Chapter 4: When Dreams Come True

Posted in The Big Story of a Small City with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by D. C. Major

What I offer here as Chapter may be incomplete. There was over twice as much text in the original. However, the material I removed I’m deciding to place somewhere else, That makes this chapter shorter than the others. Perhaps at some point, I’ll add to this Chapter, or even return the cut text. But for now…

Submitted for your approval I offer you, Chapter 4: When Dreams Come True.

Thank you for your time,

D. C. Major

 

Chapter 4: When Dreams Come True

I spent the rest of that night writing dialog and feature segments for the next day. About 11:45 I tried to go to bed but to no avail. It was 4 in the morning when I gave up on sleep altogether, and decided to go back to the station to begin recording. By the time the rest of the team got there, I had %90 of the work done. The show went off without a hitch. In fact, for as rushed as the production was, it was a damn good episode. The only real hassle was the phones. They rang incessantly. We had three temps on phones, Aimee was on phones, and anyone else who was free was on phones, even if you were free for just one minute, you were on phones. Even me and Vic answered phones.

By the time the broadcast had ended, I was wiped. The previous night’s insomnia would not be a reoccurring problem. I could hardly lift my legs to walk, and if I was completely focus on something, I would nod off. A retreat was much needed, just enough to recharge my batteries and get my head straight.

It wasn’t hard to slip away in all the excitement. People were scurrying and answering the god-damned phones, but upstairs seemed eerily empty and quiet except for just one phone ringing at the end of the hall. Even my own office was a little creepy with the noise being the one ringing phone, and that one ringing phone, of course, was the phone on my desk.

Once in my office, I locked the door behind me and began a process of shutting off the outside world. Despite isolating myself in the empty office, it became abundantly obvious how intrusive even silent things could be. I muted my phone, silencing the ringing. I unplugged the computer so even the glow of the screen or the whirling of the fan wouldn’t disturb me. The lights on the phone continued to flash, and as I was closing the window blind I determined that even the flashing lights were too intrusive.

I took of my jacket and laid it over the phone. At last, the outside world was closed off and I could relax. After a quick inventory of pills, decided to take my one Dilaudid and 30mg of amphetamine salts.

The office was dark. There was no noise. Regardless, relaxation didn’t come. Something was keeping me on edge. It was vague, barely noticeable. I had trouble identifying which sense was sensing it. My resolution was that it was a feeling like touch or a light breeze, something against me skin. Then I realize it was the lights from the silenced phone. Through the coat and on my skin I could feel them flash. In a fit of rage, I ripped the phone from its wires and through it against the wall, shattering it into a hundred little pieces that went flying everywhere, and the receiver which landed next to the door.

It was only after my violent outburst that the room truly felt silent. So I sat and closed my eyes, and soon everything was a buzzing, numb, plane of existence, one that stretched over the horizon, sprawling, and infinite. Music played with the absence of notes and the universe swirled around me while I was completely motionless. I was relaxed in a chaotic world.

The relaxation wasn’t long-last but it was sufficient. None the less, I still felt deeply disturbed when a knock came from my door. Until the percussion broke my meditative state, I was totally out, and had no idea for how long.

“Yes! Come in,” I shouted.

The door timidly opened brushing the receiver slightly, and pushing it directly in front of temp that didn’t know what to make of it, or the dark lighting, or all the busted pieces of telephone lying around.

“Mr. Baxter,” she inquired.

“Yes. What do you want,” I said.

The lights were bright in the outer office and made it impossible to make out any part of her other than her silhouette.

She began to speak. “I have some…”

But I cut her off immediately.

“Turn the lights on! I can’t see shit how am I supposed to see whatever it is you have,” I snapped.

See turned the lights on and was about ready to begin speaking again when I let out a tirade of curses aimed at the blinding light and my damned eyes for taking so much time to adjust. By the time they did adjust, I was good and pissed. Not at anything in particular but just the situation and circumstances I found myself in. And I can say honestly, that I was in no way pissed at the temp at that moment but she was in front of me and that’s where my focus was.

She was a cute little thing, blonde and young, about early 20’s. All the aggression from my anger was transformed into sexual desire, the real primal kind. From the moment of being pissed, to the point where I could see her clear, and finally, to the point where I visualized us tearing each other’s’ clothes off and fucking on my desk, occurred in an instant.

“I have something for you,” she said, closing the door behind her.

“What is it,” I asked.

“One of the listeners kept calling,” she began. “He said he knew you so I took his information and told him I’d make sure you get the message, but he kept calling, like 15 times. I told Mr. Aiello and he said it was probably just some nut job and not to worry about. But then Aimee saw it and said she recognized the name. She told me to take it you right away.”

In a gesture of offence she held up the note. I stood and walked around my desk and as she walked to meet me half way, or so I though. Instead, at about the point where two people would be at a comfortable conversation distance, she took one step closer.

This was a blatant signal and I responded by slowly taking the note but ignoring it, instead holding her gaze, locking my eyes on hers. I leaned a little forward, just enough to make us noticeably closer, and waited to see if she retreated even in the slightest. She did not.

We stood there for a moment, and I undressed her with eyes, and fantasized all kinds of scenarios, exploring every corner of my office.

I knew what was going to happen next, and with my libido at the helm, I set sale. But as much of a believer as I am in mixing business with pleasure, some things can’t be done while trying to read handwritten Post-it notes. So when business can’t be mixed with pleasure, it must come first.

With that, I broke my stare, halted the sexual tension, and read the note. The name on the note was “Homer Mohney.”

Admittedly, seeing the name shocked me. Enough that my previous plan involving the temp, was eradicated and my only remaining thought was calling the number, and I swear that nothing further would have come of my interaction with that temp, had she just left after I dismissed her.

Instead, she spoke again.

“Before I go,” she said. “I just wanted to say that I’m one of your biggest fans.”

They use to say that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. Nowadays, we believe in the more lecherous side of man and say things like, “he thinks with his dick.” As for me, the one tried-and-true attention getter, that one thing that can steel my heart and arouse my lust, is my ego. When a hot, young, girl tells you she’s your biggest fan, and has no problems getting physically close, well, hell, that’s the whole reason I got into this business.

“Well, thank you,” I said with a sly smile as I turned to face her again. “The fans are why I am where I am today.”

“I’ve always imagined what it would be like to meet you,” she said approaching me, once again, taking one step too close. “I don’t mean ingratiate myself, but meeting you is a dream come true.”

“I’m just a man,” I said. “I do appreciate the sentiment though.”

We were definitely getting closer and I’ve been in the situation enough times to judge the momentum, but what she said next was so cliché I couldn’t believe she actually said it. I mean, I’ve had my share of women come on to me, but I had never actually had any woman say to me what she said. If it was in text, it would be considered bad writing.

“If there’s anything I can do for you… anything… just tell me and I’ll do it.”

I almost laughed out loud but managed to keep my composure and focused on the momentum. I reached out and put my hand on her waist and had barely touched her when she leaned into my grip. I pulled her in tight, and we started going at it right there in my office.

Not that you need to know, but I close my eyes while making out. That’s only relevant because while my eyes are closed I fantasize. My corporeal self writhed in emotion and felt her body rubbing all over mine, but in the darkness of my mind, I was back in high school.

I was walking down the locker-lined halls and saw Nicole, a beautiful blonde cheerleader whom I had a deep crush on. She was energetic and bubbling, just like remembered her, and when we passed I said “hi.” She didn’t say “hi” back, nor did she even notice me. That too was how I remembered her. In the vision, she swept past me like I was a ghost.

The memory of that day is symbolic. That day when beautiful Nicole swept past me was the worst day of my life, as measured by the mind of a seventeen year old. Yet it represents the rota fortunae, the wheel of fortune. Less than 24 hours after sweet Nicole had breezed past me, my wheel would turn 180 degrees. The day at DuBois Area Senior High School, Nicole was probably bubbly and bouncing the halls as usual. She definitely didn’t know I was absent, nor that I was on a bus headed somewhere, but with no destination.

It was until 8 years later, when I finally returned home that she noticed me. It was my third of fourth day back, while having some reunion drinks with some old friends at the Hitching Post, when Nicole walked in. For five years she didn’t acknowledge me, but that night at the Hitching Post, she recognized me immediately. She said “hi” to me, knew my name, and started talking like olds friend. Things progressed, and she ended up coming home with me.

To this day, I’m not sure if she was gold digging, star fucking, or honestly interested in me, but I can say my intentions were simple. I wanted to have sex with the cheerleader that swept past me eight years earlier, the one who didn’t even know who I was. My only ambition that night was making a high-school boy’s dream come true and that I did. Every scenario, every dirty desire I had ever imagined, came true.

In the throes of our passion I told her I loved her and always had since school. I promised to share my fame and my wealth with her, and told her I’d show her the world. I told her I wanted her to be part of my life forever.

Regardless of her intensions earlier in the night, by the end of it, I honestly believe I had her falling in love with me. It could be a narcissistic delusion, but I swear my odes of love affected her because as our night drew to an end, in her eyes, I saw love.  We fell asleep in each other’s arms, embraced in new-found love, like soul mates.

The next morning, I was already awake when she opened her eyes. A smile spread across her face and I wasted not a second. I told her I had lied, that I didn’t have any intensions on spending any more time with her than I had too. I told her why I did it, the memory, the anger of a 17-year-old boy. I told her it felt good to do it and it was a type of revenge. Then I told her I’d really appreciate it if she would leave as soon as possible.

The tears gathered in the corners of her eyes and she sobbed as she got dressed. As she cursed and threatened, I laughed and took pride. There is an evil side of me that has been created by people like her, and because it’s their creation, I feel no guilt and never have. People like her, don’t get sympathy from me, and receive none of my respect.

It was that “evil side” that opened his eyes and looked down at the blonde temp who, for some unknown reason, reminded me of a certain cheerleader. I’m sure there were plenty of boys who she ignored in the very same halls that I used to get ignored in. She was just another Nicole.

I ran my hand under her blouse and up her ribs, resting it on her breast.

“You know,” I said. “I had some dreams too.”

“Oh yeah. What are they,” she whispered in my ear.

“Sex with young girls, fans, temps,” I said.

She leaned back just enough to meet my eyes and give me “the look.” With both hands she went for my belt buckle.

But I grabbed her wrists, pulled them away and brought them to her chest, just under her chin. I squeezed hard enough to induce slight pain and illicit a little fear. Both were visible in her eyes but in addition I saw every nameless boy she had ever ignored.

My actions had changed the tone of the encounter. Once again, the office was creepy, quiet, and calm, except for the beating of the temp’s heart which was visibly pounding.

“You don’t get it,” I said. “That was an old dream. One that’s come true some many times it’s not even a dream anymore. It’s a cliché. Boring. I’ve got no interest in what you’re offering little girl.”

I used the grip I had on her wrist to slightly push her away.

“You’re fired,” I said and returned to my chair.

She stood there in shock, just staring at me, not know what to make of the situation.

“Bye,” I said dismissively.

Familiar tears gathered in her eyes. She left my office adjusting her disheveled clothes and sobbing. My evil side laughed and still felt no guilt.

Still Around: An Update

Posted in Updates on August 15, 2013 by D. C. Major

I haven’t been too active on here but I have been active. For instance, if you feel like you have achieved enough, or feel like a failure, this will make you feel better. http://dustinchadmajor.tumblr.com/post/58309747956/failing-to-celebrate-failure

Chapter 3: The Teacher Describes the Student’s Psycopathy

Posted in Chapter 3: The Teacher Describes the Pupil's Psycopathy, The Big Story of a Small City with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2013 by D. C. Major

Ok, what you are reading right now is an edit of something I posted a week or so ago. Basically I need to post something in order to obtain a web address which I wanted to link to two other web pages. However both of those pages needed links to this post. I was caught in an infinite loop, chickens and eggs, cat’s in boxes, where does the circle begin; it was maddening.

My solution was to post a “place holder” at this address, edit and link the content for the other pages and then, to complete the loop, return here and edit the intro. Long of the short of it, this isn’t a new post in the sense that it was created several days ago, but it is “new” in the sense that this intro was just now published (May 27, 2013).

Alright, now that all of that is taken care of…

The following is a rewrite I did of Ch. 3: The Teacher Assesses the Pupil’s Pychopathy. So, if you already have read this chapter, don’t worry, the re-write did not affect the story line. That was not the intent either. The re-write was created as an example for an essay I wrote in the subject of using software in the creative process. That essay can be found here, at my craft-of-fiction blog, Fiction as Technique. It’s a good read for those interested in writing technique.

If you haven’t read Ch. 3, or anything for that matter, now’s a good time to start. Continue reading and you’ll get a quick glimpse of the three main characters, an intriguing short narrative, and a good representation of the novel as a whole.

Follow me on Tumblr here, and keep track of my doings and/or excuses for procrastinating.

Lastly, I’ll say “goodbye” as I usually do,

Thank you for your time,

D. C. Major

Chapter 3

The Teacher Assesses the Pupil’s Psychopathy

The box was awkward in size, just big enough for one man to carry, but barely. When opened, it revealed itself to be a matryoshka-doll of one man’s knowledge. The smell of musty storage, like old books in forgotten libraries rose when I removed the lid. It was easily noticeable that not all of the contents were old, just most of them. Some of the items couldn’t have been more than a few years old. There were notebooks, reel-to-reels, smaller boxes with unknown holdings, 3 ½ inch floppy disks, 5 ¼ floppy disks, even a folder that had 8 inch floppies. Clearly, Dr. Sheraw had been technologically savvy. There were also several stacks of mini-cassettes, each labeled and grouped by rubber bands. Out of all the contents, the mini-cassettes intrigued me the most.

The day before, I had seen my mini-cassette recorder as I cleaned out my old desk. Unfortunately, it was back at my house, now in my new desk. I could’ve instantly read the note books, but the mini-cassettes fascinated me. The possibilities of what was on the cassettes aroused a great excitement in me. The feeling was an anxious obsession, but could also be akin to nostalgia. You see, the mini-cassette recorder was what I cut my teeth on when I first started writing, back in my days as a collegiate journalist.

After the few brief minutes of having opened the box, I closed it and decided to make a b-line to my house. I was compelled to hear his voice and what he had to say.

It wasn’t easy sneaking out of the office unnoticed, let alone carrying the box, but not only did I make it, I also traversed the parking lot undetected. With more care than would have been observed, I forced the box into the passenger’s seat. Once on the road, I checked my cell phone. I have the habit of leaving it in the car when I’m at the station. It’s always seemed pretentious to be on a cell phone at work. It’s a good thin thing that I do too. There were over 300 text messages and 37 voice mails. My Gmail account showed “99+” in the Inbox. The phone was ringing and vibrating at the very moment I was checking it. The illusion of my life being private had been shattered.

“Piss on this,” I thought to myself. I was in no mood to have to deal with all of that. The phone was thrown onto the glove box and the latch was locked. Out of sight, out of mind

At home I was greeted by the sound of my home phone ringing. I put the box on the floor next to the new desk and ran through the house unplugging all the phones. Without any distraction I sat down at the desk. Somewhere in the back of the middle drawer was my mini-cassette recorder. I remembered putting it there when I moved all the stuff from the old desk into the new one. My hand didn’t even search, the retrieval was automatic; as soon as the drawer was opened, the recorder was in hand.

Most of Dr. Sheraw’s cassettes were in a shoe box, aptly labeled, “Mini-Cassettes.” When I lifted the shoe box out, it revealed a revealed another shoe box beneath it. The second shoe box was much older and labeled, “To Be Filed.” The label compounded with its apparent antiquity gave the box the mystique of containing sacred and esoteric secrets. The corners of the lid showed their age and had been repaired numerous times with tape. Even still, one of the corners was completely torn leaving the lid loose. I used an archeologist’s care as I removed it from the box.

The treasures inside spanned more than one moment in his life. They were not filed because they were beyond a definition to file them by. These items were beyond categorization. They were too close, too personal, and too loved, to be grouped. Their owner had an emotional bond to them. He cherished them and cared for them. They were not simply stored information, like the other contents. They were sacred, and kept separate.

The old shoe box contained a hodge-podge of memorabilia; napkins with women’s names and numbers, some with lipstick kisses, notes, photos of women, trinkets, and all sorts of stuff conjuring images of a life lived in intrigue, with sordid affairs, and adventure abound. But even more tantalizing than the fantasy of chance encounters with exotic women was a small cache additional mini-cassettes.

Piously, I removed them from their home, six in all. As I held them in my hands, a sense of omnipotence came over me. Maybe if holding gold or diamonds I would have felt wealthier, but as far as I was concerned, the cassettes made me the richest man in the world.

One cassette in particular caught my attention. The label was split down middle with a hand-drawn line. The left side had written on it, “Salmon Beach.” On the right were the words “Walkers” and “Family” written alternately several times. Each time the word was crossed out and, apparently replaced by the next with all having been eventually crossed out.

I put the other 5 back and quickly, but carefully, opened the one. As soon as I opened the case I could see the cassette was partially played. The time it would have taken me to rewind the tape seemed an eternity I didn’t want to confront. Not only that, I wanted to listen it as Dr. Sheraw had left it.

I pushed play.

[Dr. Sheraw’s Voice]: …but Mr. Huffman’s wasn’t his fault. It was a connection his brain couldn’t make, not a decision he consciously made. In one case the subject acknowledges acceptable behavior and rebels against it. In the other case, the subject is incapable of acceptable behavior due to neurological abnormalities. It’s the basic nature versus nurture argument and an exceptional example of the dichotomy. For whatever reason Farkis and society didn’t interact well and, in response, Farkis said, “to hell with it,” and went rogue. Mr. Huffman, on the other hand, had an interaction with society but it was during his incipient development. And whether he consciously fought against treatment, or if he just wasn’t able to respond to it, neither therapy nor pharmaceuticals helped. Perhaps when trauma happens that early in development there are unknown biological effects, physiological and yet unknown. But my experience with Mr. Huffman suggests there is no changing him. To change one’s behavior one has to be aware of what needs changing. And THAT is where Huff lacks. His issues, if you will, are so central to his being, his ego, that he can’t see it. Even if he could, what then? How can you remove the roots of a tree and expect the branches to continue growing? His issues aren’t issues at all. They’re just who he is.

Coping neuroses sustained him and even worked to his advantage from toddler up to early adult but eventually proved inadequate. Ultimately, after he killed JB, his brain just abandoned the parts that kept him connected to the trauma. He grew and developed naturally but, after the trauma, ate age 5 believe, his development was altered. The stress was beyond the abilities of his mind. To manage this excess stress, his brain forged new connections and constructed new coping mechanisms. These alternate connections and mechanisms became fundamental tools to process anxiety when the primary systems were overwhelmed. But when he killed JB, the brain permanently bypassed the primary systems. This type of break down is typical of the PTSD patient. Another more sensationalized manifestation, though much rarer, is Multiple Personality Disorder. Some are yet on board with the idea of considering MPD patients in the same group as PTSD, but research is ever pointing in the direction of dissociative similarities. In contrast, there are symptoms that are never dramatized. Many patients report difficulty judging depth perception. Mr. Huffman complained of this too.

The patient doesn’t see reality the same post trauma. Yes, there is the well-documented difficulty judging depth. However, there is a more, let’s say, metaphysical symptom, related to the skewed visual perception. The individual cannot make emotional connections based on visual stimuli. The patient feels that nothing is real, everything is made of plastic, or has been replaced with replicas. Keep in mind, the patient does not question what reality is. In fact, the patient will administer normal reality testing and have full awareness of the ego’s place in reality. There is no fundamental empathy for anything being judged via visual stimuli. The symptom is strictly perceptual. This applies to animate objects as well as inanimate objects, effecting interpersonal connections to individuals. Mr. Huffman always describes it as watching life at the movies. He can see and interpret it, even interact and/or react, but he can’t emotionally connect to it. The ego is prevented from making empathetic associations to the visual stimuli, hence the name, “Dissociative Disorder.”

Regardless of healthy reality testing, the brain does continuously administer the test, excessively so, in response to the altered perception of the stimuli. This causes excessive anxiety for the patient. The stress of constantly questioning reality must be torturous. I remember Mr. Huffman not sleeping, not even sitting down or slowing down for three, four days at a pop. He was never restful. I’m no biologist, but I know the brain needs sleep to regulate a healthy personality. Extended periods of sleep deprivation can cause permanent change to personality.

I often wonder what he sees. His stories are beautiful. He touches the hearts of so many. But the man I know, the person, the human being, is empty. It’s like he’s an automaton, like there’s no ghost inside the shell. He’s not a cold-blooded killer, or a liar, or pure evil. He’s a psychological anomaly, deeply sensitive to primitive humanity, able to emulate emotion, and most of the time act in accordance, but incapable of the emotion necessary to link it all together.

You don’t usually see individuals like Mr. Huffman in their old age. Their lives are too often short and tragic. They kill themselves. Sometimes, they kill others. Most drink themselves to death, and in that same vein, are those who succumb to drug abuse. All are Walkers Along the Path, bare to the elements, dying by the ripe-old age of 60. They die of natural causes…    brought on by unnatural circumstances. Their only functional choice is to avoid permanent institutionalization and do their best to cope. Their conditions are chronic.

And now…

…and now my soul purpose of intercepting Death before he reaches me, is being obscured by thoughts of Mr. S. Huffman, and what will become of him when I’m gone. Who will take care of him? He’s not capable of doing it himself. What he does when he’s by himself, what he calls living, is not safe, not for him or anyone around him. By himself, he does not take care of himself. What he does will inevitably lead to his demise. It’s not just self-destructive behavior, but his emotional detachment leaves him vulnerable to VULTURES! Like that vial BITCH who calls herself his wife! And that, that,… agent who openly admits that he’s only interested in Huff if there’s money to be made!

Note! Cut and edit first half. File under “Salmon Beach.” Edit second half. File under “Walkers Along the Path.”

There was a brief moment of silent hissing familiar to anyone who has worked with analogue recording.  It was interrupted by the noise of Dr. Sheraw pressing the “stop” button followed by the mechanical “click” of the recorder head releasing. The silent hissing resumed as my recorder played the blank portion of the tape.

I was in a trance, absorbing what I had just heard. It felt like I had been reflecting for hours, but in reality, it had to have been just a few seconds. Because, with in the time it took for me to notice my absent state, snap out of it, gather myself, and reach for the recorder, I heard the mechanical click again.

[Dr. Sheraw’s Voice]: Note! Correction on the last notation. Cut and edit first half. File under, “Salmon Beach.” Cut and Edit second half. File under, “Family.”

He shut his recorder off, leaving me to the deafening silence of hissing white noise as mine continued to play.  This time I let it go for 10 solid minutes before I turned it off. There were no more recordings on that mini-cassette.

Chapter 1: The Interview is On [Revision]

Posted in Chapter 1: The Interview is ON, The Big Story of a Small City with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2013 by D. C. Major

To my few visitors and even fewer followers, along with anyone else that may be reading this entry let my offer a quick explanation of the text that follows. Recently, in an effort to improve my skills as a fiction writer, I consulted some references on the craft of fiction writing. How that endeavor lead to this entry can be, in more detail, explored here. Relevant to this blog is that this post is a revision of a previous version of Chapter 1. In short, if you have followed the story so far, this post will not impact the plot. However, it will be a better telling of the first chapter. If you haven’t followed the story, then this will be an excellent opportunity to begin. With nothing else to add, I’ll end this intro and let you read on.

            Thank you for your time

On September 4th, 2013, life changed for me. Early in the morning a new desk arrived. Its arrival, alone, changed my life. Though it wasn’t the catalyst that brought forth life-altering change, it was merely a very appropriate omen. The arrival of the desk would become an allegory for the last 20 years of my life. But, I wouldn’t find that out until I was just about ready to leave for work…

I stood in my kitchen gazing across into the den and sipped my morning coffee. In the den sat my new desk. In that moment I was awestruck. That desk means more to me than anyone could know. And seeing it for the first time, light coming in through window, in the distance across my kitchen and in my den, was one of those few moments in life where one truly feels complete satisfaction.

The light illuminated the glassy finish. It was constructed out of antique cherry wood that had been salvaged from an old building down town. The tones of the reflecting light gave the desk the appearance of being a burning ember. I needed to put all the stuff from my old desk into it, and wanted to do so before work. Instead, an unknown about of minutes ticked away as focused on my dream come true.

Over the years, the building had been called many names but was locally known as the Pershing Hotel. In its heyday, it was DuBois’ grandest theatre as well as the area’s highest classed brothel. After the brothel closed, the theatre stayed somewhat popular while the rest of the building held various businesses and apartment, none of the businesses lasted and seemed to close as fast as they open. Over the years ownership changed hands many times. The varying owners did not take care of The Pershing. Toward the end, the theatre only showed porn and then closed all together. The building cultivated a sense of failure and its worn exterior made it look run down and trashy. Business didn’t want a front in the building and only the dregs lived in the apartments. Eventually, it fell in disarray and was slated for demolition.

Before they tore it down, the last owner stripped the inside of whatever was left of value and sold it. There wasn’t much; it was mostly junk.Since being vacant it had been the refuge of street kids and vandals as well as looters. All that was left to sale were the building materials that made up the interior;things like banisters, cast iron tubs, old tile, stuff like that.

The Pershing’s last owner advertised the sale of the material. I had no intensions on buying anything, I only wanted to see the inside one last time before they tore it down. Once inside, old memories flooded back. The sensation amplified when I saw some solid cherry molding with matching, inch-thick, solid cherry paneling. It used to line the walls of the main lobby and when I saw it for sale the compulsion to buy it was too strong. Aside from the memories, there were more mundane rationalizations behind my purchase. Simply stated, it was beautiful. There was something about the quality of the old-world craftsmanship and as I admired the cherry, a vision came to me where I use the wood to build an exquisite desk. That vision became a dream, and that dream became a project that never came to fruition.

The owner was asking way too much for the wood, and when I inquired about purchasing just the amount needed to build a desk, she insisted that it all went as one lot. It ended up costing me $700 and nearly lost the purchase because I couldn’t find anyway to pick it up. Two days before demolition I found a truck to barrow. After loading the last piece, I went back inside to make sure I didn’t miss any. The smell of mildew and dirt, stripped walls, busted glass, a feeling of loss and mourning, like a body deteriorating with age, inevitable colapsethese are the last memories I have of the Pershing Hotel.

For almost 20 years I lugged that wood around. At times, what was supposed to be a dream, became a burden. I never had a place of my own that had space to store. It royally pissed my dad offbeing that his place was where it was stored most of the time.

As moderate success enriched me financially and age matured me, I faced the inevitable conclusion that I would never get to the project. I commissioned the best carpenter in Pennsylvania, and gave him the drawings and doodles I had compiled over the years as a blueprint. There was more than enough wood for a desk, so an arrangement was made with the carpenter. Whatever wood was left over from the construction, he could keep in exchange for a discount. Even still, it cost $2,100 but was well worth it. The desk was a masterpiece and a 20-year-old dream come true.

I shook myself from the engaging thoughts. The Pershing and my history with it are an integral part of my life’s journey. In truth, if it wasn’t for that building I wouldn’t be who or where I am now. Many years ago the Pershing led me to success. But it was also there and then, at the Pershing, the seed of change was planted, and for the past [NUMBER OF YEARS SINCE FIELD TRIP]it grew. The growth was about to give forth fruit and right before it did, I began to move the stuff from my old desk to its new home.

There was room for everything and then some. Many of the drawers and shelves were empty. All the vacant space had me re-evaluating my life. It was like after all my success there was little to occupy my reward. These thoughts were aggravatingand had me fishing for an escape. The warm smell of the coffee assuaged my dynamic mood and I took solace in pouring another cup.

Aimmee entered the kitchen.

“Bonjour mon amour,” she said.

“Good morning” I replied without looking up.

Our relationship is unique. For all intent and purpose, we are boyfriend/girlfriend. We met in France a few years earlier where we fell in love. When it was time for me to go home, she wanted to stay with me, and I with her. However, neitherone of us were interested in getting married just for her citizenship but, if she was my employee, she would be able to get her work visa. So I put her on payroll as my secretary and, ever since, we’ve been together. If you asked either of us the nature of our relationship, we would say we were in love, but are not boyfriend/girlfriend, she’s just my secretary. This has always given our relationship the sense of being forbidden and has kept things exciting between us.

It was the Pershing that led to my success. It was my successes that lead to Paris. In all fairness, it’s the Pershing that led to Aimee. That thought had me fixated again on the glowing ember in the den. My concentration was interrupted when Aimee spoke.

“I must go,” she said in her thick accent. “Or I’ll be late. And you better get that cute littledoopah of yours in gear or you will be late too.”

“I know. I know,” I said. “I’m gonna finish this cup and I’ll get going.”

“D’accord,” she said. “I will see you there. Je t’aime mon petit chou.”

“I love you too, babe.”

She left.

When I signed my employment contract at the radio station, I made it contingent that Aimee would be brought on as my personal assistant and secretary. It was her job to get there before me to transcribe the days dialog and manage my phone and email messages. In truth, her job wasn’t that involved. She was pretty much there as eye candy for me.

All-in-all, it was one of the cushiest of jobs either of us have had. Typically I’m eager to get to work and get started, but on that day all I wanted to do was spend a little time at my desk. After all, it had been nearly 20 years in the making and I wanted to bask in my dream come true.

At noon I had to be on-air, but there can be 1 to 2 hours of preproduction before air time. The work load from the day before was light and I assumed the day ahead would be the same. An hour of prep was all I planned on.At 10:55, I knew I should be leaving, but again the desk held me.

With my cup of coffee in hand Imade my way to the desk.The ambiance of the desk roused an urge to be productive. It wasn’t my job that inspired me though, instead, it was there at that desk I wanted to work. My job was just a distraction.

Unfortunately there was nothing to do. It was necessary to conjure work in the form of checking my voice messages. There were only two. With the phone on speaker I placed it on the desk and leaned back in my chair. The sipping of the coffee, conjured work, and the feel of the desk induced immediate gratification.

The first message played…

“Hi. This is Chris and I’m the… um…I mean, and I’m with the Essex Group, and ah… today I’d like to talk to you about the best deal around… um… today,… I guess. It’s a good opportunity for me… No. Wait.  I mean, it’s for you and will, um… benefit me. Er, you. Well… actually, it’ll benefit us both… and will be lucrative too… for us both… Also… and, um, the Chris Group and I-er, The Essex Group and I can manage it all for you… … … … Gawd! I hate doing this part! I never know what to say. So, um, yeaaah, if you wouldn’t mind calling me back I would really appreciate it. Have a great day… Oh! And I thank your time. For time, I mean. I thank you for time… er… your time, for your time. Um… Have a nice day and re-wait… I meant great day. Have a great day and remember… … … … I forgot what I was going to say. … … … Bye.”

You could hear him say “shit” in the background as he hung up. Experiencing his inexperience was excruciating. This was probably his first attempt at a cold-call acquisition. He didn’t even leave his number, the poor bastard.

I deleted the message. 2nd one was from a pro.

“Mr. Baxter. This is Abram Edelstein with Creed Productions. I believe we have a mutual friend, Pamela Kelly. She mentioned that you were finally considering making a movie and, I must say, that got us all rather excited over here at Creed. All the board members, myself included, would be honored to put your story on the big screen. Our company’s history and past successes ensure that the film will be as beautiful as it is profitable. You’ll have a top-shelf director, top shelf actors, a very generous budget, and most importantly, only our reputation can ensure that the integrity of you story will be maintained. We are willing to offer you complete creative control as well as production credit if you want it. I’ve sent a couple proposals to your attorney. Of course, they are just proposals. We’re willing to negotiate any detail and are receptive to any proposals you may have to offer. Your attorney has all the contact information. I look forward to hearing from you.”

I deleted that message too.

The messages were an omen, a red flag indicating that the day was going to unusual I just didn’t realize it. Whoever Pamela Kelly was, she wasn’t a friend of mine and it had been a long while since I had gotten any offers let alone two. And what was really weird was the one from Creed Productions. Weird not just because of the timing but also because it was the best offer I had ever gotten. Unfortunately, my story wasn’t for sale. Even if I was willing to sell it, whether or not I could do sowithout implementing myselfwas a risk my attorney warned me not to take. Anyone interested in buying my story knew that. I could understand why a rookie like Chris from the Essex Group would make a futile attempt, but I couldn’t understand why a pro like Mr. Edelstein would.

Pondering all of this, I was about to call my attorney to have him disregard and dispose of any communiqués from Abram Edelstein and Creed Productions when the phone began to ring in my hand, the vibration slightly startling me.

“C. H. Baxter,” I answered.

“So how’s my favorite client?”

“Ronny. What’s the word? Did they file an appeal yet?”

“They’ve settled, Chad.”

In a split second, the out-of-the-blue offers made sense. Word of a settlement had reached some before it had made its way to me. The case Ronny spoke of was the only thing preventing me from telling my story.

The news was as exciting as it was stunning. The night before, I had heard an expert on NPR say it could be as long as five more years before a settlement. Even my own attorney warned me not to hold my breath. The plan had been to finish my contract with the radio station before the settlement and, hopefully, have an additional year or two to prepare before going public.

“I can’t believe you haven’t heard yet,” Ronny continued. “It came across the AP over an hour ago. TMZ already has it on their home page. The only reason I didn’t call you sooner is because I’m dealing with a cluster fuck right now. How could you not have heard? Aren’t you supposed to be a legitimate news broadcaster these days?”

Overwhelming emotions were keeping me from thinking clearly. I started to ramble. “We need to get ahold of [P],” I exclaimed. “We need to contact the publisher. Jesus Christ! The Box! We need to get the box! I need those notes, Ronny. You gotta call…”

“Relax, Chad,” Ronny said. “I don’t need to contact the publisher because they already contacted me. Along with three others so far, all claiming they’re willing to out-bid the others. Same for [P]. His attorney already got ahold of me. The interview is on”

“The interview is on,” I repeated, half reaffirming what he had just said, half coming to terms with the reality of it.

“When,” I asked.

“In 2 days at 10 AM.At his house.”

“What about the box? Where’s it at?”

“The box is coming. It should be there before the end of your show. Despite being caught with our pants down I was ableto arrange it being sent to the station. I assumed you’d want to see it as soon as possible. Now, take a few breaths and relax. I’m taking care of everything.”

“You’re right. I can’t lose my head, at least not now. The box though, it is coming? You’re sure of it?”

“Ab-so-lootly,” he assured. “I’ve got a private carrier making the delivery. One of the best.I promise.”

“Thanks Ronny. You know, two days isn’t a lot of time before an interview. It’s going to be a little sloppy.”

“Don’t worry about, Chad,” he said. “I heard you like it sloppy! HA!”

“Funny, yadick.”

“Seriously though, I’m sure [P] was aware of the time frame. It’s my guess he doesn’t want you having too much prep time going into this. He’s probally worried you’ll see dollar signs and go rogue. Personally, I don’t think the two of you will have any shortage of things to talk about, and as long as it’s coming directly from him, nothing else matters, right?”

*   *   *   *   *

Aimee was right. I was late. When I finally made it to the station, there was only 35 minutes to prepare before air time. I needed to get to my office and needed to get there quickly. It’s the last office at the end of a long hall on the third floor of the station. But to get to the stairs required walking past VicAiello’s office.

Vic’s the station manager at WDUB. He, along with the pissed-off look on his face, was waiting for me as soon as I entered the building. He started to jump my ass for being late but I interrupted him and told him about the settlement. He quieted but it was evident he was still pissed. The gears were noticeable grinding in his head. The only impact on him and the station would be related to contract. Or so we thought.

After my quick run-in with Vic, I rushed my way to my office. It’s the largest in the building, even bigger than Vic’s, and is actually made up of two offices; an outer office that serves as a small reception-like area, and the private office where I do my work.In the outer office there is a desk were Aimee’s sits. Out of everybody, she was the only one I was excited to tell the news to. However, as soon as I saw her, I forgot all that was going on.

I hadn’t paying attention when she left the house earlier and I didn’t notice how pretty she looked.Never have I, nor ever will, find someone as beautiful. Jet black hair done up like a retro, 50’s secretary, only sexier. A cross between one of those women on Mad Men and Dita Von Tesse. Her foundation was light, her eyes bright green with dark lining. Lips, matching thedeep red blouse whose buttons were pulled taught across her chest. I had a plunging neck line that would’ve been completely inappropriate for an office environment. Fortunately, I’m her boss and don’t mind how risqué her attire is. In fact I encourage it. When your secretary is also you’re live-in, the risk of a sexual harassment suit is minimal.

“Good morning Monsieur Baxter,” she said with a smile.

“Good morning Miss Martineau,” I said. “Any messages?”

“Qui! Beaucoup,” she said. “I have not even finished going through your emails. There’re so many today!”

“I bet, and there’s going to be a lot more, so I hope you are prepared for a grueling day with your wicked boss.”

“Mmmmm,” she said with sultry eyes.“You know I like it when you get wicked.”

“Indeed. And as inviting as that enticement sounds, I’m afraid we won’t have time today. Ronny called after you left with news. [nn] vs. [nn] was settled this morning so it’s only gonna get busier.”

“Oh, mon Cheri! I am so happy for you,” she said.

“Thanks babe,” I said. “We’ll talk more later. If I don’t get a fire under my ass, I’m gonna miss air time.”

I entered my office, grabbed the day’s material, and exited with haste it to make it to the broadcast booth. Preproduction was hurried through and air time was just made.

News travels fast. The fans may be few, but what amazes me about technology nowadays is they can receive information and congregate ideas at the speed of light. At 1:00 PM,after we return from commercial break, we do our call-in segment:What’s On Your Mind, DuBois. It’s a chance for the listeners to call in and voice issues or concerns regarding the community. If a caller is chosen to be on-air, they get a prize. Callers are screened by the receptionists to ensure FCA guidelines and interests. The first caller, a regular, lied to get past the screening…

Chad:              And weare back. I’m Chad Baxter and this is The Chad Baxter Show. I want to say a big thank you to all our sponsors who make this program possible. And remember, if you want tickets to the Reitz Community Theatre’s production of Comedy of Errors, contact the box office directly. But if you want two tickets for free, all you got to do is call in and be one of the lucky listeners chosen to speak on-air. We got 10 tickets to give away and the first two are going to caller number 1. Tell me DuBois, what’s on your mind?

Jim:                  Hi, C. H. It’s Jim.

Chad:              Well hi back at ya Jim. listen up, DuBois. It’s our old friend Jim Elias. What’s on your mind today, Jim?

Jim:                  Oh, I think you know why I’m calling today.

Chad:              I’d guess you’re talking about last night’s city meeting. You got rather worked up there, Jim. They had to ask you to leave, didn’t they? What was that all about?

Jim:                  Ha! Yeah, that was fun but that’s not what I’m talking about. I heard they settled [nn] vs. [nn.] Your fans have some questions for you. Like what exactly happened that night when…

Jim:                  (I disconnected the caller in a panic) Thanks for your interest Jim, but I just found out a couple of hours ago myself. Enjoy your Tickets and we look forward to hearing from you again. Next caller, what’s on your mind?

The next caller did the same, as did three more before we cut to a commercial break. We had to end the segment early and eliminated all others that involved listener call-ins. It was the first time in the program’s 3 years that there was no audience participation.

The show was a complete disaster and even though we have always maintained the highest quality in our broadcast, and even though a show that bad would have normally had me concerned, my thoughts we’re preoccupied with the box.

No sooner had I exited the booth Aimee stopped me. She said Vic wanted to see me right away. I was pretty certain his mood hadn’t improved since earlier. My hunch was comfirmed when I entered his office. He had daggers for me.

“You wanted to see me, boss,” I said.

“WHAT THE FUCK CHAD,” he yelled. “How in the hell am I supposed to run a God damn radio station with all of this attention on you? There’s no way we can do call-ins. You said the case wasn’t gonna be settled. You told me not worry about.It’s only been three fucking years! What the hell am I supposed to do now?”

“I’m not sure, Vic,” I said. “I haven’t even had a chance to maul it over myself.”

“Well,” he said as he stood up, his face getting red. “You better figure it the fuck out because I’ll be God damned if that shit that just went out of my station ever happens again.”

“I agree. If it comes to it, I’d understand if you terminated my contract.”

“Ha,” he said in a sarcastic tone. “If firing your ass was an option, I would have pulled you the second Jim brought it up. But you know, just as well as me, if you’re gone, so are our sponsors.”

He stared at me for a while. I was the proverbial deer in the headlights. His look was something similar to anger but more like the look of a predator preparing for a kill. I wasn’t sure if I should wait for him to say something, or start running.

His expression relaxed and he sat back down.

“Alright,” he began in a somewhat calmer tone. “This is what we’re gonna do. Tomorrow you’re going to do the show but with limited call-ins. We’ll have to ramp up the screening process somehow. Tell that secretary of yours that she’s going to be helping with that.”

“That won’t be a problem,” I said. “But if we cut call-ins what will we do to fill the gaps.”

He leaned back in his chair, put his hands behind his head, and looked at the ceiling. This was his typical deep-thinking pose. After a minute or two, he leaned forward and gave me a look of self-satisfaction.

“The listening area has increased since TheIncident,” he said. “And the population has too. There are plenty of listeners who haven’t heard the story in its entirety. Instead of avoiding the subject we’ll address it. You’ll write three or four narratives telling the story. I know you won’t want to say anything about your involvement in it and that’s fine but come in early tomorrow and we’ll pre-record what you come up with. We’ll air them in place of the call-ins. We’ll present it as a special in honor of the [nn] vs. [nn] settlement. At some point during the show, you’ll announce you’re taking a temporary leave of absence. Once this has all died down, you’ll come back. I’ll suspend your contract until then and adjust the end date to reflect your hiatus,which, by the way, will be without pay. Hopefully, this’ll keep the sponsors happy enough to prevent the station from going bankrupt.”

“Tell ya what, Vic,” I said. “I’ll do ya one better. When I return from my hiatus, I’ll do a second special. During the second special, I’ll offer full disclosure. I’ll tell all the details of my involvement. I’ll also sign an agreement stating that I won’t share the story with anyone other than this station. I’ll announce it when I announce my leave of absence. That should be enough to hold the listeners and keep the sponsors happy. Marketing, might even be able to dig-up a couple new sponsors. How’s that sound?”

His stare turned to an expression of paternal affection.

“You know Chad,” he said. “I always considered you an arrogant prick who thought he was entitled to more than he’s worth. But you proved me wrong, kid.”

He put out his hand and we shook on it.

“Don’t mention it, Vic,” I said. “You’ve always tolerated me and have always been there when needed. It’s the least I can do.”

I left his office but one step out I turned around and popped my head back into his office.

“Vic,” I said. “One more thing.”

“What’s that buddy,” he said still glowing in paternal pride.

“My hiatus,” I said. “I would like that with pay.”

His expression melted back into its previous grimace. He made offered no response and I felt it best to make my exit. But just as I started to leave I heard him call.

“Chad!”

“Yeah boss,” I said.

“I take it back,” he said. “You are an arrogant prick who thinks he’s entitled to more than he’s worth.”

“Thanks, Vic,” I said in my most sarcastic tone. “I’ve always thought highly of you too.”

Still Around

Posted in Other Things on March 17, 2013 by D. C. Major

Its been a while since I posted. Life’s kept me busy. I will be putting some posts here. Until then, click here for a recent photo-essay I did. Nothing fancy. Its really not my thing.

Thank you for your time

Chapter 3: The Teacher Describes the Student’s Psychopathy, pt 2

Posted in Chapter 3: The Teacher Describes the Pupil's Psycopathy, The Big Story of a Small City with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2013 by D. C. Major

I almost forgot that I hadn’t posted the next part to this chapter. Aside from mundane responsibilities, there have been some artistic distractions as of late. I’ll dispense with the mundane and quickly comment on the artistic. I’ve been reading a lot about the craft of fiction and what separates quality fiction from the lack-luster. With much depression, I came to the conclusion, that what I have written and posted so far is closer to the lack-luster. However, I do believe I have the remedy. Long story short, me next step will be to re-write what has been posted so far and enhance its drama (“drama” used here in it most rudimentary definition). Never the less, I’m still posting the next part of chapter three. Expect a hiatus from this story. I’ll more than likely be working on my Fiction as Technique blog and re-writing what I have already posted here. Of course, as the chapters are re-written, I will be re-posting them in their revised form.

Thank you for your time,

~D. C. Major

 

The patient doesn’t see reality the same way anymore. There is the well-documented inability to judge depth. However, there is a more metaphysical symptom involving visual perception. The mind doesn’t make emotional connection to visual stimulus. The patient feels that nothing is real; everything is made of plastic, or has been replaced with replicas. Keep in mind, the patient does not question what reality is. In fact, the patient will administer normal reality testing and have full awareness of the ego’s place in reality. The symptom is strictly perceptual. Though all is known to be real, nothing appears so. This applies to inanimate objects as well as animate objects, including interpersonal connections to individuals. [P] always describes it as watching his life at the movies. He can see and interpret it, but can’t interact with it. The ego has disassociated from the perception, hence the name, “Disassociation.”

Regardless of healthy reality testing, the brain does continually administer the test excessively in response to the altered visual stimulus. The stress of constantly questioning reality must have been formidable. I remember him not sleeping, not even sitting down or slowing for up to three days at a time. His body never rested. I’m no biologist, but I’m one of the best behaviorist and I know the mind needs sleep to hold its grip together on reality. This is a fact for the healthiest minded.

I wonder what he saw. His stories were beautiful. How he touches the hearts and souls of so many, but the man, the person, the human, is devoid. He is the automaton. There is no ghost inside the shell. Not a liar, but a scientific anomaly. Deeply in tuned to the shared humanity of all, but never able to feel it himself.

It saddens me. You don’t see individuals like him in their old age. Their lives are too often short and tragic. They kill themselves. Sometimes they kill others too. Most drink themselves to death and in that same vein are those lost to drug abuse. All are Walkers on the Trail, bare to the elements, dying by the ripe-old age of 60, of natural causes…    but unnatural circumstances. Their only functional option is to avoid permanent institutionalization and do their best to cope. The condition is chronic. And now…

…and now I walk to my death, wherever it may be. To take control of my destiny, and my thoughts are on [P] and what will become of him when I’m gone. Who will take care of him? I don’t care what anyone says, he can’t do it on his own. What he does on his own is not taking care of himself. He only slowly destroys himself. He leaves himself susceptible to VULTURES! Like that vial BITCH who calls herself his wife! And that, that,… agent who openly admits that he’s only in it for HIMSELF!

Note! Cut and edit first half. File under “Salmon Beach.” Edit second half. File under “Walkers.”

 

I heard the mechanical “click” of the recorder head being turned off. As I reached for the recorder, I heard the head click back on.

 

[T’s Voice]: Note! Correction to last notation. Cut and edit first half. File under “Salmon Beach.” Cut and Edit second half. File under, “Family.”

 

The recorder head clicked off once more. There were no more recordings on that cassette.

 

 

 

Chapter 3: The Teacher Describes the Student’s Psychopathy, pt 1

Posted in Chapter 3: The Teacher Describes the Pupil's Psycopathy, The Big Story of a Small City, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2013 by D. C. Major

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog. I was side-tracked when I started reading some lit theory on the craft of fiction. I started a second blog, Fiction as Technique, to publish what I discovered. Relevant to this blog, I discover that I had been going about the narration process all wrong. You see, there is a difference between showing and telling, the previous being the preferential. However, I had mere been telling; my work lacked the drama of quality fiction. This means that all that I had written so far was going to need re-written. This is a dissuading prospect and its work is uninspiring, but it must be done.

 That being said, here is the next installment of The Big Story of a Small City. There will be no graphic sex or violence. Without adult content I’ll be able to post this entire chapter to my censored version of Dad’s Dead Squirrel, which will be a first.

But no more useless rambling. Here Chapter 3, pt. 1, and I hope you enjoy it.

 Thank you for your time,

 D. C. Major

The box was awkward in size, just big enough for one man to be able to barely carry with sufficient struggling. When opened, it revealed itself to be a Matryoshka-doll of one man’s knowledge. There were notebooks, reel-to-reels, smaller boxes that contained various other formats, 3 ½ in. floppy disks, 5 ¼ in floppy disks, even an album that had some 8 in. floppies. There were several stacks of mini-cassettes grouped by rubber bands. The mini-cassettes caught my attention.

Just three days earlier I had seen my old mini-cassette recorder. Unfortunately, it was in the new cherry desk back at my house. I could’ve instantly read the note books, but the mini-cassettes fascinated me. It was some nostalgia. The mini-cassette recorder was what I cut my teeth on when I first started writing. Within the few brief seconds of the box being opened, I made to decision to close it, and make a b-line to my house.

With more care than would have been observed, I forced the box into the passenger’s seat of my car. On the road, I opened the consul and took out my cell phone. I leave it in the car when I’m at the station. It has always seemed pretentious to me to be on a cell phone at work. There were over 300 text messages and 37 voice mails. My Gmail account showed “99+” in my inbox. The phone was ringing at the very moment I was checking it. Privacy is an illusion.

I put the box on the floor next to the new cherry desk. Somewhere in the back of the middle drawer there was my mini-cassette recorder. I had just seen it when I moved all my stuff into the new desk. My hand didn’t even need to search for it. The action was automatic. As soon as the drawer was opened, the mini-cassette recorder was in my possession.

Most of the mini-cassettes were in a shoe box, aptly labeled, “Mini-Cassettes.” When I lifted the shoe box out, it revealed a similar shoe box beneath it. The second shoe box was labeled, “To Be Filed.” The label compounded with the contents gave the shoe box an aura of importance. The contents spanned more than one period. They were not filed because they were beyond a definition to file them by. They surpassed categorization. They were too close, too personal, and too loved, to be grouped.

It was a hodge-podge of memorabilia; napkins with women’s names and numbers, some with lipstick kisses, all conjuring the most sensual figures ever imagined. Notes, photos, trinkets, and most alluring of all, more mini-cassettes.

One cassette in particular caught my attention. The label was split down middle with a hand-drawn line. To the left of the line was written, “Salmon Beach.” To the right had the words “Walkers” and “Family” written alternately, crossed out, and re-written several times with no resolution, all having been eventually crossed out. It was partially played. I didn’t rewind it. I just played it where [T] had last left it.

[[T]’s Voice]: …but [P]’s wasn’t his fault. It was more like a connection his brain stopped making, not a decision he consciously made. One to deny what he knows as right and then actively rebel against it. It’s the basic nature vs. nurture argument and an exceptional example of the dichotomy. For whatever reason Farkis and society didn’t interact well and Farkis said, “to hell with it,” and just went rogue. [P], on the other hand, had an interaction with society but it was during his incipient development, when he was still very young. And whether he consciously fought against treatment, or if he just wasn’t able to respond to it, neither therapy nor pharmaceuticals helped. Perhaps when trauma happens that early on in development there are unknown biological effects, physiological and yet unknown. But my experience with [P] indicates that there is no changing him. That’s why he had such trouble seeing it in himself. It was too ingrained, too…   primordial. Then, after he killed JB, his brain just abandoned the parts that kept him connected to the trauma. He grew and developed naturally but, after the trauma, ate age 5 believe, his development was altered. The stress was beyond the abilities of his mind. To manage this excess stress, his brain forged new connections and constructed new coping mechanisms. These alternate connections and mechanisms became fundamental tools to process anxiety when the primary systems were overwhelmed. But when he killed JB, the brain permanently bypassed the primary systems. This type of break down is typical of the PTSD patient. Another more sensationalized manifestation, though much rarer, is MPD. In cases similar [P]’s though, there are symptoms that effect visual perception.