Lately, I've been through a lot. Lots of overtime at work, contact lenses, the new PSP (Playstation Portable), walking, talking, performing street magic, doing shows, planning shows. Just name it, and I've probably done it since the last few entries.
Throughout it all, I've been jostled around like a lone barrel in the trailer of an 18-wheeled Semi on the bumpiest backroad known to earth. I've vanished and reappeared more than David Blaine at a Criss Angel convention. I've had what I'm not sure are nightmares. They seem like images of a life I'm not entirely sure are mine.
Leave it to the cosmos to come up with an open door somewhere. An ex-girlfriend reappeared. She and I have been in contact before and, if I needed answers, I figured I would find them there. After procrastinating long enough, and suffering a severe case of insomnia, I decided to go to her parents' house where she had been staying. She'd been helping them paint and we'd spoken about it over the phone between dead spots on the road just days before. Finally, I was making the short walk from my house to where she was. I found her parents there and talked with them, mostly about work. The funny thing about that family is that two of the five girls married military guys and then one of the two went into my line of work. Small world...round too.
Then, she arrived and two boys popped out of the car with her. One of them 7 and the other 6 years old. I hadn't seen the 7-year-old since he was a baby. He looked at me and locked eyes with me. There was recognition but it was vague. Probably wouldn't have been so vague if I hadn't had to wear shades. In the midst of conversation, I was using the PSP as though it were a photo album, showing off pictures of me and Misty and the various insanity I'd found on the web. The conversation was mostly small-talk. The usual small-talk around groups of people that haven't seen each other for a long time. Most anecdotes are mundane but, when interlaced with a little humor, it becomes somewhat of a decent narrative.
The whole thing moved inside. Good thing, considering my skin was crawling. My ex-girlfriend's seven-year-old challenged me to a friendly race already in progress...dirty little cheat didn't tell me I was three laps down. He ended up winning the race that day. Any honest races...I left him eating exhaust and kissing my asphalt. Not bad for an insomniac. Still, any chance he got, the sneaky son of a gun raced dirty. One day, kid, I'm going to sharpen my skills at the drift racing and then...you're going down. In the words of Kurt Angle "Oh it's true! It's damn true!" The kid took repeated opportunities where I'd step away during car selection, knock the race down to one lap and then his little brother would have to get my attention by saying, "HEY! THE RACE IS ON!" Suddenly, I'd rip myself away from whatever it is I was doing and try like hell to catch up. If his kid was anything like his old man, his old man is not one I'd want to take on. If I did though, I might just go down in gamer history. A modern-day Achilles. My weakness...a kid. Well...shit, there's the heel right? Yeah, in more ways than one. The kid publicly humiliated me but only by cheating and we know four things for sure...cheaters never truly win, winners never truly cheat, players never hate and haters never play. The kid wanted really badly to play with my PSP and I felt badly for him because the ex-girlfriend wouldn't let him play the type of games I play and I have only two; Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories and WWE: SmackDown vs. Raw 2007. I thought for sure WWE would be innocent enough but I hadn't played it yet and when I finally did over these past few days...I found that she was right...it is pretty risque. The last thing I'm sure she wants to see is her son staring at a digital version of Candace Michelle shaking her ass and leaving suggestive messages prior to matches. If she's reading this I have to say one thing, tell him I'm sorry about that but I'm getting Need For Speed Underground sometime and if he ever gets one, we'll do the WI-FI linkup on the respective consoles and then...he's going down. Hey, kid, I want a rematch!
That's when the first of many pieces began to fall into place for me. I remember days spent in this house playing videogames with kids...this exact situation and I was a child all over again. I was a 18-year-old acting like a 15-year-old only I was playing Zelda on the first-generation Nintendo system and other games on a Sega Genesis. I played any challenger. I won some, I lost some but I played and I had a blast...this time was no exception. It was something else that triggered the memory. The way the sun was setting, having all the voices in the background, the laughter, the atmosphere...I don't know but it was there and it was beautiful all over again. I had forgotten how much I missed times like these.
After conceding that the kid wasn't going to race me without cheating, I began discussing cellphone technology with my ex-girlfriend's sister. That reminds me that I need to make that ringtone for her. They practically stood aghast as I told them how easy it was to make their own ringtones and graphics and how they could get them from me and transfer them from phone to phone for no money at all. Naturally, I get the carpet-bomb attack of questions of why didn't I go into this type of field and make all kinda money at it. Come to think of it...why didn't I do that? No matter, on and out.
The conversation moved outside once again as the crowd in the living room was dispersing leaving only me, my ex-girlfriend and her two boys. This is when I got many of my answers. This is when the rest of the pieces fell into place and when I got the biggest missing piece to the puzzle...a story of when the body I now inhabit.
It seems that graduation night, her and I and two friends gathered in my dad's truck, I filled up both tanks and two ice chests and we didn't attend a single senior function except to terrorize them as I was loaded on enough caffeine to kill half the world. All night, we'd drive while having one of my friends reach through the back windshield for a caffeine reloader. As I cracked another soda and killed it in one sitting...we came upon a fog.
"Hey guys," I said, "I wonder...what if this weren't just any fog?"
"The fuck are you talking about?" one of them asked.
"What if it's a doorway to somewhere else," I said, "you know...like what you see in the Twilight Zone."
I was the only one who wasn't frightened by my own comment and, looking back on it, perhaps I should have been. We'd travelled a few miles through the fog. At least, I thought it was a few miles. Driving back through it, going back the way we came, seemed much longer. That had the entire truck, save for one fearless psychotic, LOSING it. In grim retrospect, perhaps that was more of a terrifying situation than my caffeine-addled mind could assess. There we were, four friends in an all-steel-construction-body Ford tooling along the highway through the elements, twisted on any type of caffeine we could ingest...good people...good times.
Now, here we were, ten years later with me trying to fit the pieces of memories together. We're playing catch up. I suppose I've lived far faster than what I should have. Right out of high school is when I kicked into high gear. I was go, go, go, gogogogogogogogogooggogogogofuckingGO! Not all my experiences doing it were pleasant and some of them were lethal but I can honestly say I ripped into life and took it by the balls, hanging on for dear life and praying I wouldn't be dragged to death, riding that strange torpedo to it's very end for good or ill. I've got the scars to prove it.
We left and I walked away, the sun beaming directly at me as it was radioing mission control for it's descent vector and the go for final approach. I walked into the sunlight and when I reached the corner, I turned back and I looked. This time, I did something that I normally wouldn't do. I lifted my shades and let my contact-augmented eyes take it in one more time. This neighborhood looked exactly as it did ten years ago. Not one aspect of it changed. It's still just as beautiful as it was. I walked away with things making more sense. I walked away with a sense of closure on a subject long since past. I walked away, another chapter of my life closed and another one beginning. I stood ready to begin the next phase of my journey. Perhaps the mental hard drive just needed a thorough defragmenting. I felt revived, renewed and ready. Ready for what? I have no idea but whatever it is, if it's hostile, it will find a being reloaded, rebooted, cocked, locked and ready to unleash.
In the meantime, I haven't written about it because I've been unable to sit down and focus much these days. I'm still unable to do it. I'm forcing myself to do it. It has to be chronicled and documented.
I'm nearly certain that they'll carve on my headstone, "It Never Got Weird Enough For Me."
One more thing before I'm out of here, I've got a music player on my blog courtesy of Alfa-Matrix. It's a great way to do premiers. If you want to hear the newest stuff that they have coming out...it's right there on the player...you can listen as you read. The music of The Genocydal Empyre v3.0...on demand.