March of 1998, Mike and I headed to Denver in his car, as I had long ago sold mine after it became inoperable. I fell in love with Colorado as soon as I arrived, and still don’t think I would rather be anywhere else. I also made a conscious decision to not do anything illegal, like shoplifting and grand theft auto. Not out of some newfound love for humanity, but more to cover my ass as a stranger in a strange land. Mike’s brother, Brandt, was accommodating, and his girlfriend got us jobs at the Paramount Cafe.
It was right at this time that I began my foray into marijuana addiction. I know weed isn’t physically addictive, but anything can be mentally addictive. It was just so damn freely available in Denver, long before it became legal for medical use. Mike and I eventually moved out of his brother’s apartment into a cheap studio on 17th and Washington Street.
Mike bought us tickets to Loot at Red Rocks for my birthday, so I bought us tickets to Ween at The Ogden for his. These were our favorite bands, respectively. When I realized Accelerate Past Me would be opening for Ween, I felt bad because even though he didn’t know it, my motivation to buy the tickets was now in my own interest as well. The Ween show was in May, and I enjoyed it wholly. At the end of Accelerate Past Me’s set, I yelled, “Go Bulldogs!” She looked to the upper deck where those of us who were still under 21 were forced to sit.
One day, Mike came home from somewhere and mentioned that he had met a girl that he found really attractive. She was a friend of our neighbor, Serb, and Mike eventually hung out with both of them a few times. When I finally saw her, she was by herself, so I did not recognize her as the girl that Mike had spoken of. Attractive as she was, I gushed around her and felt like we had an instant connection.
When Mike and I realized we had been hitting on the same girl, he basically stated that he thought it would be appropriate that he have a chance with her first since he met her before I did. I contended that we should let her decide.
Of course, it was her decision to begin with, and I was lucky enough win Bryne Dega’s favor. After we hung out many, many times, she let me come to her apartment, but I performed so poorly in bed that I avoided her afterwards. Like a dick, I just stopped calling her altogether. In my defense, she was only the fourth girl I ever slept with. Let’s just say I was a late bloomer, and I had really bad inter-personal skills. When she didn’t call me either, I assumed she was no longer interested.
August rolled around, and the Loot concert was now upon us. Luckily, Mike was still on good terms with me considering the love triangle drama just a few weeks prior. We rode down the highway in his 80’s sky blue Chevy Cavalier while listening to Big Black and smoking some wicked kind. I was into Loot and Modest Mouse almost exclusively during this time of my life, but Mike had broad tastes and introduced me to many new artists.
We waited what seemed like hours in a long procession of cars winding up the mountainside, until finally parking and entering the amphitheater.
We walked up the stairs, and Mike stopped immediately after we passed the ticket takers to say, “I’m going to see my friend in concessions to find out if he can hook us up. Where are you going to be?”
I said, “I’ll just wait right here.” I looked around at the other people filing up the long stairway at the entrance. I noticed a man dressed in full drag. To me this seemed suspicious, but everyone else walked by with little more than a passing glance. I glared at him for about 30 seconds before I realized I knew who it was. So I walked over to him and asked, “Have you got a light?”
He said, “Sorry. Don’t smoke.”
I said, “Never mind,” pulling the lighter I knew I had from my pocket and lighting the cigarette, “I’ve got one right here. So what are you doing out here anyway?”
He said, “Just hanging out.”
I said, “Trying to score some young pussy or what?”
He didn’t say anything, but looked down and appeared to show me his outfit as evidence of his lack of interest in the opposite sex.
I said, “I’m sorry, I just have pretty low standards for most of the people I meet on a daily basis, even successful people such as yourself.”
I was trying to hint that I knew who he was, and I was over the top with my body language. He may have realized this, and just didn’t care to acknowledge it, but he didn’t show it if that was the case.
I said, “You know, normally I think being gay is icky, so maybe it’s just the dress, but I think I could marry you and be happy. You’re not gay though, right?”
He said, “No.”
I said, “Thank God.” I paused for a few seconds while he looked around, apparently trying to avoid any more contact with me. I continued, “I’ve been trying to hint at it, but I’m not sure if you are catching my drift. You’ve been made my friend. Now please, shake my hand because I’m your biggest fan.” I basically had to grab his hand and force him to shake it.
We just sat there for a second awkwardly. He said, “That’s a cool shirt. Were you at that tour?”
I said, “No, I just bought it from a record shop. Do you like Ministry?”
He said, “Of course. I toured with them for Lollapalooza in ’92.”
I said, “Seriously though, what the hell are you doing out here?”
He answered, “Just having some fun.”
“That’s a pretty extensive get-up for someone who’s ‘Just having some fun.’ Do you play dress up a lot?”
He said, “Sure.”
I said, “I’ve never been to a Loot concert before. It just seems crazy to me that you’d be standing here like this. I’m sure you know you’re renowned as a recluse. You can be honest man, I won’t tell anybody. Are you just trying to get laid?” I would have told everyone.
He said he did things like this once and a while just for kicks, and re-assured me that he had no ulterior motive.
I said, “You know what man? I am a huge fan, and think you are the best of what’s out there right now. You’re so good you could sing about shitting the bed and people would eat it up.”
“Why the hell would I sing about that?”
“Everybody shit’s the bed, we were all babies once. I bet you could make it cool somehow. Let’s be honest though, you are fantastic in your own right, but this band would be fine without you. Anybody with a decent voice could be up there with that band and be a success, and do you know why?”
He nodded his head like he knew the answer but wasn’t going to tell.
I said, “Because of Danny. Everybody who is a real musician knows it, and I’m willing to bet your ego isn’t in the way to see it yourself. Don’t get me wrong, the other guys are good too, but you know what I’m talking about.”
He agreed that Danny was in fact truly amazing.
“But you are talented in a different way, and I really think you will be regarded as one of, if not the greatest musician of the next century. But maybe you should do a couple of side projects so you can show your versatility.”
I had read an article in The Onion or The Westword several weeks prior that brought to light some rumors circulating regarding his professional and personal life. I don’t remember all of what it said, but it mentioned a side project with one of his roadies and several other famous musicians whose bands had recently broken up, such as James Iha of The Smashing Pumpkins, and a couple members of The Vandals.
It also said something about him moving to Arizona.
Having this knowledge, I said, “You should try to work with James Iha. I’ve heard of some other great bands breaking up like the Vandals too.” I basically suggested he do everything I’d read in the article. He looked a bit astonished, and I don’t blame him.
I said he should start a side project with one of his roadies. He said he was already working on some stuff with one of them, and even mentioned the name A Perfect Circle.
I told him he should consider moving to Arizona.
He said something about the drummer from Primus having suggested that he move to some old mining town in the mountains of Arizona.
I said he should try to make wine, because my dad and I enjoyed doing it.
I said, “I know you wrote Hooker with a Penis because of a real encounter with a fan. Maybe you could write something about me, except I won’t be a jackass.”
I mentioned that I was a musician myself, and the discussion shifted toward the recording industry. I said, “If you want some advice, the music business is going to change a lot, and I can give you a heads up if you are interested.”
“How so?” he asked.
“Everybody with a half a mind is going to download music for free off the internet, and nobody’s going to buy discs anymore. Hell, discs will be outdated in 5 years. Even the dumbasses that pay for music will be using rewriteable cartridges. Like a Nintendo game but tiny, and with way more storage space.”
“How do you know?”
“I’ve been immersed in technology for so long, I can easily see where things are headed. Odds are musicians will only get paid for live performances and give their music away for free. Not the rights to it of course, and that’s the way it should be anyhow. Fuck record companies.”
“They won’t let that happen.”
“There is nothing they, or you, or anybody, can do. No matter what encrypted protections are created to protect intellectual property, someone like me will always be there to crack it. Your idea’s only real worth is how it can benefit society, so hackers will represent a new level of intellectual freedom, and they’ll never get caught because they remain anonymous.
“What right do the producers and artists have to make millions of dollars from a single recording they produce? It just seems unfair. And don’t get me started on professional athletes. Society’s inequality is too broad, and people make too much money for stupid shit.”
“Until it’s you that publishes the hit song, then you’ll see the other side.”
“Me personally? I’ll release everything I ever create for free, but I will charge for public performances. Nobody is going to buy music when they can get it for free. And there will be plenty of real artists that will see the purpose of art as the act of creating it and its interpretation by society, not any compensation derived from it.”
He asked me, “How are you so sure you are right?”
I said, “To me it just seems obvious and inevitable. Art, as intellectual property is really just information that should be disseminated for humanity’s further enlightenment. The monetary value assigned to it is meaningless.
“The world is getting contorted by bullshit art and non-information provided by publishers and news organizations owned by corporations and beholden to their advertisers and a mutual quest for monetary gain. For example, all these idiots are worried about the Y2K bug and have no idea how easily all that will be fixed. Combine that with people’s general fear of the millennial changeover, and the media will have everybody in hysteria. The irony of this is that it’s not even the real millennium. Do people really think we started counting at year zero? Even if there were some stupid superstitious connection, it would be at the end of 2001.”
He seemed interested in my interpretations, so I kept talking. I said, “Another great example, but at the opposite end of the spectrum, is Google. Have you heard of it?”
I said, “Well, it’s just a search engine right? It was just started up recently by a couple college kids that had a good idea and decided to act on it. I don’t know how they did it, but they made a search-engine that is worlds better than anything else out there. They saw a need in society and filled it. I can’t tell you how bad the other searches are comparatively, almost worthless.”
I told him that I had met the founders once, but that was a bald-faced lie. He asked me, “What do you play?”
“What do you mean?”
“You said you’re a musician.”
“Oh right, I don’t really play anything for the music I write. I do techno with sampler/sequencer software on my computer, and I sing.”
He asked if I had an email or phone number. He said, “Maybe I could help you out?”
I thought he was saying this just to get rid of me by making me think he might secretly be a well-meaning person, and not the eccentric recluse everyone thought him to be, and then just never call or write. I said, “No. I don’t.” I really didn’t have a phone number, or internet access to check my email.
He looked at me like I was retarded. I ignored it and continued, “I actually can play the drums a little bit, and I’m pretty good for what little effort I’ve put into it. I could probably just fill in for Danny.”
“Yeah, right.” he said.
“Ok, yeah. Maybe someday though? I may not be able to play his exact rhythms, but I’ll bet I could play in time and follow the signature changes.”
This was a gross overestimation of my ability.
I said, “I’m probably better suited to be a singer like you. It’s just a lot easier, don’t you think?”
I asked if he had ever tried doing anything solo, and he said he did once but thought it was awful. I said, “You should release every old VHS and crappy recording you’ve got so people can see how bad you sucked when you first started. It will inspire people like me who know they suck balls and still keep trying.” I asked him if he was in bands prior to Loot, and he said yes, so I told him to release all of that too, if he still had it.
I then said he should start yet another band called Puscifer.
I said, “You know, like a mix of ‘pussy’ and ‘Lucifer.’ You can have a sexed out devil cat for your logo. It could also be a play on words like, ‘pussy-fur.’ Just stick with the vagina theme and your first album can be, ‘V is for Vagina,’ with the hit single Vagina Mine. Come on, that’s funny! And it’s interesting on so many different levels. Then you could have ‘C is for Cunt, T is for–“
He said, “You can’t put that on an album.”
I said, “Ok, how about C is for ‘Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference Here?'”
I may have laid it on a little thick for him. He said, “You know that Puscifer was the name of a fictional band, right?”
I said, “What the hell does that even mean? What’s a fictional band?” I played it off as though I knew nothing about Mr. Show.
He said, “You know, like a fake band name from a book?”
“So you’re worried about getting sued because somebody used that name in a book? And why are you saying it in past tense, as if it no longer exists?”
I asked him if he played any instruments.
He said, “Sure.”
I said, “Jew’s harp doesn’t count.”
“I’m going to learn guitar soon. I know I’m going to be good because all my fingers move independent of each other. I took lessons when I was a kid, but my hands were too small. I think I’ll be ok now.” I held up my hands to look at them, and moved each finger in sequence.
He asked me, “Have you got a demo?”
I said, “No. As soon as I make something I actually like, I’ll make a demo.”
“Well, does your act have a name or what?”
“Not yet, but I was thinking maybe ‘Jesus Fucks Angels.'”
He said, “That’s an unusable name.”
At this point he meandered a few steps away, probably hoping our conversation was over. I was talking to my absolute favorite singer in the world, someone I looked to as inspiration for my own goals. I wondered why I’d decided to come across as such a stalker weirdo. I was in a philosophical mind set, and I wanted to have a conversation of real meaning that he might remember, and interesting enough for me to tell as a story. He was scanning the horizon and watching the passers-by as I walked up to him again.
I said, “I really do know the future, you know.”
He said, “Ok.”
I said, “Remember that Google website that I was talking about? In 10 years, they’re going to be one of the biggest companies in the world. If you are smart you’d invest in Google. You’ll be rewarded for your insight, and they’ll be rewarded by consumers that realize they are looking out for society’s best interests. Any company that does so will succeed. Most companies are just profit machines. These guys are even going to launch a satellite to give the world a bird’s eye view of the whole planet.”
He still didn’t appear too interested, and I didn’t even know where the future talk was coming from. I didn’t think of my previous experiences.
I said, “I didn’t read that anywhere, and I don’t know why I said it. Nothing would lead me to believe they have any aspirations to take pictures of Earth from space. Perhaps somebody has to tell them that before they’ll want to do it…”
I stopped and thought for a second, trying to get off this weird tangent I just went off into. I said, “Listen, I’m not sure what’s happening, but I feel like there is a reason for us meeting today, and me talking like this. I must have something important to say.” Without giving him an opportunity to reply I continued, “Planes are going to fly into buildings, and a lot of people are going to die in the near future.”
He said, “What are you talking about?”
I said, “In a few years, hijacked airplanes will fly into buildings somewhere in the U.S.”
“The Air Force wouldn’t let that happen. They have resources to counter those kinds of attacks. They’d just shoot them down.”
“You have a lot of faith in our military.”
“I did go to West Point.”
“Interesting… I didn’t know that. But I think The Pentagon might even get hit.”
He laughed in a manner that I found insulting and said, “Not a chance.”
I got angry and yelled, “You just sealed the deal my friend. Not that what you said is going to cause it to happen, but it forced me to think about it harder, and now I’m sure The Pentagon will be hit by a plane.” As the words left my mouth I was in shock. I calmed down but kept talking. I said, “You are absolutely right about the Air Force, but in this instance that will not be the case. Think about it, are you going to be the one that pulls the trigger on a plane full of passengers because we ‘think’ they might fly into a building? That’s unprecedented, and we’d have no reason to suspect that as their intention.”
He said, ‘What even gives you this idea in the first place?”
I said, “Well, think about it. Hi-jacked airliners are like the most common act of terrorism. And…you know what? It just dawned on me, I know exactly why this is going to happen, but you probably won’t believe it. I’m going to tell you anyhow.
“When I was visiting my mom once in Chicago, she took me to Midway for my flight back home. As we walked up to the security scanners, I remembered she had a large hunting knife in her purse. She’d forgotten about it, and was oblivious to the safety issue, but I was slightly concerned that she might get in trouble. I passed through without a problem and waited at the end of the conveyor to get my carry-on. The security staff were all laughing amongst themselves and carrying on very loudly, so I poked my head around to see the X-ray screen as the blade very slowly, and clear as daylight, scrolled across the screen. No one but me noticed. That moment right there is how I know for sure, regardless of whether or not you believe it.”
I can’t begin to imagine what his thoughts were as he looked at me awkwardly. He was probably wishing he’d brought a stiletto blade instead of stiletto heels. It looked like getting away had quickly become a priority.
I said, “I don’t know what to tell you man, it’s the only thing reasonable I can think of that would back up what I’m saying. Why I’m here saying any of this to you now, I have no idea. It’s probably that guy that tried to blow up the World Trade Center that sets everything up.”
He said, “Osama Bin Laden?”
“Sure. I don’t remember his name, how do you?”
“That’s what I remember from the news.”
“The truly sad thing is, with clever marketing and theories that play on people’s insecurities, the ignorant public will actually believe the U.S. government planned the attack on themselves.”
There was a strange pause in our conversation where he just looked at me funny. I could not fathom why he was still standing there talking to me, or why I no longer made sense to myself even.
I said, “And we’re going to have a black U.S. President soon.”
He said, “Not gonna happen.”
“What are you, racist?”
“No, but most of the country is.”
“So there will just never be a black President in The United States?”
“Not in a hundred years.”
“Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. It’s only going to be about ten years, in the 2008 race. And to be specific, he’ll be half-black, but that still counts for a civil rights victory as far as I’m concerned.”
He had finally reached a breaking point, and angrily said, “Why are you telling me any of this? What does any of it have to do with me?”
I said, “Typical. I should have assumed you were self-absorbed. Why’s it got to be about you for you to care?”
He yelled back, “That’s not it at all, you are delirious!”
I doubled-back with even more anger, and started yelling, “I don’t fucking know, man! I guess I don’t blame you for not believing me, I have no idea what’s going on either. I don’t fucking believe in anything. I’m a die-hard atheist. I don’t believe in ghosts, aliens, monsters, or any other dumbass spiritual-supernatural bullshit, most importantly God. But I believe in this moment right now, and it bothers me more than it bothers you, trust me. And for some reason we may never know, you need to believe me right now. Maybe you should take a fucking step back and re-evaluate what’s going on here, and realize you might have something to do with it. I know we are part of something much bigger and more important than just ourselves, with or without God. Think about the songs you sing, you were begging for this shit.”
He stepped away from me and looked uncomfortable. When he turned around, he leaned against the railing and looked down to the valley below.
As a joke I brashly said, “So, do you know any half-black politicians?”
He sat there for what seemed like a long time, and slowly turned around and said, “I do.”
I said, “Oh yeah? What’s his name?”
He looked scared, and I wondered if my first impression, that he was lying, was wrong. I thought for sure he was just playing along, and it was now a game for him.
He said, slowly and with resolve, “Barack Hussein Obama.”
It almost looked like he was making it up, but his eyes moved to the right indicating that he was trying to remember. I didn’t believe it.
I said, “Hussein? Like Saddam? You’re joking right?”
“No, I’m serious. I saw him speak years ago.”
“So you’re just his number one fan, aren’t you?”
“My ex was into politics, I just happen to remember him for some reason.”
I yelled, “This is bullshit! I’m not going to play some stupid mind game with you here. You aren’t going to get rid of me by just stringing me along.”
“I don’t know what to tell you…”
I turned away and spoke to myself, “Seriously? God…he sounds like a cross between a terrorist and a ruthless dictator. I’m having a really hard time believing you here, and furthermore, why are you still talking to me in the first place? Give me some sort of personal reflection from meeting him to help me believe you.”
He said, “I didn’t meet him, I just attended his speech. He joked that even if he wanted to, he couldn’t be President because he’s black.”
I could tell it was a matter of fact by the way he told me. I put my head in my hands, moaning in mental agony. I said, “I’m going to give you be benefit of the doubt here and go along with this. I don’t know why, logic usually pervades for me. But when I apply logic to the illogical situation at hand, what I conclude is that you are supposed to tell him to run for President because I know he can win. Hillary Clinton was supposed to be President then; she would have beaten John McCain. I feel bad that neither of them are going to get it now. McCain is like America’s ultimate hero from his time as a POW.”
He clearly agreed with me about McCain.
“And Hillary would have meant so much for women’s rights. I loved Primary Colors. I guess she could run again afterwards. Blacks have it much worse than women, at least here in America, don’t you think?”
“I guess so… Are you really into political activism or what?”
“Not at all, my aunt gave me that book. I think I’m just more knowledgeable than your standard human. Well, I can tell you for sure that if he’s not made up, otherwise it’s some other different black guy and you are just an asshole, your guy can win. And because it appears he never intended to run, you will tell him to do so sometime after right now. When the planes hit, you get in your limo, or your hovercraft, or however it is rock-stars get around, and you find him to personally tell him that God wants him to run for President. No, that might be too late. You need to do it before the planes hit, or he might think you’re insane.”
“He’ll think so either way. Why would I do that? I don’t even know the guy.”
“If you do it before the planes hit, he’ll only think you’re nuts until it happens. I’m not going to waste my time assuring you that these things will happen, you’ll find out soon enough. You know what? I’d do this stuff for you, but I’m going to repress this memory for a decade and suffer great mental stress because of it. You know: actually going crazy. See, people are going to die, and we’ll be responsible for not acting whether anybody knows about it or not. Trust me, any embarrassment you might feel talking about this is dwarfed by the regret of not acting. Does it really seem that hard for you to contact a public official and make a simple yet profound statement? Call his office and tell them you want to meet him to make a campaign contribution or something. You don’t even have to actually give him any money; you can be a dick if you want.
“You may not think you are going to do it, but I know you will, even if you only get the gumption after the planes hit. It’s possible he would see the fear in your eyes and know you are for real, especially being that you are a celebrity, and upon observation appear to be of sound mind and body. Normally I’d be worried some crazy racist might try to assassinate him, but it looks like two rednecks are going to get news coverage for just such an attempt, but they are so inbred and stupid that the public will realize how dumb they themselves would look in doing so.
“But as far as assassination attempts go, I actually do see somebody getting shot in the head, but they survive, and even continue to work in politics. Finally, a politician with a real excuse: actual brain damage. God, talk about too soon. I’m not sure why I thought that would be funny, because it’s really going to happen…fuck.
“I can’t believe us two ghost white dudes from the Midwest are helping to elect a black President. We’ll be a part of the civil rights movement. And you’re wearing an evening gown.”
He looked totally involved just a few moments earlier when he realized he knew who I was talking about, but now that I had asked him to actually do something, it was fleeting. He looked like he wanted nothing to do with it. I kept talking anyways.
“The next time you roll through Memphis, take a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum. When you get to the last room, you’ll have a better appreciation for what we’re doing here.”
“Why don’t you just try to stop the planes in the first place? Or just warn McCain, or whoever ends up President.”
“McCain wouldn’t believe us, he’s too old, and he’s been through too much already. Besides, I only have a rough estimate as to when it will happen. Nobody would believe me or you, and I’d have nothing to say other than ‘Somebody is going to fly planes into buildings somewhere sometime within a few years.’ That’s not going to do anybody any good, though you are welcome to try. I’ve already resigned to the fact that there is nothing we can do to save them. And in all likelihood, by saying something about it beforehand, we’ll get blamed somehow. Like it’s our fault for giving them the idea…”
He looked visibly shaken, hung his head, and said, “Why couldn’t you have found Gregg, he’s into this kind of shit.”
I said, “Who’s Gregg?”
He said, “Neil Hamburger. He’s a comedian. Ever heard of him?”
I said, “Nope. Is he a friend of yours?”
He said, “Yeah. Do you have any idea where is all this coming from?”
I said, “I’m not sure. I’ve always thought time travel was possible, and since time is linear you could only go into the future but not back. For example, cryogenically freezing somebody and then reviving them a few years later, or when you travel at high speeds, time is slower for you than stationary objects. But I don’t think time and space can get warped like people are hoping. You can’t bend time without breaking it. But this…this just doesn’t make any sense to me at all.”
I reflected for a moment, and flashed back to meeting Helmsy.
I said, “Oh man, I think I know what’s going on. In my freshman year of high school, by chance I ran into this girl who had already graduated. We talked for a few minutes before my class. She seemed to like me, but when I told her I didn’t believe in anything spiritual like God or ghosts, she balked. So I tried to play along and asked her if I could hold her hand to see if I felt anything ‘spiritual.’ I was just fucking around, but I saw what I thought was my life flash before my eyes. Not just the parts that already happened, but all the way to the end. I pretty much forgot about it and can’t remember what I saw if I try, but I think it’s because of that moment that I can tell what’s going to happen in the future.”
“Do you actually see it?”
“No, I just have a thought, and after I say out loud it I know it’s true. I know it’s real because my hairs stand up every time I do it. I’ve always thought I had a better grasp of what is real and what is not than anybody I’ve ever met, but this just throws me for a loop. Say, I just realized we have a bigger problem.”
“Well, when I met her I also said that I was going to write a book about nuclear weapons. I’m pretty sure nuclear bombs are going to go off. I’ve been thinking about it for years now really, just in following the news.”
I felt a rush of emotions flow through me and I started acting even more erratic. I said, “All of this fits together. At the end of the Mayan calendar, everyone’s expecting this great rebirth and cleansing, but it’s just not going to happen. God won’t rain hellfire and damnation upon the sinners, and aliens aren’t going to come down and harvest our organs. So humanity will try to make something happen with explosives.”
He said, “That date is a major celestial event marking Saturn’s ascension. A lot of people think there will be some kind of natural disaster.”
“Oh God, you don’t believe in aliens, do you?”
“Ok, I mean that they visit sometimes and do extensive probing.”
“I believe it’s possible they’ve been here before.”
“You need to take all that other nonsense that people believe and toss it aside. It’s all imaginary. But what’s happening with us right now is real.
“The mystical voodoo associated with the end of the Mayan calendar is bullshit. The planets and stars were used to calculate time. That date just marks the end of a calendar, that’s it, a restart. I seriously doubt any of that planetary movement is going to affect gravitational fields or cause a polar shift like some theories I’ve heard about.
“As far as space is concerned, I am a bit worried about asteroids though. There’s one that’s going to come close in like 2020-something, and then back around a few years later. There’s a possibility that it might collide with earth the second time around. There’s going to be a lot of them, because we’re only now starting to notice with new technology. We need to make sure that we don’t try to blow them up or change their trajectories with rockets unless we’re absolutely certain one will impact, otherwise we’re liable to actually cause an impact where we might have been fine otherwise. I really don’t think trying to blow them up is a good idea at all, but I don’t know. I’m not a rocket scientist.
“But if anything happens on December 22nd, or whatever day it actually is…”
He said a date, but I don’t remember which.
I said, “I’ve heard different days from alternate ways of calculating it, and it’s anywhere from the 18th to the 22nd from what I remember. It doesn’t matter, because what I’m talking about could be on that day, or any of those days, but it will probably be right afterwards. I feel like that day symbolizes something other than what we think, like we should have figured it out by then. Everybody is just putting up with status quo because we think something’s going to fix it for us, but it’s ours to fix. People will go mental. My guess is nothing happens that day, and many people of the world will be disappointed that everybody with the ‘wrong’ religions wasn’t vaporized. Some people out there will be so disappointed that they’ll be willing to try and do it themselves. If not on that day then soon afterward, there will be a nuclear terrorist attack, probably in Israel, and maybe even in the United States, or both. My God, Jewish people have the worst luck.”
Not that any of the early parts of our conversation made much sense, but by now I had become the conductor of the bat-shit crazy train. Amandry continued to engage me, apparently unshaken by my utter insanity.
He asked, “So who is planning this?”
I said, “I don’t know, but it can’t be Obama-“
He cut me off and said, “Osama.”
I cursed at myself, “God damn it, I can’t even tell them apart! The President is going to get the airplane terrorist while he’s hiding in Pakistan. Perhaps we should remember that and tell somebody? My gut tells me it’s Iran that wants to nuke Israel the most, but I don’t know for sure. Everybody thinks all these wars are about oil and resources, but really it’s all about religion. If you want to break it down further, there is a finite amount of space on this earth, and we’re really fighting for as much room as possible for our particular culture to thrive. It always has been and will continue unless we change. Discrimination is a worldwide epidemic. Oh God, I know what’s supposed to happen, and I know why I’m saying this stuff.”
“Not only do you tell him to run for President, you also have to warn him about the impending nuclear attack. That’s the real reason for asking him to run in the first place. Have him get the head of the committee for nuclear dis-armament, or whatever it’s called, to be his running mate so he’s got some informed people backing him up. But you can’t tell them about me. Well, you can mention me, but I’m going to fade away into oblivion so I don’t get erased by the CIA or probed by some scientist in a lab.”
I’m a pretty animated speaker to begin with, but now I was on adrenal overdrive, and a few clusters of people watching me had gathered in the area. One of them walked up to us, and he’d obviously recognized Amandry because he started asking him for his autograph.
He didn’t get a chance to finish speaking before I cut him off by yelling loudly, “I’m sorry, do you know this person? Because I know that you don’t! If you thought you did, you were mistaken, and he doesn’t want to talk to you.”
The guy got really upset, and was obviously anxious even before I went psycho on him. He looked like a rattling kettle. He said, “Why don’t you let him decide for himself.” He was speaking of Amandry of course.
I said to him “By all means,” and then to Amandry, “Do you want to talk to this guy?”
He replied sheepishly, “I don’t know?”
I said, “Come on man, what’s the honest answer to that question?”
He said, “Not really, I guess.”
I turned to the other guy and said, “And that’s the sad truth. Sorry bud.”
I don’t remember if he walked away by his own accord or if I beleaguered him with threats and intimidation until finally scaring him away. I was acting violently angry towards the poor guy from the get go, with very little reasoning for doing so. To onlookers it might have appeared as though I was having a manic episode, and in fact my entire conversation probably looked as such. He went back to talk to a couple of his friends that were veering at us as they spoke.
I said, “I know that was harsh. Normally I’d say you ought to lighten up with the eccentric weirdo bit and open up to the world. Go fuck some celebrities and get your picture taken. But most importantly, keep making yourself available to your fans, just like this. Actually, I can think of safer and more effective ways. On a different day I would say you should have signed his shit. I think what you are doing out here in that outfit is hilarious, and I hope you reach out in any manner, but what’s happening with me right now is more important.
“So here’s what’s going to go down. Planes fly into buildings. What does 9-1-1 have to do with this?”
He shrugged his shoulders.
I continued, “I think that means it’s the biggest emergency ever, and emergency service breaks or something. Then we waste a shit-ton of money on beefing up airport security instead of the new, real threat which is at the next level, like nuclear. We’ll invade some countries in the Middle East that are arbitrary to the threat at hand.
“Something about swine, I’m not sure what exactly…”
He asked, “What?”
“You know, pigs. Who knows man, it can’t be that important.” I joked, “Or maybe it’s Legion from the Bible.”
I continued my rant, “The economy is going to take a dump, and we’ll act as though it’s the worst it could possibly be.
“Several of the Detroit auto companies might tank.”
He looked at me like, “Who cares about that?”
I said, “Hey, I’m from Kingsford, home of a Model-T plant, so I love cars. Give me a break, Motown is awesome. Oooh, I’m going to have a white BMW M3!”
I was excited about this possibility, because that was my dream ride.
He said, “You love the motor city but will drive a BMW?”
“BMW’s are really good cars because they don’t make anything else, just cars.”
“They make motorcycles.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Cars and motorcycles are basically the same thing, right?”
“And they made prop engines for the Nazi war machine.”
“You’re killing my dream man, I just want a BMW. Why is mine a 4-door automatic though? I must have kids or something…
“So when your guy is president, the economy will be at rock bottom. He needs to do something. I don’t know what. Tell him to get the foremost expert on the great depression and do whatever he says. If they don’t act, that’s where we’re headed, and he’ll be blamed for inaction. Because this situation is so dire, I doubt it can be ‘fixed’ so to speak, he’s merely going to save us from hellish economic suffering. People won’t realize how bad it would have been if nothing was done.
“And there’s going to be a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the biggest ever in the world. When that happens, we need to make the oil companies clean it up and keep the government out of it. I know hydrocarbons leak out of the floor of the ocean all the time, and it’s not the end of the world people will make it out to be.
“Let’s see, Michael Jackson is going to die right around age 50.”
Amandry looked a little disappointed, and concerned.
I said, “What’s the big deal?”
He said, “That’s not too far off for me.”
I said, “He’s a frail little twig of a human, you’ll be fine. Do you want to know when…you know?”
He said, “God no! Are you kidding me?”
I said, “Ok, no, sorry, that’s a terrible idea. Don’t worry, I don’t know anyhow, but I bet I would have figured it out if I tried. Who knows, maybe I die before you? I don’t want to know either. But Jackson is toast, and good riddance.”
He looked uncomfortable once more, so I asked, “What are you, president of his fan club?
He defended him by saying, “He’s one of the greatest performers that ever lived.”
“I just don’t see how you can turn a blind eye to pedophilia.”
“I’m not, I just think it’s possible people are trying to extort his money.”
“No dude, that guy is a baby toucher and needs to die, the sooner the better. I can see it in his eyes. He’ll do an interview with kids years from now, and you’ll see it too. Child sexual abuse is rampant, and that’s just what we’re aware of. I know that it happens far more often than we are aware of because nobody wants to talk about it. You’ve got experience with that right?”
“Yeah, how about you?”
“My uncle put his thumb in my ass when I was 4.”
“At least that’s what you think.”
I stopped for a second, and something clicked. I said, “Jesus, you are right. My mind fabricated that story to present to you something that didn’t actually happen in order to mask my psyche from what really happened, which was a brutal rape. Holy shit.”
What he meant as a joke had actually spurred the real memory that I kept buried. I just kept blocking out memories that I didn’t want to think about, and replaced them with something that sounded funny. I chose to reject reality and substitute my own. He thought I was fabricating the story, or just trying to make him feel bad. I reiterated the factuality of my statement but buried the thought as quickly as it appeared.
I said, “It’s an epidemic man, and I can’t imagine it’s any better in other countries. People are obsessed with sex around the world. And the children suffer because of it. But America? We’re like the sport fucking champions of the universe.
“Case in point, there’s going to be a singer named Baby Goo-Goo, wait, that doesn’t sound right, Baby Gaga maybe?”
He said, “That would make more sense, like Radio Ga Ga.”
“The Queen song.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. It’s not really one of my favorites. But wait a minute, he says goo-goo in it too, right?”
“But it’s called Radio Ga Ga. And ‘gaga’ means something, goo-goo is baby talk.”
“The girl’s name doesn’t really matter, because there will be a plethora of other teeny pop sensations selling sex to kids. I’m not saying these manufactured celebrities aren’t talented, it’s just that nobody gives a shit about real art any more. And in this age of information technology, nothing goes unnoticed. It’s not that people can’t find it; it’s that they don’t care for it. We’re more concerned with the personal lives of celebrities than their actual performances. And the people they pander to are just as vapid and empty.
“So the news sells this garbage as facts when it’s really just an advertisement for itself. Do you know who has the best news program on television right now?” I didn’t wait for him to answer and continued to ramble, “Jon Stewart. Reality has gotten so twisted that the best source for real information is a parody news show on a comedy channel. The guy is brilliant, and also the writers. They just get it.
“And there’s another guy on that show, one of the correspondents that does a deadpan fake Republican. They really ought to expand their programming and give that guy his own show. It could be like the opposite of The Daily Show, which clearly has a liberal bias, just by spouting the real beliefs of extreme right wing conservatives. They’ll hardly have to write anything. What’s great about it is that they will still be playing to liberals, but the moderate Republicans with a sense of humor will realize the irony. I’m serious man; if The Daily Show gets cancelled the entire world will suffer. You have no idea how important it really is. And the other show would only benefit us even more.
“But instead, the majority of people will continue to listen to jackasses like Rush Limbaugh. He’s racist and sexist in my opinion. He’s going to try to buy a football team, but he’ll fail, just like everything else in life. Being a bigot is all he’ll be remembered for after he’s gone.” I laughed.
“I’m pretty conservative, but I think he’s pompous.”
“So you’re Republican?”
He pointed out the best parts of the Republican Party: fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free enterprise.
I said, “I guess any idiot should see the best answer is always going to be a mix of the two. Neither one can be right about everything. And there is no right answer, there’s only varying degrees of wrong. I don’t know where I stand. But I do feel like the government is caught up in its own red tape.
“There will be a new political party soon called The Tea Party.” This made me think of the Canadian band with the same moniker. “You know, like the Boston Tea Party? They will represent the original freedoms set forth by the founding fathers after revolting against the British. The most important and interesting part about this party is that it will not have a leader, and decisions within the party will be made via democratic consensus.
“And there is some other radio guy named Glenn who’s going to be a part of this somehow.”
Amandry claimed to have listened to a guy in Florida named Glenn that did a radio program. I didn’t really believe him. After all the things I’d been saying, I was sure he probably didn’t believe me anymore, but must have found me entertaining. I wouldn’t have believed him if our roles were reversed. But just in case, I figured I better take him at his word.
I said, “Call him up and let him know what’s going on so we can have somebody else in the mix. Let’s have a Tea Party!”
He said, “Doesn’t that contradict the whole black President thing? He’s a liberal you know, I just assumed you realized.”
I said, “Aw hell, let’s let them duke it out and see what happens. We can’t lose if we’re playing both sides.”
It seemed like he didn’t want anything to do with me again. I just kept going and going for so long he must have thought I was a total flake.
“You could do it as an anonymous caller on the air if they take listener calls.”
He was quiet.
I said, “You’re not going to do anything I’ve asked, are you?”
He said, “I don’t know.”
“Even if it’s just one nuclear bomb, it’s worth trying to stop. That could be like a million people dead.”
“I’m pretty sure they are not that deadly, even in a highly populated area. I’ve heard estimates of around 100,000 casualties for a nuclear bomb.”
“Are you considering the radioactive after-effects? What’s your cut-off point for how many people need to die before it’s worth it? I don’t even know how many bombs will go off, it could be anywhere from one to global thermonuclear war. I’ll tell you what, if only one plane flies into a building, there will only be one nuke that goes off. If more than one plane is hijacked, there will be multiple detonations going off at multiple locations, and so many more people will die than you think. I know that sounds like a stupid way to calculate it, but I said it so it must be real.”
I noticed Amandry was now looking over my shoulder, so I turned around to see what he was looking at. I saw some kid frozen in mid-step looking at us out of the corner of his eye. I knew he must have heard me talking, so I said to him, “Why are you listening to us? That’s right, people are going to die, now get out of here! You are no longer welcome at this concert. Go home.”
He looked really frightened as he walked away, and I wondered why he would take anything I was saying seriously.
I asked Amandry, “Did it look like he was on something to you to?”
He said, “No. Why are you such a jerk?”
“I don’t know. I’m not usually like this. I think I wanted him to remember what an ass I was instead of what he heard me talking about. I’m worried he might lapse into some psychosis from what I said. I can’t be worried about one person though; I need to focus on the whole of humanity. Speaking of which, people don’t value their lives as much as they should. It should be mandated that everybody has access to medical care. We’re almost like a class society where the only the rich can afford to stay alive. You should tell our future President to make sure everyone gets health care. I don’t know how, but it has to be done. Whether they realize it or not, this life is the only one we get.”
He’d given up even speaking replies by now, and merely shrugged off what I was saying.
I said, “Listen, I don’t like the idea of government handouts either, but we’ve got a nation of people that don’t realize the value of their own being. I’m not even sure if I like the idea of medicine at all. I’m pretty sure it’s just making our species weaker, and sicker long term. We’re devolving. But where’s the compassion in letting people die?” I felt this was tantamount to what was said about it years later:b “This is a big fucking deal.”
I just kept going, nothing could stop me now. I said, “Ok, so we’re going to need as many people we can to carry this story. Celebrities, though. Nobody will give a shit otherwise.
“You got any famous friends, especially ones that might be interested in stuff like this?”
“From Nine Inch Nails.”
“Oh, ok. That’s awesome. Let’s be careful though, don’t tell anybody whose psyche might not be able to handle it. And I was thinking maybe people that are a little better known. You know any movie stars?”
“Well then, you need to make some friends. Get the guy that did Independence Day to make a movie about an apocalyptic future 2012, and make sure he puts a book in it that symbolizes my book. The stories don’t even have to correlate, just make it epic, and with a book.”
“I know he’s not exactly making art films, but I’m looking for mass appeal. You know who’s always seemed like the perfect person to me? Milla Jovovich. I guess I’m just basing that mostly by her appearance, and because of The Fifth Element.”
“She’s also a singer.”
“Really? I didn’t know that, but that’s perfect! Speaking of actor musicians, you should do something with 30 Seconds to Mars. It will give them instant credibility where otherwise they might never be taken seriously.” Pro-tip: even at the speed of light, it would take over 3 minutes to get to Mars at its closest to Earth. It wasn’t until January of 2012 that I heard Edge of The Earth for the first time, and it’s practically my theme song now.
He said, “Me singing a song with them would barely be noticed.”
I said, “You should consider doing some acting yourself. Have you ever tried it?”
“I’ve done some comedy, but I’m not that great.”
“You are out here in full drag; this is high pressure acting at its hardest.”
“You caught on right away.”
“Yeah, but I’m fucking psychic! You need to broaden your appeal to the widest possible set. We need to be renaissance men. And let people know it! Do a documentary on your wine making endeavors, and you can call it Blood Into Wine, like a reverse Jesus. No acting involved in a documentary.”
I didn’t really think he was a good actor, but I knew the more people that saw him, especially as an actor since that’s essentially a performance of lies, the more likely they would realize he’s full of shit if he tried to deny my story.
I said, “You ever do any covers?”
He answered, “Once and a while.”
“Well, why don’t you cover John Lennon’s Imagine. That song has the best message to humanity ever written, period. In fact, why don’t you do an entire cover album with songs that talk about bombs and war? But you can’t have Silent Running by Mike & The Mechanics, because I think I’d sing it better than you. I’ll do that one.”
“I don’t usually do themes, or anything political.”
I said, “Fuck it then, write some country songs. I’m sure they’d be better than the garbage Nashville puts out. How about doing some gangsta rap?”
I said, “I just remembered something else. There’s this white rapper that I had a very similar conversation with. I told him the future, but it was only stuff regarding him.” When I said his rapper name, Amandry claimed to have heard of him, which I thought was another ruse because I’d never heard anything of him since living near Detroit.
He said, “That guy?”
I said, “Yeah, he’s from Michigan. I told him I was going to write a book about nuclear bombs.”
“I seriously doubt he remembers you.”
“I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure he’ll remember me. After all, I told him all about his future musical success and how he could get there.”
He rolled his eyes.
I said, “Listen man, I even told him you were somehow involved with my book. This was like 4 years ago.”
“Maybe not by name, but as the lead singer for Loot. If you want some verification before people start dying, find him and ask for yourself. I guarantee he remembers. He may not remember the book part or me mentioning you, but he’ll remember me telling his future. This is cool; I’m getting all the prime demographics.
“You know who else I really love? Modest Mouse, but I’m a little worried about the singer. I can tell he’s more than just a little depressed by his lyrics. I want him to know there’s something else out there, like I now know. I just feel like I have a connection with his songs, and there is little hope in his desperation. I have hope now, and I want him to have it too. You should tell him about me, in fact, try to connect me to him somehow.”
I came up with a rough idea for how to do so, but I don’t remember it all too clearly. It basically amounted to a fake story about me stalking the band, and them liking my music after I played it for them. The story can be found elsewhere; I’ve read it, and it’s pretty strange. Everyone should hear The Lonesome Crowded West at least once.
I said, “I’m happy to say Trent Reznor seems to do well. He’s going to marry a beautiful Middle Eastern girl. That’s ironic given the whole bomb situation, right? He’s another childhood inspiration for me, and Nine Inch Nails was my favorite band for years.”
“He’s not really a friend, but like I said, Danny is.”
“Well, you should reach out to Trent. Do some music with him or something, I’m sure it would turn out awesome! Get the singer from Pantera too, so it ends up really hard.”
“This is just ridiculous man.”
“If you guys can’t work it out to sound good, just lock up the tapes for decades. I’ll mix them. We can call it Tapeworm, because I’m so skinny I look like I have one slithering around my insides. Or maybe because I’ll just die and the tapes just rot until radioactive worms devour them. You know what? I can tell this isn’t going to work because I’m never going to get the tapes, unless you give them to me. Put the sound recordings online somewhere but protected, and I’ll try to find them and hack my way in.
“I have another idea! For his wedding, you should re-record one of the songs that you worked on with him as a gift. That’s a very personal and meaningful gift. What better way to win his friendship. I honestly don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about right now.”
“You’re getting way too involved here.”
“Incubus is another band I really like. That would be a great tour lineup, you guys and them.”
“Well, I know you are going to at least play a festival with them because I’m going to be there, and they are the act before you.”
“Whatever the singer guy’s name is, he’s got interesting enough lyrics that make me think he might be curious about this. Maybe I’ll go scare the shit out of him too. I get the feeling he’ll follow in your footsteps.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I don’t know, maybe when you die he’ll sing in your absence.”
“We’ve already decided that if any of us dies, the band is finished for good, no exceptions.”
“That’s actually very sensible. Maybe he’ll do a tribute tour or a cover album.
“Who else can we get to work with you? There’s this British girl who’s the same age as me that’s going to play in a band with you, but you have to find her first.”
“What’s her name?”
“I don’t know, just go listen to every teenage female musician from England, and you’ll be able to tell who I’m talking about. She’s already playing out right now. Don’t wait to find her, you’ve got to start looking right away, otherwise something bad might happen to her.”
He looked at me with morbid curiosity.
I said, “I can’t tell what anymore, because you are going to get her to move away from there. She lives in a crappy neighborhood, and that’s the danger. Apparently there are ghettos in England, I just never thought of it that way. I always just imagined douche-bags in curly gray wigs sipping tea. None of that matters because you are going to bring her here, well, to L.A.
“She’s dark haired and beautiful, and we’d be a perfect match. But I’m going to be married to a woman who doesn’t believe any of this, and I’ll struggle for years to get her to believe me without providing proof. I could just tell her these things in advance, but I’m not going to remember any of it until it actually happens, or I’ll just screw up my memories. The real issue is that I need someone who’d believe me without proof out of pure love and trust. So we’ll probably get divorced, and I’ll want the British girl. Whatever the case, I have to lead by example and be ok with whatever happens, divorce or not.
“If I can convince my wife I’m a prophet, I can convince the whole world. If I can’t convince her, nobody is going to give me a second thought. Just make sure the Brit stays away from me; otherwise I won’t want to get back with my wife when she realizes I’m not loony. I think I’d rather do that. I suppose you could distract me from this whole endeavor if you try to hook me up with her in advance of any of this stuff happening. Or maybe you should have sex with her so I won’t want to later on.”
“That’s way too young for me.”
“Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I’d even be bothered by that. That might even be like a bonus.
“All of this is ridiculous, and nobody’s going to believe any of it. You know there’s a mental illness people have where they make up stories about knowing celebrities?”
I got really upset and grabbed him by his shoulders. This aggravated him, so I said, “You want to hit me? Go ahead, I don’t fucking care. I don’t care if the world burns to ash; I just know I need to try something, otherwise I’ll feel awful.” I was shaking him.
He said, “You’re making it difficult to stay balanced.”
I forgot he was wearing heels. I didn’t let go, but stopped with the shaking and said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think you realize how important this is.” I was on the verge of crying. “Man, I need you to feel me, and believe me. I’m going to make this right somehow. I’ll be honest; I was lying to you earlier about some of the stuff I said, like moving to Arizona and the band members I suggested you work with. All of that was from an article I read in some paper. But I know everything I’ve said by my own accord or otherwise is going to happen. I’m sorry, I truly am. I don’t want to bring this upon you, but I had to. Are you going to remember any of this?” I let go and stepped back.
“I’m pretty bad with short term.”
“Don’t worry, you may not remember it now, but as things happen, you’ll be reminded. You’ll have dreams about it. Don’t ever doubt your memories, because it’s going to seem like I said too many things for it to be real. We’ve only been standing here for what, 15 minutes right? But think about how fast I’ve been talking. Write down what you can remember now to be extra scared later on. But at bare minimum, you need to take with you that planes will fly into buildings, there’ll be a black President you’ll tell to run for office, and how you need to warn him about nuclear terrorism. If you do everything I asked, like the band names and stupid song ideas, the other meaningless stuff I said, you’ll keep me sane, and be known as a hero until the end of time. It’ll also probably keep me from trying to murder you. If I think you don’t care or you’ve forgotten, I might go off the deep end.”
“I don’t have a pen.”
I said, “Typical. I’m pretty sure you can find a pen somewhere. How about this,” and then sang, “But I forgot my pen. Shit the bed again.” He didn’t look too impressed. I said, “You should write a whole song about meeting me, like I said earlier. Make it like a cross between an acid trip and an alien encounter. You may not feel it now, but that’s what today is going to seem like in hindsight. You can call it Rosetta Stoned. Get it, because I’m so high?”
He asked, “You’re high right now?”
“My friend and I smoked like 3 joints on the way up here. Marijuana is great. In fact, while we’re at it, we should try to legalize it.”
He was not against Marijuana, though not a smoker himself, but definitely not interested in my idea.
I said, “Just you watch, it will be legal here in Colorado soon enough. I may not have anything to do with it, but it’s going to happen. It starts with medical, just like California, but we’ll be the first with state-wide legalization for recreational use. I’ll try to say something to the people spearheading the campaign, maybe like a pep talk or something. God wants it legal!”
“Why do you keep looking up to the sky?”
“I don’t know. Isn’t that where messages from God come? I say God but I can’t stress ‘His’ benevolence enough. A better description would be something we don’t understand, and maybe never will fully.
“You should keep a log of everything that happens that you can remember me saying here first. Publish a book like me! You’re an amazing lyricist, but have you tried prose?”
“I hate it.”
“It doesn’t even have to be a book, just write a short recap at least, and publish it only after you die. But deny, deny, deny while you’re alive. We don’t want some whack-job stalking us. Let’s face it, anyone who’ll believe this has to be unstable to begin with. But we need to validate it somehow. If our stories corroborate, it’s at least some kind of evidence, even if only anecdotal. I can publish under a fake name like Prankster Atom.” I stopped for a second, and realized that was a perfect anagram for my real name.
“Oh man, I just got a reality check to remind me what’s happening here is real. That’s an anagram for my name, and I’m not smart enough to come up with an anagram that quickly. I have to be getting this somehow, not creating it. I’m not supposed to figure that out until later on.”
“The human mind is powerful. You are totally capable of coming up with that on the fly. People do it all the time.”
I said, “I guess so, but every time I’ve played with anagrams I have to write it all down and work them out slowly. And I can tell the title of my first book will be An Incomplete Boo, and my wife will think she picked the name. I’ll just wait for her to suggest it, but I’ve already said it here, now. So who really came up with it? This doesn’t make any sense.
“That book is going to be rubbish anyways because I write it in an attempt to make everyone think I actually am crazy. That in itself is crazy. Why don’t I just tell everyone the truth in advance?”
“You might already be losing it…”
“You may be right, but now I know why I’m hiding. I don’t want to get blamed for everything that happens. So I’ll publish my second book, which will be much better, just before the possible nuclear attack. I’m giving up on every calamitous thing I’ve said but that one, because it’s the worst of the lot by far. People will revere my books, almost like a Bible, but not until many years after it is published. I’m going to live my life as a form of art.
“I’m just going to be straight up with you man, I was sent here from a distant place.”
“I’m an alien.”
“No, I just really want you to believe in me. But now I’m confusing things even more. I’m exactly the same as you and everybody else on this planet. There is nothing that makes me any different. But, I will acknowledge that I used to sit on my bed and meditatively try to beam out into the vastness of space that if something else was out there, it must realize how wildly off-base all of our interpretations are, and I gladly offered my services as a conduit.
“I think we need to take these current prophets off of their pedestals, or at least stop taking everything so literally. Yes, they are amazing and had a deep connection with the universe, but they are not the be all and end all. The basic tenets of all the major religions are good, and I agree with the beliefs of the Christian faith. But life changes and our understanding develops.
“I’m pretty sure there had to be a mistranslation somewhere down the line. The Bible is just stories that give an outdated explanation for something that is real, but beyond explanation. We are as eternal as the everlasting universe, but it is illusory. When you die, you are finished as an individual, but we are still together as one. People need to grasp the mathematical concept that the infinite universe which makes up everything is all just one thing in and of itself, and we are all connected and a part of it.
“We can search to find this root of this one thing, but we’ll never find it. We can break everything down into 2 or more possibilities to decide which is a better description, and move on to try to solve the next level of the puzzle, but we can never have the one definitive answer to everything, like a unified field theory. It’s elusive. The best we can do is to see our place in the puzzle.”
I was positively wired, bouncing around, and flailing my arms around while I talked.
I said, “This is stuff I don’t even know yet, I’m only 19. I swear my life is just like Slaughterhouse Five.”
He said he hadn’t read it.
I said, “They made a movie, and it was interesting for being so old, but I haven’t actually read the book myself. Vonnegut is probably my favorite writer though.”
I started talking about numerology and something about 11 being heaven, and 12 being hell. I still don’t know what I meant by that.
I said, “Nostradamus doesn’t have shit on me, I’m giving you very specific things here. Everybody else who’s claimed to do this before me is lying. Total bullshit, any seemingly true predictions they made are purely coincidences. And I’ve got so much more to share from up here.” pointing to my head.
I continued, “These nuclear bombs are just the first big problem. After that I feel heat. The world is getting hotter, and it’s going to be a much faster change than scientists are expecting. The polar ice caps are going to start melting, and if we don’t change something they’re just going to be gone after a while, and the polar bears will be toast sooner than later. The heat will surprisingly trigger a colossal ice age afterwards, but now I’m talking way off in the distant future.
“If the polar bears perish, we’re soon to follow. You should do a song for the polar bears. I just think they are cool animals…I guess they are also literally cool.”
He said, “Polar bears are amazing animals…”
I said, “I’ll try to spark some concern online with message boards and chat rooms.”
Everyone in the area was staring at us.
I said, “Man, it’s going to be 10 years or more, probably 12 before we meet again, and I’m going to be wearing this same shirt.”
“We don’t have to be like that…”
I cut him off and contended, “So if I try to talk to you again, you’ll be fine with it?”
“I think it’s for the better that we keep a distance for a while, trust me. I’m going to be fucked in the head for a long time, and I worry I might try to hurt you if we don’t wait. I’m serious, I don’t know what this is going to do to me. I might just walk up to you and blow your brains out or something because I’ve gone mad. Just wait, and I’ll come find you in a decade or so.”
Mike walked up to us, so we went silent. Amandry started looking around at the people that were watching us. Mike, said, “Hey, what’s going on?”
I said, “Hey, I was just talking to this, uh, person…what’s your name again?”
Amandry paused for just a second too long, and then answered, “Harry Merkin.”
I said, “Harry? I thought you might go with something more like Chocolate Thunder Pussy.”
I said to Mike, “I just figured you might like to meet him, he’s a pretty important person. A true showman…” and made odd gestures and did a little dance, trying to convey who we were speaking to without giving it away.
Mike looked at me like I might have a head injury, and asked, “Why is everybody watching us?”
I said loudly, “Did you not just see that dancing? Besides, this sexy transvestite is standing by us.” I then turned to Amandry, who had taken a few steps away to the railing again, and said, “I think your cover’s blown buddy.” He looked around apprehensively, and it appeared to me that there were a bunch of people just hovering around watching him.
I took it upon myself to yell, “And no, I will not have sex with you for money!” He looked at me, clearly embarrassed and wondering why the fuck I’d done it, and slowly started backing towards the exit. I gestured to him with my hands, and spoke to him quietly as Mike and I walked up the stairs, “Write it down.”
Mike must have thought I’d lost it. The first thing he asked was, “What was that all about?”
I said, “Dude, that was the singer.”
He said, “No it wasn’t. And even if it was, why would you say something like that?”
I gushed, “Can you believe it? The whole time you were gone I was talking to him.”
He said, “That was just some cross-dresser.”
I looked away from him and said, “You’ll see when he comes out on stage.”
He handed me a yellow bracelet, so I excitedly asked him, “What is this for?”
“It’s a handicapped bracelet.” he said.
“But we’re not handicapped.” I said.
He said, “It doesn’t matter. My friend said they do this all the time. With these we should be able to sit front row.”
“Are you fucking kidding me? Oh my God. Thank you. How did you pull this off?” I asked him in wonder.
He answered, “All I did was ask for a favor.”
I was ecstatic.
I walked around for a bit to check out the crowd.
I ran into both of the guys that interrupted my rant with Amandry. I apologized to the first, and explained that I was trying to keep Amandry outside with the crowd after I’d found him out because he didn’t like signing autographs or being bothered by overzealous fans. He was still upset at first, but calmed down and mistook my bullshit as factual.
The second guy saw me as he was making his way back up the stairs to his seat, and he made great efforts to avoid me by averting his direction.
I said, “Hey man, I’m really sorry about that earlier. You are obviously welcome to stay. I went a little crazy back there.”
He said, “Is there a bomb here?” I realized he only had a vague idea of what I had been talking about.
I was relieved and said, “No! Not at all. I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. I was talking about something from a totally different time, so just forget about it. That guy in the dress was the lead singer for Loot though!”
“Yeah. Isn’t that awesome?”
He said he was there to see the Melvins.
We talked for a little bit, and he told me he was from Massachusetts, into graphic design, and taking classes at Oxford. I was immediately impressed.
I said, “Well, you’re probably going to end up using that degree for internet businesses. The future of commerce is online.”
He said, “That’s what they tell us.”
I said, “You know, I’ve got this idea for you. Who’s to say you wouldn’t have come up with it on your own, but here goes anyway. People are going to go nuts for social websites where everybody shares their pictures and stories and stuff. There’s going to be a big one called Faceplace, or something with ‘face’ in it. I think it should be Facebook because ‘book’ gives it a sense of realism, like an autobiography. Anyway, when that comes out and gets big, you need to start your own, but it will be a little different. You must limit the number of characters per message to 140 characters, or whatever the maximum allowed text message length is. You know what I’m talking about, right, those pagers with the keyboards?”
He said, “Yeah.”
“I think it’s actually 160 characters, but you might want to send some extra information like the username or something in those leftover 20 characters. Well, everybody’s phone is going to have that text feature included in the very near future. And we’ll prefer to use that than actually speak to people because we’re turning into vapid, empty shells of human beings. Anyhow, this makes your site perfectly suited to post messages and keep up to date when you are out on the town. I’ve even got a name idea, Twitter. The birds in the tree gave me the idea. Say, you’re probably a Celtics fan, right? You can make a bird as your logo, and call him ‘Larry’ bird.”
He said he thought it was interesting, and that he had a close friend who was really into software engineering.
“It may only be for celebrities and rich people that can afford those kinds of phones for a while, but everybody will have one soon enough.”
I don’t know if he was placating me out of concern for my mental state, but he seemed like a cool guy, and about the same age.
“This idea is yours man, I’m giving it to you. I’ll never do anything with it, and I don’t expect anything in return, except for one thing. When the time comes, you need to acknowledge that this moment took place. That’s all I’ll ever ask of you.
I hope it works out, just don’t turn out to be some corporate, money sucking douche-bag, ok?”
He promised he wouldn’t.
I asked, “What’s your name, man?”
After he told me I said, “I’m never going to remember that. Have you got a nickname?”
“Perfect! That’s easy to remember, and aptly suited. How did that come about?”
He was too embarrassed to say it.
I implored him by suggesting he be more assertive and self-confident. He explained it was from a mispronunciation he made in saying his own name as a small child.
We shook hands and said goodbye, and then I finally made my way to my seat. The handicapped section was a large roped off area that encompassed the first three rows of house right.
It was gorgeous outside, and less than half the seats had filled by the time the opening act, the Melvins, took the stage. I had only heard of them. I was pretty disappointed, as were the rest of the audience. This became evident about half-way into the set when the water bottles started raining down on stage.
At some point around this time I noticed a cute blonde girl sitting next to me on the other side of the yellow dividing rope. I introduced myself and we shared our mutual distaste for the Melvins, while still acknowledging their talent and ability. We chatted idly for a moment. I would have hit on her, but there was a guy next to her that she was with, and I wasn’t sure what their relationship was.
A few people that actually were handicapped sat down in the front and second rows, but only about 5 people in total ended up sharing 300 square feet of handicapped seating. I chose to sit in the third row out of respect for any actual handicapped people that might have joined us.
I’m not sure if The Melvins cut their set short due to the rude fans, but when they finished, there was a long break before Loot finally made their way onto the stage.
It was dark by then, and when Amandry walked on stage the cheering erupted to a deafening level. He looked in my direction so I waved to him, and he appeared to look away awkwardly. They were amazing, but the sound from front row was a bit much for my ears. The only other concert I’d ever sat that close to the stage at was Dolly Parton at Pine Knob in Michigan. I didn’t bring earplugs, though Mike suggested it. Eventually my ears got used to the audio being cranked to 11.
After the first song, a new girl had made her way down the rows to end up sitting between me and the blonde girl. I don’t know how she made it through the crowd since everyone was standing pressed together like sardines. When I noticed her, she looked irritated that she was getting pushed a bit by everyone thrashing violently around her. I offered to let her sit on my side of the rope, but she was hesitant because she didn’t want to get kicked out. I pulled the yellow bracelet off my wrist, without breaking it, and gave it to her. I had long sleeves so I wasn’t worried about anybody noticing my bracelet was gone.
Only a few minutes later, a security guard came up to us and asked to see our bracelets. I said, “Look man, I gave her my bracelet because she got here too late to get hers.” The guy was unconcerned with our dilemma and asked her to leave, so I said, “Listen, if anyone’s going to leave it’ll be me. Man, I’m the drummer’s cousin from Michigan. How do you think we got these bracelets anyhow? Do we appear handicapped in any way? Can you see how beautiful this girl is? We know the entire band. Just look, Amandry is looking over here wondering what’s going on.” I noticed he had been eyeing us from onstage, so when the security guy turned around to look at him, I waved to get his attention again. He did look, but just shrugged his shoulders and held his hands at his sides in the universal ‘I don’t know?‘ gesture.
The guard turned back to me and said, “Come on, let’s go.”
I got angry and started yelling, “He doesn’t know what you are doing. That’s fine, but somebody other than me is going to be pissed. Just look man!” as I stood up and pointed to Amandry. The guard looked to the stage once again, and in a moment that felt like I had Yoda’s force, I nodded my head slowly and stared at Amandry thinking, “Just nod your God-damned head, jackass,” and to my amazement he nodded his head in return.
Her name was Canida, and she asked what I had said to security.
I said, “I know the band.”
“How?” she said.
I said, “Through the drummer’s cousin from Michigan.”
The three of us sat and enjoyed the rest of the show in comfort. Between the final song of their set and an encore, Canida hesitantly gave me her phone number when I asked for it. We waited while the band dicked around on stage before finally playing again. About a minute before the last song ended, Mike and I got up and started walking to the car. We realized the song was just about over, and people were going to start filing out of the exits en masse. We decided to run as fast as we could back to his car to beat the traffic.
As we made our way down the stairs and to the asphalt roadway behind the stage, somebody yelled, “Hey, come back!”
I replied, “No way, I’ve got to work in the morning.” At 10 o’clock.
With both of us still running, Mike asked me, “Who are you talking to?”
I said, “I don’t even know.” I just thought in case it was for me I should reply.
I didn’t have much to say on the ride home. I was lost in what had happened before the show. I felt like a God, but I knew nobody would ever believe me for a second.
In the next few days I sat down to write about the day I met Helmsy, and not a word of anything else. I lost Canida’s number in the wash. She had shushed me a few times when I tried to sing along, so I wasn’t disappointed. If I had been out of tune I could understand.