Saturday, September 03, 2011

First Draft 9114 full version


First Draft 9/11
I have not named it yet so this is the working title for now.

Names don’t mean anything, they will change anyway, so don’t get to hung up on them.

Jackie woke up at three, as he often did, when the silence was broken by something entering the room.  It was always dark, at three in the morning, no mater what time of year it was.  It was nothing unusual, just the same old thing that always went through the room just before dawn.

Nineteen seventy four, the end of oil hit the US in the face, and Ford released the Mustang II, a sub-compact.   I was listening to Piper at the Gates of Dawn, waiting for my brothers to return from Vietnam.

We never failed to watch the news.

Four AM, the sun would still be a bit coming up, there was nothing to do, just sit there, wondering.  Another hour and my mother would be coming home from work.  She would make breakfast and then after a while she would retire for a few hours.

Six the sun might be up, only if it were the right time of the year.  Is it srping foward and fall back, or fall forward and srping back, does it really matter anyway.

Teh sun was late this morning, it did not show its dirty face until nearly half past six, why does it make me wait.  I can hear the coffee brewing in the kitchen, mom must already preparing breakfast, I hope it is not eggs.  Not to worry, it never is just eggs, it usually consist of something decent, except when it only contains ham and eggs, I hate ham.  I don’t especially like eggs, but better that than ham, ham is only slightly better than liver, which is not even edible.

School is interesting rarely, mostly boring, I already knew that, if they had asked me.

Get on the bus, the ride is long, it is slow, the bus, very slow, I want a car.  I write about them, the cars I would own if I could, but they won’t let me.  TR has the fastest car, the Mercury Comet, it nearly flies.  He put in a new Hurst shifter and shift kit, now it kicks harder, I can’t engage the clutch.  I think its a 292 with a Holly 600, but that may be Gene’s Cutlass.  The Cutlass is faster in the quarter mile, but TR is the faster driver, so it don’t matter.  The Nova is the fastest, but that hasn’t happened yet, it is still a year away.

The Thruway is a riot, full of trucks, and everyone works there, so we ride for free.

I really like Rolos, but I have to sneak them.  How do you sneak a Rolo, when one is gone it is gone, there’s no hiding that fact.

When its gone its gone, when its done its done, that is a good lesson to learn.  You can’t take anything back, once it has been done.  You can always say you are sorry, and sometimes that will work, but not always.  Death can’t be taken back, when its done, its done.  Death is bad, it hurts people, even talking about it makes them sad.

Girls are crazy, and boys are none to bright, this will serve me through a long time.  School is full crazy girls and dim witted boys.  There are no friends, just kids trying to get something for themselves.  Everything comes at a price, and everything has its price, anything, or anyone can be bought for the right price.  Money makes the world go around.  The more money you have the more you can do, the more you can get away with.

If you have money your sons do not have to go to war, they don’t have to die to protect our freedom.  How the hell is an small country in the far east a threat to the US, we have atomic bombs for Christ sake.

We thought the same thing about Japan, and they attacked Perl Habor.

If we weren’t in China that wouldn’t have happened either.

That won’t bring them home you know.

Niether will sending cookies.

Yes but the cookies are what I can do.

And so far and so forth.

Night after night, the news caster would go on, the DMZ, and students thrown in jail, and I hope your sons come home soon.

The price of gas just went to $.62 a gallon and bread is $.29 a loaf, the cost of living is killing us.

The dumbest thing I ever did was trade the coolest bike in the world for the biggest piece of shit, and that was the last time.  TH will not remember it, but I always will, never again, I hope.

Pages fill in a note book, I can’t get the voices to stop, the chatter is continuous.  We will be moving soon, the beginning of the end of innocence.  

Chuck finally returns, and TR gives me a cigarette, the end of innocence.

An unfiltered Camel, it tasted like shit, and I puked my guts up for ten minutes, why would I want to do that.  Beer helped wash out the taste.  Two days later I was the coolest kid in the town, white t-shirt with a pack of Camels rolled up in the sleeve.   Well at least when I was not at home, 1977, I still would have had trouble at home, had they ever found out.
Just went to Rich’s place, catching crayfish, “crawdaddy” to cook up, the poor mans lobster.  Cooking them up, until they turn pink.  Butter on the wood stove.

The water pipe, bubbles, choke and pass it on, quiets the voices and calms the nerves.

I will corrupt everyone that comes with me.  Nice boys, except those that were not, and they didn’t matter, they couldn’t reach me now, to far gone.

The end of innocence, KM sleeps over for my sister's party, we find out what each other has.  Later that week, in the woods, we learn what we do with what each other has.  I didn't see her or really talk with her for about a month after that.  No real reason, just other things to do.  No longer innocent, I consider it, and think that it is completely over blown.  Writing takes a darker tone, and my head starts to contemplate darker regions.  I avoid girls, they are not ready, and they are certainly not ready for me.  I learn to prefer intellectual intercourse, although hard to find.  Intellect is to great, I can't find my equal, they all fall away at some point, so I stop trying.

Mom and Dad put me into groups designed to make me like being in groups, so I will make some friends like a normal child.  I embarrass the psyche major group leader, and he sends me to a room.  I walk out, he doesn't come after me.  I walked about a quarter the way home before they found me, and gave me a ride home.

Last day of Church, stayed late to talk with the Priest.  He takes me into the rectory, we talk a bit, drink some unblessed wine, there's a shadow in the corner, he doesn't say a word.  He keeps reading some old scroll, and pays me no mind, except I feel him there, watching me without watching me.   The Priest says it is getting late and he has to get the shadow to a plane by five.  I say thank you and get ready to leave.  The Priest looks over at the shadow, and nods his head.  He looks back as me as I head towards the door.

“You want a ride” the Priest ask.

“Sure, that would be great, if you got the time, it ain't that far to walk really” I say, falsely.

The shadow detaches himself from the darkness, rolls up his scroll, puts it in a leather sack, and looks me strait in the eyes.  Never forget those eyes, like empty sockets, so dark there seemed nothing there at all.

No smile, no inflection at all, he says, “that's not true”

“No, I really would like a ride, that part was true, the rest was just being nice.” I say to the shadow.

“Why, you don't believe in him, you don't think he exist, why be nice, why hide behind that in the presence of a Priest?” the shadow ask.

“No reason, just old manors, I used to be” I start

The shadow cuts me off, “Used to be, what are you now, who are you now, used to be doesn't matter today, does it.”

“No, it doesn't, but I never said” I start

He cut me off again, “you never said, but you already made that up, you already came here to leave, and you were not convinced by the Priest were you.”

“No.” I say flatly.

The Priest says, “We have to go, if we are going to go by way of Hastings.”

The shadow turns his dark eyes on the Priest, I see some flash of light there, some spark of something, a turn of the cheek, like a tiny smirk.

“Well then lets be off.” the shadow says

We head to the car, a dark sedan, they get in the front, I get in the back, leather seats, smell like incense and woman, the interior is just as dark as the car, tinted windows, like a mini-limo.

On the drive we go on, same chatter as before, no real progress.

The Priest pulls the sedan into my driveway and stops.

The shadow in plain brown robe turns to me and ask, “why did you become an Alter boy?”

“I thought I wanted to be a priest, help the world find peace, feed people, that sort of thing, not your every Sunday kind of Priest, but one of those that helps people and happens to be a Priest as well.” I said, exasperation with the whole thing creeping in.

“You know you don't have to be Catholic to be a priest, and you don't have to be a priest to help people, there are many priest, there are few people helping other people, some people are just priest like when they are born.”  the shadow said.

A week later when Sunday came, I did not go to Church, haven't been back except for friends, funerals, and other special occasions, not ever worshiping him again.  I found out what the shadow was, but it didn't matter, Jesuit or not, I am not one of Christ' children, I was lost to religion, there were no religions that would have me anyway.  I did go on a ride then, finding the truth, seeking leaders to teach me, they all had the same non answers for the same questions.

I change my status to communist, secretly.

1979 the end of religion, the death of God, I considered magic, but it was still cold then, and there were no one but Crowley that tlaked about it truthfully, the rest just talked about the ritual and ceremony.   I could have stayed Catholic if I wanted pomp and circumstance.

1980 the edge of debauchery.

First publication of my poetry.  In a little xeroxed rag that was sold at the local new age shop, I was paid in copies.  Never used a pseudonym again for publication, no name no recognition.  Rather be known for hatred and darkness than to be not known for anything at all.

Progress into politics, photography, pornography, and 8mm.  Computers were built, and telephone lines rerouted so I could get into the college net (DARPANET).  Went to a fair, met a girl, she was cool, thought this could be cool.  Walked around the fairgrounds for a while, she didn't seem crazy, her name was Jennifer.  She lived somewhere else, funny thing is no one seemed to know her, no where, she never returned my calls, not that I called more than twice.

Two weeks later I was at Shoppingtown, playing Moon Patrol, and this red haired girl starts watching me, she seemed vaguely familiar, but I was full of smoke and emptiness.  She hands me a piece of paper as I start to walk away.

“Oh, fuck” I swear under my breath, another girl, but I have a soft spot for red heads for some reason.

I open the paper and almost drop it, hope she doesn't notice my condition.

On the paper was her number, and her name, Jennifer.

Lots of details, but what netted out was a relatively long bout with Jennifers.

It ended with truth.  I admitted I was in it for the pure pleasure of pain, not the physical type either.  The physical scars heal.  It fueled my writing, which at the time was charged with the life I couldn't keep leading.

Haunts me still, the smoke and liquid swirl still in my head, clouding out the cognitive process, and making me forget what I was doing.  It stirs there still, but many years ago I finally quieted the voices, and with them all the truth.

Gray pills produce gray thoughts.  There was nothing in those pills but destruction.  Now there only remains random firings of brilliance, while I can still compute complex computations with the aid of paper and pencil, the true genius is dying a little more each day.

Then there was she, what she stole from me was fire.  A good thing for all future relationships, but now everything slowly burns out, just embers, with no real flame anymore.  Oh fine, I am tempered, I am better for everything, but slowly burning out.  Better to burn out than to fade away, I am not to certain either is better or worse, but I have done both at once, and now I do not know anything new.

Major jump ahead, to now, but then, it was all about burning like conflagration.  To much of everything was just enough, maybe a little less.  Could not kill the body, could not kill the soul, could not kill anything, oh how I tried.  Near the end I had got close, and then it broke me, and I had to break away, I was done.  I walked a while with death and she held me close one night, and in the darkness she told me to live.

Gone were the dreams, gone was the muse, she was bleeding and dead in the past events.  A rather pleasant young woman with a rather pleasant child left her mark upon me, and we never did anything.  She let me sleep once, just sleep, held me in the darkness while the truth was stripped away, and the silence finally came.  

I turned 22, and end of debauchery.  I found silence, peace, and harmony.  I went back to what I knew, art.  This time with less and more, I started reading, and learning, again.  I read all I could find, and was headed down that road to fame, or infamy.

Pushed the needle in, and the gray began.  It became a blur, and no one knew any better.  Pain was gone, nothing but gray and blur.  Faces didn't match voices, but I didn't care, they came from nowhere.

Three AM, I woke up, the engine was running, the car in gear, the sun was not up, it never was at three am, no matter what time of year it was.  Something was familiar, something remembered, but distant.  I looked around me, nothing, no one, I shifted out of gear into neutral, and applied the brake.  I came to a stop, somewhere, don't recall, it was some dark section of some dark road with trees everywhere.  The only one riding with me was a needle and there was blood in the syringe.  The trees closed in on me, the darkness was darker than it ever had been.  No moon, and clouds obscured the sky.

I stepped out of the car and looked around, no where.

Pain

The emptiness of my gut came out with violence.  I heaved for what seemed an eternity, but there was nothing left to spew but bile.  It burned and fell to the pavement, tears streaming and mixing with the bile.  Piss ran down my leg, and if I had anything in my bowels it would have expressed as well, but you have to eat to have waste.  A three hundred dollar suit destroyed.

I grabbed my middle, it was on fire, my whole gut felt like I had been kicked in the gut several times over.  Blood flowed from my nose.  As I tried to struggle to my feet another wave of vertigo swept over me and I spun out and landed face first on the pavement.

That's when I noticed the head lights.

They were still a ways off, but I could not move.  I was broken, or at least pretty sure I was.  My head was splitting into pieces, my eyes burned and I could taste the blood and mucus running out my nose.  Making me sick once again.

Head lights still coming, slow motion kicks in while I tried to drag myself off the road.

Piper at the Gates of Dawn was playing on the tape deck, something kicked in my gut, and I stood up, walked to the car, shut the door and walked to the side of the road.

The car pulled up, and the spot light came on.

My back turned to the light, I heard his voice “you all right”

“Yea, just had to piss real bad, too much coffee”  I said.

“Where you headed?”  he asked.

Glad he didn't ask me where I was, I answered “Home”

“Been drinking tonight” he asked.

“Just coffee, late night at the office” I replied, pantomiming zipping up my pants.

The light had gone.

“Well take easy, this road is dangerous at night.” he said.

“Thanks, I will,” I started to turn around, to see him pulling away, I never finished the statement.

I leaned up against the car while he drove away.  I started towards the other side of the car and somehow made there without falling down, or looking to much like I was leaning against the car.

From the back the suit looked fine, like a three hundred dollar suit should.  In some cases it is true that the clothes make the man.  In this case it made me an upstanding citizen working late into the night and just heading home.  Which would have been fine, had that been the truth.

When I got into the car, I picked up the syringe and tossed it into the woods.  The sun was coming up over the horizon.

Still didn't know what time it was exactly, what day it was, where I was, and where I was going, but I knew I could not go back to the City.  I shifted the car into gear and headed on down the road the direction I had come, didn't need to have a second run in with the police.

Couldn't see where I was going, but I knew where I wasn't going.

Couple of days later I would remember I left everything in the city, including most of my money, my cameras, and everything else that made me who I was then.  I made a call to the only person I thought I could trust, my drug dealer.  I had him liquidate everything, pay himself off, and send the rest to me, in cash.  With the few dollars I had left in my wallet, I bought some clothes at a local second hand shop, and stopped into a truck stop and showered.  I bought some breakfast and filled the tank with gas and headed home.

I was in Maryland, how I got there I don't know, but I remember leaving NY for some photo shoot in DC, and I don't even know if I made it.  I was going to call the studio, but figured fuck it, nothing I could do about it either way, so why waste everyones time, they had already replaced me by now anyway.  That's how I went from grip to photographer in the first place, the photographer didn't show up on time, and the model was melting.

The producer grabbed me and said “now your chance kid, don't fuck it up”

I grabbed the 8x10 camera, focused on the glass, put a Polaroid in the pack, and hit the plunger.

The producer looked at it and handed me the sheet film back and said “now do it for real”

I put the film pack on with the sheet of film in it, hit the plunger, and well the rest is just a long steam of shooting models and products.

About a week later I got a call from my dealer, “JD, you have to come down here”

“No way Jack, not going there ever again” I said.

“Well can you meet me somewhere,” Jack asked

“Yea, sure, but I won't go further south than Whitney Point, there's a little truck stop there just off I81” I said.

“Fine, I will be there in three hours, its 2PM now, don't be late JD” he said and then hung up the phone.

I listened to the white noise of the phone for a moment, and then I hung up.

I got into the car, headed south to Whitney Point, thinking I didn't tell anyone where I was going.  Too late to worry about that now.

I got there about ¼ to five, so I went inside and ordered a cup of coffee.  I wasn't half way through my first cup when I saw his limo pull in.  I sat there finishing my coffee.  He wouldn't come in, and I wasn't about to go out, at least not yet.

His driver parked so he could leave in a hurry, standard procedure for Jack.  I waited.  He knew I was there, he was waiting or something.  The back door opened and a set of legs and ass exited the car.  She was blond and full, although barely dressed, Jack hadn't changed.  She crossed the parking lot to the diner.

She entered and headed right for my booth.

“Jack needs to see you, I will stay here.” is all she said as she sat across the table from me.

“Fine” is all I said.

I headed out the door.  The waitress headed strait for my booth, and I saw the blond hand her a handful of cash, she walked away counting bills.  This did not settle my mind at all.

As I walked across the park I thought quick.  She just paid that waitress enough to forget I was ever there.  She could drive my car, once they got the keys from me.  A dead man can't hide his keys.  Besides I had left them in the car anyway.  I thought maybe I should drop my bill fold and kick it under the limo, when the door opened.

“JD get in, we have to talk.”  Jack's voice came from inside the limo.

To late to do anything now, well it has been a hell of ride.  Today is a good day to die is the last thing I remember thinking before I slid into the limo shutting the door behind me.

I had been in here many time before, and it still was the same.  Exquisite interior, it smelled clean, as it always did.  The leather was freshly polished and still warm from Ms. Whats-her-name.

“Hey Jack, what's up” I said, trying to hide my nervousness.

“JD, do you know how much money you owed me?” Jack asked with his usual deadpan inflection.

“No, not really, but I hope it ain't to much, cause I am broke.” I said, figuring it was best not to try to dance with this man, he was just to dangerous, and I had no back up plan.

“About 10 grand my friend.” he said

I was about to get sick or bolt, wasn't sure which would be better at the moment.  He never called me friend, that was reserved for ex-clients.

“Awesome, I hope you don't want it today, cause I am about 9,999 dollars shy.”  I said.

“Well, that doesn't put us in a good position does it.” Jack said.

“No, not really.” I said, there was no point in whining, it would have been futile and only made it that much harder to face death bravely.

“I have some bad news for you JD” Jack said.

I thought I heard a little crack in his voice, thought I saw a ghost of a smirk on his lips.

“Not really all that bad Jack, ain't really living anyways.” I said, losing any concern for anything.

“You think I am going to shoot you, here in my nice car.” Jack said.

This time I was certain I detected amusement in his voice.

“No, of course not, figured you would take me for a ride first, and do it outside where there won't be any blood spatter on the leather.  Besides Jack, you never shoot no one, well except that one guy, but that was do or die.  You leave that up to the workers, I know how you work.”  I said, no point in hiding what I knew about how Jack operated.

“You know JD, that's what I like about you, you shoot strait, even when you are deep in shit.” Jack said.

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