Copyright © 2016 by Kevin Fontan
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
ISBN 10: 1-945491-08-6 (ePub eBook)
ISBN 13: 978-1-945491-08-5 (ePub eBook)
ISBN 10: 1-945491-09-3 (Mobi eBook)
ISBN 13: 978-1-945491-09-2 (Mobi eBook)
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission of the publisher.
Published by 2 Tigers, LLC, USA
Cover Design by Kevin Fontan & 2 Tigers LLC
WHO AM I?
Three words encompassing a terrifying existential question that has plagued mankind. From its sophisticated thinkers all the way to it’s recently much more relevant drug addled philosophers. I myself fall into the latter category. Laying here as I am right now, existing in a state of both ethereal bliss and a sense like angelic violence, nothing fails to surprise me. We wake up each and every day with absolutely no certainty the preceding day even actually occurred, aside from our own recollection of it and let’s be honest, human memory was never the thing worth its salt. You can look at it from too many angles, like it was some bulky god thing hanging above each of our heads; my particularly favorite way is through the same eyes as comedian Steven Wright, “Right now I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before.” It is of course a joke, but isn’t that the joke itself really? Am I really me? Did the real me die last night and now I have just woken up thinking I am me now? Is this flesh me or is it just a suit for the over analyzed trite things I think while I exist? I know for certain I am on my floor with ear buds inserted into my inner ear cavity. I am listening to a mixture of nineties alternative rock, everything from Hole to Portishead. I know I feel certain of these things because of tactile sensations but really that could mean fuck all.
I am just as likely to be the poorly written creation of some melodramatic thirty something or another, who is emulating his own feelings and experiences onto me in some sort of narrative to cope with whatever self-made delusion is vexing him. I think that would be a pretty proper way of explaining God. Aren’t all of our gods just our ways of explaining ourselves anyway? Why else would you make him a six-foot-tall herculean white man with an amazing beard and perfect hair? I’m not exactly an atheist but, I’m also in no way a theist for sure. There is far too much goings on in this world for there not to be some other; perhaps not a next but at least an alternative life to our own. Can never be too certain really. Nothing guaranteed, nothing promised. No quarter asked, none given I’m afraid friends. Try to relax though, remember a point in your life when pessimism was as fun as the music it bred. It will certainly make this all the more enjoyable; if not for your sake than for my own. Okay there are no take backs now.
Life as we know it is full of terribly uncertain events. Nobody ever holds your hand through the muck they pretend they are preparing you for, not honestly anyway; just their idea of the truth. Everybody nothing more than a reflection of a copy. You hear stories from others of course; stories from the lifers, the truly committed who talked to their dead cats at night, or the woman who swears her sweet long since passed Maurice soothes her through the record player late at night. You will notice as you grow into adulthood that you begin to move in and out of moments and lives so quickly, it becomes hard to tell whose ghost story is whose and how any of them ever even got started. We take turns changing the vinyl for each other; as each needle wears out we address it and to the next. Each person you meet creating another echo in this vast void of limbo we each have sectioned off and declared LIFE. Memory palaces on forgotten beaches with shorelines drowned in thought. I could spend a while blabbering on and on about all the phonies, the wanters and the posers; but screw them there is already enough beautiful words wasted on their vapid necessities, as was the usual you also have your fill of typicals and one night stands in every stretch of life.
The drug addicts and the homeless looking for a warm bed and something less weathered to rest their heads upon. You would have to sort those hooligans out to find anything worth talking about but I promise you, once you had found it you knew it and it changed everything for you. Perhaps not in the way you had intended at the start of your adventure but it was uncanny how it found you. You create them or they find you and impress upon you some sort of truth, either way yah know, hey it’s kind of crazy like that. Like thumbed out cigarettes against infinity; lighting sparklers for drawing make shift smiles against the otherwise empty skies of your own personal limbo for no reason other than the one presented. These crazy angels, not exactly lost finding you, hanging carelessly in the air above each other like a sword of Damocles turned upside down.
“I can tell you this Charlie; there are 52 ways to kill anyone. One and two they are exactly the same. No one can tell the difference and that…. that is how they get you. It’s how they get inside you and how they found you to begin with Charlie.”
The words stuttered and panicked sound the same as they do any other day that I am blessed to hear Angelo tell me them. I work here at The Towers, a home for the “mentally impaired” or for those who “got the morbs” indefinitely, that there is Angelo, the Italian guy we all thought was faking it to dodge his murder rap. You see Angelo supposedly had been one of those guys who other guys went to, to fix things, permanently if you catch my drift. Anyways, Angelo was here due to some sort of scrap and the deal was that he was a bit touched and the good doctors needed to ascertain exactly what dear old Angelo was up to. Well whether by brilliant acting, act of god or vigilante medicating Angelo was unfit for trial. He is from, what I understand, considerably tamer now with the Thorazine cocktails Dr. Duleager had prescribed him; for the best I suppose though, if he is going to be here we don’t want him hurting anyone. There aren’t too many patients here these days, the ones we have are familiars or lifers, no reason to be scared. Not even of Angelo.
Duleager here stands out for so many reasons. I recall when I first started here he actually seemed happier, now I don’t know if the job just got to him or maybe there are troubles at home but I noticed a distinct glimmer in that man’s eyes that just went away. So of course there are the rumors, “D’you hear? The Doc showed up lit to the brim the other day?” “D’you hear? He keeps his wife locked up in some sort of crazy BDSM dungeon all day long. He finally gets home and they take out toys and play act out other people’s psychosis.” “D’you hear? He murdered his wife?” Stupid little fictions constructed by the gossip hungry masses. If it were not for the fact that he works here, you could probably call him an isolationist. No one ever really sees him with anyone else. So with nothing but fuck all to work with, stories get dreamed up. There is a photo of a woman on his desk which we have all just come to presume is his wife. Funny story, I have absolutely no idea what Duleager’s first name is.
“What?! No fucking way! I call shenanigans on this,” shouts Kurt.
“No, I am serious. I have worked here what, three years now and have never known his first name. What is it?”
Kurt sits for a minute and his face changes from amazement to confusion. “I have no fucking clue what Duleager’s first name is, and who the hell started the rumor he killed his wife? That shit is screwed up man.”
So there you have it, no one knows the man’s name; all we have is the sad necessary of his unknown existence. One day when we do find out it is going to be the biggest let down I’m sure but for now it gets to be myth and mystery. Still though you have to wonder just what the hell is going on in his head sometimes. You would think that with a beautiful wife like that he would want to be home more often; myth and mystery.
Making the rounds of the first floor is an infinity loop with a circle set inside it. The designer must have thought this would make getting around faster but all it does is provide hiding spots for our more adventurous tenants. Tenants like a certain, Mary Shelly, not the English novelist but just as interesting. Mary comes in roughly every other week; dragged in by spasticks higher than hosanna. What is it about a damaged woman that intrigues me? I watch her hands shake and her cigarette ash trembles and cascades down her jacket arm. It reminds me of an ocean of bodies slamming against a heather gray corpse of so many dead beaches I will never see. The polish of her nails provides a contrast like a disco ball sent with sentimentality. Mary finds herself in our company due to a compulsion to consume copious amounts of Dextromethorphan; a cough suppressant in the same family as PCP or Ketamine. She doses high and gets belligerent shouting all sorts of wondrous Aura of ideas to whomever will hear her until she takes too much and Ictus sets in and several hours later we meet and I am wiping her lips clean of spittle. Her postictal lips surrendered to the world just hanging in barely.
“You make it sound like I’m some miserable burden.”
The minor triage area we are sitting in goes stone silent for a moment.
“I would never say you were a burden; you just have the worst sense of self-preservation in recorded human history is all.” I ramble off. So there she is, all the fire burned out and now she rests till next time and I prepare her for her next show.
“You don’t touch me when I’m out, do you?” Her voice sounding uncertain if the proper context for which she might get a less than revolting answer to this question. Fortunately, I am able to provide one.
“No,” the word echoes for an eternity in both of our heads and back around the loop and the inner circle before it falls silent; it never seems any softer. “No…. the uhm female attendants wash you up. I only tidy up your hair and you face while you are still postictal.” She moves aside slightly and meets my eyes,
“Why the fuck do you care?” I let my arms fall to my sides as I think for a moment. The question hangs in the air with us, motionless the flicker of the LED lights just outside crackle and accuse.
“Why the hell don’t you?” the words fall out dry. I resume wiping her face clean and she just stares at me. The hum in the air might be romantic if this wasn’t so fucked.