The Round Table 23: Brain

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.

Let’s end The Round Table strong with the biggest badass I know. This is going to be fun. I have been looking forward to this chapter.

When Plan and Pear didn’t work out, she was single for a while. It didn’t take, but this time, she needed a man who challenged her, who begged for a badass and called out the strong woman in her. She went looking, and Plan usually gets what she wants. After about a year, I’m probably getting that wrong, she found Brain.

I will tell this part because it encapsulates this couple so well. They met on a dating website and she said something like, “Hey we should get together for coffee sometime.” Well, she didn’t say it like that. She said it with that Plan sort of take-charge kind of way, but while it is being aggressive it is also kind of gentle. I don’t know how she does it, just listen.

He comes back with, “No, not a chance. I am interested in you. I don’t want a coffee. Let’s make a day of it. I want to go to lunch, hang out a little, run to get dinner, go to a comedy club. I want to spend the entire night with you. Let’s not just tiptoe around it. Let’s get in it.”

They were built, handmade for each other. Now I probably got the itinerary wrong. But I know they spent the entire day together. I am pretty sure there was this weird moment at a restaurant where the server got overwhelmed and Plan got up and helped serve a few drinks. That is not far off, that happened, I swear to it. Okay, I got it wrong, but still. They were damn near in love by the end of the night.

See, she needs a take-charge alpha male to coax out her take-charge alpha female. He needs her, too. They are so great together.

So back to the badass part. They get married. He invites me to the bachelor party, which is an all-day affair that starts at ten in the morning and ends with me passed out drunk on a futon. There was a bus with a keg fridge. There were no dancing ladies. There was no getting out of hand. We almost got into an argument with a few assholes at a bar who wanted the pool table we had, but for the most part it was pretty great. This bachelor party was so lit that they had a keg in the garage when we got there just to suck on while we waited for everyone to arrive. It was pretty intense but everything with this guy is.

He can do anything. Anything at all. He built his first modem when he was either ten or thirteen. When he decided to try out a motorcycle for the first time, he bought one that came in a box. He built the fucking thing from parts, took it out on the road. It wasn’t for him and he sold it for a profit. But who the fuck does that? He bought a motorcycle in a fucking box.

Can rebuild anything. Can fix boats, dishwashers, plumbing, air conditioners, and jet skis. He is a singer. He is a writer. Every time I see this guy, I ask him what he does, what is he trained to do, and every time he tries to explain it to me. But it is so fucking complicated that my mind literately rolls up like a carpet and stuffs itself in the back of my skull.

Brain is, by far, the most capable man I have ever met. I have never seen a thing he can’t do. Grill. He is a master. Baking, master. This guy didn’t like the quality of dog food they had at the store so he made his own fucking dog food. He calls it “Puppy Loaf.” His dogs dig it. It is so much healthier. And it is cheaper.

Now I have said all the big ones, however we have yet to touch the cool.

Got a story for you. I go to this cat’s house last summer. And we hang out for a while. We drink some whiskey, which is not my thing yet. He will teach me about that on his Christmas visit. Anyway, I’m at this dude’s house and it is getting late and he sparks to attention in a breath. “I didn’t show you my new favorite thing yet, have I?”

“Well no, you have not, actually,” Adam says. “What is your new favorite thing?”

He takes me into the kitchen and ducks into his office, because it has no place that it will fit in the kitchen. He had to keep it in the fucking office. He hands me an axe that is trying so hard to convince everyone it is a meat cleaver. Holy shit!

The blade is about nine or ten inches long and six wide. The blade is also about half an inch thick. The handle is big enough for two hands of a grown ass man. It is so damn heavy that if you just let gravity take hold it would shear through bone. It is the most badass piece of cutlery I have ever seen. Serves to cut through chicken bone and steel armor if it comes to that.

“I have to have one of these,” Adam says.

“This is the small one.”

Adam goes nuts. Now he forgot about it by the time he got home, so we don’t have the daddy of that monster, but he wants it, he just hasn’t thought of it yet. Soon we will have a cleaver you have to stand up in the corner of the kitchen.

For Christmas this last year, I knew he was coming to town, and even though the adults are not supposed to buy gifts for each other, every year this dude buys us a badass gift. I can’t come empty-handed, but everything this guy wants is a mystery to me. So I decide I can host a night. I get ahold of him.

“I was thinking my Christmas gift to you this year could be a night of whiskey, cigars, and sausage. What do you think?”

I could smell him shit his pants through the text.

“Fuck yeah! I’m in,” he texts. “That sounds awesome!”

So after presents, after food, after all the trappings, and on the second to last night he will be in town, we have The Night.

We go out to a shop called Macadoodles. I’m getting that wrong. Bekah, spell check that. They have all sorts of liquor, and I tell him, “I know shit about whiskey.” I am not even kind of self-conscious about it. With anyone else I would be, but he handles these kinds of situations with grace. “All I know is if they have Writer’s Tears I have to buy that,” I say. “It’s knocking me down on my writer cred that I have never had it.”

He walks me through a few choices, but not like it is normally done in these kinds of situations. Usually the man in the know goes through and says shit like, “This is good, and this is good, and this is what you want.” And you learn nothing. This guy takes the time to tell me why and what I should be looking for. Then he stands by quietly and lets me choose.

Have you ever heard of that? That is just not how that is done. There is no self-importance. There is no, ‘Well let’s see what we have here. I’ll take this and you pay for it.’ No arrogance of any kind. Just a quick lesson, then he lets me get it done.

I buy three bottles. He buys one and we go back to the house.

We drink. We smoke cigars. We eat sausage. Well shit, I already told you what we did. But the best part is, I didn’t even realize he was doing this, but by the end of the night I knew how to appreciate and judge a good whiskey and scotch. How he did that, I will never know, but he did not teach class. He just sprinkled know-how in between conversation, and now I am a whiskey and scotch guy.

Brain is amazing. He knows what he is, but he never treats you like that. He never talks down to you and he never discounts what you have to say. He is one of the most respectful men I know, and he will gladly sit and listen to a dirty joke from Shadow, or a long, drawn-out rambling description of a fantasy city he will never see from Artist.

He is one of my most valued friends. And he is a brother. I simply won’t do without him.

This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 3: The Keep. 

Vol. 1: Teardrop Road, is available here on Amazon.

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