The Way-Fucked Circle of Life

It’s fucking crazy to think that sending a guy like ME to an old folks’ home is going to do ANYBODY any good at ALL.

My court appearance went off without a hitch. Processed like meat, cleansed of disease, stamped with assurances—I am made anew, and shall never stray from the path of direct righteousness again. They said to me, “Pendel, you have done wrong by us…why did you wander into the dark? Tell us what you saw while you were there.” And I said please give me a chance to explain, oh devisors of the faith, oh commanders of the wallow, oh brandishers of the law and sickle—my time in shadow was wasted…wasted…and now I’ve returned to the light and my sight is restored. Take pity. Have mercy. Show me the same clemency you would reserve for yourself. Are we not brothers? Has your life been a simple traipse from one patch of verdant truth to the next? Or did you struggle? Was there a climb over rock and stone with bleeding palms and cracked fingers and the thinning air shortening your breath as the sand trickled into your eyes? Did you stumble over cracks in the twilight? Was there never a moment of fear and doubt when, roused for a moment from your daydreams, you looked around to find the streets were strange and the windows cracked and boarded? Are you a fucking prodigy? Have you never soiled a finger while wiping your ass? Do you ever even shit AT ALL? Or are you magically immaculate, with every tender bite of veal dissolving like a drop of dew in the morning sunlight; no need for the crude stomach, the vile intestine?

“Are you quite through?” asked the judge, an old, dry fuck by the name of Parrott.

“Would you just shut up already?” pleaded Uncle Ben—whom you all know by now.

But I could not stop throwing myself upon the mercy of the court: Let me tell you a dream I once had, your honor (I begged). I was only a boy at the time—which in reality for me was not so long ago—and the summer was upon us and it was fucking HOT. I mean, you live here, you know how it gets. It’s brutal, your honor. The humidity is a living thing that fills your lungs; a sloth with hot breath sitting upon your shoulder, holding you down while the algae in its coat slowly creep down your neck and chest. I fucking HATE IT and I always have, and I complain viciously until all around me pray for a coma to take me until milder days arrive.

Evening falls, and the asshole sun finally finds it in its boiling heart to sink behind the hills, but still the bloated air presses its sweaty hand over your nose and mouth, suffocating you. Such barometric oppression is twice as distracting to a child as he tries to sleep, and to ME, ever the super fucking SENSITVE one, it is three times so. But my mother and father—too cheap to turn on the freaking battered window unit that could have saved us all from perdition and YEARS of mild spite—resolved the issue as inexpensively as they possibly could by letting us all sleep in the living room that night in front of one crappy, tore up box fan (as opposed to procuring a fan for each one of us, which would have broke the goddamned BANK, no doubt). Kids love this kind of shit, however, and the break from routine was welcome. We giggled and farted our way down the hall that night, our pillows under our arms—Pendel, Clare, and Matty—happy then because we knew no better; happy because to us, shelter was all there was, a roof over your head and a shirt on your back and the smile on the face of your father or your mother—never to see the worried creases in their foreheads when they turned to the window as the world wore away at their will—simple reassurances that sufficed so well at the time, but later would leave a residue of vague regret on your ribs as you think of all the nasty shocks in store.

Tee hee hee.

As hot as it was in the house, the breeze and noise from the fan was an extraordinarily comforting thing, and the very act of waiting for sleep was like a hug; the movement of air over my head seemed exotic, hypnotic. All five of us lay in a row in the living room that night, and I couldn’t have felt safer. Gradually, the murmurs and mirth faded as the shadows grew. Soon, all was dark and quiet, but something tugged at my mind telling me the peacefulness was a façade, and though I knew the loved ones near me were all asleep, a squiggling worm of fear in my gut told me that I was not the only thing awake in the vicinity—so I wasn’t entirely surprised when the door to my parents’ room slowly and silently cracked open…

The malevolent specter of my dream didn’t emerge from the room immediately. It first let the fact of the door sink in for a few seconds. As my guts slowly turned to ice, I watched the crack of blackness upon blackness slowly widen. The ice inside me froze my lips, froze my lungs, froze my limbs, and I could not speak, breath, or move when finally the dark figure—hooded and thin and uniquely evil—lurched slowly and ohhhh so silently towards us—towards ME, really, I KNEW he was coming for me, this evil piece of shit—and I remember feeling as helpless as I ever had in my LIFE, your honor. Because you see, I knew this presence inching its way slowly nearer wanted to kill me, yes, but he also wanted to get me out of the room as quietly as possible, because when I died he wanted me to be alone. Do you understand? He wanted my death to be worse than painful, more calloused than premature, greater than the terror of violence.

He wanted me to be lonely when I died, your honor.

There are many shades of black I discovered as I watched this mysterious cutter. The room I was in was very dark, but the hallway before me leading to the bedrooms was even darker. The crevasse left by the yawning door to my parents’ room was plain black. But the cloaked figure advancing on me like the staggered frames of a movie with missing cells was even BLACKER, and the hole in the hood where the face should be…well, that was a fucking abyss, plain and simple. When you rise uncontrollably (after the unannounced exit of gravity) above the trees and into the sky, straight up through the clouds—and the air is stripped from your lungs, and the atmosphere loses its color as you flail your arms hopelessly—soaring up to outer space, and then there is the blackness of the universe before you coupled with the unimaginable distances between things; but you do not stop, you only keep flying in a direction that can only still be described as upwards (though there is no “up” now), until, to your horror, you find yourself passing into a realm unknown, the mythical NOTHING that we always feared existed but could not prove, could not even bring ourselves to theorize, and yet here it is and its SWALLOWING you, gulping you in, sucking you out of the inkiness of space and hauling you into a blackness that you could have never in a million years supposed existed…the BLACK of NOTHING which you never imagined because who could ever truly imagine nothing? This was the black of the encroaching figure’s face. And now its frigid hand was around my ankle and pulling me, and the night no longer seemed hot, it no longer seemed close, it no longer seemed ANYTHING for I was quickly leaving the world of day and night and morning and evening and ANYTHING; I was being pulled away from safety to die alone. And I finally found my voice and I cried out for my mother to help me because the harbinger had me—the blackness was closing around my eyes as I saw my people all start suddenly from the floor at the sound of my voice and immediately begin to shout after me with their hands reaching out—but in their eyes was hopelessness. They did not gain their feet to chase after me. They knew there was nothing they could do. I was fucking GONE, your honor. I clawed furiously at the carpeting and the walls as I was pulled down the hallway towards the great nothing to die alone, but there was no purchase to stay me. Everything faded.

I awoke in my father’s arms, sobbing, crying out, my little kid PJ’s soaked in sweat. Like a goddamned baby.

“Where are you going with all of this?” judge Parrott demanded.

“Your Honor, my client is simply very sorry about everything that’s happened and the people’s time he’s wasted today,” pleaded Uncle Ben.

I cried out BULLSHIT. The whole point of the fucking story is that I’m INNOCENT, your honor. This fucking rice making fool doesn’t represent me. Not ME. He might THINK he’s representing some little asshole he “knows” as his nephew—some miserable little prick with a penchant for nasty anger and acting out against the cloned pigs feigning superiority—but that person is not ME. I am separate from all of that fucking jazz, your honor. I am not even in this fucking ROOM, your honor. I am a million miles beyond space and dying ALONE your honor. Or weren’t you even listening?

“Oh shut up,” said the judge. “This is nonsense. It doesn’t matter whether you committed a crime or not, Mr. Haight. The fact of the matter is that you ARE a miserable little prick, whether you believe it or not, and I think it would do you some good to spend some time watching the very specter you fear taking others into the blackness.”

I told the judge that I must freaking disagree most fucking strongly, but he sentenced me to community service in the local old folks’ home anyway. Which is fine. No, really. It is. The Eternal Camile’s great grandfather is there, for one—which means there’s a chance to get laid inside an old folks’ home, which would be fucking cool beyond BELIEF. I think Benji has a great Aunt or something locked up inside, too, but I’m not sure.

Three months. I can do that standing on my fucking HEAD, bubba. Make book on it.  It’s kind of exciting, when you think about it. To stare into the eyes of a soul so near death and to ask them if they want to play some cards…if you can’t take something away from that, then you’re definitely beyond help.

I can’t wait to tell them how lucky they are to be so close to having it all over with.

Dad’s Gone Over

You think you know a person…

After the Benny Beat Down, I slunk home under the cover of nothing to find my house in utter disarray. My mom was screaming from behind the safety of her tears at my sister Clare, who was crying on the living room sofa and hugging the pillow like a teen-aged mother. My father was pacing the rug off the floor, exclaiming how a man works hard for nothing (which in fact makes perfect sense and is right on the money) to absolutely no one at all. Many of my father’s exclamations, which in the long run turn out to be 95% true if not 100% wise, fall on deaf ears. The human mind’s ability to reject the truth is at its strongest when the source of truth is flowing from the mouth of a friend.

For myself, I was fucking hungry. I marched languidly into the kitchen as all conversation came to a halt, and I took advantage of the silence to pick out a slice of cold pizza and eat the fucking thing. I turned to return the stares I was being given, paused in the middle of chewing, held out my right hand and said that my knuckles really hurt. “Well…of COURSE they do,” said my dad, and then stopped short of saying more, a confused look on his face.

“Why did you DO that, Pendel?!” wailed my mother. “How could you hit that boy like that? How could you embarrass me this way? How could my son be such an ANIMAL? You’re just a rabid animal, Pendel!” Blah blah blah. Clare stared at me blankly. I looked my mom square in the eye and said to her that the miserable little prick got what was coming to him, and that maybe now he’ll think twice before saying shit about how Clare likes to fuck her flunky brother. HEY NOW. Those sure were the magic words, and my, how they shut my dear mummy’s mouth. My dad leveled a finger at me. “We know all about what that punk said, Pendel, but you don’t just go pummeling people in the middle of the church parking lot! For Christ’s SAKE, Pendel! What were you THINKING!?” I said I was thinking about kicking some ass and taking some goddamned names, and then I excused myself to my bedroom. I then promptly turned back and stuck my head out and yelled for Clare. “What?” I hollered for her to bring me some ice, and to come alone.

A few minutes later she was there with cubes wrapped up in an old dishtowel. It had a fish on it as well as many random stains. I took it from her hands and thanked her. “You shouldn’t have done it.” she said. I shrugged and said so fucking what. It’s done. Whether or not I should have is moot now. She sighed. “You’re just begging for more quality time with Uncle Ben, you know.” So be it. She turned to leave, but looked back at the last second and said, “He’s coming.”

And immediately, my father was in the doorway. He looked at me blankly. With barely a glance to Clare, he said, “Leave us.” Formal. Humorous. Dreadful. My dad makes me like him sometimes, and at the strangest moments.

Clare left and my dad sat down on the edge of my bed while I iced my knuckles at my desk. “Does it hurt a lot?” he asked. Well, sure. “Good. It should. I don’t want you to forget what it feels like to hit another man.” I said nothing, because I couldn’t read into his words. His face was enigmatic. “Pendel, what you did today…son, you just picked the wrong time and place to make your stand. It’s one of your main problems.” That kind of took the breath out of me. It had the indisputable ring of truth. It made me angry and so sad. Everyone’s always telling me what my problems are, they’re always right, and the list keeps growing; an impossible punch list and I have no skills. I stared at my hand. I had nowhere else to look. The skin was pulled tight and was shiny, it looked like the skin of an irreparably fat person, a person who had taken on too much weight and was helpless to turn the tide and throw it off. Because he is a weak person. A person with very little self control or respect. Maybe it is in fact me; maybe I am simply fat inside…my soul needs a diet.

My dad then turned the rare trick of reaching out and placing his hand on my shoulder. “You made the wrong choice today, but I don’t know. I’m just as confused as you, I guess…but I’m proud of you, though, I think. I’m not sure.”

WTF. I was floored. PROUD?!? That certainly WAS NOT a turn I expected this lecture to take. “Pendel, that fool said something very toxic, I know. Your mother is embarrassed to her core, but I’m not.” Why not? “Hell Pendel, I don’t know. I DO know, however, that there’s some hope for you. There’s a brother down in there somewhere. That’s more than I believed yesterday, I can tell you that.”

So hey, I can only take so much love, and truly, I DID NOT earn all the mush that was oozing forth. I told him I did it more for me than for Clare, and he says, “Maybe, maybe not. I’m holding on to what I think, though.” Neat.

He stood up and said he would go because he knows how little I care for love-ins. True, but the whole display had left my head to spin. But then on his way out, he says, “There’s going to be trouble from this. I know the Henderson’s. They’re combative pricks. I’ll help you, but there’s gonna be trouble, Pendel.” I said hey, whatever. He then drops another bomb: “I’m going to make sure you graduate this summer, Pendel.” I said yeah, yeah. “Then I think you should probably move out, son. If it’s not college, then you just need to be out. You’re killing your mom, and I just don’t think you’re interested in learning any more from me. So when the summer’s done…” I said nothing. I had nothing to say. Was this the best or worst news possible? “I’ll help you find a place. I’ll help you get settled. You need to look for a job, son.”

And so he left my room.

It was by far one of the strangest conversations I had had in years. Once again, a person in my life has done and said the very last thing I would have expected. And once again it has left me feeling completely bereft of worldly comprehension.

Playing With Fire

I have a lot of balls in the air.

Yesterday I heard from my miserable Uncle Ben regarding my retarded legal struggles. The police, on the strength of this blog, are going to go ahead and try me in A COURT OF LAW. Ooooo. I am shaking in my mother fucking BOOTS. Fuck the cops, fuck the court of law, fuck the LAW, and fuck my goddamned useless lawyer, Uncle Ben, for giving me up.

And all of you can shut the fuck up; I know he did it. I thought I should tell him about my blog, because I heard somewhere you tell your attorney everything, so I did, because I am an IDIOT. I told him it was all make believe, that I want to be famous (not FAMOUS famous, but you know, internet famous), and that I wanted to write novels when I GROW UP and that this is great practice (HA HA HA HA HA), and he was like, “Pendel, you always seem to choose the least intelligent path. Why is that?” Oh my GOD.

ANY-FUCKING-WHOS, after I tell that rice-eating bastard about my “made up” website, and tell him that it might be best if he KEEP THIS KNOWLEDGE TO HIMSELF, my mom comes busting into my room that very freaking night asking me what the hell is wrong with me, why did I do it, why do I hate her, how could I get hooked on psychedelic drugs and foul my temple (that’s what she calls a person’s body—so gay and gross), why have I forsaken MY GOD—yes, that’s right, she fucking asked me why I have forsaken my god—and I looked her right in the eye and I said, what god, mom? The one that gave you such an awful son? Oh man, she wailed like a stuck Irish pig at that one. She said that if I hated this family so much then I no longer had to be a part of it, and that she’s sick of my lies, and that I have embarrassed her so so badly in front of her DEAR BROTHER, who was so kind to try and help me out of the MORASS of TROUBLE I have created for MYSELF and EVERYBODY AROUND ME. I said if you want me out of your lousy, stinking house, I’ll leave. Just show me the FUCKING DOOR. AND! I told her that if her brother wanted to help me so badly, then why the hell is he TELLING THE WHOLE FUCKING TOWN EVERYTHING I SAY TO HIM?? What the hell kind of lawyer DOES THAT? I am so pissed. I could bite the head off of a fucking Rottweiler right now.

Uncle Ben, if I end up going to jail, I am going to kill you. My own goddamned lawyer acts like he thinks my website is true? I swear to god, I will boil you in your own flow-through pouch until you are tender and fluffy and I will eat you with chicken. Make book on it, asshole.

My court date is a month from now. It should prove to be very stimulating.

The other day I tripped acid again, but it was on the golf course with Sugarbear and Johnson. It was insane. After we all parted ways, my head was still buzzing like a downed power line after a tornado, everything just pulsing with such a hilarious energy, and I knew I didn’t want to go home for a few hours yet, so I wandered the sunset until I accidentally (?) came across Mr. Hanson’s house. My friends, I saw some crazy ass shit.

And I will tell you all about it later. LATER.

I have Always Been a Turd

I don’t know how I do it, but it seems that I summon nasty emotions in even the most balanced of people. Soon I will be Public Enemy Number One, and it will feel so satisfying to finally be good at something.

I rode with my mom’s brother, who happens to be an ATTORNEY AT LAW, down to the station house on North Fountain on Saturday morning, and it was a completely surreal experience to be briefed by your own uncle on what to say to the officials under the harsh lights of interrogation. I was stoked. It seems crazy, yes, but I felt like life was starting. Wheels were in motion that I had spun without anybody else having told me to spin them, and it was causing a freaking whirlpool. My uncle, let’s call him Uncle Ben (because that’s his name, and yes, we have all cracked countless rice jokes over the years, and yes, he hates it, because yes, he’s an overly serious son-of-a-bitch with no sense of humor), seemed to notice the new light in my eye, and he gave me a look that was hard like artic ice and paused his briefing to ask me if I was having a good time. I said, hey, honestly, I gotta say, I love to have new experiences and I am kinda looking forward to seeing what this whole thing is gonna be about today. He pulled the car over so fast I had to throw my hands up on the dash to keep my teeth from getting bashed in. I was like, nice driving, rice-man. And I swear to god, the guy GROWLED at me. Like, spittle on the freaking cage glass growling, and his TEETH were showing, and he spoke through gritted molars with a hatred only barely contained, and he JABBED at me with a shockingly hard index finger right on my breastbone, and I was completely taken aback like miles and said, dude, what in the hell do you think you’re doing?

He had the look of a crazy person, his little wisps of white hair on the sides of his head kind of sticking up crazily from the wind the car windows channeled through his stuffy, old-man car interior (Uncle Ben is like ten years older than my mom at least), and he was like, “Listen to me Pendel, you little shit bag, I always thought you were a severely challenged turd the whole time you were growing up, and me and everybody else in the family is sick to death of you hurting my sister with your bullshit act.”

Wow. Seriously uncool. I had no clue what to say to that, so I just tsked him and glared and said, hey, that’s not nice. I felt completely lame and weak, but my head was so empty. I mean, he ALWAYS thought? Like, since I was a kid? Well, that’s REAL fucking nice. It’s this kind of rank horseshit that made me constantly feel like a fuck-up and a reject even before I was old enough to know that a person could be those things. My own so-fucking-called flesh and blood never even liked me, and then they all wonder how I could turn out to be such a diabolical mastermind of misdirected stomach acid. Well, they all shall pay in due time. Make book on it.

We drove on in silence from that point, except for the exceptionally GAY music that was straining itself through the lame factory speakers in Uncle Ben’s barnacle-encrusted Oldsmobile. Taylor Dane. Fucking make me gag. Easy listening. BAH! Why do they call it that?! It isn’t easy to listen to at all. It sucks donkey cock from here to the river.

By the time we got to the police station I was just freaking fuming and wanting blood but who can you get blood from when everyone around you is drained of all life? The police station was insanely florescent and buzzing, sad and depressing, and all cinderblock, white paint, plastic chairs and no magazines; why would it have to be that way? Why would I expect it to be anything else? Anyway, Uncle Rice walked up to the counter where a cop who seemed bored to the point of death was sitting and flipping through some random sheets of paper. I bet you a night with Camile that he had no idea what was on any of those sheets of paper. And he had a mustache. I fucking hated his very guts just looking at him. I knew by checking out his piggy rat eyes that he had judged so many people, and the very fact that a person could walk through those station doors escorted by fellow cops would get him thinking mean and prissy thoughts about them, maybe even wishing them dead, just as I am wishing HIM dead. What a vicious circle of wishes.

Me and my uncle were shuffled into a room with four or five chairs and a table with cigarette burns in it, which is exactly what I expected, but was very brightly lit, which is NOT what I expected at all. The temperature was okay, too, and that was strange, because I thought the whole idea was to get me all uncomfortable and disoriented until I spilled my pathetic guts. The floor had carpeting, a really short nap and institutional kind of feel on my feet, and there were of freaking course stains on it, and cigarette burns there, too, and the whole room smelled like a place I didn’t want to be. And suddenly, looking at this dumb room that smelled like coffee breath and smoke, that had almost no color to it, that was so bright that every flaw in the walls stood out like chicken pox scars, I felt so low about everything, I wondered how I had gotten here, and was I always destined to be a loser? Was this uncle of mine right? Did everybody hate me since the day I was born and feel my bad vibe pouring out of my blind baby eyes from day one?

Uncle Ben told me to sit, and I sat (hating myself for sitting on his command but what the hell else was I supposed to do?), and he told me to shut up and listen to him, and I shut up, and I listened to him as well as I could through the constant din of my own bile rising. Uncle Ben grimaced at me, and he rubbed his head in a way that everyone on my mom’s side of the family does when they are presented with an unpleasant task, like he was angry with his own head, and said to me, “Look, when Moody gets in here, don’t talk. I will talk. That’s important. Please don’t think that you’re going to make me look stupid and get even with me by saying something asinine to the police. You’re only going to hurt yourself, Pendel. Okay?”

I shrugged. I didn’t care. I was suddenly drained and felt so moronic and useless and the future was/is black and dim. I felt then, and I feel now, that I am a sham. Even in my increasingly desperate attempt at being a degenerate, I am only a poser. I have no real direction, even in my cynicism, and the worst kind of punk is the spiritless punk. I am the coasting loser. If you don’t get out of my way, I will roll right into you, but probably only like bruise your shin a little.

And so Chief Stephen Moody walks in the door, looking like a drinker but only a moderate one, and he talks by looking directly at me but gets answered by my Uncle as I sit with arms folded, pouting at the dirty table top. And you know the questions asked, where were you on the night of such and such (Camile’s house), what were you doing, (watching TV together, ha ha), when did you leave (not sure). I wanted to get up and shout, I wanted to keep spinning those wheels and keep them moving so that at least my life would have SOME purpose, even if the purpose was to be a pain in the hearts of others, I wanted to shout to Moody that I knew his son Lance, I had gym class with him, and he always got boners in the locker room and that he tried to hide them in his towel but we all saw them, and one time the jocks lit into him so bad about it that he was left alone in the corner crying by a pile of dirty, sweaty basketball uniforms, and nobody helped him, nobody asked if he was going to be okay, and I wonder Chief Moody, did your son tell you about what happened that night when he got home? I bet he didn’t. I wanted to tell Moody about it but I just couldn’t, because in the eyes of my family I had been a loser all along.

I could tell Moody hated me anyway, I know he knows I did it. He brought up the witnesses, and that was the one time I blurted anything out, I just stuck my finger in Moody’s red face and I said, “They’re a bunch of old, blind fucks! They got nothing better to do than look outside every time they hear a door slam! They didn’t see me. Whoever it was they saw it wasn’t me.”

Uncle Rice was embarrassed and told me to sit the hell down. Moody was highly amused. He stood up and told us that all this was just getting a formal statement from me, that they would talk to me more later. We stood to go, and I couldn’t believe that no one had brought up my stupid blog, but then out of nowhere Moody zooms right up into my face and says to me, with this CRAZY gleam in his eye that just screamed “I am going to smile when you die,” he says to me, “I know you gotta make your play, Mr. Haight. But you’re guilty and you know I know it. You’re too stupid to be good at this kind of thing. We have your confession already, and I know you know THAT, too. You wanna make it easy now or keep fighting us?”

Uncle Ben stood in between us and said that he thought it was time for us to leave. He told me again to not say anything. I didn’t. My cage was rattled. I felt like a 5 year old. I wanted to piss myself and cry. I am shit.

My uncle grabbed my arm and dragged me out of the station and threw me in his car. “What was he talking about in there?” I said I had no clue. “Pendel, I can’t help you if I don’t know.” I told him he was full of shit and had no intentions of helping me. No one did. I folded my arms and looked out the window the rest of the way home.

I wonder what community service will be like? What will I have to do? I hope it isn’t old people. Dear Jesus not old people.

So that’s about it. I know I rushed it, but things always seem to take so long to type out. Nothing really happened anyway, just my fate getting drawn out until I feel like it’s not even there anymore.

Oh yeah, on Sunday I made out with Patrice and her tongue was very slimy from cigarettes. It was gross, and I wished I hadn’t done it, because now she won’t leave me alone, but more on that later.