The mask is coming off.
Tonight I’m going out with the intentions of doing something really great. Or incredible. Or stupid. Stress-addicted, coffee-fueled and diagnosed with a hero complex and a loser complex simultaneously. A closet “god complex” too, but I try to keep that to myself, as I do the “wasting away” complex.
Put a song to it, the lyrics don’t even have to be relevant.
This is our last good bye? Jeff, it wasn’t about death but wow did people think about it when you drowned. I can’t sing or write songs so I’ve borrowed here and there to get my point across. You’re also allowed to pick an actor to play you in the re-make. He can be a foot shorter if you want, and handsome-teeth, gel-hair. Popular on some dumb show making the leap to movies, or the pretty-boy pill problem. Girls, pick your favorite famous-for-wrong-reasons angry brunette, blonde, or redhead.
I almost bought into, or sold out to, the fantasies of meaningless music, worthless films, and predictable aspirations. Martini drinks and gold-diamond bikini-tops, high heels, fast cars, open highways bleached teeth. Suits and ties and photographs lie. Too bad I have these addictions without the courage to confess them.
I put my hands on my face and started to pull off the mask, fingers digging into my cheeks and eyes, my jaw…
Ian Curtis fronting Joy Division sang that love will do something to us; I just can’t remember what.
She was black and bruised and I wanted to feel used. We asked how much. Before driving away she showed us the jagged piece of glass wrapped in tape to fend off bad guys. There were four of us and young enough to talk to hookers and old enough to know better. I pictured the slide…
People don’t start out with one shoe missing, fishnet stockings, homeless dirty beaten-face-smashed IV drained arms, mattress floor, dirt floor, no floor no roof no power no water. Seven year-old kids in the street out for something, nothing, 3:30am, life unused.
There’s a slide.
I wanted to feel used.
I want to feel used right now.
I found the rock quarry, again, at midnight, the graffiti faded rocks torn to pieces, the industry beaten gravel. Rows and rows of identical Trussville houses in the distance, now. There’s a bulldozer graved in the water, legends of impaled swimmers and cliff-divers. And now your Trussville babies can walk out the backdoor to a 110-foot drop. Now that’s a backyard! Good luck piercing the chemical layers, the pipes pushing neon colors over once-blue spring water. I left the crickets’ screaming and eerie-forest white background noise and drove straight to a graveyard near the airport. I wanted to steal an 81-years-dead corpse, but I chickened out. Typical Tuesday night fright.
Mike Ness stood in front of Social Distortion and sang about praying in a broken down Chevrolet…
There’s a slide, mask coming off…
Good times, good drugs, good girls, good rush. Picture this: a fence in West End, an alley in West End and I want to slump down against the chain links and lay down and die. Over and over if possible, but once will probably be enough. White boys in bad predicaments are always so tall and so skinny, even lying down. Motioned-hand across the throat from another firefighter, “George, you ain't gonna need that medic bag.”
The slide comes quick, the slide’s not pretty.
You don’t wake up and get dropped off in West End to die from an overdose. You don’t plan on dragging your barely-out-of-her-teens fiancée along with you. YOU don’t pick the spot against a chain-link fence in an alley where you’ll curl over and die, cops flashing their lights on your body, found you in the rain. There’s a slide, sliding down the chain links, sliding onto busted asphalt. Let your ghost hear fiancée’s indecipherable words through cigarette inhales, smeared raindrop makeup, and no shoes.
There’s a slide.
“George, I was just reading a description of a nursing home, people shitting all over themselves and such… I want you to promise me that if I ever reach such a state by way of illness, injury, or age that you will come and kill me. (My wife) won’t have the guts.” – Jason. (A close close friend)
“He’s not breathing very well”, his nurses said and he’s old and grey and they were all waiting on us. Nurses sitting on the foot of the bed, hands in their lap semi-concern-look faces. My Lieutenant craned his neck over the bed… count it down three, two, one… “Not breathing well? This man’s dead”.
the time comes
I will kill you.
I will stop the slide.
I had an axe in one hand, waiting on word to destroy something, everything, anything. A thousand yard stare, my mind a million miles away. I wanted to break something, even if it was for the right reasons. My mask slid off, but the house was still on fire. The black smoke rushed my lungs, the black smoke painted the inside of my nostrils, my mouth, my eyes. The house burned and burned…
Hanging out the windows of Woodlawn, hookers on the sidewalks, a gun pulled in our faces, no reason, the drugs and wrecks and voices behind me as I left for good, the twisting bruises and love/hate emotion that eats me up when I drive past. Left for good, left for gone. Long gone.
The car was still going 40 mph and I was through listening. So I opened the door to get out, daughter screaming, ex-girlfriend screaming. Snakes in my head, schizophrenia unleashed, temper tantrum but I'm still as un-thinking as I’ve ever been. 240 lbs of scarred-muscle emotion acting without consequence.
I no longer talk to my family.
I want to go out swinging.
I want to do something really great. Or incredible. Or incredibly stupid.
Ask what happened to me and I’ll ask you “Which time?”
There’s a slide.
The mask stays on for now, but
there’s a motherfucking slide.
“I want to be blind and dumb and have no heart. I want to crawl in a hole and never come out. I want to wipe my existence straight off the map.” – James Frey
“In this life you're on your own. And if the elevator tries to break you down… Go crazy.” - Prince