Friday was release day for a book I wrote called Beacon, book one of the Nation of Five series. The book is about young men and an impossible task they set before themselves. Well, I know a lot about impossible tasks. I’m a DID survivor who suffers from hallucinations. I have bipolar and Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder. Getting through a day where I make dinner, hang out with my kids, be a husband to my wife, and not end the day screaming, is the completion of an impossible task. Well, it may be an impossible task that’s undertaken in the book Beacon, but it’s only even considered because of the friendship between four boys. Four teenage boys attempt this daunting feat. Got me thinking about the boys and men in my life. And so this weekend to celebrate the release of Beacon, I will be dropping upon you chapters from Reality of the Unreal Mind. These chapters are from the unreleased third volume, titled The Keep. I start at 7:30 in the evening on Friday, and will end at 9 at night on Sunday. So follow me now into the story of the men who made me possible.
He is a Comanche and I once asked him about racial slurs. He said his favorite was Wagon Burner.
I fought back the laughter and said, “Wagon Burner, huh?” I was holding it together really well. “They call you a Wagon Burner?”
“Well, this is how I see it,” he said with a smile. “If you come into my land and try to take it from me, I’m gonna burn your wagons.”
So I get into part of this later, but he is an artist and a writer, and when I found out that he wanted to be professional, I took him under my wing. At first I had a student, but it was not long before I had a friend.
He showed up at my house wearing a Superman shirt and a My Little Pony beanie.
So on the Friday nights after Sasquatch would leave, we would go into my living room for what we called the Basement Party. I was watching a movie once, I think it was called Once Upon A Time but I am getting that wrong. It has Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman in it. Hugh has been sucked from the 1800s to the early 2000s and is trying to make it work. Well, when he is talking to a group of artists, he mentions having been to the Louvre. They ask him all kinds of questions, and he said the best part of the Louvre is not even the displays, it’s the basement. He said they have all kinds of art in the basement that they just don’t have room for, and he was once given a tour and got to see the art that no one ever gets to see.
Well my nights with Kraken would start when Sasquatch left, and we would go into my basement and hang out. This is when I got to know him.
I asked him about the My Little Pony thing, asked if he was a Brony. He said no, but he liked the show, and he didn’t give a fuck what people thought of the things he liked. They didn’t have to like it, but he would not be shamed into not liking it himself.
We talked about his opinions, and he was very opinionated.
“See, I don’t care really,” I said to him. “I am not proud of my opinions.”
“Yeah, I am wrong so much that I hear someone else talk and if they are right, I just flip. See, I think people get too proud of their opinions and they think they are defined by them, when really it is just the way you think about something. It doesn’t make you who you are or what you are. It is just what you have learned and how you are interpreting it. That is nothing to be proud of. I will defend my opinion, but I haven’t lost anything if someone convinces me I am wrong.”
I told him that often, and though I know he heard me, he still did not let it be his philosophy.
We talked a lot about movies. See, he is much younger than me and younger people tend to go to the movies much more often than older people, I think. Might be wrong about that, but I rarely talk to a lot of adults my age who spend a lot of time at the movie theater. Well, he spent a lot of time there, was always up on what was coming out, and what they were making. He wanted to know how they were making it and what it was going to look like.
I was, for the first few years, trying to teach him as much as I could about the things I knew to be true about art. So these sessions, I would get him talking about it to see what he thought and try to say whatever I could about it. I learned a lot about how Hollywood works, and what they are willing to do and what they won’t, from Kraken.
We watched a lot of bad movies. A lot of them. Any collection of discount movies we found, we would buy and watch. If we could find a five-dollar DVD with ten horror movies on it, we bought it. If we heard about a legendary bad movie, we found it and watched it over and over again.
He asked me one time why we watched so many terrible movies and I told him. “I watch bad movies to remind myself that people will put money into your work whether it is good or not. They will tell you it is good and put money in it before it is ready if it means they can make something off of it,” I said. “So even if they are telling you that your work is good enough, you have to keep in mind that someone made Manos Hands of Fate even though it needed to be worked on again and again to get it right.
“They will put your work out even if it is not ready, and you need to be able to look at your work with a critical eye and tell yourself that what you are doing is shit if that is what it is.” I shook my head and looked him in the eyes. “The people that wrote these movies will forever be the people that wrote these movies, and that is part of their legacy now. They can’t get away from that. If you put your work out too soon, that is what you will be: well-known for shit.”
One day at our Friday night meeting, I confessed that I was suicidal. That I had a plan and that I was trying like the devil just to stay alive. Sasquatch said nothing. He went quiet for a while, let me cry about it and just looked away. Kraken got up and hugged me. He told me if it ever got too bad to call him, no matter the time, and he would be there.
So when it got bad, I called him.
See a few years ago I got a message from Rose. It was a video by Carrie Underwood called “Love Wins.”
Well, I couldn’t take that, so I sent back, “Love can’t win this. You don’t even want to be my mother. If you wanted to be my mother, you would hear the things that happened to me instead of making me look and listen to your perfect, idyllic homestead and saying that was your life and you didn’t want any more darkness. You wouldn’t shove me away when I needed you and tell me to take it somewhere else.”
See, I left out the part about Grasp because I knew it would start a terrible fight that I was just too tired to have. Well she came back with, “What is your plan, then?”
“You sit with me and talk, and listen to some of the things Char did to me, and we go from there. But as long as you refuse to go into the dark with me, I want nothing to do with a relationship with you.”
“Fine, dinner then. My house, five on Friday.”
This was going to be a disaster. I knew it would never work, but if she wanted to try, then I would give her a chance. I went to her house and told her a few light things. Nothing too bad. Not the horrid shit he did to me that left my mind broken, but the little stuff that I thought she could handle.
And she wept. She sat in front of me and she wept. But I couldn’t cross the distance. I couldn’t make myself comfort her. I couldn’t wrap my arms around her and tell her it was going to be okay, because she had not done that for me. So I watched her cry, and I watched her get herself together again, and we talked about her life.
I won’t tell you what she said, but I should. It would give you a deeper understanding of the woman and maybe let you see her in a different way. I won’t tell you any of it because it didn’t last.
I told her I would come again soon and if that worked, then the next time I would bring my sons. I hugged her and I went home. I was up all night with knowledge about the woman who raised me. Maybe I was wrong about her, and maybe I could set some of it aside and, as long as she never tried to turn me back to Grasp, I could make something of a life with her.
Well the very next morning after I had breakfast with Hymnal and praised my mother as a misunderstood woman, Rose texted me and shamed me. She said that all I wanted to do was hurt her and it worked. That I was evil and just wanted to spread poison. That she had fallen for it, but it would never happen again.
See her play when she heard about the terrible things that had happened to me was to shame the abused.
She said I had not comforted her a bit and had taken joy in her pain.
I tried to talk her down, telling her I didn’t let people who talked to me like this be in my life and please settle down. I told her we had a great night and I wanted to do it again, but she can’t scream at me or I would have to walk away.
Then she screamed at me. I fought her all night and it led to a phone call. That call lasted about three minutes before she hung up. See, her manipulation doesn’t work on me anymore. I am smarter and I know how to debate and I know how to argue. I will not let her get any kind of ground against me with any false words or sly talking, and she can’t handle that. She is used to everyone buckling under her pressure and falling apart under her manipulation.
I wasn’t fighting fair because I wasn’t letting her win.
In our conversation I had told her that I did not consider myself a Christian anymore. I told her I had too many walls in the way between me and God, but I was sure that one day me and Him would work it out.
Well, she had always used God as a weapon against me, so why walk away from that now? So she hit me with God doesn’t work that way and he is growing angry with me. She did not even know my life, but she knew God was angry with me. She told me I had better blah blah, or God was going to blah blah. And I couldn’t take it anymore. I know scripture enough to get by, and I hit her with it.
Then I told her I was blocking her number in 24 hours. She had 24 hours to say anything she ever wanted to say to her son, then I was gone forever.
That was the worst twenty-four hours of my (Adam’s) entire life. I had to sit next to the phone all the time so that if she hit me I was ready to hit her right back. I had to wait for her attack and be ready for anything. And I had to deal with the fact that she was gone forever.
Well I almost didn’t survive it.
I was with Bekah until eight in the morning, then I went to her parents’ house and they watched over me and kept me from hurting myself. When it got as late as noon, Kraken showed up at their house.
He took me home. He talked to me about nonsense things that didn’t matter long enough to get my mind off of it. He sat in a room and watched me cry. He hugged me every half an hour and told me he would get me through it, and he listened as I raged about her. He was with me from noon to four, when Bekah came back to stand in again.
Kraken saw that I was falling apart. He knew I might not survive, and that was a fight he wanted in on. To this day, I know that if I ever need that man he would be here before I hung up the call. He is one of my best friends, and I know I will never falter with him by my side.
I love him for life.
Get yourself a Kraken.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 3: The Keep.