A term was being used in Roberto's neighborhood before the arrest. American Airlines was suffering and on the verge of bankruptcy, due to September 11th, 2001. There where many pilots, flight attendants, air traffic controllers, baggage personal and ticket counter clerks, walking along the passage road to various sets of apartment, without jobs, without work and without motivation. The terms used to describe them were the combination of two words: Dead and Heads, equally one word Deadhead. A deadhead, is someone who veggies out, and lives a sluggish or dull-witted person. Usually a deadhead acts as a parasite, feeding and living off others. They rarely work and have little ambition. Deadheads never finish a project and many live in Austin Texas and smoke four pounds of weed in a few months or less. They have to do this. It is either that or starve to death, or freeze in when winter gets rough. It is there way to somehow attach to the monetary system of the market. They usually shop in the black market, but at least they shop. No one planned for these employees to lose their way of life, and careers. But terrorism chose them to suffer. Terror has long arms. And from the foot prints of the world trade center, these arms stretch and choked on innocent, hard workers. Roberto did not work for AA. And he didn't really intend to, but he did consider applying as a flight attendant and did so several years back, but the AA company would not take him. Most likely he was too young and too naïve, and too fresh out of college. So, Roberto ran of to Hollywood after graduation to land film work and climb his way to star. Little did he know he was living in the new Flint Michigan, unless the government shielding these long arms of terrorism and aided the troubled ones, and the unemployed workers of AA. Unemployed, drained and weary, the laid off and temporary laid off and early retirements drove, walked and went dry in pads with in Uless. Roberto would wake up many nights to the sound of maddening screaming and odd, nutty noises. One time he even had a knife pulled on him because he had to stump on the roof, due to the fact that his downstairs neighbor was playing his base music far too loud. Most likely he was trying to turn of the noise of nothing. Unemployment can drive a man into a violent sadness. His down stairs neighbor tried to use fast food and rap music as an uplifting technique in order to reverse frowns into smiles. It didn't work for Roberto and he slammed a twenty five pound weight on the floor above the rappers pad. Later, the rapper left due to poor finance and loud noise. He was asked to leave.
Robert found himself living next to an older man, with not teeth, gray long hair and a nice facial features. He played guitar and was fairly quite, but with out work.
They rarely talked.
Days went by. Roberto awoke, biked down, twenty minute afar, to the near by Hoagie shop, worked four hours and returned with earned wages barely enough to cover food. He had to beg family for his other necessities. Luckily, he found a phone company that did not charge 80.0 $ a month for local service. He went with a lower quality company, but with better deals on the phone. It could have been a desperate attempt to save a company faltering due to the terrorist attack on Manhattan. Many business were shutting down due to the flames and pain. He joined the Phone Company NSI, which offered free International Long Distance and a monthly payment, with all features, for merely thirty dollars a month. He began paying under half what he used to when working as a waiter, or at 7-11, down the road. Roberto, began to come to terms with career. When, he was twelve he told his mother, "I want to be." The rest of the sentence ended with. "A writer." "I want to be a writer." That is what he told her. Mom had told him the story of Job and he had never felt more emotional and alive after hearing the biblical tale. He loved stories and hearing stories and reading books and novels and short stories. The game he honored and respected mostly as a child was Dungeons and Dragons. D & D and Advanced D & D became an obsession and an awesome way to exercise his imagination as a sixth and seventh and even eight grader. He dropped D & D, after the age of sixteen and after too many hits of LSD. His most popular character in the game was a halfling-elf-fighter named after the female elf Silver Leaf. Basically, it was a halfling fighter with a passed on name. He took the name of Silver Leaf from a more pure, and beautiful being. It was a name giving away in one of the Adventure modules. Silver Leaf was a popular elf. Roberto merely stole the name, or burroughed. But most names are stolen. How many Johns do you know. How many Melcars are or Melcores, or Dragaphs, are used in D & D. I guess Roberto stole many things in life, but he wasn't ripping off his phone company. That he paid for. And he was definite about making each payment, on time.
And he began making calls to New York and California. He was going to try and set up his acting career once more.
Ted returned. It was late morning. "I know it's morning. And I know your court day is coming up. But I brought you something." He opened a small white box fatter, wider and longer than a shoe box and he continued with, "Donuts." They where plain chocolate glaze, but Roberto didn't care. He took a couple and the guard covered his mouth, "Shh. I know you're a good man Roberto. Just bare with us. WE have to keep ya here until trail. You may get off on mental health reasons and we'll move you over to MHMR. Oh, and I brought you the book. Have you read The Epic of Gilgamesh." Roberto looked down at his white socks. "No." He said trying to hold back the tears. It had been three days straight and he had been lucky to get a cigarette or sip of coffee. Now, Ted was rewarding him. "I know your not guilty." Ted reinforced. "But I have to play the law game now. Here." He stuck thick book through the bars. Roberto snatched it up and smiled. "Thank you." He said with wide eyes. They where dry now. "I'll give her a read."
Ted saluted and turned away and headed to the end of the corridor. Roberto smiled and thumbed through the pages. It was a boxy healthy paper back of around two hundred pages. "Can't go wrong with this epic." Roberto hummed and made his way to the concrete table, hoarding down the sweat taste of the chocolate glaze surprise.
Page one. "I will proclaim to the world the deeds of Gilgamesh. This was the man to whom all things were known; this was the king who knew the countries of the world. He was wise, he saw mysteries and knew secret things, he brought us a tale of the days before the flood. He went on a long journey, was weary, worn-out with labor, returning he rested, he engraved on a stone the whole story." Roberto looked down on the skim top of the concrete table in the center of the cell. It was a two seater bench, one you might see at a picnic or at the edge of basketball court. Carved in the rock of the table, was a sketchy, but readable chess board. Yes, Roberto was playing with life now. It was his next step that matter, but not a physical one, but rather a step in the mind. A choice. What to say to the judge, how to approach the bench and how to speak to the defense lawyer. Time was coming to a boiling point. Soon, he'd have to face trial.
He skipped lunch. He was too sucked into the story of the greatest warrior that ever existed.
Slowly to recluse.
A year ago.
Robert became a recluse. He bought a small word processor and began to write every night. Mostly, poems, plays, screen plays and one man shows, dialogue, and tv scripts, soaps, treatments and more. The more he returned to the word processor, the more he desired to be great, and the more he decided to become great, the lonelier he became. But Robert was stubborn. He didn't want to quit. He didn't have any other interest. He dropped everything in his life. Even acting. Even theatre. Dropped it all, to gain knowledge, self awareness, of nature and literature composed from the beauty around. He was digging a deep hole. Some saw it as a waist of time, others viewed his work as brilliant, and life changing. Robert saw it as a way to get back. A way to speak and express himself. Writing became a means for survival.
On the other hand, Roberto, the adventure, his shadow, viewed writing as something intellectual do, or ass hole professor. To Roberto, writing embarrassed him. Robert was the writer. Roberto was the thief, and possible actor. Both contending with each other. Both trying to make sense of their environment.
Never. Will I ever trust a women. I will make love to them, give them flowers, nice phone calls, conversations and helloes, but I shall, never, so help me God trust them. They are closer to Satan and in their nature, they take. There are two aspects of a women that are fact (of coarse this does not apply to the Virgin Mary and other Holly and giving hearts such as Mother Teresa and Oprah) they are givers of life and takers of life. I don't mean this is a literally. I do, but not the whole sentence. It is true that house a zygote which turns into a fetus which later develops into an infant, than to a baby. It is true they are giving and can love. It is true women are great contributors to our planet. I am not going to lie, Women are great. But I am unfortunately misogynistic. It is one of my greatest weaknesses. Yes, I am calling women hating a weakness. It is a temptation. Most great men learn to value and appreciate women.
This is what I will do to the lovely creature. I will wash them, speak poetry to them, buy them ninety thousand dollar cars, expensive jewelry and take them to the finest restaurant in Manhattan, I will be a father to their child, I will rise their children, put them in private schools, I will walk them in the most eloquent parks in Egypt, London or France. I will do what they need and desire me to do. BUT, I will never trust them. I have decided never to put my trust, my full and savored trust in to the arms of a women. I have never, to this day, ever met one female, that has not abandoned me. Not one yet. Not even my mother.
I know this is saddening and hard for you to hear Oh, Woman. But, I have to be honest. I can not trust you any longer. You may do with me what you want, you may even ask for my heart, and I will willingly hand it over, but I can not give you my trust. That is only for me. And at times I have trouble trusting myself, but I am learning to master self trust as I write this. I trust Roberto and his story. I trust other character I have written for you and others like you and for other people near you and other artist in faraway lands, and for all the readers, but this gives me no right to hurt myself for you again.
Roberto was in the midst of writing his story. It started with how every women he had ever trust broke this valuable inner feeling, we all need to live life fully. With out trust life is incomplete. Roberto was not yet complete. Shel had left to New York to study acting. She left him behind. He had a few months until he was going to graduate, with honors, from the college in North Texas. He was preparing to run off to the land of movies. To take the world on, fully. Shel, wasn't around. He asked her to marry him before she kicked him out of the apartment. "Do do it Shel. I was going to marry you." "OUT. GET YOUR SHIT AND GET THE FUCK OUT." Roberto put the box of books down, walked quietly and calmly to the kitchen drawer, took out a seven inch steak knife, and while Shel gathered his plays into a small filing box, he sawed off her curly, thick beautiful pony tail. "So you won't forget me." Then, he walked over, slowly, with ginger calmness to the box of text books, bent down to pick them up and Shel cried, "You sonofabitch. I can't believe you. Yousonofabitch. How dare you do that?" Her pony tail lay on the kitchen floor. It was over between Shel and Robert. Permanently over. There was no going back after that. He had crossed the lines. Her hair, a part of her, a dead part, but nevertheless, a part of her lay on the kitchen yellow checkered linoleum floor. "I'm sorry I had to cut your pony tail off. But I can't live in my fucking truck again. Not with out payment." "Payment. Cutting my fucking hair off is payment." "People sell their hair for money nowadays lady. Just one thing." Shel went into the bedroom and took down the brown square rustic box, she kept the weed and pills in. "When your at your lowest moment. At your weakest moment. You will call out my name." Roberto walked out of her place. Shel stormed to the front door and kicked it solidly shut. She locked it behind him and that was it.
Never will a trust a women again.
That week Roberto lived in his truck. He cramped all his original, written plays, journals, poetry and songs in the back of the cabin. He turned up his favorite song by Led Zeplin and headed back to Fort Worth. He would have to move in with mom again.
After twenty months and twenty pounds less in wieght, he finished up College. He receive a Bachelor of Arts in Performance study with honors. He graduated with a 3.9 gpa and received the National Honors Award. He returned to a small dorm style apartment off of Fry Street, in Denton. He lived a quiet life, their and on whim, after working as a substitute in the DISD and at a market research company, he drove off to California. In hopes to plant his trust to a more trustworthy soil.
"Do you want to put this book on the market?" Roberto kept staring at the man's but-crease in his chin. He was a tall man, broad shoulders, narrow waist, long shins, pointy knee-caps and his only height was found in his sedulous speech and assiduous word usage in mid conversation. He was dressed in long tan shorts, and an expensive Banana Republic vest. Obviously a man with a hefty bank account. Under the vest was a white cotton Gap dress shirt, with a multifarious of various buttons. He noticed zippers where used to zip up the front pocket. Yes, a bank account indeed. He removed a small cigarette case from his canvas earthy colored sports jacket. After lighting up, he relit a herb scented cigarette and spread the smoke above his head like holy wild fire. Two cigarette in one hand. How sinful. Why would a man do such a thing. "Its good. You have interesting and unique structure. You stuck with the protagonist Roberto, or Robert Pace and his life through out the entire book. Have you thought about calling it Robert Pace rather than. . . ." He offered the dry cigarette (The one without the herb). Roberto shook his head. He wanted the sweet smelling smoke. "I like the Criminal. I like that title. Nothing else. It must be The Criminal. Curt. Intelligent. And well, Inventive. Is he the thief. Or you." Roberto answered with a silent chin raise. The answer was initially present before the conversation began. Robert reached over and gripped his ice water, which was kept in a long, narrow upside down cone shape glass. It reminded him of a glass some alien would have in his house in Roswell, New Mexico. The drinking cup was long, narrow and translucent. He sipped on the clear sparkling water, swishing it to the back of his throat and then to the pockets of his cheek, and in the process of swallowing the sip, he poked the lemon down to the bottom, at the floor of the cup, with his butter knife. The manners were eccentric but due to their uniqueness he scored a few classy points in etiquette. At least he did not use his bare finger to mash the lemon under the ice. It was a one of his methods of washing the brunch snack into his tummy and out of his mouth. He did not want to spit a floaty on his new publisher. That would be death defying "green wienie" (mistake.)
The year had arrived to publish his second book. He was in Santa Monica, at a Hilton that overlooked the vast blue. A seagull glided by, wining and hunting for bread crumbs. "So you like it." "It's the best work I've read since. . .Hell. Since old stuff. Like Bellows or Hemingway. It really has charm. What did you do to write this ingenious shit. Huh, babe?" "Lived in a small town, near the airport in Texas. Worked at fast food places, convenience store and said God Damnit over and over again until a damned the motherfucker into existence. Typing it out and writing the story down on paper just came natural to me." "I noticed you had a ah. . .well. . .hatred toward God." "Yes. I struggle with his existence. I believing He is there. I lived as an atheist as a teenager and had trouble with it as a I grew older. Sometimes I wake up and I can see, but usually, when I book comes about, and characters and storylines arrive I am quit blind." "Good way word ones faith." "It's the most common way to look at it. Being either blind, or in clear vision. Sometimes I see my God. Sometimes he is behind a cloud, and I only view the cloud. You follow me?" "Yes. I'm sorry you feel this way." A moment passed. The gentleman from Scribners, chewed on the filter and jotted down some notes. "I usually meet by phone, or internet. But I had to fly out here and see you. You are brilliant." "Thanks. Can I order you something." Robert held up his index finger and nodded at the passing waiter. "One sec." He said in a thick flamboyant lisp. "Okay. No biggie." Roberto said. "This world at times, turns my stomach. Sometimes I want to vomit and at other times my appetite increases. Get it?" Roberto was hustling the hell out of him. It was nothing compared to his first meeting he had over his first book. He sold it in the dead of a winter storm, in the mid December and in New York, the hardest time to sell a book was when Winter was wild, and not to forget, in such a big, during such a festive moment in time. Two thousand and two. "Two thousand and two pages long. That's many words. It will take time to build." Frederick said winking at the lady waitress setting his Gin and Tonic, with a lemon twist, before him. The seagull circled over the café, which extended from a balcony on the Hilton. A man wearing a black jump suite was on a cell phone. He was eating a frosty slushes, with a tropical fruit and protein powder, blended and mixed with vodka. A liquor drink prescribed by health nuts. Usually only drank by idiots who like to work out and drink, wich is a contradiction in terms. It was a new crave, a new fad, in Santa Monica. It was called a spiked sushy. A healthy drunk was more attractive and successful than a dead drunk. "Your work is simple. To the point. A child's mind. Very identifiable. Like all writing should be. What made you want to be a writer." "I'm in to sucking dick." Roberto smiled. "Just joshing ya. I like to tell stories. Simple as that. Not complex things. But stories. I'm interested in stories. And I don't like to go to long without telling them." "You were an actor write." "When I was younger and then I began writing my own monologues for auditions. The monologues turned into plays. The plays turned into short stories. And the short stories turned into character-ish stories of two hundred or three hundred pages. I just kept layering over what the monologues and plays gave me. The layering build up into novels. I found writing novels to be more public. I had more time away from the eyes of the people. I didn't have to worry about showing up to some stupid audition and wasting my time trying to become a movie star. I could just sit at home, and imagine my success and eventually I knew that would bring success. For what we imagine is a powerful tool. I believe the imagination can bring truth around us. Look at what the Wright Brothers did. Look at what Einstein did or hell look at what one man name Jesus did and he didn't even use his pen.."
The word is a powerful aspect of life. It is an embodiment of ideas and imaginations and it does more than most arts combined. The word has the power to change. Photographs, actors, dancers, directors, films, artist, painting, sculpting, inspire people, but writers Change people. They have the power to change the. . ."The world. They really do. I mean a painting can inspire, but can it change. It doesn't change. Words do. Language does. It changes, and it changes what others read it to be. Meaning. . ." "Your saying what exactly?" "I'm saying that words are a common form of communication in society and in life. Most that can speak, use words every day. This is why the writer's medium is so valued. WE change others with our words and in doing that words change. If you look a word in a dictionary, ten years ago, it could be spelled differently and it could have a slightly different meaning. A dictionary of today is a different than a dictionary of the past. Words are constantly growing, becoming polluted, growing into new meanings. Just as structure changes. Sophocles may have invented the perfect structure for a play, but that structured is old fashion and overused nowadays. Same in books. Anyone can pick up a pen, a journal, and begin a new structure, a new word. Hell, how many books have you read that are written in numbers, or in words that most don't use to communicate stories with. Ti, tie tatatareering . . .See Sophocles broke the rules of Aeschylus and he broke the rules of the chorus, bla bla and more bla and then and then Thesbis rose and became a rebel, and Euripides broke the rules of Sophocles and Aristophanes broke those rules and Platus and he broke more, and the rules kept shattering over and over. . .all forms and structure to storytelling shattered, until Woody Allen came along and broke all the rules and made everyone fall over from laughter and then Mamet made English professor sleep with their students and so one and so on and Allen and other's like him, rule breakers and risk takers and those who value of ubi sunt and are rewarded for it rising up and falling down and structure teetering on the worth of its meaning." "I am glade I brought this hand held." Frederick set the small tape recording next to the miniature umbrellas laying on top of the table. He sipped on his mixed drink and shared a glance with Roberto at the gliding seagull, staring back down at their existence. "And now you want proof. Proof of the world around you. So you look up at me, or you stare in some book at the words, and their well structured manner. And you want proof that you exist. Constant proof. And I don't care. Did you know that? I don't care and that is why I'll burn in hell for all of this." Roberto downed his spiked slushy and snapped his fingers for another round.
He sold it. It hit the press and over ten million copies where released in Barnes and Noble and other similar franchised bookstores. It was a number one seller on New York Times Best Seller list and Washington Post raved over it's uniqueness and dedication to humanity. Roberto was famed. Dame to fame.
He bought a five hundred square foot flat in Soho and a small apartment in one of the high rises near Central park. The soho place was his writing workshop and the apartment was for his women and boyish fag friends. He had to keep his work and sex life separate. So he purchased two homes. Plus, he was in midst to building a house on the cliffs of Santa Monica and thinking about buying a studio in Paris. His next project was to write a play for the off Broadway circuit. He would name it The Theif. He would spell the title wrong on purpose. It was the title found on a journal cover, in some alley, written by a criminal and ex con. A play like Short Eyes or Weeds.
Robert Pace had a father. His father, Will Pace, was once millionaire due to his thriving chain of tiny jewelry stores set up along small towns between Keller and HEB. He owned five jewelry stores with the well known and common franchised title of Lone Store. Being a millionaire was not the only problem Robert's Father had. Will Pace adopted another lifestyle, unlike the businessmen attitudes of buying, selling and refining gold. He was once a polio victim, but it never progressed to the horrible state of a breathing machine, those made well to do in the late fifties. No, he survived the attack of polio but his left calf leg and upper thigh was slightly deteriated. His legs where quite distracted from the manner of health.
Roberto's Mother. A nice lady. She once worked for Will as a waxer in his wax section of the precious metal refinery. Later, after marriage with Will, she let go of work and became Will's house wife, maid and ceramic craftsperson. She sold her ceramic's on the side at garage sales and other events. She go into town and the farmer's market to fetch food for the family and later began keeping a cook book for French cuisines and such.
Roberto was left upstairs, alone. Like some lost object in the attic. He took to writing as a means to escape. Due to his deformity of his chest, which is a common place for a man to carry a birth defect, if God blesses them with such, he was cornered to beckon his imagination for companionship and social connections. It was his only way into the world, even though escaping into the imagined world is exactly reality.
He would sit in the upstairs section of the game room, on the window seat, plotting out stories ideas and adventure for his favorite and most cherished game Dungeons and Dragons. He developed his character Silver Leaf prepared a character sheet, with magical items, cursed items, hit points, dexterity, strength, intelligence, wisdom and charisma: all personality traits that a boy needs to develop into a well to do man.
Magical items: Ancient box. A magical box, once placed on the soil and open, reveals a underground dungeon, which leads to a world. The box is used for storage mostly. It was handy for storing weapons, gold and horses.
Roberto met one friend. He would later develop into a fine drug addict and rebel to society. His name was Peter. Peter played the D & D with a character known as Dragaph. Dragaph too possessed an ancient box, with the power to open in any situation, as long as the box's bottom touched soil.
The ancient box was invented by Peter. Peter thought it would be good to create an item that would store all the weaponry and jewels collected by Silver Leaf and Dragaph. The each earned many magical weapons. Ice knives, double handed swords that inflamed anything the blade touched, magical shields that caused a fighter to disappear and hide, creating a low number on defense. The lower the number on defense the least likely one could be hit by an opponent. Hit points worked in the opposite. The game was played with four sets of die, sometimes more. A four sided die, a six sided die, a eight sided die, a twelve sided die and a twenty sided die. Advanced D & D used more dies, and more sided dies. One die was known as a hundred sided die. It was basically a perfectly shaped ball, with various numbers neighboring one another. The die ball would role until it naturally stopped and at the top center point (astronomy calls the) would land the number. It was used for players that had high hit points and crossed upon magical dragons with an extremely deadly and highly powerful touch on human, elvens or halflings. Peter and Robert mostly played with elves, human fighters, magic users and halflings, of elf and human, or dwarf breed. This is how Roberto exercised his ability to write and imagine. Also, it improved his skill and creative flare for playing a role.
Roberto sister didn't play with him that much. She mostly was at his mothers house or at friends. She was two years older and quite rude to Roberto. Jealous mostly of his younger life and the fact that his was a boy.
If Peter was not around, Roberto practiced memorizing the rule book, or module in the attic or on the balcony. Alone. Later, as he grew into a teenager, he put down the games and picked up the books of poetry and song. He began writing songs, and poems on Sunday morning, before church or before leaving to the restaurant on Thursday evenings. He hated going out to eat. Dad always stuffed himself with too many tacos or asked the waiter to return with the casa dip bowl. Dad didn't push health too much. Sis and Roberto got in trouble for not eating, just as much as eating.
Roberto sat on the balcony and began composing lyrics. Every other word, to any of his stories was always interrupted by some demon, or voice, of some friend. Your too stupid. Oh, that's dumb. Oh, he eats too much. Oh, he is a nerd. Oh, he looks like a turd. OH, oh, oh. The voices got worse and worse the older he got and they interrupted his social standings.
Robert versus Roberto
Robert was the straight man. Full on rational. No nonsense. Up front. To the cue. Payment plan. Loan payments on time kind of guy. If he would of arose more in Roberto's life, he wouldn't been in so much deep shit. He read books on self help, how to love, cook, he read the directions on packets, or parts that needed assembly. He was a man with honor. He stayed away from artsy films, racy books or poets.
Roberto was the rebel, the thief, the criminal, tempered fool, out to get his way. No holds bar. All or nothing. No self control. Anger, lust, laziness and full on crazy 'basterdness'. He didn't care and if you got in his way he shot you the bird. He was the musician, the poet, the madman, the freedom fighter, a fully committed bachelor. Roberto devoured himself in the steamy side of cinema, the hot and bothered film makers. He wanted to go to Hollywood non-stop and get everyone back. Make a film. Record a CD. Write a new song about lost love and rebellion. Fuck this system bullshit. He wanted to break all the rules, tear down the walls and bail ship. He was the bomb.
Robert was the naive and innocent side of Roberto and Roberto was the guilty side of Robert. Each side of one man, teetering on sanity. Needing each other as a balancing system, just as a pulley system needs counter weights to raise the curtains to reveal life.
Roberto was always hungry for more. He would eat the entire cake if he could get away with it. Robert would hold back, eat a slice and carry on a long conversation with an old friend. Robert, not Roberto, was the type to take a girl out to a fancy restaurant. Roberto would rent a room at Motel 6, with cheap wine, or beer and rent HBO. Roberto was private and hogged life. Robert was open and giving. Each fought with one another, trying to maintain a since of wholeness, and unity. It was a war between the two. One demanded more and the other held his hand up and said No. I will not let you rule my life. The other screaming back: there are no rules tight wad.
Roberto was lonely in the cell. He was just about finished with Gigamesh.
He read from the epic,
"And princes will bow down before you; they shall
bring you tribute from the mountains and the plain.
Your ewes shall drop twins and your goats triplets;
Your pack-ass shall outrun mules; your oxen
Shall have no rivals, and your chariot horses
Shall be famous far-off for their swiftness."
He had about fifty pages left in the paper back. The epic was everyman's story. A story about adventure, travel, war and pure evil tempting others to fall from grace. Gilgamesh was no coward by no means to mankind. He was the opposite of a weak person. He was more than a person. He was a hero. And he did it all. He had help too. His sidekick was a brave warrior named Enkidu. Enkidu followed him everywhere. He was Gilgamesh back up and best friend.
Roberto began to review each chapter in his mind like he did as a young student. His days in reading class sparkled up. He remember he met his best friend. He had a Jewish mother and a Christian father. He was Judeo-Christian. His friend was called Harrington Friedman. Harrington Friedman was originally from New York. The rough parts of queen. He was picked on by many kids at a young age because he was slower. Harrington was in a remedial reading class with Roberto. Roberto was actually a super fast reader. He was just badly influenced by an overly aggressive father. His father, Will, was heavy set, a huge belly, and thick jaws. He was a buck sergeant for the Army during Vietnam and was a victim of polio. Will had a temper the size of Manhattan but despised big cities in the North. He wasn't a fan of the Yankees. Will was a Dallas Cowboy junkie and never missed a Monday night ballgame. He yell and whistle at the set, as if he was really in the stadium. His father was a great man and once started a band, in his younger years, called the Acoustics. He was a huge Beatle fans and admired the doors, eagles and Led Zepplin. Roberto loved his father, but hated him for his abuse. . . "Roberto get downstairs." At this moment in his life, he was around eleven. His mother had left his father, divorce was finalized and Will sent Alamony and child support payments for the summer. His mother remarried a basket ball couch for High school students in mid town Fort Worth. His name was Earlchk Reeds. Earlchk had a temper, like most couches, but was an overly nice guy. He knew every sport and put Roberto through the ringer. Roberto was well rounded in football, soccer, jogging, biking, jump rope, weight lifting, swimming, golfing, hiking and walking long distances. Earlchk was the ideal step dad, compared to the abusive harshness and speed addict father, Will. Will changed after he lost Lone Star to the EPA and later reopened a winery. Will was not a bad man. He had his problems with Vietnam, the sixties, speed, pot and the music scene, and later with gold. His greed got the best of him, he gained too much weight and Roberto's mother left him and remarried a man with more class. Earlchk was a series fan of literature, Thomas Wolfe and David Lynch films. Later, Earlchk education would turn Roberto on to drama and literature. This is how Roberto got bit by the creative writing bug. His real father, Will, had him in the fall and spring. Mom had him in summer. "Get your butt down here. Time for dinner. Oh, and wash the goober juice off your hands." That was a cruel joke, that pops would play on Roberto. Janny gafawed at his humor. Janny was his step mom and not too beloved at this stage of his life. She was a worker that prepared rings, before they'd be dipped into the was. She also practiced ceramics and sold them. Both, of Will's wives were craftspeople. Mom, Roberto's real mother, or Ann, was more of a model and actress type. She was more into the experience of life, and she wrote children stories in her free time. She was also quite the actress. During her younger years she was cast in a play at a junior college. But one note, by a keen director discourage her. She was giving a note about volume. A common note giving to many method actors of our time. She quit acting and took up modeling and later landed a job for Richard Simmons in the mid 1980's.
Roberto ran downstairs, washed his hands, and ate his French fries, burger and mash potatoes, and green beans, and corn and washed down his ice tea. "Don't eat the those home fries with your hands." Wam. Will popped Roberto over the head with the back of his hands. Will jumped in his seat. "Dad. Come on." Slam. Will popped him once more. "Sit up. Eat your fries with you damn hands boy. Show us some respect." "But your supposed to eat your fries that way. Their fries. . .that is why. . ." Slap. "Don't back talk me boy." His father flared in his southern twang. "I hope you don't eat that ignorant at school." Father was hyper picky about table manners. Roberto had been swatted by pops for a variety of mistakes at the table. Mistakes are natural for a young kid or student of life. Its called experimentation. But not with Will. If you made one mistake. Bam. A whack in the head. A crack on the head is what you get for asking. He was like a tatty overly strict Headmaster with a million in the bank. Now he owns a wine store and takes pain killers. "Eat your food slowly. Chew. Bite. Breath. Chew. Bite. Breath." Father couched Roberto through dinner constantly. He wasn't the only sibling he would swat at the table. Sis would get popped for talking with her mouth full. Roberto finished his plate, like required, wiped his mouth and ran upstairs to hit the books and fall off to sleep. Tomorrow he had to have his book report completed. He was reading a story about the socials and the greasers: The Outsiders. His favorite character, besides Pony Boy, was Johnny (Ralph Mochio character.) Roberto identified most with him. He was the hurt puppy dog of the greasers and was the one that got picked on but ended up a hero with Pony Boy, his best bud. Stay Golden Pony Boy. Stay Golden.
Now, Robert sits before a word processor somewhere lost in Soho. All the lovers of his past, the lady from Long Beach, the ex-high school sweat heart Jen Fights, Shel, the lover or art, France and love, now gone. A loser. Lost in his papers. In his notes. Searching for an answer.
But that is when it hit him, just as the apple most of cracked on Newton's crown. Yes, that is when it all became clear. There are no answers. Their seems there is, but actually there aren't. Even love isn't an answer. Not when it comes to breath, pumping blood, veins, tissue. Or is it. Does love conquer all. If it did, why does Roberto still exist. It wasn't long until he was released from his prison term. And yes, Roberto searched for a new love and yes he came across many new lovers. But nothing is forever, not even love. We like to believe it is, and maybe some poets, and song writers are on the right track. Maybe love does master all, even death. Christ mastered hell with love and changed the world. But Roberto Pace wasn't Christ. He was a lonely writer. And his words became his love. But words can't act as love. Words can't hug, kiss and make love to you. He had no choice, he had to write. It was right, or read, or take a walk to central park, maybe stop off at a café, or theatre show, perhaps he would run into Her. Mrs. Her. The one. She would stumble into him. They would fall into a long conversation about the stumble. The reason for stumbling. The motivation and hidden intent that one stumbles. And then a phone number. Digits written on a matchbook cover. Then, a call to Brooklyn. She'd be a dancer, a poet, a poet that once danced Ballet. Now, broken, older. Now she had fallen in love with words, just as Roberto did. Together, they'd tale stories, like King and his wife, or Sam and Lang, or Lilly and Dash. Fall in love with each others words, or perhaps, the love would grow deeper and they fall for each other's spirit, spirit for survival. It would be a perfect couple. The one and only, the best. Better than Shel and her French Romanticism and impressionistic star. Those gray untouched eyes. Yes, she would be the one for him. She who? Mrs. Shewho. Mrs. Her. Roberto and Mrs. Her. Together at last on the streets of the a city that never sleeps. No. That would be to good to be true. But how does one make something that is too good to be true, true. I guess they become too good to be true. Or else.
Roberto was tired of waiting. He had been tested too many times and had unfortunately failed too many times. Many of the test in his past had been disproportional to his trait, or certain being, or to his selected system (body, mind and spirit), whoever elected him to live in this world, either his real father, or the Omniscient one, it didn't matter. He had been chosen and now he had to take the test. It was time to pass for a change. He must succeed his future. Career forward. He would get out and write Criminal, sell it and move to uptown. He couldn't wait to get to trail. To see the judge. Did he have a mustache? What color would his eyes be? It could be a women? It was time to pass for a change. He'd have to come up with a damn good excuse for robbing a convenience store. Boy, what a convenience it wasn't. This store did not make him feel any better, even if the gas was twenty percent off. He have to cut off his misogynistic ways. It would be a women. It would be the wrath of woman kind. He would be blamed, and taxed soulfully, for all the ladies he had cutout on and the past. All the women he had cheated on, and blamed for his mistakes. Women that had to kick him out of the apartment for using long distance and making them pay the fee, sneaking their cookies and treats from the cupboard, stealing their cigarettes, or wine and not paying them back. He would be shamed for cutting Shel's pony tail off. He'd be blamed for all the times he yelled, and cursed at his mother. The times he spit on her when he was high on low grad speed, the time he told her to burn in hell, and God Damned her name. He was so cruel to his mother. He blamed her for all his flaws. It was a weakness. It was shameful. It was a sign of the worst traits of all tragic heroes, hubris. He put his own needs, his own ego and self worth, over the rest of the world. He loved himself more than he needed to.
"Please rise. Your honorable Judge Wright-Standards. . ." Roberto's eyes widened. The time had come. It was a mere flash, and wam, he was standing before the honorable Judge Wright-Standards. It was a male judge, late fifties, gray hair, rusty white beard, and piercing aqua azure eyes. He had charming features and a huge white smile.
The jury was not kind to the Defense argument. No one seemed to support or takes sides with Roberto. What of Roberto's behalf. His Defense lawyer was a sloppy man, with dirty blond hair, brown eyes and he smelled like cheap Old spice. He talked in a low voice and he only said a few things to Roberto. "Be calm. Sit up. And be polite." The jury voted and returned. The spokesperson for the jury rose. Roberto noticed that the lady juror in the back was filing her nails. Here, in the middle of the courtroom, just before his sentencing, a juror field away at her stupid, silly nails. She was worried about the appearance of a deadening growth. It was like putting on lipstick at the peak of a funeral service. Uncouth, disrespectful and unmindful. The juror opened her mouth widely and voiced the jury's decision on Roberto Pace's case of armed robbery. "Guilty of the charge of Armed robbery." The Judge Wright sentenced Roberto, "I sentence you to three years in the Texas State Penitentiary for the unlawful behavior of armed robbery with intent to harm another fellow human being. I hope you understand your punishment is not going to be easy Roberto Pace. I am sick and tired of seeing young talented men like yourself Roberto stand before me with such dishonorable charges. I hear you graduated college and was exploring the field of creative writing." "Yes your honor. I plan to write my first book when I go into the inside." "Well, you will have to earn the privilege to do so. And that will take time and discipline. I think the problem here may be a mental one, but nevertheless, sir, you did break the law. I will consider parole and probation. I am a lenient judge when I see the educated. But I do not forgive some one just for the advancement in academia. Ted Bundy acted as his own lawyer and was well versed and schooled in the law. I hate to see you blow it all away for a mere three hundred dollars in cash. Couldn't of you of got a loan or seek an advancement from a relative or friend. I know unemployment is at a high, and we are all suffering due to the terror of September eleventh. I understand you were in New York during the attack." "Yes your honor. I was in school. I went to the New School university." "Hm mh. It's a shame. So much talent. I will allow you to use the library and earn the privilege to a type writer, perhaps a word processor. If you proof to me, Roberto, that you want to better yourself, and you help out around the pen, and be respectful and I will shorten your stay for a half year. But you must prove to me, that you will work hard, study and pursue your dream as a writer and I will be lenient. Do we have an understanding sir." "Yes your honor. We do." "Good. Four months, no parole. Fifth month, granted parole. If parole is granted on the fifth month, six years probation. The court is now dismissed."
Luckily, Ted, the guardsman, and Roberto had made good friends. Ted told him as they loaded him on the convent van headed toward the State Pen, "Robert. I'll send you a new book every two weeks. And a journal, with one of those fancy pens, those thick round ones, you buy at Barnes and Noble. Will that suit you." Roberto nodded his head as his shackles dragged over the back bumper to the van and snaked to a stop into the cold white, caged interior. Robert closed his eyes as the van's engine started up, Roberto's eyes remained wide open, he wanted to savor every moment of his punishment, to Roberto it was a masochistic reward. Most criminals, and that is what Roberto was, sometimes expect the punishment, they expect to be caught, hell, if they are not caught, then there is something wrong. A true criminal will keep violating the law, until he or she is caught. They will keep pushing the boundaries until attention is brought upon them. They demand the law to go into effect. To be honest, and sincere, the criminal is the reason laws are created. If the law doesn't beckon upon them, and grip the criminal with it's blind hand, than the criminal is being abandoned by the law and if the criminal is abandoned by the law he or she is being abandoned by society, and how can a criminal commit crime, how can they feel justified, lawful or unlawful, if the crime is not attended to. If their crimes are dismissed than the criminal is dismissed and their need for existence is dismissed. Thieves need to be caught, or the thief needs to know that there is a possibility of being caught. Many thieves steal for the sake of "getting-away-with-it theory." The thief is not just trying to get ahead in the world, but the thief is acting upon his addiction to steal. One gets a high of thievery. It is a feel-good action, like drugs, nicotine or alcohol. Hell, thievery should be taxed (and theft is taxed in the eyes of justice. Or in some churchgoer's opinion, the thief will be judged by God.) On the other hand, one must consider why the thief steals. Most jewel thieves steal for the high, the money, the women and the adventure, or going in late night, dressed in black, flash light in mouth, hack saw, screw driver and pliers in a small bag, wire cutters, and glass cutter and the whole nine yards. Pick pockets usually steal, because they need fast cash fast. Usually, for cab fair out of town, or to get a hotel room. Fast movie for fast living. The pick pockets takes the wallet, opens it up, takes the money, or credit cards, and trashes the wallet. He or she doesn't care about anything else, not even the ID. The pick pockets do not care what the ID photo looks like, who owns the wallet, they don't want names, addresses, or membership cards. Credit and money. That's it. Now the armed robber is usually high, or in need of drug money. They need much cash quick and are usually willing to risk their lives. Drug calls for much dough. The drug demands the armed robber to take the store with out question or grief. Now, the bank robber is smart. And plans. He or she is going in for a life time investment. Most bank robbers are older, and either want to start a new life in another land, or retire from life period. The bank robber is not your fast cash kind of man. He or she, is out for the long term (investment) amount. Money that will set them back for a long, long time, so the thief will not have to commit arm robber, pick pocket or jewelry store theft. I would classify thieves as the following:
Four ranks of thieves. (Shoplifters to Bank robbers.)
Lowest rank: The Shop lifter. (Cheap scat thief out to save on food money. Many shop lifters
or congressman, movie stars and, or fine and substantial people and citizen. Some say it's a disease more than a thievery. Some psychologist rank it along the lines of kleptomania. Some mental doctors will admit the shop lifter doesn't even really know that their shop lifting. This small time crooks, are barely aware, and are lost in delusion during the time of shop lifting. Most are not suit to be called thieves because the shop lifter is border lane insane. The shoplifter may still be able to run a business, act as a government leader, even a star in film, but can not be fully guilty, but should be responsible and attend help for their disorder. I consider shop lifting off (clothing, watches, alcohol, cigarettes, jewelry and other expensive materials) Most are unaware of their kleptomania. Thus, they need mental help. I wouldn't even classify them along the other thieves.)
Second to lowest: Pickpocket or conman. Usually the shop lifters are award they are stealing. It is too risky of a task to be unaware of the theft. The pickpocket or conman is after money.
Third level: Arm robber. Dangerous psycho. Usually hooked on drugs and is out of their minds. They are award, but on a raging high. Most likely on coke, speed or heroin.
Fourth level of thievery: Bank robbery. The bank robber is a sly individual. There is history in this field. Highly intelligent. Planner. Clean. Not on drugs. Most are clear headed and are living healthy and straight lives. Even file taxes. This would be the professional thief. In it for the big money. Wanted a long term investment. Some older thieves do it to retire on. Some thieves do it to start a new life in another country. Most bank robber split town, or split the continent after robbery. Bank Robbers are smart and traveling breed. Bank robbers are world travelers.
What does she want? What? I know, I know.
The dark cell was no inviting place whatsoever. It was cold. Un-warmly. Hateful. Hollow. Just as she was.
Shel you cunt. Why did you leave me here.
Roberto had a problem blaming others for his mistakes. He gave the intent of his actions over to his lost love, Shelly Ann Thorns. Miss Thorns left him. She flew off to Paris to study art and humanities. There was no reason for calling her now. Hell, she didn't even have a three digit area code. She had one of those weird numbers that had odd spacing like 12 34 77 E. Or some shit. Shelly got away. No more love. Shel's gone. Damn cunt.
The penitentiary never welcomed a man. It ordered a man but never invited him to do anything. Nothing was cordial or kind. Man became like a product in here. A designed response by the successful scientist. Its long hallways, sharp biting corners, roared and growled at any prisoner that attempted to plot a path. There was no paths made by the pen. The pen didn't set structure but rather broke it. It could polish up on law, and redefine legislature, but the pen was not meant to polish. The pen is a dirty mechanism designed to change purity. If you give a pen to a baby, he or she will wince at it, suck on it and possibly holler at it. The pen doesn't like the innocent. It is a tool of the skilled and snaky. Even though this tool can bite it still had rights. The pen had the right to enlighten, to awaken, to seduce and even in many cases to Love. That was the purpose of Roberto Pace. Love.
Yellow lines told you were to walk. Color coated hallways or strictly enforced signs, commanding men, like objects, like cold hard tools for the sinner of the world. Have you ever noticed how square most penitentiaries are? How many angles and sharp corners. Those types of places, like factories, command the feet, demand the hands for labor, and the mind for stillness. It is a place of loneliness, order and salvation. It is a place to do time. And time is loneliness, order and salvation. Especially if time is marked in tiny lines under a bunk bed, in some unknown corner of the world. The State Pen. It was located in Huntsville Texas. A isolated place, full of incoming and outgoing con men. A place full of punishment, redemption and forgiveness. See, every prisoner is serving time. But not the type of time most men think of. It is a pressured time. Every second counts. Every day amounts. It is designed to make a man feel the heaviness of time. It is constructed to make men notice the value of time and it's connections with freedom. No prisoner can get up at three in the morning, drive down to the grocery store and pick up some Ben and Jerry Rocky Road. No prisoner can pull up to Taco Bell and order a supreme ultimate and a nacho drenched tostados. No prisoner can pull up to a bar for a night of dancing and socializing. Hell, even their nights of fucking have to be planned, secured and briefed (also brief) I hear, and Roberto came to realization, that in the joint, you only have thirty minutes to eat. That is all the guards allow. You have to hog down your food.
This was not new to Roberto. He had been an actor and writer, and food had been sparse in his lifetime and he only had a little amount of time to eat his food, due to the beckoning of labor and it's costly demand of man's time. It wasn't that much different from the outside. There was a chosen time to wake up. Just as there was a chosen time for men to wake up for work. There was time to bath. Just as there was time to bath morning and night. There was a time to read, a time to write and a time to play. There was time to write letters, a time to work out, a time to walk and listen to the radio. Just like the outside. A time for every moment. A selected, chosen time, by a higher power. Prison life taught Roberto that time was chosen for man and man did not choose time. It wasn't his choice in life. Time was not meant to be chosen, just as mother nature was not meant to be controlled.
I wish I could see Shel. I can't blame her for this. I can't
Blame any of them for any of this. Shel is gone now.
Paris is her home. I heard she found a lover and is
Living in his pad. What a lucky girl, Shel is.
Goddamn this world. But no. I can't ask
God to damn anything. Not anymore. It is
Time for me to let go, and let him.
Roberto was a fast learner. He asked for a type writer, but he had not proved to the warden that he deserved one yet. Tomorrow morning, he would have to due laundry duties. That meant he had to go down in the hot basement of the prison, with seven other black men and one Mexican dude name Skitz. Skitz was in for selling speed and acid. He was one of those far-out dudes, with crazy Skitzy eyes and one of those Jesus goatess and long, thin arms and long black hair that usually covered deep brown pelican eyes. He had a friend name Jose, everyone called him, Pigeon for short. Pigeon walked up to Robert. "Whats up dude. Whatcha in for. You don't got to tell me if you don't wanna." Pigeon was a dumpy dude, with a long pony tail, and broad flabby shoulders. He seemed like some old poet or crazy artist. "Day call me Pigeon for short. I use to run messages and drugs for a dude name Pelican. They call him Skitz. He came in later, after I did. He's over der. Whatcha doing time for. You don't got to tell." "Armed robbery." Roberto kind of grinned madly, trying to pass of he was mean, like the other. Pigeon may have been a nice guy. They made it down to the laundry room. Roberto had never seen so many white cloth material accumulated in one spot before in his life. It was a steamy room, with a wide temper, and maddening hisses, and groans. It was one of those boxy places, poles hanging vertically and horizontally, and the ceiling was lower than the usually room. A seven foot basket ball player would have to walk on his knees in this place.
Laundry duties were getting repetitive. The other guys, Jose and Skitzy, were very careful at folding the towel. They treated it like some holy ritualistic action. Taking there time to meet the corners of each end of each towel, small, medium or large, they did not treat any of them any different. Every towel meant control and exact creases and careful stacking. Roberto noticed how they laid each garment on its side, pressing them with steamy irons and dry cleaning brushes. "Got to get the lint off of em. Its important to get the lint of." Pigeon said. The other three black men were taking up to the next level. Two other brothers came down and joined Jose and his friend. "Names Jackson. And this is my dude, Java." Java was from the east side of Africa. He got caught brining in three pounds of Purple Hair across the borders of Florida. I don't know how he ended up in Huntsville. "Java was caught in Florida. Served some time down there, got off on probation and then he moved deep south Texas. That's when he got caught again. This time Heroin coming in from Mexico City. Hence, Huntsville." So, Java was a carrier big time. He was growing it in his village in Africa, off the coast. He made it in the states, through Florida and was a successful dealer in Maimi. That's were he was arrested. In small hotel, called The Super Eight. He had sliced in the side of a few luggage pieced, and lined the outer skin with the Indigo herb. That's what he called it. Basically, it was weed. "How long your serving this time." Java didn't speak good English. His brother, Jackson talked for him. "Java's his nick name. Real name is Champa. Champa Naga." Hm. Roberto thought. "See, they weren't nice to him in the prison down in Florida. He decided not to speak after that." Java looked down at the sheet for a long time. A thinly jagged line, or scar, ran from his left eyebrow down to the bottom of the crease that separated his chin from the shadow of his neck. It was ghastly site to witness. "They cut him bad. White Supremacy fuckers. Arians. They didn't like his East African accent." Damn. Roberto thought. He must have been in a bad situation. "How they'd do it?" Roberto was not asking because he was concerned with the feelings of Java, which he should have been, but he was asking for the survival purposes. Maybe if I can find out how they sliced Java, than, I could figure out how they may try to slice me. It wouldn't be long, until a knife appeared at the shoulders of Roberto. A sharp, Buck knife, glisten a silvery smiling death. A possible death, of leaking blood, bursting, flowing into the last tick of time, lowering the lids to the eyes as the last sip of life flowed from the gauging cavern, and stingy cold numbness arrives and then permanent lights out, curtain.
The thought of it. Blood possibly leaking everywhere. On him. Real blood. Red blood. His blood. His thoughts multiplied. Movies of criminals from mafia flicks, being sliced and diced and Gatlin gunned down in old fancy Singers and movie star cars held up at some gate off a dirt road near a desert, not a klick from Vegas. Too much. Too much. Slow down.
Roberto was getting scared. Real jittery. His thoughts were racing like Minneapolis five hundred. In the midst of folding a linen cloth, he began to plot, various paths filled with a multitude toward freedom, a mix-master of various philosophies to break out, to escape this hell hole, myths of carving his way through a tunnel in his cell, under his bed, eating the dirt, swallowing the metal char, cutting, cutting, digging like a mad mole with a butter knife, like the protagonist's intentions, in King's film Shaw Shank Redemption, but more, more fawn, without the makeup and Tim Robbins beautiful mug and trained tongue. Reality had set in, he could hear the air-conditioning pumping, a man's cut a silent one, the putrid, rank, coarse smell of a polluted place filled with pretensions of improvement, lies of rehabilitation, he continued these thoughts, these paranoid delusions of freedom, possibilities in his mind, the actions of the white supremacy pigs, and how they held this little Eastern African man, in the air, by the throat, under the shower nozzle, feet dangling, grunting noises, and then, slice, crrrrk. "Sliced him right in the showers. Didn't they Java. Doctor's in the hospital had to give him blood back. Sonsabitches." Jackson said with whispers. "NO SOCIALIZING." The guard in the corner of the laundry had woken up from his mid morning nap. He was reading a Washington Post entitled Doomsday in Iraq.
Movie night at the prison was approaching. It was once a month and on Saturday evening. Usually the last weekend of the month. This week, the Warden ordered the movie
The tragic hero.
All tragic heroes have one thing in common. Each tragic hero central problem is hubris. Many have the problem of hating, or casting anger toward God. Some even want to be God, and this is their down fall.
Time and prison A poem by Roberto Pace
The devil demands time.
He tempts man
Limits time limits
To rush to a savage rate,
So forget his God,
Welcome oh grate hubris
of knotted steps.
Of twisted lost frets
So why don't you just starve Roberto and rob his love.
Cast your stone Warden.
It was a few months before the arrest. Roberto had no idea he was going to buy a .45 automatic. He looked for one on the streets. No idea whatsoever. He did know that Shel was gone and loneliness was killing him. No hurting, killing. It was draining him of motivation, or activity and reason for his life. TV was becoming too important. The character's in the shows were becoming like his friends. TV was wrong.
tv. What is it? Is it right or wrong? Is it opium or knowledge to be earned. Is it a sickness or something used for relaxation. One day that fucking tube will burn out blessed god.
What intent would he have on this planet? Now that she is gone, I have no reason to wake in the morning.
So why don't your just starve Roberto. No one is going to trust a poet. Their liars. Cheats. Stealers.
Roberto knew that some poets where respected. It was Shel voice that was polluting his ways. It was her voice. He had to sacrifice himself. If he didn't, then he would have to sacrifice. Kill or be killed. Make tons of money, or starve. Poets starved. It was a way of life. There was no way out of that. The world guided people, in using money as a platform, as stepping stones, as a path to justice. Money lead their way. Took their hands and whistled it's happy little tune. Money was the root of all control. And control, ultimate control, is the center of evil. No one should be controlled. That was the main reason Christ came to this planet. To ward people, that the devil tempts, and not te be controlled by his temptation. To let go and let God. But was that the only way. He had free will. He had the right to chose his next move. Starve, or rob. No job would keep him long enough. He had to find a way of life, not merely a way- of- making- money.
What kind of life does a poet have. What kind of way do they enforce, not within themselves, but with others. How does the poet fit in?
If Shel was with me. If thorns was with me I have no reason to steal. I have no reason to become the criminal.
One that commits crime is not a criminal until the action of the crime is committed. What do I mean by this? Well, the crime must take place before the criminal is in effect and his thief, or murder, or whatever the crime be, happens. After the crime, as long as another crime is not in progress, or being performed, than he or she is free of the form, or stature of criminal. Hence, the criminal is only a criminal when in the act of the crime. Berfore the crime he or she still has a chance to back off and away from the temptation. Then, again, After the crime, the criminal may say, "I'm finished with crime. It doesn't pay." Yes, crime does not pay. But what does it do.
Lets look at the definition of crime, and see if a lesson, or deeper meaning resides. A crime is an unjust or senseless act. So, why would Roberto steal. Simple, he is senseless. He is irrational. He is nuts. Crazy. Coo coo for coco puffs. He has no real reason. If he was truly starving he could get on food stamps. If he had no job he could apply for social security or welfare. And that takes time, so if he was taking to prevent him for going hungry than that is understandable. No one should go hungry in a beautiful country as the good ol USA, unfortunately this is a myth. The USA is in the world. It is a worldly functioning government. Most dough boys, or Americans, would like to admit that this country is rid of evil. The evil lies over there, where the sandy lands stretch, into the antichrist's worlds. The evil exists in their world, not ours. This is a false. Of coarse evil lives in the states. Most would like to come to terms with the fact that evil is elsewhere. Crime is only beyond the Western front, or up North. Real crime doesn't happen here. It is not until a gun is shoved in their foreheads, than the sleeping pretender is converted into a wide awake believer. Then the Disney land citizen admits openly that neglect is present, and people, that are under, underground, under the lawful smile of the slow lane, shopping store, Name brand wearing, even some New Balance freedom fighting cloths, sporting a new tread, (even new balance produces shoes from the Philippines,) wearing, tearing at the poet, and the business man at the opposite end, that claims all poetry is Bullshit in ink, the third world trader, filth haters, conformist, even the protestors of the Disney, even the hippie, grudge protestors point fingers and spread hate. IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO.
Oh, you'll starve. Don't worry they did studies on rats in cages. The ones that starved outlived the rates that were giving healthy diets and little exercise. Starvers have a better chance. So, smoke up Johnny, have a day of water and tea. Starve it up. You'll live longer. More pain for ya there buddy.
What was I supposed to do starve. The world said no.
The answer is always no. One must take it, if it will not give you a chance to work, if will not work with you, than take. Anything that doesn't work with you, is against you (if you are using kindness as a tool in working. Than the unkind will turn you down. And if the pigs say No, you take and turn no into yes. The answer will always be no. There are always pigs out there preventing, It is your time to slaughter the pig, and overcome there simple, to- the-book, or lawful no.) The pig can never be lawful, no matter who lawful they claim to be, and they, the pig, will never be. Only the meek will succeed in a world full of feel gooders, takers and hogs. Only the meek will rise to the top. Respect is more powerful than money.
THE GOOD GUYS ALWAYS win. WHEN?
THE GOOD GUYS ALWAYS win. WHEN?
Good things happen to good people, and bad people and bad things happen to good people and bad people and people happen to people, bad or good, good happens to bad and bad to good.
There is no substitute for that which is good. Evil eats at it's self. It implodes and does not spread. Good will spread and a unlimited amount of worth will aid the good. That which is plentiful is bound by moral concept.
Why did Roberto get locked up in the pen?
Have you ever heard of the fanatic. There is little difference between the fanatic and the drug addict. They say every fan, of any celebrity or beyond, is similar to someone hooked on drugs. It is almost like they need the other person. They need them to be close to them, like someone may need pain killers or heroin.
"Mr. Pace, you have mail." Right on time. Ted, the guardsmen, had sent the package. Roberto could still hear his boot heels echo down the long hall of county jail of Uless. Roberto had to walk, at a certain chosen pace, by his new guardsman, Randall Smith. He was some black guy from Tennessee. Most likely a descendant of a slave over. Hence, the last name Smith. Smith was quiet, small Afro and low, deep voice. "Stay to my Side. Pace." He said to Roberto as he slowly marched along his utility belt. Roberto stared at his .38 revolver and his paten leather shoes, prison guard issued. "Follow to my side. Don't speed up too much or slow down. Just to my side." Another guard, plain dressed, plain race and origin, followed behind with a shot gun. Most likely, he was a suburbanite, forced to apply as a prison guard in the area. Taking a wage higher than minimum and pension plans, medical, dental and all the rest. The package was small. No more the three or so paper backs. It was marked To Roberto Pace, From Ol Friend Ted.
Roberto opened the package. There where three books, a few power bars, and chocolate bar, oh, and a picture of Ted and his Wife, Shelby Wane. Now she bared Ted's last name. His last name had slipped Roberto's mind. Now, he remembered him as Ted, or the librarian guardsman that had a charming taste of masterful literature of our times. The first book, was no commoner's fiction. It was entitled, The Oresteia: agmemnon. It was the first play of the trilogy by Aeschylus. The second book given to him by Ted, was The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. One of Roberto's favorite poem epochs. The last, not a book, but another play, had a yellow post it sticker on it, Life is Dream by Pedro Calderon De La Barca. The post it sticker had message composed in orange neon ink: This one should suit you well, in here. Love Ted. Hope your doing well.
First day out in the yard was difficult to comprehend. Roberto never saw so many men working out, playing handball, cards, smoking, and fighting in one area in his life. It was like a pool hall on steroids. Most of the prisoners on his cell block were Arian. They could each bench twice their weight. It looked like a WWF wrestling gathering, some health club for Venice beach.
Each prisoner fits in his own particular culture. The separate into groups, sub groups and gangs just as they do on the outside. You have the Arian brotherhood. All blond and Anglo Saxon features. A few have red hair, or are brunettes. Most are loyal to their brothers. Many of the nazi's and other ant-colored groups hung out. The nazi and skin heads are a sub group of the Arian. They kept to themselves, but occasionally harassed a few black men, or jews, if they got on their turf. But if you kept your distance from the Arian, or Nazi, they'd back off and give you space. Next, was the African American, or the brothers. Mostly, they kept to themselves, but their was the old fashion, same ol war between colors. Red and Black. Next, was the Hispanics. They all wore green and smoked heavily. There is no other group so involved in tattoos and drawing things on walls. They kept to themselves but every once in awhile a fight would break between skins and the vados. Next, was the white color, or business class. They were the most quiet and didn't group up much. They fell along with the nerds, hackers and anti socials, or nuts. Most were in for tax fraud, domestic cases or molesting children (they didn't last long in prison. Child molester were tried by the prison peers, and usually killed.) If you go in for hurting a child, your fucked. Not screwed, fucked, like fucked in the head. Last group, were the crooks, thieves and prostitutes. A crook is usually some one who betrays their own kind and back stabs. A thief is loyal to other thieves and usually is dependent on dexterity, smarts and speed to get them out of situations. A thief is independent opposed to a crook who is dirty, mean, hurtful and betrays others. The prostitute usually is released on counts of good behavior. Not many male prostitutes go in on the inside, they usually get circulating back in the outside system, and leave country. Occasionally, you'll see one, pop up. They usually look like movie stars and have tons of charm. Kind of want to sleep with those types. Their usually young, tasteful and witty. They get out quick, mostly for protection. Prostitutes don't last long in these hard walls. The others groups and sub groups vary from time to time. History has it, according to the pen's library, there was a heavy load of hippies back in the 1960's. Who ever dodged draft in Texas, got locked up. Also, there was a large flow of drug dealers, back in the 1970's. Most dealers, nowadays, due to the high rate of conviction, or returned back to society, and there is little filter of behavior. Most dealers return to dealing, but usually, unfortunately, get into heavier stuff. If a marijuana dealer goes in for a been arrested with a lid or two, they are charged with possession with the intent to sell. This is serious charge, and they, if not released on probation, serve series time. They can serve up to five to ten years. Maybe more. But usually, due to the circulation of drug dealer and the traffic being so out of control, the dealers are given less time. Once, a dealer is freed, if he returns to the intoxicating life of sells, he or she will sale a more potent drug, like heroin, or cocaine. Prison seems to make them more brave.
"Hey vato." It was Jose. He wanted to offer Roberto a few hits of A. "Naa. I quit that shit since high school." "Come on man. Its dancing test tube and its only worth a pack of cigarettes." Roberto figured that if a hit of acid was that cheap it was most likely covered in battery acid. "Got to chill on that. I'm writing a book man. I don't want to start writing in Chinese." Roberto was quite about his book. He only told Jose and Ted about it, in letters. Ted became a dedicated pen pal since he went into the inside. Jose caught him writing on a legal pad and got it out of him. "Your writing a book fool. How come?" "Pass the time." "Shit man that's the only reason." "I guess." "No man your writing that book out of love." "I am." Roberto said raising his eyebrows and thumping his eraser head on the blue lines on the paper. "I guess I'm writing it out of love." "She man, that book is going to teach people how the inside really is, so vattos, brothers and whiteys don't make the same mistake." "Maybe so."
Roberto spent the whole night reading from Life is A dream and writing poetry and creating outliners, and short paragraphs trying to steam up his new story about the life on the inside. Doing Time. He thought about calling it Doing Time, but he couldn't find a better title than The Criminal. Lights out were around ten pm. Usually on the dot. Ten PM?. Man this place hits the pillow early. Lights up were around dawn, just before breakfast, enough time to shower and prepare for line up and dirty clothes take out.
Life wasn't that different from Uless and his small pad. He'd spend hours writing long letters to Shelly Thorns or his mother. Only difference was he could go up to the nearby Tom Thumb by some chocolate, or some cigarettes, or a new note pad, and fuck around reading magazine. Roberto was pretty shelter. In many of his poems, he talked about his life being like a prisoners. Just, plain, no women, no love-doing time. His life was going nowhere. He kept getting fired from convenient store jobs and finally he came to conclusion they'd owned him a paycheck. One pay stub to the next one pay stub after the other. No where. A circular spiral, lost in life's pleasure and risky poetry.
Some of the white collars had laptops set up and some of those fools were still conducting business from the inside. A cook, that ran a laser cartridge company, up north, was still allowed to send e-mails to his business. Roberto was going to put in a request for a type writer and begin his first chapter. He had to wait a few weeks, and keep up his good behavior. So, far he had fallen into no fights, no alteration and had made no friends, beside Jose, Skitzy and Jackson.
Roberto was a busy man. His stubby pencil ran out after the first few nights of his first chapter. Damn. What to do to get a pen around here. The warden did not aloud pens, or sharp utensils, besides a golf tally style pencil, with no eraser. Short, dull and hard on the forearms. Man, he was really down and out. Down and freaking lost. No pen around here. He'd have to earn the privilege and the right to the pen. The first guardsman, who never gave his name, black gentlemen, that grunted when he walked and hummed before he'd pass Roberto's cell, said, "You ain't getting no pen until next couple of weeks. But ya got your shaving kit and cream right." He burst a small smile to him. Well, I had no pen, but at least I had shaving cream and stubby pencil. Paper was a rare property in prison. For the moment, Roberto had to write on trash, or, due to serendipity he landed upon a lucky find. See, the new cafeteria in the prison was revamped, due to a flow of funds from the gov. Completely revamped. New floors, polished silver where and fancy metal with wood rim trays. The previous trays, according to in-da-house rumor, were cheap, bright neon orange container trays. A couple of slots for sheet on a shingle and few green beans. The prison nutritionist and the head of the cooks had written letters to the congressman urging a better food plan. More healthy foods, salads and deserts. It took a few years for the congressman to reply and better foods were eventually granted. Now, the prison was stocked with frozen chicken fried steaks, which were nicely thawed and refried, and also, a selection of Hispanic foods that included taco, burritos and salsa and chips. It was improving. Last night Roberto had half a chicken breast, light gravy, a small low fat ice berg salad (he asked for Romaine lettuce and the short order cook laughed at him) and a few French fries, they had ran out of ketchup packets, but he spread a few French mustard packets as a surrogate to the tomato paste. It wasn't a bad combo. I never knew French mustard was America favorite.
The most helpful aspect of the prison cafeteria was not just the new incoming food orders, but what was placed, simply, under the new fashionable cafeteria trays. It was a single sheet. A sheet for catching crumbs, or mustard drips or whatever fell from the slopping of a prisoner. You had to eat fast when one was only allowed thirty minutes. The tray papers, or placemats, the paper sheets under the trays, were pure white. Nothing. Blank. That would be his first ream. His first chapter of his novel would be written on a stashed and trimmed to eight by ten size, cafeteria placemats.
That night, someone woke him up screaming his lungs out. Roberto did not have a mirror for his shaving kit, he was still on suicide watch. Someone down the block. Cell block three. Full of the nuts, and the white collar cheats. It was closer to the main mess hall, and not too far from the yard. Cell block three was heavily secured and the aided with more security guards, televisions, and like I said before, lab tops. Skitzy called cell block three prissyville. "Some fuckers scream in priss land." It was Skitz and Jackson. They roomed together. "Tell him to take a blue pill." Jackson crackled like some deranged Hyena. "man that whitey going to be up all night. His taxes are due." Another guffawed linger down the hall from Jackson and Skitzy. Roberto began to keep track of every night. He began to label his activities in his cell.
Night ten. Prison Block four.
The guard moved me with the Spics and the other fools.
I am with all the funny guys and the clownish types.
Jackson plays cards every night with Skitzy.
Jose is quiet and draws obsessively. I don't talk
To the bunch that munch. Cell block four is pretty
Lonesome. Jackson entertains us by laughing at
Skitzy after he beats him in chess or Mexican Sweat.
The gang treats me like on the guys, but their not
Too close due to the fact I am mostly Irish, English
And a fourth Native American. Don't know my tribe, yet.
I'm still working on my book, but I don't have sufficient
Paper, nor a pen, to write with skill. Guards have told me
not to worry. Everyone knows I'm going to write the
Novel. I can't wait to get the typewriter. Its going to
Make me feel much better to hear that puppy ring. Most
Likely and according to Jose, they said they may remove
The bell in it. Most likely it'll be a Smith and Corona.
Who knows? I don't' have a TV, or VCR, nor do
I have any books. The first book I am going to ask
For, besides the Good book, is a dictionary and
Thesaurus. Lights out. I can noo longr seee
the papper to write. . . .over and outtt.
The concept of God among prisoners.
It was after lights out. No one was awake but Jose and he woke Roberto up, to ask him a question. Jose, a few cells down, stroke up a conversation with Roberto about the face of God. "What do you picture God looks like. I mean when you think of him?" Jose was in one of his philosophical and religious moods about facial features of deities. It took a few moments before Roberto answered. A lull pierced the once softness in the air. It became quiet. No one was around. It was as if Jose and Roberto were floating in the middle of the universe, no stars, no planets, no black holes or suns, just Jose and Roberto, alone with an amazing question.
Later, in the week out in the yard, Jose tried to talk Roberto in joining the prison boxing team. "Boxing. Your kidding me. What makes you think I can box." "You can. You can try. Plus, it be a good work out." "Maybe" Roberto said back. "I got a lot of reading to do." Jose handed Roberto a small green neon lighter. One of those ninety nine cent ones your find at 7-11 near the New Car smell spray and the snicker bar rack. "Thanks. I could use it for a book light." "I'll try to get ya a book light later on. Keep reading. And don't stop working on that book. Me and Skitzy are gonna lift. You sure you don't wanna lift with." Roberto informed him otherwise and dug into his new Pedro La Barca Book. Night finally fell. The prison sank into a lazy sleep. Everyone was snoring, or jacking off stealthily. If a prisoner whacked it, he usually did it with the sheets over his head or under the bunk. Guards didn't pass a prisoner's cell as much, towards the early, early mornings. Usually, the pattern of security lessoned after three AM. That was whack time. It was around three or so now. Roberto couldn't hear any spanking, nor a footsteps of the guard. He flicked the green neon lighter and wam, light appeared. It was the little brother of a bright light, but little brother lights still cut through the darkness. He could see the words printed in the small paper back, but ran across a few smeared ones and this slowed his ready a little. Roberto had a quick pace. He wasn't a bad reader whatsoever. And he could get a few pages down, before three thirty spun by. After three am the guards usually passed his cell every thirty minutes. He turn off his lighter at about three twenty five and keep it off until the quiet guard passed. The quiet guard was the black dude, that never talked to the prisoner. He always had his eye on Roberto. He was the one that took him on the walk to the basement for his first day of laundry duty.
Roberto finally had a chance to pick up a few more chapters. He dug his book out beneath the mattress and thumbed off the lint. He decided to begin stewing his creative juices and became quiet prolific. Lately, he had been taking notes from the ex courtier, soldier and clergyman, Pedro Calderon De La Barca. Barca words were powerful. He was a man on a mission. Nothing could stop him. He was that great. He wrote about the dreams and nightmares of man. He lived during the sixteen hundred and sixteen eighty one. Clank, clank. It was the quiet guard. He shined his light on Roberto, as Roberto pulled his thump of the lighter. "Gonna burn yourself with that thing." Roberto thought he was busted and would lose his lighter privileges for being up too late. Prisoners were supposed to be in bed by lights up. "He Shakespear." The guard said. "Here." The guard tossed a small mag light, the size of Roberto's index finger, through the bars. It landed in the center of his cell floor, with a thump. "Thanks." Roberto picked it up and sat back on his bed. "Does it work." Roberto twisted the head of the small lamp and light spat out in a thin ray. It was the big brother of the little brother light he was passing as a book light. "This will work fine." "So you can include me in your story." The quiet guard said and silently walked glided off. He was a mysteries man. Rumor around the prison had it he was from L.A. and had done some Television work and was on his way to becoming the next Wesley Snipes. He looked like Snipes too. Roberto read until morning. He started with a short bio on Pedro. He learned that Pedro Calderon De La Barca was not just a novelist. He also wrote plays, was a soldier and clergyman. He spent his early childhood at Valladolid, where the king and his court had them moved. Pedro father being a secretary to the Council of the Treasury, was quiet strict. It has been argued that the severity with which Calderon's father exercised his authority may be related to the themes of his plays. It goes to show how the environment and relationships of the author, and his world, and fantasy worlds, are mostly included in author's work. Literature always reflects a time. Time is the center, and around the poetry pulses. Pedro's earliest works was a result sparked from a poetry competition he had entered in which celebrated the canonization of Saint Isidore. He was judged by the one and only Lupe De Vega.
Roberto started off his first attempt at the novel with a question. Should I ask myself a question? What do I care about. What is it I want. What do I want people to know. Is it about Armed Robbery, is it about prison or what? What is it I can give them. He imagined Pedro Calderon De La Barca did the same.
What is I want to give them? Then, it rang in the back of his head. It wasn't the life of thief, or a convict, or a liar, or cheat, or madman, or writer. It was about poetry or verse. It wasn't even about the great works of Pedro. It was about love. Roberto Pace wanted to give other people love and in hopeful, it would return to him. Usually what if one gives, than they receive. How would Roberto Pace find love in a dungeon like this.
How did Segeismund find love?
There is no form. There is nothing, and all that is creating returns to nothing. It begins from a blank slate, creation happens and returns blank. All art, all books, all words, and stories, and people and nations and rivers, and mountains, and prisons and cells, and every object known to mankind, and further, will arrive and exit. This seems to be the pattern of life. A cycle. You will die. Before, or after you read this. You are dead now. Every word I will write about this prison life doesn't matter one bit. It is dead. When I become free, I am still dead. Dead I came from and dead after. There is no difference. But, if you are reading from my story and I am gone, there is a possibility that I still live. In some form or fashion, between your thoughts and dreams, lies a small heart beat within the pages and life of imagination.
The goal of many writers are to be put into the GREAT WALL. The wall that holds the words. Gilgemesh's creator's, who ever that be, name is carved into the wall. Homer is not too far from it's mysteries name. No one knows where the wall is but I have a hint. It lies in many rooms, on many shelves, lined up in many libraries across the states, the ocean and world. The library book shelves, collectively, are THE GREAT WALL.
This was Roberto's dream. To carve the power of love, into this wall. Tonight a prisoner will be executed in Florida for protesting abortion. He slaughtered a doctor to prove a point. Once a child is conceived, it should stay conceived. Shel had performed an abortion. She had made the choice to take a life. It was Roberto's to be child. He had fallen in love with a young college girl, during a break up. Shel and Roberto had met at a cinema house and went out to talk about their relationship. They had vegetarian noodles and decided to go back to his place with a bottle of wine. Later, they had make up sex, and the condom broke. Shel, became pregnant. Roberto continue to date this young College girl, Angela. Angela and Roberto traveled up to Oklahoma to go camping and later flew up to New York to tour broadway and see Stomp. It wasn't but a few months after spring break that he got the phone call. It was Shel. She had bed news for him. "I had an abortion. It was your child." "I don't believe you." Roberto said into the receiver.
There was something peculiar about the quiet guardsman. The one that gave Roberto the mini mag light as a book lamp. He had a funny glint in his eye. A mysteries smile. He seemed seedy as if he was hiding something. He appeared to Roberto as the other prisoners did. Weary, a little paranoid and over the shoulder. Roberto found out, after the night with the mag, that the quiet guardsman name was Chuck. Who gave their son, especially a black son, the name of chuck. That night he kept a watch out for the guardsman, Chuck. The batteries were running low in the mag light and Roberto only had a an act left in the Calderon play. He appeared, like always, three twenty four. "How ya doing Roberto Pace. How's the story coming along." "Slow." Roberto was lying. He was going through placemats like the toilette paper rolls' of a depressed fat slothful, unemployed, freak, with a loaded cupboard of gourmet chocolates. "Seeing that your using our placemats." A gulp slowly leaked down Roberto's Adam's apple. "Oh, I figured they toss em anyway. Might as well turn what was trash into literature." "Might as well." He vanished down the corridor. The night disintegrated in a flash. Morning had shown it's light azure color. Light was bouncing around of the walls of the hallways, and into Roberto's cell, casting a fain hue on his back wall. He rose and stretched as long as a oak, his shadow growing up the wall, like some dark haunting ghost. Morning had arrived. Roberto had wrote a full chapter. His first Chapter to the criminal.
I never thought of myself as a thief when I was a boy.
That was the first line. He figured it would grab the attention of his audience. I never thought of myself books usually did. He kept debating on the title, but he couldn't find anything more meaning full and rational and simple, and to the point as The Criminal.
Breakfast was the usual. Two eggs, toast and grits and Orange juice or perhaps an apple. Roberto thought he be fancy and he chose a low grad Apple juice, half pint carton, with a general brand name. It was squeezed and processed in Florida. Hm. Then, he remembered the execution that took place the night before. He didn't know the man's name. Nor the true reason why he was put to sleep. For some reason he pictured him as a black man, but he could have been white. He murdered some one as a protest against abortion. I guess the court and jury didn't pass off protestors. No rain check on him. He figured he was gone. A little sleeping fluid in the vein, heavy eyes, lights out and wam, non existence. He said a small prayer for the executed prisoner and sipped on the Apple Juice. Then, he remembered the wise words from his God, Jesus Christ. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. It is just the way.
Have you ever noticed that in most executions, nowadays, the executioner doesn't know if he made the kill. They usually have three or four levers, on the euthanasia kill switch, or level, or button, whatever the warden purchased or designed for the execution. The executioner, or executioners, never know which lever was connected to the toxic fluid that is pumped into the prisoners vein. Same in the military. No one knows who fired the executioner bullets. Six men line up to execute the military prisoner and only one real magazine is loaded into a unaware shooter. Same with Florida's execution. Most likely, and Roberto wasn't for sure, but, only one executioner, out of the many, really pulled the lever, or pushed the button, only one really did it, but four or five or six, or how many selected by the warden, all simultaneously, as a team, as a group, made the decision to execute and in one lethal moment. Whoever and how many chosen to push the button and take away a person from this existence, was involved in a murder. THe state calls it an execution, but it is a murder. One man took a life, and now a state of men, take his away. In God's eyes they are all the executioners. Even if five of them pulled the switch and only if one was directly connected to the actual murder, and he or she will never know, but still every guard on the buttons, were responsible. All of them intended and encouraged and participated in the taking of a single life. Even if the five switches were not connected to the lethal injection machine, one switch was active. One out of the five, were connected. I wonder if the other's wanted to do it. I wonder which guard didn't want to be connected to the correct wiring that lowered the poison vile, and pushed death into the lungs of the Florida Death Row convict. He was more unlucky, the one that was executed or the executioner that was pain a handsome wage to pull the lever. He or she, must have a hell of a sleeping pill.
The worst part of the night had come. Roberto could smell the seamen and here the wet smacking. The lonely, prisoners, with out wives, or mates, hitting the ceiling. Roberto's light had refilled batteries. Chuck, or a.k.a. chuck, (Minus his real identity) had changed them out. All this work, he most likely had to go out a buy the AA batteries for the silly, dinky lighting mechanism, and all so he could simply be placed into words, immortalized perhaps. Roberto had started chapter two. Chapter one was kept in small rolled bunches. He figured it wouldn't be a good idea, to roll the paper but it conserved space. After all, chapter one of his book The Criminal was over sixty three placemats from the cafeteria. Sixty three placement, his first chapter. And all of it truth. Okay, some of it was lies. Half of it was lies. Well, to be honest, most of it was lies. He got tired of telling the truth of his life. Non-fiction can get boring. Roberto wanted to lie. He wanted to fib about his past. Fantasize about hot sexy women, adventure, armed robbery and travel. He pulled out a packet of cereal he had been saving. Most of the cereal, unless you used the thick and fat cheerio box at the end of the buffet line, you had to take those little cereal packets and plastic bowel and spork. Sometimes a spoon was not even provided due to the dish washer breaking down. The prison needed funding and the facilities were shaky and worn. Cobwebs were seen in the entry way of certain hall's in the kitchen. A few times Roberto had given the curse of KP.
The second chapter was more about the inside life. Life against the wall. "Doing time," he called it. He talked a little about the yard, the rituals of lifting weights and the arguments and occasional fights breaking out during poker games in the mid afternoon. The prisoners were only aloud a hour in the yard, if behavior was good standing.
The packet of cereal he had thieved from the mess hall was no larger than his hand. He could barely read the writing marking the cover, more or less, the ingredients. One portion size. It had some name like Whole Grains and Sesame. It was unique for prison issued. Definitely not a name brand from Kraft, Post, or Kellogs. This packet of dried turdy shit did not originated from some fancy mill. It was ordered by the warden to increase the nutritional needs of the prisoner. Better foods, less people getting sick, less people getting sick less doctor bills. It cost millions of dollar to house one thief. He turned the packet over and read the nutrition facts. Serving sixe 25 grams. Seventy calories a serving. Had to keep the calories down in the cell. If you were not in the yard, or on laundry duty, or slurping down your breakfast, or hogging trudy lunch or dinner, you were sitting alone, or with a mate, in your cell. Some did pushups, some sit-ups, some sit-ups and pushups and some even did yoga. It varied prisoner to prisoner. Rumor on the lawn had it there was one other writer. He was a Hispanic guy with the nick name of Boat. Every one called him boat, cause he once sold dope out of a marina down south near Porta La Vaca. It was a small town on the border of natural estuary. Boat wrote mostly about his life in Texas and he even was known to try his hand at playwriting. He was a husky man, with deep brown eyes, and Latino feature, but with lighter skin color. Supposedly he was a half breed between Italian and Hispanic. Jose told him he was going to write a screenplay about prison life and pass it on to him. Jose was going to get us "hooked up" as he called it. He meant introduced.
The yard later mid afternoon free time. "Man you should meet Mr. Boat. He's a coo dude. Man he writes all night and shit like you. Jacks off now and then, but he's stable. You should hang with us down in the yard, East side, by the fence near the tower. He's interested in listening to one of them poem you are always hacking at." "I don't hack." Roberto turned red in his face. He felt stingy all over. Kind of how he felt when he was driving through some surburbia east side of L.A. on his way to Hollywood, to audition. "Look I'll meet Mr. Boat. I'll bring a poem. Will have a reading." "Cool man. How many readings have been done in this joint? Like none right? Shit, man, the last time some one read something out loud around here was when Skitzy read me the measurement sizes to Miss June. You know man. See ya in de yard. We all get educated and shit."
Time flew by and the next thing Roberto knew he was laying down under the bunk planning his next move in the story. So, far he had been writing in first person and he didn't want to name any names. He figured he make the book's lead character named, I. That was his first and last name, I. I was it. I was going to the store. And so one. I I I.
The story of I, the Criminal.
The thief knows about "The lonely island of poverty." He knows about the material wants and greed and the longing for prosperity. Christ was nailed on holy hill. And everything about his crucifixion was Godly and Just. It was what his Father needed him to do for the sins and blood of man. Christ, the God, was not a rich man. He did not prosper. Remember, he was the failure and he died, between two thieves, two sinners, and all were spat on by other sinners. One sin to the next. The execution, a sin. A sin to murder, to take a lift and all for what? For what cause?
Roberto Pace wasn't satisfied with his book. He would spend many hours writing and rewriting sentences, phrases and small poems. The lonely island of hell. The lonely place within, that caused his pen, to move, to dance out a rhythm of the universe and all for what? As they spat on God, and he bled on men, and saved the world, a constant prince arrived in another nation, to live by his example, to sweat and hurt, for his barren. Christ did not leave us alone, he planted many seeds. And every seed, nowadays, has an answer. An answer that will arrive and bloom, from the ground up, from the rock toward the endless, azure sky above. And when the clouds presently cover us, and most meteorologist will say it shall never happen, a promise will arise, "I will baptize you with fire." And under the darken clouds, fire will burn. Burn as blue as the hearts of the sad ones, once full of warm happiness and now as cloudy as shadow that haunts Roberto's cell. What lingers above him in darkness, a world he creates.
That night. A stillness arrived. Roberto fell asleep over the placemat. A long thick piece of drool amounted in small rigged valleys and clumpy hills on the introduction sheet to his second chapter entitled Doing time.
So who are these thieves? What do they mean. Who comes to us in the middle of the night, sly, stealthy and knowing. Who are these things, the thieveries and why do they happen. Christ was executed between two thieves. Now, the country has built a land. A land based on progression, engineering and hope. And so many of them, have become barbarians, takers, soldiers and proud men full of pride. Oh, how lost the barbarians are. OH, how hard it is to be giving, to be meek. Christ trained no barbarian but he changed many that nearly fell to war. Those who live by the sword. . .
Morning was on it's way. The quiet one, passed by quickly, tapping his knuckles on the bars. It was a warning that morning duties called. The first three chapters would take time and Roberto would pull many all-nighters, like he did in College and outside in real life. Roberto felt the book gave him power, freedom and willingness. He had a goal. A simple plan in mind. To tell his story.
"Blinding by the light. Wraped up like a dush. . .Hey Roberto. Keep the light down on the placemat." It was the quiet one. He was watching over Roberto as he finished the middle of the chapter. "What are you looking over my shoulder now. Some kind of watchman." "That's my job." "Where did. . .you said your name was Chuck." "Chuck. Yeah, so." "Where did you say you were from again." "Ohio." "Ohio, huh. What part of Ohio." "Gambier." "What part of Gambier." "You putting in the book right." "Yeah." I long silence filled the air. Chuck squinted his eyebrows into an upside down v. "Hey. Man. If I tell you something you promise you want utter a soul." Roberto shook his head at an angle. He was leaning on his elbow on the bunk as Chuck put his forehead to the bars. A moment lingered. He took in a big breath. "I'm not from Ohio. I was fibbing." "Oh, yeah. How come?" Roberto questioned him. "I'm from Los Angeles." "What do you have to be ashamed about L.A." "Well, the hiring manager at human resource here thinks I was born in Ohio." "That's what you told him. Why did you do that? Are you some kind of criminal." "Well, to be honest, and be sure to write this down in your book, uh, yeah." "Bullshit." Roberto stopped doodling on his pad. "Your no criminal. What the hell would you be doing as a prison guard then." Roberto stared deep into Chuck's wide light golden brown eyes. He had that certain glint. "Well, I am." Roberto wasn't talking to a prison guard he was talking to. . ."I'm on the lam." "ON the lam?" Roberto questioned with emotion. "From who." "What is more like it. I'm in deep shit with the California LAPD." "What they want you for?" "Can't tell ya now. Don't utter a word. I know you're pretty lonely here. I want you to put me in your book. I'll tell you want I did out there." "Why a prison guard." "I figured they'd hire me. I figured I could trick em." "But you put yourself back in." "True. But I can come and go as I please this time. I've been in and out of the house all my life. Might as well work here." Roberto let out a violent chuckle. "Now that's funny. A real joke. Your telling me, your on the lam, and you applied at a prison." "That's what I said." Chuck turned away and then vanished. His footsteps trailed off as the morning rays lit the corridor.
Roberto returned to the question. Why do I want to write. What do I want to say. Love. Love returned.
It was love he wanted to give to the people, and love is what they wanted to take. Buthow? Would he tell the tale of life of thief. How did theft and love unite and why would they.
Many times, he felt like he had stole Shel. Stole her heart. That is what lovers do, steal hearts. OH, what a lover Roberto was.
But now was the time to love the words. Time to love the story and himself in the story. The more he wrote about his journey the more love flowed. It was about giving.
Voices. He had to find one voice. Not many voices. It wasn't about listening to all the failures or winners, or loser or killers, or even peace keepers. That would all come. It wasn't about listening to the many. It was about listen to the one. One voice. The voice of Roberto Pace. The prisoner. The thief. The lost troubled one that society had just reason to lock up. All because he carried the 45. automatic. All because he stuck a pistol in a cashier's face. Or did he. He was writing about it now. Did it really happen. I mean really, really happen. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Did he really threaten another's life for dough. Was he that hungry. IT could be the story. The story could be forming around him. Perhaps the story asked him to do it. It was the books fault not mind. Perhaps the placemats, under the newly wood trimmed trays asked him to come here. Inanimate objects from the lunch room of Huntsville prison, screaming out and demanding his thought. The walls wanted to hear his tall. He was speaking to the corridor, the foot steps, the morning bell, the slamming of the bars. He was hearing all of it and speaking to his make shift writing paper.
He go to breakfast, eat his sunny side up eggs, thief a placemat, stick in his standard prison uniform waist lining, and roll them up and place them in the small of his back. Take it back to his cell, fold it out, flattening it, and begin jotting down history. Then, lunch. He slam down his burger and fries, roll up the placemats, return to his cell, and another chapter. Then, dinner. The same process. To be honest he didn't have it that bad. He was getting a little lonely, isolated from the Jose, Skitzy and every night at around three twenty four or so, the quiet one, Chuck would show his face and they'd. . .
"So, your one the second chapter. What's the first one about." Roberto leaned his head back and attempted to balance the pen on his nose. The pen fell to the ground. Roberto bent over and picked up. Head back, silent and he rested it, balanced it smoothly on the bridge of his nose. He seemed happy. Charmed. Pleased. This late at night and the story was coming along. Chuck wanted detail. Series and specific details, indeed. Roberto rested the pen on the small hook bump on his nose. It rested easily. It was an old acting exercise. He used to memorize lines and balance a bic pen, horizontally of course, on his head, or nose or finger tip and say lines. Balancing a pen horizontally on your finger tip is the toughest, "But it can be done. And I'll tell you the story as soon as the pen balances." "What some kind of tradition." The quiet one asked. "I guess." The pen began to sea-saw back and fro on the tip of his ring finger. It didn't work, so he switched over to his index finger and then, his thumb, and forget the pinky that would never work. "Tough to do. Takes concentration" Chuck added. "Shhh." Roberto focused intently on the balancing of the pen. "You have to will it." And then with the help of the extension on the pen cap, it balanced. "Neat trick." Chuck said charmingly. "Thanks. But that's not the real power of the pen." "What is the real power of the pen." "It's a weapon." "A weapon?" Chuck almost retorted. "Don't tell me that. I'm personal." "True." "How is it a weapon." Chuck was highly interested. "It can beat out the sword." "I've heard that. The pen is mightier than the sword." "Yes. It is. It is a fact in my life. No abstraction or super ordinate of generalization, or coordinated super-ordinate or anything complex, casual or otherwise. The pen is more powerful. It is a method, a tool for the storyteller. And stories capture men." "I see." "No you've experienced it now. I balanced the pen on my fingertip to show you how the balance is linked to life. How will is linked to accomplishment. And how gravity can be defeated. I show'd you that a pen can listen; mind it's owner." "Are you encouraging me to write, Roberto." Roberto shut his eyes half way and gazed at the quiet one. It was a hard look to turn away from. "Do criminals write, sir?" Then, with out notice, or even consent, Chuck, if that was his name, walked off into the shadows. It was a classic exit. Three fifteen had spun around. He always left to cell block at that time.
Have you seen my wig around
A fell naked with out
She hides the television
I don't own him nothing.
Wait, that ain't it.
Here it goes.
Jose was singing some Janes Addiction song.
I'm done with Sergio
He treats me like a ragdoll.
"Shut your rag doll up." Skitzy said, waking up from some various and common mid morning nap. They'd taken time off from the yard. Too much lifting and playing solitary and watching birds rest on the razor wire. Sometimes prisoners could sleep in, if they'd earned special privileges. Skitzy and Jose did extra loads in the laundry room and the warden gave em a freebie day, once a week. Skitzy and Jose decided to play Mexican sweat, or various combinations of Texas Hold Up. All different approaches to series poker.
A documentary was being shown to the prisoner next Saturday. It was entitled Why the Towers Fell. Roberto caught on to this quickly. Why. Why would they ask why. All questions, and this was a mere generalization, but Roberto poured it into his journal anyways, were developed by the six paths into any answer who, what when, where, how and why. Why is a more philosophical word to pose a question. Why did the Tower's fell? Well, this had to do with God. It should have been re-titled. How did the Towers Fell. The people, understand it was a godly act. Something with that much force and impact on man is Godly. So, why has to do with philosophy and how answers science. The documentary covered the specifics of the structure of the steal, the arch of the building, the design and it's consistent systematic continuousness of the tower's standing. It was a documentary explaining the structure and how it fell. Why is the abstractness of it's falling. How, is the specific aspect of the science of its collapse. How is word used in forensics? "How" answers what we can smell, see, hear and touch. Why do we see, and hear and touch. Why are we hear. Why do we die. Why is sometimes never answered, but how is always answered. Man has come to this reasoning of the great How. How can be answered and explained. Why is debatable. Why. Why not. How did the towers fall? We know why. We know why we are here. We know why we fall.
God created us. God created the heavens, the light and man and his planet and home, the dome and the angel and all that we can not see, as of yet. How God created it, and us, falls into the explanation. How is taught and learned. Why? Well, why?
Have you noticed how close Superego is to superogatory in the English dictionary. Roberto was searching for a word. He had just explained his situation with Jose and the boys in the lawn and was contemplating on not attending the documentary about the twins. Why go. They building fell. September eleventh was in the past. The future is what concerned Roberto. That was his problem. He wouldn't have to write the damn book if he would merely focus on his situation. What was happening to him now, had more worth than surviving terrorist. He was discovering something new. Waking up. No longer reaching for some impossible stardom. He was living. Simply noticing his life and it seemed for the first time.
"People are crawdads in a net. When one crawdad tries to crawl out of the net, the other crawdads pull it down." Jose gazed through the chain link fence with wonderment. The sun was slowing burning away into messy oranges and light yellow. The day was closing.
Roberto wrote down Jose comment in his journal. He didn't have as much time to write, due to laundry duty in the early morning. He was switched over from the late afternoon shift. All a prisoner had to do when waking up in the morning was march to the mess hall, slam down his shitty eggs and go back to his cell, or go to work. Work duties were split up, between prisoners. Some prisoners worked the early morning shift, six AM, before breakfast, then they have time to eat, and then work until past two pm. Other workers would get up at breakfast, seven AM, eat, and then have time to go back to the cell, and start work at around nine and work till five. It depends on your cell block and if you had chain gang type of work or simple folding of clothing. Some prisoner's were assigned to work in the shop, repairing prison utilities, old TV, and such. Other prisoners, believe the old cliché' of stamping out license plates. The prison house was also a factory. It wasn't just a place to inflict the hard order of time on people. It wasn't merely a place of shackles and long, lonely nights with a dime store novel, or playboy. It was a place of hard work, discipline and avoidance. It was a place of assessment, and deep reflection. One had to get the order straight in the mind, and in some cases the spirit, before returning as a rightful citizen. The prison was a place of redesign. It was a place to reorder structure.
Any warden, teacher, disciplinarian or any type of authority figure, will tell you that the hardest craft in the world, is the crafting of a man. It is an ongoing laborious event, that takes more than a single group. To restructure a person is nearly impossible. It takes the force of the world. A program beyond comprehension, it's functions and sum of parts, near impossible to understand, even from a distant view.
The prison wasn't full of hordearii, it engaged many thinkers and creators and delicate men of precision and butterfly charm.'
Many battles arose within the moral mind of Roberto as he constructed outlines after outlines and characterizations for his new Novel The Criminal. He couldn't decide on a solid name. Not a name that stuck with him. He didn't want to use his own name. That would be too real. The criminal isn't real. His thieveries are lies. His life is made up. Its in the abstract. His thefts are even made up. His arrests and naughty behavior and unlawful glances are all filthy lies, made up, for the mere, weightless effort of entertainment. The mere worth of a ha, ha or a smile, or raise of the eyebrows. The Criminal is a book to sell more coffee at the nearby café, or increase sells on cigarettes, uppers, or cheap wine. It was design for the lonely man, that has a subscription to Forbes, or is interested in the financial roller coaster of the current day market. It was a lap book design to rest near the seat of a rich man, thirty thousand feet above the soil, snacking on Melba toast and sipping on Red. It was a myth for the rich. An abstraction to be breathed in and snuffed at. Just a book. That's all. Did it really have cost? What did the author give up for it? What prison did was he admitted to? What prison did he suffer in as he wrote these words? Was he a real prisoner or some mythic figure, some liar that really lived near Soho and munched on muffins and masturbated to TV. Was he a hero or a villain. Was he a cheat or giving honest worker? Was the Criminal worth it? Was he valid, legit, a homey, a dog, a caring soul. Who is this criminal? What is a criminal?
Roberto had to find out the hard way.
Like a thief in the night.
Who will come. God. Death. Jesus. Who comes to me, like a thief? Who is this thief? Me? Yeah, I write. I write, like a thief in the night. You hear me world, I got a story coming from you.
"Is that you fool." It was Jackson, he passed by the cell. It was around noon, or earlier. He was off to laundry duty. My mini light had run out of juice and I had been looking for Chuck. "You seen Chuck, Jackson." "Haven't seen crack." Jackson said as his footsteps faded down the hall. Ten must've been coming around. After, ten or so, was Roberto's turn down in the laundry room.
Everything is relative. The objects in Roberto's cell, the memo pad, the pencil, the mag light, the cheap sheets of cotton, the springy bed, the cob web in the upper corner, near the soggy cracks, from the rain, the echoes in the hall, all of it related to The Criminal. Now, his freedom was gone. And in this suffered, arose relation. Relation, to how the world really is, how the world can be and how most pretend it is not. See, we are all waited in some form or fashion, in love, or in entertainment, occupied, or at laborious and vigorous work, every single on of us, is preparing for death. Every beat of the heart, is one beat passed. There is only so much time. WE may smile and pretend this is not true, but it is. The promises of immortality in this life, is a lie. Who knows about the after life. That is a life that can not be explained in words, or not every aspect of it. Roberto had arrived at a new feeling. A new understanding about his surroundings. All the women he had ever been with, and loved, had wanted him to quit. Quit what? Quit his dream. His passion to be a writer. His passion to set foot out in the world. Roberto was a man in the world, but not of it. His soul awaiting ascendance, and every one he crossed, deep in their eyes he gazed, matching that feeling of ascendance. That feeling, "That one day, it will end. And we shall set ourselves free." Chuck said in a whispers. The mag light was nearly dead. "Dimmin' out a. Here try this one." Chuck tossed him two new AAA batteries. "Thanks." Roberto placed them in the back of the handle and sealed it shut. He twisted the end of the head of the mini lamp and a light flickered on and then remained consistent in its beaming. He shined it on Chuck's face. "Never really seen your face sir." Chuck squinted his eyes. His pupils seemed to be dilated. "You on something Chuck?" Roberto could feel Chuck was different. He had an odd energy. "Well, maybe. I drink here and there." "On the job, Chuck." A long silence filled the space between the bars and Roberto. Roberto was square on his back, listening to the nothingness that surrounded him. "What part of the book you owhn now?" Chuck said. "I began the first chapter, again." "Again. What was wrong with the first one." "Mostly notes. The warden allowed me note book paper. He is ordering a type writer. He believes in me, I guess." Roberto stared down at the new ream of note book paper. "College ruled to." Chuck said. That was when Roberto knew it was time to ask. "What did ya do, Chuck." Not a half second passed. Chuck looked down at his patent leather shoes and spit out a tiny groan. "I killed a man." "With your bare hands." Roberto was on him like a sport report on a date rape case. "No." "How did you kill em?" Roberto set up from his lied back stance and switched off the mini lamp. It was as if he didn't want to see his face as the answered arrived. Then, Chuck was gone. Roberto turned the lamp back on and shined the beam toward his direction. Nothing was there. Just the shadows cast on the hallway wall. He was gone. Just like that.
That night Roberto entered the incident of their conversation in his small journal. The warden had offered him a memo pad, one journal and a ream of typing paper. He was working on the dictionary. He jotted down the description of Chuck. He figured Chuck was a made up name.
Tall, black hair, deep brown eyes, poky cheek bones, double chin, thick neck and bushy eyebrows. He had a deep voice, like Earl James Jones. Strong man. Looks like a killer, or boxer. But there is something deeper about him, then the stereotypical bad man. He goes deeper than that. He has a poetic tongue, a charm for conversation and for some inane reason, Chuck, if that is his real name, cares. I can tell he is on the run. At times, he seems stiff, scared, and I catch him with watery eyes. He is fearful, but I know he is human and has a good heart.
One thing I noticed strange about Chuck. No scars. No bruises or broken marks on his face. He didn't seem like a fighting man. He wasn't viewed as the average prisoner. Know that I think of it he wasn't a prisoner, but he had committed a crime. Funny he naturally flocked to the prison for work. No that is not funny. Its damn genius. Why would a murderer apply for work as a security guard at a prison. Perhaps, he would never be suspected there? Perhaps, the prison was his home. Maybe, he is looking for other work. I need to get Chuck's last name. If he will even give it out. I am interested in names and I value their meanings.
My last name is similar to the meaning of speedily or swift. Pace means quick in nature. I don't know what Roberto means yet? I'll have to look it up some day. Maybe I can put in my request for a name definition: A book that follows the history of names and their meanings. I'll request one to the warden.
What if one morning you woke up and all that life offered you was food. No more love of a women, no more touching, kissing or holding. Life just offered the various wonders of food. Is this a miracle? Is this happiness? No. It is god awful, sickness. It is what the essence of pain is. No person in this world should be put into a cell, or imprisoned, but we must have law. Should is the key word in this phrase. Yes, we lock people up. Yes, we abandoned people. Even in society, in tall sky scrapers, some where there is a writer, writing words, and idea, and stories down on paper, and in the same instance, he or she feels like a prisoner. A prisoner to their creation, their story, their need to be. What is being? What is life? Is life a prison, that has enveloped us into a stillness. A blue sleep of nothing.
The television down the hall only displayed a fuzzy picture. It was better than last week. Last week there was simply a blue still, blank on the screen. Roberto sent a message to the warden. He wanted to see the outside world again. Watch other's stories and see how his story could fit in to this cycle, everyone refers to as life. Some where another storyteller was feeding off his words and characterizations. Some where he was feeding off them. It was an exchange. A give and take. Roberto no longer viewed himself as a thief. A person can't really steal. It seems like they can. Money is mere paper. It is something the world, or most of it, there are some cultures on distant islands that still depend on barter trade. It the United States, money represent work. Roberto, was locked up because of the need of this paper. Not because he desired to hurt any one else, but because his poverty had left him with no chance to meet a lady, no chance to escape his pad, and his town of husky BBQ eaters and beer drinking horn blasters, in those souped up mini monster truck meshes, hauling ass around, and taking little mind to the poets lifestyle or needs. Culture in Uless, was like prison. Sheltered, unaware of others dreams and wants. Uless, was You-Lose. It was a place of stillness. A place where the airplanes spilled over the sky, like metal painted futures. The only beauty in that town was the sound of a jet airliner lifting off, covering the sky, setting sail on the trade winds, and heading off to a chosen future. One day I'll get out of this hell, this embarrassing shell of a hut-makeshift pad, and venture off into the unknown. Or may be I follow the old dream and find the screen again, or perhaps I'll find a better place to settle my story and publish. It didn't matter. It was in the nature of human to look at the distant horizon, but it was not in his nature to go. Escaping settlement and security is unnatural. It isn't natural to pack up and leave home, it is natural to stay. But we do it. We leave. We find strength and courage and set sail into the darkness. Perhaps, the writer is best at this. His story carries him. Tells him to go, just as the story is told. Or perhaps he is chosen to do this. Or may be it is the actor in the writer. Wanting to live out his story and adventure.
With or with out the fucking green paper, or any other color of paper in this matter I'll go.
That night I had a dream. The night after Chuck's eyes got watery and he admitted his crime. I don't think Chuck is his real name. I've mentioned that. Anyways, beside the worry of names, the dream was exotic, wild and unbelievable. I think it was a dream about the devil, or a place in hell. The setting was a hill with a dark sky. It reminded me of a cartoon, but it had dark, chaotic, ashy colors. The sky was covered, with a dark, azure-blue and music played in the background. Childlike music. Very subtle and tempting. Almost like children singing a gospel song, but more demonic. I could feel my heart racing as a peered into this aspect of hell. A boy, or young girl, I couldn't tell which gender, but knew it was a youthful person. They were bouncing up and down, as if on a trampoline. I believe there was a trampoline below them. A man, tall figure, with exaggerated ocean blue top hat, stood to the side of the trampoline. I could not tell who he was. He had a whiskery mustache and a pleasant grin. He hummed to the music as the girl, or boy bounced. Then, the young figure turned into a card. The word Jack came to mind. I don't know if it was a Jack card or not. But it was a card from a deck. The card, still bouncing, and now personified, due to the fact that it had arms and legs and a head, but a card body, sprang naturally up and down on the trampoline. The scene rested on a grassy hill or dark, light green.
After I awoke I named the dream. I called it The dream about Jack. Jack was the man that stood next to the card boy, or girl, that bounced so carefully into the azure colored sky.
The warden was ordering new uniforms for the inmates. The old color was yellow, but he was debating on orange. The bad side of this, was that the inmates on death row wore orange and their color would have to be changed, "Maybe a brighter orange." Jose requested funnily as he smoked on the last section of his rolled cigarette in the yard. I stared at the bright yellow uniforms that were currently being peacocked by most of the prisoners. They walked around, did jump and jacks, lifted weights, listened to Compact Disk on the CD headphones by Sony, and laughed and carried on. It didn't seem that bad all the time. Not all the time. There were moments of happiness. Spurts of Happiness, Jose called it. "I only got that way in prison. Where the happiness just rises up and sneaks up on ya. Then, you feel ashamed for being happy. Guilty." Guilt does take over in a place like that, but there isn't that much to harm yourself with. The effects of guilt, and the cause behind harm, is thinking you are wrong. Thinking you don't fit into the world. That is where guild lives. Its not real. Guilt is fake. It is imaginary. Guilt doesn't exist.
That night, around three, Roberto could here a prisoner spanking his monkey. The skin smacking silently nearly drove him to knock his forehead against the wall. He listened to him relief himself. Nature calls, Roberto thought. He began doodling on the paper on the memo pad and strolled over to his typewriter. It was an old one. An Underwood. It was all the prison warden could afford for Roberto Pace, the new up and coming writer. After fifteen minutes of planning of fighting off the voices in his head, the voices that sounded like his cousins in school up north Texas, and his old ex girlfriends, now teachers, therapist and French instructors, still talking to him, telling him for some hateful reason, "It's not going to work Roberto. Its not going to work." He wrote anyways. Despite the hating voices and the pattering, and the jacking off and the rejects in the yard, smoking and lifting weights and staring at him like he was some chunk of pussy. "I'll write the son of a bitch anyways gawd damnit." He said and began scribbling away at the end of the first Chapter of The criminal.
Another, prisoner had started up in whacking his slong. Roberto got pissed and cleared his throat really loud, so he get the message. He wanted to badly to scream at the top of his lungs, "SHUT THE FUCK UP. STOP WHACKING. I'M WRITING." But he chickened out at the last minute. He figure they, whoever was spanking, would come up on him in the shower, or in the yard, or jump him on the way to laundry duty. He finished up a paragraph and ended the first segment of the Criminal. He covered the aspect about Shel Thorns, but he changed her name to, Jen Squirles. He knew this girl once, and they were a fan of squirrels in the park near the museum back home in Down Town Fort Worth. He spelled squirrels squirles. Her real name was squirles too, or at least it was her real name now.
The warden sent another ream of Gerogia-Pacific typing paper and a new ribbon. Robero had typed over three hundred pages in two months. Time had flew by. Jose was given what he called, "a congical visit with his mate, "The evil black Mama". Jose had picked up some literature written by Galye Jones. He was getting into reading. Word around the cell block said he was reading a chapter a night. The same amount Roberto was clacking away at the old Underwood. Its funny how the two compared. Jose reading a chapter a night and Roberto writing a chapter. Jackson had gained eight pounds of muscle from doing mere pushups. He had started quit the work out routine. Even had Roberto doing reverse curls in the yard. Jackson looked like he belonged on the cover of Men's Journal. He did over a thousand a day. Five hundred push ups during yard time and five hundred in the dark of his cell-nights he couldn't sleep.
"Pigeons. Check him out." Jose said. He still had that shiny glint in his eye. You know that glint a young man gets after getting laid. "She smelled like a real women. Hell, she was more women than I had in a long, long time." Jackson bit into his Granny Smith apple and cut of a piece with his stolen butter knife. He passed a small slice to Roberto. "How's the book." "Its here." "What do you mean?" "Its all around. The book is all this shit. Sitting in the yard. Talking to you, watching Jackson doing his super man work out. It's the learnings of the inside" "Learnings of the inside. Sounds like a title." Learnings ain't a word." Roberto said with a hint of southern draw making word, sound like werd. The old southern tongue had crept into his diction. "Learnings not a word." "well, learning is a word, but not with the s." "With the s?" Jose squinted his eyes as the sun filled them and spat back a light gray red. "Yeah. Learn. Learned. And learning. But no learnings." "How you know?" "Part of the rules in English I guess." "You follow all them rules in your book." "I don't try to. I just put down what I see, feel, hear, smell and touch. I just put it down simply. Type it on paper. I got no path with it. No desire to really teach anything. I just want people to know." "Hell that's teaching man." Jose said. "If you want people to know, they will know what it's like." "Prison's a life that turns you internal. It's a hard type of education. It speaks volumes in just hearing the cell doors slam. It makes a complex man simple, a rich man poor, and poor man rich. It changes people and when their time comes, it releases people and their badness." "Its punishment man." Jose said nibbling on the skin of the Granny Smith. "Punishment, for some takes time. And then, they say fuck it, and let go of their impossible dreams and well, they just let go and put their backs against the wall, legs up style. Read a book, smoke one cigarette a night, or a few, instead of freebasing and all that shit." Jose began to preach the life on the inside. Roberto was taking notes. The pigeons flew in and out and over the yard's chain link fencing. Some would even walk around the razor wire, in and out, like some high wire routine. Those old pigeons didn't quit. Not for anyone or anything. A few guards would throw them crackers, or pieces of bread saved from lunch. Yard time was a time to collect, gather, commune and feed the birds. "Feeding them makes us better." Jose handed Roberto another slice of green hard covered apple. Roberto chopped down and sit back against the brick wall. "It's funny this old birds will feed off people that feed off people. It just passes down man to man, bird to bird, and then to the insects and then to the soil." "Where we return." Jose got up and let out a huge stretch. Something had changed that day. Something inside. Inside Roberto. He sat back and watch the pigeons land in the yard, nibble at the crumbs and took mental notes. Soon he be before that ol Underwood. The prison was counting on him. The people wanted him to finish it up, send it, just like the bread was sent to the pigeons.
Robert Pace Journal entry- The night before she sent him the letter.
It is dangerous to write. Dostevsky was condemned to death for doing so. Fortunately, he received a blank bullet. The Czar sent his icy ass to a freezing hell. Siberia. There he was tied to a pole and ordered to be executed. Some men have been killed for written down their opinions. These men would not be known as the hacker, or doodler. No. The real writer sacrifices something of himself for his words. The bullets were fakes. He must of pissed his pants. All for his prose. I wonder if my intentions got me in here. I wonder If My story put me here. I wonder if I am a thief, or a writer pretending to be such. They say the child is the writer. This is fact beyond truth. The child is right. The child is the word. And in many cases of our past a child has been kings and gods. One child was the God of forgiveness, born under a Bethlehem star. I guess as he grew he learned to tell stories. Stories in parables. He was a man of sacrifice and most at the time, and even now, won't attempt that type of sacrifice, or willingly bring it on. Only a poet, or series artist can understand what the son of God did for us. He chose to have those nails pounded. He chouse to bleed. He chose death.
Why? He was loyal to man. Loyal to his god. And loyal to pain. It was the paschal lamb.
Now, I write, and speak in parables, like he taught us to do. To reflect from life, to show man his image, to show man what he has done. To learn from the good Samaritan. He was servant of his own word. It takes a world of courage to forgive. And in the end, all we have is forgiveness, as death covers us with it's dark face.
In one voice all of women spoke to him. Do it for your God. Turn your head away from our world of wrapped up pleasure. Turn your head away and find another path. We will only tempt you. We will only poison your soul. What is Christ but a man that chose to die alone, with out the caress of a woman's hand. But they flocked to him for answers. They flocked to him for comfort and to be introduced to heaven.
God is only what is pure. There is nothing impure in his name. I have become very close to God since I've been in the inside. No pasture has preached to me and no one has spread the word before me. Most in here don't talk about the good book or the word of God. Most are quiet about what they did. In any case, I have chosen to write about it. Somewhere along the way God has reached down and forgive me. I know, now I am in the world, even though I am shunned from it's freedoms. I locked up and my only pleasure is a salty cracker in the middle of the night, or an occasional wet dream, that I pray be controlled. The thought of a woman only makes my life more complex and dreary. The thought of an outside world makes my heart sting. I must want what is given to me in these bars. She'll will come sooner or later. I know this for fact. I am not God. I suffer from no Hubris as the Greek say. I no I have limits and standards, but I have my own limits and my own standards. I must rest the pen now and sleep.