Not long into living in Springfield we needed daycare for Tobin. I needed to be up late at night for writing. Bekah had to work. Summer had been a chore but we got through it with Rayph in a summer day camp and Tobin at home, but when Rayph started school the whole game changed and my work picked up steam. I was working on Wrath of Madness at the time and things were warming up.
We tried a daycare school for a while but it was a bad fit for Tobin, and then Rayph fell in love.
He started talking about a girl named Volley and she was all he could concentrate on. One day we were in the car and he said, “Who picks out the kind of car the family gets?”
“The couple decides on it together. Married couples are a team; these sort of things are chosen as a team,” I said.
“I need to find out what kind of car Volley wants when she grows up.”
Yeah, so we are in trouble. We set up a play date (a term I have always hated) and the mother, Run, and the two daughters, Volley and Soccer, showed up. Soccer was young, very young maybe two, and Rayph and Volley were in kindergarten.
“Volley came home the first day of kindergarten and said that a boy named Rayph had told her that when he grew up, he was going to marry her.”
Sasquatch didn’t. See, Volley and Soccer are his daughters and no one is good enough for his daughters. No one ever will be.
I was asleep. In my half-wake state though, I did hear Run tell Bekah that we needed to get the husbands together. Her husband Sasquatch was an artist and we would get along, she was sure.
We went to Run’s house after we found out that she did out-of-home daycare. After talking to her for a while we agreed to give Tobin and her business a run. Let’s see if we are a good match.
Well it worked out. She provided lunches, naps, and all of it. I found it strange that she asked us if we could bring our own milk. It was no problem, I just thought that was odd.
Every time I went to drop him off and every time Bekah came to pick him up, the topic of me meeting her husband came up. Kindergarten graduation was the day, and as the event began, Bekah pointed the guy out and told me to introduce myself after. I found him standing against a corner waiting. At these types of events fathers especially, usually find themselves doing a lot of waiting for kids to say whatever needs to be said, mothers chase the kids. Now that is not fair and a little sexist to say, but I have found that most times it is fathers, so we are going to leave it. Please don’t think I am saying that fathers don’t chase their kids around at these things. I’m not that much of an ass.
I see him leaning against the corner in his fedora with a very nice camera hanging around his neck and I approach him. I extend my hand and say, “Hello, my name is Jesse Teller. I believe our wives want us to meet.”
He looked at me like I was a turd and said, “Which one are you?”
I would like to say I was shocked by how rude that was, but I wasn’t. I guess I am used to being insulted by this time. Maybe Bekah’s family, maybe just the other people I meet. I was used to taking a hit, so I said, “I’m the fantasy writer.”
He shook my hand. “I was actually wanting to meet you.” He pointed at my skull ring. “Nice ring. I always thought that if you took a bit of molten steel shaped a few teeth on it and pressed two BBs into it for eyes that you might have a really cool ring.”
“Yeah maybe. That sounds cool. My youngest Tobin is actually cared for by your wife at her daycare.”
“Oh so you’re the father of the boy that wants to marry my daughter?” He was instantly pissed.
“Yeah, I guess I am.”
He was pissed. Pissed about a child in kindergarten having a crush on his daughter. I had no idea if he thought Rayph was going to come by on a Harley that summer and ride off with his daughter while she was dressed in her kindergarten mini skirt or what this guy was picturing, but he was furious.
“Yeah, I don’t know what to tell you. He is just a kid. He has no idea what he is saying,” I said.
He looked at me like he wanted to hit me for a bit longer before letting it go. “So are you published anywhere?” he said.
“I’m not publishing yet. Trying to get good at it. Would hate to force subpar work on the public.”
He looked me up and down. “Yeah, you need to know what you are doing first.” He grinned. “Chase the dream, not the green, right?”
I instantly knew what that meant. I had never heard it put this way, but the sentiment was the same as I had been gripping to for years. Chase what you see as your vision instead of trying to do what sells and trying to make money by warping your art into what the public is buying. It is a pillar in my mind, an idea I hold to very dearly, and has given me a lot of hope and a lot of work.
I had finally found a like mind, a kindred spirit I could talk to about these things. But just wait. This is how the rest of the conversation went.
“I am just writing book after book in the same world trying to get good enough and prepare myself for a career,” I said.
“Well I had a friend that came up with an idea and sold it to Dark Horse (comic book company). He sold it unfinished, just the concept and the rights, and got ten thousand dollars. They haven’t done anything with it yet but that is a nice way to make some money if you need to,” he said.
“Well I like to create my stories and keep them close so that I can use them in my own world.”
“Yeah, but you know, Wizards of the Coast is always buying modules for DnD games. I bet if you threw a few games together you could make some good money fast,” he said.
“Don’t think I will do that either, but it is a way to make money fast.”
Bekah called me away and I took off. I must have shifted a few times during the conversation because it took me a while to put together the fact that he had made a statement I agreed with, then immediately went against it. Took me a few years, to be honest.
I got home, friended him on Facebook, and asked if he would be willing to do an illustration from a scene in a book I was writing. Sob, remember? He said sure.
A few months later was Tobin’s birthday and Sasquatch showed up late. He had been drawing buildings in town. Buildings with some kind of fame. Some sort of history. It was his summer project and he was biking all over town with a travel kit. Well he showed up at my house about an hour late and came in. He watched the kids open presents. Had some cake, and pulled out his sketch book to show me things he was working on. I asked him if he wanted to go to my office, and we went downstairs.
When he walked in, he paused at the door and stared around. “This looks like a place where work gets done.”
I sat at my desk and grinned. “It is. I have a lot of decoration for inspiration but this spot right here is all that matters.” I spread my hands out over the desk. “The entire room bends here.”
He walked around talking to me about my pop culture items before stopping at a group of figurines and staring. “These are from Tim Burton’s collection. These are the kids he designed. These are very rare. You can’t find these anywhere for any kind of reasonable price.”
He stared at them for a while and told me his office was filled with this sort of thing, too.
“Then pick one,” I said. “Pick one of those to take with you and put in your office. Then you give me something from yours. We will share our inspirations.”
He agreed. He took the little robot boy with his head open at the hinges and odd pieces of metal poking out. It was by far the coolest of the three and I let it go without pause.
A few days later and I am looking for reasons to go to his house. We found one. I do not remember what it was, but we got to the house and he invited me inside while Bekah and Run caught up and took care of whatever reason we came.
He took me in his studio and I walked in. I will not comment on another artist’s work space unless I am given permission. It is none of your business and very personal to that artist. I have taken pictures of my office and put them on my Facebook page. Feel free to search them, but I won’t tell you what I found when I got there. What I will tell you is that he has a lot of rare toys and other artifacts in there. He had put the figure I had given him in an honored spot in his collection, and he plucked a piece off and handed it to me.
“There you go. You can have that one,” he said. “Put that in your office.”
Now I will not complain too much because I let it happen. However, he got to pick what he got in my office, and he handed me something out of his. I will also say that what I gave him was worth money. It is hard to find and they do not make them or sell them anymore.
I found the toy he had given me at Walmart a few weeks later for three dollars. I did not complain. I didn’t complain for the first five years I was friends with this guy.
See, the reason I kept taking blow after blow from him was that I needed a peer. I needed a person I could talk to about art, learn things and be inspired by. I needed a person to take me seriously who was creative and productive. I took so many blows from this guy. But we will see some of it. For now we will see why I put Sasquatch in this section of this book.
As I was walking out of his office, he handed me a book. “Here read this. I have an extra. You might like it.”
I took the book and we set up a meeting at eight on Friday night at my house to talk about art and whatever. Just a time to hang out.
I read the book before he showed up that Friday.
It was about how a man is not a man until he has been anointed by God. Until then, he wanders lost as a child.
I sat on that book choice for a while, wondering why he would give it to me. Was this divine intervention? Was this man sent by God to get me back on track, to win me back to Christianity and heal the damage done to me? Or was this just a Christian who wanted to witness to me and was taking me on as a project?
We will see this person all night. I am going to spend the entire night writing about Sasquatch. We will find out together what his motives are and what he was trying to do.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 3: The Keep.