Let me tell you somethings. Did you know that every time we inhale, we absorb oxygen expelled into the atmosphere as a waste product by the earths plant life? Every time we exhale, we expel carbon dioxide as a waste product into the atmosphere where it can eventually be absorbed by the same plant life? Did you know this? Let me also tell you that no matter where you live upon our beautiful earth you are breathing in trace amounts of depleted uranium from the bombs that the U.S are using in Iraq. Did you know that over twenty thousand children die a day from starvation? How about the fact that a plane never went into the Pentagon? Did you know that 9-11 and the war in Iraq (which has terminated the lives of over one million Iraqis) are a result of what is called War Games? Let me also tell you that Lao Tzu, the Chinese mystic believed that if we can somehow expand our narrow image of ourselves and live from our wholeness, then many of our problems will simply disappear on their own.
This is why I took the job as a Bank Teller. It allows me the opportunity to tell strangers things that they would otherwise never know. Costumers come into the bank where I work and think that they are only coming in to deposit or withdraw money. They are usually impatient and in a hurry- stuck in what Lao Tzu would call “Narrowness.” Rather than just taking their money or giving them their money I like to tell them things- expand their consciousness. It is one way that I can make an active contribution to my community and to the human race as a whole. Did you know that writing poetry and reading poetry helps you maintain dignity, it will help you to be better suited to defend yourself in the world? I said this to a middle aged women the other day who seemed aggravated and in a hurry. I could tell that her life had become a collection of material pursuits and failed dreams and I could see the frustration in her eyes. “I have always wanted to read poetry but I never have the time,” she said to me with a glimmer of hope between her eyes. “Well, you might want to make time.” Today she returned to the bank with a book of T.S Elliot poems in her hands and she seemed refreshed. “I am making the time,” she said to me with a smile as I withdrew cash for her.
Often times people come into my bank to find out about bank balances, interests rates, mortgage payments, and fees. I give them the information they want but I usually prefice it with information that I want to tell. I have a sense of urgency within me that drives me to say something. Did you know that Spirulina, dried prunes, beef liver and beer are excellent sources of copper? I said to one man who looked to me to be suffering from a copper deficiency. Because of global warming and soil erosion, human beings are no longer getting a proper amount of this valuable mineral in their diets. The lack of copper in our diets may be responsible for the majority of contemporary diseases. The next day this man came back to the bank to show me the bottle of copper supplements he bought. It is by demanding dignity and respect that you gain it, I told another costumer who was being passive aggressive with me and refused to tell me how she was really feeling. Something was triggered in her when I said this and she straightened up her posture and left my bank looking more confident.
The managers at my bank are on my back. They have accused me of spending to much time with my costumers and not moving the line at a quick enough speed. Did you know that capitalism is used to exploit workers by making them maximize profits in the quickest amount of time? “I did not,” one of the managers said to me with a look of stupefaction upon his white collard face. Yes, capitalism exhausts the worker for the betterment of the organization that they work for. This is what drives capitalism. Use the worker to maximize profits for the company. When the worker gets worn out or dies- just fill the vacancy with another worker. There will always be workers because in capitalistic societies only the very few get to enjoy the wealth of other peoples labor, I explained. “Look, you are one of our best Bank Tellers but you need to stop spending so much time chatting with your costumers so that we can maintain our banks reputation for giving expedient service.” Then he walked away without waiting for my reply.
Did you know that I am going to get fired from my position as a Bank Teller? I am expecting it any day now. At the staff meeting yesterday the bank handed out a list of strategies for normalizing behavior in bank employees. One of these strategies was to replace words with a smile to speed up the line. “Smile more and speak less.” I am not a very good employee because I do not like bosses. I don’t like being subjected to their expectations. Did you know that a real culture functions to limit greed. Our culture functions to increase it , because we are repeatedly told, it’s profitable to do so, though the majority of profits go only to a few people, I said to every one present at the meeting. People who go to work for corporations essentially abandon their integrity as individuals in order to serve the corporation, I added to the consternation of the managers. “Okay that is enough just keep smiling and maximizing profits and that is all,” the head manager said and then ended our staff meeting. If you have lost the capacity to be outraged by what is outrageous, you’re dead. Somebody ought to come and haul you off, I said on our way out from the meeting. Like I said, I have a sense of urgency- I have to say something.
Did you know that we pity Muslim women for wearing veils, yet almost every face in this country is veiled by suspicion and fear? You can’t walk down a city street an get anybody to look at you. People’s countenances are undercover operations in America. Oh, and let me also tell you the most important thing I tell costumers at my bank. That love is not abstract and cannot lead to abstract action. Love is the catalyst for concrete action, which is taking responsibility for what we do here and now. Love is not just a feeling. It’s an instruction: love one another. That’s hard to do. It does not mean to sit at home and have fond feelings. You’ve got to treat people as if you love them , whether you do or not. I know that I am holding up the line, and that I am going to loose my job as a Bank Teller- but I have to tell these things……….
Maybe I am alone in this one, but does anyone ever feel as if their mind is playing tricks upon them? Do thoughts: negative thoughts, bleak thoughts, horrifying thoughts, terrorizing thoughts- ever enter your mind without your permission? Do they cause you to shake and tremble at times- as if the end is all to near? Do these thoughts keep you awake at night, force you to drink and keep you confined to your house on certain days? Do the thoughts prevent you from traveling, loving and experiencing joy? I could go on and on but for the sake of my own anxiety I will stop here. I will stop here because I have pointed out enough symptoms of intrusive or unwanted thoughts of impending doom.
I once knew a devout Buddhist who told me that thoughts of impending doom should be welcome to one. We should be open to them and celebrate them because they give us an understanding of our mortality, which in return allows understanding the impermanence of all phenomena. Train the mind he said- and you will be free. Years later, I have trained the mind with therapy and meditation but to little result. Thoughts of impending doom grab me in the moments that I am least prepared and send me into a mystical flight of fear that I am convinced (in the moment) I will not survive. If I have these thoughts while on a bridge- I will avoid the bridge- if I have these thoughts while in bed I will sleep on the floor. If I have thoughts of impending doom while on a walk, I will try to avoid walking. It seems as if I am becoming more knowledgeable about avoiding my life than I am about living it.
I have had thoughts of impending doom for many years now and I thought that by now I would have the answers about how to control these antagonists or even better- abolish them from the mind. But I am no where closer today than I was five years ago in understanding how to live free of such anxiety provocations. I have learned to accept my fate as a man whose mind plays tricks upon him without any concern for his wellbeing. I have come to see my mind as a mass of tissue that is committed to destroying my bodies tranquility. Just today while I was on a walk in a cemetery I suffered a sudden burst of negative thoughts that sent me to the ground where I tried to gain control of my self. I was convinced that I would die and I muttered a few words of a prayer. The thoughts passed and I returned home to do some research on the web about how to stop the mind from having thoughts of impending doom.
I came upon an essay by Martin Luther King. It was an essay about overcoming fear and it talked about courage as the only way to overcome fear. Martin talked at great length about the courage to face death as if it was upon us now. I thought about this idea of courage as being a possible palliative against the thoughts of impending doom. After all- it takes courage to suffer the fate of a silent fury that has no desire to let you be. It takes courage to stand up to your doomish thoughts and convince yourself during your darkest hour that every thing is okay- maybe. I wonder if when Martin was dying from a bullet wound he felt fear? Or maybe he was courageous in the face of death- and rather than holding on to this thing called life he was able to let go, with courage.
And this friend’s maybe the answer. Let go. Accept your fate with courage and with each thought of impending doom- let it go. Now I have never been able to do this and I would be a hypocrite if I said I could. I can’t and I won’t. Letting go is something I seem incapable of doing because I am a Jewish (Jews have a notably hard time letting go. Why this is I am uncertain). When I feel death to be near my knees rattle and I loose control of utilizing any of the wisdom that I have gained from reading, workshops or therapy. I become terrified; because I do not want to die, and I hold on with the force of a man that is unwilling to let it all go. And I wonder is this my main problem? The root of my chronic thoughts of impending doom? “ It is only in courage that the man/woman who stands rooted in fear can be free,” Martin said. “And freedom is only the ability to walk through your fear.” Maybe I’ll just avoid walking for a while.
I have decided to sleep away the rest of the day. All morning I was searching for the way, the path, the Tao. I was told to look for it in sound, smell and touch. In all these things I came up empty.I grew frustrated. I wondered around thinking about non-being and effortlessness, but found myself having to make great effort to become nothing. All I wanted was to be done with time, to relinquish the jaws of time from the hold it has upon me. I wanted to surrender myself into the greater unifying principle of space and nothingness but I had chest pain and was worried about my bank account. If I could only be fully present in the moment, which at times I am, than maybe I would see the way, the path, the Tao more clearly. Maybe I would unlearn everything that I know and become the absence that Taoists refer to as enlightenment. Over and over I repeat passages:
Do not talk about right and wrong.
Everyone should sweep the snow from his own door
And not be concerned about the frost on another’s roof.
Over and over I tell myself, “refine the self,” but then I find myself looking up the skirts of stray women and suffering the terrible fear of death. My mind drifts as vagrantly as a piece of tissue blown by the wind. I want to uncover or unravel deeper mysteries but I also can not stop thinking about my next meal or the desire to be rich and naked and stuck in blow job orgies sipping wine. The Tao does not come easily into my mind. “Be done with mind,” certain Taoists tell me but my mind keeps me in a state of anxiety and longing and without this discomfort how would I know I was me? So I am an impatient Taoist and all my wanting and waiting has made me tired to the point that I have decided to spend the rest of the day asleep in bed. We will talk more about this later.
Every word I write you can eat. The point of my published works has always been to appease my readers appetites. Ever since I was young, I have wanted to create books that could be eaten. As a child I could always be found snacking upon the covers of books from my fathers collection. I would chew on Shakespeare, Milton and Emily Dickinson until I was found and given a terrible scolding for doing so. I longed to eat books up until my sixteenth birthday when I finally decided to create and edible work of my own. When I told others of my idea, I was thought of as a fool. “Oh Smear,” people would say, “such a foolish young dreamer.” Despite the antagonizing criticisms- I continued to pursue my invention with the dedication of a fiend. I wrote for hours a day, sometimes skipping out on meals until I finally had in my hand the finished manuscript of what was the first edible book ever created.
I ate my first book. This was the problem. When my parents had asked me about the book that I had spent years and years writing all I could tell them that it was gone. When I had told them that I ate it they looked upon me as a young man who had lost his mind. I was twenty two at the time and was subjected to all forms of psychological examination. I was even subjugated to the confines of a hospital for many weeks for telling a psychiatrist about my invention. “So what was this edible book about,” the psychiatrist asked me. “It is about all the desires of a young man wrapped up into edible pages of a book. The story is told through a narrator who is a young runaway who has left the confines of his comfortable home to seek out authentic experiences. He falls into all forms of disreputable vice and at the end after returning home, in a fit of furry he kills his father and has sex with his mother.” “Ah I see, so we are suffering from a demented form of the Oedipal complex are we not?” All I could do was look into the eyes of the man who wanted to convict me and say, ” I only wanted to eat the story of youth.”
After weeks secluded away in a psychiatric hospital and months spent examined by various forms of analyst and therapist I was deemed to be suffering from a form of hyper-intelligence. The prescription for my cure was that I should be kept away from all books and writing. I was kept for months in my bed with my hands and feet bound to my bed. “It is for your own good Shmear,” my mother would remind me each day as she brought me food. I could see the tears welling up in hear eyes as she untied one of my hands from the bedpost. “If we do not keep you bound we know that you will read, write and eventually loose your mind. This is for your own good,” she constantly tried to remind me.
After months of being bound to my bed I was able to break free from the shackles that not only enslaved my body but also my mind. I packed a bag and left for good the home that I had been brought up in. With little money and no destination in mind I set out on foot as far as my feet would allow me to wander. Through rural villages and small towns I made my way until I found myself in a large city called Vice. There I stayed for many years, working as a dish washer by day and writing my edible works at night. When I was done with my writing for the night I would wonder the streets of Vice, committing thousands of sins in my mind until sleep would overwhelm me and I would be forced to wonder home to my small studio on Transgression Street.
I completed my second book when I had just turned twenty six. It was a longer book that had taken me years to create, but the words were sweet and the story filling. I found a Baker in town who told me that for a cut of the eventual profit he could recreate my edible book one hundred times. This would allow me enough baked copies of my edible works to take around to various publishers for them to try. The Baker and I decided to entitle my second book A Symposium of Edible Words, so that the reader immediately understood that this book was indeed to be eaten.
After dropping “the Symposium” off to dozens of publishers, all of whom worked in the city of Vice- all I could do was wait in anticipation. I drank away the time and spent hours sitting in silent meditation. I thought of numerous ideas for forthcoming books and since I was low on cash I ate the remaining stock of my edible books. Weeks passed without notice and then the letters started pouring in. “Dear Shmear, this is the best book I have ever eaten,” “your words were so satisfying to my mind and gut,” “I have yet to experience such a delight like reading your book and then eating it!!” were some of the comments that came pouring in through my small rusty mailbox. I struck a deal with a publisher who wanted ten edible books in ten years for a price that I could never have imagined earning. That evening the Baker and I celebrated in a den of iniquity- debasing ourselves in every drunken way imaginable.
It gives me great pleasure to be writing this introduction fifty years later. I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be writing the introduction to the Complete and Edible Works Of Shmear. My intention was never for fame and riches but rather to write words that could be of some significant nutritional value to my readers. I wanted my readers to be able to eat words that would expand their imaginations and support them in a life of creativity and wonderment. Upon completing my first book there was no greater pleasure that I had experienced than eating it. I wanted readers to experience this same pleasure when they were done reading my books. To be able to eat the words and pages that had been stuck in their minds. To be able to eat a text with the greatest pleasure- this was my only goal. After fifty some years of writing and eating edible books, it is my greatest feeling of accomplishment to know that I have filled the hungry stomachs of readers around the world with my delectable words.
I am not of this world, nor do I belong in it. I am a stranger in paradise, an outcast marginalized by the rules and norms that I seem to have trouble accepting. The standardized modes of operation make me feel standardized so I always find myself running away. Humans do things in particular ways. I suppose the desired result is order and control. Through my many meetings with Heidegger, Kant, Nietzsche, Hegel and Schopenhauer I know that order and control are mere fictions of the mind which deny the individual the full experience of life. So I run. I detest. I quit. I lament and for thirty six years of my human life on earth I have stood alone in doubt of all systems which seem to deny me my soul. I am not of this world, nor do I belong in it.
For the past few weeks I have been teaching at an inner city high school. They recently asked me if I would not mind sending them my profile (degrees, experience, interests) and then they would link this to a personal web page for Teachers that they are in the process of creating. I told them that I was uncomfortable with this idea. I told them that I was not interested in the arrogant art of listing my credential after my name (which seems to me to be a modern phenomena. Example Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. or Betsy Small, M.A). I prefer to remain one with the people, incognito, not displaying my credentials or experience upon my sleeve. Now my job is in jeopardy, I have offended several Educators who take pride in their graduate degrees and I have separated myself further from the crowd. All the things that one most do to fit into this modern world make me feel as if their is not some sort of ploy at hand to kill our dreams and marginalize each human into a submission in which we can never climb out from. So I run. I lament. I quit and I am always saying in the back of my mind “beam me up.”
If there was life on other planets do you think they would be sensitive to my situation? I consider myself to be a rather unique humanoid who would be a prime subject for some kind of abduction (they could study my brain and all the multifarious form of rebellious and unsatisfied neural transmission that cause anxiety, fear and aberrant thoughts). I am not offering myself up to this sort of experimentation- but sometimes I wonder if it would not be a better option than the fate of a human living on earth. Maybe alien abduction would offer me away out from the rules and norms that keep me stapled to way of life that feels tormented by Sartre’s concept of “No Exit.” So I run. I lament. I quit. And I write. I am not of this world nor do I belong in it.
A month ago I was working a few days a week in a very busy restaurant. My duty was that of a Waiter and I did my best to please the upper class families who dined in the establishment. One of the duties that all Waiters had to perform was making milkshakes (chocolate and vanilla) for the numerous children of the rich (and occasionally a few adults). When the restaurant was busy, which it frequently was, making milkshakes was a task equivalent to a trip the dentists office. It was painful and extremely messy. Here I was- stuck in a job where I was running around like a chicken with his head cut off making milkshakes while I had screaming customers waiting for water or food and the kitchen yelling out my name because the food which was waiting for me to take was getting cold. It was a no win situation which gave me chest pains and palpitations. But I did not care about this. The only thought that seemed to pass through my aggravated mind other than this sucks, was I can not believe that I am 36 years old making milkshakes. After two weeks on the job I quit and told the owner that I found the milkshake making duty an insult to my pride and well being. He just looked at me with a frown that seemed to say “you ain’t gonna have an easy time in this life.” Beam me up!!!
Sometimes I wonder if my dedication to being a writer and painter is not self sabotaging me into a life of poverty and making milkshakes. Of-course, I am aware that contentment and happiness all come from within. Of-course I know that if one is content with their life within, then making milkshakes or representing myself as a high school Teacher with a Master’s degree should not matter. Whatever I do should be a reflection of my inner-well being, despite the job. This seems to be the equation that is accepted by most spiritual practitioners- and I do not disagree. But I have a sensitive soul that feels easily compromised if put in certain situations. My soul shouts out at me that I am not representing it well enough and my body reacts to this revolt. I live in a particular era that seems to be based on the concept of compromising one’s soul in order to have inner and outer peace. Maybe what this life is all about is compromise….and this seems to be a lesson I am having difficulty learning. So I keep running, writing, lamenting and dreaming of a day that I will be either abducted by aliens or I will write the great American novel and move to Spain.
All my concern over sex, hookers, guilt, shame, money, health, spirituality, the environment and my car has taken its toll on my mental health. I was once a motivated young man with grand aspirations of fame and fortune. Now I sit at home, day after day with an empty bank account and an obsession for transgressive bliss. I stare at pictures of naked lusty women on my computer as if they could offer me a chance at salvation, but I know full well that I am escaping from the reality of “the job.”
I am not a big fan of “the job.” The only work that I really like to do is paint, write, read, meditate, sleep and look at the Craig’s List Erotic adds. Working to me is a labor which strips me of the time that I could spend doing the things I love and puts me into contact with people that I would normally never want to talk with. Work as a violation of the life I am trying to live. But rent is due in a few days, I have skipped many meals due to lack of funds and my wife is getting fed up with my habitual claim “that I have no money.” “Well you need to get a job,” she always replies. “I really do not want to get a job,” I retort. “What, are you just going to stay at home all day writing your ridiculous blog and expect that checks are going to show up in the mail?” she replies straightening her back bone like she is preparing for battle. I am wounded by her assault on my blog which I spend many hours preparing for distant readers I will never know. “The blog is valuable work, don’t pick on the blog. Pick on me and the fact that I do not want to Teach High school anymore, nor do I want to wait tables. There is nothing else that I am qualified to do and I have no ambition to do much at all,” I sob at her. “Well, this full catastrophe living has got to end. We have rent due in a few days and we need money for the bills. I can’t afford it all and we are going to be out in the streets if you do not get a job!!”
I could not disagree. I needed to find work. I had been applying to various jobs every day online but no one was biting the lines that I sent out. Each day I look at my email hoping that there will be a response but there never is. Just empty space. Sometimes I spend hours writing back to employers who have not taken a moment to respond to me. I write that it is bad karma not to respond to an email but that I understood because it was probably only a reflection of the way in which they treated themselves- with no respect. Sometimes I will get a screw you back or a what would you know about karma, you are out of a job? But every day I put one foot in front of the other and try to maintain faith that every thing will turn out well. It is important to be centered when you are engaged in full catastrophe living.
“You need to get up, take your resume and go around to various restaurants and hand it out. You can not spend the majority of your day writing away on your blog. I will not allow it.” This is how I awoke this morning, my wife standing over me with a stack of unpaid bills in her hand. I felt a stabbing pain in my chest as I made my way out of bed and asked her to heat me up some water for tea. In my office there was a stack of freshly printed up resumes on my desk, with a note “I have complete faith in your ability to find a job.” I thought that after I published my first book of short stories, that the writing life had belonged to me. No longer would there be worries about work and economy. I would be able to write for a living and not have to clear another table or teach a freshman how to read. I was free and I was also wrong. The moment I thought the writing life had begun was the moment that full catastrophe living kicked into first gear.
I dressed in a nice black suit, put gel into my hair and headed out into the rain with a stack of resumes wrapped in plastic under my arm. I went around to three or four restaurants all of which took my resume with a quick glance and sometimes a few questions. One lady asked me what I like about working in a restaurant and all I could do was smile and wish her a good day, as I made my way out the exit. I handed resumes off to a woman at a real estate office, a manager at a record store, the post office and a doctor’s office. Any place where money could be made. When I returned home that day my wife had opened my unemployment check which had come in the mail and said to me, “you are lucky again.” There was enough to cover the rent and bills and a few hundred bucks left over to feed my personal fancies. The rain was coming down, it was dark outside and I retired to my office to start writing this post. As I turned on the computer my wife came up behind me, put her hand on my shoulder and said, “what do you want for dinner, it’s my treat.” I looked up at her and said “whatever you would like.” I had not eaten all day and any food sounded nurturing. I gave her a kiss and as I looked at her I said, “see, full catastrophe living isn’t so bad after all.” She made no reply.
The palest ink is better than the best memory. This quote was written upon a small paper tab that was attached to my tea bag. I had awoken in a fog unable to remember where I had eaten dinner the night before. I remembered my wife waking in the middle of the night in a slight panic but other than this my past was as illusive to me as notions of god. While lying in bed I tried to recall a few things from my past. I was able to remember the faces of a few women I had slept with many years ago. I remembered the first car that I received upon turning the driving age (but I was unable to recall the color) and I also was able to remember a small park in Berkeley that I enjoy sitting in. Other than these few superficial details of my life I was having difficulty recalling the events of the previous day. I arose from bed, made some tea and found that relevant quote dangling from the tip of my tea cup. I am always startled by the way forces collude to create coincidences.
After eating an egg I was somehow able to recall a very large steel Buddha that a local artist constructed in a park around the corner from my home. I dressed quickly, feeling a strong inclination to go visit the Buddha. I had no understandable motive- other than seeking out a wisdom that may shed some light upon my lethargic situation. I put on mittens, a heavy jacket, and a cotton cap and walked the block or two to where the steel Buddha sat still upon the grass. A few dog owners were out throwing disturbing objects to salivating fur balls to chase after. I admired the contentment from which these dog owners watched their dogs run. I could not remember how long it had been since I felt that kind of contentment.
I stood beside the Buddha and looked up at it’s over-sized features. It’s height was no more than twenty feet. The artist created the Buddha sitting in the lotus posture, with hands coming together in the center- I assume to portray a state of nirvana. The Buddha’s eyes were shut and there was an expression of quiet rectitude upon his face. I stood in front of him and observed a very slight inhalation and exhalation coming from the statues belly. This did not surprise me since I was well aware of the scientific finding that within all inert matter there is moving energy. While breathing in the damp morning air I felt a strange desire to climb to the top of the Buddha. Like all my desires which I am seldomly able to control, I began my ascent.
After stepping on the hands, pulling at the nipple, hanging onto the nose and dragging my way up onto the crown of the Buddha’s head I had reached the summit with a rapidly beating heart and a feeling of being short of breath. I sat so that my long legs fell over the Buddha’s face and I looked straight out into a pasture of green grass. The sun had fully risen to its place in the sky and my mind was slowly becoming more relaxed. I breathed deeply and tried to find a place in me that spiritual aspirants refer to as a center. I slowed the erratic quality of my thoughts by listening to the squirrels chew walnuts in the trees. I could feel an intense vibrating energy coming from the Buddha’s face. It was such a strong energy that my legs and butt were quickly warmed up. The dog owners noticed this strange apparition sitting on the Buddha’s head and glanced at me with suspicious eyes. All I could do was smile and enjoy the morning sun.
Gradually I remembered various images that I had taken in the day before. I remembered the salad, orange and chicken that I had eaten for dinner with a few glasses of red wine. I remembered the bike ride that I had taken all around Berkeley and Oakland the day before. Fragments of my life started to come back to me the more I relaxed and quited my mind. Slowly I was re-introduced to a self I had forgotten. I was inspired to stand up tall on the Buddhas head and reach out towards the heavens. I was filled with an exhilarating feeling that wanted to touch the sun, the stars, all things divine. As soon as I stood up, I noticed my left foot loosing connection with the Buddha’s head. Soon after that my right foot lost its connection and before I knew it any sense of mindfulness that I had achieved was gone. I was falling twenty feet towards the dewy grass and all I could think on my descent down was this is going to hurt.
I was awoken by a feeling of wet sandpaper sliding its way along my face. When I opened my eyes I noticed two dogs gathering above me. They were licking the remnants of enlightenment from my face as their owners asked me if I needed them to call an ambulance. One owner told me not to move because I may have broken my neck. I felt bruised and battered but not in enough pain to feel as if I had been badly damaged. I landed in soft grass upon my back. I took the liberty to ask one of the dog owners to help me up, and then I dusted my self off. I was sore and my back felt like shards of broken glass. I will be okay, I told them as they watched me with carefully eyes. I am just going to slowly walk home and makes some tea. I slowly limped back towards my home- which I was having some difficulty finding. After a few moments it occurred to me that I was lost. I decided to sit down on the side of the road. My back refused to sit straight so I lied down on the ground. Looking up at the morning sun I decided- I would wait for as long as it took for the past to return to me so that I could slowly find my way back home.
LET THE IMMORALITY PLAY ROAR ONWARDS!! BASED UPON THE QUALITY OF A FEW OF THE COMMENTS THAT I HAVE RECEIVED, MY ARM HAS BEEN TWISTED AND I HAVE DECIDED TO REMAIN ON THE AIR PERPETUATING DEGENERATE AND PERVERTED TALES OF SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION/ADVENTURE AND ANIMATED PERSPECTIVES ON TIME AND SPACE WHICH SEEKS TO SLOW DOWN THE RAMBLING VOICE IN MY HEAD. I KNOW MANY MAY HAVE BEEN HAPPY TO SEE THE IMMORALIST GO AWAY BUT ONWARDS I GO, ONE FOOTSTEP AT A TIME….WITHOUT A CONCERN ABOUT WHERE I AM HEADING. THANK YOU TO THOSE FEW, WHO RE-KINDLED THE LIGHT IN AN ALMOST DARK ROOM.
“MIND-Bl(o)wing}*playmate SuPper Cute,” sent me an instant message this morning. I had no idea how this could of ended up in my private space. I have always been careful not to leave a trace in my tireless acts of exploitation. What carelessness, on my part had caused this to happen? My wife had just left for work and I could not help but yell out what is this!! as I read the message.
“Hooker in a tree says your really nice man who may be into super kinky time without the sex. I know your married, but we can work around it. Instant message me back and we can meet today. I am currently doing in-calls in my car.” Beneath her message was a picture of a naked brunette beauty sitting on top of a lump of hay. Her breasts and thigh all gave me an erection- the degree to which made me consider masturbation. But this would be pathetic- it is not even noon yet and I am already consumed with lustful thoughts.
A persons sexual appetite grows the more attention they pay to it. This is the hook at the end of the string. We believe that we will just indulge our erotic fantasies one last time and then we shall abstain for an eternity. This is how it all began a few months back for me. I would just peruse the Craig’s List Erotic adds for an hour each day and think that it would satisfy my sexual need for a transgressive sexual experience. I presumed that I was under control and that the one harmless pleasure that brought me satisfaction could never dominate my life. But soon the hour turned into two hours and the fidelity that I had sworn to my wife had turned into weekly hand jobs by strange prostitutes dressed in nothing but their bare skin. Now I can not stop. Each experience I want to replicate itself over and over- and after yesterdays experience with the teasing hooker who would not take off her pantyhose, I am ready for an erotic release. Only the further into this polluted pond I dive, I know the closer I am to having to reveal my obsession to my wife. It is the only way a married man can live- with hopes of morality and purity at some point in the future, just not now.
I instantly emailed the naked brunette sitting on a lump of hay back. “Would you be interested in seeing me at noon for a hand job while you are in the nude? Oh, would you mind If I cumm upon your stomach?” I wrote without any moral conscience. I received a reply that said, “you can cumm where ever you like as long as it is not in my ass or mouth. I would be happy to jack you off in the privacy of my car so meet me at….,” and she left me the directions to her car and a good time to meet with her. I took a warm shower and thought over my impending experience with yet another whore, while the warm water melted the guilt away from my dirty hair. What is a man to do when his sexual fantasies rule the day? Maybe soon I will journey to Tibet but in that moment the only journey that I wanted to undertake was towards her car.
I had a Therapy appointment which I decided to miss. I am more concerned about my sexual health than I am about my mental health (as you dear reader can probably tell). I called the Therapist and left a message saying that I was sorry but had a sudden foot ache flare up which I needed to seek out a Podiatrist to help me with. I wanted to tell her that I was being controlled and dominated by my lustful fantasies and was unable to control myself. I wanted to shout out for help and beg her to come over and stop me from doing what I was about to do, but I did not. I allowed my lust to direct the actions of my mind.
I drove to Washington Mutual in which I have a Checking Account. I went up to the ATM to take out cash but was shocked to find out that I had no more money. I was overdrawn and without a way to fill my account up. I stood there in the light of late morning in a kind of stupefaction that happens to one when they are 36, without a job and find out that they are broke. I had twenty minutes until I was to meet the prostitute at her car and no money to pay her for services rendered. I was stuck in a quagmire.
Desperate situations create desperate actions. I decided to go to her car anyhow. I would see if I could not somehow pay her back another time. I would use my skills to bargain with her. I figured that I was a good enough looking man to possibly make her want to forgo her fee. How could she refuse me? She did refuse. She swore at me for having the nerve to think that she would render her sexual services for an IOU. She asked me to step away from her old Cadillac as she climbed out of her car in a skirt that was so tight I could see the contours of her cunt. “If my friend had not highly recommended you to me I would currently be shouting at you so loud that your eardrums would pop,” she said. I tried to rationalize with her and tell her that I was coming into a good lump sum of money within the week. “I do not believe you she said. I stood there by the side of the road which was vacant and lined with used condoms and liquor bottles. “You need to go, before I spray your pretty face with mace,” she said.
Again, my efforts to find sexual release were futile. I left the prostitute before she turned violent. She had been looking forward to our arrangement and was seriously disappointed that I was without cash. I returned to my cold home with a lingering smell of her on my jacket. She was beautiful, a little worn down by the lifestyle, but she would have been a dream to respectfully cumm upon. I sat in a chair in my back yard and thought about all the different ways that I could acquire cash so that I could get enough money together to continue my immorality play on the following day.
The string that holds my soul to my body aches. The joints in my feet are constantly perturbing my mood. My spirit is inside out and there is an ominous worry that makes its way into my mind. My Doctor, who is also my mother and financial guardian- tells me that these are only growing pains. She is a Jungian Psychoanalyst, and she tells me that she sees many cases such as this from men and women in their mid-thirties. They are people who have a tendency to long for more than they have and feel much more accomplished than their reality might demonstrate, my mother tells me. They are individuals who are dreamers, and so far their dreams have not come to fruition so they must start to think of other ways to support themselves, she also told me. So far this sounded like me.
My growing pains began when I realized I may have to go back to school. I have always considered myself an artist but this imagination has not turned a profit. I have earned less than a $1,000 from my art and am now faced with a mid-life crisis. What am I going to do now? I am signed up and ready to attend a graduate program which will miraculously turn me into a psychotherapist. But it hurts. My eyes are heavy and my arms feel longer than normal. I have been stricken with constant headaches and a chronic cough will not leave me alone. I have never imagined myself a professional, let alone a Therapist- but there needs to be money in the bank and I am weary of my art being able to provide for my future family.
Madness is a disease that will keep your families stomach full and a warm roof over your head, the admissions counselor to the Psychology program told me. There is no shortage of psychological ailments to treat, you will be a rich man in no time. I can see it in your eyes, he said as we shook hands and I left his office. I returned home with palpitations and a pain in my side. What could he see in my eyes, I kept thinking. I was angry and decided to sit down and write this entry with the hopes that it might make some sense to a stranger out there who can relate to my pain. I am overcome by the world and the way I had imagined myself in it (writer, artist) seems to be changing into something else. It hurts.
I took a shower this morning and felt a painful knot in my stomach. I have been burping a lot lately which makes me think that I may be suffering from an ulcer. My worst fear other than death, is being ordinary. I have done every thing that I can to avoid the trappings of the ordinary. Now that I may be becoming a Therapist and a family man the trappings of ordinarinesses are seeming closer. I feel anxious and have to remind myself to stay present. I am currently enrolled in a stress reduction mindfulness course that is helping me to just this. Stay with the breath, when the mind starts chattering away, just bring your attention back to the inhalation and exhalation.
This morning I went for psychoanalysis with my mom. She has a nice leather couch that I lay down upon and the smell of redwood trees fills her small office in the Berkeley hills. I talked about my deepest fears- one being my inability to make money doing something that I love. I talked about how unhappy the prospect that I may never be successful at my chosen craft makes me. I shivered and felt my heart beating from my stomach. My mother told me that Apocalypse means to reveal what is hidden. It is a kind of renewal. She made me aware of the personal Apocalypse that I was going through and how the growing pains that I was feeling were symptoms of this Apocalypse. Be patient, allow the renewal to take place and stop judging, she said. Humans are supposed to be joyful.
I returned home this afternoon with a perpetual burp. The string that holds my soul to my body still aches. Today I will sit in meditation for a few hours and try not to worry about rent, what I am going to do for money, or my health. I will just sit still and inhale and exhale. This is it. All of my attention will go into being present in the moment. This usually relieves the headaches, palpitations, chest pain, back ache, ulcer, and feet aches. I have no idea how long these growing pains are going to last but I am getting close to forty and it is my hope that they are resolved by then.
Once naked, I imagine myself to be some place else in time. Far away from the cold confines of my home and the dysfunctional harangues of my marriage. The warm steam fills the cold air with a sweaty mist and I am ready to leave my problems on the floor. When the temperature reaches a degree that would probably be to hot for most, I step into the claw foot tub without any thought for what I am leaving behind. In the nude, I am a threat to no one, innocent again. I am vulnerable to the whims of the world but alone in the privacy of a hot shower.
The first thing I do is warm my body and head (because I do believe the two are separate) with the hot water that is pouring against my fragile body. I think for a moment about death, but then comfort myself with humid deep breaths that open my lungs. I turn from back to front and front to back allowing the hot water to open all of my clogged up pores. I then lather my lanky body with a cinnamon soap that is carved in the shape of the Buddha. I suck in deeply the aromatic sweet and sour smell of the soap as I cover myself with its salve. The soap sizzles on my sensitive skin creating red spots that I sometimes confuse for boils. There are no sounds other than that of running water and the voices in my head. I clean my feet, thighs, buttocks, penis, chest, underarms and face- with a consistency that leaves me feeling untarnished by dirt or dust. Once this ritual cleansing has ended I then proceed to wash my hair with shampoo.
I use a natural shampoo that is made in Oregon and leaves my hair without dandruff or soot. It prevents my head from aching and it also limits the amount of negative thoughts that I think up. A lot has been going on in my mind as of late, and this shampoo lathers my thoughts with a preventative measure. My brain ceases to think about my impending separation from my wife or my fear of small, closed in spaces (like the shower). I am no longer feeling accents of anxiety or over heating pulsations of my heart. I am tranquil for as long as the herbal shampoo sits on my head and I can breath with a calm that evades me the rest of the day.
While the shampoo is still in my hair I take that time to clean out my ears and brush my degenerating gums and teeth. The toothbrush I use is long and cotton bristled and it has a particular knack for getting food out from small spaces. The toothpaste I use is a salt solution that claims to kill the bacteria which swim around in our mouths without any regard for human life. They spend their days eating away our gums so that in the end we are left with painful abrasions and aching molars. I brush my teeth, without the sensitivity that I have been told to use- but rather I brush with the determination of a man who has declared war upon an invading army. Once I am done with my frontal attack, I wash out my mouth with shower water and then proceed to empty the shampoo from my mind, head and hair.
The heat at this point begins to agitate my heart. I can feel its irregular gyrations that are usually the result of too much heat. I reduce the temperature of the water slightly and continue with my daily ablutions. I clean my face with a seaweed solution that my wife brought back from Spain. She yells at me whenever I use it, but I have learned to only abduct trace amounts of the solution so that she can not detect anything missing. I let this coral solution sit upon my face for five minutes and during this time I will normally apply a conditioner to my hair. At this point in my shower I normally used to masturbate. My reasoning is that it not only relaxes me, but after I orgasm in the shower I am able to wash down all of the remaining sperm with the conditioner in my hair and the coral solution on my face. This will guarantee that not a trace of my sperm will be left for my wife to detect on the tub floor. I like to leave the shower as I found it.
I have been abstaining from masturbation as much as possible lately. My hopes is to break free from any kind of sexual addiction I may have developed over the past 36 years of my life. I do believe that it is unhealthy to repress our sexual inclinations (this leads toward the individual becoming aggressive and irrational) but I have masturbated so much in my life that I can afford to abstain for a few months. Without masturbation, my showering ritual does feel incomplete, but I am learning to adjust to where I am at. I wash the remaining seaweed solution from my face and conditioner from my hair with a sadness that seems to come forth towards any ending. I turn off the hot water that has turned my entire body a velvety red color and I step onto the bah mat cleansed and a little less corrupted than I was when I first stepped into the shower. I dry my fragile body off with a 100% cotton towel and take a few deep breaths of the remaining warm steam. Because of my masturbatory habits the past few weeks when I get out from the shower I am left with an erection. I assume this is a result of my physiology which has been conditioned to associate showers with orgasm. Now that I am “attempting” to abstain from masturbation I have to wait a full five minutes for my erection to dissipate. I use q-tips to clean out my ears, apply deodorant to my underarms and between my butt and then open the bathroom door where I walk into the world that for ten minutes or so, I was glad to leave behind.
Why she wore a g-string, I will never know. I did not ask. She did not tell. Rachael is a good friend of my wife and she had a longing to play tennis. The weather was cold enough to freeze the cat’s water, but she did not care. A shot of whiskey and I’d be roaring to go. We played on the only grass court in town. I could feel the frozen grass beneath my feet. The day was ominous and Rachael seemed to be wearing the shortest tennis skirt made in America. I do not even think the skirt was for tennis. Her legs were long and brown in mid-winter. I found myself longing for the platitudes that Rachael’s bare legs and g-string aroused in me. I wanted her in the same way that I wanted food after a ten day fast. Her nipples were hardened by the cold and my eye had a hardened time staying away from them. The yellow tennis ball was the least of my interest- and her soft, silky voice gave birth to a lust in me that not even lying down in frozen grass could quell.
Rachael hit me a backhand and ran to the net. Her white skirt pirouetted in the slight breeze as I watched her brown long legs rumble toward the net. I mustered enough attention to follow the yellow tennis ball and return to her a lob so high that it would take years for it to return to the ground. My eyes immediately returned to her nipples as she stood prepared to return the lob with the full force of her nature. Her head was cocked back toward the starry heavens, as she waited with a racket slung back over her left shoulder. She waited and waited, and after a minute our so she looked directly at me and said “hey where did the tennis ball go?” I had been distracted away from time and space until that moment when I realized something very strange was taking place. I looked up into the heavens, searched around for a little yellow tennis ball and then looked back at Rachael who was standing beside the net, dumbfounded. “I have no idea,” I said with a shrug of the shoulders. We looked around the perimeter of the tennis court to see if the tennis ball may have landed some place else, but saw no sign of a yellow ball. “That is the strangest thing I have ever seen,” Rachael said as we sat down on a bench on the side of the tennis court. “That tennis ball vanished in mid-air,” she said with a bewildered and slightly scared look upon her face. I could think of nothing more clever to say than, “I guess God needed a tennis ball.” She looked at me and giggled and it was then that we decided it would be a good time to return home. My wife was making sandwiches for dinner.
The family unit as a form of Fascism. Someone said this to me yesterday, and I have been thinking about it ever since. I have spent an hour this morning standing on my head and twenty minutes jumping up and down on one foot. During that time my mother has called me twice, “why do you not return my phone call?” My sister has called me wondering when I am going to come and visit and my Father has called me three times in the past two days. He wants me to figure out what I am doing with my life. He has also been trying to get me to quit the writing business and go into real estate. All of these encroaches upon my 36 year old personal psychic space are like thick thorns in my side. They are forms of tyranny that prevent me from developing in ways that are necessary for my health. They keep me standing on my head so that I do not see the world straight.
Is not Fascism a system that is emotionally unequipped to deal with the needs of the individual? If it is- than all of us Americans are living in an unannounced Fascistic system (as opposed to a Democracy) and our families are smaller yet more pronounced forms of Fascism. They keep us wrapped up in a ball of conformity unable to grow into our own- until they become very old our start to die out. Our families give us love and they nurture us but at the same time they prevent our will for freedom to grow into a successful action. We remain martyrs as the family unit keeps us confined in a nucleus which determines our every action? While writing this short passage my sister has called me twice, my mothers voice is scrambling in my head and I am trying to figure out ways to avoid talking to my father. I am confined by a Jewish family, the severity of which makes me want to stand on my head for days. My feet are heavy and I am wondering how today, I can spend a few hours cultivating my own garden without them in it.
When I was younger I used to want to burn down my parents mansion. I conspired all kinds of ways to seek revenge for the soul that I felt like they where stealing from me. If I had known then that I was being subjected to the tyranny of Fascism maybe I would not have taken the whole thing so seriously. Things would have made more sense. If I would have known that the conditions for Fascism arise when there is an emotional disconnect between an individual and his/her family or society- I could have understood that my parents were emotionally “un-evolved.” Maybe this would have given me more sympathy and prevented me from setting my fathers BMW on fire. Who knows? Now that I am older- understanding these things helps me to prevent myself from becoming angry or resentful. It gives me the personal peace to understand that Fascism is a system that robs the spirit from the body, leaving the individual in a state of affliction. So I realize that we are all afflicted with a negative feeling that keeps us from loving, which after all simply means “letting go.”
“She lives in a dark closet. All the world knows of her is her voice,” Gregory said to me over the phone. I didn’t have much to say in response to this. I was curious. “All you need to do is bring her the box of food and leave it by her closet door.” Gregory was sick and he offered me twenty dollars to do his job for him. He worked delivering meals to people who are not capable of leaving their homes. It is a government run program that is dedicated to seeing that individuals with chronic psychological disorders do not starve to death. “So what do you think, will you do it?” Gregory asked me with the sound of sickness in his voice.
I needed what ever money I could get. None of my paintings sold at the last gallery show and I recently quit a job working at a mortuary. I was not in a position to turn down tax free cash. I drove over to Gregory’s apartment, picked up the key and made sure that he gave me the directions correctly. “Here is twenty bucks,” Gregory said. “now make sure when you go to her home that you understand that she is a disembodied voice. She will try to talk to you for hours if you are not careful. Just leave the food in front of her closet door and say have a nice evening. That is all. She is very enigmatic and will suck you in if you are not very careful,” Gregory said to me from the confines of his sick bed.
I drove to the facility where the food is made and packaged. I picked up a box of food and then drove my car to the outskirts of the city where the lady lived. Her house was in a rural part of town where chickens roamed around on the streets beside wild and ravenous dogs. I found the address and walked up to the front door which was painted yellow and hanging off its hinges. Once in the house I shouted “is any one home….I am delivering your food,” and was instantly met with a female voice that said “Back here, in the bedroom.” I searched around a few corners and then found the closet door which had a photograph on it of a womans face. It was in a bedroom that lacked any furniture other than an old mattress and a green carpet. I noticed that all the windows were broken, and the house smelled like cedar and mud.
“I am just going to put the food in front of the door for you,” I said as kindly as I could. “You are not Gregory, who are you?” the female voice asked. “Gregory is sick so I am delivering your food.” “That is not what I asked you, I asked who are you?” the voice said with a tone of rigidity. “My name is Randall,” I responded not knowing what else to say. “I did not ask you your name, I asked who are you?” What did she mean who am I? How was I to answer this question. “Let me help you, because I can tell that you are confused” the voice said. “I am a middle aged woman who lives in the dark. I do not come out of this closet because I am afraid of everything in this world. My purpose in life is to keep my voice as long as I can. I am a Painter who paints portraits in my head. They are pictures that no one will ever see, which is fine because I do my art for myself. This is who I am. Now who are you?”
I felt a subtle wave of anxiety overcome me. I remembered what Gregory had told me about not engaging with the voice. I wanted to be quick and precise with my reply so that I could get out from there. “I am an Artist,” I said with as much confidence as I could muster. “An Artist, how nice. We both have something in common,” the voice said in a high pitched tone of pleasure. “Do you enjoy being an Artist?” the voice asked me. I looked around at the vacant room. I saw a rat run across the green carpet. “It is a struggle, but yes I do enjoy it,” I replied. Then the voice quickly responded to me by saying, “the world is so filled with hypocrisy and compromise. As an artist you pave your own way in the world. You create your own reality in all that you do. It is a blessing and a curse…but it is more of a blessing than a curse.” The she laughed.
“Do you realize that we live in a world that is always seeking to steal our voice?” the voice asked me. Before I could respond she continued speaking. “If your voice is not contributing to the creation of profit for a corporation or the government than it is a voice which must be silenced. The irony is that your inner voice must be silenced so that you can create profit. The soul and the pursuit of money never go together. It is one or the other. You see. This is why I remain in a dark closet. This is why I choose to be a disembodied voice. Even though I get lonely and cry a lot, I still have my voice. I get to keep my own voice. I do not have to give it away so that I can make money or hold down a job. You see Freud said…..” she continued on and on. I was interested in what she was saying so I decided to listen.
And listen. And listen. She asked me many questions like:
“What do I believe?”
“What is my purpose in life?”
“What do I live for?”
“Do I feel successful?”
The questions continued on and on and by the time she told me that she was getting tired and needed to eat, I was lying on the vacant mattress and it was close to three in the morning. I stood up and realized that I had become completely unaware of the passing of time. The voice had sucked me in. As I drove my car back to my home, I felt like a minor revolution was going on in my mind. The disembodied voice had caused me to think about things I had never thought about before. I felt like I was awoken from a long sleep. I lied awake all that night unable to think about anything other than the questions that she had asked me. They sat like a brick upon my chest. Some thing in me had changed.
Today when I returned to Gregory’s house to drop off the keys, I asked him if I could have the job of bringing the disembodied voice her food. He smirked at me with a fierce look and said, “Don’t even think about it.”
The first dead body I picked up was a fat man lying on the floor in his underwear in a motel room, in which he seemed to be living. A few days ago I received a phone call from a friend of a friend. “Hey, this is Fransisco, I hear you need a job.” “I do,” I said. “Well I own a mortuary and I need someone to pick up stiffs.” I had never seen a dead body before and thought, why not…it would be an interesting experience. I started later that day. Fransisco gave me the keys to a blue mini van without rear windows and a solid handshake welcoming me aboard.
“The first thing I want you to do in the morning is come into the refrigerator and mop up all the goo,” Fransisco said. He took me into the refrigerator where the dead bodies were stored until they were buried or cremated. I saw stacks of bodies under white sheets with feet sticking out. Most of the feet were black. “Overnight they ooze and the stuff is stinky, so we got to get it up first thing in the morning.” “What do they ooze?” I asked. “They are roting, so their fat slowly falls off. It is usually the ones who ate a lot of meat and drank a lot of liquor that ooze the most,” Fransisco replied. He then showed me where the boxes were kept to put the “stiffs” in after I picked them up. He showed me how to label the boxes and where to place them in the fridge. “You okay with all this?” Fransisco asked me.
When I walked into the mortuary on my first day, there was a handsome man in his mid thirties lying nude on a stretcher. He had long hair and a woven hemp bracelet around his ankle. He looked as if he was in perfect physical condition, a hippie in the prime of his youth. The only disturbing thing was that he was dead. “What did he die of?” I asked Fransisco. “AIDS,” Fransisco replied while lighting some incense which was always burning in the mortuary. I had never imagined that someone could die of AIDS yet look so healthy. While I was staring at the body I was introduced to a lady with long black hair and a face that reminded me of Aphrodite. She wore a short mini skirt, and when she bent over to collect ash from the cremation machine- I noticed she was wearing a garter belt. Fransisco told me that she was finishing Mortician’s college, working as his assistant and that he was fucking her on a regular basis. It was more information than I needed, but Fransisco was an ego maniac and a sex addict who liked to brag about his conquests.
Bruce, who was training me that day, did not know how we could get the fat man onto the gurney. I had no clue either. This was the first dead person I had ever laid hands upon and I was hesitant. “Just grab the ankles,” Bruce said as a police officer who was on the scene helped us to lift the fat man up. The lady across the hall was crying and kept repeating that “he was such a nice man.” I could not help but notice that his motel room was filled with picture of Bob Dylan and Samuel Beckett. Once Bruce and myself finally got the fat man into the mini van we drove to Summit Hospital to pick up a second body. On the way to the hospital Bruce talked about his love for cocaine and prostitutes. He was a certified Mortician who was in his mid forties and lived with his mother due to financial problems. “There is a street near here where on a break, if the van is empty, you can pick up a prostitute and have a quicky,” Bruce said with a look that showed he meant what he was saying.
On the way to the hospital we got a call from Fransisco that we had to first go pick up a body on the corner of Claremont and College Ave that had been run over by a cement roller. “A cement roller?” I said. “Just your luck man, on your first day you get to see blood,” Bruce said with a giggle. I was apprehensive. Deep down I did not know if this was going to be the job for me. Seeing death so up close instilled a fear in my bones that I knew I would never be able to set free.
The scene at the accident was not as gruesome as we expected. The woman who was run over by a cement roller was not flattened out as one would imagine. She was badly bruised and battered but otherwise- everything on her body was in its right place. We were told that she was a local Architect who was walking to get into her car when the cement roller came around a corner too quickly and ran her over as she was getting into the drivers seat. We stuck the body which was nicely dressed in a modern black suit- into a white body bag, lifted her up onto the gurney and then placed her in the mini van besides the fat man. I also took her black leather suitcase which I found beside the trunk of her car.
With two dead bodies in the back of the van, Bruce decided that we should stop and have lunch. I was not feeling hungry but I had a beer while he ate a burrito. We talked about the job and he let me know that it got easier as the days went by. He also told me that Fransisco was the craziest man I would ever come across. When we arrived back at the mortuary Fransisco was waiting for us besides the back door through which we took the dead bodies. While smoking a joint, Fransisco showed me how to stick the bodies in cardboard boxes and then load them into the refrigerator. I wrote both their names on the side of the boxes and then we stacked the Architect and the fat man together in the fridge. Fransisco then handed me a mop and said “Here kid…it’s starting to stink in here.” It was only 12:30 p.m.