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Nautical 2

The Tale of Psychologic, the Sober Psychonaut

Dedicated to Stephanie Rose, and the pleasant, solemn way about her...

By Punkerslut

Image by Havok
Image: "Aliens in the Arizona Desert" by Havok

Start Date: Thursday, May 20, 2004
Finish Date: Sunday, May 30, 2004

Part 1: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and the Academy

     Where I come from, my friends call my "Psychologic," or just plain Psycho. I suppose, considering where I come from, that actually means something. Being surrounded by the most doped up kids ever, high on mescaline while snorting lines of methamphetamine, the name "Psycho" is really distinguishing.

     "Would you like me to take your luggage, sir?" a bellhop asks.

     "Yes, please," I said, putting on my thick-rimmed, purple tinted glasses as I walked into the Las Vegas hotel. It was here that Hunter S. Thompson placed his own novel, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." I wasn't expecting any sort of trip like he was, though, one full of drugs and chaos. In fact, I was looking to do something far more deceitful. I had managed to rip off several credit cards to pay for this trip and everything involved in it. I tweaked the credit card accounts of the corporations to ring up the receipt for this by the time I had hit the Mexico border where -- wait, let me back up this story a bit further.

     I had a high school degree, and one year of college. I was thrown out because I was caught smoking grass, back in the teenage years when I felt invincible. The shards of my life started to fall fast, but they were quickly picked up, by a girl, a beautiful girl. Her name is Starla, and she did more for me than save me that one month. I was kicked out of my parents house, with nothing but a bag of horrible clothing, and a verbal notice of emancipation. I knew that the cold, dark road ahead taunted me, giving me that "come hither" sign, letting me know, "As you walk looking for a ride to nowhere, you walk alone." I turned my face away from that reality, thinking that maybe I wouldn't have to realize it. Carrying my bag of clothes, I walked to a payphone that didn't give me the same message as the road.

     "Hello?" Joel answered the phone.

     "Yeah, can I speak with Starla?" I spoke in to the phone. I sort of moved around a little when I spoke in to the phone, to let the world and my conscience believe that I was doing something meaningful, instead of calling a girlfriend once thrown out.

     "Yeah, what is it?" she asked.

     "Hey, Starla, it's me," I said.

     "Psycho," she said, "How you doing?"

     "I was thrown out by my parents, about this college shit," I said, as my eyes sort of welled up a bit. I looked directly in to that road beside me, knowing that in a few minutes, I may have to be alone. But for these few minutes, I ached to hear her voice. I explained the whole thing that happened.

     "Shit, I wish I could come get you, but I gotta meet some guy in thirty minutes, it's important," she said, "But I'll send Joel to pick you up. Where are you?" And, just like that, Joel came, and Starla allowed me to live under her roof, indefinitely. I didn't know what she was going to say, I just wanted to hear her speak. Joel brought me back, and when Starla returned, she had an additional eight hundred dollars in her pocket.

     "So, your parents kicked you out?" she said, almost with a semi-grin. She knew the whole story, but a quarter of the emotion.

     "Where's your room, sir?" the bellhop said, pulling me out of my flashback.

     "Room number 441," I said, "And step on it. Every second with you is a chance lost to make that million dollar jackpot."

     "Yes, sir!" he said, this small body of his pulling my heavy luggage.

     Yeah, I'm an asshole to this kid, I know, and I wish I didn't have to be. But, when you're in covert opera- -- yeah, back to the flashback.

     "Yeah, my parents kicked me out," I told her, "I'm not sure where to go."

     "You can stay here as long as you'd like," she said to me, "Make yourself at home. I've got the room, and the cash to pay for it. You've made me a lot of money, too, and besides that, I've got a soft spot for you." She wrapped her arms around me and kissed me on the shoulder. Yeah, I got what every other lost teenager dreams of, and would sacrifice his left testicle for: a beautiful, loving, affectionate female, with more cash than one would know what to do with.

     "I can push for you if you need," I said.

     "Psycho," she said, rubbing her hand up and down my back, -- the way every teenager dreams of love -- and she said, "You do what you can." It was great. She rescued me from hell, when all I wanted was to hear her beautiful voice. The following two years I would come to call "The Academy."

     "Here you are, sir, at room 441," the bellhop said, bringing me back again to a reality, one by which now had been so polluted that it seems so fake at every turn, but that's the marvelous part of my scam in here in Las Vegas. I'll get in to that story in a minute. The bellhop threw my luggage on my bed.

     "Will you be needing anything else?" he said.

     "Yeah, bring up a bottle of whiskey, thanks," I said.

     "Yes, sir!" he said, as I gave him a 50 dollar tip. (By now, I had managed to scam money out of other unprotected orifices of society.) Now, back to an otherwise uninterrupted flashback, of how I got this far.

     "The Academy," is what I called it. It received this name because it taught me many valuable things. Being young, and still otherwise undecided in life's plans, drugs had managed to influence my opinions greatly. And, as interesting as it may sound, not in any way that our society might think. But, first, it must be understood that drugs do nothing, but simply open up a part of the brain that is otherwise dormant. A drug is a simple chemical formula, a combination of nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon elements. The brain itself contains the effects -- the brain is this massive complex structure, full of nerve endings and different tissues capable of so many emotions. The drug is the key, the brain is the lock. What a drug does, is simply activate a part of the brain that is otherwise unused. By opening the doors of the sleeping consciousness, a person is capable of learning a great deal, about themselves and the way that they interact with the world.

     Some drugs, however, only open certain doors. Opiates, in the form of Codeine to Morphine to Heroin, act best as a pain-reliever. Other drugs, particularly the psychedelics, and those that agitate the psychedelics, are what made up my education at "the Academy." LSD, LSA, AMT, DMT, DXM, mushrooms, mescaline, every psychedelic known to man was my experiment and I was the experimenter. Doors to the psychic mind were opened that otherwise would remain dormant. Such powerful and moving experiences would come to me. Some days, I would dosage while pushing weed on the streets. Vibrant colors would emanate from the lamp posts. The roads would seem to be singing a pleasant tune in their wavering. And the faces of the people I saw, would seem to glow and give to me an emotion. Sad faces were purple. Optimistic faces were green. And happy faces were red. I would say that I had it down to a science, but all I had to do was identify the color of a face. Only on rare occasions would I be wrong.

     Mixed in with these psychedelics chemicals, there were common, run of the street chemicals: methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, ecstasy, speed, among other things. My friend Carla there was perhaps my partner in psychonaut tripping. We used psychedelic drugs to open the inner doors to our subconscious, to discover what they open up, to explore where they may lead. Aquanauts explore water, astronauts explore space, and psychonauts.... we explore the most prominent, but least discovered terrain: the human mind. Heroin alone doesn't open these secret, forbidden doors. But, when you've chugged a few bottles of Robitussin (containing DXM), and want someone to keep you pleasant, we would chew a few pills of Valium 10s. When you've reached a great high off of AMT, and want it to last a bit longer and a bit stronger, and to get the stomachache off your mind, we would smoke an eighth of marijuana, just hoping that what we smoke isn't laced with PCP again. We would be tripping balls on LSD, as the colors of the room starting to alter and intensify with a beat similar to someone's sleeping breathing patterns. Then we would each snort a line of speed, and things started to get even more crazy. Carla and I would end up playing marbles in one of the bedrooms for two hours, and then realizing that someone was actually sleeping in there, we'd book it. We would climb the rooftop, and feel too cold, too warm, too alone as the sky's stars beat their shine on to us. We would be afraid, together, and as one, for those moments, as we enjoyed the universe in a way that others never would hope to. Anyone who uses alcohol in excess, knows that a binge will allow them to express and discover feelings that are otherwise repressed. Consider a chemical that has an ability one hundred times as capable of discovering those emotions, and you have a psychedelic drug. Think of something one thousand times as capable, and you have LSD -- and that's what we used.

     In a way, my tripping with Carla was much like sex. Not only was it enjoyable and pleasing, but it was a meaningful and emotionally bonding experience. I would trip with Joel sometimes, and even with Starla, but Carla and myself had very close trip sessions. Just like in sex, I learned to understand what gave my partner the greatest pleasure, what might scare her, where she might want to go, what she would like to her, her likes and dislikes. I knew what items would scare her, what colors were produced from what emotions, what I could do to calm her if she started to feel like she was losing her mind. And, she knew the same exactly about me. She knew that I saw the color blue at the emotion of freedom, the color orange at distress, and the color red for passion. She knew that my greatest fear during a bad trip was my fingers melting, which, though illogical in any reasonable sense, one's mind rarely considers reason when it comes to excessive amounts of illegal, psychoactive substances.

     Like any group of social castaways/mystics and philosophers, particularly ones who are extremely doped up on a regular basis, we would theorize about ideas. We would think about society, about the interaction of people with other people, about religion, god, how we know things. Any group of potheads in any campus are gonna be thinking about shit like that. But most of them are stupid. One kid with thick dreadlocks will be smoking some herb and will say, "The reason why we have all these oil spills these days is because the life force in the earth is being drained. We are draining it, with these colossal machines of doom and death." We hear that shit and we laugh. We didn't talk like that, we didn't apply obscure concepts to inanimate objects. When using AMT or DMT, we would think about the way people interacted. Sure, people are receptive about their personal thoughts, and often times refuse to talk about the things that truly irk at their soul, unless they are in a completely comfortable atmosphere. Yeah, that is obvious to anyone who has at least some analytical perspective of the world. But what you learn on AMT or DMT about that experience, or when you're on a 'cid binge, is that you feel people being receptive about their experience and their life. You feel, what all your life, you had only known.

     The name "Psycho," or the full name of "Psychologic," come from one of my first trip experiences with Starla's crew. We were trying to light candles on the desk. "No, no, it's like this," I said, "You light one of them, and then you can light the others by only blowing on it... See." I tried it, and it failed. "Aw, almost had it," I said. "You're psycho, bro," Joel said, and I replied with, "No, dude, it's logic!" Starla said, "Hhmmmmm, okay, Psychologic." I smiled, and the name just followed me wherever I went, most people calling my Psycho for short.

     That was the academy, where we learned and taught ourselves about so many things in the universe, particularly the relationships between man and fellow man. We came to the conclusion that you could get away with anything you wanted, if you just put your mind to it, and act like you deserved it. With my fellow psychonauts, we discovered that if you can fit in to the right area, you can do what role you fill normally does. Well, I'll get into that more later. After the academy, I decided to end my usage of psychedelic substances altogether. I felt that I had learned all that there was waiting for me to learn. The academy... It had taught me all that I needed to get on.

     "Hello, this is Mr. Calvin with Rocklow Manufacturing in Mississippi," I spoke on the phone, "Yeah, some of your shipments to our receiving department seem to have been inadequate for our needs. I would like you to put three shipments more on our account. Yes, the account number is abc021. Thanks." I hung up the phone.

     "What'd you do?" Carla said.

     Leaning back in my chair, I look at her lazy eyed, "I just fucked over Rocklow Manufacturing. Hahahaha..." Yeah, those were some good laughs. The megacorporations that only trusted each other started to become doubtful. "Yes, this is Martin Rutherford, a K-Mart manager. Listen, we can't sell some of your shipments, and we're going to have to ask you to take some of them back..." The result of that one? I ended up with over $5,000 in my pocket. What laws were I breaking? Fraud, grand theft, probably a few others. When I received a check for $5,000, issued to a Mr. Martin Rutherford of the K-Mart corporation, I gleamed a large smile. A few more scams, and it was clean money. The final scam before Las Vegas happened when I convinced Joel to go in to a Walmart with me, saying we were representative salesmen of a local Tyco plant that was going out of business. We had clipboards, and Joel kept checking his own. It's easy, but it takes balls. You act like you belong somewhere and you can pull off anything. We managed to rake up a total of $25,000 in that Walmart scam. After that, we tried to rip off a Home Depot, but by then, the newspapers were carrying reports on us. We were told to wait, when we knew that police officers were coming. I quickly told them that my partner was a safety inspector investigating. We ducked out back, ripped off our clothes, and put on some Home Depot aprons we found in the back. We walked out of the store, carrying several cardboard boxes, and nobody said a fucking word.

     What was I doing, besides the end result of making some cash? I was helping to destroy an infrastructure of business that ripped off tens of millions of employees. Enron workers were out of the job and lost their savings, when their employers made tens of millions. The U.S. government did an investigation, and discovered that over 900 companies were doing the same thing to their own employees. I have always been one to believe in justice, in not ripping anyone off. One time, Joel and I had to mess up some kid who sold us a pound of fake crank, and had done the same to some others. We also had a few encounters with rats, and others who opposed us. What is the point of this?

     The point is this: there are billionaires out there who make their profit off the sweat and blood of workers who have to deal with starvation wages and unemployment. Is this a Marxist Revolution? No. You can call it that, but I call it simple justice.

     "Here's your bottle of whiskey, sir," the bellhop said, knocking on the door of my suite as I completed my story.

     "Yeah, come in," I said. I gave him another $50 tip. He left. With that, I opened the bottle of whiskey, looked out my window, took off my tie and shirt, and just enjoyed the flashy lights and amusements. Yeah, I've got some business to do in this town.

Part 2: The Scam of Scams

     "Take me to Fairmount Towers, please," I said to the driver, getting in the cab.

     I eyeballed my suit, noticed a spot, gave it a look, and quickly brushed it off. The spot wasn't actually there, but I was trying to get into character for what I was about to do. I opened my suitcase and examined the contents: one passport for a Mr. Keynes, one driver's license for same, one social security card for same, several cards of membership to various organizations (including editor of a journal for an international publication), and at least fifty invoices for purchases under the name Mr. Keynes -- oh, and one pair of keys to a van. I had appropriated for myself an identification. Mr. Keynes was as real as the spot on my suit. I just have to pretend he's there, and I'm sure that people around me will believe me. If you act out the scenario properly, accordingly, nobody will be on to you. Maybe some ballsy security guard will eyeball you, and you have to eyeball them back. You give any indication that you're afraid, and they'll go after you -- not because being afraid is a sign of guilt in this case, but because they're pieces of scum.

     As the cab drove through the enormous city, Las Vegas, crowded, full of glitzy yuppies and glorified winos, I noticed that all of the lights were still on, even at 10:00 AM. I tried to look past that, to the desert, the cacti and mounds of dry dirt, with a random sign that says "Exit 14" or "Jesus Saves." But, I tried to look beyond that... bleak skies soared ahead, and a dark past kept burrowing in the past. Yes, I was going to the Fairmount Towers to rip them off like they had never been ripped off before. Well, not so much ripping off as ripping down. And I was going to do it with a pride like you wouldn't have seen before. There was an energy in the city -- or, as Las Vegas would have it, a void of energy. This was the most exciting city on the fucking planet. Some shows, even at 10 AM, would have run out of tickets in five minutes -- but here ticket tenders stand motionless, sipping vodka mixed with rum and soda through a straw, wondering where the glimmer went. Some bums are wasted to the point of alcohol poisoning by now, but they sit motionless on dumpsters and sidewalks, allowing the wind to whip away at their heat. Chronic gamblers have taken a moment off of their 36 straight hours to finally have a free drink. Even the dirt and grime on the sidewalk doesn't feel the struggle to stick to everything that it can, to contaminate every living orifice of this goddamned city.

     Compared to every other day of this city's existence, everything died for a moment. I looked out the window, counting buildings and squinting at the masses of lights. It felt like my whole life was slowly leaving me through my pores. Here I was, about to do what I had always wanted to do: some poor schmuck who got ripped off by this corporation was gonna be smiling ear to ear. Those days living with a divorced mother and an abusive, drunken stepdad -- a house full of yelling and belting's. The days of partying at school, of selling dope to kids, meeting Carla, Starla, and Joel, and finally being kicked out for drug use. I hit the streets, my body on the concrete, and was about to be hitching for a ride to nowhere. But then Starla picked me up, and said I could stay as long as I wanted. Several years of my life in drug use, and I never felt more free. But then, there was one night back in that drug-ridden house, that felt like it did here: that certain energy flow. That vibe.... it was the last night I would be spending with Starla, but I didn't know it yet. And I feel that same emotion flow through my body, ripping the ball tears from my eyes. And, that night....

     "Here you are, sir," the cabbie said, pulling me out of my trance, "The Fairmount Towers."

     "Thanks," I said, tipping him a twenty. I got out of the cab, and felt the air brush against my back as he roared off, back to an angry city, full of drunken housewives and cheating boyfriends -- this is the city where you go to have a good time, and you can never return back to your normal life. It's all because you become convinced that you never deserved what you always wanted. Here I am, standing at the base of this magnificent structure, alone with my memories in an emotionally dead city. I take a breath, and walk through the front doors.

     I take a seat in the waiting room. I'm thirteenth in line. I absolutely abhor waiting in a situation like this. One manager for the firm walks through the door, and I spot him. He's sizing up the crowd here to see an executive today and help make him a million dollars. To him, that means another yacht, another expansion to his mansion, and his three children going to Harvard, and a new scam to avoid paying child support for his seven illegitimate children (somewhere in this city, some homeless kid is having dreams about cursing this man, his father). He breathed with a sigh of confidence and ease at the same time. In his own mind, he was the king of the planet. I read his name tag, and about then, I knew it would be all that I needed.

     "Hey, Mr. Kopack, how are you doing?" I said, walking over to him, with my hand ready for a shake. I thoroughly shook his hand, as he rose an eyebrow at my approach to him. He was confused, which was good, but he was confident, and I could exploit that.

     "I'm doing fine, fine, are you here to do business with our company?" he asked, with a smile, looking for that opportunity.

     "Yes, actually," I said, with a smile, looking away, showing a bit of a sign of shyness, "I'm here to talk with a Mr. Pitt, in the East Department. He's expecting me, and I'd hate to keep him waiting on the Pacific Account that he's managing."

     "Sure, sure, I'll bring you right to him," Kopack said, "What's your name by the way?" The doors closed behind us as we started down a long hallway.

     "I'm Mr. Keynes," I said, "I have to give him some important documents for signing on the Pacific Account."

     "Oh, what on?" he said, with a rather inquisitive businessman query.

     "It's several documents on the budget expense on the Pacific Account," I said, "Normally they're delivered four times a year, but new business legislation requires that certain backcopies be signed to validate of the company's current stock price."

     "Ah, another anti-Enron law," he said, disdainfully, and disdain is not an emotion that lacks exploitation, "How many of these laws are they gonna try to cram up our asses?"

     "Ha, right, sir," I said, catering to him, "Probably as many as they can until the economy entirely collapses," and through my mind, I saw the collapsed lives of workers, homeless kids and alleyway soldiers, all victims of our system.

     "Yeah, that's right," he said, with a smile, enjoying my humor. A few moments of silence, and I was at the East Department.

     "Hey, Sherry," Kopack said, "Is Pitt in?"

     "He's in an important board meeting at the moment," Sherry said, "He should be out in five minutes."

     "Okay, Mr. Keynes is here to see him," Kopack said. She offered me a seat and he left. With some time, I opened my brief case and looked through notes. I got up, took a drink from the cooler, and sat back down, waiting, patiently... The dim walls scream with white color and dimness. I can see anyone getting ADHD from living in this room, or just staying in it for more than an hour. I grew impatient on the inside, but on the outside, I looked like a calm professional, enjoying wasting other peoples' time for a total of $160 an hour. I was alone there, but, alone with memories... some beautiful and gorgeous memories.

     Stars sparkled the night as I had finally come off of an LSD trip, and to lighten the mood, I smoked some weed with PCP. It was a calmness that had embraced me, and it allowed me to think clearly. I'd wave my hand out through the cool air, seeing traces of previous movement still, and it all seemed like I was living in a magical world. It was that night, that one night with Starla, that I would tell her how I really felt about her.

     "Come on, you can tell her," Carla urged me on.

     "I don't know," I said, sitting with my back against the wall, relaxing and enjoying how every part of me felt, mentally and physically. "I love her, but I'm afraid that all the using of substances might alter my judgment."

     "Did you feel that you loved her when you were sober?" she'd ask.

     "Yeah, I did," I said.

     "Then tell her," she said. She was giving me every reason to tell this girl, Starla, what I thought of her. But, no, no... I didn't take her up on that offer. I would count the floaters as she went to get something to eat, as I sat alone in a room I shared with Carla. When she came back, she said....

     "Hello, Mr. Keynes!" Mr. Pitt bellows to me, as I look up from my patchworked memory, "I hear you're here to speak with me?"

     "Yes, sir," I said, "I'm with the IRS, and I have some forms that I need you to sign." I showed him my Keynes ID (which was marked as an IRS agent).

     "What kind of forms?" he asked.

     "Confirmations on budget expenditure," I said, "Due to regulations in the Corporate Redifinition Act, sections 6-10, all income and expenditure needs to be accounted for, when a business is in excess of ten employees. Which, it seems quite clear your business has more than," I gave a small smile.

     "Ha!" he said, "Yes! Fairmount Towers certainly has more than ten employees -- more like two hundred, in Las Vegas alone."

     "Well, then, I hope you can sign these forms for me," I said.

     "Sure, where are they?" he asked me.

     "Well, there's quite a few of them," I said, "They're in a van."

     "Well, how many of them are there?" he asked.

     "It's documents, accounting the expenditure of the company for the past two years," I said.

     "Wow," he said, "All expenditure?" I nodded. He thought for a moment, "Ummm, well, where's the van?"

     "I have it parked outside," I said. We walked out of the building through the back. Once there, I took out the keys to the van. This is something I had set up the night before with a Las Vegas connection.

     "Is there a garage I can drive it into?" I asked, already knowing the answer. I've seen blueprints to this building, I've researched employee history, I've read the company news bulletins. Trying to act like a public company, some place great to be employed at -- they just let themselves get scammed.

     "Yeah, we do, I'll have it opened," he said. Five minutes later, I drove the van into the basement. Exiting the van, I notice two actual police officers -- not security guards, this company hires police officers, standing with Mr. Pitt. I knew that, though, and was quite aware.

     "Hi, I'm Sergeant Edison, and this is my partner Stevenson," he said, "We're here to inspect the vehicle."

     "Oh, well that's great," I smiled. What I had in that van, if they find it, I'll be behind bars for the next quarter millennium Knowing this, the average kid might said, "Ummm, ummmm, this van?" But, no, that's no way to scam your way out of it. "Yeah, come on over," I said, unlocking the back.

     They stood behind me, watching as I opened it. Several paper-covered bundles were there. I picked up one, and handed it to the police officer. "Here, bring this inside," I said, smiling, "I thought I would be alone in carrying them inside." I took something that would be an opposition to my plan, and made it work for me. The other one took another bundle inside. All bundles, save for four in the back (containing ultra-illegal stuff -- that I'll tell you about later), were taken in.

     "What about those other four?" Mr. Pitt asked.

     "They're for another company in the area," I said, "I have to make two rounds today and I have to get going soon. But, if it's all right, can I use your bathroom?"

     "Yeah, sure," he replied.

     "Thanks," I said walking past him.

Part 3: Ripped Off

     Yeah, so that part was easy. Now I have to steal a few things, start a fire in one of the top floors, and get the hell out of there. I opened the elevator and pushed the button for the top floor, which would be over thirty flights. As I focused on the clicking of the floor changes, my mind would drift back, again, to these fateless memories. The memories I have, they have brought me this far in life, and I think that hope can take me the rest of the way.

     Some faded memories...

     I walked into Starla's room. "Hey, how's it going?" I said, with an inebriated smile, "Um, I'll be right back." I left, told Carla that I wasn't sure, and then she irked me on again. I went back in, "Hey, what's up?" I asked her, "Uuuuummmm," I said without waiting for a reply, "I gotta go."

     "Hey, are you bugging?" she said.

     "Huh?" I said, "No, no, I'm fine. Just...... Ketamine, you know." I went closer to her, thinking the words would spring from my mouth, thinking that if I forced myself in that situation, I would be forced to deal with it -- but, no, it didn't happen like that. Instead, Starla and I started to make love to each other. Kissing each other all over, passionate and warm sex. Gentle and affectionate touches, harnessing another body. An hour after, we would be laying down next to each other, resting... I went into the other room with Carla, and told her how it went down.

     "But..... you didn't tell her you love her?" she said.

     "That's a much larger step," I replied.

     She shook her head and went in to talk to Starla, almost frustrated with me. I shrugged, and went to look out the window, and imagine what may come of the evening. An hour or two would pass, as the ketamine continued strong in my blood. I'd hear a loud bang, turn my head, and look.

     Four federal agents with shotguns had entered the premises after breaking down the door. "Don't fucking move or I'll blow your fucking head off!" I looked, and saw Starla pushed against the wall. My facial express was blank, and she turned back... Her eyes expressing a longing expression, and it felt like everything we had did up until then, every moment, every expression of honesty, was being raped by an outside force, and I felt like crying. At that point, no cop had noticed me, but they would any second, and I kept looking at her, obeying every passion and violating every reason, and then...

     A pleasant Ding! is the perfect end of a memory clouded with elevator music. I exit memory lane and the elevator, going down the hall, and entered a custodial room. Searching through boxes for a janitor outfit, I hear a voice from behind. "Hey! What are you doing!"

     I turn. A grizzly old man with a wiry mustache approached me, wearing a janitor's outfit and holding a beer. "Inventory," I said, my own face blank, searching his to see if he would buy it.

     "Okay," he said, turning away.

     I grabbed a janitor outfit and changed quickly in the bathroom. Then I headed up one or two flights of stairs, knocking on the office of the corporations executive: a Mr. Larry Calvin. "Who is it!?" he said.

     "The janitor," I said, "I'm here to empty your waste bin."

     "Fine, come in," he replied. I did, taking the waste bin from the side of his desk, and then walking in to his personal office, attached to the side of his main office. I disconnected the wires to his laptop and threw it in the waste bin, and quickly exited the room. Walking down the halls, I opened one of the men's bathrooms, took out the laptop, and checked the full waste bin all over the area. Then I went back down two flights of stairs. I went from room to room, looking for an unoccupied and unattractive room. And, I finally found it, in room #544. I entered, and inhaled a lovely scent of dust. From my pocket, a two bottles of kerosene emerged. I started to douse the room in kerosene, as quickly as I could. It took about two minutes. Once finished, I exited the room. Quickly looking around, I wanted to see if anyone was there. Not a ghost. I opened the door, and toss a light match inside. In less than two seconds, the fire alarms go off.

     I grab the next elevator and go to the bottom floor, with the rest in there not making any stops in between. I had made it, to the bottom floor. I was seconds away from pure survival, sporting a janitor's outfit, cap included. As I'm walking out of the main door, I exchange glances unintentionally with one Mr. Kopack. He squints at me, to get a better look, and I quickly turn away and flick out my tongue, so as to discourage him from the idea that I was the IRS agent in here just a half hour earlier.

     "Say, aren't you..." he said, as I interrupted him walking out.

     "The fire alarms going off, you better get out of the building," I said, rushing out, and tossing my cap down some random alleyway, and grabbing a cab.

     "Where will it be?" the cabbie said.

     "Aw, can you just wait here for five minutes?" I asked.

     "It'll cost ya'," he replied.

     "Yeah, sure," I said, "That's a fine idea."

     Five minutes pass, and I look at the building. A huge crowd of fire-weary employees have gathered around the building. Mr. Pitt sees me in a janitor suit in the cab, waves, and then squints, confused. I smile, and point to the building. He turns and looks and I duck under. I pull out a remote device, and take off the safety. You know that ultra-illegal stuff I had in the packages in the van? This is where that stuff comes in. I click the button, and a huge, ear-ripping explosion is heard. The building erupts some flames from the ground, as the crowd scatters throughout the area. The cab uninjured, the entire building collapsed. Fairmount Towers was no more.

     "Holy shit!" the cabbie said, "Did you see that!?"

     "Yes, I did," I said, with a smile, watching the rubble fall from the sky, and a thousand papers scatter throughout the city. For a moment, it felt like it was raining paper, and I swear I could see a form that I had doctored up as "Couch Expenditure Form."

     "I'm getting the hell out of here now!" the cabbie said, putting the cab into shift and hauling ass. I looked out the back of the cabbie, alone again, with my memories, and an astounding amount of accomplishment and pride. What happened that one night, that one last night I had with Starla?

     I saw her with her hands against the wall. As cops frisked her, she turned to me, and lent to me a gentle, affectionate face. Then she whispered, "I love you, too..." as a tear rolls down the side of her face. I took one step forward to her, but then realized the difficulty of everything when I did that. I stopped, opened a window, and booked it.

     "GET THAT FUCKIN' KID!" an agent yells as he runs to the window, puts one leg through, and stabilizes himself. By this time, my education at the academy had been complete. At that moment, I thought to myself, "Here's your fuckin' diploma: a chance at evading a ten year sentence." I lifted myself up from the bushes, seeing the agent, and slammed the window down on his leg, as he let out a yelp.

     "Fuck!" he yelled, "SOMEONE OPEN THIS FUCKING WINDOW!" Mellowed voices in a room that is only a few yards from me, I start running through the dark of the forest. It was early in the morning. Fucking hell. Dirty tactics. Smart tactics. Ambush the enemy when they're asleep. All you kids that plan to start an LSD lab or hack into government files, remember that the government is gonna raid you when you sleep. Of course, by the time of the raid, they'll be monitoring your sleep patterns, if you're that big of a problem to them.

     I kept running, as my feet crushed the dry leaves beneath my feet and I pushed branches of trees out of my way, huffing and puffing for breath, as I push my legs as far as they can go. Starla... By now, she was probably in a cruiser, counting dew drops on the sidewalk, thinking right now, "There's nothing wrong with crying, it is only a natural response to sadness," but softly whispering to an unkind air, looking up a bit, "But, I can't force myself to do what is already natural..." I felt like a fuck of a piece of shit to leave her behind, but she knew I had to do it as much as I knew I had to do it. If I had a shotgun and three handguns, plus one or two gangs from the inner city, I'd take on that fucking FBI platoon without a second thought. They fight for pay, we fight for our lives. Twenty thousand Greeks were able to fend off hundreds of thousands of Persians. I think a few undereducated, dutiful, mindful, and intelligent kids, with as much adrenaline as methamphetamine in their system, would be enough to take on the fuckin' planet. But, no... I ran. I ran. It could have been a thousand fuckin' miles. I don't know. All I knew is that I hated what I had to do. That, I hated to leave her behind, just a mystery of what is happening to her. And... Maybe each thought of her is just another prayer to the godless universe, that I may see her again...

     I left her behind, in that building raided by narcs and state police, looking back more than five times every second, to remember the last of her. She received twenty years in prison for her activity. I think about Starla all too often, sometimes imagining what I would write to her in a letter. But, I never do send anything in the mail.... maybe I should. Starting tomorrow, I will keep writing letters to her, at least once a week, letting her know that I still feel alone, and will forever feel alone, when she is not with me.

     The cabbie stopped at a stoplight. "Did you see that!? The fucking building blew the fuck up!" he said, to a guy on the sidewalk selling flowers.

     "Dude, I fucking saw it from here, too!" he said.

     That's another thing I didn't tell you about. Fairmount Towers wasn't just any corporation. It was a private corporation that was contracted by the DEA, the FDA, and the National Intelligence Bureau with tracking down illegal drugs. It wasn't just another corporation that ripped off employees and treated customers like scum, though it had that going for it. It was, in all honesty, my first love letter to Starla, to be read by her as front-page news in a soiled, overused, prison newspaper.


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