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She said she had felt it for the past few days. The couple had a long talk at a all night coffee shop about the new presence in the air. "It happened about six or seven days ago. I was taking tickets near dark for a showing of Buried Child. The one Sam Shepard one the Obie for. Anyways, I just felt as if someone was spying on me. Like some one was listening but they weren't there. Like they were invisible or some shit." Jona agreed that he had the same experience when he woke up at the mysterious condo-hotel south of Chicago. "I had a drug induced trip at the his condo high above this lake—somewhere south of here. Rich hotel. But it was in the middle of nowhere. I don't know how I got there. I just woke up there. This man was in the room---actually I believe I was switched around room—I think some one was injecting or putting drugs in my food---It felt like I had been there for years and years—it was odd. I escaped…" "You were trapped." He grinned. "Not really. I was just to tripped out to make it to the hall. The front hall to the condo scared me—I would trip when I'd try to leave—and see these weird things in what it looked like museum cases." She gave him a queer stare, "Weird. Museum cases. What was in them.?" He thought before speaking. "Lot of things. I saw paintings by great sculpture. Brancusi I believed. And I saw abstract photos—there was a ceramic midget in the case—things like that. It was like being trapped in a freak house or some shit." He raised his coffee slowly to his lips. "Thoughts freaky. Are you ok." He grinned, "Well. No. I was picked up by a bald man that looked like a Vampire and an Oriental opium addict. They took me to this mansion. I tripped on Opium and had a dream about an old ancient cruise ship on the vast ocean. Afterwards, I was awoken by this old couple. They'd chased me out screaming some shit about intruder. I ran here." Rhiannon glimpsed at the clock hanging over the kitchen serving trays. "Hmm. How far did your run." He became more erect in his spin and shoulder. "I don't know. Hours it seemed. I was scared. I caught a few buses and cab. I made it here. I feel better here. Oh. When I left I followed this spot light. The one near Steppen Wolf." Rhiannon put another cig in her mouth. "Oh. That's to this haunted house. House of Blood I thinks its called. Or something like that."

Jona scrunched his eyebrows together, "House of Blood. Hmm. Lets go." "Now. What about tomorrow. Its 4 AM now. Lets go find a motel. I want to finish this bag off." Jona followed her to the side walk. A distant spot light danced across the gray night clouds above. "House of Blood." Jona announced. "Rhiannon. It looks like a big deal." She girlishly giggled. "Tomorrow, Ok." The waning quarter moon crawled behind a bush of dark mountains in the sky. Jona and Rhiannon headed toward a Motel Six near Lake Michigan. She lead Jona up to a parking garage. On the top floor a shiny chopper stood on its kickstand proud and tall. "Harley and Davidson chopper." She grined out the words like a Asian cartoon. She kicked the engine switch on and Jona jumped on the back. Flap. Her foot smashed the crank shift gear toward the ground. The engine screamed out a thumping based putter. Nice and smooth rhythm. Like some mad drummer for some star struck band. In a flash, they hit the highway and made way toward the lake, far above the speed limit—They checked into the Motel 6 around 5Am—just before sunrise.

The hatchet memory.

"When I was a kid. Ten maybe twelve or so. My father owned these dear lease near Woodsot Texas. He use to take us out there to dear hunt and turkey call. I could call turkey with my voice at 10 or so. They'd come. Honest. Anyway, he had this friend. He was my Dad's best friend. His name was Leon. Leon had a son. One day we were clearing out a path to put up feeders and create hunting trail for the turkey and does. Dear. My father and Leon got tired and had a water and smoke break. We had to clear out some tree stomps to drag dear stands and corn feeders for dear. My father and Leon agreed that Leon's son and I should race to chop down the tree stumps. We used hatchets. They said the winner would be the first to chop down the tree stumps. We raced. It took awhile to get through the tree stumps. They were young trees and had plenty of green still on them—not old and flaky. Strong wood. We chopped and chopped. My hand started to form blisters on the palms and thumbs. Leon gave his son advice first. He told him to take small little chops and keep it steady. I thought this was wise but it wasn't really my dad's philosophy. He was a man of passion. Our technique was somewhat wild, with hard chops. . .no steadiness—just chop with passion, anger---let anger fuel the swings---anger pride or whatever---but chop quick hard and with emotion.. .just chop and don't miss the. Guess who one." Rhiannon's green eyes gleamed back at him putting him under her spell. "Me. I one. With passion. Seems un likely huh. You'd think the one with short, steady chops one. But it was me. I chopped as hard as I could and as along as I could. Hard and long. With passion. That made me win." Rhiannon dragged her cigarette cherry bright, smoky red. Smoke floated out of her wide nostrils, "Great. You chose Hercules way." He laughed, "I always saw Conan the Barbarian as a winner. He was strong and hung with thieves." She thought about it, "But thieves are bad." Jona thought harder over the answer, "Hm. Yes. But thieves usually use their skills as a reaction to the misdeeds done to them." Rhiannon glared a set of wide but youthful wise eyes, "Yes. But you are rationalizing your thievery. No one has the rite to steal. Not even the ones that have been treated poorly." "Yes, but what about Robin Hood. He stole from the reach and gave to the poor." Rhiannon exhaled more smoke, "Yeah. He turned his bad karma to good. So if you steal—or even condone thievery—you have to give something back. Nothing is for free, you know." Jona got up, yawned like a bear and stretched like a lion. The motel room was rather messy. Coke cans laid on the floor, marijuana zip lock bags, cigarette Camel light cartons and the black red neon tv remote was lost. "Nothing is for free---I don't believe in money. I believe that you are rewarded with good deeds---in life. . .tyu do good---good deeds return to you as payment. Money is just a form of trade---it has nothing to do with sin." Rhiannon smiled, "The devils blood is what it is." She found the remote under the pillow wedged between the bed and the wall. She snapped it on to CNN. "All tragic heroes succumb to their passions. Its true with Medea, Oedipus and Darth Vader." She smiled and watch helicopter take of a aircraft carrier on the TV set. Some guy hired by Ted Turner spoke and announced the newest artillery and military machinery designed to take out desert mines. "the world will never stop its fighting huh. Just like children. Greed and lies---all of them. Greedy that's what." Her wise eyes glowed greener. It was as if she had read some ancient text that Jona never knew of or got a hold of. Jona was about ten years older then Rhiannon. She was no more than eighteen or so. Jona was close to thirty. "You have much wisdom for your age." She smiled back, "Youth are wise. You think all youngins are naive." She climbed back in bed with him adjusting her panty and bra. They sat up and stared at the screen and shared a bag of popcorn and can of coke. It seemed nothing good was on.

Murder is defined as the unlawful killing of one human by another with premeditated malice.—to defeat decisively. Rather Jona was Jona or Jay, murder was taking place in Hollywood. Jona knew Tommy would strike again. He knew that if he lived it up on the streets of shy town—he'd be wasting lives. He knew evil thrived in both places. It was possible that Tommy Marcel was strutting around aimlessly or with a specific goal in mind on the streets of Chicago, at this moment, maybe even New York or any small town in that case. It didn't matter. Tommy was at threat to society. A threat to innocent. He was the monster from Movie land. A vampire to any one trying to break through and premier their face on the silver screen. The common killing was the following. Usually single women, beautiful, brown hair and she always had two gay friend. The gay friends fit any description. Tommy only killed a lady, usually thirty three and living or close friends with two homosexual lovers. And Tommy killed them all. All in one killing spree. The Movie Star killer's first attack was off a street called Whitworth, near Melrose. He killed a young lady on the verge of stardom. She bleed to death out of the back of her head onto two young queers working for a packaging company and on the verge of making it on a new upcoming Science fiction TV series on Fox called, "Dimensious"

Tommy Marcel was a powerful man, he had cash, credit and good name based standards to do or go wherever the hell he pleased. If Tommy said Paris, France tomorrow. Just to see a play or movie. Or date. IT didn't matter. Not at all. People were called, money spent and it Happened. There was special Jet airliner awaiting him, with cocktail. He called the shots in Hollywood. He was Mr. Funny guy and people listen to those star folk type. He was bigger then Jerry Lewis, Jim Carey or anyone. Big enough to kill and get away with it, scott-free. Jona knew less about Tommy then he did Jay Grisham. But Jay Grisham knew more about Tommy then Jona. On the other hand, he figured that Tommy had something to do with his hallucinations, loss of identity, and in the condo south of Illinois and he had clues that Tommy was on his back. He felt him there. Rhiannon and Jona trailed it on Rhiannon's Harley toward the giant spot light.They had taken some off roads that caused quite a spinning of dust and gravel. She was being adventurous. "Better than Six Flags of Texas huh Jonsy." She called him that to be cute. They'd be late to the haunted house; maybe even one of their last customers. The spot light danced in gyrating circles in the grayed cloudy dark above. Not a star was seen that night. Expected rain. Rhiannon had told him about a new band that was starting up. She had hung with them for months as they opened for the Pumpkins in small venues. "The guitarist is hooked on Opium. He plays well though---but man does this guy smoke the hard shit." She went on about the new band. "They are called Jackal. The lead singer is bald, heavy set but has a pale and vacant face—many feel he is a vampire." She laughed. The Harley speed up on the highway. The made it on a old dirt road that lead to the spot light. Jona asked about the band and tired to match up her responses with the memory of the two jokers that picked him up. "They took me to some old mansion. The Oriental guy may have been the guitarist you were talking about." Rhiannon slowed the throttle down. The hovered by few low limbs and kicked it down the dirt road toward the factory style building. "Oh. He has rich friends all over the place. Probably his opiate dealers house—or some shit. He's crazy. They say the drummers killed some dude once. But I don't believe all that shit." "How did he kill him." She slowed the bike off in-front of the haunted house of horrors. It looked more like a haunted factory than a house. "This is it." Jona checked out the dimensions. "It looks large. Pretty damn big for a haunted house." Rhiannon explained about the drummer. "He stabbed one of his ex-girlfriends with a kitchen knife and left there to bleed. She lived through it." "No shit. I thought you said he murdered." She wiped her running knows with a bandana. He was coming to conclusions that Rhiannon was pretty tough for a girl. "He went to Desert Storm. His platoon got lost coming back from an excursion. They ran into a young Iraq group traveling back from some village. They figured they were enemy. The sergeant padded them down and found a uzi and a some hand grenades in one of the group members pockets. There were two teenage boys and three older men. The older men had the grenades. The drummer told the serge to step back. The teenage boy removed a pistol to hand over to the American sergeant. The drummer fired in the air. The boy stepped back and shot the gun in panic. The sergeant hit the dirt and the drummer unloaded a clip into everyone. He shot the sergant in the side—only wounding him. The two Iraq soldiers were slaughter along with the boys." They walked and stood in line to get in the haunted mansion. "Sounds made up." She took out a cigarette with a bumblebee logo above the filter. "Well. It's not. The drummer was tried for the accidental killing. They gave him two months to the MPs. He got out because of a good lawyer. It was claimed his passions took over him and caused the killings. It was later tried as a war killing. The Iraq boy supposedly jeopardized himself and others by drawer the pistol without warning. If the drummer had no lawyer they American military would of tried war charges against the dude." Jona stepped forward toward the screaming factory. "What was his name." She smiled at him. "Jay Grisham. Like the famous writer." Jona swallowed. The line inched forward. Love is Suicide from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness swelled from the halls of the haunted house. Jona thought long and hard. A moment passed. Wind. The moon peaked out. "Jay Grisham. Sounds familiar." The lyrics Love is Suicide screamed. October was in bloom. The killers roamed the streets mixed with the ghouls and vampires. Jona examined the front door to the haunted house. They were plastered with fake rock paper mache' and stage blood. It looked like some mouth to hell. Chain armor, bats, cobwebs and skeleton heads were planted in perfect spots above and around the rocky entrance. He mouthed the lyrics, "No we drive the night, to the ironies of peace, you can't help deny forever, the tragedies reside in you, the secret sights hide in you, the lonely nights divide you in two, all my blisters now revealed." Jona pulled his collar up and face the cold. The night was growing fiercely chilling. Rhiannon smoked her cigarette and ignored the earth. She seemed to be lost somewhere above the clouds. That is what kept her warm. They went to bed that night. The haunted house was the regular kind. Long hallways, loud ghosts noises, screams, cut off heads, blood on the walls, hands reaching out of odd corners, cool blowing rooms with strobe lights, cob webs, ghoul masks, people chained to walls, were wolves in fake trees, and a glamour Hollywood cinema rip off of a common horror flick by some famous Hollywood film director, Jason, Freddie Kruger or the Texas Chain Saw Masacre. Boring shit. Jona had a nightmare that night. He dreamt of being on a sailing ship far out in the vast ocean—it sunk somewhere the antartic—far out in the floating ice shingles, hard thick ice crystal ships sunken at the bottom of the seaweed---he couldn't tell the ships name—it was not the Titanic or any well known ship—but a lost ship, perhaps a ghost ship—he couldn't tell---he was frozen solid in the dream. He remembered looking down at his hands and screaming. AAHAHAHAHHA. Rhiannon woke him up. It was 3AM. He was sweating and had kicked the sheets off the bed. "You were dreaming. You kept yelling." He wiped his eyes and turned to her. Her breast cleavage arose from her nighty. He stared at them and sunk his head in and on her warm chest. Her heart pounded steady and strong. "What was I saying." He asked, "You kept asking God. 'If you love me. Why do you hurt me so much." It wasn't long until morning snuck into the motel room. Rhiannon turned it back on CNN. There was more photos of war in Iraq and confrontation in other middle eastern countries. They had a special episode on extreme snow boarding. She watched that awhile and then left Jona in bed napping. She made her way to the corner store and bought a can of Peter Pan extra crunchy. She snuck back in the motel room and curled into the side twin bed. Jona remained asleep. She snapped the channel to VH1 and watched a acoustic version of some Billy Idle jam out to his heavy tunes on accustic. She sang along and dipped her fingers in the crunchy peanut butter. She licked it off her finger types and watched Jona snore. She had many doubts about Chicago and Steppenwolf. Perhaps she stay for awhile, maybe read Hesse Steppenwolf and perhaps, maybe even Sidhartha. Her life was becoming a little stale. But she still felt the odd prescense. That bought some chills to her soul. Jona remained asleep until 12pm or so. She decided they'd get up and head toward Steppenwolf on her motor bike. After words she look for a café to serve lunches and pick up some extra cash. Jona tossed and turned. She stared at him for a quite a time and admired his sleeping position and sound. He was a new sight. A new beginning for her. He would be hell of a mountain to climb. She couldn't really feel him out. He was ten years older, far more experience, probably did more drugs in his time and he had a strong vibe to him—she didn't know how to read him. Couldn't tell if he was a loser or winner. Maybe booth—like most. Was he losing know or winning. He seem to change at times—his accent—his rhythm in speech—even his walk—consistency was far from him. At times he seemed feminine and other times he was super masculine. He was some type of trebadour—a poet at heart---a wonderer---maybe even had good love in him. She couldn't tell if he had an educational background---but she had some clues that he had some type of military training. At times he walked up right and he woke up and set up straight in bed---buck sergeants do that to people. They'd wake soldiers up yelling and screaming. She knew this from her uncle who had some experience in the Navy. She watched his belly rise and fall under the white linen sheets. She dipped her finger in the Peter Pan and crunched down a wad or two of oily chunks. CNN was playing one long war that seemed to go on like a sympathy from Bethoven or Mozart. It was madness. She turn the channel back to VH1 and watched some bald headed vampire bang away at his classical guitar. He sang some song about the night and the moon and his lover true. It made her mad. Why did they let vampires play on TV? She thought. How come he gets to be famous. His evil for goodness sake. Then she agreed it was ok. It was 2000 not 1950. Happy days were far behind her. Times were definitely changing. We were living in fast times of Ridgemoore, pot smokers going to Oz Fest or Wood Stock 2. We were living in post Regan years, after Dracula came back as a manic depressive screamer and we could put laser sights on windows and blow down buildings in a push of a button or call of vocals, we could produce laser disk and send them around the world and less then a week—any type of music with any type of lyrics no matter the verse---we could give messages by satilight or make a phone call underwater at some far away tropical island, even send out a message to Japan in a click of a mouse---two clicks of a mouse---we could do anything. Anything at all. See anything. Fly anywhere. If she wanted she could fly to France in a heart beat and see a mime walk in place near the louve—if they still existed—and she was sure they did---It was odd what she could do. She dug into the peanut butter and switched it to MTV 2. An old clip from Van Halen shouted in the screen. It bored her. She switched it to MTV 3. Some song by Metalica played. She watched and learned. Then she decided it was time to strike up another bowl and head off to join Jona in the good land unconsciousness and surrealism. She lied next to her lover but sleep would not over come her tired body. She was drained but here eyes remained wired and wide. She thought perhaps someone had slipped her an upper somewhere along the way. The night was over. Morning has set in a like some odd stage lighting effect. She looked at the shades illuminate and brighten the room. Bars of light aligned here and there. One shaft of light sliced across her face. Rhiannon squinted her eyes and slung her arm around Jona. Jona took a deep breath with in his REM. His eyes rolled up into his leads. Rhiannon needed him for some strange reason. She didn't know why. She just did. Despite all the drugs, and the tv and the food and the haunted house and the Harly ride to town and back; she still needed him. She still wanted him to be with her. But Jona was deep in sleep. He was transfused into his private dream. REM had him know. She was envious but tried to rest anyhow. For some reason her hunger pangs stroke up like an igniting flame at the end of a candle cheap plastic lighter. It burned with in her stomach. She got up and fixed her a honey peanut butter and banana sandwich. She felt a little more drowsy and her stomach stopped growling.

Jona woke up. It was near dark, once more. He immediately had a great idea for a script. He couldn't tell if it would be a film or play. He hoped for the film but expected it to be a play. See, a while back Jona like sending out to play competitions. He once considered sending a script to a screenplay fests design to help first time writers get started in Hollywood. He considered himself a failure. Here he was stuck out in the middle of all this devastation. No car. No cash. No secured job. What would become of him. He had to come up with something. Rhiannon lit up another bowl of mary jay and they toked up a smoke party. He knew if he was ever to be saved he had to experiment with the life of shy town. Try some drugs, hang out with some edgy types, maybe try some other women. He was fallen for Rhiannon but not enough to give up on his wondering. He had to wonder and hit mother load. What was mother load. Was it gold like many believed. Was it silver. Perhaps money. Money was the devil's blood—it allowed evil to flow into the system and circle of life. But that was no good. Evil always implodes and attacks into a frenzy that leads to the nothing. He felt the presence. Rhiannon whined in her sleep; the presence was hanging over here, sneaking into her dreams. What was it? Was it a demon hovering over Chicago. Was it a monster, Satan's tools. What was this odd vibe making Jona sweat. Darkness boiled over the city like hot steam escaping a witches brew. It was close to Hollow eve's. Danger would enter his life. This excited Jona but lift him on the sketchy side. He wasn't following through with all his decisions. He wasn't taking his own foot steps. The movie Exorcist III entered his mind. He had scene it once or twice in LA before leaving. Just with the brat and Tommy. For fun. He remembered the man that was possessed and how he changed. He was a legion. He was many. This means, that he wasn't holly. It means he wasn't exactly one---he was never really a full person, at this moment. But broken up in parts, to dance and whirl into the nature's rhythms and winds. Jona thought about many things. Possibly mailing home. Possibly sending a letter to an old friend. Maybe sending a message to Japan to a old teacher. He didn't know. He was wondering.

Meanwhile a Hollywood spotlight was ignited. Premier night. Jessica and Phil pre-paid for the Hotel room for three nights prior to the Premier. Jessi teased Phil all night about his funky maroon bow tie. "Let me straighten it. Come on." She blew him a kiss. "I can't believe this room overlooks Hollywood Boulevard." The door bell sounded to their suite. Phil let Tim in. Tim was Phil's lover for ten years. They each had matching Tuxedo designed by independent designers in France. Tim was on his way to becoming the next funny guy for Fox. Phil was on his way to a successful career on Cinemax—adult movies. They hugged and Phil broke out a small plastic baggy of. . . "White as snow." Tim inhaled, "No way. YES. Jes. We got it." They snorted near the toilette. They wanted to get rid of any evidence if some one un-expected showed---remember they were on spotlight and tonight was the big night. Jessica decided to unbutton the back of her brand new Calvin Klein dress suite. She wanted to hit the night with a cross dress business suite. Everyone said she looked like Annie Lennox. Phil pulled out his peter and flapped it at Tim. Tim made fun of its limp state. "Its all limpy and shit." "Come on guys we got to get in character. Character is the key tonight. Good behavior. OK. No arguing. No fighting. And no more drugs." Just as Jes said that the door bell sounded. "Oh, shit. Phil get rid of you know what---toilet now." Jes went to the door. Tim followed Phil into the bathroom. They emptied the white snow into the toilette and flushed. Jes pulled on the door handle and opened the door to welcome a bright camera flash. "Say cheese." A bullet hole appeared in the dead center of her forehead. She fell limp. Blood slowly leaked from the back of her head and onto the white fuzzy, shaggy carpet. "Not a sound—maybe a whisper." The killer adjusted the silencer on the automatic .45. Phil walked out of the bathroom followed by Tim. "Hey. Jess. Who was. . .at." A flash. "Say cheese." A hole now replaced Phil's left eye. His brains splattered onto Tim's profile. Tim ran back into the bathroom and slammed the door. His back slid down the vanity stand up mirror. He heavily breathed in and out like a long distance runner finishing up his last 100 yards . His breaths became shorter and shorter and fainter and fainter. Tim wiped the spilt brains and blood of his ear and head. He dabbed the remaining of Phils mind, with a white bath towel with the initial H on them. The killer knocked on the door three times. "Cheese." Eight shots fired through the door. Two hit Phil in the thigh. He screamed as loud as he could. The door was kicked open. Flash. Flash. Three more shots. The last thing he saw was a man in an old 1940's trench coat, large tan detective hat, like Sherlock Holms, and an old fashion still camera.

And of coarse the camera's flash bulb igniting. The spot light was turned off after the Premier of the movie Pleasanton's last frame on the reel faded out and the projector cooled. Jessica's last line in Pleasanton was "One breath at a time." The film was about a nurse and her sick child living in Pleasanton, California during the Gold Rush era. Jessica played the nurse and the sick child was a new and upcoming young star that looked like a young Sarah Jessica Parker. The critics called it a "Tear jerker." It was one of those films Julie Roberts would of starred in two years back. After everyone exited the cinema house the attendant pulled the plug to the motorized, rotating spotlight. The motor clicked down and rested to a silence. Just as Phil's, Tim's and Jessica's career and life had ended hours before their welcoming into the Hollywood Premier scene. The house lights inside the movie house were darkened past the variance of gray. A phone rang repeatedly in a hotel Suite over looking Hollywood Boulevard. No one answered.

Jona woke up in the Super 8 hotel with a panicking fright. He had sweat all over his chin and forehead. The bathroom light was left on. No one war around. Jona heard a slight buzzing sound. Like the type a indoor freezer makes. The type of indoor freezer that store beer, liquor or diary products. The type you find at a grocer store. The buzzing sound would not stop. It was sustained through his searching for a another human. He had never felt so lonely. Where was Rhiannon? How could she suddenly be gone. Not like this. They were so close. And she upped and left. What the hell? Jona's room was fairly small. It consisted of a queen sized bed, one bathroom, a stand in shower and a cheap rug. He looked at his eyes in the vanity; pulling down the lids to check into his soul—to see if some type of spirit had leaked out and left tracing of leakage. He was tired. Too tired. Drugged again. A paranoid delusion hit him. It was uncommon thought or idea, or even instinct, but he went with it. He pushed himself to follow this new story creating in his now going, lonely life. He felt that some one had been drugging him. Making him different. Making him feel different. Fall into temptations that he normally wouldn't fall into. His appetite had changed. He was craving more and more sweats. He couldn't understand his new upcoming behavior. His new way at looking at himself. It was as if Jay was coming back. Or possibly the person Jay was before Jona. He had thoughts of Washington, DC and Richmond. Training camps. Sniper shootings. Crazy murders in small town Illinois. He started to remember who he was. Who Jay Grisham was. All his friends calling him Shakespeare and saying, "Hey whens the next big book coming out." It was Jay speaking in his head. This fantasy person or if not made up, some type of possession, this Jona character, was leaking out of his existence. He begin to ponder over the old images of Hollywood and Tommy Marcel. Tommy was doing it. Some how. He remembered a time when he and the brat went up into the Marcel's attic. Marcel had made a small room for him, with a laptop and a laser printer. He was hooked up with DSL. Making messages to a friend in Japan and sending notes to other agents in Washington. It was all unreal. It was so secretive and spy like—it was amazing. He couldn't believe he was catching. He was about to dig up a serial killer in Hollywood. A serial killer with popularity and fame and fortune. He was about to crack a case. That's when the man visited him at the donut shop and he took some odd medication. This changed him. The drug that was handed out to him at his old Job off of Wilshire. It was Tommy. Tommy must of sent the man. He must of drugged him and kept drugging him. Rhiannon must be working for Tommy. Who wasn't working for Tommy. This place must be paid by Tommy. Tommy paid for all this. He changed me. He lied. He tricked me. Death to Tommy. Kill Tommy. Revenge to this beast. I shall kill Tommy. Tommy will be dead.

Jay took in a huge, quick breath. It was time to start over. He ripped of his leather jeans and his green tuxedo top. It wasn't him. He shaved off his jetblack hair. Rhiannon must of dyed it for him. He didn't know when check out time was. He figured it was soon. Maybe noon. He didn't know how he was going to get back to Hollywood and search out Tommy and the brat. He knew Tommy was the killer now. He had no evidence yet, but he knew and many in Hollywood most likely knew as well. They were covering it up. Tommy was making them more money them Jim Carrey. Tommy was American's most beloved star. He was a killer and he needed to be stopped. No matter how much the world adored him, it was time for justice. He imagined Tommy seating in a expensive hotel suite, older face, thin body, arguing with a girl. "I don't like it. Its not my color. I still don't like it. Sorry." The girl held a green snake skin jacket in her cold hands. She was minutes from death. Tommy went into his closet and removed a his trench coat. Moments later, there was a flash form an old 1940's still life camera. Jay could almost hear the lady, who ever she was, lover or hater, hit the ground. Blood spilled on the on snake skin as whisper spit out of a silencer .45 automatic. Jay stared down at the ugly carpet stain, vomit, he thought. People that murder, make me want to vomit. He got up and went to the phone. The trip was over. It was time to put Jona to a rest. It was time to check in to Washington. He was in deep. Deep as hell. It wouldn't be long until he was going to be enlightened into some un-expected news. He would told be headquarter to drop the case. It was hopeless. Tommy didn't just have to power of Hollywood, but he had the power of the world. Everyone loved him. It would be impossible to turn him into a killer. Jona wouldn't let the case go. Even if his own government begged him to do so.

Jona couldn't get through. Not because he couldn't remember the phone number, not because he didn't know who to call and when—he had no way of calling. He had no money. No phone card. And no cell phone. He was SOL on calling out at the moment—and it didn't matter that he was a hot shot FBI agent. With out quarters or in this case—five bucks of quarters—he wasn't making any calls anytime soon. He decided to go as a pick pocketor. Change his identity temporarily. Pickpocket. That's it. This is a thieve that lifts wallets. He'd call himself Steve. Steven Patricks, the pickpocket. That would be the new me. The new, and possibly old, thieve in town. Steve had a feeling he robbed here before—in his past, or past life. Steve believed in past lives, and psychics and wizard, he also had a thing for the Move Velvet Gold mind, he even bought, or ripped off the cd at a Best Buy. Steve would lift wallets and make phone calls at cheap hotels. He knew that Tommy was on his case. He probably had someone working at the hotel, bus boy, bell hop or night clerk—some one—an actor, like the brat. Just watching out. Making sure his drugs were taking place. He didn't know how the drugs were getting into his system, and, if how long they'd stayed in his system after they were ingested in his blood. He did remember a sharp pain near his elbow---and even near his wrist. A type of pain that existed after getting blood drawn from the doctors or a blood lab for drug screening. Possibly he could have been getting injected at night—in sleep. He didn't know what type of drugs they were sneaking in him. Probably, psych drugs---maybe a mix—something that would make him lose his identity—something strong. It had to be a mixture. Maybe they were putting IT in his water bottles, maybe dabbing it on his cigs—He just couldn't figure it out. He felt high. Every pore tingled and seem to widened. He was on something now. He was sure. Very sure. Jona checked out his eye's condition in the vanity mirror. The pupils had dilated. He couldn't tell if it was an upper or downer—or the type of drug he was forced on. He just knew it changed his way of thought. I know. Jona had a great idea. He'd go down to the lobby and wait. Wait for the next check in. He thieve a bell hop outfit and help them to the door. Then, get a copy of their key. When they slept that night---or left for dinner—he'd rob them blind. Take all the luggage to another room—take all available credit cards, cash and expensive items: cell phones, jelwery—whatever would give him enough to get a rental car and jet back to Richmond or Washington. He wasn't going to call this one end. He was headed back to Washington to make a personal report about the damage Tommy Marcel had done to him. He tell his captain everything. The identity crisis he had with Jona and the one he was having now with Steve. It was ongoing. He kept forgetting who he was. He kept forgetting his name—were he had been days before. The drug was not wearing off. The first check in came soon. IT was an elderly couple. Jona thanked God. Not far from the Hotel was a Halloween store. It had to be October 27th or so. He went in to the changing room, hours before, and put on a bellhop outfit, he put his old clothes over the costume. He stayed this way until the couple checked in to the Super 8 hotel. It was not a place that would hire bellhops but Jay took his chances. He went into a broom closet and waited for the couple to walk to the elevator. He heard them chatting down the hall. He took off his initial outfit, leather pants and tuxedo top, and straightened out the bellhop Halloween costume. "Excuse me. Mam. Sir. Can I help" They let him take their luggage. He asked them, "Do you have an extra key. Emergency back up." The couple told him they did not. "Here. Give me your key and I'll have an extra or I'll bring an extra one up. Just in case." The old gullible man gave his key away to Jay. Jay ran to the nearby dollar store and had one made and returned the original to them, with an extra copy from the clerk desk. The clerk desk never found out. No one was there after they checked in. That night, as they slept, Jona unlocked the door and took three luggage pieces from the elderly couple. Also, he lifted the wallet off the night stand and got off the ladies wedding ring. She snorted and he almost had to knock her out with an elbow to the head—fortunately she kept her eyes closed. He found their car keys and packed everything into their Honda Hatchback. The old man must have been a brain doctor or some shit. He had over three thousand in cash in his wallet. He high tailed it to the highway while listen to the sound track of Dead Man by Neil Young. He never once question why these senior citizens were listening to Dead Man. Possible Johnny Depp fans. It wasn't long until he mad his way out of Illinoise and passed the state line. He had a few states to go before reaching Washington. He stopped at a K-Mart and made the call. "Jay Grisham. 10990Xyxy." He gave off the proper code—from the right day. They knew it was him. He pressed the proper tone numbers on the phone receiver to check in. He had escaped Tommy Marcel's grasped and LA's evil claw. It wouldn't be long until he would be back in Hollywood for vengeance. He had to regroup and get his head on right. Maybe see headquarter special doctors they have in brain wash and in chemical dependency. After getting well he'd return to the case. He didn't care that they told him to drop the case or not. This time he would go back west, and he would succeed. This time he catch the man, the star, the dark power, known as the Movie Star Killer.

Jona was on some highway. He didn't even know its name. Didn't want to. Some guy at a Philips 44 told him it was a straight shot to the Pentagon. He was speeding. Maybe 30 miles over the limit. He didn't care. He didn't even want to know how fast the old Honda was kicking. He was hoping the police would pull him over. They'd just end up assisting him back to D.C. It would be hard to prove to them he was with the FBI. In fact, he wouldn't be able to. Since, he had become Jona he had lost all his badges and photo ID. He didn't even look like Jay Grisham any longer, so it would be hard for him to be saved by head quarters if he got locked up. He had to be careful. He lifted his right foot from the accelerator pedal and hindered it up onto the soft seat cushion. He was kind of in a pretzel knot as he drove. He didn't care. He needed to stretch his thigh. It was hurting him. He figured he was squatting too long in the broom closet waiting on the senior citizens to be robbed by his sinister plane. He didn't see it as chaotic. If he didn't rob them, he would be stuck in the Super 8 awaiting to make a phone call. Who was going to help him. Its not like some dude's going to lend out his cell phone, at least not for free. He hated the fact that he stole the ring, the wallet and the luggage. He didn't need anything in the suite cases. All it was was old clothes, maps of Florida coasts, and toiletries. I guess the old folks were headed to the retirement center near Orlando. Maybe they had a day plan for Epcot Center. Jona didn't care. He had to get back. AT times, the drug must of still been kicking through his veins, he had a temptation to head back to Chicago. Rad the old Honda around. Find the Bald vampire and smoke some dubbies. But he figured that would be the end of him. If he ever returned to Chicago again, he better have a plan and stick with it. Jay's main concern now, was keeping to his plan. That's what his new disease was. Changing. He changed too much. His plans had to stay consistent or he'd lose out.

Chapter three

And I knew the meaning of it all

And I knew the distance to the sun

And I knew the echo that is love

And I knew the secretes in your spires

And I knew the emptiness of youth

And I knew the solitude of heart.

--Muzzle

Smashing Pumpkins

Steven Whatshisface, the pickpocket.

Steven Whatshisface, walked into a shopping mall somewhere between Chicago and Washington. Some small town. He didn't care the title. He could smell the cash in those leather wallets like hungry leopards sniffing at the faint hint of lambs blood. He decided to still five wallets in the next hour. He wait for the shopping crowds to gather and then go to hip to hip, pushing, "Oh, excuseme. Sorry." One wallet. "Gotta a watch my step there." Two wallets. "What a cluuuuts I am." Three wallets. "Didn't mean to run into you sir." Four wallets. "Woops." Five. He had no reason for doing so. It was just some insane idea cooked up by the delusional drug running through his inane brain. He couldn't remembered all there possible name. The drug that is. The name? Oh, yes. Back in Hollywood the drugs had unique and eccentric title. He remember it was given to him by a Hispanic dealer in front of the Donut Shop off of Wilshire. It was felt similar to. . . "Black tar. Heroin." It was tan. Pre-packeged…like one of those cookies at Conoco or some old snack shop gas station. It didn't look like a drug. It had the name of Myosyn-R. Yes. Myosyn-R. Steve could remember better than Jona. Jona had much trouble with remembering Jay's or Steve's life, since he hated the two so much. Steve didn't mind Jay. The three had a relationship like the lost part of a maze. It was all cutting, confusing and harshly angled. Jay looked up to FBI agents. He thought he was one. He was that type of loser. Steven was nothing like Jona. Steven was feminine, loved classical, ballet, Shakespeare and had thing for stylish acting. Steve didn't mind authority. He didn't mind top dog law enforcement. Actually, one of Stevens many dreams had to do with becoming an FBI agent one day. He was just too tender inside to pull it off. Boy, Steve was a character. He dressed like a tight ass fag and only wore expensive name brands. He hated Goth but had a thing for punk girls. Steven was far closer to a republican than Jona's Green peace state and Jay's democratic ideals. Steven was more independent and more conservative. On the other had, he had a thing for men. Especially ballet dancer. Some would even mistake Steve as a Christian. All thought remained focused on Steve's searching soul. Although thieves where hard people to drag to church, Steve had peeked inside a couple of times. In the catholic churches Christ was hung between two thieves. A good thieve and bad thieve. Christ wasn't tried as a thief. His trailed concerned the illegal trespassing of blasophamous treason and treachery. Little did the Jewish and Roman judges know that he was trying the Christain world's honest and holy savior. Little did they know his impact would become worldly and devout to mankind. Many felt Jesus saved men from disaster and ruin. Jesus became to giver of life. The man to give man a second chance. A god to save the world. That is how the Christian felt. Today, we know their impact and their strength. Steve didn't like to steal. He hated to make living in chaotic and dark fashion. He was only going to take the cash, he wasn't going to try to use credit cards any longer. Too risky and too hurtful. Cash was quick, cold and fast.

Jona had no idea where Steven was coming from. The phone rang. It was in the suitcase behind him, in the back seat. He pulled over and unloaded white underwear, a black business slacks and a few maps of Epcot center. "Where the fuck." The cell phone was in a small blazer jacket that was greenish blue. He took it out and hit the receive call button. "Yep. Hello. Head quarters. Hello. No. Oh. Your looking for David huh. Is he an old guy. In his sixty. Oh. He was robbed." Steven hit the off button on the cell and returned to the driver side. He hit the gas and took off into the night. Laying next to him was five expensive leather wallets. Two were black, two were tan and one was white. Each had at least one hundred dollar in cash and credit cards. He had enough to make it to head quarter but who would he be when he arrived. For the love of God, Jay Grisham didn't steal. What would he do if he pick pocketed his captains wallet. He was stuck between all three characters. Steven, Jona and Jay. He have to find Jay before returning. He would be in deep shit showing up as Steven, whatever his name or identity was. . .Steven couldn't figure himself out. He didn't even look like the old him in the rear view. Who was Steven whats his face? That's what he would call him Steven whats his face. Steven turned up the song Hot One by Shudder to Think. He sang along, "When my space ships come. . .you hole me like a girl. . .I am the captain of. . ." He shouted and hummed along with the lyrics. He was back on the same highway. The one he never knew the name. Jona and Jay would of known the name of the highway. Jona wouldn't know if it was going north, east, south or west, but he might know the name at least. On the other hand, Jay would of known everything. The name of the highway, the direction and when the next exit ramp was coming up and in meters, not the American measurements. 20th Century Boy came on the car CD player. It played loudly and Steve shook his tuddy and cocked his head back and forth. For some odd reason he had a craven to stop by a club, by some glamour drug and stay up all night doing the funky, post modern twist. It wasn't Jona style and Jay wouldn't be caught dead in a room of gay men. Steve didn't mind it. Steve even wore shades. And at night. He had them on while he drove. Of coarse they were not heavily tinted. He was headed toward a State County Airport, not far from Walkerton. Walkerton. He pondered over the name. He knew he was in Indiana. That's where the signs lead to. Then, his car zipped by a sign that read, 30. He was just crossing the 35 highway and 30. He figured it out. He knew his location and the highways name. Not that bad. Steve was a zippy guy. Really catching on. He turned up some David Bowie-ish song. All these bands were either trying to sound like Bowie or Ziggy Pop. That's what Velvet Goldmine was all about. Twin Lakes was south of him. He was heading toward Bourbon. He got off on Elm road and headed on Old 30 Lincoln highway. He was looking for liquor store, gas station—anything to get a high. He begin to decide on the type of high he needed. He could get a caffeine high of coco nut juice—those juice packets that tastes like acidity cough syrup—you know, the type that had the vanghou-ish guy screaming on the front and they gave them hip, youthful names like Rave, or Scream, or some shit. Cirlcles gyrating and hypno tizing the shopper to get a caffeine buzz. You know, those fake club drugs, herbal pills, pumped up, usually sold at 7-11 or Conocos. Teenagers downed them to stay up all night and club out downtown. Steve craved one. But he also craved a Jack straight up. But he have to pitch tent at some Motel if he chose that path. He'd stop at Bourbon and decide there. See, what came first. The liquor and the stay at Motel 8, or the 7-11 and the screaming caffeine fix. Most likely he choice the 7-11 and the buzz. Maybe drive through another state or two. He pulled off on a street called West Center. Not many trees around. Flat land area. Or at least that's how it seemed in the fog. It was a foggy October night. He decided to stop at the Country Cupboard. No one was up. Place had that general red ands white closed sign under the cowq bell on the front glass door.. He parked the car in the parking lot and turned down the stereo. It wasn't long until the windows steamed up. It was chilling outside and Steve needed warmth. He turned on the heater unit. He cracked a window after a while. It started to get too warm. It was odd to feel the sensation of the cold air blowing in from outside and the warm heater vents blowing soothing heated air on his face. It was a weird feeling. Going from warm to cold in the same instance. It was similar to being on X or some glamour drug. He set there staring at the steam. He wrote something ineligible message on the icy skin of the interior front window. He wrote, "Peace to the world and Death to the liars." It was a message contradicting theme. He smiled and drew a peace sign under the funky letters. He really wanted it. Peace. He thought it wasn't a bad idea for a change. Jona and Jay agreed with him in the rearview mirror. "I'm hip of peace. Its gas." Jona said with a fangy smile. "We are all for Peace. Strong nations are built on it." Jay said in a deep voice. Steve figured he'd lost his mind. Why are these two other men talking back to him in his car. He figured there was no reason fighting them. They might as well come along for the ride. When morning arose, some hick was tapping on his window. "You coming in. To the cupboard." He asked. Jona asked him direction to get back on the highway. "Hit East 12. That lead you to 30th. You have a good one sir." The man tilted his John Deer tractor brim. He seemed to be too proud of his hat, Jona thought. Jay didn't like him either. "Probably has a stalk pile of AK 47 at home. Patriot extremist." Steve didn't like his breath. Steve put the car in high over drive gear and hit 70 mph and got on to a entrance ramp heading him on 30. He was headed to Washington. He felt like Dorthy in the Wizard of Oz, and Washington was Kansas or something. "Theres no place like Home. There's no place like home." Steve clicked his heels and downed a caffeine shot. It was the Rave one at 7-11. He just picked it up minutes backed after he passed a small lake called Winona. "Wonder what Winono lakes all about." Jona wondered. "Shut up Jona." Steve said. "Were not stopping at Winono." Jay was sleeping. He came awake. "Guys. I'm napping." Jona butted in, "Tell Steve to stop at Winono. I want to see the lake." "Shut up. Jona. I'm napping here." Jay headed off to sleep as Steve floored it and picked up speed toward Pierceton.

Steven knew he was a good guy. He knew he was all right with positive aspects and the smiley side of life. A just and gay man. Doing the right thing. At least, he viewed it as right. It felt right. So, it was right. That's his interpretations on logic and reasoning. He didn't deny his failures. He was a man with all the faults that came along with being human. All the times he pigged on Italian food with Fred. And all the time Fred and him seat around dieting on grapes. Raw grapes they'd eat for days and days. Right off the stem. In San Francisco people could do that. Grapes grew right of the vine. All the times he tried to look his best for him. He had this type of grape diet plan. He eat nothing but grapes for weeks, then go to Nieman Marcus and by a 1,000 dollar jacket. Clothing would beat out shame. Shame over hunger, or is it hunger over shame? Depending on how one perceived reality. Was it about looking good or Being good. But the credit card sure made his face grin. So, he bought the jacket anyway. Maybe even a 2,000 on credit limit- leather. A credited limited and maxed out on a leather. With the buttons not the zippers. Steve was more than Jona and Jay. He was a winner. Jona or Jay didn't know his occupation. Steven anserwed to them in the rearview mirror, "Lady killer. Like Gear in American Jigalo. You guys seen it. Good flick." Steve threw his shades on. Right there on the highway. Jona and Jay couldn't believe this prissy had taken over the driver seat. And not just the driver seat but the mia of the space. Mia was a Non-occidental term meaning force in space. "All mine. Say. We got to get something other than a Honda. Honda's a thrifty. What about a Mercedes? Convertible? The new one? "We could get it on ol' David's credit line is what we could do. Hey, how ah bout it. Steve thought and half whispered." Steve lit up a clove that he bought at the nearby tobacco discount store and pressed on the gas. Thick dark green shrubbery planted along the highways passed by as if they were on a conveyer belt at some theme park ride. Smoke mist filled the interior of the car like some annoying solid ghost from cancer heaven. Half off of all import cigarettes. They were the special type of cloves—from France. Steven thought about his old times with his ex lover. He loved that man so much. He was an editor and a sport writer for a gay art magazine based in San Francisco. Steve was in trouble. He tried to block out the nervousness with images of the golden gate bridge, light blue ocean scenery, vast mountains in Sacremento and the hell of the people trapped in snow flurries. It was not working. The scenery images, the vast mountains, the pains of others troubles did not sooth him. He was in deep shit. And he knew it. That's what sucked. He really believe he was. How was he to trick himself in believing that he wastn't. Money wasn't everything. They, the owners, the collectors, the authority figures didn't have power over him. Only, if he welcomed their power, did they control. Credit was a big part of life, but it was not life. That was a truth. When birth arrived, the doctor did not slap a credit card on your rear end. No, instead, the doctor slapped the human touch. The human touch, life and God, were more powerful than the almighty dollar. Nevertheless, He owed like crazy on his credit background. He went on a spending spree between LA and San Fran; buying rare books, stylish sweaters and garden tools. And now and then he kept an eye out on men's jewelry and bedroom accessories. That wasn't the end. After one credit card reach its summit, he just pulled out the next. He applied for six. Now, in search for the perfect gem stone ring and best meal around. He rented a Ford Focus for the day. Even Auditioned for the Blue Man Group at a small theatre rep in the theatre district down town San Francisco. You could see parts of the Golden Gate bridge from a near by balcony. Steven remembered stopping by a alternative artsy book store to pick up an easy finder for the special city. He was met by a man that smelled like the devil, talked like a educated professor and dressed like a dirty pirate thrown ship. He shook like he was overboard as well. The man approached him that sunny evening. "You heard of John Malkovich, Garry Senise. Good actors eh. I noticed your looking through the drama section. You into drama." Steven didn't answer. "I'm looking for a good play by Miller, perhaps David Mamet. You heard of these guys. Good writers eh." Steven covered his chest with his thick pea coat from the Gap. "You should read up on these guys. Hey ever heard of ACT." Steven had an odd feeling. He couldn't understand why this smelly pirate hadn't asked him for any change. The man looked like a washed up, tired bum that had lived under a small, a rusty bridge. He didn't just smell like tuna fish, he also, smelled like oil, gasoline, piped tobacco and of coarse, shit. All that mixed together, gave the lovely aroma of , yes, death. Steve thought it was neat that he asked about ATC. "What do you know of ATC?" The old pirate sniffed and circled around the book shelf of drama books and performance art photography books. Steve couldn't decide if this putrid smelling, anchovy breath kind man was an angel or the demonic possessed. He read through a copy of Waiting for Godot and thumbed at his nose. "American Theatre Conservatory. All the best go there. Have you heard of American Academy of Dramatic Artist, or, what about AMDA up North in the big apple." Steven looked through a Gay Theatre Dramatist program. He checked all the small, square headshot pictures of the players, "Oh. American Music of Dramatic Arts. Or something like that." Steve said smiling. "Yeah. You like New York?" The fishy smeller said with a wince. There seem to be something wrong with his walked. He limped like Tennessee and breathed like a Asbestos salesman. "Hm. Well. Why do you aske" The bum picked at his nose once more. Caught it. Wiped it clean in his ragged Pea Coat. "Well. It's a good place for your type eh." Steven took in a small breath, more through his mouth than nose. "Well. Its were all the greatest use to teach. Then they came out to LA and San Francisco. Mostly LA though." "Who?" Steve paused. "Every from the group. Look I got to go. There's not time. I ah, have to head back." The fishy man said, "Head were. Back home. Where lies home?" Steven headed toward the escalator. He was going to stop and skim through the Time life photography book. Boy was it thick. He decided not too. The bum was on him like glue. "What is it man?" Steven sneered at him. "What is it you want?" The fishy man stared at him with devil eyes, a red glint skimming off the pupils. "Nothing. Just interested. So, back to LA hey. Good drive. I hope your audition went fine." Steven thought that the smelly fool was nice considering his Treasure Island ward drop and his rotten pizza with snails breath. "I guess so." Steve bought a book on agents in LA and the biz of show business. He was lonely as he climbed into his Ford Focus and started it up. Not the type of lonely an actor gets, but the type a homosexual gets after auditioning and feeling turned down. Wow. The only person to hit on him the whole day was a man who looked the residue of a filter from a tar-ish oil change at Walmart. Boy did he smell. Steven thought. But San Fran was beautiful. Never seen anything like it. The sun hovered over the Golden Gate. The hills climbed like a sporadic roller coaster on LSD. The hills were impossible. He remember climbing near vertically to the theatre. It rested near a hotel on one of the center streets of town. Near a famous bank that had burned. He forgot the name of the theatre. But he knew the Magic theatre was there. That's where many great playwrights and artist started. The weather was perfect. Steven's only probably was he out of money. He had to call one of his credit card companies and have the wire a check to a nearby Western Union. They gave him enough to get home. Gas wise. About three hundred. He had to wait forever for it. Steven needed to get it before dark. The rough types were starting to hang here and there and he was getting scared. As he waited, the credit card company said it would take a quite long time before he could pick up the stub and sign for it, he decided to go to a small book store and check out a paper on Actors and Artists. Night fell. Gay men flocked the streets. He didn't feel scared of them. Most were friendly, even the ones wearing all leather motor cycle gear. They smiled at him and through a nod every once and awhile, but not often. He trotted into a book store, he forgot its name, it was small place with a small name, like Book On the Square or The Corner Book. He didn't give it a name. No need to. Hundred of rare books, mostly on film, theatre and the business. Steven looked through one of those agent books that list every agent in town. Yes, it was called the Ross Reports. He looked at all the names as if he was committed everything to memory and he knew he was. Steven knew you never forget anything. Its all about finding the network within the mind frame. There were plays, mostly by Gay Playwrights. Everyone seemed to be on good behavior in the store, he got not one glance or a wink. Nothing. He smiled and read through a unique book on poetry. Another gay couple in motorcycle gear strutted by with their hands in each other pack pocket. Is there a motorcycle club in San Fran. Steven thought. It was year back so in his mind, every fag or lesbian wore at least one chunk of leather or so. He was happy to be in San Fran. Steven wasn't for sure if he was gay. He knew he was curious but couldn't tell for sure. It would not be later till he found the right man. He was hyper-picky. That means very peculiar with who he dated. Women and men were sexually appealing to him. He knew this made many gay men itchy. They liked it one way. He knew that and respected them for having their believes. After all, ask don't tell. At least that's how the past president saw it. He didn't disagree. Steve survived the gay 1990's and lived. Some survived but aren't living today. He thought about going to a nearby Italian restaurant, expensive and stylish one, and pig out on bread and salad. Maybe some marinara sauce. All on Visa. What the hell. Devil's money, not mine. He could take the stomach pain again. He had to find someone soon. A lover. Man or women. A thin blond man walked in. He was near twenty six. Had his hair up like a member of Camper Van Bethoven. Very charming. Very stylish. Black thin rain coat, beeds, wirey nerdy watch and horn ribbed glasses. Under the jacket had to be a Smith concert shirt. I wonder if he had touched the gentle one with the initials of SPM and feared his own body. He couldn't tell if was morrissey or not. Most likely he was not. Morrissey means to despise your own body. He was going to walk up to the man and ask him to another book store, maybe a show, or movie. He approached. "Kerby. Hey Kerby." A tall man with jet black hair walked in. He was wearing all black, looked like a Structure employee. "Kerb. Lets go, man. Were late." Kerby turned around and flashed his bright blue eyes. Blue eyes and alternative—my type. "One book. I'm looking for a book on Elenore Duse." His friend grabbed him by the elbow and walked him out. "Were leaving. Can't be late on this one. I paid for the tickets a month advance." He drug the poetical beauty out back first. What a boy's soul. Steven thought. He was true. Those are rare. The blue eyed winked at him as he escaped from the truss of the door and bell announced. IT was as if an angel lost his wings and for the first time. The bell clicked to a stop. Steven went blank as he read a new article in Theatre Quarterly about Joe Chaiken and his new gang of actors. Steve couldn't help his memory was jogged and overloading. He remembered his hunk writer boy friend in San Fran. It was time. He wiped out his penis right there on the highway in Indiana. He decided it was time. Car lights were far behind him. He must have been going 70, 75mph at the most. He had to time his speed. If he went too fast he'd run into the cars ahead. If he slowed down he been seen by the trucker lights behind him. He kept in at a even 73 mph and begin waking off. He had no choice. Jona wouldn't leave him alone about Rhiannon and Jay kept talking and dreaming about his high school gals he finger and fuck. It was time to get off a few rounds before Washington. Steven went back to one quote he read in the Corner Book store in San Francisco. It was found in Byron's Conspiracy, "There is no dancer to a man, that knows what life and death is; there's not any law, exceeds his knowledge; neither is it lawful that he should stoop to any other law. He goes before them, and commands them all, that to himself is a law rational." He kept repeating that phrase. That to himself is a law rational. Jona, Jay and Steve all agreed that this was a good quote by Byron's Conspiracy. They all fell silent to this deep saying. It wasn't long till they had all fell asleep, even Steven. Steve woke up. His car was heading off a exit ramp. He decided to take the exit ramp rather than swerve and cause a loss of control; thus he went with the flow of his natural temptation. I guess he needed this exit. Man sometimes knows, its found in his body. He makes sudden turns with his hand. Perhaps his hand knows. Steven stopped at the stop light. It was smooth and gentle stop. He didn't want to wake Jona or Jay. I wonder where the hell I am? Indiana, Further east, perhaps Arizona. I can't tell. He pulled the car over and broke out the map.

Steve kept going back to his boyfriend in his memories. Yesterday morning, Jona made him stop at a Best Buy and pick up a Pumpkins CD. He mouthed the words singing over and over Love is Suicide. It was night now. Hours had past since the last hint of civilization. He decided to take the back roads toward Washington. He didn't feel too safe on the highway. The last road sign said something about Ohio. That's it I'll go to Ohio. Their my answers. Steve was angry as hell. He couldn't understand why he ever left San Francisco. Steve lived there with the sports writer for over two years. He felt like the biggest failure. He wanted to be free but his guilt and his contemplation over his lifestyle made him turned inward and doubt the world. He was too wrapped up in himself and the pleasures that things could give him—he forgot who he was, who the sport writers was and why they loved one another. He decided to run off to Sunset boulevard to seek fame and fortune. It didn't happen so he took a plane to Chicago, to meet up with a group of artist and poets. The next thing, Steve knew, he was in come ol retired man's car headed toward D.C. to turn himself in. According to Jay it was to check into Headquarters to seek someone Jay called The Movie Star Killer. Steve never heard of such a serial murderer and consider Jona a lunatic. Steve and Jay fought constantly. Steve banged on the steering wheel. He kept repeating to himself how much he shouldn't been a pilot. He was going to join the Air force after seeing Top Gun at the age of twelve. "Twelve year olds know. They just know." Jay rolled his eyes at him. Steve hollered in the rear view mirror. "What the hell. Don't look at me like that." Jona spoke in a low and whispery voice, "Look, don't sling your failed life around here. For the past 100 miles you've been complaining about how you should of stayed with the sports writers, how you should of found a pad in San Francisco, how you should of studied harder so you could get into aviation school. Jay and I are tired. What do you want to be? Figure that out and maybe you will know yourself better." Steve adjusted the rearview to face the reflection on Jona's greenish eyes. "look green eyed devil. I don't know you at all but I do know that occupation is not the root to your identity." Jay woke up. "Where the hell are we? You guys are impossible. Stop arguing. Are we near D.C.?" Jona cut in with, "Look, its what you do. Your job. It makes you. That's a make up or a part of the whole of who you are. Dig." "Shut up with your dig already. What are we in the sixties." Steven couldn't take it any longer. The arguing, the guilt, the car, the smell of Jay's breath. "FUCK IT WITH A CAPITAL F. WE ARE GOING TO THE WAFFLE HOUSE." He pulled into an upcoming twenty four hour waffle house. "Jona. I am going in. You want anything." Jona laughed back at him in the mirror. "Yeah. Bring me a plate of eggs and hashbrowns. Milk some ketchup over all of it." Jona got in a half fetus position and headed to sleep. Jay was already konked. "You guys are nuts." Steven slammed the door and headed into the all night pancake hang out. Steven sit down and ordered a glass of milk and a bowl of yogurt. He asked for a, "Bran Buds. You got Bran Buds." The waitress said she didn't caring any type of special retard cereal but Cheerios and Raisin Brand would have to suffice. Steven jumped back in the car and found an all night drug store. He cursed the lady and her waffles the whole three miles down the road. He bought two boxes of high fiber brand of cereal called Allbran buds. He hauled ass back to the waffle joint. The entire ride was a thirty minute drive. He walked back into the waffle house and asked for a, " Spoon. Do you have spoon." She handed him a spoon the size of a table spoon. "NOT A TABLE SPOON. IF YOU WANT TO EAT WITH A FUCKING TABLE SPOON YOU MAY. BUT I WILL EAT WITH A NORMAL SIZED SPOON." He stat down and poured the entire box of Fiber buds into a large plastic cake mixing bowl, he mixed it with three bowls of yogurt and stirred in fat free maple syrup. "Thanks." He shoved the food in his face with his normal sized soup spoon and took quick heaving breaths and swallows as he read the message on the back of the Kellog's box. "This is a lie!" Steve exclaimed. The message said, THE FIRBER JOINED BY WHOLE GRAINS TO FIGHT CANCER AND HEART DISEASE. WASHINGTON, D.C.. The message when on to explain the U.S. governments concern with whole grain foods and how they may reduce cancer risk. "Check it out. Read the ingredients. Ok. It has good shit in it. Wheat bran. Good. Oat Fiber. Good. Wheat flour. Hurahhh. Niacinamide. Good. Vitamin B12. Great. But check this out. WHAT IS PHENYLKETONURICS." He stood up and threw the plate toward the waitress. She hit the ground and informed Steven to take what he needed and not to shoot or kill her. Steven said, "Oh, don't worry. Here is the proper amount due. Have a nice late evening." He walked back to the car. Yogurt was dripping from his chin and stubble. He flicked some Allbran off his shirt and onto the front of his window. "Wake up boys. Where going home to DC." Jona and Jay tossed and grumbled. "Boy. That felt better guys. Were off." He turned up the Pumpkins and headed east on the back roads." Jona came awake. "You ah. Mad. Stevey." Steven smiled, "Go to hell old chap." Jona farted and went back to his sleep land on the car seat. We only came out at night came on. The day had not come yet so it couldn't be too bright. Steve started to figure out some of life's mysteries. He was sure that the devil was only a luring toward death. All things that lead to the devil was death. Angels and God lead toward life. They claimed the sacred and everlasting path. He started to ask if film actors were on the devil or the Angels side. He figured that stage was life and the movie screen was death. So the devil had his claws into Hollywood and God had his angels walking around Broadway. He wondered if they ever mixed. Maybe the demons showed up on Broadway every once and awhile, mostly as stars leading a Broadway show by a new heavenly playwright. On the other end of the stick, he believed there were some Angels in film. They were accidents but good accidents at that. He figured not all of it could be bad and not of it was neccesarily going to burn in hell, not merely because they had something to do with making or starring in a cinematic production. Also, he was sure that not all Broadway stars were headed to hell. He started to wonder if fame had to do with death. No. Fame had to do with life. He wondered why people that were not famous thought, or more like judged, that the people that were famous were on a one way trip to hell. He compared it to the Diamond theory. This theory goes, "If a person shows up at a cocktail party with diamond ear rings . . .all the ladies who do not have diamond ear rings will become envious of the diamond ear ring wearing lady and trash talk her until the non diamond ear ring people felt better. See how it goes." Jona and Jay seemed annoyed, "Steve shut up about Hollywood, diamond ear rings and fame. Drive the car." Steve headed the car up a mountain near Gambier. "Lets go to Gambier College eh. Check it out. I hear its pretty." Jona and Jay remained asleep. He went up the mountain anyways. Steve was not just lost in his direction but he had no idea what was up or where he was going. Just out for a measly aimless drive to wherever south of nowhere. BFE. Talk about BFE. He stopped at a bridge in the country. His headlamps were on high beams. The bridge was very narrow and dangerous looking. He couldn't believe what he was doing or what he was seeing in the present moment. There were a group of clowns and mimes sitting in a circle smoking marijuana and talking. Some of there faces were painted as pale as moonlight and there eyes underlined with black eyeliner and mascara. Most were wearing black and some had on light colored jumpsuit. The moon beams bounced of the breaking waves in the running river below the rickety bridge. The bridge was mostly made of wood and had a few metal support beams. The top layer was of steel and had giant bolts, similar to the ones used on railroad system. It looked somewhat sturdy but Steve didn't trust it in the long run. Steve recalled seeing a mime before but he couldn't think of where. He begin to ponder over commercials on Television. Something about a commercial and a mime walking his fingers on a yellow book. The bridge looked narrow but he figured he could make it across. The mimes and clowns passed the jay (joint) in a circle. A bunch of mimes sitting around talking. And smoking out. Odd, he thought. He beeped the horn. The lead mime walked up. His eyes were blood shot and tired looking. "Yes." Steve asked the mime, "I need to cross here?" "Welcome to your past and future." The mime said. "Is there another way back to the highway." The mime gave him direction with a marker and napkin. He also waved his hands around real fancy when talking about getting on and off passage roads and making right or left hand turns. Steve was way off. Stuck in BFE. It wasn't two hours later until he found roads that looked civilized. Most of the roads were old, narrow and had a back trails feel to them. Steve thought it was nice to be in the country and drive on back trail roads that where very narrow.

It was a blink of the eye when Steve pulled up on a tall white beam of concrete soaring toward the sky. The white concrete spire seemed to and slowly grow higher and higher toward the heavens as Steve's little car moved closer and closer to the giant capital building. He had made it. Washington DC appeared in a flash. He didn't even remember the past few states. Must of it all zipped through all three with out even taking the surrounding environments in. It was before dawn when he passed the Vietnam memorial. The three soldiers stood in place frozen in time. Their skins looked like hardened pond water and their eyes were roady, convex and dangerous. The soldiers seemed to have a spiritual and lasting connection. Not of them moved, breathed but for some odd reason they seem to be in some type of motion—just not the type of motion regular man is used to. It was motion beyond history, pain and valor. It was motion between time and reality.

The soldier's seemed lost in a world we could never touch. Steve looked at the wall from a distance. It seemed to be a gapping hole in the ground. He prayed a silent prayer and walked back to David's old Honda. He drove closer to the Pentagon. The sky was cooking up to a light auburn blue with yellowish green painting of whist above and what seemed behind distant large photograph of a Washington D.C. horizon. It was all too soon and sudden to be real. It was as if he had never been to D.C. before. But that's where camp was. Right. He shook off his doubt of never being there and moved on. His plans were simple. First, find the FBI headquarter and second, check in with home base. He had learned through reading the papers that there was a recent terrorist attack on the pentagon. He thought he'd go by and see how the famous five sided joint was recovering. Perhaps take a few photos. He had bought a cheap exposable colored 35 millimeter camera at a Chevron station miles back and he wanted to put it to good use. He do a little surveying of the area, and take notes of the changes in D.C. He parked the car by a nearby lot near the pentagon. It was an illegal parking but he figured it was ok for Jona and Jay to get hauled off. He walked up to the pentagon. There were a few anarchist, punk types out front protesting with large bill boards and T-shirt with WO and crosses through them. He walked up to the Pentagon and was met by a man wearing a all blue police uniform. "Can I help you sir." Steve took in a deep breath. "I am a FBI agent. I am in trouble. Need help." Steve fell backwards. He was out cold. The police officer got on his walkie talkie, "I got a man down in front of the Pentagon." That was the last thing Steve heard until he woke up on a stretcher in D.C.'s hospital ER. He had a dream while in the midst of his REM. It was about the girl who broke his hear at nineteen in highschool. Steve was on his way to State Championship in Football. He was the star player and the cheerleaders had a special chant. It went, "Kill em Steve. Let em bleed. Kill those dogs. Kill em Steve. Let em heave…Ho ….Heave…Ho. .. kill those mofo's Steve. WEEEE" Or something like that. His cheerleaders possessed an eccentric kind of voice. One that echoed and shattered. Back home in Fort Worth's East Side Hig was deep down inside. Deep in his memories. Home inside him. Haunting and giving a true and false hope. This type of hope can split ya in two. One must chose a true hope or the other dark one.

Most of his remembered buddies of this time had once used some type of Club drug or rave herb. Mainly to keep up all night and club and mouth away into a nothingness or invisible, oblivious paradigm. Exhausting one point past it's third dimension. Anyway, he left to Hollywood at the age of twenty five. Did a few small movies and even got mawlled by a group of fans at a L.A. shopping center. He was looking for a brand new sports jacket and needed a new pair of shades—they came out of nowhere, happy faces, and teenage girls and gay boy screams. It was all too glamorous for Stevey. So he moved to San Francisco to marry his first husband. The sports writer. Before all this, he had a love. Her name was Jenny. Jenny Dows. She could suck the dickhead of his dickheads and boy she made him the nice guy. She had the prettiest eyes in the whole school. He used her mostly for sex but toward his senior year he began to involve the heart. So, he asked her to marry. She left him for a punk rock singer in a band called, Lolly Pop. It broke his heart. Later, in life he would wait tables in Santa Monica. A lady, that looked exactly like Jen Dows walked into his café. It was a Sunday lunch. She was trim, brown glowing hypnotic eyes, and that swerving straight exact walk. And all curves. Thinly, petite, tall curves. He had to have her. She was studying medicine at a nearby junior Medical school. "I am studying to be a doctor." Jenny said. He sat down. Lunch was super slow so he figured he take a load off and chat with the heartbreaker #2. "You look exactly like the lady that broke my heart at nineteen." The 'Jenny look a like' smiled and brushed her long stringy bangs out of her face. She had her hair up in a pony tail like Tom Cruise did in his later mature movies Magnolia and the others juicy ones. "So, you from California." She grinned and puffed on her Marlboro light. "No. Main." He smiled. Steve had a weakness toward the outdoor beauty of the state of Maine. "It was a good story by David Mamet too." She said talking over the image of the northern states. "All the way north, eh. Wow. Why California?" She took another drag. The bartender, Monice, joined in the conversation. "Maine. Beautiful." Steve couldn't take his eyes off her. She was satanically charming and beyond good looking. Super model. "So, what brings you to DoJoes. You like Natural foods." Dojoes attracted most vegans and vegeies due to their all meatless menu and vegetable pasta dishes. Plus, it had charming track lighting, lit tropical plants, running artificial waterfall wall and colorful neon interiors. "Health. And luxury. Plus I know Monice." They talked about old times and told dirty jokes. Steve waited the tables, forgetting to empty smoke ashtrays for the smoking tables and serving salads for prep meal. His mind was only on Jenny. He had to have her. But how? He simply couldn't just walk up and ask her out. She had mention the word Husband five times out of six sentence string. She was hooked big time. He didn't notice the five thousand dollar ring floating above the knuckle. "So, your married. What does he do?" He asked picking up Monice camel lights and smelling the tobacco chemicals. "Computers." He wished he would of just closed his eyes and looked down. But he didn't. Steve had no value of her husband or his life. With those brown devilish eyes who cared of Husbandry. He wanted her in the sheets and now. "Is he nice." Steve embarrassingly uttered with a half closed mouth. She passed the question and ordered a draft of Shiner. Steve spun around and picked up five more checks. Rang up with lightning speed and all to impress the Jen Q. look a like. No, she was better than Madame Squirles. Way more prettier in the eyes and hip. He couldn't get a glimpse of her boobies, mostly because of her black sweater top and his careful, fearing, nervous eye wondering. He didn't want to get caught too soon. Not with the boob staring. That was a no no with pick artist. What would be my pick up line. Doctor, doctor doctor. She's a doctor. What do doctors like. HMMMM. He got it. The cash registered rang and he gliding over to the table. "Death. How do you define death?" Perfect line he rewarded himself with a imaginary pat on his pack. "Death?" she thought for three quarters of a second or so. "I guess it would be." She inhaled a puff of round smoke into her lungs. "ahhh." She shifted her fine brown hair from his eyebrows. "AHHH. Well. I guess when something stops functioning." He knew that was wrong. Steve did fail biology but he studied the first chapter. The first chapter gave the best paragraph ever on death. Oh no. Not now. Doubt kicked in. There was a black jog in his memory. What now. Oh God. No God. What now. He had to come up with something. Death. Death. Death. What is the meaning of it all. Steve mind raced like the pattering legs of the fastest race horse in Kentucky. HMMMM. Death. Got it. He started to speak but needed another nano second or so. Got it. Dyingt, demis, passing, departure, decease, expiration, loss of life. Death. Death is often pictured as a skeleton carrying a scythe. Grim, reaper, angel, black, demise. He mourned the death of his best friend. Steve had another table. He dropped his waiter bill book and pen. GOD. Not now. He swept over toward the wine menu, he hadn't memorized it yet. Then, the second shift waiter picked it up. Bitch. She was some lady from Spain that lived on some street called Lover's lane or some shit. Bitch. He stood up straight infront of the Jenny lookalike but with prettier eyes and a hotter body. "Death is disorganization. With something is disorganized it no longer can work in harmony. The heart doesn't function with the blood and the blood can't get to the brain. This will end it all. The body shuts down. Disorganized. That's why chaos is always associated with death." She swallowed a sip of beer and scratched her chin. God, she was the quite the sex goddess. Her legs sexually crossed and he imagined her getting wet. "Hm. Never thought of that." She set up and kept chatting with Monice. He finished up the shift, took his nineteen dollars in tips, headed home and cried and pouted in bed. She was beyond his league. Far above his class. What was her name. God, her tin legs, her thin waist and long neck—super duper model indeed. But oh well—theres more to life than beauty I guess. Or is beauty the meaning of it all. The bartender's fat Asian friend who everyone associated with Norm on cheers felt differently about the meaning of life, at Dojoe's café. "The meaning of life is God." Neal said. His parents had fought for War World II, Korean and Vietnam. He figured Neal knew. "God." Hm. Steve thought as he cried in bed. HMMM. God. I wish I understood. He came awake at the ER in DC. A nurse hovered over him. It was the Jenny Look a like but with prettier eyes. "Jen. I mean. Hey. How are you?" he said rubbing his eyes. Then she was gone. A doctor and three assistance walked into the white curtained bed. Tall white fold up walls surrounded them. The lead doctor informed him that he had been hit in the head. They were treating him with a mild sedative and a few pain killers. He had no clue what happened and didn't even know why he was in Washington D.C. "You told an officer you were with the FBI. We ran finger prints. I think we need you to get checked out at psyche." The nurse made a note on a white sheet of paper on her clip board. "Pysche. Why?" Steve sat up in the hospital bed. "I'm nuts. Wait. I was sent on a mission to Hollywood. Movie Star Killer. Jay. Jona. Uh. Tommy Marcel. The brat. Its all true. I went there. I was sent by headquarters." The nurse hovered over him. She had thick green eyes with a thick southern accent. "Its ok. Sir. We need you to rest." Later, that night. The doctors brought in a clip board and a package of photos and resumes. They found out his real identity. His finger prints ran up on a criminal record from Long Beach California. "Your name is Cole Spivey. You got arrested by the Long Beach police for false charity. You spent seventeen hours in jail and were fined to work for Caltrans for twenty eight days. All this is one long Dellusion. You are originally from Keller, Texas. You went to Texas Wesleyan University and later ran off to California to pursue a career in…" Steve sat up. "Am who?" The doctor deepened a voice. "Your Cole Spivey. You don't remember this." He held up a photo of himself smiling some devilish grin. "That's me." Steve said. "Your kidding." Steve smiled at the picture trying to mimic the photo's smile perfectly. "Hm." That can't be. He tried to mimic again. "That's really me." He took in a deep, deep breath. The men in the white plane uniforms informed him, "There is no movie star killer, there is no Tommy Marcel and there is no Steve Miller." Steve sat erect again. His back stiffened. "Steve Miller?" Jona whispered in his ear, "Don't listen to them. They lie. They don't know us." Jay argued to Jona not to call the FBI liars. "You guys are the FBI, right?" The men in the white uniforms smiled. "No. We are orderlies. We are here to help you get well. So. How are we feeling sir." Jay bumped Steve in the arm. "AH. Well. Hang on." Steve turned profile. "Don't hit me like that." The orderly with the bushy mustache approached him with a soft presence, "Who did you say that to." Steve didn't want to blow there cover. Jona and Jay were both dressed and acting like the other patience in the large tan room. The orderlies changed the TV station to a sports channel. Steve hated all sports. Well, he liked soccer but he hated football. "Do we have to watch this shit?" Steve said smiling. "No." The orderly said with the broad shoulder. "No. What do you want to watch?" Steve thought about it a long time. "Ah. Well. What about the academy awards. Is it on yet." The orderly with the busy mustache informed him, "Its October sir. What about cartoons." Steve shook his head. "Nope. How bout golf. Its more charming." Steve sat up and began to watch the game of boredom. "No. This is far too boring. What about CNN. I like CNN." The orderly with the broad shoulders retrieved the chair again, and prompt it up under the TV. He changed the channel to CNN. "CNN sir." The orderly said with a exhale. "I just want you to know. That I am really a FBI agent. Part of me is." The orderly with the bushy mustache looked up from his cross word game, "Part of you eh. Ok. Fine." Steve continued watching helicopter take off from aircraft carriers and Ted Turner's employees yak it up on the new war in Iraq. He fell into boredom. Steve eyed a young lady, twenties, reading a Vogue magazine. She had dark blue eyes and long brown hair. Not really his type, but she could be useful for conversation. "Don't trust her. She's a spy." Jona said. "I met her in LA. She'll turn you in for sure." Jay added, "Don't trust spies. They can trick you 50 different ways in 50 different tries." Steve had no idea what that quote was about or where it came from, he guessed, it wasn't a quote at all. He turned to Jay with a sarcastic expression. "That made sense." Jay replied, changing out of a green v-neck hospital gown and into a old brown netting sweater, "Look. Got a new sweater. Jealous." Jay said changing into some old sweater. "I WANT IT." Jona said angrily. "GIVE IT TO ME." Jay and Jona fought over the old thing. I guess they didn't want to wear the green gowns. Steve decided to ignore them and join the lady with her Vogue magazine. "You like Vogue." Steve asked eyeing her cigarette pack. He thought it was mysteries that she smoked Camel Lights. He studied the pack in front of her. She returned a queer look as he analyzed the camel and the odd pictures the sandy colors and patterns of its skin produced, "This are bad for you." Steve muttered. "I know." She smiled. "Why do you smoke. It kills you." She took her time on the inhale. "Everything kills you don't it." She said smiling. "Well. No. Well. We all have a fuse of life. But it doesn't mean we have to speed up the natural process. Why smoke?" She took her time with a soothing answer, "It keeps me." Steve scratched his chine and sat up straight. His head was hanging low until she said the words. "Keep me?" He pondered. "What do you mean keep you." She looked his body over, "Keeps me from food, drugs, keeps me away from things I can't have." Steve looked enlightened for a half second. "So, you give yourself something you don't want or that your body doesn't want to keep you away from a kind of self made failure, or a set up to fail. OR something." Steve didn't order his words correctly but he grinned through it and tried to remain sexy. "You mean I set myself up for failure." Steve shook his head. "I see. No. That's not it. I guess I do it to look cool Can we live it at that." He thought she was vain for saying that. He finished off a table and completed his second to last table bill on the register. It rang up to 1,039. Steve ran the bill to the lady and older gentle who ordered the baked Ziti. They paid with Master Card and he left his favorite pen in a check book and handed off to their small candle lit table. Their was a large bay window that overlooked the ocean front near highway 1; Ocean boulevard. The couple was the last table that night. Steve thought he ask the lookalike to have a glass of Maestro Cabernet and watch the waves crash under the blue pale moonlight. "Perfect thing to do in October." She whispered. "What about our names." She said, "I'm Steve. You are?" She sighed, "Lexus. Yesssss like the car." She said slightly letting off a slurry lisp in the "yes." She looked rich but Steven couldn't tell if she was raised or worked for it. "You have pretty eyes." He said slightly blushing. "Thanks." They made it to the shore with a small picnic basket that Steve found in the back room. He stuffed the bag with handful of Sundried tomatoes, California finest white grapes, fancy gourmet white table crackers, spicy peppered salsa, with a blend of semi soft sliced gouda, jack, tilsit and brie. Lexus and Steve sat on the shore and let their naked toes absorb the thick wet sand crystals. "You know play must have emotion behind it. I had a few doctors say I was a sociopath. I disagree. I feel. They say sociopaths' have no feelings. You think I feel." Steve kept eyeing her pack of cigarettes. Since, his last role he had quit smoking and still had a thirst for a drag or two. "Bullshit. Everyone has emotions. Just like everyone eats." He stuck a small triangular slice of brie in his mouth and grinned at the crashing waves. "Why did you mention what the diagnosed you, to me." She smiled, "I just got let out. I was going to special place for people that had emotional problems." Steve chunked a rock into the ocean, "Nut house. You were freed." He smiled at her. "Yep." He chunked a pebble at a low flying crane. " "Everyone has a time of trouble. Its just a batty loon bin. Don't worry over it. No biggie. I still dig ya." He over smiled her grin and sat close by, throwing his arm around her shoulders and neck. "We all lose out, one time or another. Its not about losing or wining---its about learning to stand on your own two feet---if you learn to stand eventually you'll win. Its just about going on and keeping on." She tear'd up. "Sorry I told you. The meds I'm taking make me act weird. My face ticks some times." Her upper lip jitter upwards like a second hand clock ticking in place. "Don't fret. I think its cute." He leaned over kissed her hard. She fell back in the sand. The moon light drenched them as he snuggled and tickled her. She laughed and they tried to pick out all the constellations.

The lady in the white uniform and bright black name tag peered behind the medical curtain. "We're going to a different place. No more ER for you." Steve lifted his head back. "Huh. Where?" The nurse broke out a blue felt tip pin and jotted down information about Steve on a standardized medical form. "Your going to a 72 hour detention center. Mental health center. You'll be ok. You just wait there in a small room for 7 or 8 hours. You'll do fine." The next thing Steve realized he was on an Ambulance headed to anywhere. There was hefty red head paramedic in the back with puffy freckles. Steve walked in a sat on the bench. The paramedic put on a off tan plastic medical protection glove. "For your safety strap yourself in the seatbelt." Steve put on his seat belt that was connected to the side wall. The back of the ambulance wasn't large enough for three people or so. There was a cot, medical straps, iv machine, bulky wall-fitted first aid kit, paramedic first aid kit, flashlight, flare box and the a large strong paramedic with light red hair. "Just sit back. Will be there shortly." Steve stared at the man. He had tears in his eyes by now. "Where are they taking me?" The paramedic looked down at his boots and then picked up a Stephen King Novel. "To, ah place called Trio falls. It's a new medical center for psych patience. They have a ward there. Just remain calm." Steve nodded off to sleep. He woke up in a small waiting room. It had a thick glass window that revealed a small narrow clerk desk. Behind the register sign in sheet was a large female nurse with hair nostrils. She had a thick beauty mark above her upper lip. There was a tiny slide under the thick glass, a place for putting paper forms, like indented dash board, or the cigarette ash tray in a normal standard car. Steve walked up and signed in. He sat down on a small carpeted waiting chair and the hulky paramedic slid Steve's form into the indention under the thick glass. The big nurse looked them over as the Paramedic saluted Steve goodbye and said, "Good luck kid." Steve sat there quiet. I'm God. He thought. I really must be God. Steve sat back in a tranquil state and zoned into the poorly decorated waiting room wall. There was a low grade, cheap water color of an ocean and similar thrifty fuzzy paintings of a small tigers running on jungle logs. Even though Steve was having a common delusion of grandeur, at least for a few seconds, he came to a judgmental state of self awareness and outer awareness, basically his taste was still in affect, his mind was shot, but he knew his charm in paint. He came to conclusion that the person that decorated the waiting room to the psychiatry detention center had no clue, or even a distant hint, or even a far-flung second or third or millionth of a guess, of anywhere near, or in this sad case, nowhere near or any utter fourth degree cubed, of good style. Lets put it this way, they had just no clue period, uggh, of interior decorating, or artistic aesthetic judgment. These people did not have good taste or charm in art or decoration. Steve came to conclusion that it was decorated by a specialist in the craft and glue section of K-Mart. This cut didn't even make Walmart's half price painting sale. And Walmart didn't really sale paintings. Wow. What am I doing here? Could I really be a God? Could I be nuts wishing that I was God? What the hell is this joint anyway, some half- jail-half-hospital kind of hmm? Is that nurse a demon or does she look like a demon and really a human, or is she posing as a human and possibly a alien, could she be Satan tempting me, or maybe an angel. I wish someone one save me before they plug me into to something I don't want to be plugged into! No one came. The nurse coldly looked at the forms and eyed Steve as he stared at a single spot on the wall, ignoring the shitty water colors. God me or God whoever, WHOEVER CLAIMS TO BE GOD, UP OR DOWN OR ALL AROUND, LISTEN TO MY PLEA; GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE. The big nurse lead him back to a smaller room. It was smaller the most jail cells. No wider then a closet. It barely fit a bed. She guided him into the small room and soflty double locked the thick metal cell door. A white neon light buzzed down upon him. The buzzing sound was intensified and reminded Steve of a wild army of bees on the prowl. It had one bed with white sheets and a medical patience pillow. He laid down on the poorly spring supported bed mattress. The bed squeaked like a starving lab mouse. The rest of the room was pale white blank. The door fiercely opened. A man with a fuzzy brown mustache and beady eyes peered down and over him. Steve felt small and frail. The meaty doctor adjusted his wiry bi-focals and hummed. "Hm." Then, the door slammed coldly closed. A hatched was fashioned and locked into it's grooved niche. It echoed into the chamber hall as if the chamber carried on to forever. The nurse poked three fourths of her face into the bottom half of the square, boxy door window and observed Steve as if he was a test rodent. Steve still body curled into a small ball. He stared up at a small camera lens in the corner of the ceiling and began to sniffle. The ground was chilling and made his nose run. It felt like it was ten degrees Fahrenheit. The nurse exposed wrinkles and crow feet cracking above her cheekbones as she squinted her lab rat eyes. Steve knew she was smiling under her serious grin. She seem to want to eat him. Suddenly, she scurried off to the next cell block. A door opened and echoed into the endless chamber outside. Nothing happened. Not a sound. He could hear his heart beat in his chest. Steve checked his pulse on his wrist. It was racing. He had to calm himself down. He had to beat the fear. He took in ten deep breaths counting to five on each breath and exhaling on six. Then, he moved up to taking in six second breaths and exhaling on seven and so on and so on, until he reached ten inhaling seconds and fourteen second long exhales. Then, he drifted off to sleep. When he woke up, hours later, no one was around. He was on the overly soft, cricket sounding spring bed. He maneuvered downward onto his knee beside the white springy, cold hard steel bed. First, he checked under the springs. No one around, but the rusty, old fashion springs. And they weren't people. Or where they. Then he whipped his head toward the lens camera and smiled. It wasn't an eye. Or was it. Yes, it was an eye. An evil eye from the evil omniscient ruler of this labyrinth. He began doing pushups. He wanted to impress the ruler. Show him he had will and strength inside and out. He counted to two hundred or so and then spun around on his back. He rested for a view large breaths and began doing frontal normal, all American wrestling, type of sit ups. He learned them in wrestling class in College. Legs crossed, back flat, belly tucked and rib cage expanded. After a few sits you would crawl using your back bones and hips. Very in control and very defined movements. Next, he do normal all American push ups. The kind he used to do in foot ball during high school. He figured he do something to past time. See, I'm normal. I got stuff to do. I work. I'm working. Working out. See its working out. Let me go. He felt it was better than sitting and gathering moss. Something was always better than nothing. And by the way, he had no out lit to time. He couldn't even tell if it was night or day. All he knew, was he wanted to pass time and get an answer. He remember what the paramedic driver told him. It kept replaying in his mind over and over again. "It shouldn't take longer than 6 or 7 hours. You'll do fine."

Steve became bored. In actuality he was beyond boredom. He couldn't believe that life had lead him here. The journey he went through with Jay Grisham as the FBI agent looking for the Movie Star Killer of LA, the goth head wonderer, Jona and now the homosexual, loss of identity and time of Steve. Steve was trapped in a small white room on the ground, near the edge of a cheap poorly constructed springy, squeaky hospital bed. My God, how did I end up in a 24 hour detention center. Hell, I was being watched by a camera and on suicide. Where did it leak out that I was going to off myself for Godsakes? Steve thought about writing a book. He had no paper. He thought about writing a screen play. He start in his head. Fade in. Where would I fade in? Hm. He contemplated for fifteen minutes or so. He thought about jacking off but the camera would pick it up. Next, Steve thought about the girl that dumped him in high school. "I'm leaving you Steve." Jen said with a smirk. "I guess I go to LA. Do soaps." Steve didn't that night of breaking hearts. He went to the Senior prom with his high school heart throb. He thought she was genius for dating a deformed man like himself. Steve didn't have that big of a deformity. His left chest was slightly larger than his right. But everyone had a slight imperfection here or there, he figured it wasn't really illegal. Or was it? And if it was illegal what the hell was Steve going to do about it. He didn't mean to be deformed. It happen in his genes. It was genetic. He didn't make it come out that way. God did. It was God's fault not his. Steve wasn't the most confident lover of the female species, but confidence is only half the battle to bed. He couldn't ask her out now. Plus, Steve had a temper like a demon. He figured she was hooked up, married, children'ed, you know, the whole nine yards. He went on and inward with his memories. Going from his art awards, to his best friends and the movies, the drug store, smoking marijuana by the great Dam near Lake Worth. The dam where the city let the water flood and the dam ravines created a miniature white rapids and tiny hurricane effects. He remember his lover in highschool and his first time at giving head to a blond German art student with the last name that meant White Person. He remembered how he hated W.A.S.P and all the conservative republicans that voted for Bush and ate at Waffle House. He hated hard core carnivores and all who ordered thick bacon strips from places like Waffle house. It was hitting him in the side. He started to despise anyone that talked in a thick Texas accent. He figured they were simply asking for it. Steve was full of hate. Perhaps that is why he was lying on his back on a hard steel surface known as the psychiatry unit floor. The AC unit popped on and blew cool air into the room. He began to dream about being underwater. Possibly, swimming with dolphins far out in the Pacific coast, somewhere off the shores of Hawaii. He thought that would be heaven. He eventual grab onto the back of a fin and let the strong and intelligent mammal drag him far out to the horizon. He'd lay on his back among the enormous monstrous waves and take in the sun beams. Eventual he find another dolphin buddy to lure him back to safety. He crawl up on shore from the deep blue like a half drowned house cat and sharply strut up to the colorful bar and order a complex and thick tropical drink. Then, he go into his made up book. Writing chapter and chapters on the beach shore sipping on a Dirty Martinis and Frozen Margaritas. Life would be great. Steve looked back toward the small square door window. Yes, the nurse had her 1/8 of her face staring in from the chamber hall. The AC unit shut off. He caught a glimpse of her crow feet and smiled back at her. Boy, what a day, Steve sighed. Steve couldn't think of anything new to do. He did his situps and turned over and finished up a long set of pushups. He was tired buy he had already slept. He had no sense of time. He could not tell exactly how long he had be sleeping. He remembered the nurse and her odd proud facial expression. Her big buddy and fat belly made him mad. It wasn't long until he tapped on the door window. The nurse answered, "Can I help you sir?" Steve scratched his noggin, "How long have I been in here." The nurse bit her lip and hummed a hmmm. "Well. I don't know. Lets see." She leaned back to check the number on the thick door. "I'd say uhhhh. Hang on." Steve watched her face vanish. He imagined her going back to the desk and checking on his papers. That's what she did. Returning she was still humming something in the hall, Hmmmm. "Steve. Steve. Uh. You've been here for a while." Steve panicked, "How long is a while." Steve didn't know how long "awhile" meant. Did "Awhile" mean three hours, or seven years. "You've been here seven hours." Steve held his breath. "no shit. Ok." He thanked the nurse with a kind tone and nice wave of the hand, palm up. "It won't be long." He whispered. Soon they'd come at the door with the doctor he say, "Well Steve. Its been awhile. You look good. It looks like we are going to release ya son. Good behavior." Steve smiled. Then the bad part of his drifting imagination attacked with a another and more tragic story, "Steve. Doctor here. Nope. Can't release you. Too nutty. Here for a year or so. Steve screamed. NOOOOO. You white trash trailer monkey fuck head stupid, ignorant, apish, turdy monstrous, sickoe wimps, scatter cats losersssssssssss. NEVER. NEVER. YOU CAN'T KEEP ME HERE. NO LONGER. HELP. HEEEELP. But Steve wasn't going to go that route. If he'd scream they'd call him nuts. If he act mad, they'd say he had an anger problem. What Steve had to do was use his technique. He play hard ball, just like his phony ex-girl friends would do. If he got mad he act calm. He recalled this one girl he dated and took to the dollar movies. "You can go with me to the Dollar film and you choose whatever you like from the 39 cent menu at Mr. Taco." The girls would get soooo mad when he'd offer them the cheap hand. But instead of throwing a big fit they knew they'd could use Steve for other pleasure. If they'd didn't suck face or get off on Steve they could possibly meet up with his other pretty boy friends. So, even though Steve wasn't spoiling them rotten, he was still a resourceful body. Steve's body could lead them to other pleasure and they knew they could bet on going out with him on his Dollar spending spreee—to the dollar cinema, cheap taco food and maybe a blow job or kiss on the check—and maybe both. He learned how women can connive to get exactly what they wanted. Women were much closer to the devil than Steve ever could be. . .Steve didn't like the nurse. She wasn't classy. Steve thought she had a problem. Now, plenty of his ex girls had class. See, when I women has class she watches out for the big three. She doesn't pig out. He imagined the nurse munching down on a extra large sour cream and chive nachos from Taco Bueno. She stuffed large chunks of cheese and hot sauce down her trap to feel better. This was missing the first rule to class. Don't pig. Second, care about what you look like Clothing. Brand names and style. He was very, very picky about women's decor. Only the best. Third was exercise. They didn't have to over do it but they had to be fit. COME ON. So, the big three amounted to petite and beauty. First, no pigging out. (If you are going to pick, only eat fish and fruit.) Second, dress nice. Try to wear something with flare and style. Third, was the long term classy outcome of class. IT was in exercise. Daily. Try to exercise for at least four or five times a week—if not more. He had to have a women that practice the big three. Obviously the big nurse never did such. But for some reason he was stuck with her. She peek her freckled fat face in through the glass window and let off a huge shit eating grin. Steve absolutely hated when she smiled. She had these little pokey teeth and this double chin that tempted him to projectile vomit on the glass. He wish he could of done that. Then the glass would be covered with a green tint. It may not be a pretty green tint but nevertheless, it was shielding her ugly ass face.

Steve remained face down adjacent to the bed. For some unexplained reason he began to think about this package he got in the mail. He was taken time off from New York and L.A. He went back to a small town in Texas. It was a little one horse place near nowhere.

Steve received some type of poetry magnet game in the mail box. It came along side an environmental message from a utility company. It was small magnet game and the message was lengthy and liberating. Something about the utility companies new policy on pollution and conversation. Love thy tree.. Love thy neighbors tree. So on and so on. The magnet game was white and black with dissociated words and letters. You know, the kind where one may arrange the words, or letters, around in any order. He didn't rearrange the wording when he first received it. Best to keep it in order and study what it was initially before it was cleared from the mechanical hands of the factorized power company magnet poetry printing press. Instead of disturbing it's original form, he rather, let it reside exactly how it initiated from the creator's mind and the machines outcome. How it is was when he first laid hands on it. It came in a square magnetic flat, thin block. It was from Green Forest Energy corp. The last five words in the block read, "clean is pollution at energy." But that didn't really make much sense. He thought observing its every angle and spacing the min inches between each letter. He noticed how the background was white and lined. The lines indicated were the owner should tear, thus, separating the words from the block strip. The words and letters did not come rearranged and jumbled, so the user had to do it manually. Bummer really. Why couldn't they have some one come in and rearrange them for you. That would be nice. Like have a professional poet show up at the door and fuck around with the magnetic block, making them blocks by separating them, until a perfectly rhythmic phrase was produced for the glory of art and festive making. Horaah for the poets that showed up to perfectly arrange all the fun magnetic games sent by the energy companies. And horah the energy companies for being annoying. They polluters should send poets to doors. The power company owned it to people. Especially people like Steve who had been ripped off once by a utility company. One time he was mistaken for not paying the bill, cause he placed a bill in the mail and accidentally had the address of the company facing inside the envelop rather than facing out through the plastic envelop window. Punishment for the neglect of proper bill placement was a scar from the reality biting his soul and a striking whip lash from the tentative utility fags. The owner could form his or her own special poem. It didn't make that much sense, but nonetheless, it did catch his wonderment. "Pollution at energy." He wondered if the phrase was an accident or if the machines in the factories, the one that produced such trivial poetry games, really were trying to speak out against the harm done to them and to the planet. The phrase, "Pollution at energy" reminded him of "Pollution at hand." I wonder how much energy and pollution it took to make the magnetic game and how much it cost to have each one mailed to the customers. "Pollution at hand." Hm. What the hell? So, he associated the two with being, "Pollution at energy is pollution at hand." or "Energy at hand is pollution." He realized that the room was pollution. The lights polluted. The door was a form of pollution. Everything had to use resource to be made and duplicated for societies' unnecessary needs. It was an outcome for the sake of evil necessities. Steve knew a few things to be definite. He was in the world. He was energy. And energy made the world go around. He was in the world and he was energy; possibly being used, just like the lights, the walls, the door, the gas that was used in the ambulance and to feed the working life of the hulky paramedics whom, which following a long day of work and tiresome annoying hunger pangs, 'scarffed' down Sonic burgers. And all this was energy being directed and infused. Energy was an outcome to his life, before being thrown in this rated rat cage. And even thought it seemed his energy was not being used, nonetheless, it was being sucked upon by some form or organism, or in this case parasite. He was being used. He was a costly resource or was he a product of a used resource. What was he? Why was he laying in this cell block for nut cases? Is this what the world demanded of him. Is this what all resources that were spent on him doing to him? Did the world lead him to this corner of its makings? Why was he staring at this white walls? Why was he eyeing the small black camera lens in the corner of the room? What the hell was happening? "Clean is pollution at energy." This is what the poetry magnet game read when he received parts of it in the mail. There were other letters and words on the magnetic square. "Power", "generate," "I," "air," "renewable." Steve remembered that whole year he never touched the square of words. He just lift it on the refrigerator door. Some computer probably arranged the words, perhaps, or was it some kid at his daddy's office desk jotting down a mystery for Energy consumers all over the planet. What did, "Clean is pollution" Mean. What did, "Pollution at hand, or pollution at energy." What did this magnetic square equal. Maybe the energy corporations can tell me. Steve stared at the white bulb and its harsh bright light for quiet awhile. Maybe that kid at his daddy's desk can inform me why I am laying next to this steel cold bed.

Steve had a dream that night. He dreamt of these tiny little hammer head sharks that could fly and sting you with their oscillating sharp pointed tails. To escape them he had to not fear. He was traveling with a group of white Germanic women across the deserted sands. They were headed to a lost village. He didn't know the theme of dream or why he was dreaming about deserts and white Saxtonic women. All he knew was that if he saw the odd tiny beast he couldn't fear them because they could see him if he became afraid. Thus, he had to not fear. They could see and smell fear. So, the trick to escaping the beasts and making it to the village Oasis in the desert was to not be afraid.

There Steve was in the middle of nowhere; in his head and in place and time, distance and all that lovely stuff. Steve laid alone waiting for someone to save him. But behalf all his leaping feats across the United States, across the seasons, the winters, the blue downs, the frozen ice ponds, the giant lakes of the north, across time and river and all the almost close calls, the run away thieves and the hating types in the restaurants, laughing and laughing with bug eyes and hate full of hollow---he wanted to disappear, fall into a film—perhaps his favorite. He wanted to appear in A Room with A view. He met a young lady before college, she was a high class painter, the kind that may be immortalized in oil and other fine vehicles, the kind that could love you with a glance of the eye, inhalation of your breath and raise your eyebrows with her daddy's fine knitted sweater bought at Neimans, and boy could she devilishly charm with her swingy pat on the hand, boy could she smile, with her I'll always remember you kiss to the air. He would remember her always, he called her cat, nevertheless he wanted to leave with her. He wanted a cat. Her or a real cat. Just anything soft. He wanted to escape the hard cold steel door, the harsh medical bed and the blinding white messy and anecdotal idea of correction and mental health. Why did things have to be corrected or critiqued. What was the judge? You can't judge others with out judging yourself. Judging others lead to a kind of deadly competition. Competition is the father of war. Once one said the word, "I am better" Or "I am more sane" Or I am just genetically perfect. Or this so and so is the right and the just one or it's a better way than the better way or this is the best or the better than this or better than better than what is not as better than better, or your not as good, so the better the better and their better and you have to be better or you will not be better than better than better than, I need some Bayer Asprin or possibly some extra strength Excedrin, and if you don't get better than better than better than better than you better ahhhhhhhhoi? This "better than better" attitude kills; and caused many tension headaches. . This all leads to a harsh competition that tears apart the heart of man. You can't compete with out killing. Once you point your finger at someone and name or tag or identify them, then you put the world at the mercy of your blame game. This blaming the world for not be quite perfect or exactly as how you would see it is about as judgmental as when a joker jokes in saying, "I am not drunk on my own power and if anyone says that I am they'll never work in this town again." Of coarse this is simply a joke but jokes have truth and at times, knowledge. When one does this then others have to leave at their costly greedy mistakes. Treat others as you would treat yourself. What did the world know about a god dang artist anyway. Come on. Come on now. They didn't know about Steve's struggle for godsakes. He was real. Real in time and in this hell hole cell block. Nevertheless, Steve existed in the here and now. Even though he was locked up, he still existed. He was still going to make it to freedom. Make it to his cat. He was going to free himself somehow. He was going to reach the stars in a single leap; when he broke or walked out. He was going to do one of the two break out or walk out. Which ever came sooner. First, he had to get his head rolling into a series of motivational inspiring thoughts and ideas that would break or release him. So, he used a familiar saying as a mantra. A rolling stone gathers no moss. Roll, roll, roll. A rolling stone gathers no moss. Roll, roll, roll. Steve repeated this phrase in his head over and over, again and again. He had to roll the gathered moss out of his head. He had to stay active. That was the key. Activate. But how? He was closed in. Many thoughts twirled through Steve's mind. He took a series of naps. He didn't even check if the nurse was checking on him. The night stillness awoke him into a fitting frenzy. Steve would nah at his chest with his fingers and clutched hand. It was as if he was trying to touch his own heart. He was alone. Cold. Lost. And frenzied. It wasn't everyday that Steve was locked up in a small white observation cell with a camera lens pointed at his somewhat resting body. Tension ran up and down his veins, muscles and bones. He was in hell and knew it. Locked in a small room to be alone with his worst enemy; and enemies. It was odd that he never mentioned Jona or Jay. They left me behind. BASTARDS. How could they abandoned me in times of need. He figured they'd find their way back home sooner or later. Ass wipes. He wanted them back. He needed Jay's arguments and Jona's gothic forlorn face. Steve couldn't sleep in the medical bed. He laid next to it, half his torso sticking under the bed and half of him exposed to the camera lens. Dialogue played and played in his mind, "You need a child. You never reproduce here will you." Steve was gay but he did wish for finding a donor egg for reproduction. He would have his seed implanted or kindly reproduce with another female. He couldn't think of one lady he do the notty with in order to survive himself. How would he go on when his body wore out. Who would spread his genetics to the next generation. These thoughts haunted Steve all night long. He took a moment to masturbate but couldn't finish because he had a delusion or even true thought, that he was killing himself by wasting his seed. "Why are they called Seamen?' He asked questioning the true definition of cum. "How did sperm change to seamen or seamen to sperm?" Well, they were similar to seamen on the vast ocean. After all they swam to survive and knew the secrets of the women's juices. Most seamen are

extraordinarily skilled lovers in the bed. He couldn't come up with a back story for why Seaman and sperm meant the same thing. Seaman doesn't sound like something that would eject out of the top of a penis head hole. Steve couldn't figure it out himself. Perhaps this wasn't his fault. Perhaps, it was a problem he picked up as a youngster in school. He was always told he had a listening problem. On the other hand, how could he had had known that he had this crucial problem if he hadn't listened to the critique that was delivered by the accuser. Was the accusation false? A listening problem, hmmmm? Listen, listen, listen pooooh. Ohhh gawlistening to my glistening middle finger named bird. Ah ou ieee popo banana man. Bla bla blue jay birdy turd. Its all too strict to demand that some one has to do anything. What people have to do is what people have to do. And it should be what they want. We all eventually get some of what we want Right? Or do we get all of it? Can we get all of what we want? We're all freebirds in the state eh. We are ain't we? He had to listen to know he wasn't listening. So, he must of listened wrong. How do you listen wrong? Or maybe he had hearing confused with listening. Or perhaps listening confused with hearing. What was the missing link between the two that he needed, in order to figure out and solve this impediment. What was the difference between the two? Steve needed a job. He needed to make money. Far more than what he was making laying and gathering moss on the hard cold floor of his rudely assigned holding cell.

Burn out fade away. Burn out or fade away. Steve could not decide which he was doing in the present time. A buzzing noise filled the cell. Steve screamed out. Then, he began to mutter strange phrases, mostly messages with a philosophical theme. One is good. Good is good. The world is the world. All things earthly go to the soil sooner or later. His voice changed over and over again. He didn't know all the voices, or did he? They were people he had come across in life. Different faces, with different accents, and insinuations and such, they all had different character. He was no longer Steve. No longer Jay or Jona. He was many. Steve became legion.

Steve was connected to a prenatal cord of insanity. He could hear Hitler's voice on a megaphone preaching in a German tongue, he could hear the marching, machine feet of soldiers and the tattering, squealing chain of antiair war tanks, pops in the sky,

fascist bullets raining down like strong hail, soldiers prayer and slinging hale marry's left and right. Here an there, it was like the front lines and all in the dark champers running zig zags in his head and he had everything to fear. Demons have names, they have places to hide. Names like Steve, Jona and the rest, the have a test and all for your fun and free paying ride---here laying on the bottom of a world, in a cold cell, Mein Kampf was a name, a demons name, Lincoln was a name, a demons name, all of em demons, demons, possessing bodies all over, lakes of fire, I hear your combonation secrete from your locker number ringing in my head, your stuck in your locker at school.

Steve's eyes went wide. He was locked in his own locker at school. He didn't know how he got inside the locker but nevertheless, he had time warped back to highschool. He was stuck inside. Hopeless. His high school buddies passed by talking of the latest movie by some Science fiction director in Hollywood, they talked of fights in the parking lot and dead dogs. It was all too unreal. Then, he warped out of the locker. Just vanished like a faint mist and landed in a whirling, spiraling tunnel of air. He could not tell if he was in space or on earth. Most likely in the sky. A night sky. A storm of chaos. Voices cried out. Gurgling in blood and fire. No. This is no night sky or storm. I am in hell. NAHHHH. Names like Regan. Oh, Regan is a big name. Names found in letters scattered on the floor in, letters scattered on many floors in many stories. Stories we have already scene, my friend. Stories like Rosemary baby—a jig saw puzzle of names. Mia spreads the scattered mess of square game letters on the wood floor, letters from a popular word game. Each letter falls to the floor later to be reordered by her hands, to find her demon. Who is yours? Mia spreads them on the floor to help her see the names, many demons have many names, they come to all of us, cry out our names, in letters, sounds and Mary- go-rounds, scattered through out the world, like a loose game of fits made by small lost children.

Steve had no idea what a 'loose game of fits' meant. Demons have names? Who was Mia. What was she doing spreading letters on a wood floor. Letters? Jig saw puzzles? Regan? Names. Demon's had names? He didn't remember a Regan in the flick Rosemary's Baby. Regan who? Wrong film, hm? Which one would it be? Which one in the world? What Regan? Ronald, Nancy, the character in the Exorcist, Regan, the vampiric daughter in King Lear, Regan Carter, Regan Johnson, Regan Regain, Flip Regan, which fucking Regan for the love of God?

Nevertheless, he was possessed. Possessed as fire. He heard Hitler's voice rise above a dark strict land. It echoed in the mountains of his thoughts and the oceans in his heart. And all of this, this drastic embellishment of fiery cries and sharp staccato in short, sporadic spurts like a speedy machine gun. He was a man with everything opposed in his direction, a mother killed by a society of hooked nose, artsy legalistics' that denied him his only dream to paint and remain a innocent child. Now, he lived with his own blood denied. Turning it all around in his direction. HIS way. He had to. He had no choice. Once she died he had to overcome. It was his calling. His eyes turned strong and his spirit arose ahead of him and the dark flying feathered ones came to his aid like sweet giggling girls in a Halloween parade hay ride. Where was he? Where had he gone? He had to. He had no choice. It what he was made to do. Living in a hellish state of flaming rage. Life. Life. Is it love? I know for sure its suicide. Love is suicide. Love is suicide. Love is suicide. It all amounts to the green. The green dream of Washington. The dream of his blood and his wants, sacrificed on a silent empty wooden cross---with a headless mount of thorny crowns. Hell had landed in his mind clearly now. He didn't know how long he stay on the steel floor melting into the new arrival of the demonic chorus. But he knew. Nothing would free him but the power of the bill.

The door opened. A shaft of light spilled into the room. Steve turned to the new figure of a man. His long shadow was cast down upon his shaky body. Steve was freezing and he didn't realize until the door spilled in a whiff of cold air. The new bulky form toward over him like a tall oak from the black forest. The man was dressed in a white lab coat. "Here eat this." He threw a rectangular cookie towered him. It was the same color murky sunshine eye's viewed under a wild pond in the midst of a wooded forest in North Texas. It was hard tan and smelled like an odd, earthy treat. He looked at the package. It was the drug. He remembered it. Myosyn-R. It was rare. A rare treat. He hadn't eaten in what it seems like years. He unwrapped the silky pale packaging and brought the food to his mouth. His body sent the signal to Jay's parotid, sublingual and submandibular glands, spit arose on his tongue, and remembered its savory taste and feeling. He licked his lips and took in a full load of oxygen. He began to tingle on the back crown part of his head. The high was kicking in fast. Faster than the speed of sound. Faster than he thought it would. Steve rose to his feet, and the feast like a mad beast, arrived. He gobbled it all up. It tasted a little like taffy candy mixed with an earthy meaty caramel candy bar. He charged the door and bounced of its shielding metal. The glass window shook a little but nothing cracked. No exit. He walked alone in this hellhole. High and alone.

The flower experiment

Steve remembered seeing his grandparents flower garden. Many of the lily roses and other such beauties were wilted. He remembered that his grandfather constructed an experiment on the plants. It was a experimentation in emotional growth. There were several roses to the left of the back door. To the right of the back door was lilies. The grandfather decided to emotional scare the roses. Every morning he would get up and urinate in the garden. He go back inside and let the grandmother prepare for Sunday church. The experiment would only be held on Sunday's and Wednesdays. On Sunday morning she'd wake up and dress. She always be in a frenzy. Complaining about here new dress and how it made her look funny. Or she complain about her husband not desiring to go. He was an atheist so he had no reason to travel to church with her in the mornings or evenings on Wednesday. She would chatter and chatter about this and that and burn her mouth on the brim of the coffee in the process of her passionate frenzy. She rush into room after room looking for knickknacks or unnecessary conversational pieces for future guests and upcoming parties. After plenty of nonsensical arguing before church, he would finally lose his temper and grow irate. Instead of yelling back at her, he would rather contain his over boiling anger deep inside his heart. She'd leave to church and he'd go back into the rear yard and yell at the lilies. He'd yell as loud and as hard as he could. He would get right down into their faces and scream and holler. Even swat at them lightly. At other times, he would walk right by them with out a hint of their existence. This would hurt them as well. But mostly he'd abuse them with a fearful and aggressive enraging harm. He would never look at the roses during his hot head moments. He kept them out of harm. He was careful with the experiment. He'd prop a flat wooden board in front of their innocent flowery forms. He made sure they did not see the abuse. It was all part of his plan. The grandmother would return and she never knew what he had done to the lilies. Later in the week the grandchildren would come over and climb on the grandfather's back. He'd ride them around in the living room like a pony. He let them pat his forehead like a good doggy and he play pat the dog on the head games. He loved them with all his heart. The grandmother would leave to the movies or go out to dinner, or both, with other senior citizens in her church group. When, the grand kids finally grew tired they'd get sleepy and he'd tuck them into the couch or in the guest bedroom. They'd nap and the grandfather would spend a good ten minutes watching them breath. He love to watch them sound asleep. They grew beautiful in that state. After awhile he was overwrought with pure tranquility and warm emotion. He would return to the garden to let out his bladder and urinate on the tomato plants. As he returned he would stop to the right of the backdoor, were the roses soundly rested. In the night, he whispered beautiful and warm words to the roses. He wanted to make sure they'd grow to hale state. The grandfather always spoke with a kind and true heart to the roses. The deed was done. Time passed. He returned to see how the two types of flowers were doing. After three months of watering each plant with equal amounts of water; and allowing equal amounts of sunshine to shin on their lives; their conditions varied. Why? They each had soil, they each had water and they each had sun. What made them different. He charted how each flower was doing by writing a small description of the physical state. He exactly charted their ongoing and various growths. He marked their present existence as diverse. The emotional flower experiment was at hand and working. The lilies were rapidly wilting. Their growth began to retard. He marked down how many times he had yelled at them over the three month period. He yelled every Wednesday evening and ever Sunday morning. The lilies skins were yellowed and pale. Their stems was weak and rubbery. On the other hand, the roses were fine. They were in a complete and healthy state of existence. Each limb and petal was fine and fettle. He noted that the rose were only giving kind care and special attention. They did not retard. They grew with normal and charming speed. The sun shined down on the grandfather's face the next morning as Sunday arose and the nervous grandmother clicked her church heels. She cluttered around looking for her special pearl necklace for the morning mass. She found it and burned her lower lip, once again, on the brim of the coffee cup. Owww. She annoyingly muttered. The grandfather continued to smile. His experiment was working. He made note in his memo pad. He was constructing a real scientific experiment. The roses were the control and the lilies, the experiment and it was at hand. Science in action and working. He noticed that the grandmother was agitated at his success. She was jealous of his memo pad and his charting and his long audio tapes monologues about the roses and lilies Why was she mad that he was coming to terms with his own plan? His own design was becoming a success? She begin to question his notebook. He was blind so he could not see how nice she mad herself up for church. He figured she was mad at him for not commenting on her looks. She began to curse his experiment. And at night she throw away his brail writings and his tapes made on audio cassette. Why was she angry at his experiment? Was it something he had done. He was happy that the outcome matched his hypothesis. His hypothesis was that the lilies would wilt and the roses would bloom. She slammed the garage door as she thundered up the car and spun the wheels to the church. The grandfather began to compare his findings with the similar experience abused children went through. He figured if a child is abused they will retard. Just as the lilies where onced intrinsicly abused by him. It was intrepidness at it's worst to carry on the unique and wonderful observation of the roses and lilies. He continued. The more he meditated on the idea the more the sun lifted. He figured that if a child was not abused and giving special and good and loving, treatment (nothing but kindness and love), then they would bloom and grow with charm. He called his experiment The Rose and Lilly: A Child Development Experiment. Children that are treated with warmth and love will grow like the rose, healthy and true. The child treated with hate and anger will not grow. They will be like the dieing and wilting lilies. For hate prevents growth. Hate is stubborn. Hate is damaging. Unfortunately hate is a disease. A disease that kills.

His next experiment was far more important. It was called, Reviving the Lily: An exmperiment in healing the child, or the man. He would abuse a set of lilies and then after months and isolation and neglect—he'd return and give them as much love as possible. He was going to try and save them. Try to figure out a plan and a method to correct and heal their wounds.

The flowers next to the dieing lilies would wilt, even if they had partial sun. The effects of their damaging neighbor lilies slightly wore off on them. So, abuse could be contracted. Hate had the possibility to spread. First, it left the gardeners mouth with shouts and rage. Then, one lilly, over time, would wilt. The ones next to the lilies, masked in concrete covers, would not be as affected, but would catch the hate, like a cold and eventually wilt.

Steve was not possessed because of his own choosing. He was demonic because of other people's afflictions upon his life; and career. Steve worked free as an actor for a good chunk of his life. Worked, worked and worked but with not any type of award. He got no pay for his research, repetition work and line drills. People kept asking him to act for free. He loved acting. Thus, he fell to their pleas. So, life took advantage of him. He started to fell like a victim. He became vulnerable, and thus, sad. He began to think of the movies. Steve loved the cinema with all his heart. It gave him breath. Steve searched through his memories for any type of escape from his wallow and misery. So, Steve recalled a cinematic memory. One time in college he took some time off to see a interested fantasy terror story. He remembered seeing the Green Mile with Tom Hanks written by the master Stephen King. It had a line toward the end, "kills you with their love." Or something in that fashion. He didn't remember the exact wording, but remembered the feelings of its meaning. But what the passage concerned was one of the killers trickery and his meaning for murder in the movie. He represented a side of Satan. The side that tempts in order to kill. The way of taking innocence from the world. The line was whispered to a set of innocent twin girls in a flash back sequence. The meaning came alive when the murderer kidnaps. King shows the killer in his most private moment. The segment concerns his technique in murder. The killer traps the pair of twin girls by using their love for one another as a flaw in their fight flight instinctive reaction. He told the girl on his left, "If you scream I'll kill her." Then, he turned to his right and told her sister, "If you scream I'll kill her." Then he covered his lips with his finger and shhhhh'd them to silence. That's when he made his getaway with the little girls. Now, this is what the world was doing to Steve's soul. They asked him to do the one thing he loved with all his heart. "If you give in and say no. You'll have to be a worker. But you get money." Steve loved life. You needed money to enjoy it. Also, Steve loved acting. And you needed money to live an suitable life for the stage. Of coarse Steve fell to the temptation of love, how could he not. He loved acting. So, he chose to follow the temptation. And out of love. Love only. Just as the doctor signed his name in the Hollywood version of Doctor Faustus, Steve fell to the deadly enigmatic hell of Mephistopheles temptation. Marlow's play various from the cinematic version. He goes to hell in the play for a deeper and more enriching reason. In the film with Burton, he gives it all away for the beautiful grace of Helena. Gives his soul for her lovely touch. Now, Steve was failing to a similar temptation. A temptation that lived in the love of art. How was he to survive if no one paid him for doing what he loved. So, Steve suffered and suffered and suffered some more. All work and no reward. He went broke and fell into debt. Poverty overcame him in San Francisco and he was forced to move in with Chuck. Chuck was a reporter for a gay magazine in the midst of downtown. Steve didn't particular love Chuck. He needed Chuck but love was far from his heart. What Steve really wanted was acceptance. No just acceptance from another lover but acceptance from the world. He craved it. He was hungry for it. He had to fight for every once. Now, Steve curled up by himself next to his assigned cold bed. Alone. Tired. Unaccepted. And what many would call possessed. Steve was struggling. Struggling like a wild animal in its lowest defeats. He needed to escape. But how? Steve needed a mixed drink. The demon named Cosmomargarita appeared infront of him in a flashy fiery bubble. This demon was everything heaven is not. He began to recite a type of unknown verse:

Burnett, burnett, burnett

burn it

700 st

12

3

I god it. I god it.

its, its, its

a cosmodirtytopshelfmargacitrondrops

heart

dielive

livedy

and you know me

cause you have the rules

escape everyone

run till it burns inward to

you know what?

will, living, last day gone

I god it, I god it. . .nervous?

The demon vanished in a puff of misty white. Steve rolled his eyes and passed out. He really wanted a drink bad. Being possessed was hell.

The door opened for Steve. Steve didn't ask question. He walked out. Swiftly. The guard kind of sneered at him and sooner or later, with out any type of fear or hesitation, the guard ran to him and got him in a tight head lock. Steve was being transferred. His eyes snapped open. He was in a wheelchair, that was guided by two male tech nurses. They tied Steve to the Wheel chair with medical bed sheets and hand cuffs. He couldn't budge. The wheeled him down a long corridors. The industrial shaped light bulbs zipped above his head as if they were on a track or conveyor belt. It was like some odd haunted house in Disney world. The hall was long. It took awhile until they reached the stabilization ward. Steve thought this would be a good time to make a run for it. No can do. Steve tried. Tried with all his might. Even prayed. The guards hunkered down on him and got his neck and head in a half nelson. Steve could not breath so he figured he'd let them take him. The bright white lights hovered over him. Shadows spilled to his left and right. Everything seemed to speed up and slow down like some transition scene in a movie. Fast forward, slow motion, fast forward, slow motion. It was hell. Steve was all sweaty and scared. They reached the end of the hall with a rude awakening. The door was jammed into the ward. The hefty tech nurse banged it with his strong forearm and it wiggled and clinked. Finally, the door flipped open. Room light dimmed into the hallway. The light level varied compared to the hall light which was being illuminated by the fluorescents. Steve took in a deep breath. The second male tech, smaller in muscles, wheeled him to the nurses desk. The room was odd shape. It was a half horse shoe. Or a half u shape. It kind of bulged out into the stabilization ward. There were thick glass windows large in stature. They measured in length from the nurses desk to the ceileing. You could see all the patients watching TV on scattered couches and chairs. There was one large work table with crayons and cross word puzzles. One man, dressed in a green medical scrubs, was slapping at his cheeks and moaning at the cartoon characters in the commercial. This annoyed Steve and lightly scared him. Another man, stood erect next to a IV bag and pole. He was far from loquacious but a little loopy in the eyes. He puttered around with a slow speed and held the pole with his thinly fingers. He was anorexic or something in that nervosa and deathly serious disorder. His face was gaunt and his body was as thin as a prisoner of war survivor. The center in himself was far from holding a centering management. His eyes reaked of lightness and weak gloom. Failure had been a close brother to his bones. His POW stance revealed a hectic and stick figure profile. Maybe even thinner. This man was a walking skeleton. A dead man on two skinny poles somewhat identified as human legs. His wrists were not much bigger than the i.v. pole it'self and he was clinging with dear life to the air. His mouth closed in a small peeping hole as he sucked on the nothing before. It was as if he was nursing on what was not there. To be honest, Steve had never scene a man as thin. His hair was long, brown and wavy. He had deep set blue eyes and a skinny beard. Most likely he was thirty or so. Steve thought he looked like Jesus. He sort of shook side to side as the TV switched and surfed from station to station. He glared into the room as if ghost were boogieing a parade. His eyes flipped from side to side at times with a animalistic tic and a demonic energy. The thin man's eye sockets were deep and threatening. Steve could not see what the skinny man saw and was glad. The nurse finished up the man in front of Steve. This was tall, built and looked like he owned a computer store. He had a tie, over coat and brown thick hair. Steve saw a tattoo near his shoulder as he removed his overcoat. Part of his dress shirt had been torn and there were finger nail claw marks and lipstick stains on his wrists, cufflinks and the ripped section of the shabby business attire. The man's shoulder bulged out of his ripped dress shirt. There were a couple of red paint stains on the fleshy section of his collar bone. Chilling bumps sprouted up on Steve's forearms, shoulders and back side. Music spilled down from the ceiling above him. Steve spotted a small speaker next to the air vent. The music wasn't loud but nevertheless it was present in the room. The lyrics were sang in a man's voice but with a higher than normal register. The voice sounded as if the singer was focusing most of his vocal control on his head voice. It was very high, veiled and ghostly. The song was sang in an almost falsetto fashion. He recognized the band as being The Smashing Pumpkins. Billy sang, "Cupid hath pulled back his sweetheart's bow to cast divine arrows into her soul." Steve remembered hearing it at an Event called the Goth Ball in Dallas on a lonely October 31st. He went haunted house hopping that night dressed as a ghoul with his ex-girl Jacey. She went as a Smashed Pumpkin. Jacey was obsessed with Jimmy Chamberlain and Billy Corgan. She claimed that he visited her one night after a concert. "I met Billy. After a concert. We went out to a café in Dallas. He ordered a poppy seed muffin and was mad at the critics. He is a funny guy. I called him last week and the critics are still screwing him. He was all like, 'this fuckers have no right to write this shit.'" "What did he the critics say about him." She smiled and ordered a fruit flavored health malt. The waitress eyed Steve. Steve was ten years older than Jacey. Cool air blew threw the air vent. Billy sang on, "See the devil may do as the devil may care, he loves none sweeter as sweeter the dare, her mouth the mischief he doth seek, her heart the captive of which he speaks, so note all ye lovers in love with the sound, your world be shattered with nary a note of one cupids arrow under your coat." Steve thought his lyrics were beautiful. "He is a good musician." Steve said to Jacey. "Yeah. Rolling Stone said Jimmy was one of the best drummers in the world." She blushed at her self, as if she was talking of her own kind. "I'm goin up to Chicago to see them." Steve wanted to go with her. The band was breaking up soon. It was 2000. Steve wanted to be part of their last festival. "Hey. I can mime. What about I mime for their last show." Jacey turned all red again. "You want me to ask Billy if you can mime for their show." Steve argued back, "Why not. It would be like Lolla Polluza or some shit. I'd do it. Why not. You live once. Plus, they might pay me a good wage." Jacey thought he was fibbing. "Yeah. Ok. I'll ask them." She lied to him. She wasn't going to make a fool out of Steve. Steve drove her every where. He was her sugar-daddy for crying out loud. The door to the cell opened. The tall guard shadowed over Steve. Steve was immediately sucked out of his memory. "Here." The old man opened his hand. Nothing was in his palm. He just made an expression as if he was handed him food or an object. "What" Steve asked. "What is it?" The man made the empty expression with his hand. He held nothing. "Here." The man said and then slammed the door. The metal latched echoed through out the hall. Steve felt so empty. So hungry. So alone. He began to construct a story of his life in his head. If only they gave me a pen and paper. Anything to write with. I could construct this story and send it out. Some one would be bound to save me. They'd read my life on paper and save me. Break me out of here. God please. Just a piece of paper. Just a pen. Please. No one answered. Steve went back into his memory. He had to create the story. Even if the world had locked him up. He had to tell the truth, and with a crisp tongue. He had to be known. The song drifted off and mixed with the screams of terror from a new arriving guest. It was a black man on some type of new drug. It was the type of drug that looked like soil from some ones back yard. It made people lose their mind. The drug had no name yet, it only had a cost. Insanity and ecstasy. The song exited into the air vent with the words of Billy whispering, "Forever lost in forsaken missive and satan's pull we seek the unseekable and we speak the unspeakable." Steve remembered hearing this song at the Goth ball. He asked Jacey what that meant to her, "What does speak the unspeakable mean." He asked Jacey. She took a deep drag off her clove. "I guess it means speaking the sacred. Not many do it now days." Hm. Steve still didn't have a full grip on the meaning. "Unspeakable. How do you speak the unspeakable." She turned to him with her deep brown eyes. She ranked of vampirism in her tall paten leather boots, long caped fanged fake smile. "It means primal. Speaking from the primal zone of you. Dig." He thought her statement was half true. Steve leaned over the balcony of the club. He stared at the city skyline and lit up one of Jacey's cloves. He whispered into the willow woos caught with in the sporadic wind pattern. "Unspeakable." Bullshit. Fake bullshit. What the hell is unspeakable. It mad Steve angry that some one in this world thought deeper than he. Billy was surely some one who looked at the world with fresh eyes but how could he feel the same way I did. What made him this human. He had millions for god sakes. A finger tapped Steve on the right shoulder. It was someone dressed in a hairy Jackal mask and hood. It had a furry body and a glowing green eyes, which were imbedded behind the horror mask. "You're a Jackal." Steve hummed. The beast announced with a hollow voice. "Yes. Come with me." Steve followed the beast on a rusty old wooden balcony. No questions asked. It was just right. It fit the mood, the music and it was just the right thing to do on Holloween. Following Jackals on October 31st was not too uncommon. The balcony had a small bar and could fit a decent sized disco floor, if needed in a gothic club. The wind chilled Steve back side, shoulders and head. Light pecks of rain sprinkled down and tingled the smokers and drug addicts discussing politics and anarchy. Steve flowed along the back heels of the gothic jackal. He had a long cape and a top hate. But his face was very similar to a Jackal. "Nice costume." Steve beebed out with our with a crisp tongue. "Thanks." The Jackal smiled. "She will help you. You must follow." The jackal vanished behind a curtain that revealed a downward spiral stair unit. "Who are you?" The young lady said. She had horn ribbed glasses and great breasts. Near perfect. She had a Spanish face but looked more like a female cartoon character on the new version of Scoobie Doo or MTV's Darby. "There is something about your face that looks like a cartoon character." He breathed in forcefully, "You look like Darby from MTV." He squinted at is sloppy unplanned one liner. She jittered through her thin horn ribs. She was wearing a nice off green vest, tan tight v-neck and loose dressy slacks. She also had on lace here and there. Her shoes were velvety green and studded. "Nice shoes." Steve charmingly grinned. "Thanks." That sat around and talked about bands, gothic moments in history and modern problems. He convinced her to go to a small, petite health food café near a gay section of Dallas known as the Highland Park.

The guards in white introduced Steve to his new room. It was plan. Two beds. No one occupied the room. Steve walked over to the far east side of the room. There was a single normal sized window with chicken wire. The window was shielded from a clear view with non translucent texture. There was a maze, or more like a lattice of wire, crystal bumps, blocking textures on the window's surface. This was to keep anyone from looking out or in. The bathroom was small. Stand up shower and a single toilette. There was a mirror and a sink. Two white towels hung hopelessly alone on the a cheap stainless steel rack. The tech had him undress and hand over his cloths. He wore a tan pair of pants, tan jacket and a white sweater. The clothes where replaced with a stale green v-neck medical scrubs. Steve put them on and laid down in the corner of the room, as if he was about to die. He didn't die. He lived for a very long time, indeed. The hours ticked by slowly. He didn't exit the room for over two weeks. No point to. He just showered and stared at the mesh of chicken wire and the lattice of tiny crystal pebbles stuck within the window's skin. He just made up a life of young prince, horse and a large spinning adventure about a black knight and his evil brigade. Steve figured the demons would never live his soul. It was time to construct a plan. He knew he could escape. That's what he do. He'd figure out a away to break out. But what about money when he'd escape. He had a plan. He find out his high school sweat hearts address and take a one way cab to her house. He kill the cab driver and then, take his money. Then he used the cabbies money for a weapon. He slaughter his ex-high school sweat heart. That's what he do. Yeah. Perfect plan. And if she had any children, he kill them as well. And if she had a husband. He kill him too. He kill them all. He purchase a cheap gun. Put a silencer on it and wam bam thank you mam. The perfect and the most savage revenge a failure queer like him could ever fulfill himself with. . .it would work. First, he'd have to figure out a way to escape from this nut house. His plan changed as the day's passed. He decided not to kill her husband, or children. Instead, he purchase a high power rifle with a finest German scope. He sit on the roof of a building near her work. Take her out that way. He'd make a day of it. The door opened early, early morning. The first ray of light hadn't been shot out over the horizon. Steve eyes were nearly sealed shut with morning burgers. Nobody was in the room. Just his meds. It rested on a dinner tray about the size of a TV tray. To be honest it looked very similar to a silver platter. There was a plastic covering over it. Steve sat up. His back ached like hell. He winced his head toward the morning tray. There was a average note card sized square message folding in two and resting up right. It looked like a small white camping tent. The old fashion kind. Steve stretched out of his resting state and decided to investigate new arriving note. His face was pale, gaunt with dark, thick cirles. He looked not much different than a lost ghost. He slowly scooted over to the plastic covering on the silver, medical tray. He unraveled the item. It was the cookie drug. The Myosyn-R. "It keeps following me." Steve whispered. It was true. The drug followed through two other bodies and identities—and realities. All three admired the taste and feel. "Well, guess its time." He picked up the Myosyn-R, removed the shiny packaging and bit into its doughy skin. It was good. Tasting not much different than an oat mill cookie mixed with vanilla topping. The taste was nothing compared to the high. The high was hard to explain. You tingled at first. Kind of like you did when you jumped your bike on a hill, or swung of a rope into an old pond. You know that feeling you get when you jump into the deep end of a pool of water. Especially when you were a kid. You know, that initial feeling. That warm feeling you get in your stomach and head. You face turns red, you grow fluttered and little dizzy—you kind of laugh, but hold it in. Its like that, mixed with the best orgasm ever. Its not as sexual as it is blissful—even spiritual in a way. It makes you so happy you forget who you are, where you came from and where your going. It takes one single cookie. The embed the drug with in it. Police or the FBI, ATF, DEA or anyone has no clue what it is exactly—they just don't know. No one does. But Satan. Satan helped cook it. Its straight from his oven. Some say its mixture of souls lost and they are gathered by demonic ones and added to the ingredients. Some say it's the essence of a baby's soul—but the baby has not passed into the earth yet. Many that deal in its working compare it to pure innocence before any evil has touched or corrupted it. It's a hint of purity mixed with lost souls. At least that's what they told me. Steve banged on the door. "I took the meds. Are you watching me. Studying what it does. Will it help the world. Save it perhaps. You don't have to let me out. I just want another."
Just then, the door opened. A hand poked through with a Myosyn-R in it. Steve snatched it and sat back in his bed. He opened it and gobbled it down. He knew this would continue. He prayed for a visitor. But no one. Myosyn-R were available to him whenever he asked or knocked. All he had to do was knock three times. Bam. It was there. A hand. The cookie bar---and a quick unwrapping—he got his high. But Steve wanted more to life. He wanted a wife, kids. He was ready to go straight now. He knew he was queer dating men—but he was ready to switch over. But how? He hated women. When, he broke out he was going to kill his ex girl friend. How was he going to go from homosexual to normal. And who wanted to be normal anyway. Something was calling for him to lie. He had to trick himself. He had to convince him self that he was straight. In that case, they free him and then he could go on his killing spree. Steve was a great shot. His father was a sergeant in the Marines. He taught Steve to shoot when he was seven. The secret to shooting was simple. You placed the bead, or cross hairs on the target, took in a half breath, hold it and barely squeeze the trigger---you wait, and wait as your finger barely tugged on the trigger hand, you squeeze do delicately that the gun would surprise you when it fired. Surprised you when it fired. That was the key. The surprise. You didn't expect the gun to go off. Your job was merely to keep the cross hair, or bead, on the target—and its deadly zone on the body. Places like the shoulder blade, head or heart. Maybe even the center of the back—depending on their angle and where they faced the riffle. Steve never killed at large—according to the human race. Animals was a different fame. Steve killed a large Antelope at the age of ten with a high powered .30.30. in the mountains of Colorado. He remembered his father dressing up in a yellowish camoflauge, lighting up Camels, coaching him threw the steps of the deer hunting assassination, "Put the cross hairs on his shoulder blade, aim for the shoulder, right at the heart, hold your breath, waits, half breath in, hold, barely squeeze let it surprise you, barley squeeze keep the cross hairs on its heart and then, WAAAM. Surprise. Kick fire." What he'd do is scope her out on the internet. Then he use the FBI web service to find her physical address. Next, he go to the town she lived in and uncover her place of work. Then, he wait outside of her job in a flower truck. He'd sell flowers on the side. He decided killing the cabbie would be sloppy. He actually really get a job as a flower deliver. Then, he follow her home. Camp out. Do a stake out. When she go to the nearby grocer store he sat up a shooting site on top of her grocer store. He time it out. Every time she went to get food he be on top of the store. Then, when the time was right. He shoot her. Jump off the ruff and into a separate, unmarked license plate-less getaway car. His running destination would be Los Angeles. Then, he changed his name, identity and blend in with the wannabe movie star crowd. That's what the bitch gets for screwing with my mind my senior year in high school. And for fucking me and leaving me my freshman year in undergrad. Cunt bag going to get sliced. He figured the best shot would be through the heart—but the head is a quicker death. He didn't want her to suffer that much. But he did want her dead. He didn't need her in the world anymore. She was done with. The best time to get her would be in the winter. That would make it harder for the police to follow him. Plus, he wouldn't just head west. He go up to some mountain for a few months and take cover under the snowy woods. He figured they track him to quickly if he headed west. Too many kill and flee toward the sun. He knew that from pure instinct and from watching spaghetti-Westerns. First, he climbed some mountain in New Mexico or Colorado. Disguise himself as a mountain climber or skier. He take shelter in a cabin up there and work as bus driver or a short order cook, at least for a few months. They had the most charming and fabulous restaurants in some of the sky resorts in Angel fire, or Aspen. He couldn't wait. He figured he change his identity by shaving his head bald and going as a goth rocker. No one would suspect a gothic dude to be a killer. Its too obvious. In many cases, not all, but many murdering episodes of American history, most American Killers look somewhat plain, normal and thrifty, examples being: Ted Bundy, Jeffery Dalmer and Lee Harvey Oswald. Charles Mansion, Jack the Ripper and Hannibal Lecture were not good example of under dressers. But Steve figured sticking out would be better than blending in. They never expect a gothic freak into vampirism to kill---those type were always left off the hook. "Son, this year I want you to get ya a trophy antelope." His father describe the exact height, length and the exact demensions the antelope had to be to match up on Bowie crocket legal standards. "I want to come home with a winner this year. Leave the turkey out of it. This season, go for the gold. A Bowie Crocket size kill. Going for points only son. The perfect game. I know you can do it. The perfect shot. Kill a big one son. Make me proud."

Steve had no clue how he was going to break out of the mental ward. Every day at lunch he was guided to the lunch area. It was wide hall way that had linoleum floors and cheap white brick walls. He sat down at a small eating desk. Next to the desk was a crystal block wall. Most refer to this type of window unit as a glass block. Steve used the title of crystal block. It looked more like a crystal than glass. One could tell that the outside world lay on the outer side of the crystal blocks. They were the type of blocks you'd see in a fancy shower or bar area of a rich persons sunken whiskey bar game room. You know, those crystal block window units. There popular. Anyway, he noticed that the crystal blocks were connected with white flaky, rubbery mortar. He hoped for a proper eating utensil. Unfortunately, they only provided plastic spoons, knifes and sporks. He took a spork and began sawing at the cheap rubbery mortar. He figured he could saw a little bit a day and eventually, he knock out a crystal block (glass block) and thus, knock at the one next to it and so on. He'd figured that it would take a long time to remove one of the blocks. So, he would have to replace the ones he removed until there was large enough gap for his entire body. He replace the crystal blocks that he couldn't knock out immediately and come back the next lunch time and knock out more of them. He continue this process until enough blocks were removed. Enough to fit his body through. The mortar was pasty enough to react with the plastic spork (fork/spoon). He noticed he could scratch about a half cup full of mortar off a crystal block in one eating episode. It would take awhile. Spooning the fake mortar was a delicate and intensely focused challenge. Usually, they served nuked chicken, peas, mash potatoes and a crusty desert. It was usually a cheery pie with brown puss resting on the top of it's tan nappy cheaply sweetened skin. It was the worlds most miserable desert. He poke at it with a plastic knife with his left hand and scratch the mortar with the spork, in his right. He watch the front desk and smile as he consumed small bits of the cherry disaster. The nurses loved to watch him eat his desert. They knew it would make him fatter. There was no exercise room on the unit. So, anything he ingested made him gain weight. That was one of his main reasons for wanted to get out. He wanted to exercise and take long, long walks. He couldn't know. Since he was considered insane he had to be watched twenty four seven. They didn't want him to kill himself. Steve pretty much figured he had already. Steve blamed himself for being locked up. He blamed himself for being nutty. But only in times of clarity. At other times he go between Jona, Jay and the demons. He couldn't tell if he was nuts or if he was making it all up for a sick type of pleasure. Who cares? Steve had to get out. So, he scratched at the mortar and took small bites. He was the last to leave the mess hall that day. He returned to his room. They provided him a small pencil, the type you make put marking on your score sheet at Put Put Golf and Games. You know, those short stubby pencil. He wrote with one of those in a small journal that was provided by the nurse. Steve never thought about calling home or calling a friend. Hell, he didn't even know he was in Washington DC. His friends in San Frasisco would never pick up anyway. They were all mad at him for being taken in by a fancy sports writer. The sports writer had money. Not because of his job but because of his family. Rich kid. Steve always wanted to be one of those. They always went far in life.

Steve was swimming under it all. Far beneath reality. At times, he felt as if he was on a distant ship out a sea. A ship pirated by thieves, murderers, the wretched and dark side of life. The winds picked up. Lightning sounded. Thunder roared. He was on the deck facing the wind, rain pattering away at his eyes and brow. He felt alone, even though the crooked sailors worked around him. The crew, all dressed in dark sailor uniforms, passed ropes and sailing cords to one another. They were in the process of propping up the main sail. The storm was growing worse. Ahead doom awaited with not a drop of patience.. They night sky had turned purple and bruised over the stars and distant beatings of the tiny thousand shiny eyes from a distant world. Part of Steve saw the spotted lit sky as angels from a far away universe, looking down upon the living. The other half of Steve saw the stars as lost souls condemned to burn out assigned eternity. "They wanted to shine. Let them shine down upon us. Good or bad, they got their wishes." Steve whispered into the blood curling scraping wind. How heavenly they looked sitting up above Steve's lost dark ship at sea. How vast. How alone. It was all a burden to take on. Too much beauty, too much wonder in this approaching hell. Fire screamed across the horizon with a forgetful hate. It was time to let go of the past and all the memories, trouble and loves. Steve knew the ship would soon rock. Fear would cast him overboard. Fear would become his failure. His enemy wasn't the sea, or the rocking waves. His enemy was inside. Inside, awaiting. Lifting him toward the edge, away from the mast. He looked over the railing of the ship and stared at the monstrous fighting waves. What wonder would it be to splash in. To be lost from the ship. What wonder would it be, to dive in—and swim away from it all. What mysterious the black swooshing waters held. The captain rang the warning bell. A huge wave was screaming toward the head of the ship. Now, the wonder was covered with pure cold salt water and white foaming salty blue blood of the ocean. Steve became saturated with a coldness he had never felt before—he was sure he was overboard---under the depths of the vast blue. But no. He had his finger nails clinging to the wooden mast screaming, "ONWARD. ONWARD. LETS TAKE THE SEA. LETS TAKE THIS STORM. HELL AND BEYOND." The captain rang the bell harder as the after birth of the father wave rained down upon the chaotic and confused crew. Men flew left and right off the ship's mast and sails. A huge black fin pounded down upon the main deck. The captain, "Behold. Behold. There she lies. The beast of this storm." The fin smashed and flopped against the side of the ship, and then a great deep cry rose over the storms harsh black forceful gallop. "ONWARD." Steve screamed. "ONWARD." The whales fin flipped and slid off the harbored side of the vessel. It vanished into the black rushing water, as if it appeared to disappear. Thunder roared and pounded the sky. Rain fired down upon the ship like volcanic pellets released from rivers of hell. Each rain droplet had to be the size of small marlon fish. Steve wiped his eyes and stared at the undulated back of the escaping whale. It tucked its skin under the waves and rose upward; snaking through the seawater as if it was becoming a wave itself. Steve lost sight of the approaching visitor. The ship swayed and hopped on the rumbling skin of the water. White foam skimmed off the dragging paddles. Each paddle dipped into the vast sea like a hay stray falling into a river a lava. The paddles snapped into like toothpicks. The crew hollered at one another from the body of the ships. Thunder reminded Steve of his lost cause ahead. A loud sudden cry from the heavens to beware. To fear the upcoming hell on high waters. Some were below him. Men fighting the storm with paddles, rigging and man made confusion. Hopeless they cried as the ship lost coarse and spun into a gyrating off key demonic melody of confusion. Chaos had arrived. Seawater washed away three ship mates lugging a side anchor. The life boats had been shattered into useless splinters. Parts of the ship was chipping away like saw dust from the teeth a buzzing saw blade. Screams arose as the dark sailors flopped into the swirling hateful swallowing abyss. The time had arrived for captain and his crew. Men manically leaped off into the mad laughing storm as several sailing masts cracked inward onto deck. The ship had fell from it's grace. Salt water foam spurted and swirled along the edge of the deck like floating incense smoke from a monk's ancient temple. Lightning stretched across the sky like a hurried sparkling fuse. All seemed to await igniting explosion into a fiery bliss. Steve grabbed a spinning cable rig and rapped two hands around its slippery spine. He held on for dear life. Disorder was at the mercy of this unplanned coarse. Seawater chased toward the center cracking the tallest mast with a mighty snap and sending the watchman head first toward the faltering vessel's cabin ruff. The watchman landed with a hard thump, shaking the deck with a tiny startling ting. Steve jerked his head toward the felled crewmembers sounding arrival. He remained motionless. The watchman's bell still sounded. The devilish sporadic stormy wind sent the bell clinging against the toppled mass. The bell clanked out an unknown primal song. Only the demons of the sea knew its true meaning. The clattering bell flipped against the swirling wind and it seemed to wonderfully match the melody of the thunder and shaky lightning above, and at times the symphonic disaster seemed to be sung from a sea monster below the sea sawing ship, instead of the brewing storm. The bell rang in three consecutive tings and then fell silent. Steve wiped the saltwater drops from his cheekbones and silently prayed. And instead of a simple prayer answered, the storm rather, and with out mercy, grew as an endless mass of enraging terror overtook his breath. Steve smiled and whispered, "Save me dear Lord. Save me."

"Another." The doctor said to Steve. Steve was curled up next to the medical bed. His hands clung tightly around the steely, silver legs. Steve stared at the bottom rusty knob that touched to the white skid free floor. The bed spread covered half his face like a dark veil. "Let go of the bed." The nurse said. "The bed." She said again. "Another one for ya." The doctor overlapped. The nurse sat Steve up on his sit bones. He straightened his back with a swift inline jerk and smiled at the pretty face. "Eat up." The nurse said with a grin. His head plopped downward and he noticed a Myosyn-R resting on his lap. "Time to eat." The doctor and the nurse left the room. The door closed and locked with a commanding bang. There was no echo after the door lock fell into place. That's when he realized he had been moved to the larger room. There was a doorknob on the door, rather than no doorknob. The walls were painted an off tan rather than a bright white. The bed sheets were more like comforters and they had color. He could not make out the shades or hue. He looked over at the adjacent bed. The bed spread rose and fell like an old Grandfather clock pendulum in a children's story. Steve noticed that the new guest slept with a shaking and puttering snore. "Hello." Steve whispered. "Excuse me." Steve announced once more. "Uh. Hello there." The sleeping new arrival tossed over with no reply. Steve figured the new wonder was another annoying demon. "Are you a demon?" Steve asked. "No." A manly low voice returned. "Who are you?" "What do you care. Go back to bed." Steve tucked the covers to his chin. "What time is it?" Steve asked with a shaky voice. "Its night time. Go to sleep. Do you mind already?" Steve scratched his head and turned over on his side facing the wall. It was most likely a demon. Steve had been dealing with them for years now. It was either a demon or a new arriving patient. He didn't care and couldn't really differentiate between the two.

Everything became clear to Steve. He knew the plan step by step. Frame by frame he kept playing the shooting over and over in his head. Snapping the safety off, tucking the but of the gun into his shoulder, steadying the rifle with the defined muscles in his forearm. He could here her breathing. Even know she breathed. He could here the gun tricking squeak and click. Ignition. Fire. Kick. Pow. Smoke. She falls onto the concrete. She bleeds on the parking lot. She lifts her head to my direction. She reaches her hands toward me. Takes in a breath. Holds. Breaths. Holds again. Last breath. Falls. Cold. Silent. No more breath. I duck behind the AC unit on top of the grocery store. One with nature. One with my plan. It is accomplished. Blood flows in tiny rivers toward the brown paper grocery sacks. Her little boy stands over her lifeless body, thumb in mouth, wide eyes. Then he begins to whimper and panics. Eventually the tears well up in his sockets and he cries, "Mommy, mommy, some one help mommy." He stands there alone. Alone like me. Alone like God made us. I pray. Little whispers fill my head. Whispers of a boy, a mad boy, wanting revenge. A boy with hate in his heart. A lonely boy. Then, I run over to the rain vent and climb down the gutter. The wind lifts under my black jacket and sky toboggan. I sprint to the car. Her heart stops. I hear it stop. I pull out the keys. Fumble the single car key needed to get away. It was the key with the triangular head with the words Exccess on them. Keys I would of never had if she would of married me years before. We would have had a BMW, Mercedes maybe a Porche Boxter. Not some cheap factory made shit on wheels with a key chain with Exccess name brand on the end. What about something European? Nevertheless, the keys would of looked different. More personally fitted. Stylish. Something with a curvy end. Not square, American and bronzed. Not so American. My keys were American. Normal. Disguised in conformity. Every key is like this one. Every car is similar to my shitmobile. My hell on wheels. My death trap. I was driving a Ford. My, God. Thirty one years old and driving a Ford. It didn't matter. She was dieing as quick as possible. I needed her dead. Dead fast. Blood fell from her body in rushing streams. It was a Ford. But a Ford made me happy now. Now that I was beginning my escape, I needed a conforming vehicle. One that wouldn't stick out like a soar thumb. Even though it was a regular Joe's key, I needed this particular regular Joe key to open my normal, plan Ford car door. I hope it would be there. My wish came true. Everything fell into place. Click. The key smoothly slotted into the hole. Not a scratch. Not a mess up. Not even a clinking sound. The door opened with a swift turn of the door handle, which it usually sticks and gives me hell. ERRR. Not this time. Door opens. SHHP. Smooth. Not a glitch. Door closes. Then, I slowed down. Deep, deep breath. It is still in the interior of the car. A little too cold. A little too soothing. I felt good. Chills arose over my body. Small goose bumps ignited everywhere.

Calmness falls over my body like cold rain. My heart races, but my mind remains calm. I have it all figured out now. Its all in line. All clear. I start up the ignition. The Rolling Stone's Symphony for the Devil blasts. I didn't plan for this song, but I didn't deny the coincidence. I step on the gas and take off into the morning neighborhood. Alone. The wind picks ups against the windshield. I turn up the radio. Blast the heater. Winter is on its way. The boy stops crying.

I find the nearest Highway. I don't know my direction. Couldn't even tell if I was headed toward the sun or away from it. I didn't care. I needed the wind to blow through the windows. I needed the highway. I needed to run. Run. Run. The speedometer flipped past sixty. It stopped ninety nine or so. The world rushed by me. I left her behind. Now, she was for the soil to contend with. I didn't care about the boy. He wasn't mine. I am sure he'll find his way. I did.

Steve was on a highway now. The ford engine hummed and the heater spit out hot air in rhythmic unison with the below spinning Firestone tires. Steve had just had them changed at nearby auto maintenance store. For no apparent reason Steve went into a memory. He remembered when he helped his sister run away from home. She had packed up a suitcase of simple belongings and prepared to live with friends and in her boy friends truck. Steve lived in a huge house on the rich neighborhood of Keller, Texas. His sister had tears in her eyes as he picked up the suitcase and walked across the expensive rug near their crystal grandfather clocked. It chimed two times. Night was upon them. The boyfriend waited at the end of the long drive way in his un-dented, and freshly painted black pick up. He was a fire men for the TCFD. (Tarant County Fire Department.) She ran along side her brother as he humped the suitcase to the end of the driveway. "Dougs gonna help me now." His sister announced. She was two years older than her. Steve was about thirteen. She was turning fifteen. "Don't Tell Dad." Steve ran back to the house. The black ford took off in the night. He knew she'd go to school the next day. He knew she stay with friends, and their friends parents would welcome her. He knew she'd try to be good. He pictured her skipping a few days of the Freshman year. Eating pickles, mini cheeseburger and hot sauce. She'd go over to the Arcade down the street from Keller High and play Miss Packman until Micheal picked her up in her blight blue Ford convertible. Micheal was her best friend. They hit the road in Micheal's mom's car, listening to Motley Crew and checking out the firemen's asses at the local fire station. Also, they'd buy cigarettes with fake ID's and occasionally beer. Hang out with Doug's roper friends and watch cheesy Soap operas on Doug's miniature TV. Steve was proud she ran. She got to grow. Steve's Dad as a monster. He was big round, fat man, huge gut and big eyes. Anything could set him off on a beating spree. He once laid his sister down and whipped her with the buckle end of his belt seventy seven times. She had a bruise from her knee to her hip. Knee to hip. His mother took a professional photo of it for the record. Knee to hip. Black bruised. He couldn't get the bruised thigh out of his mind. The puffiness of it. The purple mixed in. But what was worse was the sound of her screaming. After the father had reached sixty strikes or so, she had grown hoarse from hollering from the sharp dull pain. He hit her so much in the same spot it became numb. She knew this was going to hurt worse after her skin aloud blood to flow to the surface. "Ahhh. Stop. Stop. Please Dad. Stop." She screamed. Steve sat at the end of the stairs with a aluminum baseball bat. He was going to clunk his dad in the head. But he feared him. Instead, he slowly walked back up whispering, "I am sorry Sis. Can't help you. He's too strong." He slept with the bat that night. Tucked it under his armpit. In the middle of the night his father walked into his room. He flipped the closet light on. His huge gut rolled over his tighty whities. The father had one calf muscle larger than the other. This was a cause of the effects of polio. The doctors diagnosed him with polio as a young kid. His father never really got toy play football or sports. The coaches let him get off the bench every once, only out of pity, and every once and awhile he got to tackle or block, but hardly ever. His father envied the fact that Steve was track star, all star in gymnastic, karate and tennis. His father visit to his room was out of fear. He feared his son would kill him in the night. So, he stole away with his son's hunting knife. "Just in case." His round fat father said with angst. "Got to bed." He held the knife up to show him he had taken it. Steve stared back with a lost expression. "Good night Dad." He rolled over and tried not to think of his Father's ugly gut and fat spoiled body.

Steve pulled over and stared at a large redish pink field of wheat and maze. He didn't know how far he had driven but he was aware of the murder. He pictured his girl friend being picked up by the ambulance truck. They covered her body with a blue bag and drove her to the morgue. The little boy was most likely taken in by custody. Police officials sent him to a relative or took him to a care facilities at a hospital. He wasn't proud he ended her life. He just couldn't allow her to grow. He was stopped at a young age. It was his answer to the world for his victimization. It was his cause. Even though it was wrong it was valid by his disrupted heart.

His eyes jerked open as the AC unit blew out cool air. He heard the nurses talking about the positioning of the incoming snack tray. It was full of peanut butter, peanut butter cookies, jellies, butters, cheap crackers and junk food. Steve found himself laying in the medical bed. He was in the ward. The covers stirred in the bed across the room. He still had not met his new roommate.

The roommates name was Tish. That's what he called himself. Tish like the department at NYU. He was a TCU student. Steve asked him his nationality. He had a tinted shade to his skin. "Polish. I am Polish." Tish was a nice guy. He got let out before Steve was released. "Whats your story. How did you get in." Tish explained how he fell into depression after his gal left him for some one else. He called her on the phone and told her he was near suicide. "She still hung up on me. I thought it was stupid for telling her that I'd do that to myself. But she was mad at me and still didn't care that I might take my own life if she left me for good." Steve sat up. The thoughts, voices and delusions in his head were coming to rest, since Steve had conversation with another patient. "So, you ah. Think. Ah she was wrong." Steve questioned. "Well." He probed for an answer inside his head. "I guess. She was right. Anyway, I called one of those suicide Hotlines. Mistake." Tish rubbed his head. "The police showed up. I told the operator I was going to kill myself." Steve became deeply curious. "The operator on the Suicide Hotline. Hm." Tish explained how if you call a suicide hotline and tell them your going to off yourself, than they have to call the law on you, for your own protection. "That's lame." Steve said. "That's like an invasion of privacy." Tish continued, "Yeah. I know. But they feel you don't deserve privacy if your going to go to the length of suicide. You deserve to be locked up, I guess. If your going to harm your own body." Tish and Steve talked all night. Steve rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and began to entertain Tish as good as possible. Steve's goal was to cheer him up. Steve wanted to work. Even though the law and doctors had him concealed from society they still couldn't stop Steve from aided parts of the world. Steve still wanted to keep his hands at work. The devil had idle hands. He thought. Had idle hands. Steve felt he counted. Even locked up in a loony bin, he still could make a difference in hi country. He had Tish cracking up left and right. Steve recalled every joke known to his library of jokes in his noggin. "Have you heard of the one when the rabbi, rabid dog and the calendar walks into the bar. What did the bar tender say." Steve made it up as he went along, "Rough date you made it time." The joke didn't make sense, but Steve explained its logic, timing and its comic meaning. The rough correlated with the ruff of a rabid dog. The date matched up with time and the calendar. The rabbi was just there strictly for comic set up. "The rabbi had no part of the joke. It was just common in many jokes." Tish didn't understand but found it humorous anyways. "Funny guy Steve. Making me tear up here." Tish talked about his girlfriend. Steve convinced Tish that no women was worth suicide. "Suicide not worth the loss of love. To be honest I can think of a better reason to kill yourself than losing your lover." Tish asked. "Ok. Shoot." Steve stood up. "Now or later. And where in the head." The joke still wasn't funny, but Tish laughed out of the un- funny attempt. "See the attempt's all that matters." Steve was becoming more and more clear headed after telling his awful, un timed and non-secular, non-comical and non-logical jokes. "I never met anyone as non-funny as you." Tish laughed. "Thanks." Steve knew he couldn't come up with a logical joke, mainly because of the situation he had put himself in. Nevertheless, the situation was sort of silly. "Hey. We can laugh here. After all, it's a nut bin." Tish laughed again, but no manically, that was saved for the schizos next door. Steve hackled at Tish and Tish guffawed back. A Kodak moment was at hand.

"Its amazing what people will let you do?" Steve muttered like a ratty dog. "Its amazing you know?" Tish sat up in bed. Moonlight shaded the room to a ocean blue hue. "Well. What did people let you do?" Tish insinuated with a earthy tone. He wanted only the truth. "You want to know all the things I got away with in life eh." Tish happily shook his head up and down. "Ok. First. I lied to my kindergarten teacher at the age of five. I told her I liked Cauliflower. "Soooo what?" Tish said. "Well. I ran into the bathroom and spat it out into the commode. Flushed it down." Tish whipped his chin. The wind rattled and scrapped at the window. A spooky feel entered the room. "You know one of the worst things I ever did?" Tish stood up on the bed and leaned back against the wall. "I fucked a girl up the but." "You what?" Steve asked. "I fucked my ex-girl up the rear." Steve head bumped back into a coil, like a swan does when spooked. "You did that. That's pretty attractive sounding man." "It wasn't the worse. But one of em. I've always felt bad for doing it. We were drunk. I was pretending to be Jim Morrison. She was pretending to be some Punk idle. So, after the second bottle of wine and a joint I poked it up there. Its an abomination isn't it?" Steve cocked his head to one side. "I never saw it as that bad. Abobimination." "Abomination" Tish corrected him. "And you. Your worst." Steve's head jolted to a pleasant and pensive pause. He seemed to be composing a silent tranquil om. "AHHH. Hmm. Well. That's hard. The worst huh. I sold my soul to satan to be a movie star." Tish blurted out into a wild, jokester laugh. "You what?" Steve shook his head up and down. "What about your soul man? That's god's gift to you." Steve rose his head with confident militant movement and with serious eyes he said, "I don't believe in the soul anymore. The soul is only our breath." Steve head wobbled a bit and then he leveled his chin, staring forward and hard into Tish's eyes. " That's low. I haven't heard of you. You a star." Steve took in a deep breath and exhaled, "Not yet. But I made a pact with you know who. And ever since things have changed. I see the world differently." Tish questioned him all night along about the rituals he went through to give up his soul. "Whats it like? What does your body feel like?" Steve replied, "Well. I see the world more scientifically. I need proof for everything. Cold proof. I only believe what I see, hear, taste, touch smell and feel. All sixth senses only." Tish winced and asked, "Whats the sixth sense. You have it." Steve looked up and then back to Tish's eyes, "We all do. We just don't all know it. I have it. The sixth sense. You do too." Steve said. "Whats it like." "Well, its not something I can describe in a simple sentence. It's a little omniscience and more. Its hard to describe. Its like looking through many eyes at once and knowing all. Near to all." Tish added, "Whats knowing all." Steve got off the bed and stood in the center of the room. Tish sat down. His back slowly skidding on the wall. "Its like being God. For a second or two." "You sounded like you didn't believe in God. Only the senses." Steve sat on the edge of the bed, "Well. I go in and out of that believe. It takes time for the devil to get all of your soul." Tish wanted to know more. His eyes got wide and curious. His headed jotted forward like a cat in prey. "How much time do you have." Steve answered in a whisper, "Only he knows." "He who?" Tish replied. "Exactly." The room grew darker blue. Tish turn to his side and headed off to sleep. Steve remained awake. He wanted to go through his memories. He remembered all his days as a youth. He remembered playing with his sister on a swing set and on the back of a pick up truck. That was the day he fell off of the pick up and caught a section of his face, next to his eyebrow, on a license plate. It was a small cut but he had to rushed to the hospital. He remembered the blood on his mother's shirt when they laid him down on the sawing table. The doctor leaned over him and the nurses held him down. The nurses ejected a numbing agent into his face, next to his eyebrow. "Its small cut." His mom said crying. His dad walked back and fro outside the medical room. Doctor Golden entered the room. He pulled out a silver tray full of medical stitching tools. He slowly, stitched six stitches into his face. Now, Steve has a small scar next to his eyebrow. "Boy your tough now. Look like a boxer boy." The nurse joked with him and tickled. He was too scared to really laugh but he tried his best to crack a small smile. He was so small then, so little. It was during his preschool days. He remembered walking in a long chain with thirty or so other kids. The little kids had to hold onto a long rope with loop holes knotted through out the entire body of the rope. Each kid held onto one of the many knotted elliptical rope handles. Each knotted handle was linked together to make a hundred foot rope. The entire early bird section of the pre-school boys held onto the rope. Steve remembered he didn't know who he was or where he was. The sun shined down on his face. It was a year after the license plate incident. Now, Steve was injured. He had broken his arm falling from a tree. A big cast spread on his arm from shoulder to his knuckles. "Sit back. Its OK. Cole." His sister told him. He fell to the ground. She didn't know better. He showed his arm to his mom. It sunk down by the wrist. She screamed and rushed him to Doctor Golden's medical room. The dad showed up later. He had to get his arm set and put into a cast that nearly met his shoulder. Everyone signed it with crazy markers and color pens. The nurse signed it, his sister signed it and eight boys from preschool singed it and drew on it. It took a few months before they made it to a wrist cast. It finally came off leaving cobwebs of cast sauce on his skin. Steve was always getting hurt as a kid. He was on his way to becoming a stunt man. And what stunt that was. . .Steve's was far from his last stunt. When he reached seven he entered first grade. He remembered playing Star Trek on the play ground equipment and the fat boy got him so excited and believing that he was Captain. Kirk that he jumped toward the fire man pole and headed face down toward the dirt. Wam. He hit his upper lip on the ground. The fat boy climbed down and helped him up and to dust off. The teacher took him into the bathroom and cleaned up his bloody upper lip. "You're a tough guy Cole." Steve recalled the name as being Cole. But who is Cole? Steve was lost when he heard his first grade teacher say that name. "Not one tear." His teacher said while bandaging the blotted, blood clot, over his cherub section of his lip. He had a scab there for weeks. "Just tough." He felt tough. The playground was two stories. It had a captain wheel, slide, fire pole and a net rope ladder. Steve suddenly appeared before it. No kids were around. Steve was much older. Mid twenties. Close to a man. It seemed so very small now. When he was seven it was as big as a field but now it was a small as a sand box. "My first grade playground." Steve announced in the empty air. It was tiny. Small like someone's back yard. "How can it be so small." He exclaimed. No one is in the class rooms. The chairs were vacant. The teachers desk was dusty and cob webs hide in the corner. Not a soul in sight. He remember when the blond, short kid brought a Christmas album to school. His name was Scott. Steve said, "I have that album at home." Scott called him a liar, "Liar. Do not." Steve said he did. The teacher got mad at Scott for teasing and made him apologize to Steve. Scott grew so embarrassed and shameful he welled up in tears and pouted in front of the Mrs. June's first grade's class. "I am sorry Cole." Scott said crying. Cole coldly replied, "That's ok." Mrs. June wasn't satisfied. She wanted a dedicated acceptance. "Now Scott you honestly say your sorry." Scott whined and cried harder. "I AM sorry." Cole replied, "That's ok." The teacher got angry. "Mean it Cole. Say it like you mean it. Be honest." Cole honeslty said, "Its ok." That is when he learned about apology and acceptance. He had to accept Scotts teasing, and his apology. It was hard for Cole to do but he did it. Steve watched all this happen as if it was a movie being played in some type of futuristic 3-D arena theatre.

Steve found himself talking to Tish again. It was dark. He couldn't tell how many days or nights have passed since the night he they compared devious deeds. "Maybe you should find the devil after you get out. Ask for your soul back." Tish said licking his lips. "Like he give it back. The bastard." Tish scratched his head, "I wonder where the devil would leave." Steve wondered and cocked his head to the corner of his room. His chin stuck out an angle, "UHHH. I girl once told me. At a rave-film shoot. She told me that the devil would be where you leased expect him to be." Tish added, "Well the murder capital of the United States is Dallas." Steve cut in with, "I though it was DC." "Nope. Not DC. It might be LA or New York. But I thought it was Dallas." Steve took in a gob of air and processed his conjecture. "Hmm. So would it be Dallas. If more are murdered there and murder being a horrible sin. You'd expect the Devil to live in Dallas." "Well. Your right. Hm. Maybe not Dallas. What about New Orleans." Steve jumped in, "Don't get me wrong. He could live in Dallas. But on the other hand, I wouldn't doubt New Orleans." They looked at one another, "Hey when we get out of here. We should head off to New Orleans. Capture the Devil. Demand you soul back." Steve thought good and long, "Ok. But I got to kill my ex-girlfriend first. And then we shall hit the road to the devils home." Tish's head scooped to the right as if he was confirming what was just said. He kind of made a shadow puppet on the wall with his nose, cheek and chin. "Kill your ex. Why?"

Time elapsed. Hours passed. The night fell. It seemed like days had come and gone until Steve began to speak. He gave Tish a hundred and one reason why his ex gal should be assassinated. She left him in the most important and trying times, he loved more than any lady around, he always will love her more, he never felt kindness like her, he bought her a wedding ring, he was faithful and true. Tish argued back, "There is no reason to kill. I've turned my other cheek my entire life. You go further that way. It's a two thousand year old philosophy that's been working since, eh." Steve approached the bathroom and stopped after flicking on the interior light. A shaft of fluoresce. nt ember hit Steve's cheek before he spoke, "See. Turning the other cheek works. I know this. I know killings wrong. But so is abandoning. She's killing me by leaving me. Who's gonna survive me now. I've gotten old. Close to thirty for crying out loud. I spent a lot of energy on our love." A moment passed. A true moment. Silent. It smelled like rain. Outside air must have been leaking through a gap somewhere here or there. Steve figured it was the air vent. Tish guessed the draft was a crack in the window or in the corner of the window. Steve added with a serious inflection. "Ten years ago." Tish looked perplexed, "Ten years ago. Ten years have passed. Your kidding me." Steve looked into the bathroom. The light now warmed his eyes to a greenish glow, "Ten years. No kidding." Tish hummed the song composed by the English band The Smiths and then transformed the whisper to singing level, "Six long years on your tail. Oohe uh woee. And if you. . ." Steve knew the Smiths and was a huge fan of Morrissey. So, he added in with Tish, "And if you have five seconds to spare. I'll tell you." Steve and Tish joined in unison, "Tell you the story of my life. Sixteen clumsy and shy. That's story of my life. The story of my life. That's the story of my life. The stooory of myyyyy life." Steve finished off the verses. "I went London and died. Check myself in at the Y" He took a breath and sang louder. "WCA. I said I like it here can I stay. I like it here can I stay. And do you have a vacancy for a back scrubber ohe ohe yeah. And if you have five seconds to spare I tell you the stoooryy of myyy life. Yes, the story of my life. The storrrreyyy of mieeyyyy liiiiiffee. Yeah the story of my life." The next door banged on the wall. He hummed the rest, softly shut the bathroom door, sat down on the toilette seat and silently whimpered under the white fluorescent lighting. Tish pretended not to hear him cry.

Later that evening Tish hummed the lyrics to Stand by Me composed by Ben King. He song half the lyrics and hummed the other, "When the land is dark, and the moon is the only light we see." Steve stared out the window with solemn eyes. The moon hung in its full glory. It's moon light poked through chain link fences, roof tops and allyways, casting razor sharp lines and verticle bars, edgy squares onto a nearby brick wall. The chain link fence and the telephone lines were currently being used as a filter device from the man on the moon. Steve knew they had a connection. The moon man used these tele lines for the sake of projecting thoughts and ideas to the patients. The neighboring building, which looked like a poor man's painting of a home, was casting silver rays out of it's chimney. The hospital facilities and surroundings where lighting and clicking off like a strobe light in a haunted house. Steve was seeing double of everything. Two dogs. Two men walking two dogs. Two men walking two dogs down two sidewalks. Two men walking two dogs down two sidewalks under two moons. The squares of light shot around as the night clouds appeared to disappear. The geometric shapes reflected from the chain link fence and telephone wires stewed Steve's wonder. "Whats the meaning of it all?" Tish smiled, "Perhaps that's why we are here." Steve turned to Tish and gave him a sarcastic grin. "I'm serious man. Serious as hell. The meaning?" Tish replied in a true tone, "Perhaps that's why we're here man." Tish lit up a Camel in the bathroom. Shafts of light spilled onto his face from the fluorescents. "You do look serious. Blow the smoke in the vent." Steve reminded him to puff out the smoke into the bathroom vent. If caught, they'd have all privileges taken away. "The male tech smelled smoke one time. Just smelled it near the bathroom. He made me get undressed. In front of him too. Completely nude. Then, I had to give him the Putt Putt golf pencil, paper and everything. Everything but my toothbrush. I'z surprised he didn't yank that." Steve's eyes watered up. Tish yawned and took another grin. "They can smell your fear. Not the smoke." Steve agreed with a shake. "I know. I'm afraid. It seems like of everything. Sometimes I'm even afraid to write this shit down." Tish looked puzzled and then went into the clear. His eyes focused, "Your writing about this." Steve smiled, " A play. Its about my youth. I small play. Nothing big. And poetry. Some journal stuff. Nothing serious." Tish cracked up, vanished into the bathroom, stood on the toilete seat and stuck his lips to the vent. "Funny. I don't won't to remember all this shit. He really made you strip nude. The nurse?" Tish shook his head in a positive fashion. "Odd. So, your pondering eh?" Steve still seemed to be perplexed. He stared at the chain link fence for a long, long time. "Why do they lock up people." Tish took another drag off the Camel. Then he cupped it under his palm. His eyes became wide and weary and he kept checking the door. "The tech don't check hourly this late." Steve spun around from the security meshed window, "Hardly ever. They fall asleep this late. Depends. On how bad you been. You best better choke down that cig anyway." Tish finished it up to the filter. He dropped it in the commode and flushed. Waving his hands, "You want the meaning. Huh. The meaning of all this. Or of the world. Or of reality. What?" Steve kept his head toward the moon. "Of it all." Tish crept back to the bed, "Some say God. Some say its up to you. Some say we are just monkeys ouu ouu ouuing." Steve smiled, "Ouu ouu ouuing. Whats that mean?" Tish returned his smile, "What do monkeys mean?" "Monkey's don't cut it. That's an old answer. Goes back with Darwin and Evolution. Its too easy. Theres go to be more. A spiritual answer. Don't you believe in afterlife?" Tish handed Steve his pack, "You can take one, if you want?" Steve took out a Camel and made his way to the bathroom. He lit up while standing on the toilette seat. Tish walked in behind him, "You know how much I love smoking these things." Tish said. Steve stroked up the cherry with three good puffs. He handed the cig back. "I guess a second won't hurt." Tish took a drag and blew it toward the vent. Steve continued on. Smoking and exhaling in the vent. "I'd say God. Or God knows something about it." Tish smiled, "What if God don't know?" Steve took a larger drag. Blowing in the vent, "That's like Blasphemy man. He knows. He has to know. He made it." Tish's head cocked to right side. Reaching for the Camel cigarette, "Well, what if his like Syndy Pollock or some mad artist. He doesn't know exactly what his art work is about. Like an abstract artist?" Steve sucked in a could be cough, "He knew. He knew what he was doing when he sent Adam and Eve to the garden, Abraham to the desert, and Jesus to the cross." Tish took the cig back, "Hm. Seems mad. Why would he do those things. Eve eats the forbidden fruit. Adam gets tempted. They get kicked out to suffer stickers in the feet and all that, Abraham has to travel the desert in search of his home cause of a bunch of bullies, and his son gets nailed by the Romans." Steve seemed like he had an answer, but instead he toke'd up a good cherry and blew the smoke into the vent. "Give it back." Steve handed the cigarette to Tish. "He created a good cigarette. Camel's my favs." Steve scratched his head. Stepped down from the toilette seat, fanned the air like a Ti Chi guru. "Well. He was inventive. That's for damn sure. You know I had this great History teacher in my senior year. He was a black teacher. Smart. He had a limp and suffered from some brain damage. He had some answers though. He said God sent us here to observe." Tish's head wobbled and set back like a commanded snake in mid pre- strike. "Observe. What about the blind?" Steve smiled, "They can feel, hear, smell—that's part of observing. You can observe with the entire body—all the senses." Tish, "All the senses hm. Gods a mysterious one." Steve walked back to the window in the back of the room. He stared at the telephone wires. The moon was being shadowed by the dark rain clouds. The dawn was lifting. He could tell due to the approaching blue. "That's what the word says." Tish swatted the air to clear the smoke into the fan. He seemed to guide lost souls floating in swirls over the sink. Steve watch Tish flail at the smoky mess in the hazy reflection of the bathroom mirror. The small tracks of smoke undulate like waves in various directions. Tish was some type of shaman it seemed. A shaman guided the lost ones back into the sky. That was Steve answer for him. At least now.

"Why do you write?" It was morning. Tish was getting dressed into this normal cloths. "I got to see my lawyer today. Trial coming up?" Everyone was on trial for being in the nut house. Most didn't believe it was a real court meeting. "Every tells me. You talk to your lawyer. You talk to your doctors. Then you see the judge and bam, your back in and for awhile. Like ninety days and shit." Tish took off his dark green medical top. It wouldn't be long until he see the judge. The judge evaluated your stay at the stabilization ward and judged whether or not you were stable enough to be thrown back into society.

"What do they look for?" Steve asked. "Well you got tah take that test. That asks if your afraid of dirt? And it asks questions about what you think of the top of your head? Honestly? It asks you if you think you can cure yourself by touching your head or some shit. Like if you think if you skull cap is loose or not?" Steve tilted in a funny angle, "No shit. I think I have to take the test coming up. Then, I see the lawyer. And then the judge." Tish finished up his last button. "Well. See ya?" He walked out of the room. He didn't come back until the next day. Tish would be released if he signed a contract with an outside psychiatrist stated that he'd take prozack. He got off lucky. Suicide is a serious reason for being in the nut bin. Steve looked out the window. Sun was rising. He mellowing scuffled into the morning community group. That's when he was introduced to Sissy (the skinny artist who could see demons and paint with pastels), Shenny (the lady with a missing chunk out of her forehead) Jesus (Skinny man. Wore a white robe. Thin as a needle. Gaunt face.) and don't forget, the crazy Hispanic lady who bless the walls with water from a Styrofoam cup, teacher lady (short petite, nice tits mid 30's), and many other lost souls.

Steve hummed Stand by Me and sooner or later he found himself in the community group. He lost his temper and yelled, "WE have no rights here." Which was half true. He ran into the bathroom and locked the door. A black strong, heavy, foot ball player type, male tech busted the door in and got him in a fucking wrong arm lock. Next thing he knew Steve was locked up in solitary confinement. There were pubic hairs on a green stuffy mate. One small window rested toward the tall ceilings. The confinement room was no larger than a small closet. Steve thought he'd die in there. Every once and awhile a nurse would knock on the door and hand him a small breakfast plate, water. He was let out a few times to shave and dump. Later he'd meet up with his doctor. The doctors name was Doctor Pain. Yes like the feeling. He was a wise doctor with white hair. He knew his shit. They talked about why he yelled and why he was in there. Steve didn't know why. He asked the doctor to read the cover page of a new Brando Biography by Peter Maso. It discussed the idea of lies and why men make up their histories. The doctor never confirmed that he read the material but figured Steve could use a few anti psychotics. Steve didn't really care. The doctor knew he was once subscribed respirdal and lytho tabs. Later, they agreed they'd wait till after the court date before meds. "Meds may not be needed. And they may be needed. Will have to view your behavior." Doctor pain insisted. The doctor knew he was an actor/ writer and had to view him as a somewhat valid hypocrite. To say an actor is crazy if a very difficult thing to do. By the way, we have a actor out there named Jack Nickleson. Steve didn't believe Jack was nuts but how do you fake a performance like the Shinning. Steve wondered back into his room. Tish laid on the bed. He looked cheered up. "Are they freeing you." Steve asked with a new energy in his voice. "So are they?" Tish laid back. "Getting out tomorrow. Dad's picking me up. Going back to TCU. No more hot lines. Staying away from the gals. Got to take prozack though. I'll come back to see how yar doing. How bout it." Tish smiled to give him a sense of strength. "Its bout the will. That's the meaning. The will is part of the answer." Steve took in a deeper breath than ever, "The will? That and a lot of mystery." Tished uttered. Tish seemed happier in his incoming cloths. "Nice jeans." Steve said. "Where you get em" Tish looked down at his silver tap buttons. "OHHH. These. Girlfriend got em for me." Steve wasn't for sure if he had kicked her yet. "If you here your love making song on the radio and you miss her, its not over yet. If you here the song and you don't miss her, your getting better." Tish smiled, "Torn hearts are hard to heal."

The Land grew dark. Tish left for home, or undergrad, whatever the world let him have. Steve knew it was wrong to think that way. The world didn't let you have anything. You had to have it for yourself. If you wanted a cake, you made the cake, or bought it. But nevertheless you took the cake, one way or the other. So, you can eat your cake and have it too. It's the desire that matters. Its what you want. Its not what they'll give you. That's the wrong trip. The way is your own way. As the rain sprinkled down in small kisses on the window Steve started to see things clearly. He knew what he wanted. He had to take it. He must. It was his way into the life and out of his fantasies. He had created a labyrinth of stories and a maze of lies. The wall of the maze was created from fibs and doubts. There he was lost. The only difference between the two was there meanings. A maze was designed to get you lost. The labyrinth is constructed to help you out. So, he knew that his lies would end him. His fantasy world had to be realized. To get out of it he had to see the reality of it. Since fantasy worlds had no reality he was in trouble. Steve's goal was to turn the maze into a labyrinth. He had to see the parts of the fantasy that were true or untrue, dig them up, chase them out, expose them and live them until reality surfaced.

Steve fixed his gaze upon the setting sun that night. Tish had gone home. A day had passed and he did not return. He'd give Tish a few more days to enjoy the outside world. He imagined Tish pulling up to Taco bell in his college get-go car. Most likely a Honda Accord, BMW or maybe even a Porche. He could tell Tish had money. He dressed in expensive name brands and had hair gel. Also, his father was dressed in a slick Italian business suite. Ordering three burrito supremes, nachos, soft tacos, Mexican pizza and large mountain dew. He knew Tish was hauling ass down the freeway. Going eighty. Windows down. Radio blasted. Trees humming by. Going zip, zip, zip. Everything free. Natural. Smooooth. Maybe Tish would go to a nearby park, or pull up to a hill overlooking Down Town. Eat his food. Maybe later on, he go to the supermarket and pick up some Hagen Daaz cherry cheese cake, or some other sweet, complex ice cream desert. Tish would purchase some magazine like Time, People or maybe Premier. Read it by his lonesome ice cream surprise and the stars rising above the city sky line. Later, he zoom by Block buster and pick up his favorite action film. Something with Arnold in it, or good ol' Stallone. Steve was happy that Tish was out. The sun was slowly leaking over the horizon. Dark lifted. The land grew shadows and the stars floated in and out of view. Steve felt warm all over. Grace appeared. He knew all this was of the earth. The walls, the glass, the telephone poles, the wires, the bricks, the chain link fence, the moon, the sky, the stars. All of it was earthly matters. Not of God. God only dealt with the spirit, that which was not of earth. He couldn't tell if the demons were awake. He didn't know if they still stirred within. He knew they were far beneath his skin. Hiding. Hiding from the spirit. Hiding from God. Steve felt weary of there threats. Ultimately, he was on his way to a new discovery. He was beginning to learn the difference between doubt and freedom. Doubt did not exist in freedom. True freedom was life with out fear. He had to overcome the demon of doubt. When Steve sleighed it he would be released from the mazes and labyrinth. At last, he would find his way. I was lost and now I am found. I was lost and now I am found. Steve kept humming Amazing Grace. That night he slept like a child. Warm. Soft. He was little again. The fear was fading and the sun was rising.

That morning Tommy Marcell walked into the community morning riser's group.

The group leader had him returned to the nurses station. Tommy was dressed in a black Armani Italian design business suite, with a gray scarf and thick, black Los Angelishy style horn rib shades. He sat behind the thick glass and made mental notes of the surroundings. He adjusted the corner of his horn ribs and pulled out a hand held voice activated Sony tape recorder. The type a student would use in undergrad at Harvard University. Everyone knew was merely studying the patience and their abnormal behavior. No one has any solid proof to why he was observing the insane. Two ladies with funky, frizzy gray hair played black jack on the crayon table. The head community leader introduced us to, "The movie Star Tommy Marcell is here to talk with us today. He was a famous comedian in L.A. and now is doing well in the film industry. He wants to talk to you about a new film he is shooting about an insane asylum. He wants to talk to some of you so don't be afraid. Welcome here. Thank of him as a gift from us to you—just like that day we brought in a that group of golden retrievers for all you to pet and feel. Tommy is better." The leader of the group went to the nurses station and buzzed Tommy in. An older lady jumped up with a gleeful, demonic smile, "EVIL HURRTS." She screamed. The set of a slight chain reaction. "The nuts will crack all over the halls." The old thin artist cackled. A thin pretty hippie lady jumped on her guitar and begin to play Moma and Poppa tunes. A mausch pit was started in front of the TV set. Chaos grew to a wild ember of violent brooding zig zags and mouthfu1 of pre-hellonearth grumble. A demon whispered in the wind "l,mkbgvfcxsasaazasZaZazswdfvgbhnmkxtyuio';" (l23e-0s) The outside world grew quiet and than with out notice or a clue the devil whored out a few more words, "l,mkbgvfcxsasaazasZaZazswdfvgbhnmkxtyuio';" (l23e-0s). And Steve knew exactly what it ment. He was taught by the dark one to understand his language. All the dead ants were sacrificed for such brilliance. Steve smiled and knew he was still living deep inside. Mixed in with Christ warmness and forgiveness. He slowly crept into the bathroom and stared at his world torn face. Still beauty was there. He couldn't tell if he was more beautiful or less. But the beauty still surfaced is his breath and stillness. He froze like a park statue on a busy Sunday. He remembered what Eugene O'Neil said about ugliness. "Beauty is found in ugliness."

The first day in session with Dr. Pain was interesting. They meet in plain room. It had four chairs against the wall. The doctor sat near the corner opposite of poster of two lonely dolphins swimming in the depth of the blue sea. Steve and the Doctor talked about, "My new screen play idea. Its great. Its bout me struggle in good ol LA." For some unknown and untitled reason, Steve talked with a pirate accent. "Its about unrequited love. On my part too. Its about my torn heart and worldly soul." Dr. Pain set up in his chair. Looked straight ahead and then back into Steve's eyes. "You want me to hear your screen play idea. Why?" Steve looked at his bare toes. "Well. Because. Look at my toes. Look at them. There poetical." Pain laughed. "Hm." "Did you read the Brando bio." "No." Pain said. "No I didn't. Lets talk about your story." Steve's eyes lit up with a cheery gleam. "GREAT. Its about this bitch who stole my favorite Peacoat in Long Beach. She took advantage of all that God gave me. Every pore. First, she was my neighbor. See I was living in a small apartment in Long Beach. Paradise Gardens. Its near Jordon Highschool. I don't know why I told you all that. So, she lived there. I use to scream at night and some times during the day." Pain stroke his chin. "Why did you scream." Steve rose up, "Well. I was scared. I was getting any parts. Not with big money. The studio's weren't hiring me. WB. Paramont. MGM. All those. No one. No one cared if I lived or died. I mean don't get me wrong I was offered some extra work here and there. Did a little thing for Castle Rock. This cheap ass thing. Well no that cheap they spent billions on their Star. I got 100 dollar check. I don't even remember if they really paid me. They use another company for their checking. Its like a extra casting company. Central casting or some shit. Anyway, I was dieing and their star got everything." Pain's head hooked to the side, "Dieing. How?" "Well. No café would hire me. I was working for Mark Taper for 70 dollars a week. Barely could afford rent. I don't care if I was nuts. They were killing me." Pain set back, "Do you expect them no to." Steve winced, "That shouldn't. I worked hard. It was my dream. I even auditioned for UCLA theatre school. They didn't even take me. No one would have me. How can I live if I was rejected. How does a reject live." Steve looked down. Dr. Pain pointed the eraser head of the pencil at his face, "Lets talk of the story." Steve's eyes sparkled like a lightning flash, "Well. Its bout a professor lady or a whore whatever the hell she was. Satan I guess. Anyway this chick with satanically good looks charms the actor into a month long sex spree. Wine, dinning that she pays for and blaa blaa this and blaa blaa that. So, she royally fucks him to oblivion. Next, he goes to New York for some acting work. She helps him get there. Takes him to the airport. Helps him pack. Sends him off. But when he arrives she tells him. 'your not the man for me.' This hurts his heart. He loved her. Loved her more than any lady ever. Never had some one as beautiful. Well, he of coarse fucks up in New York. He has to go back home because no one gives him real money for acting in York. So, he has to live in a hick town near the freaking airport. He lives there for a year. Near the airport. So, he goes and gets help. He returns to Hollywood for one more try. He literally takes over. Literally beats out the star he worked with. Everyone worships him. Money, money, money. So, now that he has all the power he decides to torture the professor lady that tortured him. So, he, not being the regular Jude Law-ish type, hires a beautiful blond man in male strip joint in Santa Monica, to sleep with her and hook her heart. She falls deeply in love for the blond stripper. See, he pays the man to steal her heart fully, and he does it. He charms her to the gills. She becomes obsessed with the blond man. Next, he pays the blond four hundred thousand dollars to pull the rug on her ass. He just leaves. But that's not all of it. Next, he sits up a video system. Cameras, microphones, CD disk recording equipment and video recording equipment to monitor her house. He hires a professional private detective to film the break up. So, the blond man goes into her apartment. Walks in with a dozen roses and a note attached to the vase. The vase even has one of those cute stuffed animals, a yellow Winnie-the-pooh bear. The T-shirt on the Winnie-the-pooh bear says "You stole my heart but I still love you." So, she opens the note. He sits next to her with her arms holding her neck. Close to his masculine perfect chest. The note says, "You've been had." She winces at it. "What" the professor lady says, '"been had? what does that mean?' She asks. "It means I was paid to love you." The blond man says and coldly exits her apartment. He didn't even slam the door when he left. No sign of emotion. No sign of love. No sign of anger. No sing. Just bye bye love. Bye bye its over lady. Later her banking account is empty and her job is torn from her. He wanted it to be cold and deadly. And the new rising star did it all to her for the sake of watching her facial expressions change. Change to pain and misery. "Every single bit of it is interesting." Dr. Pain scratches his neck. "Be hard script to write." Pain breathed in and looked at his dolphin poster on the wall. He thought about vacationing to Hawaii or maybe St. Martin. He begin to ponder over really writing it for his mad patient. "Hm. You like it?" Steve asked. "Yeah and naa." The Doctor said. "It'd be hard to execute." Steve wondered what the doctor new about film making. "Well. I like it." Steve smiled. "Who would you get to play the professor lady." Steve smiled, "Winnona Ryder." The Doctor grinned. "You are nuts." Steve smiled anyway. "So. Its my idea anyways. Nuts or sane. Its my idea." "Video cameras hidden in her apartment. Blond stripper. Winnie the pooh stuffed animal. Sounds like a Labute film." The doctor said. "You know a lot about films." The doctor stood up and stretched, "Well I was once a film major." Steve took a subscription out of the fold of Medicine magazine. He wrote a message on the back of the subscriber info card and tossed it on the floor. It landed Subscription side up near the doctor's fancy Swiss brown dress shoes. 12 issues for nine dollars. What a great pair of Swiss made dress shoes. The doctor thought. Steve walked to the door. The doctors stood from his chair and picked up the subscription from the floor. "Make the film." Steve exited the meeting room. The doctor tossed the square subscription card on the desk. It still landed application side up. 12 issues. 12 issues. Rang in the doctors head. "What a nut." He whispered. The doctor flipped over the subscription note. It read, "Fade in." The doctor's mind drifted to a date he once had on a paddle boat in Central park. They shared a bottle of Shiraz Cabernet. It was the fourth of July. The lady stole his heart. "What a bitch." He whispered. "I should make it." He set down and begin jotting down random ideas on a memo pad. He looked up at the door Steve departed through. "But what an idea." The room grew silent until the AC unit kicked back in. Cool air drifted down in odd wind currents. The air seemed to spread through out the room like small frozen butterflies causing a small anti-sub sequential ice flurries. Steve couldn't tell if was hallucinating the stabilization wards ice storm or if it was actually taken place. He was convinced it was snowing in the unit. "How?" He asked. Then it hit him. Tommy. Tommy was here. Just his presence made him go insane. Then, he remembered. He had breakfast. What. What was for breakfast. Oh, shit. He knew the fat free skin milk had a bitter taste to it. Tommy put the micky in his milk. He had to. I had that same taste in it. That mildew smell. It was poison. Or drugs. But whatever it was chemically it didn't matter now, he was seeing visions that made most check in to joints like this one. He was going nutty. Tommy was sitting up right. Erect. Straight. He knew that was him. He was hiding under his shades but it was him. He is watching me as I swat at the air. He is watching me dodge the snow flurries and the ice crystals. He is making notes in his little black book. Jona appeared around the corner and winked at Steve. Jona was wearing a long gray pea coat with a leather dress shirt. It had bronze studs on the collar. Around his neck was strung a darker gray scarf. His legs were eloquently covered with a pair of punk rocker pants. His eyes had contacts in them. They made his eyes orange and brown. "Better find another future." Jona whispered to Steve. Jay popped up from the community morning riser group. He was dressed in his finest struggling actor gear. Torn tan pants, yellow Gap summer shirt, cotton with three buttons at the top, thick brown studded dress belt and English style soft leather dress shoes. The kind with flat squared toe corners and shiny canvas leather laces. He looked good for a struggling actor. Perhaps his luck had changed. Steve didn't utter one word to Jona or Jay. The community group gathered for the morning. The crazy ladies and the thin old artist sat down. Jona and Jay sat next to the moderator just to piss off stiff. Jona winked once more at Steve. Steve swooshed him off with his hand. There was a long silence before the moderator spoke. It was the fat female nurse. The one with the nasty ratty mole above her upper lip. Steve stared at the rat mole for a long time. He imagined going on a mountain climbing expedition. He would have to shrink himself self to a miniature size and then purchase small ropes made for leprechauns at a elf supply store. Next, he rig up the mini sized ropes with tiny grappling hooks. Thirdly, he begin ascending upward hand over hand until he reached her fat lipstick lips. He slip on the buttery paint on her lower lip and cause the fakeness to run down her chin. She swat at his tiny body but he crawl inside her mouth and hide. Then, he tinkle her uvula to make her yawn. She stretch her fat mouth to a whale size opening and he leap out and grab for dear life onto the minute size grappling rope. He swing wide and land on her nice fitted cheek bone. Then he scoot over under the nose and above her angle kiss. Then, he lower down onto the giant mole and begin pulling on the black curly hairs. He yanked three of them off and make a new toss by hanging onto her noise hair. Next, he toss the grapple onto her eye lid and begin kicking and yanking his way upward toward her left eye. Last, he climb up and her nose and begin sliding down toward her. . . "Steve. Are with us this morning. OHHH Steve." The fat nurse said with her bouncing upper lip mole. "Are you with us Steve." Steve raised one hand. "Good Steve. I thought we lost you." Steve indicated her last words by mouthing "I thought we lost you." Next, he rolled his eyes and relaxed into his chair. For a second or two he looked half way defeated. He knew her upcoming speech before she opened her wide annoying chatter box to let her ringy, brassy chest voice crackle out, "Today we have a guest. He is a movie star from Hollywood. His name is Tommy. . ." Steve took in a breath, "Marcel. His name is Tommy Marcel." Jay said with a tiny grim. Steve was on the opposite side of the room. He was sitting where Jay initially sat. He knew Jay was in trouble. He had to help. "Sit down." The Nurse said to Jay. Jay jumped up and dove head first into Steve. Steve fell off his chair and blew Jay out of his mouth. Jay landed in the chair Steve originally sat in at the beginning of the early morning rising community group. Jay stood up, "Fine. You think you can handle Marcel, Steve. Than do it." Jay pointed at his chair offering it back to Steve. Steve slowly walked over and flopped down. Jay smiled and returned to his seat. "Take em them Steve." Jay said and then quickly fell asleep. He looked like he did when Steve left him in the car after leaving the waffle house near Indiana. He looked over at Jona. Jona was tucked in a ball under his seat like a sleepy cat. Jona snuggled up with his gray pea coat. His eyes were rolling under his top lids. Rapid eye movement had set in. He seemed to be in a deep and euphoric sleep. The nurse introduced Tommy again and let him conduct an embarrassing speech. Tommy explained to the group that he was conducting a study on abnormal behavior for a film that would be directed by a directed named Joel Dwell. The nurse gave Steve a special ID card with his photo on it. Tommy set outside of the community circle in a visitor chair. The ones that had arm rest and were aligned near the phone and back hall. It looked like Tommy was doubtful against the crazy ladies. Especially the one with a dent in her forehead and the one who smoked from an unlit Virginia slim.

The community leader began to call upon members of the circle. "Ok. Morning risers who wants to go first." Believe it or not Sissy raised his hand firmly in the air. It was as if he had reached a status of victory over the other mutes and rebels. "I am Sissy. I'm a fussy motherfucker." A man with grayish white hair ran out of his room and knocked over a chair. He shook in place like a vibrating vacuum and than took a sit. The nurse lightly touched his knee. She touched him with very little pressure, just enough to let him now he had sensitivity and was not completely cold dead. "Its ok." The fat nurse whispered. "I am with you." The man with grayish white hair ran through the eating area with a fusillade explosion of nonsensical ballads and verses concerning his generation. The words that rapidly fired from his mouth consisted of headlines and slogans from political tablatures from the nineteen sixties and early seventies. "Johnson, it was Nixon. It was their fault. Johnson wheres Nixon, where are they now. Hopidy doo. Diddy die doo. It was his fault. Nixon. Where are you Nixon. Kennedy I hear you. Kennedy I hear you." Steve, at times, figured this man was either a high official in the military during the ninety sixties or was a CIA agent involved in something seedy. "Mr. Green has just lost his twin brother." The fat nurse exclaimed. "He is going to join us this morning." Mr. Green fired out a fully loaded clip of harsh insults and curse words, "Fuck sweet holy shit mother of God. Nixon suck it. Johnson return. And all you mofoooososs aren't worth my shit hole. DO YOU HEAR ME." Steve was convinced that he was in the military. No this nut had once served in the Marines. He had eyes like a tiger and a body as hard as an iron skillet. "All you fucks are going to die hard, hard as hell." He was rapidly heaving, taking full loads of air into his lungs and slowly exhaling with concentration and tranquil perfection.

Steve knew he had reached the end of the line. He just looked up, and there he was, surrounded by white walls, stuffy mat at his feet, cob webs above his head and a shaft of God spilling through the crack, narrow window unit. AT least he had light. He thought. Some prisoners were not even giving that privilege. Steve knew he was locked up from society. He screamed too many times. He shot the bird with his middle finger, too many times. He laughed at others, too many times. Called them fat asses to many times. Read poetry, too many times. Rebelled, danced, cursed, hated, to pride in his image, his stance, his hell, his wired brain, his hate toward the heavens, his hate toward the hells, chasing devils and running from fire, too many times, too many times. He knew he was locked up for too many times. Steve was a cat. And he couldn't tell if he was on number 4 or number 9. Lives just sipping by, too many times. Sipping by like the water droplets oozing out of a water house in some backyard in the mountains of Colorado, or California. Steve owned money. Thousands of dollars in credit card debts, college loans and more. Was this his payment. Is this what society wanted from him? They didn't want a successful actor out of Steve. They wanted a punching bag? They wanted some one to look at? And not just look at but look at with revengeful eyes? They needed Steve to scream? They needed him to fail. To over eat. To hate those who wore stars in Hollywood. Steve was never Jona. Steve was never Jay. Steve didn't work for the FBI. He was not agent. Tommy Marcel could be real. For all he knew, he could be fake. Steve wasn't even Steve. Steve became part of the wall. Part of the paint. The shafts of light still shot down, still beamed and found its way on his face. The rays soared between the cracks in the solitary confinement room and lit up his transformation. He would become a wall. Steve wasn't a artist any longer. He wasn't on the run from Tommy Marcel. He didn't need to catch a killer. He was a wall. Simple. A wall. A wall with paint chips, pubic hairs and piss stains. A wall in a solitary confinement room. It would take Steve twelve long hours to realize that he wasn't a wall but a door. And then it would take Steve another ten hours or so to realize that he wasn't a door but a hallway. After realizing he wasn't a hallway then he would have to convince himself that he wasn't a TV set, or a chair, or the fat nurse, or the Doctor pain, or a park bench, or segments of night sky, or a car lost in LA headed toward Chicago and passing through small one horse towns in Indiana—on its way to D.C. to admit that it was lost. Steve wasn't anything but lost. Lost. How long would it take to be found. That should have been his question for solitary confinement. When will they find me. Who will find me. Does the world know I am here. Who knows me. Who will buy me? Do they know I exist.? What is breath? What is a heart? How does it beat? Who is Steve? What is the FBI? Then the questions stopped. Steve couldn't even really hear his breath. Only the base tones and perfect diction of Tommy Marcell talking to a doctor, or nurse, or patient as he walked out of the main hall way that lead under the hospital and entered the solitary confinement unit. There were seven small rooms for unstable patience. Tommy would peek his head into each square and observe the abnormal patterns of each patient. Don't let him look in my room. Don't let him look at me. He can't use me. He has no right. I don't care if it is in his contract. He can't be me. He can't play me. Please, God make Tommy go away. Make it all go away. Make the killing stop.

Pride and hate became two common demons that Steve had to clear in his head before banging for dear life on the solitary confinement doors. At times, he could hear a inner voice that explained his circumstance, "Its all in your head. Its all in you head. Your not who you think you are." Steve didn't bang his red clotted knuckles on the thick metal door today. Instead he went inside himself to uncover who he was, or more like, who he had become and who he might be in the next few months.

For some odd reason Steve began to hear a series of Girl group music, you know, the girl bands of nineteen fifties, somewhere in the far away chambers of his head it rang true and blue. Bands like The Dixie cups, The Ad-libs, The Chiffons and The Emotions. Songs like "I can't stay mad at you" by Skeeter Davis appeared in his head, full bloom, the drums tingled on the trash can symbols and the jingles seemed as real as he own breath. He had no real explanation for it. He didn't tell the doctors or nurses; rather he snapped his fingers to the back beat. He even jotted his head and neck forward to the black melody of women singers with the graceful names of Shirelle, Dionne, Shangri-Las and Carol King. This went on for two hours or so. Steve never thought solitary confinement could lead him to this hallucinating fantasy. At times the songs in his head made the walls stretch and it even made the ceilings taller. For some reason the Girls band provided more room for the cage the doctors had confined him to. So, he hummed and snapped along to the girl bands of that Golden Time. The crystal clear voices of Everett's band and the smooth rhythm of "Sally, Go Round the Roses" made a single blue tear sprout up from the corner of his eye.

Tommy tapped Steve on the shoulder. "Hey Jay." Tommy said. "My name is not Jay man. Its Steve." Steve said back with confidence. "Look like Jay to me. Guy with the FBI." Tommy said with a grin. Steve gave him a mean look and raised his hand for the nurse. "Yes." The nurse asked. "Can I help you Steve." Steve stared at Tommy the entire time he spoke to the nurse. "This man is calling me Jay. I don't know anyone by the name of Jay. I had one friend by the name of Jay a long time ago. But I don't know him anymore. Tell Tommy to leave me alone." The nurse gave Steve a warm, cozy pat. "Don't worry Stevey. Tommy is here to help. He wants to study you to help society." Tommy took a quick breath and opened his journal. "Do you mind. Cause if you mind I can study some one else." Tommy said with a half laugh. "Steve doesn't mind." Steve said. "Why did you refer to yourself as Steve. I thought you were Steve." Tommy asked. Steve looked across the room. Everyone either looked like Jay or Jona. "I'm not feeling well." Tommy laid down a Enquire Minds next to Steve's chair. The Enquire headlines read, "Deranged man found murdered on Hollywood set. Claim to know a apocalyptic future." Steve picked up the article. It read, Steve Whatshisface is found murdered in front of WB studios on October 31st 2002. He was seen caring a giant poster that read DOOMS DAY ON ITS AWAY. And under it was a nuclear symbol. Whatshisface was found with a bullet wound to his head. It looks like a 38 cal. pistol. Many believed it is linked to the Movie Star killer. Steve was best friends with the rising star Vicky Chelsea. Vicky was found dead the same day at a nearby apartment complex off of the Sunset strip." Steve put the article down. "I am dead." Steve whispered. "What's that." Tommy said. "I am dead." Tommy smiled and jotted some notes in his legal pad. "Don't look dead Jay." Tommy said jotting a new note. "Don't look dead to me."

How did Steve get to this point in life. This location. This moment. He didn't have to loose his mind. He didn't have to get on the world wide web two years back and look up the one and only, ex-girl Jenny Squirles. He used one of those fake FBI, pay by credit, people searchers. He found her name and zip code. That's when he bought the silencer. That's when he bought the high power 30 30. And then the bulletes. Then the mapsco. Then the un marked car. That's when he loaded the plan and fired into her heart. Just like the dear he had shot at the age of fourteen. Pull the trigger slowly, don't breath, let it surprise you. "Jay. You don't have to hide." Tommy said with grim reaper eyes. "Your death aren't you." Steve said quietly. "You've come to take me away." Tommy's eyes widened, "No. I've come to help you." Tommy patted him on the back. "Your going to get better Steve. We are going to take care of you." Steve returned, "Bull shit. All you Hollywood fucks are liars. Your out to steal my soul. Your not going to heal me. Your going to kill me. Stop it. NUUUURSE."

Work, work, work be worthy and work. "WOOOORRRRRK." That's it. That's all Steve could here. Some loud mouth was screaming these exact words all through the hellish, empty night. Steve didn't even know how he ended up in solitary this time. "Fuckers. Why next to a nut ball." Steve screamed at the top of his lungs. Steve was very excited due to the fact that he had a visitor coming from Long Beach, California. It was the professor lady. She was a professor slash writer who stalked on young men rising toward Los Angeles. Her favorite hobby and activity was sex. Steve didn't really want to see her. He couldn't fuck her in the waiting room so what is the use. It was a mere visit from a friend. He was cheery that some one knew he still existed. He didn't know she would find out about his stay here. He didn't want anyone that he once loved to know. I guess that was out of the picture. Here Steve was, alone, sad, locked up in a small cell and starving. For some unknown reason the nurse forgot his lunch. Possibly he was a little doughy on the meaty side. It was possible he was hulking up due to his lock up. Steve didn't care. He'd be released from solitary in a manner of hours and he just hit the peanut butter snack tray. Usually, every three hours or so the nurse would wheel in a tray of peanut butter cookies, pbj sandwiches and pasteurized cheese with wafer crackers. Hell, it was fancy hotel pastries or a angel hair pasta dish from Rome, but it was necessity. Steve wasn't the biggest fan of peanut butter. He didn't even really like peanuts. But when famished anything worked. Taste buds don't really care when hunger pangs strike. Anyway, Steve waited and stared at the small shaft window. Light bounced in. It seemed like a bright day. Possibly even nice out. He tapped on the door. No one came. Steve drew solemn and silent. It was odd being in solitary. What happened if everyone was evacuated for a fire drill or sent to the lower level basement due to a Tornado warning. What if they had to leave the unit. Who would save him? If Steve was a star this would of never happened. He knew Tommy was out there. Leaving during the afternoons, going back to his hotel suite, making mental notes of the crazies. He knew Tommy was still eating a five star restaurants near down town. And he knew Tommy was still a star. What would it take for Steve to become a star? What could he do? So, far he was only able to get his image quickly passed on the movie frame. The reel rolled to fast. He didn't think this matter. A few seconds on a big picture. What would that do for him. No one cared about movie extra. The independent films he did never made it to a Block Buster state. How was he going to be saved if he hadn't done anything, or talked on Television for more than fifteen minutes or so. Steve needed to make himself famous. But how was he going to do such a feat in a mental ward. Could Tommy help him? But Tommy was a killer? He was sure of it. The brat was proof of this. He needed a Block Buster. He needed to be cast. Maybe the nurse knew a casting director. Possibly, the doctor would let him out for auditions. Hell, that was the only reason for him to go outside anyway. The only real reason for leaving the house was to walk, audition, or see an acting buddy. Steve had lived in New York for a year. Very close to Brooklyn Heights. He lived there to act and find fame. Now, he was far from the big apple. Now, he was far from getting up in the morning, hauling ass to his acting coach, seeing a manager and getting fit in the heated pool. It was hell for Steve. Know Steve was confined. He was forced to live with his demons in his head. He was controlled by others to improve his mental state. How improved can a mental state be when a man is in constant pain. But that was beside the point. People didn't understand pain in a constant way. Most just felt it for a few days and then let it reside and fall by the waist side. But not Steve, it, the pain, was often. Steve had to get healthier. Health. That was his concern. He had to figure out these people. Who was Jay? Who was Jona? How did they find him. Why are they locked up as well. I thought Jay was with the FBI. Why would they lock up and FBI agent. I know. To watch Steve. They had to watch Steve. Maybe even Jona. Jona was a hazard to society. Jona thought he was a vampire. That's what Steve needed to do. He needed to analyze the motivations and reasoning of Jona, Jay and while he was at it, he needed to figure out, Steve.

Steve decided he protest. He speak his mind. He had the right. He may have been in a mental ward but he was in a mental ward in the United States of America. What did this meant? He still had a voice in political matters until proven guilty. And what would be his guilt. Insanity. Insanity would be his fault in the eyes of the judge. If the judge proved he was batty than they had the right to take away his privilege as a citizen. But for now, he would practice his rights as an American. In the morning, he go to community morning riser group and cry out, "I HAVE NOT RIGHTS HERE." Later, Steve would be carted back to solitary in a dangerous arm lock by a large black nurse tech. Time passed. Hours. And Steve would protest again. Go on a starving strike. With holding food from your daily activity is a hard accomplishment. It meant that the body would become decrepit. What did this, in turn, produce. Well, food is a necessity in life. You can go for three minutes without air, three days with no water but you can only starve for three weeks and things become nasty. Starvation is a very hard task to master, unless you're a super model or ballerina. To starve it takes much focus and later you are rewarded with control and self-revelation. Steve figured if his hunger strike did not work he would gain an understanding of moderation and focus. Starvation had its cost. First, of all it hurt. When the body is denied and neglected of fruits, sugars, bread, meat and grains it begins to physically hurt. The body needs a well rounded diet in order to properly think and behave. Steve began to hurt in his chest area. For some reason his ribs began to feel like cold steel. He take in deep breaths and it, his body, would speak in loud curse words of stingy cold pain. It was soar in the rib cage and chest area. He didn't know exactly why. Steve had denied the normal three meal a day, with two snack break, routine. He didn't want to take in what the average patient was receiving. To be honest, he didn't want to take anything in. He wanted more. Not more food but rather more attention and more success. More love. Steve was spoiled from a young child and now wasn't the time to neglect food. But he had to do it. Steve had to be spiritually strong. He had to deny all foods and all snakes. Steve went one full week with just water and small bites of lettuce. He may have had a tomato or two here and then. He lost so much weight his eye sockets had shadows under them. Steve looked like a mental patient vampire. He was as thin as the long hair Jesus dude who was hooked up to the IV. Well, not that thin, but he was working on it. He didn't think they'd hook him up to artificial feeding yet. He had to loose what was left on his belly. He still could reach down and pinch a knob of fat. So, Steve had not lost all his fat yet. Steve never understood how someone could mortify themselves to the point Jesus Dude (JD) did. The mortification was a sight for sore eyes. He had to do more than just starve. See, every once and while the nurse would bring in the peanut butter array of snacks on the snack tray and Steve would sneak out of his room, three AM or so, and load up on crackers and tiny jelly canisters. He wasn't as dedicated as the Jesus dude and his IV. Hell, that guy had more control than balled shy Buddha on his last week. The Jesus dude could barely stand. The Jesus guy was emaciated beyond repair. Everyone on the ward, techs, doctors and nuts, knew he was about to reach the golden star case to la la heaven. Steve remembered seeing the skinny fool when he first arrived into the ward. His eyes bulged from the lids and his cheek bones shot out like knife points. This man was not just a matchstick but rather a splinter from a matchstick. We are talking string bean. The Jesus dude had a goatee beard, with long side burns. He wore a medical bib rather than a green gown. He was about to be sent to critical. Steve didn't want to go that far. He figured he die. Instead he just not eat for weeks and then stuff down the peanut butter crackers with those square plastic canister jelly. The nurse would leave the tray out around three AM. She must have had a crush on Steve. After all, Steve once posed in underwear for Calvin Klein. A week would pass. Steve was growing peckish. Beyond peckish. Famished. The nurse wouldn't be around. No one would be around. Not even a sound. Not even a mouse. Steve would tippy toe to the snack tray. It would be covered in plastic wrap and a white cloth. He slowly unwrap the white cloth and tear the plastic back, just enough to get his paw into it. Then, he make off with eight peanut butter cracker cookies, four Nebesco peanut butter cracker, salt free, twenty two plastic miniature jelly square containers, and a few pieces of sandwich bread. That wasn't his choice of pigging but he settle for the snack tray hand outs for now. He go into the bathroom and sit on the steel toilette. Believe it or not the bathroom smelled like vanilla roses. They sprayed it down daily. He munch away and gain about ten or so pounds before morning. He make way to the snack cart four or five times in his pig out night. Ultimately, this was not working. Steve had to come up with a better plan. Jesus dude had been clinging to dear life. He knew the other nurses looked at JC dude more often, and oft, he catch the male doctors checking out his eyes and noses. How could he get that much attention. Everyone stared at him. So what, so Jesus Dude was starved beyond repair. So, he had everyone looking out for his tale. To top it all off, Jesus dude was assigned to his own room. How did he do it? How did he pull off that much weight loss. He must have had a secrete. Steve decided to investigate. Steve would pattern his behavior. Maybe this is why they have locked me up. Steve thought, his punishment from the ward was due to his pig out episodes and his weight gain. Ever since he had left Hollywood he decided to fuck dieting twenty four seven. Maybe, this is why he was so bulky. Steve had to find a better way now. If he wanted to return to acting for film he had to learn moderation and starvation. Or at least the good kind of starvation. The kind Jesus Dude had mastered. Now, he knew it was bad to fast all the time. Steve couldn't go longer than a week or so without real substance. He would salad for lunch, skip breakfast and drink water for dinner. This would go on for a week. Than on Sunday he sneak out of the room, hunger pang and all, and attack the snack cart. Jesus Dude had a different method. No food. That's it. He never ate. Only the IV kept him alive. That was simple. Now, all Steve had to do was skip the pig out on Sunday. All he had to do was deny the temptation of the snack cart, the hellish wonder of the salt free Nebesco peanut butter crackers and the low fat low cal cream cheese (the kind inserted into the Kraft plastic disk containers), the small jellies, orange jams, peanut butter cookies and PBJ sandwiches. This Sunday he'd only take one peanut butter sandwich and scrap the peanut butter clear off. This week would be different—he move up. Now, he knew, according to Behaviorism, that the maze rat that was continually rewarded with small bits of cheese, learned at a steadier rate, but he also learned that the starved rat, which was learned at the same time, rate and pattern, would still learn, but his successes became latent. This means that the healthy rat, the one that was rewarded for his goal achievement, learned faster and better, but the starved rat still knew the material, he still could get through the maze in one try but only after it was rewarded for finding the end of the maze. This meant that Steve would be slowing his process of becoming healthy buy starving himself like the Jesus Dude, but he knew that something would poke out in a latent time. So, he would fail now but succeed later. He learn all the games, the doctors dished out, color from the color books, take the psych test, talk to the other nuts and even to the nice fat black nurses who dished out large hugs and kisses on the cheek, he go through all this starving and probably not succeed in healthy, but he get out—and this would later teach him, he would later be rewarded. He find his way to a 7-11 or Golden Corral and get an all you can eat meal. AT the 7-11 he get a bomb burrito. Which was a burrito the size of a baseball bat full of sour cream, cheese and meat. Or he go to the Golden Corral and pig on granola, chocolate ice cream, maple pancakes, syrup drenched waffles and seasoned home fries saturated in tomato based spicy fancy ketchup. He would reward himself later. Bu the wouldn't take the doctors shit. He wouldn't take the fat nurses hand outs any longer. When this Sunday would arrive Steve would pass up the snack tray and the jellies. This time he would have a small bit of bread and lick, or merely taste, the jelly. Just enough to keep his sugar level from a dangerous low.

Starvation was bitch. Hollywood had provided for too many and far too large of free catering services. In a Hollywood shoot they spend thousands on catering. Bagels, salads, fish, and sometimes even fish eggs for the top SAG leads, not just that, but more. Dips, chips, hot sauce, fancy sauces, spices, pepper pickled sweated, baby corns, beef philly sandwiches, Cajun chicken sandwiches, soft tacos, watermelon and more. They had everything under the catering tree, even three types of soda, diet soda and seven different types of herb tea. Herb tea. No kidding. At a film shoot. That's Hollywood. Steve was conditioned to getting catered. That's what was put into his soul west from here. So, all that was on his mind was the cart. Monday, he color and dream of the snack tray. The nurse would wheel it out and he head off to it. Only, he would hide the crackers and peanut butter dishes under his mattress. He wait until Sunday. Tuesday would come along. He take five peanut butter cups and three pb & j and dish them under the mattress. Sometimes he save the plastics just to pre-wrap his meals. Wednesday would arrive. Nothing oral would go into his mouth. Nil by mouth. So, he steal for jelly containers, three peanut butter tiny containers, three peanut butter sandwiches and a few pudding snacks and hide them away under the mattress. This time he carefully packaged the pudding in left over plastic wraps from the PB&J sandwiches. Friday arrived. Still nil by mouth. He was dropping few pounds. But believe it or not, due to the low activity and exercise of coloring, talking and walking to the TV set to turn on the knob, the fat stayed on his love handles and back. Three peanut butter cookies, two vanilla puddings eight low fat cream cheese spread and six pieces of white bread. He was preparing. Saturday was his favorite due to the fact that the tech's scooting the cart in an extra session. This meant that he could load up on more food. So, the cart arrived fifteen minutes after dinner. Wow. And everyone was glued to the TV set. The Oscars were on. For some inane and far out reason the Academy Awards highly appealed to nut heads. Everyone, even the anorexic Jesus Dude, the crazy lady with the dent in her forehead, the jazz talking white headed man that trash talked and mentioned the presidents "Nixon and Johnson" in every other sentence, was all there, in every other phrase, even some of the catatonics flaked and flocked around the television hypnotic sparkingly light to view Tom Hanks or Kevin Spacey wrapping their rich, famous fingers around a little solid gold man. As, Jodie Foster approached the microphone to announce the nominees for best screenplay, Steve tip toed to the snack tray. It was time to fest. Dionysus didn't just call strictly open the Academy goers. This greek mythic figure was summoning tummy pangs with in the depth of Steve's soul. "Damn I got the hunger." Steve whispered under his racing heart. He licked his lips and slowly approached the snack tray like a leopard on a over sized field mouse. The nurse was in her quarters reading Men's health magazine, which took about a third of an hour, her head was buried in the pages as she took mental notes on the military press, and the giant African American tech was polishing his shoes like a godsend. After all, time was running still and still. Steve believed in never. He believed in all the way. Stealthily he snuck away his cooped up sin of gluttony. His stomach growled and argued with his reason. He had planned it, waited patiently for it and only an army of armed machine gun soldiers could prevent his taken of the earth. Then, one hour, before Sunday arrived, he decided to fall victim to his pang, and his starving fingers began to point like an over worked and charmingly paid PA aftera double shift at WB studios. His hunger itched like the guilty concious of a needless persecution of a innocent Quacker in a catholic church. Eventually, as time permitted, and nature ticked, his skinny joints popped and his knuckles in his hand clicked as he fumbled inside the protected and secured stock pile of sweat goodies stored in perfectly perfect rows under the bed's mattress. This was Steve's hiding place for his snack tray delights. Steve lifted the mattress and scooped a handful. Plastic wrinkled and crispidly sang out and Steve hurridly calmed. He had to move like a skillful zen monk Ninja or his gluttonous plan would be unfolded and he'd be found out. He unpacked each peanut butter cookie, each peanut butter cracker, each jelly packet, ever peanut butter treat released from the tray during feeding time, also, he stocked up on hospital made grape jelly sandwiches (requested by non peanut butter eating patients), cream cheese plastic disk condiments (he called them creamy packets of heaven), every saved pleasurable snack known to the all mighty snack tray, everything that was hidden under the medical mattress was now in Steve's shaky gown made net, (he took of his V-neck gown and used it as a small peanut butter cracker net to scoop it all up at once in order to efficiently save on economics of noise) and he emptied it all onto the desk chair acting as his makeshift dining room table. He sat up and stuffed his face for a full five minutes. Nothing but jelly, peanut butter and cream cheesed bread clung to his chin and spotted moustach. It all thickly poured down his gulping hatch. He cramped as many peanut butter cookies and jelly packets as possible in his cheeks and chowed down with a remarkable and unpleasantly rude speed. Through thick and thin, he thought. Thin had nothing to do with it anymore. His belly swelled up and out like a helium ballon expanding from the mouth of one of those waving ceramic clown's at a minature golf and games park. To be a born sinner, one must know that sin is the option. Failure was what we, as mankind, are born into; and Steve knew that his failure was in trying to be a perfect performer of life, he was trying to be God rather than God's product—thus man. He was no longer on a higher plan. No demi god here. He had outlined the history of his place in the order and crudeness of his actions. An evolved ape gnawing down a crunchy, sticky mess. God had to turn away in these frightful moment. Yikes. He was trying to be right far too much! He figured it was time to be wrong. Being right all the time is not just stressful, it's insane. No one is good twenty four seven, seven days a week and hour by hour. Some can't even be good for more than an hour. This was a time to live under the cloud of God's eye. Time to cover the naked body. Time to for the pig. Is it shame over hunger or hunger over shame? He thought about it for a half minute second and then continuing silently smacking. Every once and awhile a loud gooey smut would lift free from his soft palate and in a single muffle pop would click, as peanut butter stuck free within the clottish jawing. His teeth fell over the gluey wad of peter pan crunch, noshing, gnashing and mashing it into long lines of oily, pebbly rock thickness. His jaw speedily snapped down and open like a hurrying farmers jig saw tractor blades tiling soil for an upcoming harvest. He was pacman after the last gold ball. The hungery Steve poked his index fingernail into a the mushy peanut butter wad in which clung to the roof of his mouth. He opened his jaw to full extend and his tongue curled back.The blade of the nail pierced a tiny hole in the thick nutty drop , finally freeing it to fall. It dangled for a bit, split in two and oozed roundly on his tongue. It reminded him of two peanut butter cells dividing under a microscope in sixth grade science class. He puckered his lips tight and swallowed. The question was visually clear. It was obviously an embarrassing moment for the Steve. His sin was his gluttony, his lie to purity, his lie to innocence and his lie to the heart—it was his way to get back at the doctors, the nurses, the techs who twisted him in wrestling arm locks, and made funny of his wide eyed glare, it was his revenge on the small cell, and the white walled torture chamber called Solitary confinement. It was his freedom for few wrong seconds. Too much perhaps. It was all far too much. He wiped the peanut butter chunks from the corner of his mouth and chomped on three more mouthfuls and after that he had more. He didn't care. It was over. Over the limit. Over the over the limit. He had failed. There was no hope. Now, was a time for darkness. Hell, that's what crazy idiots do right? That was the job of the insane. It was to lose all sense of control. His stomach hurt but he didn't care. Steve decided to eat himself into misery. It'll never work, it will never work, it will never work, it will never work. This is what Steve repeated over and over, again and again as his mouth opened wide to wildly savory ever morsel of bread, and take in the world he had stowed, so patiently, away under the covers. It was his weakness. But nevertheless, it was his. The Jesus dude would win. He would receive more attention. More care. And more respect. Shame was on Steve's upcoming check list. He had to deal with it like a man. OR crazy man in this case. JD would take him for a loser. The nurses would give him his way. On the other hand, Steve had to suffer the everyman disease. He couldn't beat Jesus. The anorexic had the lucky hand. He had the cards that won the chips. He had the key to getting out. Maybe he'd die but he still be rolled out to the graveyard. Steve munched on the cookies and slowly broke down into a waterfall of tears. As he pictured the anorexic wheeled out of the front of the hospital and into a jet black hearse, he imagined himself as the dark one did, like the betrayer named Judas Iscariot, he fashioned a fancy robe and carried silver coins in his palm. He no longer pictured the peanut butter crackers, cookies and low fat cream cheese as food. Now he was eating small round coins of silver. He pictured eating the silver traded for Christ's blood. He still didn't care. He looked down. His belly swelled. His face bloated. His cheeks puffed. Food was swallowed in large gabs. It flopped into his stomach and the stomach acids rumbled and cheered in glorified yelps. He was becoming beyond full. Now, instead of trash food he was consuming precious metals. The metals created from the hands of fallen angles, forged by the lowest devils in the ninth level of Hades. He pictured Jesus Dude panicking from his hunger and lifting his soulful body off the twin sized medical bed. He stood up smiled and let weakness strike him hard like a thunder bolt. He fell over like an oak tree being sawed by a great tree cutter. His head hit the ground, the IV spilled leaking onto his face. He slightly trembled before his last breath was released. Steve pictured the nurses finding Jesus with his face down in the IV liquid. Steve looked at himself as he went into the bathroom to wipe the peanut butter off his lips and fingers. He was no longer wearing a medical robe. Instead, was a roman robe of Romanesque ancestry. It had a small golden symbol representing a great and powerful Caesar. His face looked hard and satanically just. Too beautiful to merely and purely be a hundred percent human. His eyes rang pressing green. Green like the envy in the serpents eyes. He hated himself. He ran into his room and headed to a well hidden pre wrapped peanut butter cookie. He clawed it open and bolted it down with lightning speed. He wasn't' Judas. That can't be true. He didn't betray a God. That was already down. It was already documented. A man died two thousand years ago for him. How could he betray such a hero? How could he be Judas? He munched it all down like the starving squirrels and crawled into his bed like a failure. His eyes blinked at the ceiling as he prevented himself from begging God for forgiveness. There Steve laid in his complacent assigned bed.

The next morning he felt like an elephant turd. His eyes were swollen and his feet pounded. Blood rushed to parts of his body that he did not really allow. What was it that Steve was missing? He had not found the way. He was missing the middle way. There were so many streets and towns that used that terminology. The eight fold path. The center path. Buddha taught it. Being a good Buddha is accepting moderation and not just searching it out and applying it to everyday life. Pigging out on peanut butter cookies and cream cheese will not bring happy tears to the eyes but nevertheless tears will flow. Happy or sad Steve had failed. It was too late to cry over spilled milk, even though not drop was spilt.

Steve knew that fat was a symbol. It represented shame. It was growing on his scaled skeleton as each crumb was cleaned next to the bed. He pulled the cover's back and wiped his eyes free of tears. His days of Broadway and Hollywood studio sets was far from him. He had much to learn. Not just about moderation but he had to learn what made a shameful man or a forgiving god. He had to forgive everyone. He had to forgive Jona's ranting and raving about the stumbling swans and there toppling fate. He had to give complete and passionate pardon to Jay's timed and annoying schedule of taking down Justice and Chaos. Steve had to understand the proper way. He had to conquer, what he admitted as the angels of envy and there tempting purified breezes. Life grew ultra bright and darkly beautiful for him and this is what caused an inner sin to rise and itch its way to his right hand, and then, to his left, and then to his mouth, and then to his soul, and last to his arriving and unplanned future. He had to take in his failure. He had to accept the pain of everyday life. No. Accepting was to light of a term. It was more than acceptance. He was to welcome all things. He had to smile at fear and shun its batty zany wings. It was time to see clearly and deny the denials. He had to take it on and tumble down the falling of grace. Down, down his body fell as his stomach grew oozy and warm. It was like being on a hyper speed theme park ride and everything was upside down. It was far too soon to turn back now. It was time to remember the fools and there crazy sayings. Steve pulled out his hidden journal and wrote down his thoughts with the hospitals stubby, dull pencil.

He was plunging into the blackened chambers of his fading sight and this was not something to fight off. It was a segment of life that everyone warred against. The serpent will come. The beast will arrive in time. It is one's duty to see it's face. And after it opened and offered its scaling, bony hands to its prey, it was one's duty to pity its sympathetic graceful grin. It was time to let go of what was in the past and plunge ahead into now and let the monkeys in his jangled head play and cry havoc. For the liberty tree was bathed in the blood of freedom. This is what the liberty bell is made of. This is why it is cracked from the jerking yanks. This is what is hard to understand. It is what no one can't live with out. The Russians tried it and they'd fell. The Oriental culture pray and balance their walks to avoid it but it attacks from behind. It crouches in truth and spits out in agony. Freedom is not for free. Hunger is the nemesis of shame. Shame is the antithesis of hunger. It is the way. We are silent before we speak. The baby breaths before his outburst. And in this breath there is a second or two of perfect tranquility, a slight moment of bliss and a hint of heavenly eternity. It is all so precious and delicate. It is all so true. Breath arrives we accept it and release all pain. These moments come and go with and with out tears. Some describe this state as a transition between sleeping and waking. This is when all things ring in all colors and the ghost, angels and demons balance together in a circular, twirling dance of cheering life. Sleep leaves us as the sun rises and brightens our path. It is what you take that makes it right. It is what you take. Take it all my friend. Life is for free boys take it away. Life is for free boys take it all away. For what does life cost. Have you answered this question. What does life cost?

BREATH. For breath will come.

A symphony opened at hand in his head. It was music he once heard live at the Hollywood bowl. It was familiar. Yes, he remembered now. It was Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15 (III. Rondo—conclusion). Conducted by the one and only Esa Pekka Salonen. He was a music director from Russia who visited Los Angeles in the millennium to give and enlighten the long smiling fools who swept the stages and screen. Esa gave them a piece of emotion fathomed from his child's heart. It was from the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Music that Changed me. Steve sunk down in his covers and pretended he wasn't hearing it. Where was it coming from? It traveled and vibrated through his door and into his eardrum. Steve wondered and contemplated for a full six or so minutes on opening the door. He stood next to it as it was played for the fourth time. The entire recorded segmented lasted no longer than, eight or so minutes. As it played once more Steve slowly opened the door. No one was in the community room. The TV screen was black. Then, out of the corner of his eye, Steve saw a man sitting alone next to a CD player and speaker. It was Tommy. It was past visiting hours. He came to greet and awake Steve with the philharmonic. Steve had worked for the L.A. Phil for a couple a weeks selling subscriber tickets. "What are you doing here." Tommy wanted Steve to use Jay's voice. "I want to talk to Jay?" Tommy said to Steve. "Jay doesn't want to be with you right now!" Steve uttered with a rapid fire. "Why the hell not." Tommy insisted that he tell him were Jay had gone and why he looked exactly like Jay's outer appearance. " Are you not the young man found with my nephew in the attic." Steve shamelessly replied, "Never. It was not me. I never even been in an attic before." Tommy insisted for Steve to fess up. "BULLSHIT. Where is he? It won't work Steve. Stop lying."

Sovereignty. A true concept in releasing all pain and sorrow. The soul leap with out fear. They are beautiful but dangerous. The horses have jumped the corral in Steve's mind. He was ridding on fear. Some could say he was searching out fearlessness. Was this the dark or lit way? Was he folding a vale of hellish clouds over his relations with God and the heavens? Was he falling into an abyss? The true freedom from understanding that happiness is letting go of the heart's desire. It is learning to be happy with in and not through achieving material gain. There was no meal the nurses could serve, no drug the doctor could dish, no article he could read, no word he could receive and no community group he could attend that would cure his solemn state. The only soothing and healing force did not exist in the outer world of Steve's body. It existed in the spirit.

Then, something odd happened. Steve was released from solitary and moseyed his way back to his peanut butter and jelly sandwich crumb infested bed. He cleaned it thoroughly so the techs or nurses wouldn't discover a single morsel or cracker crumb. He did a good job; sliding a flat hand across the tightly wrapped bed liners and sheets. He even stripped the sheets off and shook them wildly, watching the fancifully oscillate like a flat, energized amoeba. The nurses didn't check on him on the routine hourly bases like usual. They must have been a good article in Men's Health or in mid process on the cell phone concerning a love triangle or fight segment was coming to an conclusion on Santa Barabar or One Life to Live. Steve cleaned the crumbs that fell from the sheet and onto the white, clear linoleum floor. Concentration fell upon him as he squatted like a hyper frog and bounced around the floor like a trained cleaning banshee. The top of his feet slid like a jazz dancer as he scooped ever black peck of left over with the palm of his hand, every drop of sin abandoned and lost on the patient's room floor. Steve knew this would help purge his gluttonous ways. He was bad. And now it was time to recover from the singeing fire that in his belly that caused his misconduct. He figured that his over eating habit was the bad deed and bad seed that grew largely within, and pounded away at his psyche enough to over come his proper conduct and lead to this primal and chaotic action. So, to overcome his outburst he would first have to overcome all the bad habits that lead, or enforced such conduct. These habits must have been backed by fear. Fear of failure, fear of death and fear of those he should have trusted. Steve figured this way of thinking was a sign of mental improvement. He was on his way to recovery. Not once, for the past two weeks had he heard Jay or Jona speak. To be honest, he haven't even encountered their forms in his dreams. Yesterday, in the community service, morning riser group, Steve saw a doctor who looked similar to Tommy Marcel. The doctor's name was, Sunny Marshall. That sounded similar to Tommy Marcel. Sunny was a calm doctor, with a thick black turtle neck sweater, trimmed mustache, arched bushy eye brows and a tan complexion. Not far from the average outer form of a nomral movie star. He figured he could have been replacing Sunny's face with Tommy's. Or what he knew of Tommy. No telling what Tommy really looked like now. No telling what murderers looked like years after their initial strike. Tommy could have been Sunny in disguise, but this way of thinking was the thoughts of a paranoid and not a healthy person. Steve was coming to realize that he was suffering from delusions and not a real situation. It was an inner demon that was after him not some one on the outside. There was no harm happening on the exterior world from his soul. The war was within. Steve was winning a battle. He begin to look at himself in the mirror. His eyes seemed different. More in tune. Sharper. Clearer. He was seeing the real world as reality instead of this fibbed labyrinth of myths and lies he had created for protection and fantasy. Lies helped him see what he wanted to see rather than see what was before him. It was as if a large stage curtain was lifting and instead of a play, reality breathed before him, on in the playing field of life.

Steve put his hand over his chest and felt a small lump. He was born with it. It was the one thing that made him imperfect. Steve began to realize his failure. It was not just being born with a deformity, but it was knowing he was also born a sinner. He was a born sinner and his body reflected the evil doing of what satan had done to not just him, but to Adam and Eve. A sinful thing lied in his skeletal system. Only Christ was perfect. Only Christ was God. Steve bowed his head, not just in forgiveness, but in shear confusion. That's when he realized the only way he could break through the exit doors to this insane world was through Christ. Christ had the key. Not just the key to get out of the insane asylum but the key to get out of hell. A smile graced upon Steve's face. For once he was free. Now, it would be in his hands. Steve said a silent prayer and looked up. The small square bathroom mirror reflected a new face.

That morning in community circle Steve didn't say a word. He kept an eye on sissy, the thin deathly artist, and he set rocking his left foot in small circle eights. Steve began to weigh all his options. Time seemed to fly by. The sun slung across the window, starting at the bottom right and finish in a swift vanish at the top left edge of the sill. It just speed by. Everything quickened in pace and rhythm. The nurses chatter fired out of there mouths like the sounds of bicycle spokes flying down a side walk, chit, chit, chit, chit, chatter, patter, patter, patter, chatter, chatter. None of it made any sense to Steve. Steve was losing patience with the institution. Dr. Pain visited less and less. His insanity was thickening. It seemed he was growing better. At one point his thoughts were like the old days. Everything made sense. The world was set in place. But now, after a few more snack tray attacks in the middle of the night-things were going tilted. Steve needed something. Something was missing from this hellish routine. He woke up. Went to the community group. Colored at the coloring table. Did jig saw puzzles. Met with the noon physical education coach, talked with the book reader (she read stories not too complex and tranquil in sound), he talked with the musical therapist, but nothing seem to make much sense. Then, he began to put the blame on family. Why did I have to be raised by a butch of over eating, tempered, hot head, idiots? His family judged him too much. Called him nuts. Called him insane. Called him names. His father use to tell him to wipe the goober juice off his hands before eating dinner—Steve wasn't a chronic masturbate when he lived with his abusive father. His father had polio and use to spank he and his sister at least twice a month for making mistakes in school, chores and for just "talking back." "REACH FOR IT." His father would holler. "Reach for the couch cushions." Steve would reach his little hands toward the couch pillow and hang on to the edge of it, peeling it back from its place. His father would lay down the belt across his rear as hard as he possibly could. His father wasn't a small man by for. He was a large man. Overweight, mean and ill spirited. His father's major problems was over eating. He take Donielle, his sister and he to Jack N the Box and order 7 to 8 tacos. Doniell and Steve would order a regular meal: taco, hamburger and fries. Maybe a malt. Maybe a drink. They were still spoiled but being spoiled is no reason for being beat. They were abused that is for sure. Seven to eight tacos. He'd munch down each taco and steal the kids fries. Hell, they couldn't eat it all. Boy, they better not make a mistake. There is nothing worse than a father with a stuffed belly and a potential outburst. Steve's father needed there kids to make mistakes. He needed to speed that energy. He had so many calories in him he had to use it all up. This was his father's real reason for the beatings. It had nothing to do with them making a mistake. He had to do something with those eight tacos. And evil works well while backed up with gluttony.

Steve met a new arriving patient. He was a kid. No older than nineteen. He was fairly stable and was taking litho tabs for mania. He had taken a butter knife and sliced into his inner side of his hamstring near his wrist. The cut traveled from his wrist all the way to his elbow. It snaked up his arm in anger. Steve didn't really talk to the kid but listen to his complaints in Community circle. The kid mostly complained about his girl friend and his problems with bi-sexuality. Steve pretty much knew that the kid did not know who he was. The kid had no sense on his current present state. He always refereed his arguments around scenes in the past or present. "You don't live in Now." Steve uttered with out raising his hand. "You must raise your hand before speaking." The leader of the community insisted. The leader was never a nurse or tech. It was only a nurse or tech if the other patience were too heavily medicated to think or even speak. "So what?" Steve returned. "The kid needs to live in Now." Steve thumbed his nose. He was right. The kid was dwelling in his past relationships with some dumb high school girl named Jeana and he didn't know her that well in the first place. "You don't know her now Kid. Jeana is probably fucking some turd foot ball player and getting ready for her first year at Yale." Steve knew the kid wasn't really into sports. He was too skinny and his mind was filled with short stories and alternative film plots. Sport of fucking, sport of lady chasing and the sport of just sport. Steve talked over a few points with the kid during lunch that day. "The chicken is nuked here." Steve said. "Really." The kid said, looking down at the boiled yellow chicken skin. "Whats your name?" Asked Steve, digging his fingers in the overly boiled and badly mixed chicken seasoning. "Well, its none of your business." The kid was a bit paranoid but Steve figured he could bust his name out of his thick calescent psyche in a few weeks. "What they got ya on." "Litho tabs." The kid returned in a little voice. "You like em" The kid buttered his toast and shook his head to one side. "Ok, I guess. Make me sleepy." The kid stuffed half the toast in his mouth and wiped the butter clean from his bottom chin. He had a double chin. Handsome kid he was. Blond hair, lean. "So. Those tabs make ya hungry I see." ?The kid stared out the diluted crystal window blocks. "Yeah. Guess so." Steve wanted more info. "So, whose the heartbreaker." The kid began to loosen up. "Jeana. She's a bitch. Broke my heart before prom. I don't like prom. Its for all the jocks. I don't really have any business here. I should just take my tabs and look at getting out. Look, I don't know you. As you can see my arm is in pain. Can I just eat my toast and shut up now." Steve leaned back and puffed on his newly lit Camel Red. Steve bummed it off of some nutty lady that claimed to be a Nabi. The techs allowed the fairly new patience to smoke in the eating area, if they blew the puffs in the smoke filter which hung near the light switch by the front entrance way. Steve got up and blew a pound or so of Camel fog residue into the smoke filter. He returned to the lunch room table and ashed in a tray. The kid set near the corner of the eating alcove. The table was no larger than a regular sized reading desk. The chairs were plastic, cheap and endurable. "She ah, broke your heart, huh. Maybe latter. You could get into the details." The kid polished off his first toasted buttered square and headed for the golden eggs over easy. "I fingered her in my Mustang. Took her to the mall and wanted to do her after watching Lost Boys." Steve remembered the romantic date in a stoic gaze toward the crystal blocked window. "Staring Keeeeeipher Sutherland. Good flick. So did you do her." The boy smiled, "Nope. And its none of yours anyway." The kid slurped up a mouth of eggs. The techs came in with the huge pill tray. They handed out everyone meds in small white round paper cups. "Your pill Jess." The black buffed up tech said with a gold green. One of the techs had chip in his tooth which was replaced with a golden silver cap. The kid swallowed two greenish blue pills and finished off his pulp-free oj with a fleeting gulp. "Steve. That's your name. Look. I'd like to talk, but I've got to go to bed. The pills, uhh, well, uhh, the tabs, make me tired. And I. . ." Steve leaned back and cut in with, "Ok. Do what ya need. Just here to talk. I'm in the room down the hall. Opposite your side." Jess did not trust Steve whatsoever. At times, Steve did seem a slight bit intimidating and a little overpowering. Jess went back to his room and pulled out a Premier magazine from under his mattress. He thumbed through the advertisements, and choked down a Marlboro light until sleep overcame him. The boy barely slept that night.

The next day was like all the rest. Up at 6 am. Community circle. Sissy would sit in the back of the group swinging his feet in figure eights and humming a scary unknown tune. Probably something an artist would hum. The crazy lady with the dent in her forehead attempted to give the service. She failed. Instead, she trivially smoked her cigarette taking bunk sips and blowing out air instead of inhaled smoke. Steve decided he'd give it a shot. The duties were simple. First, Steve would call roll. He mark who did not show up to the circle. He did this not with scanning the room, but by listening and taking names which later he matched with faces. Many of the patience would show up to the morning circle but they wouldn't answer to roll call because of the affects of the prescribed mental medication. One would be punished if he or she did not attending community service. Punishment was up to the assigned doctor. Every patient was usually dispensed a specific doctor according to their age and mental disorder. After, a long ordeal with seating assignments, smoke breaks and chatter, the roll was called. Each name would be announced twice from a list. If no one answered to their name then an X was marked next to their initials. Calling roll was simple. After checking the list twice, Steve read a quote from the community circle rooster. Next, everyone gave complaints. The complaints were the same every morning: Clean out the freezer after getting snack ice cream. Can we have the snack tray visit more? More TV privileges! Can we get a VCR in the exercise room. Can we get a larger screen tv with better speakers. Others would complain about there meds and others would complain about more trips to the smoke alley. The smoke alley was a small garden that was surrounded by huge round poles. The poles acted as a security gate. The gate poles were thick and it reminded Steve of the monkey room at the Zoo. The poles climbed toward the sky and at the very end they'd bend over in a banana shape. In this case it prevented anyone from climbing over, with out falling splat on the back of their heads. On the outside of the garden was security bob wire, electric. The garden had three trees, a garden and a circular walk way that oscillated up and down like a caterpillar's back; I guess for exercise. On the other side of the walk way was narrow sidewalk that spiraled down to a lower level of the garden and away from the hospital wall. This walkway ended near the fence. After community circle the group was let out into the garden. Steve looked up the round poles and though about climbing it. What could they do? If they stopped him they could kill him. They would have to let him get to the other side. The kid sat alone, huffing on his another patience Camel Red and talking to himself. He seemed to fall deeper and deeper into his depression. Steve wondered what else was causing his mellon collie besides the man-killing girl he once ran steady with years ago in school. Steve figured it was a stage he had to conquer. The boy was a cute fellow, he had nice eyes and a good frame. There was no reason for his sickness. On the other hand, one could not judge a book by its cover.

"Pray to willy." That's what the nurse kept saying in her conversation with the black male tech. The actual medical term does not carry this titled. The disorder was discovered by a doctor with the last name of Willy. The doctor's name was Prader-Labhardt and Willy, or something in that fashion. Steve and the kid talked and talked all night long about the new upcoming super bowl and how the N.Y. Giants should of never won in playoffs. Steve thought the Giants were a good team and he didn't see the point of the fuss. Pray to Willy. The nurse commented to the tech about a patient who had a eating disorder in which caused him to eat anything he or she saw on sight. "These sort of patients must eat anything they see. Pray to-willy (Prader-Labhardt and Willi) victims will injure another merely to hurriedly consume any one type of desired eatable. In some cases the patient have punched holes in sheet rock in order to savor the fine tasty flavor. They'll even snack on the white inner layers or the pink linings. Steve listened in on the conversation on the other side of the glass. Steve had snuck into the eating area by crawling on his belly to avoid the sight lines of the nurses in their observation station. When, Steve returned from stuffing three peanut butter cookies down his hatch, he was blocked by a new assistant which was currently tech'ing. She was on a mission to learn the trade of hard worker, late hour keeping, psychiatry ward tech. He was vacuuming the front room with a push held vacuum. Steve stayed against the main hall and ended up on all fours under the nurses station's window. The nurses, reading the Men's health magazine, could not see them because their desk was flush against the wall. Steve was not trying to get off easy on probation or a costly fine. He had no choice, he had to go to jail and seek another job. Steve decided to consult a friend concerning the matter of imprisonment and rules.

Steve and the new kid talked in Steve's room until dawn. The conversation started off with, "There are two types of men in this world. Those who live in their skins and those who want to crawl out of their skins." Steve decided, after analyzing the subject of 'persona worthiness', for over two hours, he finally came to conclusion that he fit into a category of a "crawl out." A crawl out is defined as one who always wants to escape their skin. The kid decided he liked his body and wanted to remain inside. The both new that the body cannot last forever. The kid looked down at his forearms and at his flat, muscled belly. The kid was exactly how he wanted to be. He stroked his shoulders and took a pleasantly, long breath in. At last, the kid was smiling. He was satisfied to be inside himself. To be young. And new. Steve knew the secrete about the body. The kid planted himself on the adjacent bed and pretty much took camp for the night. "You can stay over." Steve announced. The kid shook his head and headed off to slumber land. Steve knew the law of the human form. He knew its coarse and planned destination. The six feet under rule. The autopsy or the fire. He knew what the people did to you after your last breath. The plastic hose, the sucking machine, the bags of blood, the cracked skull, the peeled facial skin, the cutting of the heart and its vessel. The search for a certain death. The coroner had to find out how you died. He had to name it. Something had to kill you, natural or unnatural. It would be found out. Documented. Steve begin to silently discuss in his head. He had a long, and almost holy, conversation and just with his own mind. It was as if an entire council rose up and began to construct court in his head. He knew the rules of nature and it was time to admit them. The kid looked over at him with a few sharp glances, just to check on his unfamiliar presence. Steve smiled at the kid and continue to carrying on a his personal conversation with himself. His cheek twitched and his nose wrinkled up. He didn't want the kid there but part of him knew the kid needed company. Steve wanted to be alone. He admired the kids form under the sheets. The kid was well muscled and in great shape. Steve whispered, "Lucky" and continued to carrying on the conversation. He exposed the rules of nature and man's tragic end. Life was so ironic. Your born to start a fuse that will one day snuff out. The body is only a shell. There will be a time it will corrode, die and pass into a chaotic confusing spoiling. A downward spiral of breakage, softening and stiffness. It will break down, be burnt, or buried and in some form or fashion, it shall pine and waist away. It is our job to prevent this with pain and focus. The room went quiet. The kid took a breath and turned to face the wall. The window tapped out a small beat as a new arriving flock of wind rushed by the glass. The world out there, outside the window, outside the glass, beyond the walls, was dieing and being born, and all in one instance.

Something began to itch at Steve's brain. It was sharp. A sharp tongue. Like a knife. He didn't know who or what it was. Words, phrases. Ideas. Parts of the world in small packages rapping at his reality. His memories became blurry and his own vision was super clear. His focus was five times fold. It was as if nothing existed but Steve. Steve knew the world clearly now. He was at his prime. Fire pumped through his veins and his heart hummed in hymns; a musical instrument. The doubting voices were fading. The demonic cries of "no" were falling into an abyss. This abyss he desired. And since he desired such a fathom, this made him clearer. He was more present than ever. There was no other place he'd rather be but in his own skin. The kid had taught him wisdom. A wisdom ten fold.

Go forth. Find out. Discover the new fire. Become one. Forget all the ones you knew. Forget the many. Become one. Find out. Go forth. Discover the new fire. Become one. Sink into His word. Into the flame. Be born again. Within your failure. Go forth. Find out. Discover. Forget. Know. Become. One. Find. Forever. Forever and ever falling. Go forth. Find out. Discover. Seek. Go forth. Sink the legion. Sink Egioln. Sink Goilne. Sink Eglion. Sink the legion. Sink the dark one. Deny his name. Free yourself from his burden, his pain. Sink legion. Sink and burn it. Go forth. Discover. Become one.

Something new was lifting from Steve's thought. He was going to break free and fly away.

There was something more powerful than his journey. A small voice in his heart called out. Something to find the grace and send him. Something to kill the complexity. He forgot about killing Jenny, about the bald gothic drug users, the condo high in the sky, the pills, the Ethiopian cab driver, the bicycle in L.A., Tommy Marcel, the brat, the attic and all the songs. He forgot about the vampires and the dark prescence. All he could think of was how to walk through the approaching door. He had to open his hand, reach out, clasp his fingers around the handle and pull. Simple as can be.

The book was gone. Steve must of misplaced it and a tech carried it off. How could he lose it. The fucker was thick. Thick like six inches or more. Possibly trashed it. It was The Stand by Stephen King. Some nut gave it to him. She was a school teacher in some district near Dallas. Her name was Winny something. Steve could not recall her last name. She was constantly manic. She didn't have it that bad. Hell, mania wasn't near as bad as manic depression or even plan up depression. Depression kicked your ass. One would go blue for days. Depression could cause you to hit the sack for a two day sleeper. That meant you were out like a light for two days. Sleeping. Every once and awhile you'd get up to urinate. But nevertheless, Steve was reading. It activated his mind. Depression had hit him out of nowhere. He was sleeping in past community circle and he was ignoring the techs. He didn't care much about the doctor meetings. He go in talk about how he was planning a new future and he discussed his goal when he get out. Steve had a niche for acting. He found it in High School. He was first cast as Eugene in Look Homeward Angel. "You are your world" He remembered that line from Ben Gant's mouth. But that was all dreamy now. Steve had further goals. The Stand was a great story. Steve had almost finished it. Got to chapter sixty or so in the third book. The bitch was only a thousand, or more pages. Steve spent the afternoons in the eating area reading and scraping between the crystal rocks. He was carving out the pasty white stuff between the crystal stones. The entire window was made of crystal stones. You couldn't see through it. But it was a window allright. And on the other side was freedom. Well, not pure freedom. There was still another obstacle to conquer after knocking out a few crystal blocks. Then, you'd have to climb down the wall, walk across to the security gate, throw your measly neurotic body over its sharp points and then hit the road. Plus, you'd be in hospital patient gear. Green scrubs and green V-neck shirt. Then, you have to find a car, hot wire and that could blow you to smitheriiieeens. There was no way to do it quickly. Hell, the white pasty stuff between the crystal stones was thick. The plastic spoon was the only tool he could use. Hell, no one had mailed him a foot long hot dog with a file in place of the dog. Or was it supposed to be a cake. It didn't matter, he had no file. The only hard object he could own besides his Put Put Golf stub pencil was a plastic spoon. The techs were very meticulous about sharp objects and mental patients. Steve nibble on one of those blue bell ice cream desert packets, read a page or two from The Stand and then scrape away at the past with his trusty spoon. If only I had a spork from Taco Bell. Steve thought. He'd figure in ten years he'd knock out one block. Especially with a cheap plastic spoon. Twenty years it take me. How can you break free in a place with thick concrete walls, with a mere plastic spoon. Five years top. No, just kidding. He needed help. I can't bring myself down. Don't think of time. No need for time now. Not in a place like this one. He could only stay in the eating area for so long, until the tech's got grumpy. There was a time limit for being in one room. If Steve got caught more than two times he had to go to solitary. He could risk it a few times but then he'd be locked up to a smaller room. So, he needed a partner. He thought about asking the kid to join in. Maybe he could take over late night duties. Steve could risk two exposure in the eating room past the time limit. The kid could risk a few nightly duties. If the kid took over some of the nights Steve could get caught up on sleep. Steve was speeding far too much time at the crystal at four in the morning. If the kid helped Steve might succeed. And hell he get more sleeping hours. Then, Steve could get caught up on community circle. Nights were tough on Steve. Some times he'd go days with out a good night sleep. It was hard to fake the crystal glass. He stick the past back in the grove that outlined the square block. So far Steve had only finished up one line of the block. It was the west side of the block. He had scraped an inch groove into the vertical side. After he finished with an hour or two of scraping the tech or head nurse would make him go back to his room. He sneak back into the eating area to cover up his tracks. The tracks of the plastic spoon on the crystal block past. He take yogurt or past and stick it in his hard scrapped grove. It would dry and look like past. It was his favorite part of the deed. It was like being an artist and a criminal all in one instance. His favorite brand was plain yogurt. Plain yogurt dried like the past or white mortar, or whatever it was called. He'd save the pasty scrapings and keep the dust flakes in a napkin. Then, he mix them with the yogurt to create a pasty mortar. Last, he'd stuff and smear the home made mortar back into the groove outlining the crystal block. The block he was working on knocking out was no larger than ordinary soup pan. Maybe eight inches long and six inches wide. He'd win. Steve knew he'd get it eventually. The trick was not getting caught. He had to come up with the perfect and catchy story to convince the kid to join his crusade. That session of scrapping was accompanied by six different ideas for escaping. "One, we could hot wire a car and head off to Canada., Two we could find money and take a train to Canada. Three we could hitch hike to Hollywood. Try movies. Four we could take Amtrak to New York. Try acting on stage. Five we could. . ." The kid cut him off. "Your nuts man." Steve looked down at his feet. They were naked, exposed—like his heart. "Why not. You don't want to stay here forever do ya." The kid looked up with confidence. "Hell, no. And what difference does it make if I did. If we got out we still have to face---you know what. We still have to face ourselves. . .so why leave." Steve knew the doctors, techs and nurses had him beat. "Your not going to believe their bolegne are ya. This place is BS. Mental disorder. I'm so sure. Get real. We get up. Go to the circle. Eat. Read. Write. Read some more. Write some more. We talk. Our mouths move and ideas, feeling and human nature comes out. We have ideas. Were not banging our heads against some wall or blessing everything with holy water out of Styrofoam cup like some of our neighbors. The DOCTORS here are getting feel off us. Were younger. Healthy. We don't have millions of dollars but we are some what sane. I mean if we were really successful we be out by now. But were nobodies. The only people that care about me want me to be in here. I can't go against them cuzz they have more dough. We are sane. They're not. Right?" The kid gave him a quick, sharp stare and bolted out of the room. "There are other ways out of here." Steve screamed. "What like court. HA. HA. HA." Steve lifted the mattress and removed a peanut butter cracker. He unlaced the plastic, stuffed the treat in his mouth and picked up his journal. Then he fixed the mattress over and set up in the corner, where the bed touched the wall. HE began to start a diary. It was titled. "Escape." The first words in his journal reflected the views, "Insanity is sanity in a insane world. This place is nuts. Nuts. And no one cares.

Steve looked back at his first moments. The time he saw an alien in his some left over crib at the age of seven. It was the toy kind. The kind that glowed. Steve thought back and savored the time he was saved at summer camp near a lake somewhere in rural Texas. He thought back on these things. Not with judgment but with a smile. He knew parts of the devil. Part of his constant repetition. His work. His industry. His controlled freak ways. He wanted to free himself from the dark force that hid in the cracks of the room. The force that got him hear. He stared at the kid. He was on new type of medication. Balances with his knees and hips. A complete organism. Hovering above gravity. Hovering and gliding on this sweat world of balance. Steve knew eventually all things balance. All things lead to a balancing point. A kind and true point between extreme positive and far negative. An absence and an lividness.

Night had come. Shadows danced up and down the wall like primitive tribes celebrating the hunt. A fluorescent bulb was twinkling like a yellow star due to the past thunder storm. Christmas was near. Steve couldn't tell if it had come or gone. No one knew he was in D.C. No one member of his family could trace him. He could call if he could remember the phone numbers. He was far under the spell of mazes and the thick veils had consumed his right of mind. On the table, before the blackened TV screen laid a Holy Bible. Large Print. He picked it up and admired the smooth, soft skin and traced his finger tips over the riffles and ruffles texture that covered the fine dark surface. There were reason it was called the good book, just as there was reasons it existed to this day. This book was of good. It did not allow evil to penetrate it's 1820's or so pages. No darkness could enter from Genesis to Revelation. Steve learned how to read it. There were many ways. One could simply open it and let the good lord point his warm fingers to the right passage, or one could plan intensively on what verse to seek out. Inside the cover was a book mark. This book mark explained how to match a verse with the current problem of ones life. For example, if you were feeling forlorn or aggressive or anxiety had come about in your life the chart on the book mart would show you the way to the correct verse that could enlightened your trouble. Steve put he book mark down and decided to let fate guide his finger tips. He turned to, Psalm 55:22. He slowly read the words which unfolded the following wisdom, "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall." Steve felt something brace him. It was as if he had been falling for years. Falling into this endless abyss of sorrow and no one or nothing was present or supporting his downward spiral. Steve suddenly felt a hunger pang and decided to make another trip to the snack cart. He felt this was wrong. He hadn't eating in a couple of days, not a real meal. The Jesus Dude was far gone by now. He was too thin to live. Far too thin. But despite his hunger pang and his depravity he still felt guilty. He needed to find out his real name. He thought it was Jone or Joan or something in that fashion. He heard a tech call this name out when his IV bag spilled on the floor during early breakfast. He only saw the J initial on the clear liquid bag of minerals and meds. He never understood why God or anyone would allow him to digress to such a horrid state of existence. Just bones and linings of tissue. Nothing existed but a stick figure of human. An outline of a normal sized man. Steve wished he would of remembered this pity figure's name. He hadn't been to community circle in quite awhile and he figured he was getting far too sick to show his thinly face. The last time he viewed the Jesus Dude, or Joan, or whatever his name was, he had hollowed out eyes and skull like head. His neck was long and stretched like an ostrich. There were shadows where his temple lay and sunken veins in the crest of his forehead. He scuffled his feet along the ground. He wore faint blue morning slippers. He never combed his hair. His hair was stringy and long. Brown. His eyes shook and jittered. His legs trembled. He looked like an old pine before it topples over during timber logging season. He was being sawed on, that was for damn sure. But not sawed on for resource. He was being sawed on for a different cause. Nothing is for free in life. The skinny man knew this. He had no food in him. He went with out for close to a month. Why did he do this? Was he not saved. Did not a man once give up his life for this particular reason. Was he not sent by God? Was he not the son? Why was this thin man starving. What was it all for? He was lost. Not just lost on the stablization ward. Not just lost in the world. Not just lost in the market. Not just lost in his skin and bones, but rather lost in his spirit. The worst kind of lost.

A man arrived at the community circle. It was Tommy. He wanted to read a passage from greek mythology. He decided to dectate it to us at the circle. I never understood why Tommy told us,

"The story of Echo is very simple. It is tied in with the myth of Narcissus. Echo was a female spirit that craved the perfect man. She wanted to date the most attractive guy around and possible make a mince with him. This of coarse fit the persona of Narcissus. Narcissus was giving the gift of beauty by the gods. He was claimed as the most beautiful man in the world. Narcissus walked along talking to the forrest gods. "Oh, I am so beautiful. If only I could find a face like mine. If only I could find some one that matched my beauty." The nymphs rolled there eyes in embarrassment. On the other hand, Echo was giving somewhat charming looks and a pristine, immaculate and graceful voice. The gods loved to listen to her sing to the rivers and streams that flowed in and out of magic gardens of Greece. She was one of the most popular woodlen nymphs around. This was reason for her desire to Gossip about the Gods who blanketed, flew or snuck into the forest to make love to nature. Zeus's wife, Hera, caught Zeus holding a forest spirit near a creak bed. Hera, Zeus's wife, walked up on Echo while she was spying on Zeus. Zeus was in the midst of an erotic deed. "Welcome to the forest." Echo gleefully sung. "Where are you going?" Hera explained to her that she was trying to sneak up on someone but didn't give any names. She questioned the nymph on the whereabouts of her husband. Echo told a fib in order to protect Zeus's naughty behavior. Later, Hera, the wife of Zeus, found out about Zeus's reasoning for being in the woods. She punished Echo, "For lying a shall curse you with only saying the last words spoken to you." This meant that Echo could only sing or speak when someone spoke to her first, and she could only say the last words spoken to her. Later, that day Narcissus was walking along the stream. Echo ran up to him and threw her arms around his beautiful body and touched and caressed his gorgeous face. "Who are you?" Narcissus said. "Who are you?" Echo replied. "Get away from me. All you girls are alike." "girls are alike." Echo echoed. "What now." "What now." She echoed once more. Narcissus got annoyed and pushed her back. "I have enough of you women trying to win my heart." "Win my heart." Echo repeated. "That's enough of your trickery. I am to beautiful for your silliness." "for your silliness." She repeated as Narcissus jumped over the stream and ran away. Echo became so depressed she begged Zeus to help her. Zeus hated to see her in pain. He loved her voice so. Zeus decided to assist her. Echo suddenly vanished in mid air. Her wish was granted. She didn't have to exist in a physical form any longer. Now the embarrassment could be wiped away. Zeus loved her voice and so did all the gods, spirits and other nymphs. He figured he keep it. Why not keep that which is beautiful. So, in honor of the world he left her voice to return in the winds of the speaker. Thus, when someone called out to her she repeated their wishful words. Narcissus found a pond beside a large great oak tree. He laid down and looked into the water. "Oh my. I found another as beautiful." Narcissus stared at the face in the pond for a great time. "Wow. This face is the one. I could love this figure. It's the one." Narcissus gazed at the reflection in the water. He became completely still and after a while he began to grow roots. It was not long until Narcissus grew a flower head and a flowery body. He became yellow and this is how we now the Narcissus's flower of today."

Tommy said down out of the group. His eyes were distant and cold. Everyone clapped after his story was told. No one questions his attempt to educate the circle.. Maybe he was trying to warn us about Narcissus tragedy in vanity. Maybe he was trying to enlightened us about Echo's history. Or perhaps he was trying to be funny. No one could dissect and truly unravel his intention. Steve figured he was simply reflected the lifestyle of a California. Those Hollywood types had a thing for Greek mythology. It just matched their perfect ways and perfect beliefs. Everything had to be perfect in Hollywood. Thus, this explained their taste for the Mythology of the Greeks.
Tommy left early that day. He was preparing for his upcoming shoot for MGM. It wasn't like he had to show up and give a speech on Greek myth's of Echo and Narcissus. To be honest, even the nuts were embarrassed for him. Why would a movie star show up at a mental ward in the first place? Jay and Jona warned Steve about Marcell's sneaky behavior. Steve was still paranoid of him. He figured it was Tommy's attempt to get closer to Steve. Close enough to bite.

Time passed in the most ordinary way on the stabilization ward. It was worse than a play by William Saroyan. No one really did anything. No nurses made any fuss over any of the usual behavior and the disrupts were down, quiet, still, even the smell was plain, which were not on a varied scale, it was constant, the same. This made Steve feel uneasy. Everything was stale. Bland. Repetitive. It started to remind him of the three dimensional definition of vacancy. He wanted change. Like the song repeats on the Laid CD by James. Change, changed. IIIII change. But how. How could he change. The only major sin that Steve reflected on was gluttony. But that was his only escape from the bland nothingness which surrounded the option of merely sitting there and becoming part of the machine of order. "More nothing, please." Steve hollered. "Please, a little more nothing. Nothing with a side of nothing." Then Steve couldn't hold back. He had to stand. So, he stood. He had to cry out. So he yelled. He had to be heard. So, he walked around and fiercely hollered, "PLEASE MAY I HAVE MORE. MORE NOTHING. AND A SIDE ORDER OF NOTHING. MORE. MORE. MORE. MORE OF NILL. MORE OF NOTTA. MORE OF NOTHING." No one came. Nothing happened. His only visitor was emptiness. This scared the hell out of him. How could this be it? How could I be offered loneliness? I mean, I like Taxi Driver. It is one of my favorite movies, Steve thought. But, I didn't think it be like my life. How Horrid. Shit damn. Steve decided to try to change. No he would change his current fate. He'd stop visiting the snack tray. No, then he end up like Joan or the Jesus Dude. Skinny doesn't look that good in a mad house. He figured it out. He would take moderate snacks back with him to bed. Also, he could try only storing two or three peanut butter and jam sandwiches rather than twelve or fourteen. He used to store up to twelve sandwiches under the bed. Sometimes he store up to twenty peanut butter crackers under his bed. In doing that, he'd have to starve himself for a week or so and have a knot in his back muscle. He could loosen the knot with help of the kid's knuckle massage. It would cost him a pack of cigarettes and sometimes two packs. But Steve was good at scrabble so he had his back muscles loosened quite often. He hated that process. To be honest and good to himself, he actually stopped the deprivation of food. Deprivation bulimia is what they called it. After the third pig out session. This time would be different. He would try to eat until full and not until stuffed.

Ants began to visit his room. Steve didn't mention it to the doctors or techs. He decided to keep the new little red friends as his secret. After all, the ants were his only pet. Or pets. He heard people could train cockroaches and other insects to do tricks, I guess, like a flea circus. Steve figured he sing to the ants. Mabye in singing to them he could teach them to dance. He noticed after talking to them that they'd move in different rotations, or a line of ants would split up into to lines. He counted only five lines. One line went from the window to the origin of crumbs, which lay near the corner leg of the bed. The second line of ants lead from the air vent down the wall and under his bed. He didn't see a line under the mattress, which is odd, because most of the crumbs that fell free landed there, but Steve was extra careful in pre-wrapping the PBJ sandwiches, so it made sense that not many hung out there. The fourth line of ants wasn't really a line but occasionally the form took definite order. This ring or crazy pattern of ants was discovered near the soap dish leaching off the drops of water in and around the sink area. The ants would march their tiny feet through the water and soap, I guess, to drink. Steve didn't know why so many ants where near the soap dish. On the other hand, he figured insects needed water. They must have been carrying it back and forth to the queen. The fifth line was near the room mates bed. It ran under his slipper. There was a half eating Milky way stuck in his sock slipper which he had not touched in three or four days. The new arrival hadn't got up for few days. He was suffering from a hard core case of depression. He entered the hospital wearing glasses. The kid had been moved to a new room. This was a guy. Older than the kid by a short hip shot, but younger than Steve. He was probably no more than two years older than the kid. So, Steve called him the big kid.

The guy turned over in his bed and looked at Steve. He had bright blue eyes and sea curly blond hair. Very handsome. Some one you would see on the cover of Men's Journal or something. His muscles rippled under the bed sheets and his legs were stout and well formed. Later, Steve would learn he was once a performing artist. He had went AWA, leaving with out permission from a traveling musical show on its way to Los Angeles. Their third stop was, "Washington. It was our third stop. I had to get off. I could see one more lyric from Bye Bye birdie." Steve consoled him and comforted his out of control ego by insuring him, "Your not the type for Bye Bye Birdie. You are far too Lion King or maybe even Modern Millie." The man teared up. Steve knew he was one of his kind.

"You know who Saroyan is right?" Steve nodded. "I was just thinking of him the other day. I haven't read any of his works fully but I have heard his philosophy." The guy explained that, "He was a liv-er of life. He loved to live out loud. Holly Hunter film style. Loved it. Anywayz, he said." The guy accurately dictated that Saroyan said to try to live, try as much as possible, possible being the key, try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. Go see a film and act it out. What else. Read a book and become the protagonist. What the hell else are you going to do, order a crunchy chicken shit plate at Denny's. Do something. Anything.

You will be dead soon enough. This scared Steve on a grand scale. I will be what very soon? The guy's meds came in. "Sean. Your meds." Steve thought, 'Sean. Oh. Of coarse. I do good with S words." Steve did have a slight lisps, but nothing to hurt an acting career and make you get all Stanislavski'd out.

"You are the music while the music lasts." Steve said to Sean trying to tickle him with the words. "Hm. Never thought of music that way. Did a musician write it." "No. T.S. Elliot." Steve finally could intellectualize with someone. The kid was too stuck on his body and his escape plan. It was true. The kid was vain and eager. Steve had some time. He was kind of getting to like a few of the nurses, especially this silly nurse that reminded her on Whoopy Goldberg. "So you read too." Steve smiled. "Where did you go to undergrad?." Sean answered, "SMU and you." Steve thought for a slight pause, head clocked, "Southern Methodist in Texas." Steve smiled impressively, "What you study." The long blond with crystal blue answered, "Well. Performance are and a little Ballet what else." "You studied Ballet. Wow. Was it hard." The guy smiled back, "It made your buns hard that's for damn sure." They talked into the moonlight until Sean drifted off to never never land. Steve watched him breath. The covers slowly rose up and down like waves creeping and drifting away on a beach shore in a far away island.

That morning Tommy walked in. Marcell was looking up to date. Hair was highlighted, brighter smile, stronger arms, almost a brand new shine gleamed from his meticulous and wonderful eyes. He was working the room. To think a movie star couldn't fell at working a room. Well they can't. Even in a nut bin, a star can charm. Charming is their ultimate and eternal curse. Tommy was bragging about his upcoming movie. They were doing a re-make, for an educational channel, of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest by Ken Kessy. Tommy would play McMurphy. It wasn't the role for him at all. To be honest, he opposed it at first, then later his agents and the large corporations connived him into signing the contract. Once his John Handcock was pawed, truth in his character prevailed. Tommy took the part. Steve and Sean were giggling over his egoistic flare. "Never saw a bigger Ham in my dayz." Sean exclaimed. Steve stared at him through the crack in the door, which was lazily left by a sneering and intruding Tech.

Earlier that day Steve and Sean were forced to undress and expose parts of their bodies. Unfortunately, the techs were becoming stricter. One mistake, one fowl off mouth, one funny comment and WAM, order set in. Nurses and techs were on double duty, and double time, since the little devil Marcell showed his bright eyes and devilish grin.

Sean wouldn't stay long. He had far too much dance background. He seemed like a dancer trying to perfect his acting skills. Steve learned he had studied in Chicago with a group learned by Merce Cunningham and he had studied with groups taught by Gram and disciples of Duncan and the best. Sean was straight out of the New York Dance scene. Long legs, stout body, cut face and charming toes. He cleaned his side of the room with his toes and a small sponge. "They taught me to do that. I don't know why. That would have had me type with my toes when I took a typist job near Central park before the two thousand year set in." Sean had millions of stories of New York and he wanted to go back, "To act not dance. I had once broken my ankle. Well, they kind of saved it. The doctors. I had to go under. On the table and everything; I broke it fucking around on a skate board. I was high. BAM. It snapped. You seen Misery. You know when Paul Sheldon gets cracked by the sledge. . .well, that happen to my left ankle. I still try at it. But it bothers me and the other dancer are so damn good. I joined a company but finally got fed up with the torture. So, I joined a great acting class. I did one classic. As You like it. by the Bard. I played Audrey." Steve winced at his diction. This one was a dancer; simply because he talked like a low brow street kid, "That's a girl." He was referring to the peasant lady in As You Like it as "the girl." God forbid how he murdered the dramatist personage from the hand of Shakespeare. Sean continued with, "Well, she's a milk maid. Lover of Touchstone. Kind of a whore. The director wanted to do it like they did when The Bard was breathing. So, only men could grace the Elizabethan stage. So, that's why I had to cross dress. Only men were aloud back when it was written. They had to cross dress too. The director was hard core and from Stafford in the UK, you know." Steve guffawed, "You were a lady on Stage. So what." Sean kind of chuckled and scratched the back of his hand, "Well it wasn't a stage. Classroom instead. But it was funny. Touchstone had to many Oreo Cookies before charming my hand to his lip. He kissed the back of my wrist and left a smear of Oreo on a green vein. Later he went for my cheek. I slapped." They talked about New York as Tommy bragged about his last Action film. Nothing changed Steve's mind about Tommy. He was pure evil.

Night rose. Sean was sound asleep. They had him all doped up. He was supposedly taking a souped up version of Prosaic (anti-depressant).

It was time for Tommy to stay gone. If he was there in the morning, Steve was going to protest. He hadn't figured out how he was going to protest. Maybe a sign. Maybe by yelling. Maybe by not showing to the circle. Time would tell. Steve knew for one thing. He wasn't taking Tommy's Hollywood bullshit anylonger.

Steve went back to the snack tray. More crackers. More peanut butter. More bread. The same routine. He wait a week. Carry on deep conversations about nothing, or something, or something in between nothing and everything with Sean's beautiful face and resist food in doing so, hoping it would pay off. He didn't wont Sean to let on to what he was doing. He wait until he had a visitor or until it was Sean's turn to see his assigned doctor. Then, he do it. Mouthful of cracker and so on. It didn't make him feel any better. But Sean wasn't curing the ills and neither was the valium.

When Steve arrived to the ward in D.C. He would do push ups at night. Trying to work off every ounce of food. But the ward eventually broke down the mind. And you get at the mind; you slow the body. Slow the mind down, damage the physic goods. He had to figure away in beating their wills. He had to pretend things were all right in order to go back to working all the food off again. He had to use his imagination to beat these guys. It would seem the opposite. Crazy imagine too much, they need more reason. But that is what it seems. Too much reason is just as insane as too much imaginations. He had to cure himself. That was the key. Self help. Thus, he started to pretend the place was a trailer for a film. And at night he would do his push ups and knee bends alone, while Sean slept. He'd count up to one hundred knee bends a night, and an endless amount of push ups. It was working. Believe it or not this was making him happier. Exercise, in most cases, is a certain way to cure the blues. And Steve had a darkened case all right!

All this time Steve still snuck into the lunch room late at night with packs of jelly to chisel away at the crystal marble block which prevented him from escaping into the free world. He began to date his journal and how far he had to go. He kept it quiet and well hidden under the mattress.

Day 36

The brick loosened a little. It may have not. The nurses still don't know what I am up to. I think a few of the techs may have a clue. But they could care less.

Steve wanted to keep a journal on his progress. It was crazy, but crazy wasn't out of place in this shit hole. It pleased Steve to read at it in his on idiocy and vacuity every night as the nurses handed out meds and checked on patients. It gave him a sense of power to keep a journal on the progress of his escape. Hell, they kept a journal on him mental state. His mind was none on their goddamn business. He smiled as he fed in the agility and the wonderful ability of the plastic spoon. A spoon handed to him by a measly LVN paid a measly hour. And his body was kept. Kept against his own will. One day, and it would be soon, his body would be free. Free. The essence of freedom. And it took a plastic spoon, for dipping at ice cream during snack time.

Sean was moved out of the room for a bit. The techs must of caught on that Steve took a liking to his new room mate. They must have been eyeing each other too much in community circle. Early morning riser group was not the ideal place to met a man.

Steve fell from grace that lonely night. Before returning to the snack tray he tried to sublimate his hunger pang. First, he turned to the journal entries. Not good. Hard to write on a empty stomach. Second, he laid on his back and day dreamed about his journey across the country. That got annoying. Jona and Jay kept interrupting with excuses for not being bad, or not being good. Jona wanted the snacks, Jay wanted double. Steve knew he have to pig again. It was his sin. He was not perfect. It was only time that he get up sneak in the middle of the night to the, "Men's journal is much better than Men's Health." The nurse conversed with the tech on why she liked the article in Men's journal. She talked low and husky like a hard core lesbo. Steve kept his head down. The cart was in the corner covered in the green thick blanket. He peeked his head under the blanket and unwrapped a section of the plastic.

He took home the same. Twenty or so peanut butter crackers, the pb and J, you know, foods that would make must gals believe he had a bad case of the dumbfucks. But there were no illegal drugs, and the meds made you feel like slime, so the only feel good in a place like this, was food. Food or masturbation. And masturbations was frowned upon by the doctors even though the nurses were for it. It was natural.

Steve set up in his bed. Sean was still gone. He decided to make a journal entry.

Day 45

The block isn't that loose. I have plenty of time. The plastic on the spoon is wearing away to oblivion. I have to snag four or five plastic spoons, the next time lunch comes around, maybe I won't get that many, that would be conspicuous. I've decided to head south after a kick out the block. I wonder if I'll have to jump or perhaps I will be able to cling to a gutter or some ivy or some shit. I'll have to wait and see. I don't know what is on the other side of the crystal blocked window. Luckily I am on the third floor, so it won't be but a thirty feet drop. I might could handle that. Thinking about moving to Texas. Getting a cabin. Writing down all this on paper. It would make a good story. THe doctors say I am three different people. I guess its multiple. I don't believe them. They say I come to the meetings as a guy named Jay and sometimes as I guy named Jona. I tell them I know those losers. They just sneak in here to bug me. I don't know why they are talking to the doctors. Anyway, Jay and Jona need to behave. Till next time.

Fear is the destroyer of all that is serene and good. Fear kills love. It kills it in every form. Love will not survive if fear is constantly dominant. Steve believed that love conquered fear. Some even taught that love conquered death. It didn't matter now. His hunger for freedom grew larger and larger, just as his heart beat pounded harder when he escaped his room to the lunch room to carve at the paste between the crystal block. It was so simple. His life had become working on the block. He waited all day. Colored at the table, talked with the techs, who must were studying to get into medical school, he talked with the nurses, especially the large black lady who gave him warm hugs, and he discussed his planes to write a novel with his doctors. He didn't know if it work. But that was fear. He had to beat it out. Smoother it's dangerous flames. So, when night came he got up, put on his slippers, took the plastic spoon with him, placing it in his sock on his right foot, and he finally tip toed to the lunch room. Pulled back the chair, and slid on his belly under the table. He crouched under the table scratching at the paste over and over again. The past sprinkled on the floor like saw dust from a circular saw machine. He watched the past flicker down like tiny angels from heaven. It all came from the crystal block. He was working on the one that was hip level of the table. That meant no one could see it, not even the patience snacking or eating dinner. It was just under the table near the place to stash your gum. Actual Steve removed a couple of pieces, wiped them clean and chewed the center out. He figured he have gum as he worked. He was out of yogurt so he used tooth paste to fill in the crack, to make it look as if the paste was holding out. Dried yogurt didn't look as real as tooth paste anyhow. It was really working. Morning came. As he ate his nuked chicken dinner and his tiny peas, he pushed on the block with his hip. He could of swore it jingle. He go teary over his chocolate milk. It may work. It actually might work. Steve was on his way out of this holding cell. He was going to be a free man. The must honorable thing an American can claim.

Steve kept thinking of the cinema. Kept thinking of filmmakers with a bite of the raw, the real essence of this shitty world, filmmakers that knew what reality does to a person, what this raw spinning unfair domain can do to the human skin and heart; film makers like Labute, PT Anderson and other shocking truth-makers of the film world. A shadow blanketed over Steve. A shadow so thick he could no longer feel a God. Any god. Everything became silent inside. A stillness beyong stone. A anger that crouched and awaited to spring into a fitful rage. An anger with no name, no expectations, no deamds. An anger awaiting. And in this awaiting arrived more anger. He began to think of the film Requiem for a Dream. What was a requiem? A requiem is a hymn, composition, or service for the dead. Steve could hear one constantly playing through the night. Something was wrong with his escape plane. If the crystal block was kicked out than how would he be able to climb down the three story wall. Also, how would he be able to live with out money or proper clothes. It was called in this part of the country. Washington D.C. was chilly close to the New Year. Their wasn't that many places in America that had warmth all year round, besides the sunshine states like Florida and California. These two states were very available for a runaway. Runaways could survive in Cali. It was warm. There were beaches everywhere. You could sleep on the beach or even, if you looked hot, you could get picked up by a fancy lady with mega cash. But the problem was catching a ride. There are a lot of psycho from north east to south west. Many people with knives, guns and read accents. Who knew who was who in those get go cars. Steve would try to find a young ride. Young people were usually safe. Plus, the youth flocked to Florida and California. Steve decided he'd go to Cali. It housed Hollywood. Steve's main goal in life, even though Jay and Jona laughed at him and made fun of him, was to be a movie star. He couldn't think of a better way to spend his last days on earth. Riding around in topless cars on highway 405, gazing at the puffy clouds on the edge of Ocean 1, or cruising down Santa Monica Boulevard checking out all the foreigner driving fancy first class wheels, and checking out the movie stars by groceries at the store, maybe he'd meet one of them, ask for a break, who knows maybe he'd get one. Maybe he land a film. Steve remembered sending at least a thousand head shots from his apartment in Long Beach back in two thousand. He got chased off due to his aggressive behavior and weird necessity. Hollywood only wants the perfect. They can sell perfect. Even though people are getting more and more real in the states. Steve moved in a small apartment in Dallas and sent out at least three hundred head shots to corporations like MGM, Paramount and Tri-star. No one returned his phone call. Not even the cheesy action films. Steve had even gone to a popular acting school up North. Steve hated starving. He lived in a gay district known as Highland village. Later, he moved to a larger apartment off of Greenville. He got a manager and hooked up with some friends to help him find a job. He would go to this one call board back of a theatre called Kitchen Dog. There he would pick up the Back Stage West, Hollywood Reporter and magazines that gave him info on the industry. He got a subscription to Back Stage West and sent out to films in hopes some one, anyone would come to his rescue. He'd pray each night before bed, "Dear God help all those that are less fortunate and please help an agent to call, please help a casting director to call, and please help me to land a big film. One that will save me." He felt ashamed to pray for such stupid things, when there were many starving. But hell, Steve was starving. He had to go by the near by Central Market and steal protein bars. It was the only thing that would fit into his pocket beside cans of tuna and those were far to bulky and that lacked class. Steve wanted to steal in style. So, he stole protein bars. When the stomach growls loud of enough the hands become sticky. He was working part time at a small café that served plantain chips and expensive gourmet fruit shakes. It was called Liberty Noodles. They had recently moved away from Greenville to a place on Lovers Lane. His life in Dallas wasn't what he expected to be. Everything was wild, on the verge and fast pace.

Steve woke up to someone crying in the hall. A new one had been admitted. She was about seventeen or so. A little young for this hall. Things must be getting crowded in the younger wards. Most of the teenagers were kept in the above halls. It was close to the holidays. Things were busy during the blessed season.

Steve scrapped at the crack in between the crystal block all night long. The bunk mortar he had left the night before had a sodden look to it. Rain had washed in the dry spots. He removed the fake mortar and stuck the plastic spoon inside the groove. He jiggled his hand left to right to find the old placement. Steve sawed for more than an three minutes straight, breaking his last record. He had found a cheap watch near theTV room. It wasn't digital so it was hard to keep perfect timing. It didn't even have an hour hand on it; only a minute hand. The hand would make threw rotation and Steve would digress in the sawing motion.

Day 57

New Years.

I'm always constantly defining things. What they mean. What does it all mean? I don't have a dictionary in a place like this, but I am sure some writer will pass by these doors and hand out a Websters or two. Definitions aren't always the answer for things. Especially the whirl wind and juggling act life becomes. I don't know if any one will read my journals. I don't care now. I'm writing to get back at those bastards, those mental head nazis that locked me up. How can they do this to me? New Years is approaching. That's why I am so mad. I haven't masturbated lately. Sean's beauty reminds me constantly of the art out there, awaiting sight. I've never seen a more beautiful young dancer than Sean. His face is like something Angelo would sculpt. He has eyebrows like a Leo, arched and sharp, and he has a charming chin with that little convex indention in the center. His face is well bloomed along with his frame. No women would turn him down. Not a single one. Maybe not even a man. Not a one. Plus, his thigh muscles have been through seven hard years of advanced French ballet. I am not a good speller so forgive me if I am misspelling words. I did when third place in a junior high spelling B championship. It was supposed to be televised but the Dallas Cowboys beat us out. That was when I was younger. The first thing I do when I get out is head West. I am going to stop at a nearby motel. Stay the night and stay up in the middle of the night watching movies on Cable. I love cable. HBO, Cinemax, HBO two, the whole nine yards. I want to watch the films I never got to be in. I guess I lost my mind as an actor in Hollywood. Its not hard to do.

Adventure awaits. Movies. Cinema stardom. Cinema stardom.

Steve set the journal down and tucked the small, stubby pencil under the mattress. He glared out the window as the rain speckled down from the rain gutter. He decided to conceal the journal as well. No reason to let them take that away from me, Steve thought. He continued to gaze at the snaking patterns which swam in sidewinder waves down the window pane. His eyes went foggy as night set in.

Nothing is for free. Steve knew the truth of nature. We are born into this world to breath and one day this breath leaves us. What is the cost of breath? Is it that we breath for the sake of work. Do we breath for labor? What is the cost of work? Do we work to slowly peel away our celestial skins, exposing the lifting, ascendance of man. Do we die to live?

A wheel chair entered the scene of the community circle. It puttered and squalled due to its electric facilities. It was Six thirty AM. The wheelchair was powered by a crooked hand and a black long joy stick. Steve was somewhat up. No perfectly wide awake. He seemed to have a hint of drowsiness on its way. But nevertheless, he was up. So was Sean. Sean prettily sat down and joined the circle like a delicate ornament. Steve cut a silent fart due to his visit to the snack tray. The smell didn't seem to bother the other patience. Everyone was there but the Jesus Dude. Rumor had it he had to make critical. Critical mass more like it. The crazy painter dude had arrived, the lady that bless the walls with a water from a Styrofoam cup, the babbling poet with the white beard and two techs and a soft spoken nurse with a nice figure. She didn't say much and she was new. The wheelchair housed a hard soul. She had a faint face with moments of incandescent beauty. Blond hair. Her body was twisted and diseased. She was deformed from her upper chest and down. She seemed like on twisted knot. This struck a strange type of fear in Steve. She had a scar that ran up her left arm and her voice gargled and spewed. She was far from eloquent, but her mind was far above the state of grace. She was a visitor, not a patient at all. Steve later learned she was a inspired doctor of psychology. She came to speak about mental illness and wanted to invite patience to a table meeting in the lunch room. She conducted the morning circle, quoting from her favorite poets and consoled an old babbling man that never mentioned his name. The man looked like a deformed flower on the verge of its last, grasping wilt. He was a passing fancy with the cut edge of Walt Whitman and the body of a ghoul. Steve called him Walt. She petted Walt's head and read a verse from a little black book. Afterwards, the doctor rolled over to Steve. "What's you name." She said like an demonic Laura Engles from Little house on the Prairie. "Well, see I'm a fag. And this is my lover Sean. He's a dancer. We are in here for displeasing God." She flipped her head back in a mechanically robotic theme park way, and gargled out a horrific laugh. "Oh, you have a humor." He smiled at her and eyed the approaching stout male tech. "You'll have to cure your bitter tongue before leaving those doors." She crookedly pointed with a fierce long finger. He smiled at her for a second time hoping she'd run off on her motorized wheels. She didn't. She remind at the circle and read from Robert Frost. Steve nodded off in the middle of the poem. Sean's medication kept him wide awake. "Are you taking anything Steve." The hobgoblin on wheels hissed, "Well, they had me on Prosaic and some other anti-depressants, but they made my stomach sting. So I had them take me off it." She birthed a agonistic smile, "Oh. Your doctors must be treating you with a new cure. No meds for you and your on a stabilization ward." Steve smiled in a more fake way. "Yep. It's a miracle ain't it." She wheeled back by using several sharply twitches from her curled weak wrist.

The wheel chair lady announced her name as, "Letgoe. Mrs. Letgoe." It was an odd name but it fit her personality. Mrs. Letgoe gathered us up for the lunchroom circle to discuss her new book. She had written a book on paranoia and wanted to enlighten the group of the worth of trust. "The worth of trust in others is essential to normal quality living. You must trust others if you want to work with them, play with them and be with them. Paranoia comes from fear. Not just fear alone. Fear is there. It exists all around us. Its in animals and even some believe its in plants and trees. Fear prevents us from traveling. It allows us to hide, and shell ourselves into a wad of nothing. We can't fear. Not others, not the world and definitely not ourselves. Fear is patient. Its willing to bite ya whenever possible. Fear is evil. Its dark. Some use it. That's good. If you can use fear fine—being fearless is dangerous as well. But fear is not always our best companion. Some believe fear turns to hate and this leads to anger. Anger can exhibit a loss of control and this turned into a reaching cry for help. Many times this angry ones turn into a aggressinve ball of terror. Who here feels they are losing control?" Everyone raised there hand but Steve. "Steve you feel your not losing control." Steve shook his head left to right and remained still. "Why don't you feel like the others?" The speaker announced. Steve reacted with a smile and replied calmly, "I am not like the others. I don't really want to be here. And I will leave when the time permits it." She tried to sit up straight but her crooked spine did not allow it. Her voice spilled out like wind in a dark tunnel, "and when will time permit it." Steve smiled back at her, "When I say so." She laughed at him, grinned at the clock, and curled her neck back like a husky crow, "When time permits it eh. I seeee. So, you will just up and walk out of her. Just forge a key, eh?" She hid her approaching smile cattishly with a thinly sick hand. "Yes. When I forge it." Steve sat up erect in his chair with pride and looked toward the crystal window. She twisted her head, but her neck would not reach fully, thus she was not allowed to see what he was looking at. She became composed, "So, your in control are ya Steve." "Yeah. I feel I am. When I arrived her I was two other people. Those people don't exist any longer. I forced them out of me. That takes control doesn't it?" "Oh w,hy is that?" She sneered, "I killed them." Steve looked triumph. "You killed who?" She said with wide eyes. "I killed Jona and Jay. I killed those who were hurting me, lying to me, tricking me. No reason to take their torture. Or is there?" She grimed out with a husky returning query, "Who is Jona and Jay." She has no reason to question those demons, what is she trying to bring up, and why, Steve thought. "I am only asking you Steve. If you are afraid to not. . ." "I am not afraid of anything. Not anymore." He closed his eyes. She pushed the joy stick forward and the wheel chair commanded closer, "So, your with out fear. Fearless. Hm. Not always good to be that way." Steve adjusted his green freshly wased ward gown. "Well we aren't all perfect are we?" The wheelchair lady smiled a huge happy grin. "Nooo sireee. Nope. We are not."

She didn't really say much after that. She mostly listened to the patience problems and offered condolence. She seemed more like a nun than a doctor. The time finally was up and she wheeled out of the room. Before she left she turned to Steve who was leaned back near the TV set. "Steve. I hope you feel better. And I hope you find a way to use your fear." She winked at him. It made Steve shiver inside. Use fear. But I told the winch I ain't afraid anylonger. I know what I am going to do. Knock out the block, climb down and run to the setting sun. bitch didn't hear me. "Fine. Thanks so, so much for your help." Sean walked up to Steve and scooting him over. "Whatcha watching?" He asked. Steve remained silent. "Don't mean to be dry? Just trying to warm ya." Steve pushed Sean muscled leg aside and huffed a short moan. The wheel chair vanished in the dark hall, its puttering electric motor drifting away into nothing.

Steve knew how the world could be. The coldness. The turned cheeks. The lonely nights. The lady had it tough. Steve's empathy kicked in. He understood her tribulations on a three dimensional plain. He had been close to her misery. Steve sided with her problem more than most of the other patients and wanted to help. See, his farther had the Polio disease. It was his father's left leg. One summer he took them on a trip to Arkansas to Hot Springs. The father used to go there when he was younger for therapy on his leg. He sit in the hot bath houses and nurses would rub his calf and his hurt knee. His father was very overweight. More so than most people. He limped to the side when he walk like some type of teetering toy. The summer Steve turned twenty eight he took them on a tour guide through the bath house culture district. The step mom traveled along. She mostly snacked on low diet cookies and chips. It was sad to see him stuff his face. For some reason his father had to. They'd stop at Chinese restaurants on the way to hot springs and get the all you can eat buffet. Steve would get a small plate of rice and some salad. Steve mostly sipped on hot anti-oxide tea while his father took in large mouthfuls of saucy rice and pork. Steve didn't blame his father for all of his mistakes. Gorging oneself is a horrible sin and it has a costly punishment. It not only robs the body but also the mind, and spirit. Steve couldn't really stop him. It was his hand and his mouth. Hand to mouth. Steve tried to put his self in his father place. Many great people have had fat fathers. Hemingway for example. But that didn't stop Steve's from judging his on kind. It scared him. He had hate towards his father for doing it. Steve knew how hard he must have had it at school and in growing up. Steve's father was also abusive and once got hauled off to jail for child abuse. Steve didn't blame with a one hundred percent surety. He couldn't. After all, they were going to Hot Springs to see a passion show about the life of Christ. Forgiveness was a huge portion of the diet his father and Steve had to accept. People must of stared at him when he was younger. They must of questioned his limp and wondered why one calf muscle was larger than the other. This cruel judgment became a heard of cruelty and tantalizing torture that soon sunk his father to stoop so low. Food became his bandage. Once, stabbed he needed security and comfort from the spewing blood. Steve had a similar problem. Steve was born with one chest bone larger than the other. After he turned twenty five he stopped trying to hide it. Occasionally a close friend would joke about it with him and Hollywood turned him down in acting work. See, Steve wanted to be an actor. He loved the craft and finally came to terms with the visual side of the business. He didn't want to quit but no one was paying him to act. His father encouraged him to do it, even though he was a republican and conservative. Steve didn't mind it. When you look different, your fat, deformed or crazy or whatever, people judge. They shouldn't judge but it is human nature to do so. People spend their entire lives fighting this human nature side of life. It's a dark side of life to judge others based on their looks. We all have read and learned not to judge a book by its cover. To really open the book, explore it, read into it, understand it and empathize with each page. Steve guessed his father was replacing emotion with food. This meant, that food made him feel. He probably got so use to people pointing fingers that he found a way to turn off his emotions during the day, and then when he got home, near the comfort of the fridge, he opened up the package and stuffed it down the hatch. Food became a smiley face. Steve empathize. Steve once had a similar problem, but learned the hard way. He gained too much weight one time and this caused him to have double the pain. He wasn't just deformed but he was fat too. He decided to change this. Steve starved himself until he met a certain reasonable size. His father continue to eat, and eat. It was just to hard to loose it with the pain of the limp and the effects of polio. Steve still cared for his father and begged him to find another way and not use food as a substitute for love and emotion. Hate and food do not mixed. He figured that his father was getting back at those that name called, and pointed and gazed, by stuffing his face and becoming drunk on food. Perhaps his father didn't want the pain of being different to dull to a low hum. The food at least made him feel he was more than merely alive.

At the end of the day Steve and his father talked about the life of Christ and the execution of the performance of the passion play in Arkansas. They agreed that forgiveness was a strong aspect of life lessons. They both had a lot of forgiving to do. Forgiveness for themselves and others. That was two long years before this day.

The nurse walked in on Sean's pre-supper nap. "Supper time Steve. Sean you ready. Oh, guys guess who came for supper. Mrs. Letgo. She wants to talk to you guys. Hurry now." That was the soft spoken nurse. She held the door open for Sean and Steve to exit through. Steve hated when she did that. Soft spoken nurses shouldn't be that nice.

Letgo talked for over thirty minutes about the meaning of fear and the existence of delusion. Sean and I yawned. We didn't like Letgo that much. She smiled too long, laughed too loud and seemed far too happy to be real. She rolled around the lunch room, she even brought a chart to consult to. She introduced us to several axis marks. It was called the, "DSM III-R. This list of the conditions to be met for a diagnosis of panic disorder shows the degree of detail in the diagnostic criteria." Basically the DSM III was published by the American Psychiatric Association. It is the formal classification system used in the diagnosis of psychological disorders. She wasn't really trying to diagnosis. That was not her goal of the visit. She wanted to enlighten us with knowledge. "Knowledge is power. I hope all of you understand these charts. How many of you have been to court yet?" Sean leaned over and whispered in my ear, "I think she's trying to help us." Steve whispered back, "Let her try." Steve's eyes were wide and wild. He didn't seem anger, but the storm was imbedded deep within.

Steve and Sean went to the room early that night. Sean had some dialogue he wanted to exchange with Steve concerning the meaning of their stay. "So why are you here Steve?" Sean asked stretching out his long legs. "Well, Oh. I. You really want to know?" Sean jittered his head, "I would not of asked if I didn't mean it." Sean sat up and took in a breath, "Well. It goes back a couple of years back. I left for Hollywood. I was a drama nerd at home. Did plays. Acted in Universities. So on and so on. I had a major problem with the ladies. Have you read Glass Menagerie. You know Laura's character. How she feared the limp. Sounded like thunder to her, right. Well I feared what women thought of my body. I don't know why. I just did." Sean interrupted with, "Why. You seem normal." Steve went further with his story, "Well, I'm not. I have one chest larger than the other. Its no a big deal. It really isn't. But when I have sex it makes suction sounds. The bone, the way it's shape, allows air to get trapped in my chest, so I have to put a hand over my heart while having sex." Sean laughed, "How romantic. I mean, you put your hand over your heart while pumping." Steve looked serious. "It's a disgrace. I try to pass it off, but whats the use, I just fail to my own self awareness. I try to be normal but I was born with a slight defect. It hurts." Sean tried to cover his mouth. He was laughing pretty hard. "Let me see." Steve turned around to the wall blushing. "No." Sean jumped over to his bed. "LET ME SEE IT." Steve faced him. "If I show you, you promise not to be grossed out." Sean stood up into first position. "Scouts honor." Sean withheld his attempting actions to lift the shirt, "I am very self conscious about my deformity. But sense I know you. Ok." Steve lifted his shirt exposing his chest. The center section above his sternum stuck out a good half inch or so. It did not perfectly match up with the adjacent rib cage. "That's not too bad." Sean said. "I'm even a dancer. We are obsessed with the body. That's not too bad. That's why I'm laughing. You still have the other ninety five percent. No one's perfect. Well almost no one is." A lull took over the room. It was a strange type of silence. The kind that commands. "Ok. That's not the full reason. I also thought I was a robotic, demi Christ out to save the world." Sean cocked his head like a domestic over excited dog about to get a Scooby snack. "Say what again." Steve explained, "Well. I woke up one morning. I hadn't eating in for ever. I was on a fast. I began to scrub myself with the bar of soap, like really rigid and my movements became robotic. I even talked like a robot. I have no reason why. I though some one had dropped a mickey in my drink. I wondered around my college campus waving at people and speaking in a rhythmic odd, eccentric religious code. I sort of thought I was Christ, or like a militant robot warrior for Christ or something. I even pissed on myself in front of one of my good actor buds. The rumors were horrifying after that." Sean jumped in, "Did you hurt anyone." "Well no. Not really. My father picked me up. He brought his step mom and my little half brother. They took me to Charter. I escaped the next morning. They tranquilized me and everything. I ran back to the dorms but a police man found me. He took me back and I conned my aunt into taking me to lunch. I begged her to bring me by the dorms to pick up coupons for a vegan Indian restaurant. I was on one of those no meat diets. I was once a fan of Morrisseys. Anyway, I ran to my dorm room and retrieved a book by Bertrand Russel and my car keys. When I left I dropped the book at my RA feet and escaped to my car. He chased me and tried to break my key's in the ignition. I bit him." Sean kicked his leg in the air, "You bit him. How hard." "Hard. Really hard. Than I backed the car out of my parking spot and high tailed it to New York." "Did you make it." Sean asked biting his nail. "No. I ran out of gas in Missouri. The trip there was freaky. I thought I was in like a Star Wars episode. The car lights behind me were like lost space spirits trying to capture my soul. I felt I had to wave at people in order to save them from evil. Waving was like saving their souls or something. I was mega lost. I walked around digging out of trashcans. I had all these delusions. I thought this cult was after me. These people at a gas station tried to get me to get in the car with them and this other guy, at the same gas station, showed me a picture of some naked guy who was knocking on people's front door nude. I found a meaty burrito at a Taco Bell and finally had some thing in me. I must of lost a ton of weight. I think I was like ten pounds under weight when I returned. I called my mom from the gas station. She sent a cab after me and later picked me up with my step father. They put me in a drug rehab facility for two weeks. I did every mental drug known to man. Lithium, Prosiac, Respiridal, halodall—the whole nine yards. The stuck a needle to my vein and told me to pop the pill or get injected. After awhile, the delusions stopped. I stopped thinking I was this robotic warrior for Christ. It wasn't long until I graduated undergrad and headed off to Hollywood to act. That's when I thought I was Jona and Jay. The doctors her tell me I'm multiple with a touch of schizophrenia. But I have had the doctors tell me I was all of it. Bi-polar to sociopath." Sean's eyes widened, "all of it. Damn." "I lived near Hollywood for about seven months and then I lost my mind. I did some weird new drug. I don't know whats its called, Myorsyn something. Anyway, I lost it after that." Sean sat back against the wall. That odd silence arrived and stayed a few heartbeats longer. "So what are you in for." Sean grabbed his toe and stretched his back muscle. "I took speed and thought I was a bird." Steve smiled, "You thought you were a bird." Sean cut in with, "Well, I was or I had joined a dance troupe in New York. They held a recital. It was modern dance. I played a bird in one scene. I took so much speed that I stopped speaking and eventually started to chirp instead. Chirp Chirp. I thought I could fly too. I jumped off a bridge." Steve covered his mouth. "No. How high was the bridge." Sean answered with a serious tone, "Thirty feet. Luckily it was the deep end. The cops pulled me out after some one called an ambulance. I was high as a kite. It wasn't long until I ended up here." Steve cut in, "How did you get to D.C." "My lover lived here. I came to see him. He was gone so I checked my self in for depression. I have it real bad." Steve looked out the window as fog rolled over the full moon. "So why the speed. You have great body." Sean cut in, "Basal metabolic rate. See, I have a body that has a somewhat slow basal rate. That means that I really have to work off my food. I'm not hefty now, but I can get that way. That's death for a dancer." Steve's eyebrows raided his stern poker face, "Yeah I know. I know how you feel. Moderate meals are tough for the artsy kind. We want to take in some much of the world. And at once." Sean smiled, "Well that's what I do. I pig. I have a problem with it. Bulimia. I'll go days with out a real meal. I got to stay thin for the troupe. I'm the weakest one but I'm still a trouper. Food and me have problems. So I thought speed could help. Boy, I found out the hard way." Steve shook off his glare which was held out the window at the moon, "Selfish reasons. I remember in L.A. I was reading a lot of Tennessee Williams. I had some weird idea about leaving Hollywood for New York. I love plays. Anyway, in Tennesee's play he talks about going to the moon. Or Amanda says, 'Go to the moon you selfish dreamer.' The character of Tom in his play had to leave his home. He had to hurt others to please himself. Maybe even save himself. Home was seen as an awaiting coffin. Nothing else. We do things that seem like they hurt others, but we do them out of instinct. We don't want to face or destinies, good or bad. . .or something like that." Sean's eyes became watery, "Starving yourself just to look good, jeopardizing your brothers and their hard work and their art so you won't look a little hefty. Think of why I feel guilty huh? The troupe members didn't really mind what I looked like. They wanted me to hit my marks, finish off my turns, complete my jumps, but to starve. I didn't have to do it. It was horrible. I'd skip lunches, turn down parties, no hanging out with anyone, then I go back to room and gorge myself." Steve whispered, "So you'd feel better." Sean applied yes with a shake of his head. "Did you feel any better?" Sean returned with, "Short term, yeah. Long term, I've never felt worse." Steve walked over to Sean and took his hand, "You'll get better. Bulimia is a bitch. Its about moderation more than drugs. Moderation is the worlds problem. Your fighting something. An evil that's been in man some time. It will take presence. Know the now." Sean hugged Steve. "I just wanted to feel beautiful. I wanted them to think I was beautiful." Steve smiled, "Beauty is tricky one. Its mostly found in what we do, not what we appear to do, or what we even show up looking like when we do it." The night brought in the first pleasant silence in a long time.

Morning arrived. The community circle met on time. Everyone was there but the Jesus Dude. He must of blew away in the hall due to an open air vent. Anyway, everyone showed. "I wish I was a house cat." The crazy painter dude that looked like Walt Whitman's brother spoke out with his house cat wishes. "I wish I was a house cat. They get to stay in all day. Their fed. Their bathed. Their flee free usually, in most cases and they get pet. That's all." The brother of Walt Whitman looked somewhat retarded. He sat up with erect back, perfect posture, hands on his legs and stared into space. "Thank you for your fine story." The soft spoken nurse said with the nice figure. "Who else would like to make a comment today." "Yeah. We should be allowed a fridgerator. I'm tired of being dependant on the nurses for snacks and I'm tired of eating on a regular bases. Lunch always at high noon, dinner always at six. I mean, we aren't in the real world. Why should we eat like we are in the real world." The Hispanic lady with the Styrofoam blessing cup announced with perfect untouched pride. "I want more valium." Walt announced. "And you Steve. How are you?" "Well, I like me new roomy. He has class and he doesn't snore." Sean smiled. "I can't wait to get out next week." Sean loudly expressed with a strong healthy tone. "One week." Steve looked surprised, "One week. Your kidding me. That's great. I wonder what freak will be in your place." "Hey now. None of that. No one's a freak in here." Soft spoken nurse said. "Now. Today is music therapy. I'm sorry she is late."

"What does Paranoia mean to you Steve?" Mrs. Letgo asked. It was breakfast time. Mrs. Letgo wanted to talk to Steve alone over a cup of coffee and bite size bagels. She smeared a gob of jelly on hers and swallowed it whole. "It means their out to get me." "Are they?" Mrs. Letgo asked. "More or less yeah. Its mankinds instinct. It's the way man is. It's the way nature is. We are all killers. We all kill with a smile, with a wave or with a kind or hurtful word. Its part of us to do such. Most won't admit to it. Most act Christian like. They act like they don't judge. But they judge I tell you. And you can be judge to death. Hurtful words, just as hurtful thoughts kill. I'm different. Mentally as well as physically. And it hurts. I'm tired Mrs. Letgo. Don't you see. They won't quit." "Who won't" she asked in a kind, soft tone. "You. Them. The doctors. The employers that fire me after a month or two. The ones that envy. The haters. The overeating, hick ass, ignorant masses that envy the artist and other eccentrics. I'm just an actor/writer. I get lost. WE do that. WE get lost in what we do. It can't be done otherwise. How do they expect me to be perfect, to be kind twenty four hours seven, how do they expect me to kiss their asses. My ass should be kissed on occasion, I deserve a curve every once and awhile. Enough said." Mrs. Letgo added, "What can I do." "Eat your mini bagel and shut up." He got up and headed toward his room. Steve had something important to ask Sean.

"Are insane people trying to leave a sane world, or are sane people trying to live in an insane world, or are the insane trying to be sane in a insane world, or does it make you insane if you try to be sane in a crazy fucked up world." Sean nodded off to sleep. The moonless night arose like a thickly black stage curtain. "No moooon. Tonight Sean. No moon. Hey. You awake." Sean let out a burping snore. It wasn't long until a pale milky face peeked behind a group of cottony clouds. It was actually a few weeks past its quarter stage—heading to a full.

Steve jotted in his journal:

All the stages of the moon are gazed upon by dreamers and writers: The writer must see it's different stages. The moon speaks a gigantic story of mystery and silent universal lost and found wishes: Waxing to a baby quarter and in nightly dreams we sleepidlly rise it to it's half silvery child life, and then, to a three quarter young pale lover to a fully grown father, watching over nightly, gleaminley over his sadly hunters, to a wanning old man and then out out brief candle and the widow moon sends the blackbirds to flyaway home.

That night Sean slept as Steve pigged out on jelly packets, peanut butter sandwiches and a triple dozen full of soggy milky mini bagels.

Cross eyed and painless. Steve tried to fix his vision. He heard David's voice. It was deep inside. Jay knew Billy. Jona knew him in person. Steve knew David. The singer. Lost his shape trying to look casual. Ready to leeee. Ready to leeee. That's sauzsd. That's seems to me. Look for information left, lefting my head.

Some one in the lunch area had radio privileges.

Sharp as a knife. Sharp as a knife. Still waiting. Still waiting. Stiiiiilll. Waiiiiiting. The car noises zoomed by, like a usual riff in a craftwork song. The Talking Heads usually were not played around brunch , or pre snack to nuked chicken den den. David Burns had the nuts tapping on their knees in the lunch room. Steve glanced over to see how his tooth past mortar was holding up. No one seem to look under the table but Steve anyway. Steve sang along to burns. Sean wasn't around. He was visiting a visitor in a private room. His agent had come to visit him and wanted him to get back to the big city to act and dance. Steve thought about running north, to write, act and sing, but he would need a shit load of money. Where would he get that much? The doctors couldn't help him make it. He'd have to come up with a scheme, a scheme to set his goal into action. He'd be better off in L.A. with out a dime rather than the Big Apple. If you don't have cash in the Big Apple, and a lot of cash, then your kicked out. Steve figured the only way was to write a book. He could take all his journal entries and poetry from his past, and turn them into a huge collection. He could even add his plays, screen plays and more. Something would have to come of it. He had written much, it was just a matter of sorting it all out, and finding the gold segments in it, maybe the other rustier sections would set off the gold, make it stand out more. He'd have to go home, empty out his old room and dig out the best writing material, and then, finally, to a writing agent, or a editor. Maybe he go straight to a publishing company. The book, or collection of writings, even a few nutty manifestos could be composed into some type of poetry book for modern times. He cooked up an idea about posting a few of his stories onto a giant wall, make it modern art. But what wall? A wall in a big city. A wall in a small city. A wall in a foreign country. A wall of nature. A water fall. What type of wall? Anyhow, he find a wall nevertheless. He tack them up and spray liquid glue over the words, to give it all a glassy, glossy, and most ghastly look. It would be a artsy risk. What an effect.

Now it's a pizza hut, now it's covered with daisy. It was a discount store. I can't get use of the lifestyle. Pig pig piggy. Little piggy. Its over, over over. Little piggy over.

Steve dreamed of the big city. He loved the film Vampires Kiss, and he knew how romantically gothic the Big Apple could be. It was a town of Romantics wishing for Shelly and all it's dark myths. Steve had an obsession with hell, vampires and the wicked side of life. He could see it here and there blowing the leafless trees and howling in the dead of the night. It hid in the corners of the church, in the misprints in the newspaper and it hovered above the foggy alleys laced with zigzagging river rates the size of black footballs with itsy bitsy feet. Not all those stories always breathed life, but one likes to visit them in the alleyways and as the past meets up with the future. And under the shadows of the tall dark bricks lies Adam's first tasty and enlightening fruitful bite. He wanted to live in the tall buildings, and look down on the world. Steve wanted adventour. He wanted to plow into the music, the jazz, the theatre houses and the dark alleys of artist, poets and drumming devils. He didn't want to be some asshole servant working at a four star restaurant, applauding the near famous beefy chef, stinking of rich wine, and eating his pre cooked entrees before trying all his seafood dishes. Puffy cheek buthole. He would make these squid delicatessen and fishy food meals and vigorously offer them to the waiting crew. "Hmmm. Taste ahh. Fishy." And he didn't want to be taught not to use the word "fishy" when SELLING. "Don't use fishy. Say, Ocean filled, or oceany. The aroma of the sea. . .yeah use that. Aroma of the see. Try this one." the Aztec dinner meals of twenty to thirty dollars a plate and memorizing all of it in two nights, plus Steve was on his vegetarian diet, starving in some rich ladies high floor studio apartment near Park Avenue and Gramercy Park, Flairtons; plus the Florida trained cook was a fat cat and the owners were Aztec butt knocks, probably snorting coke off the blond bimbo waitresses muscle tits.

Four stare waiting is about as high as you can go in the food serving business. These folk make up to seventy thousand a year. Some do in eighty. Pressing his white button up. Slacks steamed. Bla Bla vomit bullshit. And on and on again. Steve wanted to be a real artist, a hardworking craftsman. Music, art, paintings, dance, ballet, the symphony, art district, Chelseys walls, Bob Dylon, Hard Rock, expensive stereos, rent with no pain, CD's paid for, music in my ear, savior over there, loud mouth, party charm, scarf tucker, womanizing fucker, wall street stalks, limousine driver pisser offer, he wanted it all, he wanted it all, he wanted to own the city, beat out Trump. Beat em all out. How, how. Would he use his nutty arty talent. Could that be what New York wanted. Could he be the one. The ultimate story teller, the dancer, the actor. The perrrrrrrformer. That's what he'd do. Escape for performance. He'd be the performer. Yes. Live it up in the biggest town in the world. Fine a babe. Party down. Hoook up. Do a few drugs. Some two hundred bottle wine. Smelled of oak, musty, woody, dry. Good wine. From Chile, or Paris France. Bordeux. He'd win over all of em. They'd bow to him. Kiss his hand. And he fuck em back. Fuck em hard. The finest, young ones. Twenty. Twenty one. Long legs. In dance class. Hard legs. Large firm ones. Tall firm ones. Skinny firm ones. All young. Fuck em Fuckem Fuckem. That's what he had to do. He'd escape the boredom of these four walls. Steve would become a man. No more faggot play pin bullshit. He cut loose. Turn around. One eighty. He teach them for holding. No one would hold him back. He jotted in his journal,

Gangster of love. That's my dream when Art turns to money. I will screw them all. Me and my limo. You'll see. Finest clothes. Armani. Calvin Klein. I'll be on bill boards. Tall, wide bill boards. Model. Fine figure. Fine figure. All the figures will be on my side. All the numbers rolling my way.

Steve took a sleeping pill that night. Two of them. He was saving one next to a couple of cream cheese packets. He dreamt of leaving a small Texas college town. He had just graduated. The years was coming to a close. He was speeding across Nevada, passing Vegas. On his way to LA.

Steve remembered stopping at New Mexico to visit his aunt and uncle. His aunt and uncle had moved away from home when he was a little kid. They fixed him an egg sandwich, one of the eggs had a double yolk. His aunt hugged him goodbye.

He arrived at Long Beach three days before Christmas. The apartment check in counter and office was decorated with Christmas ornaments. It was so bright outside. Not a cloud in the sky. He was sweating as he took in his boxes from the stuffily packed Camaro. He took in over twelve boxes full of clothes, bathroom supplies, phone, phone books and memo pads. Also, he had books and even a shower curtain. Figured he save money.

Steve dreamt of sending out his picture and resume. He sent over a hundred in the first couple of weeks He couldn't decide if it was better to staple the resume to the picture or spray liquid glue on them. He sent at least hundred headshots and resume, or so, to major movie corporations like Fox, WB, and MGM.

Steve notice the demons like to visit, from their dark place with in, after a nice pig out of cracker and low fat cream cheese.

He took out his journal and began to write:

Christ talked about the demons as many. They exist from with in and in many. There are a varied form, traveling in large groups, large legions, from with in. They are voices to haunt us as one walks up hill and to reward us as we easily float down hill. They trick us. They feed us when we don't need food. They hit us when we don't need abuse. The make one, divide. They are not indivisible. Confusing is their long cape which wraps around the body and mind like a bone constrictor in a enraging, hungry mood; squeezing out the last drop of sanity. How do we fight them. How do one fight them off.

Steve considered his options. He had to follow what he believed in. To him, this was not crazy, even though many said he was. Watching the wheels turn, gathering moss, throwing rocks in glass houses and tripping on his own trip. He was loose from the cord that latched him to safety. He was alone. In a hospital. In Washington DC, with a gay dancer roommate named, Sean. It was all too unreal, too foggy, too hazy.

They had put a new clock in the main room. It buzzed three times in rapid succession on the dot of every hour. Sean hated the sound but Steve founded it surprisingly reassuring. Every time he heard the three raped beeps he would right in his journal. He was making up to seven journal entries a day. There wasn't much else to do in a nut bin. "Sean, ready for breakfast." Sean was laying still. Steve jumped up. "SEAN. BREAKFAST. HEEEEY." He noticed Sean had turned a shade of blue and was taking in shallow breaths. Then, he noticed a his hand was clasped shut. He checked his palm and found eight dark bright blue pills. He read the encoding on the skin of the pill. The first three to fall from his hand read 8miie, 6miie, 12miie and the last five once more read 8miie. The Number and letters indicated the time, date and name of the pill. Each nurse took notation of every pill giving to each patient. M stood for Monday. Eight was the time of day. 8 would be eight AM in the morning. 20 would have been eight O'clock at night. So, Sean had no evening pills. This was good. That meant no downers (or depressants.) The eight pills were Sean's personal collections of pills. He had saved five morning pills (8,8,6 miie). He had saved 12 afternooon pills. Usually afternoon pills were the assigned medications. Morning pills could be a mood pill or a narcotic. Mostly narcotics were dished out in the evening, or bed time. Hm. This shouldn't of hurt him. It was near impossible to over dose on drugs like Prosack, and antidepressants that took time to adjust to your body. One could kill themselves but it was rare. Most didn't. Some patients had told stories of taking over forty capsules at once and lived. Steve would never try it. Steve ripped the door open, and dashed to the nurses station. "Hey, NURSE. My buddy is in trouble. Hey. NURSE. NURSE. Sean. He hurt himself. He is in that room." Steve pointed toward his room. "ROOM 3a. 3a. Hey. 3a. Emergency. EMERGENCY MAN. Come on. He took some pills." It wasn't long until a room full of techs, paramedics and doctors had Sean hooked up to a temp IV and wheeled out. Steve watched the husky black male tech hold the plastic IV bag over Seans head. The water slowly dripped into the tubular plastic vein and ran slowly into Sean's body. Steve ran up to the rolling medical bed. "Hey man. It's going to be fine. Ok. I love ya man. I'll be here when you get back." Sean remained motionless. Not a word uttered from his lips. He barely breathed.

That night Steve took a narcotic. It was a restless leg pill. It helped the leg from being restless. It kind of numbed it made it feel as if it had walked a thousand miles. Steve contemplated about the situation. He debated with all its physicality, all it's emotion and its cinematic worth. It was like a movie. The moment he found Sean not breathing regularly, the moment the pills fell from his hands, the moment the doctors rushed in---it was all so theatrical. He began to cry. Softly, but tears fell hard. It was a blue time for him now. He stared out at the black firmament of brilliantly lit sky.

He began to think of God. Steve remembered once visited home for Christmas. One of his nephews, now an actor, had been studying social science. He was near Richland hills near the twenty fifth. It was a chilling December. The snow was pilling up. The ground looked as if stacking angel bodies were piled on top of one another. The kids were in the front yard, near the yellow fiery electric lamp pole. It shined shadows all over the frosted trees, parked cars and iron icy gate. He sat down near the sofa on a rocking chair and began to methodically rock back and forth. Then, something caught Steve's eye. His nephew, the actor, had left a book out of his back pack. It laid on top of the zipper bag pouch. Steve picked it up and looked through a few of the chapters. Then, he landed on the chapter covering Greek, and Roman times. Jesus was carrying a cross in Figure 8A. It had a definition of Christ and explained his trials and tribulations of his period. Then, he skimmed and thumbed forward through the text book. Next, he landed on information concerning the Egyptian burial procedure. That's when his heart sank. That's, when Steve realized that the glorified Christ could be found in an elementary book. In elementary school, social science taught the story of Christ as a section or so in a chapter. Christ had a definition and a personal figure box. It was near sacrilegious, but at least it was present. At least His name was present. Steve whispered a silent prayer. His eyes opened on a gleaming angel dangling from the evergreen branch. The sun rays had caught the silver lining around the wings hanging from the Christmas tree. It was hard to accept God as a subject rather than a religion. America had built it's rock on His forgiving blood, and now they studied Him like a igneous rock. Time blew outside and lifted the snow into tiny snow devils. They spun, whipped and whispered in the air in small twisting circles. A snowstorm was on its way. The children laughed and roared. Most of the family was in the living room talking over roasted turkey left overs. Dusk was slowly rising. The sun was spilling toward a snowy, white distant horizon. It was immaculately beautiful outside. Everything seem to find its place. Steve's heart was warmed by an unnoticed hand.

Steve closed his eyes. The nurses station carried soft whispers about rumors of the doctors and their follies. Sean had not returned. To much time had pass to be alone. It was the worst type of time. Alone time. Light rain speckled against the window like tiny, unseen angel kisses. He closed his eyes and wished for everything to come back together. All the crazy ideas to turn into sane ones.

He remembered his father once told him a place were all the plates touched together. It happened far, far in the past. Millions of years ago. We were all one. It was a place called Pangaea. He closed his eyes and repeated a tongue twister he heard chanted by a group of unique actors in a small rustic place by the lake near his home. Panacea on Pangaea. Panacea on Pangaea. Over and over again. Things would come together and make sense. And the sickness would be no more. It would fade to black, mix up, ascend into now, and all the colors would turn heavenly present and full of wonder. Steve began to smile through his tears as the clock outside reminded.

Sean had returned. He was on twenty four hour suicide watch. They had locked him up in solitary for a few days. His eyes were dark and he was taking antibiotics. The worst the pills did to him was cause bitter stomach aches and slight unconsciousness. He woke up in the ER bitching about God's purpose and why he should be in the big apple dancing his heart away. They brought him back singing, "New York, New York. Start spreading the news." He seemed drunk. They said the narcotic pills he had saved were still slightly wearing off, plus they had him on pain killers for his newly aching stomach.

Steve remember visiting a friend in high school who had over dosed on Asprin. He was shaking a week after. That is how long the Asprin stayed in his system. These narcotics would take time to flush out of his blood. Four days passed after Sean's arrival. It was a week after his attempt. Steve overheard the doctors talking to the nurses when he returned, "He took over ten narcotic sleeping pills. He must of saved them up. He was keeping them in the interior of his night slippers. We found slice marks between the soles. Also, he was keeping the hid away in the linings of the bed frame, even had a few poked into the springs. Oh, he had some hollowed out pink diary book. He mixed them up in a glass of hot coco and took a few before the big night he went in, or when we found him, or Steve found him. He was close to dead. We had him breathing better on the way to the ER. He woke up screaming something about an apple or big apple or something about ballet, modern ballet company, or some one named Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor. . .Anyway, he woke up in the ER overdose section. They pumped his stomach and put him on an IV. He will be on twenty four hour watch until otherwise notified." He gave the soft spoken nurse a pat on the back and a flittering wink. Steve was spying on the scene from a crack in the slightly ajar door. Steve close the door and slowly double snapped shut.

It was the climax of winter out there. The temperature had fell to an all time low. The last moment in time the nurse poked her head into their room for routine safety check, the weatherman had reported a snow storm. "In the low teens. They say it will reach nine degrees out. wind-chill below zero. Ten below. You guys will need these." It was the soft spoken nurse. She brought in two extra thermal blankets from the basement. The heater was having difficulties. "Off and on, off and on. Its alright. Just their conserving energy in the main hall. Big hospital to light." She ducked away around the corner and the door double snapped shut. Cold was on it's way. Sean and Steve stayed up through out the night. Blue ice crystal clung to the window in small wintry armies. At times the sleet and snow seem to parachute down in curvy paths creating networks and links of icy veins of melted and freezing snow. The buildings interior's temperature would cause breathy fog to lift off the window panes and ascend toward it's maker. The snow would not make up its mind. At times is would freeze solid like tiny pasty pebbles falling from far above, and at other times, the snow would melt and in its place tear drops of winter. Then, a freezing gale would shake the window in short shimmers and the drops would freeze to solid silver against the window's glassy skin. Steve swallowed in fear. The cold put more fear in him than a tornado warning. At least the tornado could be dodged and even heard and seen, but the cold had no scorn. Once the earth grew cold, it touched everyone in it's wide and longing, escapable grasp. Winter was impartial to every form of nature, even man. Man had been planning, hunting and creating ideas, objects and tools to escape it's bitter, cold indifference and deathly chills since the six pomegranate seeds were swallowed by Persephone. Steve was concerned with the now arriving chilly breezes obstructing through the cracks and open airway linings of the window. He wished the hospital had paid extra funds on weather stripping. Ah, the pain of economics. White gluey snow pasted over the windows obstructing the slightest glimpse of a approaching bitter night. Winter had arrived in full bloom. Steve and Sean were on it's freezing ice cycle shit list.

Steve escapes.

Steve snuck into the lunch room that night to scrape at the glass block window. He would have been done long ago if he had found a metal or hard object. The plastic spork and spoon was not progress matters any farther. He was still working on the single crystal block which lead to the outside world. The only thing separated him from his freedom was a glass block window. The block he was looking for lied under his favorite corner lunch table. No one was around. His nipples poked through the hospital gown. The cold had awoken certain sensitive parts of his body. Sean was sound dreaming, he downed a few. Steve thought about their long conversations concerning, death, God, time and dance numbers of the 1940's. They particular discussed what made hip swing dancing and what made sad swinging. His nibble rubbed raw against his gown as he scrapped away at the pasty mortar. Steve's hand moved up and down and back and forth like a lead violinist executing the intense rhythmic passions of Shostakovich or Tchaikovksy violin concerto. Steve got a little bored at sawing with the plastic spoon. The head of the spoon was wearing down and turning slowly into the form of a plastic knife. He began to hum Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat. The past flaked away like tiny angel's diving off the puffy clouds of radiant golden gates. Steve was trying not to think of any memories. The pasty white chalky substance flipped and twirled under and around the lunch table. Steve had crawled completely under the table like a overly studious student on the verge of a break down. He had brought in a longer table cloth, he napped it from passing cleaning crew. One of the cleaning ladies that changed the table cloth had left it on top of a luncheon chair. Steve tucked under his gown when she was adjusted her CD headphones. He remembered her rocking out to Jesus Jones and TheThe. She was an interesting cleaning lady. It seemed she had a punk background and possibly a Smith's influenza of the soul. At times she hum the devilish, classy licks of Johnny Mar's Oscillate Wildly and quietly sing Morrissey's lyrics from How Soon is Now.

Sean woke up from his dusk. His eyes were nearly glued shut with sleep crystals. He lifted his head of the pillow and saluted to the ceiling. "What do you have to say for yourself Sean?" Steve asked with a sullen hidden face. Sean sat up took in a deep breath and grinned widely, "One mast was broken short off, six or eight feet fro the deck and lay over the side, entangled in a maze of sail and rigging; and all that ruin, as the ship rolled and beat—which she did without a moment's pause, and with a violence quite, inconceivable—beat the side in as if it would stave it in." "What is that from?" Steve asked with is head perched forward on the back of his hand, "Charles Dikcens's David Copperfield." Steve sat on the edge of the bed and turned his ear cattily to Sean's direction, "And why tonight Copperfield?" Sean returned with a charming sneering intonation, "Wanted to!" "Wanted to." Steve echoed. "Yeah. I memorized it in honors English my Senior year in Highschool. Memorized; never to forgot It was on my mind." Steve laid his head on his pillow. Gravity sunk his neck and shoulders lose, and his body imprinted into the springy bed mattress, "Finish." Sean continued the prose in a whisper, "Some efforts were even then being made, to cut this portion of the wreck away; for, as the ship; which was broadside on, turned towards us in her rolling, I plainly descried her people at work with axes, especially one active figure with long curling hair, conspicuous among the rest. But, a great cry, which was audible even above the wind and water, rose from the shore at the moment; the sea, sweeping over the rolling wreck, made a clean breach, and carried men, spars, casks, planks, bulwarks, heaps of such toys, into the boiling surge." "Wow." Steve uttered in a quick heap. "Didn't know he wrote like that. Have to read more. Ok. I got one." Steve stood up in a stoic poise as if the heated special rose to his intense eyes. He whipped the bed sheet around his shoulders like a lost brave strayed from his fearful battle, "Ready." A nod nodded from Sean. "Here it goes." Steve took in a silent breath and with a heart full and his cape fashioned he began, "No longer mourn for me when I am dead That you shall hear the surly sullen bell give warning to the world that I am fled from the vile world, with vilest worms" He paused and continued, "to dwell, Nay, if you read this line, remember not The hand that writ it; for I love you so That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot If thinking on me then should make you woe. Oh if, I say, you look upon this verse When I perhaps compounded am with clay, Do not so much as my poor name rehearse, But let your love even with my life decay, Lest the wise world should look into your mourn." Steve took a moment and then dried his eyes with the bed sheet, "And mock you with me after I am gone."

Sean sniffed, "Never be gone Steve. Be here." Steve smiled, "I will be free. That's a promise." Steve laid back down and rested. Sean stared at the ceiling and mouthed the prose once more. The wind harshly rushed outside. It was still cold out. Freezing. The hard iced rain banged on the roof top of the hospital in Washington D.C. And the land of oil and honey pumped on and on.

Steve reviewed in his memories as if he had posted memory pictures on a type of rollerdex. He could pick and choose certain moments in his life to return to, to look at, admire and send him back to moments of healing, resolution, and renewal. To renew it to heal and Steve needed to go back. Many of the doctors pleaded with him to live in now, to only concern himself with the details of the moment, the current smell, the current taste and touch and feelings, sight and so on. He had to stay in the resonating world around him. He had to be one with the ongoing moment. Moment to moment, breath to breath and step over step—the world was now. Steve choose to go back. To flip through his pages of his past and review. He went to sixth grade. A spelling Bee. A winner. With a trophy in one hand. He kissed it and offered it to his little peers. He remembered a piano. Chopsticks over the Flintstone cartoon music, "Weeeeeeeeeeeeellllmaaaaaaaa." He remembered hot pockets bubbling in the tinted microwave glass. It was like a screen for fast heated food. Microwavables. Lunchables. Pizza snacks. Chinese eggrolls. Micheal Jacksons one glove. Grammys. More Grammys. Granny's home made pizza. Papa's home made veggie soups, pizza and his wonderful half foot thick pickles, tomato, mayo, mustard, ketchup, ham, bacon, onion, lettuce and toasted toast sandwiches. Warm. Homework on English.Granny correcting and correct. Memairs was what the kids called her. You called out her name during Lunch and she whooed like an Owl. Who. Whooo. Whoooo. He recalled a roller coaster flying upside down in double loops. His stomach turning. Knotting. A diving board floating in like a cloud, he saw it clearly. He lifted in the air like an eagle, soaring and swan diving into the cool, serene, light green water. Burgers Lake. Swings. Trapezes. Tapelines, double back flips, triple back flips, hurt back. Nallies. Troy and Dondee set up a curb in front of a store parking lot, night. Roppers show in van, steal Troy's board. Troy cries. I trade my Dungeons and Dragons modules to nerdy friend Sean. Sean and I split up. He takes the D& D and magic box. Sean and I old friends from junior high. Gone. Night comes. Pig out on hotdogs. Don't tell Troy or Dondee. Skate board. Skateboard ramp. Nazi skin heads at Dove park ramp. Rocks being tossed on the ramp. Fear. Oh, God call the police, firemen, ambulance, someone. Why God. My foot. Spiral fracture to the ankle. Picked up a by a truck of Hispanics. Take me to hospital. Wheel chair in, ER. Mom not home. Step dad not home. I wait, can't even take a strong Tylenol, friends say I'm sorry. Troy says I'm sorry. Step dad shows six hours later. Pain. Pain. X-rays, Pain. The shoot me up. Pain goes bye bye. Numb, numb, numb like a comfy heroin bum, numb, Weeks in the hospital. Cast to the balls. Have to pee in a urine bottle, nurses put a tube in my penis head, drain my bladder, its called a cathersomething, in me, misses, ow, Crutches, someone climbed in the nurses back yard, shot her dog, she tells me about, another nurse grabs my arm, holds me down, ow, tube goes in my penis, ow, urine flows, silence, blackness, pain killers, Jack N the Box double cheese chicken sandwiches, pain killers, cokes, pain killers, The Twilight zone, middle of the night, scream, pain killers, scream, pain killers, Friends coming over, skating on the side walk, Steve watches leaning against the tree by street, hand on cast, signed cast, skate board pants ripped over them, fall in garage door in truss way, hit my fist against the table, under the table, fall into garage. Friends laugh. Friends don't come around anymore. Sean goes to a mental ward for drugs. Cutting on himself. Gets back. Visits me. We become friends again, kind of. Play D&D like old times. Cast gets smaller, fight with step dad, drags me out of the house, living with Grandma, pain killers, pain killers, crutches down the school hall, waking up late, getting homework done, crutches down the hall, fall, land in a wet spot on the floor in the school hall, whose fault, why God, pain killers, eyes wide, pupils dilated, iris opens, picture from a Polaroid camera, pain killers, more pain, watching Shackle Me Not skate video at night, masturbate, pain killers, grown, cast comes off, new cast on, goes to the knee rather than the balls. More Twilight zone. Memorize the opening. A man walking down the street. Cast gets shorter. Hair on legs looks funny, wet, separated hair, pressure point from cast creates a round scar center of ankle, Memair goes eeehhh. When they cut the cast off. See's pressure scar. Help doc, help. Smaller cast is on. Comes up to knee. I begin to limp on it. Crutches, limp. Even skate a little, fun starts to come back. Steve went months on a couch, infront of TV, even memorized how to sing the Raising Arizona theme song. Eeeeeewwwaaawweeeweheeehehehehhhwwaehhhe. Home. Pizza. Snacks. Cheese whiz. Pasteurized cheese whiz. Twenkies, cookies, Grandma cookies. Moved back to mom's house from Granny's. Memair and papa get robbed. They have voice changers. Want Gold. Want Gold. Lay them down, cover them with blankets, blood won't splatter, sister lives with them at the time, jumps out her window, calls police, neighbors bang on door with shot gun, they go to the room I used to stay in, I was already home. Steve got missed by the robbers. Gun to Papas head. Door bell. Robbers run. They steal jewels, jewelry, watches, and rings. Sister tales the tell. Saves the day. Steve begins to skate. I begin to have fun again. School gets better. Fifteen going on sixteen. Ninth grade coming to end. I win an art contest. I really win an art contest—for a print of a snake. A snake print. Used a carving tool, and a soft palate for carving. Made an indention, a model. Win the reward. First time to win in art. Summer comes, cast goes off. Back on board, doing smith grinds to revert, ahhllei norths, 720 shove its, kick flips come back. Buy a new board, Magnusson. Still have a dream to go to Vancuver skate park. Then Tenth grade. Hair turns jet black, motorcycle leather, Sid Vicious, girl named Nancy. Or wants to be Nancy. Sex Pistols, punk rock, hanging out, sphinx, I lose my virginity, I lose my virginity with a punk rock girl with white hair, she loves hamsters, mice and other punks. Skins with prep clothes, acid, acid, acid, X, pot, girls. Then, Wam, clubbing on drugs. Skateboard gathers moss. I lose a friend. Out of school Back on couch. Twilight Zone. Cokes. Cheese snacks. Sitting on ruff, listening to Depeche Mode with ear phones, friends have gone. Get tan on ruff. Losing my death look. More acid, move to Fort Worth. Move in with Dad in Keller. He cuts my jet black hair off, he calls me a skun. Hair half brown, half black. Hang out with Troy, go to party, gets busted by crips, run out back with French girlfriend, lovely breast, we jump over the fence, sneak to someones house, parents not home, try to make love, move to Fort Worth. Get back in school, trip onto stage, really tripped on the stage, Plays plays plays. Theatre workshops. Drama teacher. Smells strong of cologne, cowboy hat, bulge in Wranglers. Dancer cowboy. Tennesse Williams, Look Homeward Angel rehearsals. Three months and more. Gay friend. Blowjob. Fall for an art dude. Look Homeward Angel. Acting. Acting. Deep love with a artist, with the odd name of Jen Q. Squirles(The Q stood for Quarry.) Summer at UT. Theatre, dance and acting . Theatre dance and acting. She dumps me toward the end of the senior year. Summer passes. She's not there. Screen play. Adair's painting. Almost do it. Fall for the lead actress. Doesn't work out. New York. Visit the Big Apple. Plays, plays and obsession forms for theatre and acting. Movie buff. Two movies a night. Every movie. Bergman, Scorsesse, Copolla, and artsy foreign films. Inwood. Inwood midnight movie. More midnight movie. Thinking about others. Bi-curious. Bisexual. Bi-curious. Move on. Ballet. Ballet. College. Auditions. ACTF.

Streetcar. Stanley. Girl friend is Stella. NETC. NETC call backs. Nervous breakdown. Mental Hospital. Pills. Thinking I'm God. Pills. Thinking I'm crazy. Pills. Get better. Dean visits. Dean and the playwriting teacher visits. Pills. Drugs. Knocked out. Get out. Go back to Dad's. 22 years old. Get back in College. Seven years pass. BA. Bachelor. Bachelor of Arts. Getting thing. Too thin. Saving up, thinking of LA. Old gall of eighteen leaves me. Name from a song by Fleetwood. She's gone. Turn around I'm twenty six, turn around I'm twenty eight. Headed toward LA. LA. Land in Long Beach. Hollywood. Hollywood, walking around in the Majestic and Baby's in Black. New York, New York. Walking near Park Avenue and Broadway. What's my face doing of TV? Was that my face on the TV set? Flying back home. Second break down. Turn to anger. Leaving in my head. Got to get out of my head. What's next. Time for a shrink. Get some pills and head back. Head back, looking at the sky's the limit. The countdown begins. Must live in the Now. Must live in the Now.

Despite the fact that life can be hell, and we respond by ringing the bell, harder and harder, and still the rain accumulates into dark clouds and still the sun smiles down, and still the dawn births the fawn and mother nature and father time go on and on, whether right or wrong, the next breath is inhaled. Inhale and inhale. To release and exhale and exhale, and the beating of nature joins it's spiraling circle and born becomes.

"Steve tell me how you survived in Chicago." Steve thumbed his forefinger over his journal. "Well, I stole." The doctor lifted his chair of the pegs and accidentally fastened his lab coat under a peg leg. He had sat down and squashed the side of his coat on. Next, he lifted it and straightened out the white jacket collar and sleeves. "Lets continue." Steve took in some air and spilled the beans, "Pick pocket. I stole wallets." The doctor hid his grin. "Perhaps that's your reason for being here. You have debt to pay back." Steve nodded, "Yep. I stole many wallets in my time. When, I get back to the motel I'd here them complaining to others on the street, 'What did you do with my wallets, thief, thiiiievery.' I sat it in front of the cheap TV, and watched HBO and try to block out all their angry voices. I stole so many that the voices became like music." The doctor adjusted his thickly diamond Fossil watch. "You have a fossil, diamond lace. Worth much. That would be a bitch in a half to slip off your wrist." The doctor made some notes on his medical pad and bounced the lumber region off the back rest of the chair. "Hm. What made you think you had to steal. Why did you get a job and work. Jobs don't hurt. Work, you seem to want it. I see it in your eyes." Steve replied, "Well, yeah. But I was lost. Inside myself. The voices made me mess up in work. I had to put up with too much. I was too lonely. A lonely man falls every once and awhile." The doctor sneezed and then covered his nose with a blue hanky. "Hm. I see. Smells like smoke. Where's the fire?" Steve cocked his head to one side, "Sounds like what? You smell what?" The doctor cut in, "It's a form of expression. What was the rush. You act right?" "Yes. Parts of me. I do many things. I am many things." The doctor continued, "Well, why didn't you be patient. Don't they say it takes patients in showbiz." Steve smiled, "Howdyou know." The doctor sneezed again and covered his mouth with his hand, "A sang my way through medical school. Look, I know your life is significant, even to you. I know your significant. You need help. I can give you some anti-psychotics. They may help." Steve sat up, "I've taken them. I've taken all of them before. Acting is hard. It's serious business. Artist and craftsman alike pretend it's a joking job, but it's not. I know it is an oxymoron to take play seriously. But the best do. I get lost up here." Steve touched his forehead with his palm. Pressing, "I hurt here. Athletes break bones, dancer hurt their bodies, I say, actors have to beware of their minds. It takes the mind to act." The doctor overlapped with, "And the will and the. . . " Steve finished his sentence for him, "The heart. The heart. It takes the mind, the will and the heart." The lights dimmed in the room. Steve found his self sitting up in his bed. Sean never looked more prettily sleeping away in his on contrition. When would the confusion end. The baby wakes up in the doctor's hands and it all begins in a dizzy, unexplained unfolding.

Steve realized that they were prisoners. Prisoners of their own souls. Sean had to break the bars within to set himself free. He had to eat right, work right and live right. Four square meals. Ok, maybe two light ones and two normal sized ones. But nevertheless, nutrition was a eloquent and crucial factor. Steve pulled out his journal and opened it up toward the last two thirds of the pages. He jotted in his journal with the Put Put golf and games stubby pencil. He whispered as each word formed from his lips and each sentence and phrase breathed to life. To the word of life. He started to feel again, thus, he started to live. People spend years banging their heads merely trying to feel. Steve knew he had failed, but the feeling boiled in his heart. And this was good. He began to write faster and he barely whispered each word,

"Well, I don't know how I got here. I don't know why I have to make

these points with this stubby pencil. I don't know where I'll go. I must

eat right, drink right, live right and be right. But too much good can

dull the being. All work and no play—dulls the blade of freedom.

If there is no freedom, then life slowly shuts down to a grinding

dismay. I must find a way to break through. I try moderation but my

mouth goes dry. I try to be calm but my soul runs array. What

can I do to break this hypnotic rhythm. I guess I must fall and

fly up again. Fall and rise. Fall and rise. Sunset and sundown.

The world spins around and around. Moderation is also

a odd, and dull form of deadening. The Buddha men prepare for

death their entire lives. It seems their life purpose

Its one slow meditated walk. No possessions, but a razor, umbrella

and orange robe. They beg because of suffering, they

meditate to fall from suffering, the chant to rid pain, the only want nothing.

I want to prepare for life. To the snack tray I go, to fall. To feel. To feel,

to fall."

That night Steve put up his journal early. He snuck into the lunch room and scrapped away at the glass block for more than two hours. Sean was up when Steve walked returned. He was more than up. He was spinning double pirouettes next to the foot of the bed.

Sean had been absent for quite a time. The doctors had him in a new type of psych treatment, in which, he sat among other artsy folk that had eating disorders. He called it group psych treatment. It was on the top floor of the hospital. Sean was told to stay on the upper floors in order to become closer with the other patience with similar mental problems. The stabilization ward was only one floor. Also, it was on the basement level, far from the upper levels. Basically, this meant that once Sean was ordered up stairs he would be gone for few days or so. This upset Steve immensely. Later, Sean would be sent back down to Steve's room for medicine and to see his regular psychiatrist. Days would go by with out him even in Steve's room. He was becoming forlorn. His only refuge was pigging at the snack tray or carving away more and more flakes of past in the mortar section of the glass block. Sean went a full four days with out returning. It was rumored that once one was visiting the upper floors of the ward, or hospital, than he or she was on the verge of being released. Sean was practically living up there. That meant Sean could be released in a few weeks. Steve didn't know how long his sentence would be. The judge gave him the runaround and his lawyer was flaky. Steve seem to be one of the unlucky ones no one cared for. He didn't know what he do without Sean. His journal could only keep him busy for so long.

Steve wasn't really living. His journal entries became shorter and his trips under the lunch table, for scraping, were growing unenthusiastic. He was running out of steam. Sean was a major inspiration for his escape and his future journey. He was thinking about enlightening Sean concerning his risky goals. He may even explain every detail to his big plan. Sooner or later, he was going to spill the beans to Sean. Hopefully, this would persuade him to travel West. On the other hand, Steve knew Sean had a thing for the North. Most dancer did. Dancer were attracted to the large northern. cities of Chicago or New York, even some Canadian regions like Toronto. Hollywood was for actors. L.A. had a shortage of Dancer. This would be good enough reason to ask Sean to come with him West. The plan was simple. He'd try to convince Sean that he would have no problem getting work as a dancer in L.A. "There are a shortage of dance artist in L.A. You get work in a flash. I know a guy who works for the Mark Taper. He could get a you a gig with touring Broadway shows. It would be a good way to meet Broadway dancers and maybe land you a job North. A real one. Thousand a week just for chorus. L.A. is a good place to start." Sean sat up. He had been good for three days. His back was soar. The upper floors had a work out gym. The doctors let patience work out if getting in shape involved their profession. They wanted Sean to stay in shape. He was allowed to run on a treadmill and swim in the upper level of the hospital's pool. The nurses and doctors felt it was perfect for relaxing his mind. It was a new type of treatment. "I don't know. I got friends in Chicago. I even have some family there. It might be a place for me. And it's closer to New York. And everyone is there, the artist, at least. North is me. West is you. Maybe we should face it. We most likely will be splitting up." Sean never looked more beautiful. His blond hair glistened in the moonlight and his sharp blue eyes glowed profusely. His essence almost seemed formless. He was a shining ray of light hovering in the room. It seemed to blind Steve momentarily. He sunk into me. Sean was happy. His smile was strong and pushed on Steve's energy. Steve was nearly lifted off his feet. He leaned over and kissed Sean on the cheek. Sean giggled, "Not now. I'm not ready for this." Steve got up and headed to the restroom. Sean would be leaving for the upper floors soon. "Got to go to Psych treatment soon. I'll be gone for a couple of days. I'm sorry you got the Shaft Steve." Steve splashed a handful of water on his face. He dampened the dark circles under his eyes. "I'll think about Chicago. If I get out of here. How can I find you." Sean opened the bathroom door, the fluorescence lit up his tranquil blues. "E-mail. Reach me at Sean Hass at HM dot com. Is that cool." Steve smiled at him and a tear welled up in the corner of his eye. It just hung there like accumulating rain drop, awaiting to rain down. "That's cool man. I know they are letting you out. I'll miss you." Sean hugged him tight. Steve's eyes were foggy and glassy. He hadn't touched food in a week. "Hey man. Look me up. Just go to an internet bar when you get out. Hit Sean Hass at HM dot com. Don't forget Hass has to s's." Sean kissed Steve on the mouth. Then, he vanished.

Steve sat up reading bits and pieces of his journal. He wanted to put it all together. Make it a book perhaps, maybe even a screen play. It said so much. Steve didn't think being two different people in the past couple of years was that bad. It was kind of adventurous.

He was assigned to a new doctor. Doctor Hurt. Hurt was a tall main, with fairly shabby gray hair, semi long bangs and bushy black eyebrows. Hurt always sported a white jacket, lab coat with consistently non touched, wrinkle free pompous slacks. Socks always black. Shoes dressy, usually leather. He looked like a doctor they may pop up on the soap As the World Turns. Hurt figured out his imaginary friends and his veil of delusions in a mere three meeting session. "They are you. Jona and Jay. Parts of you. You made them up in your head. You have a slight case of B-personality with a mixture of what they used to call multiple personality. Most of the medical field around here don't believe in it. We just stick with B-personality. You have a persona conflict. You switch from person to person, or made up person to person. Your playing roles, like an actor. You had some acting work in the background, right? It's you living in your personal dream land. Many call it a labyrinth. You have a major problem living in Now. You listen to these delusions for safety. You are in a City. Alone. No real family, no real friends. Washington D.C. represented a home for you. It's the home for America. It's the capital. You came here for an answer. You got it. Your mixed up Steve, or Cole, or whatever your name is. Your lost in these characters. You need to face up. You have three different Id's in your billfold. One name is Jay, one is named Jona and last Steve, or Cole or whatever his name really is." The doctor referred to his notes, "Jay Grisham and his fake FBI badge, the other, Jona Goth and his jet black hair, and the last is Steve Pickpocket. Also, you have mention this character Tommy Marcell the Movie Star killer and the brat. I think you have them mixed up as someone else. We did have motivational speaker show up to help out around house and he did have some acting background experience, but he wasn't a movie Star killer and he wasn't Tommy Marcell. That was the day we had you confined to solitary for trying to attack him. Screaming Killer, killer." Steve didn't recall this moment. Steve shrugged and scoped out the dolphin pictures on the wall. The larger dolphin was leaping over a baby dolphin. The sun was slowly falling in a orange mesh behind the finned beast. They had met in the same patient/doctor room. It was a plain room with no view. Two colorful cheap posters hung on the wall. One poster was a dolphin photo which hung over the doctors chair. The room looked like a waiting room for a cheap doctors office. "You claim to be a Jay Grisham. We went through your wallet for more info on you. That's when I recovered the evidence for B-personality. Your many kid." "Many?" Steve asked. "Yeah. Your more than one. Many." Steve pushed his eyebrows together. The doctor opened the door. "Here try some of these for tonight." Dr. Hurt gave him two red pills in a small paper cup. He called them Zanex. "This will help you calm down." Steve grabbed the paper cup and empty the pills in his mouth. Swallowing, "How long? Until I get out." The doctor scooped his clip board off the chair and spun it on his middle finger. It twirled like a helicopter blade. "Well, take those pills, rest and it may not be too long. I have to ask the nurses on how your doing."

"Can you estimate Sir." Steve worriedly asked. "No." Dr. Hurt replied curtly. "Sorry. I can't." The doctor walked to his door, retrieved a small gray key card, in which hung from his neck on a black shoe lace, and scanned it before a little black box with a pulsating laser light. The door buzzed and the handle double clicked. Dr. Hurt tugged open the door. Passing nurse, medical carts and hospital beds zoomed past and down the outside hall. He turned to Steve. "Get some rest. You look hungry and tired. Rest, eat and I'll see you next week. Don't forget to make journal entries. I want to read them." Dr. Hurt drifted into the hall. The door slammed coldly with ticking metal click. Steve walked to the other door on the opposite side of the patient meeting room, he knocked twice and it swiftly opened. The soft spoken nurse was standing in the door way. She handed him plastic cup of water. "Feel better." "He gave me Zanex." She smiled at him and patted his back. "You should lay down in your room." Steve walked by the TV room. CNN blinked on the screen in two second intervals like it always does. The screen revealed a few tan and brown stripped Army tanks parked on an air craft carrier. A tall manly brunette CNN reporter, wearing a dark trench coat, was yapping a million miles minute about the war and the conflict in the middle east. Salt water misted and splashed on the deck of the runaway as the camera man did his best to stabilize the shoot. The carrier was under a blazing ocean storm. Steve walked past the entertainment and headed to bed. His head was swimming.

That night Steve found a small white square note card on his pillow. It was Sean.

"Drowning is not so pitiful

As the attempt to rise.

Three times, tis said, a sinking man

Comes up to face the skies,

And then declines forever

To that abhorred abode,

Where hope and he part company--

For he is grasped of God.

The Marker's cordial visage,

However good to see,

Is shunned, we must admit it,

Like an adversity."

I found it in a book of poems by Emily Dickinson. I thought you might like it. You should read it over and over again. Help your tongue out, eh.

Sean.

Sean had left him the note from the upper levels. Rumor leaked out that there was a small collection of books being catalogued by other patience and doctors. Some believed it was wise and relaxing to continue education in the upper levels. So, Sean had access to a library of educated books and a pool. Steve started to grow envious of this upper level. He began to rant and scrapple over the gift of higher genetic code. Gift, ha. Nothing like an education scorned. If only he had the same access. He talk to Dr. Hurt tomorrow. Maybe he let him up to have a taste. However it would be good go out on the roof of the hospital. It had been ages since Steve had seen the sky. "Comes up to face the skies." What a beautiful form of verse.

"I would like to see the sky." Steve hinted his plea with held back emotion. The doctor stroked his chin. "Hm. The roof, eh." Dr. Hurt jotted down a note or two in his pad. "Night or day." He asked Steve. "Morning. Rising sun." Dr. Hurt thought it would be a wonderful idea. He put a check by some word on his clip board, rose and pulled out his card, buzzed the door and vanished. Steve walked back to his room, soon he'd see the sky. "Comes up to face the skies." He kept repeating this saying over and over in his head. Steve could not wait to look up at the wondrous heavens above. It has spent far too long in his forced shelter.

Nothing at all is the worst thing you can do to someone. Nothing at all is the worse thing the world can do to you. You must make something out of it. Steve had depended on Sean to allow him access to the beauty and mystery of life. Once, Sean was gone Steve felt abandoned and dull. He hated not being able to recite his journal entries, or read a poem, or check out Sean's new book from the library. Sean had checked out a copy of A Brave New World by Huxely from the library in the upper level. Sean talked to him about the metaphors of the drums, Ford and the soma. Steve compared the Brave New World to the outside society that awaited. "We have a soma. It's the medical drugs that people take today, we have a ford, it's the value people place on large corporations, we even have cluttered our world with mechanical and anti naturist things. Huxely not only imagined the future but he wrote about it too." Sean replied, "I guess it makes sense. I've only peeked at the book. I read chapter seven just to see if I liked it. I don't know really whats its about but it seem to be a book about the future and how we have become corrupted by modern science. I don't think Huxely far from the truth." Steve, "What makes him great was that he wasn't trying to impress or astonish anyone with his ideas and genuine concepts, he simply wanted to tell a story. That was it." Sean had to leave early that day. He was called up to the upper levels to get a schedule for out patient treatment. Sean told Steve that he'd be leaving next week. He was going to get an apartment five miles from the hospital and visit Steve on a weekly bases. " Will meet in the lunch room between twelve and twelve thirty." Steve was upset. He wasn't mad because Sean was leaving he was made because he'd be left alone. He checked the nurses new arrival list the other day. Sean had gone to the upper level pool and Steve stealthily crept into the nurses station an hour before breakfast. Must of the nurses had left to take the linen upstairs or had traveled to the main cafeteria to prepare the breakfast and lunch carts. Later, that day Steve visited the roof. He was led to a set of bolted and latched locked double doors near the solitary confinement hall. As he walked through the hall, haunting whispers from madmen, hoarsely screams from wired ladies and hollers from old lost souls jammed and echoed from the small contained densely walled rooms. Steve passed the last solitary confinement room. The guard told him to "stand put" as he pulled out a gray card, in which hung from his neck and flashed it at a box near the double doors. He exposed it and straightened out a small wrinkle in his green neck scrub top. The tech appeared to want to look seemly pleasant as he marched Steve to the main elevator near the doctor/patient meeting rooms. He slapped the gray card to a small block box and waved it up and down. He removed the card key from the box exposing the box's inner laser eye. The door buzzed and opened. Steve took two baby steps toward the last solitary confinement room on the right side of the hall. He took a half second to peek in the small thick glass boxy window. At first he only caught a glimpse of the back wall. It was a plain light tan bricked wall. A small shaft of light angled onto the side corner. No one was in the room. There was a small blue mat with pubic hairs and a urine bottle half full. Then, out of nowhere a forehead slowly rose from the bottom of the tiny boxed door window. Steve jerked back in a bolting snap. The oldman's face grinned a mouthful of corn cob colored teeth. The front teeth were fanged and slightly rotten out. Parts of his skin was flaking and his left eyelid was stuck shut with sleep crystals. The old man slightly tapped his forehead against the boxy window and smiled. Then, his face shut to a serious halt. "Time to go chum." The tech said opening the double doors. He was lead further down into the doctors hall. This hall was lined with small office rooms with a desk and small PC. On each desk were trays full of white papers with pink copies. Steve followed the husky tech to the end of the hall. Silver star shape fire sprinklers passed above Steve's head as he caught up with the male tech. The elevator doors opened. "You want to push the top button for me." Steve mashed the top button with his thumb. The door dinged and fell shut.. Steve felt the slight tug of G-force wash over the crown of his head. He titled back a bit and then braced his hand against the back help guard. The light clicked passed four numbers. Steve's eyes were to foggy and tired to make out the numbers. His sleeping meds had not wore off quite yet. Then, the doors separated like the red Sea. Light gushed into the small room like a lake full of salty white water. Steve stepped back and squinted his eyes closed. The warm sun splashed on his cold cheeks. He was about to step outside. Once one is locked up for more than a couple of days, and he or she has not been outside in the environment, than, the Sun becomes a new and uplifting breath in ones life. Steve sucked in air and tried not to smile. The tech stepped back, "Its all your buddy." The elevator doors began to close, the tech stuck his hand between their force and they popped back open. Next, Steve took a few steps toward the magnificent yellow, golden light. Finally, he made it onto the pebbly ground. He was bare foot so the tiny stones and pebbles felt cold under his soles. "Take your time." Steve turned around as the doors swiped shut and the elevator slowly fell. The elevator's noise gradually faded out. Steve steadily rose his head to the clear blue sky and did his best to keep his eyes from fully shutting. He felt like a bat leaving the cave at the wrong time. The wind picked up to a low gale. His hair wiped into his eyes like small horse tails. The sky was like an underwater ocean with out any land or islands. Not one cloud rested anywhere. It was hard to see everything above the hospital roof due to the surrounding chain link fence. The fence even had a rooftop link that crossed over the top. Steve guessed it protected against expected jumpers. Steve could here the rushing hum of traffic blow beneath. Occasionally a horn would blast and some one voice would drift by like a lost spirit. A black bird flew up to the corner of the building's edge. It crowed and hissed and then fly off angrily. A small black tar side walk trailed in a circle fashion, along the side of the edge. Railing stood above and to the right of the tar path. Steve walked away from the elevator entrance and stepped up onto the black pathway. He followed it accordingly. His intention was to make it to the curve of the sidewalk and peek over the corner. Wind pushed him aside but he fought it back by pressing against it's strong graceful hands. But not too hard, he didn't want to carry himself over the edge. Once, he reached the corner he looked over. He didn't want to place his fingers in the chain link. He knew that the only prisoner was the one who grasped onto the bars of his cell. He leaned his forehead against chainlink and let out a sublte moan. The vocal sound was hoarse, long and full of striding pain but contained a strong intent of aspiration. He was coming through. His eyes darted downward. A long shadow stretched from the buildings body. Below him, in the dark shadow, was the monkey cage, or the patients garden. They were rebuilding sections of the caged walls. A bulldozer was pushing dirt into a pile and a steam roller flattened out a stuck of tar tumbled up on the cement. The long security fence loomed upwards and curved over the monkey cage like the dropping of a flower. It wasn't actually a cage of primates, but many inmates called it the "monkey cage." The top was covered with long poles. It was as if the long poles were wilted by the sun like metal plants forcefully trying to grow. Workmen hammered and power-screwed two by fours against the main fencing. No one had been in the garden for the past few weeks. Cigarette butts, soda stains and fizzle pop lids were scattered through out the garden's lawn and cement walk ways. Steve had not seen the top of the sky in nearly two months. A pebble stuck between Steve's toe. It tickled him and he laughed. He felt for a moment a warm presence. It was warming then the sun and it heated inside him like slow burning candle in the thick of night. It was God. Everything became cloudlessly clear. Intensively apparent. Steve looked up. A cool rain washed over his head, but not a drop was seen above. He felt at one with everything. Clean. Unsullied. Faultless. He thanked him. He thanked God for letting him see the freedom of the sky again. The truth of it all.

The doors to the elevator opened. It was Sean. He was dressed in tan baggy pants and a tan V-neck sweater. Steve exposed a set of keys in his hand with a small dove dangling from the key ring. Steve knew he was being released soon. He was no longer wearing his green hospital gown. And why the keys?

"What will I do when your gone." Sean leaned over the top railing at the edge of the roof. The roof housed a narrow sidewalk that circled along the top of the asylum.

"I got a car." Sean said. "I got a car man." He hugged Steve. "Their letting me go tomorrow. I moving into an apartment not far from here. My instructor from Chicago, my teacher, he found out were I was and visited. He gave me some money to put in my account and lent me his car until I got back on my feet. He has a truck too. It's one of those outdoor things. So I don't feel so bad. Cool huh. The place is nice. It's a loft. Down town. Nice huh. I'm thinking about getting a job at a café. They serve scones and French breakfast foods. Its like La Madeline but nicer. Maybe get back in a modern class. What do you think?"

Sean vanished after that. He visited Steve for two lunches and never returned. Steve figured the hospital brought back bad memories.

"I feel better. Thanks for letting me go to the roof." The doctor and Steve talked about his discovery, or re-discovery, of the mysterious presence on the roof. Steve made a decision that the hazy veil he was wearing had to do with his disconnection with God. "I feel closer to God. Things are starting to become clear." The doctor smiled at Steve for the first time. "Good. That's good. Things are getting positive. I want to see more of this in you."

Night fell. Steve decided to sneak into the lunch room. He wasn't for sure if he was going to escape or not. He figured he wouldn't anytime soon. Dr. Hurt was becoming friendly and plus he had to wait for Sean's visits, even though they were becoming scarce. Steve feared of being lost in here. But he knew he wouldn't be permanently lost do to his journal entries and God. God would always be with him.

Some one had left behind a subscription to Writers and Poets magazine. On the subscription tab was a single stabled sheet of paper. On it read the address and dates to a poetry contest. Steve took it back with him to the room. He found it while scrapping under the lunch room table.

"I want to write a screenplay." Dr. Hurt was wearing the most peculiar tie. It had a small submarine on it chasing a dolphine, or a fish. "Like your tie." Steve added. "Thanks." Dr. Hurt half uttered between his relaxed lips. "A screenplay, Steve. Now you want to write a Screenplay. Are you ready for such a project." A long lull filled the room like molasses. "Yeah." Dr. Hurt's eyebrows closed together in the middle. Wrinkles forged in his tall pale forehead. "Ok. Theme. Outline. Title tomorrow. I know much about writing. Creative writing was once my minor. Till medicine kicked in my way." The doctor grinned like a child. Steve cut in, "I have no title yet. Untitled for now. Its about a killer in Hollywood." The doctor stood up. "Save it for tomorrow. Or no. Our next meeting is next week. Save it for next week. Steve I want to talk to you about something else. Have you heard of the false self." Steve cleared his throat. The AC unit blurred in over the doctors breath. Steve had been paying attention to his large, confident inhales. The doctor had no tension in his body. Steve figured he was on a relaxing narcotic. Maybe not. "Ok. The false self is the lie. It hurts you. You told me about your starving and your trips to the snack tray. That's the lie in you. The falsity that permits it. Why do you let it take you?" Steve cleared his throat. "I told you about the snack tray. How did you know?" Dr. Hurt explained, "You are in a mental ward. There are cameras. Plus, you read me parts of your journal. Don't you remember." Steve smiled, "I haven't eating a bite in over seventy two hours. Preparing to pray to Dionysus." The doctor exhaled longingly, "Now your worship Dionysus." Steve poked his chest out, "All actors/writers and musicians and artsy folk do. He was the god of wine, feasting and celebration. Fronto, fronto, frontooooo." Steve sang a little Carl Orf to cheer the doctors blue, seriousness, "I see. Well, its religious reasons now." Steve rubbed his dry, aching tummy, "Well, Rasta fara in Jamaica smoke marijuana to who respect to the god Rasta. That's a from of indulgence. Some artist need spirit to send them to the creative cloud." Dr. Hurt added, "So, your is gluttony. That's a sin." "I'm not catholic." Steve sternly exclaimed. Dr. Hurt looked displeased, "Well, its not always healthy to do that. Fasten is allowed but its not good all the time. Its your body. But if it helps you, I can't call it insane. Many would. I can't. I'm not a writer anymore. I do remember drinking a lot when I did whip out short stories. That's why I quit. I found it harmful to my health. I know writers go overboard. We know Tennessee died do to the effects of Alcohol, or badly fastened nasal spray tops." Steve squinted, "Nasal spray." Hurt enlightened him, "Yes. Williams drank so much that he clogged his sinuses. Alcoholism does harmful things to your sinus tract. So, he was alone, at the typewriter, snorting Nasal spray. He bit the top of the canister and the nozzle flew down his throat and wedged in his esophagus, causing a airway blockage. No oxygen. And death occurred. He was drinking when it happened." Steve chuckled, "So, never drink and snort nasal spray. Like never drink and drive." Dr. Hurt slightly quivered. "Look. Start writing up a treatment for your project. I want to read it. I have people in the business. They may help you out. You'll have to work hard. I'm gonna move you down the hall, so no one bothers you. Private room. If the work looks earnest and skilled, I'll send you to the upper levels. They have a pool, work out room, and a pretty impressive library. The library was constructed by folk like you. Artsy crazy books. Huxely, Williams, Poe, Kessey, Vonegut. King. Philosphers like Russel and Nitzche. Even have some screenplays. Ingmar Bergman wrote Hour of The Wolf in a nut bin. You should do find. Since you kicked Jona and Jay out of your life. You seem to be one. Remember what I said about the false self. Live in now. Take the story from now. IT should work. Relax and don't pray to hard to Dionysus." Dr. Hurt winked at him, "If you feel you need a narcotic or something to calm to ring the nurse. I can provide a small AM/FM radio in your room, but I suggest only classical. Its structured music." A tear formed in Steve's eyes. "I'd be honored sir."

Steve began his process by writing poems on a nightly basis.

Poem #1

So he speaks

The false self

Whispering veil

Books on shelf

Revise the shooping list

on ticket stubs

And red hissing

from a place called sun

"run,run,run free"

Vast sea he fell

Temple condemned

Condemnable spells

Highway 10

Unchillytongues by blue seas

who pray of dragons listlessly

old burried wagons

lost chains fistlessly

Calypsonian kiss miss me

Heartbreakingly

So speak

The false self

Whispering veil

Half price books on shelf

Revise a shooping list

on ticket stubs, fall to day

And red hissing

birthed; a place called sun

"run,run,run free, son"

Vast sea he fell

Temple condemned

Condemnable spells

Highway 10, prism flags in hell,

Unchillytongues on blue seas

who pray of dragons listlessly

old burried wagons

lost chains fistlessly

Calypsonian kiss miss me

Heartbreakingly

Four walled impactedly

entice gavel cachet madly

His pen his lovely

her cheek his dove sea

and her arms en l'air

sleep in a Goodbye lair

Temple rebuild

in my chest it dances

the carafe of time

spills signs in prances

Truth harveste; chances

six feet under, or ash

lost chains I mash,

ignore the glowery field

Eukaryote made

Inusa, inusa so filling

half dead and warm willing

Tame me in killings Oh, Ford, Ford

Beat, grind, dirt, rewind, tap drum

Which way to the lord, lord.

tap drum hum beat grind rum drum

Which way, which way, which, way

to the lord.

Hours slipped by and Steve decided the poem needed revision. So he tapped on the head of his pen and drained a little more ink.

(Revision.)

Poem #1 redux

So speak, the false self

Whispering veil, Half price books on shelf

Revise a shooping list, on ticket stubs,

Fall to day red hissing ,birthed; a place called sun

"run,run,run free, son" Know thy self

Vast sea, blackbird fell, a Temple condemned

Condemnable spells, Highway 10, prism flags in hell,

Calypsonian kiss miss me

Heartbreakingly, entice gavel cachet madly

His pen his lovely, her cheek, a dove sea

and her arms en l'air, sleep in a Goodbye lair

Chest hidden dances, carafe of time

spills signs in prances, no stare;

soil under, or ash, lost chains I mash,

Eukaryote made in lime, no fair,

Inusa, inusa so filling

Tame me in killings "Oh, Ford, Ford"

Beat, grind, dirt, rewind, tap door

Which way to the lord, lord.

tap drum hum beat on the door.

Which way, which way; the way my Lord.

Steve still thought it was too wordy. So he tried again.

(Revision #2 of Poem number #1 redux. Note to self. Find better title.)

Whispering veil, half price books on shelf

Revise shopping list on ticket stubs,

Fall to day red hissing ,birthed; place called sun

"run,run free, son" thy self

Vast sea, blackbird fell, a Temple condemned

Condemnable spells, Highway 10, prism flags hell,

Calypsonian kiss, never miss me

Heartbreakingly, entice gavel cachet madly

His pen lovely, her cheek, a dove sea

her arms en l'air, sleep Goodbye lair

Chest hidden dances, carafe of time

spills signs, prances, no stare;

soil under, or ash, lost chains I mash,

Eukaryote made in lime, no fair,

Inusa, inusa so filling

Tame me in killings "Oh, Ford, Ford"

Beat, grind, dirt, rewind, tap door

Which way to the lord, lord.

tap drum hum beat on the door.

Which way, which way; the way my Lord.

Steve read on to the contest words and he had exceeded the twenty line limit. So he cut more.

Revision #3. (No title.)

So speak, false self

Whispering veil, half price books on shelf

Revise shopping list on ticket stubs,

Day red hissing ,birthed; place called sun

"run,run free, son" thy self

Vast sea, blackbird fell, a Temple condemned

Condemnable spells, Highway 10 flags,

Calypsonian kiss, never miss me

Heartbreakingly, entice gavel cachet madly

His pen lovely, her cheek, a dove sea

her arms en l'air, sleep Goodbye lair

Chest hidden dances, carafe of time

spills signs, prances, no stare;

soil under ash, oak chains to mash,

Eukaryote lime, wire,

Inusa, inusa so filling

Tame me in killings "Oh, Ford, Ford"

Beat, grind, dirt, rewind, tap door

Which way to the lord, lord.

tap drum hum beat on the door near the shore,

Which way, which way; the way my Lord.

Still Steve needed to chop more. Two hours ticked by. He stared at the word and phrases, and carefully dissected the poem over and over again. Changing "Lost" to "oak." Rearranging sentences, finding a title and finally cutting half of it down to size.. Trying to find the perfect thump. He had to get it right. A title, a rhythm and a far off meaning that had post-modern fervent.