it did make sense. He was just such a hassle, sometimes people ran from their problems, sometimes people run from the mob.
He looked at his mother, she smiled at him. “Got your favourite soup.”
Patti thought about whether or not that apple would still be in that box when checked it later that
evening. She wondered if she would complete a full day’s work. Or if she would be interrupted with a phone call, another incident.
Her coworkers had begun to loathe her for leaving so frequently.
She had begun to loathe them for having normal children.
The room I write in is cold, very cold. Sometimes I pretend I can see my breathe. Once I wrote a very horrible page, and I pretend that it freezes with my breath, and shatters with my touch. That was a fantasy of course. I woke up the next morning to them still existing. I had to set them on fire. It’s funny how our imagination and reality can end up polar opposites.
Eventually Joey’s school bus turned the corner. Joey looked at his mother one more time, for what he assumed would be his last.
She smiled again.
She said very little to him now, she was starting get ill too. There was a tumour growing in her brain. She would later jokingly refer to it as her second Joey. But he was not really the cause of the tumour. Actually scientists had no clue what really caused tumours. All they really knew was that at some point one cell, forgot what his job in the body was, so he just sat there and multiplied, hundreds, maybe even thousands of times, each one jobless, so they just took up space, and took up space, until there wasn’t any left to spare. Then you would die. Someone loses a child.
The bus pulled up, the door swung open for Joey. His mother wished him a good day. Joey hopped aboard. The bus driver was a woman named Wanda. She liked Joey a lot, because he was polite. Joey liked her too. He assumed she only liked him due to the fact that she knew so little about him.
And what a hassle he was. All she knew was how polite he was, and that he sat by himself. This was due to the fact that it was not a normal school bus, it was a bit shorter.
This bus was a symbol in society for the transportation of problem children.
On the playground it was referred to as the retard bus.
Joey’s fingers told him he should be ashamed of this, but they didn’t need to. He would’ve been anyways.
He kept a large hat in his backpack that covered his entire face. He wore it on his way off and on the bus each day. It was a disguise, a very effective one at that. It allowed Joey to walk himself into the front door unnoticed; the hat protected him from persecution. A few kids would see him and say “Look at that retard’s hat!” and laugh. These kids were actually in Joey’s class, they were rather friendly with Joey, but they were oblivious.
Note: Joey in his later years would punch a police officer in the face. It would turn out to be the boy who made that comment. His name was Henry McDonald. He would let Joey off with a warning.
Inside the front door there was an empty Gatorade bottle. It had a few holes burned into it.
Students had used it to smoke pot before class. They were in grade eight, they were considered some of the coolest kids in the school.
Which is how they thought of themselves at that moment. Sitting stony in class, uninterested in geography, dreaming about dodge ball in gym next period. These kids looked and tried to feel tough, but they were really afraid, as everyday brought them closer to high school, where they would be forced to start all over again.
From hero to zero.
Luckily they smoked pot, this would make them cool very quickly at high school.
Bad boys were very popular.
Joey was clueless as to why the holes were in the bottle. He thought it looked kind of beautiful in a way. It became apparent to him at that moment, that life was beautiful, you just needed to know where to look.
But also consider, the corner also peaked his interest. A corner was the best friend of a square, it’s side kick if you will. Squares were another human invention. Before we came along nature rolled along freely, safe from the constraints of time. Existing only in circles, and rounded edges.There were no squares.Joey was convinced squares would one day become extinct again.
For awhile people wondered whether or not Sylvia Plath’s suicide might have been an accident. But the autopsy shut them up. The doctors said “Nope, the way she shoved her head in that stove, she meant to die.”
Some people would have suspicions about Joey’s death, and they were right, it was an accident.
But doctors couldn’t prove it.
Joey’s classroom was exactly like your childhood classroom. From what I understand all classrooms are exactly the same, you just find the pencil sharpener bolted to a different wall.
The kid who sat next to Joey was a boy named William. Sometimes Joey would watch him work, he was after all, very good at it. Joey thought knowledge seemed to flock to him. School was unbelievably easy for William. He was unbelievably poor though. It would show in the pencils he would use, which her would write with down to a nub. He wouldn’t disregard them until all he was holding was nothing but the metal eraser casing
His handwriting was hideous, worse than mine.
Luckily I can hide behind a typewriter.
Their teacher Ms. Sulkins did not enjoy reading his work. Even though it would be the highest marked assignment in the whole class.
Ms. Sulkins also disliked reading most of
Joey’s assignments, as most were completely out of context. Joey would just write a story on every piece of paper she put in front of him.
The only class he had slight success in was English.
What she didn’t know was that it wasn’t Joey writing the stories, it was his fingers. Joey tried to do his assignments but alas, his fingers were the penholders.There was nothing he could do.
This was one of the stories:
“Light breaching the sky as tomorrow becomes today. Similar shadows of yesterday take arms again. ‘Are we dying?’
‘Well of course we are, we have been since the day we were born, my dear.’ The child takes to an overwhelming desire to sit on the floor and does so with a splendid crash. ‘Death, is only a time, it is a moment. It is never to be mistaken for the end. Because there is simply so much more to it than that,’ the man’s cigarette gets flicked. ‘And I want you to promise me right now that you will never fear death.
‘I promise.’ She says in a nursery rhyme tone.
‘Good.’ And with that he offers up his cigarette to her which she takes, and puffs away on, exhaling amateur smoke rings. “
The fingers really were shitty writers. But with the credit being given to Joey, it was seemingly above par writing. As strange as the subject topic is.
Ms. Sulkins enjoyed the assignments that were handed in by the girl who sat in front of them. Her name was Ashley Torres. She was a pathological liar, it was a real problem, but fortunately not one that required her to ride a shorter than average bus. This would be the only time I mention her in this book, as liars are unreliable.
When she got older she would lie herself into a very human corner. Then her lies would kick her out of the city, and force her to move to another. She would not learn her lesson here either, and would eventually give up. She would start backpacking Europe, where she she could lie as freely as she drifted from country to country.
She would out of money and lying would aid her well as a panhandler on the streets on Italy, liars were inventive people at heart.
And you really needed to be inventive to get people to give you their money.
The question that cause Joey’s fingers to write that story was “132 x 224” Joey didn’t even bother trying to stop his fingers this time, as he was too depressed thinking about how long it’d take him to answer the real question.
There were twenty nine more of its kind on the page too.
My arms and legs are sore. These limbs are effected by a raging depression, that is working it’s hardest to swallow me whole. It won’t take me without a fight though. Oh no, oh no
About this time every morning the whole school rose to sing the national anthem. Ms. Sulkins was the first teacher Joey had ever met that didn’t demand they sing the song, simply be quiet while it played. So no one sang. Which was unfortunate as Joey wanted to sing, but didn’t for fear of rejection. He mouthed the song every day.
It was a really nice song.
Songs were part of music.
Music was another creation of humans. It was arranged noise. It was created to be pleasant to the ears, the whole body even, and because everyone’s body was slightly different, we created a plethora of different genres.
Something for everyone.
Joey’s lips went, “God keep our land, glorious and free” and he thought, what a nice man, to do such a tremendous task.
After the national anthem they always started their day with free reading. They were required to read a book inside a certain deadline, and then write a book report on it. The deadline was long enough to read four books. This was because most of the children in this class were not of very high quality.
Joey read The Call of the Wild, he often thought of himself as a dog at times, or least he had since he started reading the book. It taught him a lot about hierarchy. He read about it in the morning and then witnessed it out on the playground.
I forgot to mention Joey’s desk. It was pristine. Well divided and arranged, Joey was pretty proud of it. Things looked nice all arranged like that he thought. From inside it he withdrew his book report from the incomplete assignment section.
Three quarters of the questions on the page were answerable upon a quick glance of the book. Author, date published, page numbers, and such.
Joey’s copy of the Call of the Wild came from me, I gave it to him. I bought it at H. Campells Bookshop a few summers ago. Inside the cover there was the name of its past owner, named Miss Kink. It was written in green ink, beside the price it was sold to me for.The mystery of Miss Kink was one that kept both me and Joey up at night.
Thinking about Miss Kink, wondering about Miss Kink.
William was reading the Lord of the Rings. He would grow up at see all three movies opening night. He would be in costume. A low budget costume. His mother helped assemble it. It amazes me you can feel like an elfish archer for less than seven dollars in this world.
Distaste for time has been a real theme in this book so far. From this point on I also would like to let you know that I am giving up on chronological order. I will tell you about Joey’s life as I deem it important you should know.
Remember your old public school bell, it rang. I’m done talking about Wednesday.
This bit of the story is dedicated to a strange habit that Joey acquired thanks to all this conversing with doctors. It was that any house he entered he would ask to use the bathroom, and as soon as he would get in there he’d turn on the tap to muffle the noise, then he’d open up their medicine cabinet and begin searching through it. Looking for different pill bottles with an unfightable curiosity, peeking at what cocktails doctors had them sipping on. Often if he discovered something he’d never seen before, he’d try it. If he discovered something he’d liked, he’d take a couple.
Once he took his friend Matthew Goldman’s mother’s birth control. It worked flawlessly, Joey never ever got pregnant.
Matthew Goldman’s mother name was Nancy. She took those pills because she didn’t want to have another baby, she didn’t even really want to have the baby she had, but she loved him none the less. Some accidents can be beautiful. Nancy Goldman didn’t want to have Matthew because she was preoccupied with a very booming modelling career. Climaxing at one photo shoot. Where in a closed set between Nancy and the photographer, a very famous man named Cliff Holden, who was most known for picture of Prince’s penis. They indulged into catered champagne and cocaine. Eventually they fell into a lustful night, Matthew slowly swam his way into existence.
When Nancy discovered she was pregnant she cried and cried for weeks. She called her mother on the phone. Her mother tried her hardest to
consul her, but nothing she said seemed to help. “Nancy, don’t give up baby, you’re in a tunnel, you just got to keep walking to the light.” Nancy cried even harder. She slowly watched her stomach grow and grow, as ugly stretch marks ran rampant on her poor stomach, which in society’s eyes used to be quite striking. The father wanted nothing to do with the pregnancy. He had a girlfriend back home, he did however send very large cheques every month. As he had begun making a lot of money, people liked seeing Prince’s penis. Nancy didn’t have to work anymore, and she didn’t. She did however become an amateur photographer herself. In what little freetime she had.
Almost a year to the day before Patti Boone died, she tried to die on purpose. She wasn’t handling the news, and her fate very well. She was reacting poorly. David had taken Joey to a soccer game and while they were out her sorrow really starting getting the best of her. She drank, she abused a bit of the medicine the doctors had given to her to help with what was now, a daily pain. Then something extremely strange happened to Patti, she couldn’t feel a thing. She reached out and touched the dining room table, she felt nothing, she picked up her wine glass and helped herself to a mighty swig, she tasted nothing. For a second she thought she heard her heart beating, but then she couldn’t hear a thing. It made her very sad.
Patti walked to the bathroom and ran her a tub, she couldn’t feel how hot the water was, it was actually scalding. But it didn’t matter, she slumped herself into it, as she began to burn nearly every bit of skin all the way up to her neck, she took out a razor, she ripped her
wrists up like they were shitty pages I’d written. The water sadly, didn’t even look red to her, it was a dull gray. David and Joey walked in the front door fifteen minutes later, rain cancelled the game. David yelled out her name, but Patti couldn’t hear her, she was unconscious.
Where do we go when we are unconscious, I’ll die a happy man if I ever get this question answered.
David found his wife in the red tub. He immediately pulled her out, he tried to get her to wake up. Patti mumbled incoherently, drifting between our reality and some mystery. David sent Joey to his room to play with his toys while he called 911. An ambulance came and took her to the hospital, David dropped Joey off at a family friends and then he headed to the hospital to look after her.
Patti spend time in the hospital just like Joey eventually would. Depression can be genetic you know. Wear'em like a pair of blue genes.
Patti wouldn’t attempt suicide again, she slowly let herself fade away, doing her best to enjoy every moment she could before she ran out. She would cry a lot. She would often go see sad movies for an excuse to cry in public. Softly weeping with no concern for the poor sap on the silver screen.
A doctor once asked Joey “What is your earliest memory?” It was a refreshing question, as he had never in his whole career of dealing with these doctors, therapists, and psychoanalysts.
So Joey searched for it. He often thought of his mind as a library of memories and knowledge. Even though the knowledge itself was really just a memory of acquiring the fact.He thought this made it easy to remember, or find, the memory he was looking for.
This was it: (This was also one of the longest stories Joey would ever tell a doctor, which is something to be appreciated, but it wasn’t, as to this particular mental health specialists, Joey was nothing more than patient #10136425
I pulled the doctor aside many years later and said “Oh Dr. Edmunds if you only knew.”)
Joey told a story of him shopping with his mother one Christmas Eve, A few months after Joey had mastered walking. She held his hand and pulled him through the crows and aisles of Wal-Marts & Sears. Joey grew restless amongst the gift baskets and scented candles. The exchange of money for gift certificates was unbearable. They ate lunch in the food court. Joey remembered the Lion King happy meal toy he received. As he wondered about where in the world it might have ended up, he looked like a dazed loony to Dr. Edmund.Joey snapped out of, and continued his story.
After they finished their food, they shopped more. Joey didn’t hold her hand, as he was clutching his toy Simba with both hands, staring at it lovingly, making roaring sounds. Next thing they knew he bumped into someone, a man. Who said “Oops, sorry
little buddy.” Which echoed in Joey’s ears. Thinking back on it now really made him upset.
The man’s name was Alexander Edmunds. He was actually Dr. Edmund’s cousin. Unlike his cousin however, Alexander did not help cure mental illness. On the contrary, he caused some.
He made acid in his basement.Which he sold to dealers in other three quarters of the local high schools. If you did acid more than three times in this city, odds were he was getting you high.
He was a smart man, and deep down actually smarter than his PhD cousin. But his parents complained that he never applied himself in life. But what they didn’t know was that their son was a genius, producing a higher quality product at a lower price.
When Joey gazed around, his mother was gone. He spun in circles, clutching his Simba so close now it was a miracle it didn’t pierce straight through them. She was nowhere to be found. There were two different streams of people coming and going. Each clutching a handful of different coloured bags and presents.They began to blur into each other, as Joey began to panic they turned into a festive wave of colors swooshing by.
Joey got really dizzy, he threw up.
His mother found him eventually, staring down at his vomit. Joey never ever bought Christmas presents for people, he made them. He rarely even strayed into a mall ever again.
Dr. Edmunds memories of reading his school textbooks told him that Joey’s childhood memory had left him with an acute anxiety disorder.There was nothing acute about Joey’s condition.
But this doctor was clueless, he wrote Joey a script and invited him to make another appointment with the receptionist, for when the pill jar emptied.
People believe that anxiety, and dread, are human inventions, but they aren’t. Joey thought this too, until he took my dog to the vet for the second time. His dog’s name was Zooey. He spent alot of time with his dog at home. He tried to put himself inside her head. He tried his dearest to understand where she was coming from. Thinking that if he could figure that out, he might be able to do the same to other people someday. This dog would grow up with Joey, this dog would eventually, unfortunately outlive Joey. Which is a very rare thing to see in the world. A pet outliving it’s owner, one must wonder, whose left to bury the pet? By the time Joey’s life would end the dog would have horrible cataracts in it’s eyes, and it’s ears were slowly but surely failing it too. The world becomes a very scary place to a deaf and blind dog, she began to need help outside, and she was bumping into things all over the house, with a whimper that sounded almost like Joey’s grandpa, “Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry...”
One day in high school Joey smoked pot, he hadn’t eaten for two days. He drank a lukewarm bottle of orange juice to kill his cottonmouth before class. He sat by himself in his geography class, wondering about the definite slant in his eyes. When suddenly he threw up pure orange juice, all over his desk and binder. The vomiting made a horrible sound, which caught the attention of the entire class. The teacher abruptly
stopped teaching, and they all turned in one swift motion to stare at the aftermath.
Joey ran out of the class. Embarrassment would have him skip it every day for the rest of the semester. He didn’t even bother showing up for the exam.In summer school, he eventually passed.
I stopped writing for awhile and flipped back through the pages. I said to myself, “I’ve got a lot of editing to do.” I tore up a few pages. “You should tell them about the pill that gave Joey the shits.” “Well, okay.”
After the fingers eventually shut up, Joey tasted a few more different cocktails from doctors. One of them was an interesting little drug called citroplam. The side effects of which were both gratifying and horrifying within the exact same dosage. It was to be taken with dinner, so that it could release itself into his system and send him to sleep easily. He would eat at the dinner table, pill resting on the corner of his plate the until his last bite of his meal. The pill taunted him the whole time. Eventually when he swallowed it down it dissolved away freely into his system. Then it gave Joey vicious diarrhea, that pill would send his dinner rushing to his colon so fast you’d think the meal was an Olympic sprinter. It would drop it a massive plop, like someone dumping out a bucket of water. Splashing back up onto Joey’s buttocks. Then Joey would go to his room, he would change into is pyjama’s and turn off his light and crawl into bed. The pill would cause crazed open eye visuals to appear on his ceiling. Like kaleidoscope vision,
they would twirl and dance for him until he fell asleep. He was really torn of whether or not to complain about this pill.
The shitting was shitty.
But the tripping was trippy.
Eventually the doctors just switched it up anyways, because they had just been giving the right to test a new drug, and they were curious as all hell to test it out on someone..
Our guinea pig Joey went back to school.
Warm air won against the cold in the battle at the doorway. Joey shrugged his way into the warmth, keeping the door open for the young lady behind him, who thanked him in a reflex. Joey's mind wandered all over his skull, thinking about things done and things needing doing, his mind must have honestly been working overkill cause it sucked the power right out of the rest of his body, leaving Joe bumping into people all the way down the hallway, apologizing in a reflex much similar to the young girls at the door. He kept his head down and noticed all of these bump's shoes. Saw a pair just like hers, and he thought about her legs, sticking out from those moccasins building up to probably the most beautiful girl in Joey's whole world. The hallway ended, Joey hit a wall. Turning, as anyone would he wondered about what had just happened. A mob of people were ahead, all standing outside a single classroom, some waiting, some no doubt praying, that the teacher never
bothered to show up, and unlock that door. Joey pushed his way through them, working through several different conversations. A man making fun of another man's love for a hockey team, one asking for notes from last week's class, another telling tales of sexual conquest. (The author would like to make a note here, that the man telling the tale was me, the writer of this story, and I'd be glad to tell it to you sometime too.)
Around the next corner a man dropped his books, Joey choked and did not help him pick them up, but he did however say a prayer that the man never drops them ever again. You could see out into what was, in the summer, a garden. But in the miserable winter, the only living things were several unamused smokers, cold breath twice as thick. He was thinking about how sane he had felt over the last few weeks, as he turned into the cafeteria to see it taken over by large vultures, sitting amongst the tables, sipping coffees, scrolling through laptops, studying textbooks, squawking away. Joey turned around but they had taken over behind him too, they marched to and from classes, by him, some tickling him with their feathers on their way by.
He didn't know what to do, he considered running outside, praying the rest of the world hadn't been infected with this, avian infection. Panicked, he felt unfathomably nauseous, he threw up, all over the floor in front of him, just once. He stared at his vomit for awhile, it seemed to calm him down. When he finally looked back up, the cafeteria was normal, and a large gathering of students, sitting amongst the tables, sipping coffees, scrolling through laptops, studying textbooks, were now staring away, at him, and his large pile of vomit. Oh well,
whats a man to do
Joey was extremely prone to vomiting, as a lot of things made him feel sick. There was very little that doctors could do for this particular aspect of his illness, as it was very spontaneous and unpredictable.They said it was just something Joey would have to live with.
Some people vomited on purpose, because they felt ugly compared to other people. They would feel guilt enjoying their food, so they would throw it right back up after. Joey met a few people like this throughout his hospital visits, and stays. Joey wished he could rid the world of everyone else for these people, so they’d have nothing to compare themselves to.
One time nurses made a patient throw up on purpose. She had been stockpiling the medicine they were giving her. Three pills a day, for over three weeks. Then she took them all. The nurses called security, who held her down, while they began to pump her stomach. It all happened right in the rec room, so the guards were unable to block this sight from all the patients. Who all gazed horribly, all respecting the girl’s decision to rather die than spend another second in this sad joint.
The girls name was Sara Wellman. When she met Joey for the first time she was looking for someone to join her in a game of scrabble. She told Joey that sixty percent of her mother’s face was artificial. For years her mother had tormented her that she should act and be prettier. It made her very sick, because after hearing such things for so long, she caved and began to believe her. Just like Joey did with his fingers
Sara was very depressed because there was nothing she could really do to be prettier. Looks are something you are dealt at birth. What Sara had to learn was that looks really didn’t matter at all. Joey told her that, she said “That’s what my dad used to say.”
Her parents were divorced now, his father was unable to kiss her mother’s plastic face anymore. You can’t have a marriage without kisses.
He remarried to a woman who teaches rock climbing.
These are the words from Joey’s game of scrabble:
Sara won, she was a pro. She waited there to play people every day. They had the advantage, as everyone else was in pill zombie mode, she was completely sober, and waiting for the day she had saved enough.
Why bother playing scrabble, if you’re just going to eventually kill yourself? Is a question Joey felt like asking now, as he watched the nurses pour charcoal down her throat.
July 24th 1997, Joey woke up and couldn’t hear in one ear. His mother rushed him to the emergency
room. Stopping for McDonalds on the way. The doctors flipped through his medical records and decided to switch his medication again.
After less than a week on this new pill, his hearing came back. Another great thing happened too.His fingers shut up.
I am hanging on a limb. A lot of people are mad at me, the world seems slightly less inviting right now. I’ve talked a fair bit about time in this book, and I have a bit more to say on the subject right now. As I’ve just had an epiphany that time is the compilation of moments. Every second, another snapshot of the whole universe is taken. Every one of your footsteps caught on film.
Which is why a time machine seems so impossible, it just won’t work you see. You’ll never get to go back and fix your mistakes. So you must always be very careful to try not to make them.
You’ll never get a second chance.
You’ll never even truly forget about it.
Joey sat by himself in the very same coffee shop I had scoped out earlier. There was no live music today. However, a Nina Simone song was playing as
Joey entered. He sipped tea like mine and sat by himself near the window to write. The day was dying, the sun slowly falling down in the horizon made everyone who walked by seem like they were walking home. Just going from A to B to C what’s next. Joey watched those people go home for a long time. His eyes welted up, he felt he could not do the same. His tears were dried up by the gust of wind that blew in when the door swung open. A young girl and her mother entered, the mother walked up to the counter, the little girl got lost on the way. Her mother bought her a hot chocolate and told her to wait right here while she went to the bathroom. She stared at Joey from across the room. The curiosity of some children is amazing. She walked over to him and started up a conversation. "You want to know what I saw today?” She gave no time to respond. “I saw thirty seven ducks!" she said as if it might as well have been infinity.
"Thirty-seven?" Joey repeated.
"At least, thirty seven!" she had her fingers wrapped tightly around her half full mug of hot chocolate. "Four flying vee's." she looked up in thought, maybe she thought if she'd look up they'd be there, four flying vee's translucent on the coffee shop ceiling, one after the other. She finally found the words she was looking for and she spat'em out. "Well, three and a half,” She took a sip from her cup. “One of them was so lopsided, there was six of them on one side and only one on the other. I couldn't believe they weren't flying in circles. I watched them as long as I could, and they all disappeared into the same spot in the sky." She pointed to where the sun was almost completely gone.
"Well that’s because they are all flying to the same place."
"How do they know where it is without a map? Do they got a magnet in'em?"
"I guess you could look at it that way," Joey said, taking a break to sip on his tea. "You want know how they get there?"
"How!" she asked in a polite demanding, with all the curiosity in the world.
"Their parents put that magnet in them, by making them tag along in the middle of the vee." "Really?"
"I wish I had a magnet." she sighed into her cup.
"Don't worry, you've got one." her eyes light up like Chinese New Year. "It, when the time is right will warm your heart and pull you right where you need to go." Joey took another sip, and put his cup back down to notice all the curiosity turn into amazement. Her face was priceless, you could see her thinking about it, it was the most refreshing thing Joey had seen in weeks. He watched her eyes flicker and mind wander, wondering when her time would come to lead the vee. Her mother came back out and called her name. “Thanks.” She said to Joey, she really meant it too. Joey had really hardly done anything, but he had just changed that young girls life forever.
Which was one of the very few, if not the only, goal Joey ever set for himself
One time when David took Joey to see a local soccer team play. The field glowed a vivid green to Joey, who couldn’t help stare up at the giant lights illuminating the scene. Soccer, which I now will refer to as football now that we’ve got that usual confusuion of the way. Is in my opinion, thus Joey’s, the greatest sport on the face of the earth. This is obvious to us, because it is the world’s most equal playing ground. It really doesn’t matter if you’re tall or short, fat or skinny. You don’t need to be rich to afford all sorts of expensive equipment. All you need, is a field and a ball. That’s why it’s the world’s sport.
But this wouldn’t be realized by Joey until his later years, until he was able to take the time to ponder such irrelevant matters. Truth be told, as young as he was sitting there, he was bored out of his tree. He gazed up at his father who watched the game intently. Joey followed the ball through his father’s moving face. He sensed the tone of it through his face’s tensing up, as they moved into scoring position. Joey stood up, his father didn’t even seem to notice. He moved to the bottom of his bleachers, still nothing. So Joey wandered off back into the stadium. People pushed past him as he worked his way away from all the excitement. There was a Coke-Cola vending machine just around the corner which caught Joey’s attention, as they’re was a toolbox left at the foot of it.
I’ll fill you in here: It was the toolbox of the Coke employee, who was unfortunately right now in the bathroom, clutching his knees uncomfortably cursing to the high heavens his wife’s unbelievably delicious Tex
Mex, he'd indulged in the night before. It’s a shame something so delicious can make you pay so much the next day. So with him disposed of, Joey was free to approach the vending machine. He removed the keychain from the handle of the toolbox, trying several different keys he eventually found the right one sinking into success. He peeled the front away from the machine, he peeked his head deep inside of it. It was frigid, intricate, and a piece of art to Joey. Who started pulling pieces of it out to inspect them, before setting them down.
After a short period of the time a large collection of bits of the machine had been pulled out. The machine was long past functioning, it was even warming up. Joey eventually ran out of things to inspect, he knew the machine inside out, he felt he had a good handle of how pop machines worked, he stole two free Cokes, one for him and one for his father, who he wandered back to carefree. David looked worse for wear when Joey got back to him. The game was not going well his face said. David was so stressed with the score that he didn’t even bother wondering where Joey got the Coke he offered him. It started raining then, and as you already know, when it rains, it pours.
The crying had been going on for forty five minutes before anyone heard it. and it was Judith who discovered it, her pretty painted toenails, the only things slightly visible to salty eyes on a down tilted head. “What’s wrong?” The answer hurt Joey, sent more tears out.
“Love is bipedal, you each put in a leg and as long as that occurs you’ve both got nothing to fear,
because love is strong, as long as you both keep your leg in there is nothing love can’t handle.”Silence took over, Judith didn’t understand.“But there is nothing sadder in the world than crippled love, when the other side doesn’t care enough to put their side in, so your heart wanders around on a crutch.
Judith understood now, but didn’t care. So she walked away and left Joey to his weeping.
There was a boy Joey knew who went to his high school. His name was Nick Karloff. They both had English together. On Friday someone made a deal with Nick that they would sell him two hits of acid for the price of one, if he took one immediately.
The acid was made by Alexander Edmund.
So you knew a good trip was to follow.
It was near the end of lunch when Nick took the hit. He walked over to the convience store with two friends. He bought iced tea. As they left the store the stars came out a little earlier. The bell could be heard ringing off in the distance. His friends turned to him and said “Are you going to class man?”
Their voices seemed strange and unfamiliar. They sounded as if they were shouting through a megaphone. Some static came after that. Nick nodded yes.
Back in the school, he got himself trapped in spiral staircase infinity for some time. Determined to make it to class before the second bell rang. The stairs ended, Nick said thank you to a voice he’d stop to ask for directions from. He (somehow) made it to his seat.
Joey was sitting directly behind him. He was writing a story, that takes form in a short letter. It was written by a husband, to his deceased wife.
“The beach was a strange sight in the winter, the waves froze into strange cliffs, that went well into the lake. We climbed all over them, feeling like King Kong in the Rockies, and after we went inside to keep warm I realized something.When she sips hot chocolate she looks just like you. You should’ve been there. “
Nick was really starting to freak out. He could’ve sworn he heard Joey’s fingers talking.
They really were. They were trying to tell Joey his story was rather subpar, but Joey wasn’t listening. He hadn’t been for years.
People regret things. Lord knows I do, lord knows Joey does, lord knows you do too. Regrets are commonly kept secret. Regrets are the catalysts to the invention of forgiving. It went like this:
Joey wrote another story that class. It was called “Just because you wear deodorant doesn’t mean you’re not an animal.”
Nick's pupils leak into the rest of his eyes, the room melted slightly as the teacher took attendance. A kid went to the bathroom. For a quick second Nick forgot to breathe, he gasped loudly, catching the
attention of a few people around him.
The teacher began to teach, he turned off the lights and put on an overhead, the stars took the dark as an opportunity to shine, and they illuminated the class room again for Nick. The overhead was impossible to read. Their teacher's name was Mrs. Murphy, her husband taught history. They hadn’t had sex in one month. The last time they did, Mrs. Murphy called her husband by the wrong name.
It could of been worse she thought, she could have been caught actually fucking the name she screamed out.
The class discussed symbolism in Macbeth.
Through Nick’s eyes the teachers hand swelled to enormous sizes then deflated again. His ears filled with the sound of the entire class grinding their teeth.
It was too much for him to handle. His picked up his bag and walked right out. Mrs. Murphy said “Excuse me Nickolas, where are you going?” Nick said nothing, she followed him into the hall, repeating his name. “Nickolas.” He turned and looked at her, she gazed into his eyes.
Nick turned back around and walked straight home. Where he laid in bed, safe. As the acid rolled his brain around for six more hours.
“What do you think of yourself Joey?” A pen stands ready at a clipboard.
"I think I’m a lazy poet.”
“Do you think you need my help?”
“I need everyone’s help.”
“How can someone like me help you?” “Got any money?” The pen stops. “I thought we we’re going to be serious this week."
Joey’s first job was at a local supermarket, in the bakery. They taught him to make breads and cakes. He did it well, his hands were naturals at it. He kneaded the dough flawlessly by this third day. His boss was truly impressed. Joey was impressed with himself as well. He never really had seen himself have a natural knack for anything before.
He found a lot of joy in it. It even seemed more therapeutic than his therapy. He mindlessly baked assorted products, thinking about his life, and all the steps he’d taken leading up to this point.
He thought about his mother, he missed her. He thought about what steps she might have taken had she not died.
Steps that were robbed from her. A tear fell into his dough, he adjusted the amount of salt accordingly.
At the supermarket, the deli, and the bakery were separated by one thin wall. There was a girl who worked on the other side of the wall from Joey
named Ketrina. She had been hired as a cashier, but was moved to the stockroom because she was unable to handle it, then she was moved to clean-up because she couldn’t handle any heavy lifting, then she was finally moved to the deli because she was utterly hopeless at dealing with spills. She never had to before in her entire life.
The reason they didn’t just fire her was because she was unfathomably attractive.
Fortunately she was able to handle the deli. As customers just pointed to what they wanted, told her how much and she simply fetched it. It was a simple task, and she was average at it. But that was all that was necessary for jobs like this.
Most jobs in this country only required mediocre effort. The jobs that required an above par effort were things like musicians, actors, writers. Jobs that the average worshipped, made role models.
The problem with going above and beyond is that it always seems like such a futile effort. You just don’t ever see it happening for you.
Ketrina really liked Joey, as he said very little to her, and it was from her experience that boys usually had a lot to say to her. She found Joey mysterious.
She lived not far from him either, she’d often ask Joey to walk home with her, which he would, as there seemed no reason for him not to.
They walked home taking a long bike path than ran behind the store. She talked about her life. Her stepdad, her mom, and how they were taking her car away because she couldn’t seem to pass biology.
Joey wondered if all older girls talked like this. Ketrina told Joey she really liked him, that he wasn’t like any other boy she’d met. Joey said a similar statement, but only because he had met so few girls in his life. They all seemed so different.
She smiled at him, and wanted him to kiss her. She was sending him these roaring signals, but Joey was oblivious to this sort of thing, so they just kept walking.
After they cleared the bike trail, they were only two blocks from her house. Ketrina fell silent, Joey was already there. Finally she made a statement about how she wished they would tear the wall between the deli and bakery down. This was a good idea Joey thought, so did I.
I love watching the footage of the Berlin Wall being torn down. I showed the footage to Joey, he liked it to. He said “They should do the same thing to the Wall of China.” I said, “Don’t get carried away.”
Joey said he’d ask a manager about the wall. She smiled. “Well this is me.” They stopped in front of her house. She took the lead and planted a kiss on him. It caught him off guard, but as soon as the shock passed he filled up with pleasure. He suddenly felt like going home and rewatching every movie he witnessed a kiss in, as if he finally knew what was going on. A light switch in his brain flicked on. He was thinking about how he wouldn’t mind staying like that forever, when it ended. “See you at work.”
How does a forty year old suddenly become religious? How is it possible that at some point
evolution stops making sense and they’d rather turn to a storybook for their answers.
A bite of the Apple over Darwin.
That’s what happened to David Boone, he ‘found’ god one day. After his wife had died, after his father had died. He got really freaked out, he became very scared for where these people ended up, and god gave them a safe home. God appealed to him because it kept the idea of the one’s he loved warm. God is the greatest human invention of all time.
A small romanced bloomed from that kiss. Of course management never tore down the wall when Joey confronted them on it, but that no longer mattered, it was the thought that counted for Ketrina. The wall didn’t stop them from walking around and hanging out during work. Again Ketrina would do most of the talking but once she finished talking, they would make out, something new and unbelievably exciting for Joey. He turned his tongue a miniature explorer, who went on short expeditions into Ketrina’s mouth. Ketrina though Joey was a rather good kisser, she was oblivious to the fact that she was the first girl he’d ever kissed before. She wouldn’t have been able to believe she was the first, how could she. He was so mysterious.
He was actually pretty romantic in her eyes too, Joey wasn’t even trying to be. He just thought it would be nice to sit outside and eat desserts, strawberries, and the bread he baked from the store. They sat out looking onto the bike path from the hill the store was on. She was absolutely
swooned. Normally boys did not plan such occasions, they were all rather uninventive, doing things that were only necessary to get farther down than Joey had without even trying. Katrina had given in to them a lot in the past. She had no idea romance like this existed, she thought she’d just have to learn to settle for dinner, movie, and a fuck. She’d had sex with seven different men. She looked at Joey now laying in the grass, munching gently on a piece of bread. The crust was perfect, it’s tender crunch loud enough to carry through the path.
She kissed him again. Eventually she slid her hand down, and undid his pant button. Joey’s heart skipped a beat. She grinned wildly at the reaction she’d drew from him. The sound of a zipper being undone, warmth, and a release to follow.
Joey’s first blowjob really blew his mind.
Katrina would give him five more of those as their romance at work continued. Unfortunately however, it only seemed to take place at work. She had never invited him inside her house. He was a little to mysterious to date she thought.
Eventually Ketrina got a new job at a clothing store in the mall. After her two weeks notice, she never saw Joey ever again. She hadn’t even given him her number.
Once again he felt stupid throughout his days. He began to relate to the cells in his poor mother’s tumour. He just had no clue what to do.
Joey thought about going to the mall or knocking on her door to say hello, but he just got to
nervous even thinking about it. She obviously didn’t want to see him anymore. It really confused him for awhile, a good month at least. It didn’t occur to him that people would get intimate like that without a real desire for a person. He didn’t realize some people just like to suck dick.
Ketrina would suck the dick of the only male who worked at her clothing store, because he was the manager, and power really did turn her on. While she was bobbing up and down on her knees one day she thought about why she even bothered with Joey in the first place. I’ll tell you a secret about Ketrina, she is the result of her mother completely. Her mother’s slogan was “Sometimes you’ve gotta give a lil’ head to get ahead.” She owned a Mercedes Benz. She had an office on the 23rd floor of a building downtown. A few months earlier that year she had an office on the 6th floor. She really was reaching for the stars. I’ll tell you a secret about Ketrina’s mother. If you multiply the number of floors she started on by the number she’s on, you’ll know how many dicks she’s sucked. She’s also had four husbands each with a matching divorce. She says to her lawyer every few years “Let me tell ya, marriage is hard, hard work boy.”
At one point Joey stepped in front of a bus, he didn’t even think twice about it. It stopped just in time of course, and the police apprehended him. Joey was unsure about what the crime was, when the police arrived on the scene, they tried handcuffing him and he fought free from his grip. The cop said “Don’t fuck with me kid, I will fuck you up.” The television screen, the hero. Joey
swung at the cop, it was a beautiful punch, perfect sculpted for slow-mo highlight reel. This cop was Henry McDonald, he did not think to fondly of being punched in this fashion. His partner didn’t care much for what he witnessed either. They tackled Joey. People watched, cars even ignored green lights to watch this cops take a couple swings for revenge. After they considered things even, the cop took out Joey’s wallet. “Joey, Joey Boone?”
“It’s me, Henry McDonald.”
“Oh.” Joey remembered him.
“That was some punch, what the fuck you doing out here?”
“I don’t really know.”
“Well,” The cop tucked the ID back into the wallet, loosened his hold on Joey.
“Watch where you’re going okay?” “Okay.” Joey rose to his feet, the cops began to leave when Henry turned back and said,
“You still talk to Macky?” He was referring to Andrew Mack, another classmate.
“Oh, that’s a damn shame. Well take it easy.” Then they left for real.
The crowd that gathered around as all this happened scared Joey, they watched him intently as he walked down the block, every time he looked back they were still staring. One of the people who was watching was a young punk by the name of Jasper
Reynolds. He was wearing the sweater of his favourite band Crass.
Crass is the greatest punk band of all time.
While Jasper watched the cop let Joey get away with punching him in the face he got an idea. Which he put into action three months later at a local house show. Two paddy wagons and three cop cars arrived to bust up this little punk show. Many of the cops were sporting semi-erect penises while they entered the door. They tried the easy way for about three seconds, then the hard way seemed like the only way to go about things. Batons swung everywhere.
Jasper was near the front, and by the time a cop even got close to him he knew exactly what he was going to do. He said a quick prayer to N.W.A then shouted, “Fuck the police!” then he let go of one of the most powerful punch he’d even mustered. It hit the cop cleanly in the ear, he dropped to the floor. Jasper’s face lit up in joy for about the same length of time the cops tried the easy way. Then two cops beat the shit out of him. Jasper got two years in prison for assaulting that officer.
I suppose the moral of this part of the story is that if you’re going to slug a cop, you should hope to god you went to public school with him.
One day when Joey was about ten years old, he dug a hole and buried the kitchen table in it. Not even Joey could explain why he did it. It just kind of happened. I mean, Joey watched himself dig the hole, and drag the table into the backyard. But he felt honestly indifferent to the whole situation, he was taking no part in it.
When his parents noticed the table missing, they eventually noticed the hole. When they questioned Joey about it, they eventually noticed that their poor boy was splitting in two. “Our poor boy.” Patti said. David Boone said nothing, he didn’t quite know what to say.
I’ve been writing this story on a Smith Corona SL500. It’s a beautiful machine, and only cost me four dollars. It used to have a top cover for discreet transportation but I lost it early into the first week I got her. I don’t want to take her anywhere, I just want her to stay here with me, and help me with this story. The A key sticks horribly. Sometimes it types out two like this: aa It makes my work look very sloppy, but I somehow feel it’s just reflecting me as an author, as a person. I’ve stockpiled ink ribbons for it, because you’ll never know when they’ll disappear forever, like Polaroid film. I swear I’m the only person who ever goes into the store and buys them. I always imagine myself looking like I came out of a time machine when I purchase them.
It’s the font that attracts me to this machine.It’s also the people who have mastered it in the
The Robbins, The Hunter S. Thompsons, The Salingers, The Vonneguts, The Ken Keseys, The Hemmingways, The Burroughs, The Kerouacs.
These men have done more with keys like these than I ever will in my life. But I can try.
Alas, the story continues.
Will time ever run out? No Doubt.
“Well that’s beautiful Joey.” Dr. Cruise took off her glasses.“Do you have any others?"
“Are you sure? That book seems pretty full.” Joey stirred uncomfortably. He looked at his book, sifting through the pages. “You don’t have to, if you don’t want to.” He stared at her, she was way to pretty to be a therapist.
“No, it’s okay.” He stopped on a page. “This is called, ‘Ballad of a Snow Plowdriver’.” Joey straightened up in his chair. “Morning was warm enough to sleep through, but he he rustled the blankets just enough to shake her eyes open. ‘Bob, where are you going?’ His gaze was off her face. ‘Out there.’ ‘But it’s Sunday...’ ‘But there’s snow on the ground.’ “
“Well, that’s beautiful too.” Dr. Cruise really meant it. She was on the verge of crying. It just made her so sad to see someone like Joey stuck in a place like this.
Dr. Cruise was one of many doctors Joey would meet during his stay at Morningdale Hospital’s
Psych Ward. They held him there against his will for awhile, against his will for awhile, under a government issued form called Form One. Which gave the doctors the right to hold him against his will under certain circumstances.
These are that they have reasonable cause to believe that you have: threatened or have attempted or are threatening or are attempting to cause bodily harm to yourself; behaved or are behaving violently towards another person or have cause or are causing another person to fear bodily harm from you; or that you have shown or are showing a lack of competence
to care for yourself. Joey had attempted to kill himself. He felt he was finished. He felt the world had no room for him anymore. So it was best that he just cleared out. He was going to jump off a building, he knew which building. He had stood where he was going to jump off before, it looked like this:
It would have looked messier after, but he never jumped.
Someone found his note at home and called the police, they found him, just in time, they took him to the hospital. There he was moved from locked room to locked room throughout the hospital, being interrogated by several analysts. First one would come in, and ask a string of questions, like, “Do you think you have super powers? Do you think people on TV or in songs are talking directly to you?” Then they’d leave, about an hour later they come back with another analyst, the new one goes over what you told the first. It’s a cross-interrogation. In the end they both decided the psych ward was the best place for him. They took him there by cab. I gave him a journal, to write his experience, as obviously I couldn’t join him in there. But I promised him, I’d be waiting for him on the other side.
After this I will recreate word for word Joey’s entries. It’s a painful story, but it must be told.
What a bum kick to die in a place like this. Sleep was not an option so one must find love in pining for the sun to show its ugly mug. This place would be freezing if it weren’t for warm souls like Judith. Heartbeats resonating and warming up these cold sterile walls. Assorted Matisse, Van Gogh, and Monet prints everywhere you wander. I took a seat along the hall across from a print of Fishing Boats on the Beach, thinking about when Burroughs wrote about cutting off
his thumb in some ‘Van Gogh kick’ and how the doctors at his mental intuition said they’d never heard of’em. Judith stopped and said hello to me, asking me if I liked the painting. I told her yes, that I really like his works like this, when he started opening up to more color, l after impressions left on him by the work of others. The yellow mast was glowing through my eyes. She asked me how I knew so much about it, I told her I enjoyed art and I had learned a few things during my time at school. Judith gave me a wonderful smile and told me that not only had her son gone to the same school as me, that he had just recently graduated from school and would be the new ceramics teacher there. She talked about her love for the abstract, but even more she talked about her son’s uncanny ability to help her with her realism works of her own. I dared ask her and she told me she had been here a week. Her hands were shaky as she held her breakfast tray, the rattle of her ring on the tray was lovely. She gave me a quick rundown of how days here went, showed me where to check to see who my nurse was. I was glad to meet her, she went off to enjoy her breakfast and I sunk back into the painting.
A few minutes later nurses began to file out of their office, clipboards in hand. One walked by me and said “And you are?” she was a plump woman, an evil bitter pinched face. She held her clipboard at ready. I told her. “Oh, and do you know who your nurse is?” I told her. “Okay, well I’m Samantha.” I should have, but didn’t, tell her I didn’t really care. This routine happened several more times before one nurse switched it up asking “Why don’t you go sit in a chair?” I asked her why and she started going on about the television in the lounge, and
then she gave me this act about all the germs the floor accumulated from people walking back and forth. (I thought this was a definite scare tactic, for someone who might cringe at the thought of germs.) I told her the Van Gogh and me where fine. She went off, and on, with her duties. A very timid girl came out of her room to the left of me, she asked me my name and if she could join me. She said her name was Rochelle and then she didn’t really say much more. She was a young native girl wearing a ball cap.
Her poor face looked tormented, as if her brain was a battle ground, she choked and stumbled on some words, mumbled the rest. The few words she did spare were really inaudible by the time they reached me.
My nurse came in and told me my dad was here. I went to meet him at the front. He brought the two Salingers I asked for. I gave him a tour of the place, it was almost over before it began. Then we went with my nurse to talk about what was going to happen, a lot of conclusions I had already drawn myself we reiterated. The nurse wore socks and sandals, and I don’t doubt was the kind of guy who was rather keen on referring to other people as ‘fella’. He did however allow me my pencil sharpener, which had been previously locked up, a demi-luxery in this constricting world, where all the doors were opened with keys, by key holders. I caught a glance at my dad’s watch before he left and realized that it was only 9:30. It hadn’t occurred to me that it wasn’t even noon yet. Today would be one of the longest days I’d ever had. You can tell the difference between the strides of the sick and those that are free to leave whenever. The sick have a very grim slide of the feet,
never really leaving the ground, as if, not only soul and mind are locked down in this place, but the body is too. Miserable creeping sliding steps. The nurses have a strange sticky sound associated with their paces, like the whole floor is covered in poorly cleaned soda pop spills. They are also louder, as if their movement is to be felt, by us poor patients.
A rather bizarre moment: An elderly woman in bright purple pants approached me, she said help and I echoed it back. Then she started trying to hand me a ten dollar bill and mumbling some instructions in some strange strings of jibberish. I begged her pardon several times, but it was far past incomprehensible. Luckily a nurse approached and she began offering the money to her. The nursed walked her back to her room, informing her a doctor was on the way. When the doctor did arrive, I could hear her terrible cries, as the doctors went through the list of things that might be wrong. What a handful, what a headache the elderly become.
“Four boats at shore
four boats at sea.
Eight boats to look at,
while they think your cra-zee!”
Ken Kesey, my name is yours.
Noon hour came like a runaway turtle, the young lady started making the rounds handing out the trays, carefully prepared down to the wet nap. On my tray was my entire lunch order printed out, it mentioned every single object on the tray, down to the salt packet and
straw. I only wished that all this effort went into the food instead. As this strange chicken pasta disaster I was given looked pasted to the plate.
I couldn’t even try it. I drank my 4oz shooter of orange juice and began creating a little sculpture out of the pudding cup, utensils, and the rest of the unused objects on the plate. While I did this I listened to the other patients discussing how many passes they had acquired for free time off the ward, and outside. It was a little too much for me, so I put my meal back on the rack. Grinning discreetly about my little piece of post modern art, and think about all the nurses huddled around it, trying to diagnose me through it.
I went back to my room, wondering how slowly the next ten hours would be. From my window I can see the Ferris wheel that in a few days would spring to life as the Fair returned to town for another year. I thought about my life back outside, and how it would be forever tainted with these government cronies, and hospital bed sheets.
Then I heard the sound of what might have been a hundred tough stilettos marching down the hall, it was a thick sound, a wall of sound, the only sound I could hear. It crept closer and stopped at my door. “Hello, are you Joey?” A single woman asked, entering my room. The sound returned as she approached me.
“Perfect. Well I’m the on call doctor today and I’m just stopping by to make sure everything is okay, if there is anything you need?” She was not here to make progress, just to regurgitate the same script I was
receiving from everyone else in this place. I wondered about how much memorization was involved with these folk’s training. She told me that I’d get assigned a group tomorrow and took off. As soon as the door behind her closed, “Some Kinda Love” by the Velvet Underground popped into my head. I went out to sit by the Van Gogh. About halfway through the album Rochelle came up and asked if I’d get a drink with her. I said sure, she led me towards the other lounge that I had not yet seen. It quickly became the best part of the whole ward. A television surrounded by two couches, a few more art prints, a piano, fridge, toaster, pop machine, and a large stock of bread. I almost instantly began to burn myself some toast, while Rochelle got her soda and sat at the table.
When I joined her we began to formulate silly escape plans:
“What if we sewed our bed sheets together like a parachute, then we toss a chair through the window and float our way to safety.”
“Or! We could mug one of the cleaning ladies and steal her clothing, I’ll hop in the garbage bag on the cart and we can roll away to safety.”
“Perhaps, we get on our street clothing and start walking towards the exit waving back to the ward saying shit like ‘Goodbye! We’ll miss you, we’ll be sure to bring that book you asked for on Sunday!’ and we’ll walk out to safety.”
Then I realized that all of our plans ended in ‘safety’. Were we really in danger? I suppose not, but on one likes to feel caged up. I just truly felt taking up a
bed in this place, because some people are real problems you know? Then my dad showed up again, with clothing and some food. I felt so bad when he put it down in front of me. I cannot explain why, but I really did. We went back to my nurse to talk about having my dad bring my guitar, to which they said no. Dad lectured me about trying not to just get out of here, but to try and get help. Then he left. I wonder if my mother had gotten stuck in a place like this when she tried.
I gazed out the window for a long time, until dinner showed up at just past five o’clock. Crazy, I’d never eaten dinner so early in my entire life. I was served what they called BBQ pork ribs, mashed potatoes and steamed carrots. Peach cocktail for dessert. I took it to the lounge to eat. The ribs were awkward. They looked like hamburgers reshapened to look like ribs, and the oily saucy affair they were covered with did not help. I sunk my fork into the mashed potatoes and the whole scoop of them came up at once. The carrots were bland and mushy, unhelped by the iodized salt.
A girl sitting next to me tried them and said “It’s not too bad.” I was overcome with a desire to ask to borrow money from her, what with the mass of generosity she was portraying. A guy named J.D. offered me his peaches, so a double portion of that was my dinner.
The girl was covered with healing burns, her name was Mira. The burns were from her boyfriend, he put cigarettes out on her. I told her “Mira, you don’t have to be your boyfriend’s ashtray.” After she gets out she’s moving to Toronto to live with her aunt. Far away from her asshole of a boyfriend.
I was standing on my chair in my room glaring out the window and some nurse came in and told me to stop. May this boa constrictor of a hospital ward squeeze me all out. May they squeeze me all onto the floor, so they can reshape me like their disgusting fucking ribs into an everyday vampire just like them. So I can pay taxes, buy a house, consume, reproduce, and keep certain chequebooks heavy.
Transmogrify me into the shameful robot the world calls normality.
Dad came again and I kind of blew up at him. But it was just the exploding locked up tension blues I had. The whole world is his and I get juice in 4oz portions. Cranberry juice at that.
Rochelle asked me to come play scrabble with her, which I did. With these three others, putting me and her on a team together. We played against one of those high-functioning autistics, one guy who was more interested in the Dirty Harry marathon going on in the background than the game, and a large woman who at first glance thought was a nurse, but nope, she was sporting a wristband too. One that labelled her unfit for society, I thought we must have looked so funny huddled around that scrabble board. Which is a very challenging game I may add, especially when your partner just rocks back and forth the entire match. We ended up coming in third. After the game people sprung up to get their medication, and the autistic guy said he’d be right back, throwing a deck of cards on the table.
Rochelle has a horrible rash, I think it
might be eczema, she keeps rubbing this tiny bar of soap on it for relief. Depressed the hell outta me. When the guy came back he started to deal out Texas hold’em. Which would become the slowest moving game ever, as Rochelle had no clue how to play. J.D. came and started helping her, but the autistic guy got pissed off, causing J.D. to storm off calling him a big baby. Rochelle would pull up her pocket cards to look at them, and then when the play came to her she would show me her cards and mumbled “What should I do?” I’d tell her to bet and let her win. It was a boring game, and combined with the realization I wouldn’t actually win any money, I just really slowly, purposefully, bled out my chip stack.I went to get my pill and tried to doze off. One more day I should be able to leave.
Horrible breakfast again.
I went down to the lounge and on my way I passed the nurses office, where a fierce meeting was underway. Apparently the ward was home to students today, lil’ lifesavers in training. May I be nothing more than a textbook example, if only to make it easy on them. I met with the same man from the emergency room, we talked again about whether or not I had superpowers. Then he told me he was going to talk to the doctor about getting me a pass. Then out of all things we talked about Japanese punk rock. Then I told him his damaged left shoe was a nice touch, made him seem softer and more human than the others.
Lunch was some beef stew that tasted about par with the memories of my mothers, so I didn’t really mind eating it. J.D. showed me how to order pizza
and other special items. Took and nap and my nurse woke me up to inform me that I had been granted a pass. Twenty minutes every hour, so I immediately got dressed and went to visit my cat.On my way back I stopped at the store to get some snacks and make it back to the ward just in time. Rochelle really wants to go through with our breakout plans. I don’t have the heart to tell her I was just kidding. We went to play go fish, and it ended up a tie. Thirteen pairs each, how uncharacteristically lucky. We were building houses of cards when my councillor came up and asked to speak with me. On the way to his office we made small talk about the CELTIC FC jersey I was wearing
In our meeting we talked about my ability to leave tomorrow, or to stay voluntarily which he’d prefer. Then he talked about a bipolar therapy group that starts soon, that I might benefit from. He also mentioned that a pharmacist would be meeting me soon.
Time is only measured in ‘soon’ in this place. I don’t know if I’ll stay. I don’t feel down. But I don’t really feel anything here.
I took my second pass to skateboard around the front of the hospital. Two security guards harshed me, but I just hit them with a glimpse of my wristband, and some story about how it was therapeutic for me. Silly goons ate it up like hospital food. Reluctantly
and with a displeased look on their face.
Someone set off their alarm, so my steamed
chicken breast dinner was eaten to the tune of a high pitched ring. The chicken was pierced with the flavours of
cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli stumps it was steamed back to temperature with. I noticed that they took away the things I wasn’t using with my meal. They really do watch every single bit of your life. It’s crazy, I’m in a reality TV show with no cameras and PhDs for viewers.
I learned that the autistic man’s name was Marty, and he just graduated from the physics program at the university. We were shooting trivia questions back and forth when I asked “Who discovered Jamaica?” he said “Columbus” which was the answer on the card but a large black man on the other side of the room shouted “That’s a lie!” We asked him who did then, and he started to ramble in an accent like verbal molasses. We said “Oh.” Then resumed our trivia. The game was so old it said two of the biggest countries were the U.S.S.R and India.
I’m really warming up to the people here, and I’m wondering if I’ll stay for awhile. Maybe just an extra day, cause what’s the point of going back out the same? Maybe I’ll leave after I get some medication.
Another nurse told me not to sit by the Van Gogh, how wonderful she looked flexing her administrative muscles, so I had to move to the lounge . Where I finished my chapter on Basho before creating my own haiku. I found four jigsaw puzzles that looked like little people, like this:
I drew this crude tree behind them, and wrote,
“Just us four,
sitting in this tree.
Must make us,
I hope psychoanalysts have a field day with it. Not sure why I’ve always preferred sitting on the floor, suppose I feel more down to earth that way. Squeaky shoes go back and forth.
I checked as soon as I woke up today and my puzzle piece family was gone. Wonderfully horrible.
The next pill really tired me out so I took up and was woken up by my mom, both my parents had come to see me. I couldn't believe it, my mother, how I don't know, but the miracle made me tired. I wasn’t really feeling much of anything, might as well have been the floor the way I’d let people walk all over me. We chatted for a bit, and then dad went to get some more of my things.
I read a perfect day for a bananafish to
mom. Forever searching, for the perfect day for a bananafish.
The nurse came in with my third pill, and looked over my books. Then she looked and me and said “You’re a real mature soul you know that? A real mature soul.”
Mom left. Rochelle and I drew for a bit, one day left.
Third pill, couldn’t write a story if I tried. Third pill, couldn’t even stay awake.
I had a dream I had a chance to tell my life story, but when I stepped the microphone, the whole thing came out backwards. The story started a few days after I woke up.
Lunch was on the table. Sweet and sour pork with rice. The instant I lifted the lid an awful odour filled the room and I had to shut it, taking the horrid disgusting mess out of my room immediately.
My nurse came and got me to have a chat. She told me she thought about me the whole car ride to work. She talked about me being an old soul again, she said I could really tell with my eyes. She was really selling her story to me. Gave me some pretty good advice. I felt very strong after that meeting. Very Strong.
Ray Davis said this: “Act Nice & Gentle to me.”I felt the same.
The more time I have to deal with the harder it becomes to kill it. I’m tired, yet reluctant to nap, as it may result in restlessness come night time. I just want to wake up tomorrow. So I can leave. Getting to sleep was difficult.
I woke up the next morning in and looked in the mirror. My hair was a train wreck, as if it somehow connected to my head.
I signed a bunch of papers, they gave me my stuff back, wrote me a script for what they had been giving me during my stay and sent me on my way. Didn’t even say good luck.
Joey met a lot of people in that hospital, most of them got out. Some of them were moved to long term holding. None of them got much better during their time spent there. All it did was keep them away from their problems for a little bit. You might as well have been sleeping the whole time. It was a place designed to make you feel nothing.
Two months after Mira was released her boyfriend would break her arm. Now she lives in Hawaii, with a snazzy new name, which I won’t reveal here, regardless of the fact that her stupid fucking baboon boyfriend is illiterate. One of his friends might be able to read.
If there is one thing this story can teach you it’s that people gossip.
A week after Joey would be released he would see Marty pedalling by on a ten speed bike. He looked like such a nerd. It made Joey cry tears of joy.
Rochelle, sadly, would spend the rest of her life with 4oz juice portions. Unfortunately her poor mind was not suited for the society we had fallen into. She was useless in it, she couldn’t even begin to comprehend it. That was her only crime.
M A L S
E T L L N S
N I E
That’s what thoughts looked like in her poor head, scattered.
Something happened to Joey on another Wednesday. He finally got himself his perfect day for a bananafish. He walked back to the same ledge he had been caught at, and he let his feet slip.
It was midday. The sun glowed beautifully on the red splatter.
The first person to discover Joey was Brandon Hesse. He was a stock broker, it was his lunch break. He was on his way to a bar to meet the woman he was having an affair with. Humans, I may point out, are not the only creatures to technically have affairs. We’re just the only ones who make a big deal about it. Animals know, and have always known, it’s just nature baby!
Joey’s body put a slight damper on his way to his lunch date, and he was already so late. He called 9/11, and then he called her. She was waiting two blocks north, sipping lightly on her martini, staring at the melting rocks in his rye and coke. When emergency paramedics arrived he left to meet her. By the time they had scooped Joey’s body off the pavement he had already been laid, and shuffling was through papers, back in his office.
All the people who weaved in and out of Joey’s short life lived long prosperous ones. I wrote an afterlife for Joey’s universe. I am a kind author at heart.