Wednesday, March 31, 2010


The night is still and dark. There are no sounds on the tracks for miles and that's fine by me. Pretty soon the 3:30 to Allentown will be swinging by and I can catch my ride back to Pennsylvania in the dead of the night. When I climb on I know there will be other boxcar denizens riding along. I know that these people will hurriedly move out of my way, offering me a spot against the wall, or, if I so choose, the corner. I can see their faces, half-hidden by the shadows, the gleam of their eyes peeking out through the shroud of night, pupils wide with fear and hearts racing.

The train arrives in a sort of magnanimous whine, like the death rattle of a warrior king, and brings to the present the future I imagined.

I walk past the terrified vermin, scurrying out of sight like roaches when the kitchen light gets flicked on. These people know me. They fear me. Most of them have heard rumors enough about me. One, I'm sure, has seen me once before and knows truth to some of what is spoken in the whispers passed along the rails. There is one among the wretches here, though, that knows why they fear; he knows what drives my hands and feet to move, what compels me to come to these cars, and what fuels the fire behind my eyes, which, upon seeing him, goes supernova.

The thing about train dwellers is that they're mostly sitting down on their asses or laying down or huddling together for warmth close to ground level, so when he kneels to beg for forgiveness, for his life, he's no nearer the ground than how he usually is; the act is meaningless, and anyway, he should know his pleas fall on deaf ears.

I set about to my work, while all the little reflections of moonlight on wide terrified eyes point at me, taking in the entirety of the horror I inflict on the wretch. there's about thirty ears in the car listening to every whimper, every scream, every snapping, splintering bone. Fifteen faces wince, and feel something warm and thick splash against them. They don't feel, or disregard their own tears streaming down. I never gave a shit either way. Soon, but what for them must feel like an eternity, and for him feel like something longer, the last ounce of breath flees his lungs and the eye I left him rolls back in his head. No one on the car realizes the train started moving over an hour ago. I chuck the body off the side.

The vermin here have fashioned for themselves a chair, which they offer to me; something reminiscent of a throne. I have free reign of the rails. A king sitting on a throne of blood, but where the king sits now there was once a child, spurned and abandoned, but not alone. They formed a perimeter around him to keep him to the wall. When he tried to run through them they pushed him down. Dirty, unkempt hands clawed at him, removing his clothes.

Then the pain. All he can remember is the pain.

The next night he moved to another car, and another the night after, but they always found him. The pain would return and he would wake in the morning with new bruises and blood coming from places where it shouldn't. He cried and cried, and wondered if this pain would follow the rest of his life. The days began to blur and the pain was all that remained, pain and something else, something vibrant and impossible to restrain, yet patient and lurking in the dark - something that wanted to replace the pain, to burn it all away and probably everything else in the boy's soul along with it.

Then one day, it did just that.

The men in the circle around the boy watched one of their own violate him like so many times before. The man stiffened, implying a cessation to his assault, and the promise of another of them getting their opportunity at a violent release. They soon recoiled at the site of the crimson puddle forming beneath him, and the way he lifelessly flopped to the side as the boy wiped the blood from his mouth.

No one would ever touch him again. It wasn't enough.

Five faces burned into the boy's memory while he grew tall and muscular. Five faces would never be forgotten, even as the boy became a king of sorts. Three lie in ditches by the rails, tortured beyond comprehension. Two remain among the living, and so he continues, all the while wearing his crown upon a troubled brow.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dear Barren Beer Brewer

It's like your foyer...

empty and dry. Fill it up.

the Dusty Emperor of Nothing


Locked up. That’s it. They just put you in and throw away the key. I was committed two years ago and it’s been nothing but madness since then. I admit that I feel a bit crazy now, but I’m in it up to my elbows every day. You don’t expect a plumber to smell of roses, right? Case in point. Crazy is fine, really. Everybody’s washed in it in some way. Skipping the cracks on the sidewalk, counting steps to the bathroom, and adding up the numbers on license plates; it’s mental exercise. The difference between people who are in here and out there is that we don’t keep these things to ourselves. If you skip cracks in the sidewalk, fine. If you stop and tell one person, or five people, or everybody that passes that you’re skipping cracks you get thrown in the bin. It’s honesty. Personal truth and that’s what’s crazy. So now when I go in to talk to the baby doctors and they ask me to ‘open up’ I don’t say a word. Straight to hell with them.

But like I said, crazy is fine. People in here are just louder versions of people out there. Like Brewster who yells at people to stop staring or Mother Mary who blesses everything down to the last dead cockroach in her room. Even the sad ones are louder. The depressed. They shuffle in like lemmings and sit at the circle tables and slouch. They’re tricky because they hold it in, but it always comes pouring out. We’re more real, more in touch. The soul is loud and we are pure souls.

Last week Catherine came to stay. She was loud. She moved from table to table talking up every person in the room. She used her sex to get everybody all upset. She would rub her pale hand on the depressed’s arms and stare longingly into Brewster’s eyes. She even hugged Mother Mary. Right in front of everybody she grabbed that big, black woman with the cross and hugged her until her eyes almost popped out. Mary didn’t say much the rest of that day and she didn’t bless Catherine either.

Catherine didn’t get around to me until later. She spotted me at my table one day and I could tell that it was my turn. She sauntered over and sat down right across from me. “What are you reading,” she asked and I waved my hand at her. Why do people ask when the title is stamped on the cover? She leaned in closer and whispered, “Is it a secret?” I put the book down on the table and stared her in the face. She was quite lovely, truth be told, but it was her smirk that uglied-up her face. “I heard you don’t say much,” cooed Catherine, “not a word since you been here.” She turned her eyes to Brewster and Mother Mary a few tables over. “I bet Bubba and Huggy over there twenty down that I could get you to talk. I’ll split it with you if you croak.” I shook my head at her and reached for my book, but Catherine slammed her white hand down on it. “Come on. Just one word. Right in my ear.” I wrenched my book from underneath her hand and opened up to my last page. Not worth it, that girl. She leaned back in her chair and clicked her tongue at me. “You like stories, huh? I got stories. Pictures too.” She pulled down her collar over her left breast exposing a bright red heart just to the left of center. “I used to live in Tijuana working as a bartender. The locals would come in everyday and tell me I was beautiful, that I was their sweetheart. They called me that so often I got the nickname. Sweetheart. I thought it was cute. I even got this tattoo to remind me. Then one day some of my sweetheart buddies pulled me into the backroom of the bar and raped me until my pussy bled. That’s what I was worth to them. Their sweetheart.” Catherine kicked up out of her chair and walked away. Her story made me sad. “Sorry,” I said as the dust rattled off my tired voice.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dear Destitute Dilettante

I know you don't have one, but most people do. Here is a helpful diagram:

With luck, you may be able to find one you can use among the vast ruins of your non-existent empire.

~The Red-Haired Monk of Excess

Monday, March 1, 2010


So you're reading this, so I guess that's a good start. Someone is reading this right now; you're going through the words that I have put down in this note and are able to understand them. I suppose that's the best I can hope for, but I do hope against hope that on reading this you will come to believe 2 things about this account:

1) This is not a work of fiction.
2) I am completely sane.

So let's get to it then: I am writing this from a park bench near Haight-Ashbury. I am watching myself. I have been watching myself for the last week. This is where those 2 big hopes come in, because I'm not watching myself in a figurative sort of way like minding my actions, and I'm not looking in a mirror or anything so mundane. No, dear reader, I am watching myself walk across the park. I know where I'm going. I am watching the events from April 24th of my 26th year. I have a dozen white roses in-hand, and I am going to the other end of the park to meet my girlfriend. Well, she's not my girlfriend I guess; it's his girlfriend, but he's me. Like I said, I'm completely sane, but you have to understand how complicated this is for me.

I'm not going to edit this. What you are reading is an account as it happens about my encounter having somehow wound up 18 years into my past.

I honestly don't even know what I was doing in SF, anyhow. I suppose it seemed like a worthwhile change of pace at the time, and she was here, so that probably accounted for 80% of the decision. Folly of youth. Would that I could warn myself about this. I know, I know; the past me is right there, and he's about to make a huge mistake, and I can fix it. You'd like to think that, but no, no I can't. Sure any misplaced blade of grass could affect the timestream in ways I couldn't possibly understand, and I'm still here and haven't done much of anything to upset whatever balance might exist, but I am paralyzed by an unshakable fear of what would happen if I were to intervene in my past, so I'm stuck watching as I walk to meet Kristen with those damn roses on her damn birthday with a damn ring in my pocket.

In approximately 10 minutes she says no, leaves me, and I spend the next 4 years in and out of depression/treatment/alcoholism. I would do a lot to erase those 4 years, or replace them with something else, but hey, aside from inexplicably winding up in the past I rather enjoyed the rest of my life after that. Today is a bad example, though.

I'm watching arguably the saddest moment in my entire life, and I feel completely powerless to stop it, as If I'm being strung up like a marionette on the strings of fate. I'm stuck here watching myself sit on the bench waiting for her, and I can see her walking past the me writing this and towards the young me. He... I don't see her yet. She is going to plop down on the bench next to me and sit right on the roses. She's going to yell at me and I'm going to calm her down and then the ring is going to pop out and then...


Oh shit.

I just stood up. The younger me is standing up. I'm walking away. I can't fucking believe I'm walking away. She's just standing there staring at my back as I'm walking away. This is great! I bet she can't even fathom how I could have left before she got there. She actually looks really upset. I am so goddamn proud of myself right now, and hey, I'm still here!

Ok. Look, I'm going to stop here. I may be stuck in the past, but my future just became, possibly, a little brighter, and I think I need to go. I need to experience this first... well, second-hand.

Over and out.