Wednesday, May 17th 2017 – 3:54 am
And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. – Mark 9:22
May 17, 2017 – Oregon City, Oregon
Here I am again, just before four a.m. and my legs wobble and bend like streams in an errant fountain. I pour laundry sink water from a blackened pot or two and my tremor turns on real bad to the last drop. Towering, brooking the babble from my maker of coffee or the just right pitch of a creek or crick will spin me and my seizures into worsening.
Another frustrating effect of my conversion disorder is that I no longer need food or sleep.
This is a lie of course.
The power of men to bend laws and logic lies here as well. We can do more than believe in our lies. We make them true. We are magic.
I might no longer stay awake for five days at a time like when I got off oxy and morphine and fentanyl and methadone and dilaudid and codeine and percocet and vicodin and again and again and again and thank god the good guys gave me the safe stuff. Thank government for you, gods of the right.
Now I split into shifts of twenty one and under, and up and at ’em again with the final three or four hours, I drag your love for the count. Staying still more than an eighth of my days feels wasteful and remiss. My brain is friendly foe again, snuffing the candle out from the inside. How can I survive in time?
Magic cost and world building price.
August 15, 1985 – Ocala, Florida
I woke to a drum beat and a pain in the neck. I was wakesleeping again and a fierce foe friend assured me it was the end. Let go. Let’s go. Let. Go.
No, it’s okay. You broke your neck and are paralyzed. Don’t fight it. Go back to sleep. This is your last day. Go in peace.
No! No! No! No! No! No! Fight it! Get up! Get up! Get up! Get up! Get up! Get u
I woke up for air and pushed away the concrete pillow and floated up to a survival position. I puked chlorine water and my bloody face broke the skin of the deep end. My little brother was jumping up and down and screaming, his eyes red and swollen. That didn’t make sense. I thought I was only a few seconds gone. He should not have had time to cry that long. What’s happening. What happened.
What who where am I.
I dove in the deep end of the pool at our Holiday Inn and upon face to water, I blacked out again, like too many times since.
Prescott thought I had died and said I was laying at the pool bottom for at least a full minute. Right. What do kids know.
Blood ran down the deep gash in my forehead, nose and chin.
I heard his scream again as I fell in a final time. Then I swam over to grab the ladder and I pulled myself up and out.
“I had to rinse the blood off my face. Calm down.”
October 30th, 1993 – Oregon coast
He said don’t run away. He ran anyway. He said stay in the van. He said stay in the fucking van. He ran. He didn’t do what he fucking told him. He fucking told him. He told him, didn’t he. Didn’t he tell him. Didn’t he. He said what was coming next. He told him what would happen if he ran. He ran anyway. He’s fucking sick of this. No more.
We spotted Prescott running up the logging road away from our failed morning hunt. Dad gunned the van and mom screamed. I never make a sound or flinch. That’s a thing with me. But I can slow down time. You ought to see it. And I knew dad was not trying to run Prescott over, just catch up with him. He did and then slammed the brakes and crunching gravel was shortly replaced with a gravelier dad screaming get in the van.
As my brother climbed back in, dad surprised everyone by pulling out his belt. Every eye widened this time as the youngest never got that.
He was only even wandering and running away on our hunting trip because he could not be trusted at home with just mom.
My brother had been awake for a long time. Longer than even me. For over two weeks. He passed from daily hallucinations to severe psychotic breaks and finally OHSU restraints. For almost a month.
A pure white wolf would appear in every mirror and pane. It’s name was Mammon, neither good nor evil. It all depends on how you use it.
Prescott attacked confused nurses several times and they were forced to increase security restraints. They were inexplicably undone twice. Mammon did it. It can move men and mountains, beside bands or buckles.
Prescott was too strained to leave at home, but too sane to escape punishment for running.
The final notch in dad’s buckle erred into the van. The four metal prongs took Prescott full across the face and he screamed. I was used to that and far worse. But this was his first. Dad usually kept all that from baby brother. Only the big boys got that. For decades. But not him. Not Prescott.
He was nineteen.
He kicked dad in the stomach and ran out of the van and back up to the cul de sac in front of us. I sprinted after him.
I was always the fastest kid on the block, way back when I had legs. I caught up and simply tackled my sibling, lowering us gently into soft turf of rock and dirt. We were literally on the edge of the second Oregon cliff to almost claim me.
When Prescott tried to break free from my grip and run again to the cliff, he screamed he wanted to die. He said Jesus was calling him and was ready to go to heaven. I wasn’t sure we were up high enough to guarantee he wouldn’t survive. He might outlive the fall, unable to feel his legs. A little like mine.
I tackled him a last time and said if he tried to jump once more, I would knock him the fuck out.
He laughed it off and tried to pull away. Just until he saw my hand going up. He recognized my fist. A decade before and for months on out, I had punched him more times than men try to make count.
I promised my brother I had knocked people out before and he could either walk back to the van or be dragged.
His demon slowed just enough to stare into my eyes, begging for a sign of bluff. It was not there. It never was. I have never made an idle threat. I can’t. That part of me is broken. When I talk about what I will do to your throat, it will be in the past tense. I promise you and swear to Jesus above.
Do you dare doubt me?
We drove in silence for twenty minutes, out of the Oregon forest and a hunting trip ruined. The first pay phone crested our path, tied to a gas station divorced from regular passing of time. The fifties called and wanted their nostalgia back.
I dialed Amy to check in. Austin was just five days over a year. Big sister was almost two and a half. I just wanted to tell my wife we were almost out of the woods.
I hung up the pay phone and slowly walked toward the driver side door.
I told my dad to get out of the van.
My mom jumped out after him.
It’s always go time.
The adrenaline was easily reignited and accelerated and the tension still weighed every face from the welts and screams of just a few minutes before.
But dad’s angry glare rushed away with all pink in his cheeks when I shared the news Amy had just given me over the phone.
“Your mom just died,” I told him.
He froze and wavered, feet and soul.
Mom asked if he was going to be alright. His look dropped and flopped from gutted to sad and lost and back again. The fight was up and long gone. We didn’t plan ahead or know what to do anymore.
I took a short step forward and asked my father if I could give him a hug.
He let me.