Cunningstuff

A new life, for an old man.

Category: Experimental writing

Mind Body Festivus

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Public domain image woot! Courtesy of: http://www.public-domain-image.com/

 

I went to the Sydney Mind Body Spirit Festival this weekend, and actually had a good time. I tend towards skeptical and critical thinking, but there is room in there for improvement. Being born on Samhain, I have a tendency towards the Wiccan side of things, but to be honest, there is a streak in them that runs rampant at times, angry men hating goddess only worshiping women, who will put me off the whole thing. I like the Tibetan Monks and their inclusive view, but damn, why are women not at the center of things as well? I like yoga, but I have no interest in showing off my ass in tight yoga pants, with my 100% green friendly eco minded white woman bamboo mat. As matter of fact, I think as soon as you try to organize the ideas into something easily digestible, you water it down and make it unpalatable. So I went to this with a healthy hip pocket full of skepticism, and got a nice surprise at the end.

The festival ran Thurs-Sun, and we went Thursday and Saturday. Thursday was just my beautiful Queen and I, and it was a relaxing fun day. We went to a few angel seminars, and 1 was good and the other bad. The first was a lady by the name  of Michelle Newton, and she was subtly sassy and entertaining for an angel psychic. She commanded the room well and presented herself with confidence. No big push about how great she was, a little personal history, and then bam, right into reading her cards she handed out as we entered the room. She did about a third of the room, so everything went well for her. My lovely Lady was her first reading, and she spent a good bit of time with her. I am and will always be reasonably skeptic of psychics in general, but to be honest, I could have had a reading by her and not been bothered. She had a calm decent feeling, and was not hurried to get off and away to some thing else. Which is not what I can say about the next one, Debbie Malone. Although I think she can help some people out there, specifically those who are grieving it seems, she is flighty and her helper is ridiculous and not helpful. She told the room about 7 times that she had died 6 times, so that you  knew you could not possibly know what she does. Her helper was pushy and hurried, and I felt honestly that basically this room was imposition to her, and we just needed to be gotten out-of-the-way. She had a drawing at the end, and when a lady came up with her ticket for the drawing, they pushed her aside as they had already done the drawing in the 10 seconds they allotted. Yuck, what a waste of time.

Not that it was bad for the whole day, once we were done we entered the festival again, and didn’t make anymore stops for seminars. We missed one my Lovely wanted to be at, but it was us being fascinated by all the shinies around us, so well, it had to go! There were many different kind of readers there, psychics, healers ect, ect. I had but one mission and it failed miserably. I wanted to find a supplier of resins, oils, and herbs. I found tons of oil suppliers, but what I was after was a bit to hardcore for this crowd I think. I touched base with a few people, but never made any decent connections. It was much more about letting my Wonderful Baby find her feet in this world, and look where she wanted.

The second day was with friends, one who is curious but skeptical, and the other who is straight forward not going to be interested. My Dearest went to the Mind Body Spirit part, and I took off with her partners husband to the home builder and renovator show next door. I grew up building houses, so I pretty much know what is happening, and thought to enjoy myself at the second half as well. The same company owns the MBS as well as the Home show, so they throw them at the same time, and you can go to both for the price of one. There was one seminar I wanted to see though, so I took off and left my buddy to find his way around for while.

Creative writing. At a mind body spirit festival. What could go right? I was just curious honestly, because well, if you want to teach creative writing techniques, I could be at the forefront with bold new ideas inspired by the best in the biz. Not ringing my bell here, but I started this blog to teach myself how to write so normals will understand me, and temper my creative fire into something I can use, instead of constant experimentation. This was the biggest surprise of the entire event. This guy had no aspirations to teach me to talk with my inner self, or learn his automatic writing technique, or tell me my spirit guides had gathered in force with me, he told me in simple, honest, down to earth, almost farmer tactics of writing a book and producing results. No mumbo jumbo, no hoopla, no self inflation, just here is my process and it works. Then when I asked my question, his answer was honest and inspiring. I may have been the only person in that room who knew just how valuable the advice was he was giving. I think they all expected another wizard with answers. I chuckled and thanked him warmly as I left, honestly surprised at how much motivation I received from him.

The final surprise was a couple who had started a magazine together called HSS – Heart Soul and Spirit. It is in its infancy, and maybe it will work, and maybe it will not, but I enjoyed my banter with them. He took a peek at my “spirit guides” and started seeing a whole damn bunch. I laughed and decided to spend time talking with them a bit, and perhaps making the beginning of a friendship. One step at a time though, I will make my friends slowly and with calm that I never had before I met my Wife. Who was enthralled and happy about the entire ordeal, as was I. It was fun to see her let her hair down and really enjoy herself. We had fun, and if it interests you, it is worth the paltry 10 bux AU that it costs. I even had my hearing tested while I was there, so there is something for everyone, if you are open to it. If not, just go next door and check out all the Home gear that is lying around.

 

 

The Break is Over

 

This pic is called “Going back to work.”

For all who would consider waiting to see this blog active again, I am stepping back up to write here a bit. I started this blog to see if I could write regularly for a year, and I did, and now, well, I miss that exercise. I got off writing for a bit, and I really feel, not just understand, I understood, but really feel, you have to write to be a writer.  I took the break for personal reasons, and I will talk a little bit about them. This will just be an introductory back into the mess blog, and this time, I am writing because I want to, not because I have some obligatory set goal. I never set WHAT I should write back then, I just set that I HAVE to write. Now I have nothing set, this will just be my personal blog.

First off, I moved to Sydney and got married.  My wife and I never had personal time together, so I didn’t want writing to be in the way while two adults in their 40’s tried to learn to live together. It was touch and go at the start, even though we had lots of love for each other, there is a reality of dealing with another human that is just going to make everything go a little pear shaped. She did not have the time alone before I got here that she thought she would, so it was a stress full event.  Also, it is one thing to tell a morbidly obese person that you can deal with their weight, it is quite another to actually live with them, no matter how much better they are when it happens. Cheers to my ever-loving Queen, she came through all of this quite happy, and I am healthier and mentally better than I have been in decades.

Secondly, her mom died of complications from bowel cancer. Everyone knew it was coming, but for a very long four months, her mom was dying. Strain, stress, and grief make for a tough road, and to boot, I had pretty much the crappiest job in Australia at the time. It took me away from my wife when she needed me most. Setting time aside to write and do a blog is not something I wanted to do.  Everyone talks about breast cancer, everyone knows about lung cancer, but bowel cancer and prostate cancer are big killers as well. Educate yourself and your family on it if you haven’t, it is one of the more preventable, treatable cancers if caught early.

Third, and probably most selfish and revealing, is that I wanted the break. I had forced myself to write a lot, after never writing at all, and I was a little burned out by it. I am not the burn out type, but I am fond of having a measured pace at which I produce things. I can pretty much stick out most everything, but yeah, I really pushed to write a lot. I wanted to prove to myself what I was capable of, and I also wanted to prove to my future wife I was no chump, and could do what it takes. I was motivated by things outside of the realm of creation and writing, so I think that is what the burnout really comes from. When those motivations simmered down, the burn out set in.

I never intended it to be a year-long break, that is the honest truth. I wanted to break, but all kinds of things conspired to keep me away longer than I wanted. All it really means is I will be doing my blogs again, and now, I dunno, I think it will be with free spirit and purpose, those giving me a different point of view.  If ANYONE is still checking, keep up just a bit more, I have a lot to write about.

Temper Trap at the Enmore

Among the many things that bind my dear Queen and me together, one of the most powerful is our love for music. We dance, badly, at home, and we sing along to songs, badly, and I play instruments, badly, and we just love it. We make up songs for fun, we clap at great stuff, it’s all a part of who we are. I was so happy to finally find a lover who loves music. We don’t always agree on everything, we definitely have our own tastes, and that is perfect, because it allows us to expose each other to new songs and music. She tends to not like my choices, and I tend to like hers, so it all works out. (You guys know what I mean…)

One of the most recent musical adventures is the Temper Trap show at the Enmore Theater. First of all, let me gush a bit of love for this place. One of my fears in coming to Sydney was that everything was big and modern and I would have to give up seeing great music in smaller venues. Two decades of living in the unadventurous Denver, Colorado, had allowed me to become spoiled by seeing amazing bands at tiny venues. Small venues have three amazing awesome advantages over large venues. First and foremost, the sound is always amazing. No matter how bad the venue is usually, the band has the gear to overcome any disadvantages, and the three main small venues in Denver have amazing sound anyways. Second, and uppermost next to sound, the price of small venues is ALMOST always agreeable. Last and maybe best, you are close, close enough to see the sweat fall when they are pushing it, and close enough to hear the band yell at each other between songs. Enmore Theater is all that and a biscuit. It is a pretty little theater, and as soon as you walk in, bam, there it is. No walking for thousands of miles through a tube, although you may have to walk a thousand miles from where you park.

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Security is a bit more lax than in the States as well, making for a unfrisked, un-patted down beginning, much like the old days of shows. We bought our tickets online, and printed them at home, and they just scanned a bar code off of them when we arrived. A giant angled floor awaited us when we arrived, general standing room only on the bottom floor, but there were reserved seats upstairs as well. Next time, in hind sight, I think we will take seats upstairs, so we can get a break from the floor. 20-somethings have no problems, maybe even 30 somethings, but in my 40’s and still quite overweight, standing in one spot on an angle for 2 and half hours killed me. Not a bad thing, overall, next time if we are on the floor find a better spot to stand first, or get the seats upstairs.

The two opening bands, ALPINE and MT Warning, were up and running when we arrived. I have to sadly say I only saw 10 seconds of MT Warning, but those were 10 nice seconds. We left the venue for an adult beverage, as there are several bars and whatnot steps away.  I really love Newtown, the whole area is amazing, full of sound and light and people, all in good moods having great times with friends. We are going to explore it more soon, as we have brunch lined up in a few weeks. After our drink we returned to watch ALPINE, a fun band who has two female lead singers, bouncing off of each other and the stark background music that the band plays for them.

One last good wait, and Temper Trap came out.

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Now if you are not a fan of Temper Trap, I understand. I was caught off guard by his male soprano, a rare treat in the world of rock, when such a high voice is so clean and clear. Live, the band very much delivers. Every song is played perfectly, but with those little differences that make a live show a treat. They truly have the show in a great groove.

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My personal favorites were very boring, the ones you would expect to go off well live, The Drum Song, Down the River, and the encore of  Sweet Disposition. 

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These were the best pictures of the night, but one thing they do not capture is how it feels at a Temper Trap show. No angst, no pushiness, nothing but folks having a great time, living, loving, dancing. I danced all night. I left feeling great, and I remember the whole thing as an uplifting experience. I can succinctly say, without any qualms or misgivings, that I truly love Temper Trap and would go see them again at the drop of a hat. I fell in love with them 3 years ago, and they have proven themselves to be worthy in my book. Go see them when they play near you, I am sure that anyone would at least agree that they perform well and have a great set.

Special thanks to my lovely Everstar, who shared the experience with me, and who makes everything beautiful, and covered in diamonds!

Losing the Weight

I am finally below 160 kg. I know it is not bragging time, but I just wanted to get back into touch with my healthy side today. I have a lot of blogs coming out soon, as I am behind and have some material to share, but the first and foremost one is this, how happy am I now?

I am excited and tremulous about being in Oz. After all the preparation and desire, to actually be here is every bit as good as I thought it would be, and better in many ways. I thought I would miss the ol’ USA, but I could not care less. I love this country, the people and my fair Lady, my dearest Everstar, is every bit as wonderful now that I am here, as when we met. I was worried about one thing though, one thing nagged at me, other than just being poor and old, was being fat. I have changed my life, I am now moderately active, and as my body and mind heal from all those dark years of being huge, I am working towards becoming highly active. I have changed how I eat. I have changed what I do on a daily basis. I am very truthfully, painfully aware of how out of shape I have been for the last decade.

I can not relate to you how important it is to me to have my partner with me. I need someone who is a no bullshit person, and my dearest is definitely that. She tells me how it is in no minced words, but instead is truthful and honest. I also need to be around her, to become a better person. I only hope I give her the ability to become better herself, as she is such a wonderful power for me to have.

That all brings me to the realization of how important your peer group, whoever they may be, really is. I have friends who all accepted me, but very few would tell me to my face how fat I was, or how bad my attitude could be. Ultimately, I ended up being very alone except for some very dear friends from my workplace. I think all of us who get so big have the exact same problem for this, we isolate ourselves to only the people who will not be confrontational with us, and we end up having no real support for ourselves when we start trying to change things. Those of us who fight to change in spite of this, I salute you. I am saluting myself, but not a lot. I was not in the best of shape when I got here, although I had laid the groundwork for real change, it really was my Queen who ended up making the difference in me choosing to live a healthy lifestyle.

I AM WEAK. I am weak on my own, and I needed the extra provocation of my love to really get me changing things. I think that ultimately, that is the catch-22 of all of us who are obese. Romantics at heart, we are emotional and need support to change, but we isolate ourselves from the truth that pervades our real state of mind and body. We use food as an emotional outlet, and we end up cycling into ever more destructive bad habits and obesity. One day we just give up and say, screw it, food makes me happy, and since I am alone, it is the only way I can be happy, but like all addictions, it never turns out to be true. We end up very alone, very sad, and finally, dead.

As our capitalist society seeks to ever more isolate us from each other in all its ways, always pushing for more entertainment and less exercise and getting together, I believe we are only experiencing the beginning of the obesity epidemic. Three years ago I decided I would no longer voluntarily accept any more chains from the buy buy buy orientation of American food. I first got rid of milk from my diet. Milk does NOT do the body good. There are many better sources of calcium for adults than milk. I grew up thinking milk was the healthiest drink on earth, I finally accepted that at 40 years of age, it really was killing me. Then I got rid of sugar, literally not buying the bag of sugar anymore. I kept doing this, but the hardest thing to give up, in the end, was the bad hobbits of fast food.

I did not really give them up until a month ago. Years of changing, and the best thing I could have done was eat sensibly, but nooooo, I have to be stubborn and give that up last. I have however, finally understood the pleasure of eating real meals, and healthy meals, and I am losing weight on the average of 2.5 kilos per week. Last week I measured out and nice 154.4 Kg, which is 10 Kg less than when we found a scale that would measure big enough to weigh me in.

So to compare…

fat at crawfish boil

 

To yesterday she took a pic of me.

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Do not get me wrong. I am not bragging, yet. And that is a big yet, I feel soon, maybe a year more, I can brag, and not just brag, but help others put their lives on track, and change things for all of us. I am still VERY overweight. I am still on a long painful road to recovery. I am still struggling with my issues, my depressions, my doubts, my eating and my bad habits. I am however, very proud and very happy to finally SEE the change, to be able to point to myself and say, I am no longer that person over there, the huge one. with a chip on his shoulder.

If you are in any way in need of motivation or help, leave me a comment, and I will do what I can. First and foremost, do not give up, you can always make the changes you want, if you want them.

 

The Curious Case of Billiards – End

In this drop I see the fields of gravity that hold our planet hostage to the sun, the force of air being pushed by a high speed bullet, the ability of light to contain huge amounts of knowledge in a tiny space, and the beauty of the chaos of our universe. And still, it is only a drop of water, in existence for a shorter time than we can blink.

The day for court arrived with much fanfare. The most important names and faces had been told it would be an interesting case, worthy of perusing for enlightenment as well as entertainment. No one suspected my end speech though, recorded here for posterity.

“Take your villeins and crimes, take your ideas of heinous and inhuman behavior and throw them out of the door. I want to talk about the art, the art today is the show. I had the opportunity to play on this amazing table, this amazing game, until my cue ball was swiped off the table and chucked out the window. I am… not of the world as most of you are, but instead, I run around and under it. I take on all kinds of nefarious doings, both the good and the bad, and I do them, and it is how I have made a good bit of money and enough of a name to gather all in the audience today. I have seen all of you here, in way or another, at your worst, and while I admit to the brothers being at their absolute worst when I undertook this case, I did not know I would see someone at their absolute best in return.

“We live in an extraordinary time. We have discovered we are on planet, we have found we live beside a star, and that the heavens are truly made of millions of stars. We have found that we only have this planet to live on, and we are indeed, in a delicate position. I shudder sometimes at the thought that this planet is somehow suspended in emptiness, and we could fall off of it any moment. While I spent time playing, I noticed something curious, my imagination was on fire! I indeed  am still burning a bit this day, as my rambling speech can account to. I began to think about our lives, the lives of humans, in a giant galaxy, and what other lives like ours could be out there.

“As I played I thought of how would we ever get there? I know there has been some speculation since the maths have come to prove all of this true. I began to wonder, where are these ideas? Who is talking about them, and in the past month since I played, I have read science of the heavens galore, and begun to understand I know very little, as well do we all. I didn’t hear a word those brothers were saying until they interrupted my play, and brought me, so to speak, down to earth.

“My first reaction is the same reaction I bring to you today. I know it will ruin my reputation as a fair player, but in this instance, I think it may be time for me to retire from the big city, and go back home and read a bit. My reaction is indeed absolute frustration that this beautiful piece of art and knowledge be sold off to the nearest museum, as soon as possible, so that many people can come and be inspired. The inspiration I found in the game of planetary billiards should be had by all. Everyone should be thinking of the stars and the planets, and how we may see them and learn from them. Our basic physics models are from the astronomers, they pieced together the logic for us to understand nature. We have the illustrious Darwin learning of new species, guided by the stars.  Friedrich Bessel measured the distance to a star almost 50 years ago, and accurately, using the same type of math an engineer uses to measure your property.

“We have let our shortsighted life of leisure ruin our ability to think. If we live in the lap of luxury and modern conveniences, what with gas lights at night, trains to take us hither and yon, ships burning coal to power us across the seas, we should also have the ability to think beyond our providence, to go beyond our daily life and see the energy and the beauty of the universe. The challenge we have in front of us is obvious. We can give over to silk and satin, or we can use it to our continued great age. I was given a challenge in my profession, and I have, fortuitously, failed that challenge.

“I can no longer fight for the rights of men, if we all no longer fight for the rights of man. I find in us a tremendous ability, and for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to see how we could become greater, and not lesser men. It is why I called you here today, so that maybe, we can begin to build a better snowball of enlightenment, and not a greater castle for the lords and ladies. What these two brothers fail to see, is something we are all doing these days, we are not allowing ourselves to be greater. Their mother is a grander creature than they, and sees how best money could be used. No bank master or accountant would agree, they will only see the limited ink with which each purchase was recorded, and only feel the loss of weight in the bags of coins. They, as the brothers do as well, would not be able to feel the fire of imagination, or the beauty of the table itself.

“I call this my last case, for I can expect no new clients to trust me with their secrets, and I indeed intend to turn back to my country manor and educate the young in my town. I ask that the court understand the devilry wrought at the hands of profit, and instead see that the mother is holder of our true values. She is the one who took the industry and fortune of our time and turned into something anyone can appreciate and learn from.  It is her I ask the court to side with, and turn those poor children of hers into wards of the manor, and allow her to find a better way to spend her money and time, than they would want.

I took of my wig and gown, folded them neatly, and walked out of the court. For a minute, you could only hear my steps as I shuffled away, but then suddenly a great noise went up from the courthouse. Everyone was yelling out loud to see the table to save it, to help the mother. Eventually I learned that the court had the museum purchase the table, and once a month, they have a lottery as to who can play a game on it. It has brought good fortune on the town, and is considered a great luck if one is chosen. I have kept my word and retired, and now I teach math and astronomy to the children of my township, for free, in my house, with a replica billiards set.

The Curious Case of Billiards – Part Two

The very first thing that was offered was a game on said table. I could tell from the brothers demeanor, they had no intention of enjoying the game, but I could not wait. To cue up for a hit, you had to use the fowl as a precursor, and they only rolled one way, straight, so multiple hits required delicate maneuvering and forethought. I immediately found myself immersed in a strange speculative thought pattern. The beautiful art kept my eye delighted, and my mind responded with a capricious and sprightly thought pattern. It became apparent as well that there was a cause and effect of weights and design. It was easiest to hit the moon, and then use the moon to push other balls around. After about two hours the genius of the game was so immense I was left almost flabbergasted and distraught, but I knew there had to be more to my visit than just this. Our conversation was becoming more distressed as we played, and it was obvious that the brothers did not grasp the subtle clues and intentions the game itself kept buried in its mechanics. Indeed they became down right angry with the whole thing.

“Is it not preposterous, this monstrosity of a game, dear Spiker? I am completely convinced my mother has gone mad, and is just out of control with her airs!” Hampton spun his monocle from his chain, peering down his nose at me.

“Of course it is brother, it is just again, her demanding and control of the estate, put to horrible use, and a useless end.” Richard put his billiards stick on the table, closing the game.

“Your Mother is an artist, I am sure she meant it to be enjoyed by the two of you, and your friends…” I did not finish the statement, as it was obvious that they hated the table, the game, and anything coming close to statement. Another round of scotch was poured, and this would be the fifth round of heavy pouring, I was aware I needed to stay quiet and find out what my 50 pound fee was going to entail.

Richard picked up one of the chicken cue balls, and with a hearty sideways swing of his arm, neatly chucked it out the open glass top of the room. “That is were this belongs, on the lawn, as a decoration! Her insistence that we play it at least once has been observed, let’s talk about why we called you out.” His face was flushed, and he was angry, so I did my best to keep a pleasing face and smile for them, as they began to talk with me in earnest.

The table cost £180,000. The ivory for the sticks cost £2000 alone, and between the large semi precious stones used as billiard balls, and the payments for sculpting artists, the table had wrought considerable financial difficulties for their shipping investments. The problem was that their mother controlled all their interests for 5 more years, and they worried that her madness would manifest itself in spending every penny they had. They had every intention of ruining her in court, and getting a judge who had been handsomely bribed to give them the control over their various monies, before they were gone. We sat on the two lounges in the library, and as we sat, Hampton kept chucking various pieces of the table out the windows.

Now I have never felt the bite of a moral, or had the desire to shield people from each other. Indeed, I was quite the opposite, you do whatever you need to do in life, and I will do my best to profit off of it. I had no interest in the mother, but as they talked, half of my soul and heart began to betray my conscience . I could feel the normal half of my brain agreeing with them, telling them what judge they should bring the case to. The other half of me was setting up an even more elaborate plan, however. I heard my self telling them to chose to use the high court, not the county court. My arguments seemed sensible, as the high court has more jurisdiction and power  and would likely not be contested, however I knew it was much easier to bribe a county official than a high court justice. They had £20000 to bribe with though, so there was a part of me that said it could work, and justified the idea to the other half of me. No matter though, it was a trap, a trap I was devising as we spoke. I was about to betray my position as a scoundrel  and go against all my work before me. I was sweating over it, when the mother herself came in.

She saw the mess of the table, and at first, smiled greatly, correctly assuming that we had played a game with her table. She talked about it, and I listened with an intent ear, for the table was a prize, a prize for all mankind, if I had ever seen one. She eventually noticed the missing pieces however, and then the row began. Her sons, angry in the first place, were not to smart to me however, and I winked at them as a conspirator should, and admonished them and sent them and the servants out to search for all the pieces.  She was distraught, but soothed by the fact that they did indeed find all the parts, and I wrung an apology from both of them to their mother. She finally smiled and said goodnight, and retired to her rooms.

I of course, was immediately under the ire and angst of the brothers. I cajoled them to think about how perfectly I had set this up for them. Let the table alone, indeed show it off a little bit, it could not hurt, as it was well done and proof of how well heeled they were. Use it to write a contract on, and laugh about how silly the game is, and all the while I would set up the case for the high court. Once I knew the judge, I would send word to them and they could approach him privately and settle their accounts. There would be an end for all, and until then, smile and be polite about it. They discussed it privately outside, while yelling at the servants to put out the lanterns that had been lit to find the various pieces. They both came in and slapped me on the back heartily, positive and happy about the course of action we had set.

The Curious Case of Billiards – Part One

The Curious Case of Billiards and Backstabbing  or How I Saved the Best Art

Although not generally known, for my reputation as a drinker and a rascal is far better known, I, John Babtiste Spiker Handrow Thronton, am a barrister. I tend to be the man, who in certain circles, takes on certain delicate cases. Basically anything you want to hear about the rich and the powerful, their proclivities, their sins, their moral dilemmas, I am the one who has to cover their assets from loss and public derision. I am a modest man, modern and self made, my background is a bit dubious, because I come from the country and have made myself known in the city. My mother died at childbirth, and my father doted on me, using his money to insure that I became something grand. I hated life in the country, and loved the city, so I fell prey to his motivations, far better than he ever expected. As soon as I entered the city, I began my schooling in the practice of law, but I did so only at person request. I made it known that I could be had for a price, to take the law and make it perform certain loops and circuses for the rich. I first just had certain papers signed, but over the years I was known to be the man who you could take problems and conceal them, children who did naughty things and have them rescued from public indignity, family who was not to be shown in public and have them properly put into the country, and other similar and delicate situations.

I also had a to keep a certain reputation, one I rather enjoyed, so that people would not be embarrassed to approach me with their problems. I had to play the hedonist, you see, I had to know certain madams, and I had to have a list of  doctors, people who could get things done. I had to show my indulgences as well, it had to be known I could have drink, or a tonic, and perhaps absinthe or laudanum. I had to show knowledge of rascals, folks down by the harbor, people who could do things. Keeping such a reputation is the most wonderful way of life I could condone, I suggest it for every man. This lifestyle has so many advantages for a man in the city of London, that many have followed me trying to get into my shoes. I however, being the barrister I am, never allowed a school of bullies to gather around me, instead always following my own personal order, and seeking ever the higher company of people in the proper circles. My hedonism keeps them from being so close to me as well, and most younger fellows and their children are the main company I keep.

I was called on the summer of ’88 by Richard and Hampton Surry, to come and give legal advisement on a certain piece of art that was being delivered. One must understand this predicament usually meant being served the finest scotch available, usually stuff that was made before the war. I ate a hearty meal, and prepared myself for a night of indulgence. I find the two brothers spiteful and arrogant to the extreme, but their table is always filled with the finest liquors, and I am always called on to tell them my distinct ideals on whatever they have in mind. I basically keep them out of trouble of their own make and decision, advising them on when to use servants or people of the village or when they should get their own hands dirty. My fee of 50 pounds per visit keeps things nice tidy for me, as well. The complication of this visit was evident before I ever arrived however, because the visit was over a piece of art. That could only mean one thing, the art was from their mother, and they needed to know what to do about it. Perhaps it was embarrassing and they wanted to hide it, or maybe they found it uncouth and wanted it destroyed. I knew that it would be of extremely personal nature however, I had no clue how dirty the evening would get.

I arrived in my own carriage, dressed richly but simply, this was not a night for women and public reports, but a quiet night between friends, if the indulgences overran or not. I wore a green felt jacket, with a doubled button vest in black silk. I had felt top hat and pocket watch as well, in case I needed an excuse I could say I had a later appointment for dinner. I stepped out of my carriage on to the main entrance at Surrey Manor. I loved their courtyard, the Roman columns standing straight and tall, the marbled steps clean and white. I was escorted through the Main Hall and into the new glassed in Library. Richard and Hampton both stood and greeted me like proper gentleman. The library was amazing, made of this new modern sheet glass, you could see the whole of the gardens right outside, and the entire top 4 feet of the walls were open to allow fresh air in. They showed me the intricate mechanism, made of beautifully cast iron, full of swirls and cusps, that with no effort at all, even a woman could crank the tons of glass up and down, to shut out the cold, or let in the warm fresh air like to day. I do think this Library more an Arboretum than a place for books, for there were exotic plants from all over the world. I was shown various orchids of delightful colors, amazing foliage plants whose leaves were of the brightest greens and yellows, and the most colorful birds in golden cages, whose noise might be a bit much for most, but as the whiskey was in my hand almost immediately after our introduction to each other, I had no complaints.

After a half hour though, I begged that we move on to some business, before the whiskey took me away from my knowledge and left me bare and unexplained with my calling. We walked over to a corner closest to the old walls of the house, but still plenty of room around it. Sitting there in the darker corner, was one of the most glorious things I have ever had the privilege of seeing. A billiards table, made by the artistic mother, sat under a beam of light that peeked in from the setting sun.  She made a beautiful table, an artists interpretation, which is now on display in the British Museum of Fine Art, you can go see it yourself, called The Table of Fruit and Fowl. An amazing, impressive piece, the table of the finest slate, greenish with dark streaks of marbled silver, like marble, but proper slate, like a good table should be. The balls are of the 9 known planets, in this modern time, and each ball is a vegetable or fruit that represents the god name of the planet, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Neptune, ect. There is a group of markers, the size of a ten-pence  each hand carved and exquisite, that you may place for each planet, carved of the same stone. Each planet itself is carved of different stone, so that the colors and texture remind one of what we can see in our telescope. Finally for the exquisite joke that rounds the table out, and brings it down to our human level, the cylindrical fowl, designed to roll straight into the carved balls. and the sticks carved of ivory, telling the history of man’s discovery of the planets, and how chicken we really are.

Cleaning the Slate

My slate has 44 years of trash, old markings, embedded permanent marker glossed over with a fine coat of clear nail polish, graffiti done in indelible ink, and chiseled scratchings etched in acid and rust. I did so much last year, so much I am proud of, and I have yet to start anything this year. I think it is because my slate is not clean. I am here by denoting this, and setting about clearing it. First, let’s get out a rough steel wool and take off the first layer of garbage.

I have an almost uncontrollable urge to eat crappy food. I have done so well, so much, started riding my bike this past year, getting exercise, getting out. I feel like I hit this wall yah know? I hate winter, honestly, it is so easy to make an excuse when its -8 Celsius outside, to not go or do. Oh bloody hell, I miss writing. Soon as I turn on the pen, on comes the brain. Ok ok, that was confusing. So it is like this, although everyone says it, and I watch the event occur with my lady, who goes to the gym VERY on spot and regular, unlike me, it is exercise. I literally just thought it as I wrote it. I need to exercise again, no matter what.

I really do not want to go through any more layers now, sheesh. It is exercise, and only exercise that is missing from my routine again. I just hate the holidays. Work was completely unbearable, and it gets me depressed  and I get depressed and I start eating. I have everything going for me, why the hell am I depressed? I am 58 days from the big move to Oz, land of my dreams, island of hope and love for me, and I am depressed from the holidays again.

So that is the second layer, depression. I do not know how to deal with that one, I really do not. Maybe the exercise will work against it. I can’t see a doctor, I sure wish I could do something about it medically, just to get over this hump, but I am on my own here. Scrub a dub dub, three layers on the tub, and one of them is not soap scum. I hit the third layer, I can see it so clearly now. I fear myself, I fear, that she will not love me when she sees me. I wanted to lose so much more weight, before I left, and I was on the right track too, dammit.

The third layer of my unclean slate is fear of failure. I want anyone who reads this to understand, right now, what you are reading is the actual thought process as it happens, I am not going to change this, but instead continue the automatic writing until I am clear. I will just go back for spelling and gobbledygook. I can see now my three barriers I must overcome, before I can carry my slate above my head proudly. I must first of all, get into exercise again. I think it may be the key. I sometimes wish we were like the Japanese were back in the 80’s, doing yard exercise every morning before the work routine began. Second of all, I must battle depression, using what tools I have. Thirdly, I must build my confidence back up, to where it was this summer.

These three things are the dirt clouding my clean slate, the grunge of untold years of horrid conditions, that sit on me and weigh me down even after all this time, even after all my luck changed when I met my Everstar. I met her because I was more confident, although I am still impossible, I was confident the day we met, and I am overtly confident even now. She keeps me going and has been wondering what was wrong with me, asked a few times lately, now I know. I know why she asked, and I know why I didn’t answer.

Quiet all this time, no blogging, no direction, just silence.

This is the price I pay, trying to be a cashier in a shitty job, and trying to uphold my values as a writer. Hmm, maybe I am not saying that right, but that is the gist of what I am trying to say. We humans pay a terrible price for jobs, for although the job is not the single underlying cause of my feelings right now, it is the major contributor and the direction the negative force is coming from. I only have 58 days left, I can do it, I know I can, and it is already getting easier, even the lords and judges of the workplace are taking it easy on me and laying off now. I did 45 days in jail once, it was a miserable experience  but worse than going to work. Not much worse, which is a source of another conversation later. Funny how jail and work compare though, almost as equals, well, at least in my toxic work environment.

I do not know how I will come out, but tonight, for the first time since thanksgiving day, I feel like I have a hand on the handle of the problem. I can see now where I went wrong, and what I can do to change it. I can also see the end of the main source of my depression and lack of motivation. Soooooooo many people feel like I do too, not just me. So many people need vacations and time off, and can not afford it in america. America, land of dreams stolen and sold, childhoods erased by 4th grade. Personally, I will not weep for its passing, when the time comes and it passes, because all my dreams were thoroughly squashed until I met my Lady, and even after meeting her, the hydraulic piston of dream squashing is working overtime and getting over heated at the idea that I have dreams again.

I can say I am glad I wrote today. I am sure most of you are bored by line 10, to long, didn’t read, ect, ect, but I am glad I did. I have handles to grasp now, and I have a toolbox, even if it is mostly empty and overused, that will help me along. Apologies to all for the long silence, part of working out includes using my brain, so I will be posting quite regular again. I want to hit over 100 posts by the end of January, and not filler either, but some good articles and maybe another review of a Denver restaurant. Cheers!

The Basement – Final

I asked the manager if he could send a message to Curtis, he gave me an address for mailing, a post office box. He asked if everything was going well, and I nervously nodded and left the office. He eyeballed me once and grunted, the familiar mask of I don’t want to know coming over his features. I begged a stamp off of the front desk, and began to write. My letter was short, obvious, and infuriating if he was what I now suspected, a serial killer and rapist, using the kind gay uncle act to sort it all out. I wrote how the dolls and toys and other junk were becoming very suffocating, so I had been giving them out to various drag queen get-togethers. They were a big hit, and all the queens, some were men in their 50’s, loved the dolls the best, so I was about halfway through giving them all out. Could he maybe stop by and let me know any other places that men like him would like to get some gifts?

Nothing much more than that, a couple of descriptions of the more prominent and obvious dolls, so he would know them. I had noticed a printed label on each box, on the back, as if naming them. I was furious, sickened, and wound up. Each day I slept barely enough to rest, 3-4 hours. My nightmares now were all of the girl, I had named her Jill, because that name was printed on the back of the box for the doll she was holding up in the picture. I had been to the Shrine several times, some of the homeless kids knew me by name, and just assumed I was taking care of it. I had been able to find out Jill was her name, and she was from Houston, Texas.

I had come back and lain down from another day of looking for answers in the slim clues I held, just getting my head down on the pillow. As I lay there, breathing silently, I heard my door open, from the outside room. Quiet footsteps, silent almost, but in the dark silence of my room, you could hear sheets move on the bed, much less a shoe on tile.

“You are going to pay my friend.” The quietest of murmurs, Curtis was indeed back.

I lay there with my eyes closed, hoping I could get out of the bed fast enough to grab him. He was being quiet, but he didn’t seem close to me. When the doll room door opened, I knew I had him. I slipped out of the bed, using the creaking of the door and his astonishment to cover my actions.

“What is going on!” He almost screeched these words, for of course, I had left the room exactly as I found it. I grabbed him from behind, his body half in the door, half out. He was not strong, not tall, very thin, and surprisingly weak. I pushed him over and fell on top of him, his breath escaping from his mouth in a huge gasp, and he was done for. I used the ribbon from my pajamas to tie his hands behind his back, and shoved him up against a pile of dolls on the floor.

Once I caught my breath, and he caught his, we stared at each other. He never said another word, but instead stared at me lifelessly, with dull eyes. I didn’t have to say a word, because he had stared at Jill’s doll, the only one out-of-place, set on a shelf by itself, the box open as a stage for the doll.  I grabbed some rope from the storage room, and tied him up good. He never flinched or moved much at all, indeed, he never resisted me at all.

I let him sit for two days, in his own soil, when he finally spoke.

“You can’t get away with this, you will go to prison.” His voice was scratched and weak.

“I am not interested in getting away with anything. Jill is in my head, my heart, my dreams. Tell me, confess, tell the police, I won’t kill you.”

He laughed and spat on the floor. I kicked him hard, with boots on, and he made wet mewing noises, his jaw broken. I picked up a thick wooden closet rod, and hit him again. I didn’t stop hitting him until he stopped breathing, which took a ridiculously long time. I was splattered in blood, the room was splattered in blood, and I was a crazy man, delirious with no sleep from watching him. I climbed into bed, and fell asleep, not worried, not knowing, not thinking, just sleep.

My dreams were the release I needed. Jill stopped screaming, my grandmother pulled the blanket up to my neck, and I slept for 10 hours. I woke up and took a long shower, got dressed and went out into the city. I had a full breakfast of my favorite food, pancakes and bacon with maple syrup, and then took a short walk to the police station. I told them what I did, I told them about the shrine under the city, and I was taken into custody. When police went over the shrine, they found the bones of a long missing child, 9-year-old Jill Hennings, eventually identified by her dental records.

I continued to work with the detectives who were in my case. Eventually they found burials of over 90 missing girls, all of the names corresponding with the names on the back of the boxes. Work continued for years, names turning up of missing girls all over the country. I was never released, I am in containment still, but solitary, no general population, and I mostly just take care of the inmates library in Denver County Jail after hours. I never wrote another word, except for these memoirs. I recorded these only for the Parents of Jill Hennings, and I am trusting they are delivered by my lawyer.

The Basement – Part 4

I was feeling old and moldy  like a paper box left in  a damp basement for a decade. I could literally see the black mold creeping up along the seams of my shirt. Dirt was sifting over the color of my jeans, and my skin was rotting off my bones, sloughing off slowly over the years, dripping fat and ichor into the drain. My vision began to float above my body, and I could see I was not myself. I was actually the rotting corpse of a little girl, maybe around 8 years old, with rusted chains around her feet. The vision was so gruesome, so realistic, I woke up nauseous and faint, my heart pounding.

My strange apartment was dark and still, silent and unbearable. I stood up out of bed and sat down on the edge of a nearby couch, my head in my hands. I blamed the mushrooms from the party, but this had been occurring for weeks now. I wake up with the sounds of sobbing in my ears, screaming in my heart, I can’t breathe, I can’t write. I have gone through two jobs in as many weeks, and I shake if I am alone for to long.

The worst part is I have a sneaking suspicion I know why I am having a hard time. The cry for help resounds through out my entire being. I have always been one to stand up for those who can’t, a geek who grew up tough and strong in a ghetto neighborhood. I would fight for the limp-wrist friends, the skinny weak friends, the friends who had brains bigger than their arm muscles. I was never a bully, I instead turned that caveman emotion onto the only qualified recipient I could think of, the bully himself. I would never strike a friend or a lover, but a bully can usually only be handled by brute strength that he respects, and I was the man to give it to them. I had this same feeling the whole time I have been disgusted and feared into a shaking leaf.

I started looking through the separate rooms for clues. That I lived in a haunted place was no longer a question, but instead, why was it haunted? What specter will not leave rest until its secret is found? What smaller pup had its life torn apart by a wolf? One thing stood out above all others, there were collections of toys yes, but any boy would have been disappointed instantly. Stuffed animals filled on room. All kinds of cloth animals, soft and cuddly to old and worn. The small room was maybe 3 meters by 4 meters, and there was no furniture. The next room was all baby dolls. All sizes again, all qualities, old and fairly new. Then the woman dolls, commonly called Barbie dolls, all the same general doll, but thousands of outfits.

Eight rooms, all of toy collections, all girl toys. I asked the maintenance men about the guy, and they all said basically the same thing, quiet gay man, never really talked with him much. Mostly they avoided me, and I then knew they knew about the haunting as well. I was not losing my mind after all, but instead started to become more like a detective, hot on some trail that was elusive and old, misty and hidden, and mostly wanted to be forgotten.

I had been at the library for days in a row. I was both looking for another job and researching the hotel. The labyrinths under Denver were known by very few, but there was a long tradition of tunnels dug by miners, governments, rich and poor alike throughout the entire city. I went down to the city park, where the punkers and the youth who had lost hope and homes hung out. One of them agreed to take me to a tunnel, after I promised to purchase some of the medical marijuana for them. We met up at night, and hiked down to the river that ran through the city.

He was an ok kid, smart, not to criminal or thuggish yet, and he enjoyed taking an adult out for a tour of secrets. We pulled on an expanded metal grate on what looked like just a water drainage tunnel. after about a block crouched over almost double, the pipe opened into an angled hallway. We followed it, using our LED flashlights, the blue-white light giving everything a ghastly tone. After about an hour, I asked if there was anything down here he liked in particular.

‘Oh man, let me show you tha Shrine!”

“The Shrine?” I asked, a bit off and tired of smelling musty air.

“Yeah, a little girl disappeared some years ago, and she has had a shrine down here ever since.”

I nodded, trying to look impressed but uninterested, but the reality of it was that my heart was in my mouth.

He took off and we ended up fairly close to where we started. A door made of tin sheathing and discarded lumber hung off what looked like hinges made of an old baseball glove. I had to duck a bit when I entered the small antechamber, and almost immediately got sick to my stomach. there were about ten pictures of a little girl, all on a small table that had old flowers and toys and stuffed animals. One of the pictures showed the young girl on the knee of Curtis  the man I had rented the room from. She was in the room of Barbie dolls, her face showing excitement as she held what must have been her favorite. My guide must have thought I was getting sick of the smells, because he asked of I was ok. I nodded and begged a full stomach was not the way to see the rest of the trip, and had him guide me out. I ended our business with a good-sized portion of some of the green smoke I had procured from my last paycheck, and weakly stumbled on my way.

I sat down hard at the first park bench on the street I could find. It was one of the main bustops of the city, but no one was there at the moment. I sat down and then began to throw up,  my stomach and brain putting the whole sordid affair together. I knew beyond a doubt, I knew what was making things so bad, and I knew how they were all connected. I had no proof, but I knew, Curtis must have done some nefarious deed, something horrible, and the reason I could feel the specter of someone, that someone was the little girl who had but one buried shrine in the dirt of the city to remember her.