Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 12

                    Three trails of serenity

At high noon, we decided to venture into the deep sections of the woods. Another grand
escape from the habitual lifestyle of the repetitious and self-absorbed man. All the hidden trails
designed to elude the populace were, in fact, passageways that lead into utter seclusion. We
slithered past the back door in a semi altered haze of distorted reality, as not to be seen by
anyone in passing. The sun radiated down upon my neck and shoulders as we hastened to
make our way toward the backyard. Beneath the small concrete bridge was a low walled
drainage area for an inactive cesspool that divided our lawn from the oasis of trees ahead.

I took nothing more than a well-made pair of pruning shears and a full canteen of water,
while Peter carried the small flashlight and a large bag of Wise potato chips.

Peter sauntered past the trellis, whereas I, paused under it to release the entangled arm of
a wisteria tree. It had grown in and wound itself around a small part of the intricate latticework
which highlighted the structures own network of complexities. As wonderful as it looked now,
I knew the limbs would eventually fill out in time, and by then the beautiful trellis would be
decimated by it. As I moved forward, the calm placidity began to resemble that of a dry rain forest
and the day was now in perfect harmony with the world around it. My senses were so completely
in tune with nature, I found there to be an even balance between myself and that of all things.

Catching up to Peter, I entered the 1st trail, where a small pile of brown rust could be seen.
This four-foot-wide heap of rubbish was all that remained of a Volkswagen beetle, apparently
stolen for parts in the late nineteen sixties. Soon it will be nothing more than marooned
on black top soil
surrounded by thick verdurous foliage of fully-grown trees. 

Here we paused to take notice of a rather large turkey vulture that had found its way down
from the sky. It was milling around the grounds and going about its business awkwardly.
Carefully surveying the land for a morsel to eat perhaps or simply laying low. Roughly, one year
ago I planted something in the fluffy soil. Ten paces west of the sycamore tree would reveal its
location. I stopped and knelt down, before plunging my hands into the dark earth which was
as light as sawdust, and displaced some of the dirt and roots which had begun to grow.

                                                                               Pg 61

Amidst the layers of mulched leaves rotting, and other earthen matter was the top of a black
garbage bag. Slowly, I got down on both knees and with minimal effort pulled it vertically to
the surface, before placing it down upon the surrounding soil. As I opened the bag, we could
now see the top of a sturdy well-made box. “I wonder what's in that box?” Said Peter with an
ever-growing smile. “I guess we're going to find out.” I lifted the hinge ever so slightly out of its
tarnished loop and swung the lid open like a freshly oiled door, whereby revealing its contents.

There encased in the well-crafted box was our reward for the day.

“Oh wow,” said Peter with a face all aglow.
“Doctor Crow's red elixir,” I blurted out.

“Unearthed at last, he's just dyin' to go flyin'.”

Peter thought I was speaking indirectly to him, as if I was speaking to him in the third person,
when in fact, what I was doing was speaking directly to the bird on the bottle. I then handed the
bottle to my friend, and he examined it most thoroughly. “Check out that crow on the bottle. This
is most certainly a drink
to have out here in the woods, he exclaimed joyfully.” Bottled in bond,
but missing the federal tax seal strip with the pink eagle on it. Whenever we bought a bottle
of liquor, I would remove my little Case knife, which Peter called thee ole' Texas toothpick,
and make two incisions around the cap so that the tax seal was not marred its unveiling.

Sure, we had a couple of quirks
back then, but who didn't?

Sometime in the mid 1980's, the tax stamp would be replaced by the dreaded bar code.

“What happened here?” asked peter inquisitively.

“I had a couple-a-slugs one day and then
went to cap the bottle, but found the cap was
gone. So I'm looking around the kitchen, opening
and closing drawers, but the cap is
not there. Do you know that to this day that cap has not
turned up? I wish we had a
camera installed, so I can see what the hell happened. There has
to be a reasonable
explanation for it. Honestly, how do you explain
something like that?”

“I know man, things like that happen to me all the time.

“Well anyway, since the cap was
gone, I had to replace it with something, so I used a
sturdy wine cork. That
cork came from one of Ramon's Argentine Malbec's. I found
it floating around near the driveway after
a heavy storm, and so I brought it inside,
gave it a good cleaning and found it was an
adequate replacement.”

I loosened the cork before pulling it from the bottle with my teeth. Slowly, I brought it to my
nose. Bubbling over with enthusiastic excitement I proclaimed to Peter, “better than soda,
it's sure to burn ya.” I then positioned myself on one knee and put a thin Clint Eastwood
cigar to my lips. I sparked a match and kept the tough looking little cigar clenched in
my teeth as I spoke and puffed.

“Now tell me son,” I said looking down, is the bottle half full, or is it half empty?”
Peter looked at it curiously before speaking. “I'd say it looks half full.”
Looking up towards Peter as Clint would have in a fistful of dollars, I replied
in a scratchy voice while squinting, “that's what I thought you'd say.”

                                                                               Pg 62

He laughed at the improvisation before taking a gulp of the flammable liquid.
We then took a sip from the canteen to cool down the back of our flaming gullets.

“Boy,” said Peter, “that'll put some fire in your briar.”

I laughed Impetuously at the
ridiculous comment as did he.
We then gazed at a small forest of trees while enjoying
lingering buzz brought on by some real down-home bourbon.

“It's been around
since 1835,” I said to Peter, “and that's older than Jack. How 'bout
another swig
there, ole Veets?” I said, just wanting to hear myself say something crazy.

“Don't mind if I do,” proclaimed Peter in a lighthearted tone.

After a swig and a couple of coughs, I was handed the bottle
where I took a gigantic gulp.
Swallowing more than I could comfortably swallow
sent my gag reflex into a spasm of retching.
“Oh-no,” said Peter laughing, while
holding his head. “Clearwater Springs.”

That was the term we used when a
fellow drinker gagged on liquor,
and the salivary glands opened up all the way
to produce water.
That quick burst of nausea nearly made me vomit.

After the water had finished dripping out, I spoke. “I may have burned my
throat clear round, but it was stone good.” I then placed the bottle
in its wooden casket once more, and reburied it the same way I found it.

There was no doubt about it. We were two bibulous bastards who were more
concerned about getting lit than we ever were about passing our SAT exams.

Enticed to walk, I felt degage as we ambled down the path to further dwellings.
How wonderful it was indeed, to have all this at no cost. We then proceeded to
the 2nd trail. Allowing it to lead the way, we followed that path as it wove
around a series of immaculately white birch trees. Some were so withered their
weight could not be measured, and it appeared they could topple over with a
push of one's finger. Those that fell to the ground, seemed to be hollow inside.

I then looked down at a patch of bright green moss growing on a three-foot stone
directly across from the dying birch. This strange rupicoline growth felt like
a stiff rug to my now overly sensitive fingers. Here we tarried awhile before
passing back and forth a carefully rolled doobie. How odd was this area, with
rooted trees no longer living, and foliose lichen clinging to the darkened bark
of trees like a leafy form of light green cauliflower, just gushing with curiosity.

As the pleasant smoke released itself into the air, Peter used his nostrils at a
respectable distance to escort the sweet-smelling fragrance into his nasal cavities.
Exhaling with a cough and exclaiming in a choked-up voice, “I do love the smell
of marijuana in the morning.” Then laughter from his words made me feel like I
had cut out of school to enjoy the wonders of this fine day. Within moments the
weed had begun to work on me, and everything as far as the eye could see came
into focus as being much sharper, and with so much detail it was astounding.

I studied the xylogenous fungi which grew on a withered tree, and couldn't
figure out if the tree was dead and the fungus was alive, or the fungus was
dead and the tree was alive, and this began to perplex me immensely. I then
put that thought on the end of a long hook and cast it into the great beyond. 

Gazing about, I saw the world in a new light. Its inherent beauty had now
captivated my senses, and I thought about being free from the chore of
schoolwork. How elated I became when I finally realized it was over. In
school, I was admonished by authority. It towered above me like a mighty
hand, but here in this magical place where serenity dwells, there are no
rules or rulers. Only the gentle peace of life growing in an ever-quiet
stillness that is indeed its own.

                                                                               Pg 63

Peter then begins to remove from his wallet a flattened-out roach. Judging from its size,
I would have to say (without actually going back in time and measuring it) that it was
about the size of a ferrule. Not any type of ferrule mind you, but the one you would
normally find wrapped around a pencil that keeps the eraser from coming off.

“It's gonna be hard to smoke this thing without a roach clip,” said Pete in a tired manner.
“Give it to me,” I said firmly.

I then removed the last match from an old faded matchbook
before discarding the small cardboard holder.

“I can't help thinking of those kids in Junior High School. Did I ever tell ya Pete?”
“Did you ever tell me what?”
“About the kids in Junior High School?”
“What about the kids in Junior High School?”
“Did I ever tell you?”
“Tell me what?”
“About-the kids-in Junior High School.”
“I'm baffled,” said Peter confounded.

“There were these three kids in my class who used to always have matches on them.
Everyday they would chew on the match until the paper turned gummy and when the
teacher had her back turned, they would throw the match up, and it would stick to
the ceiling. No one ever got caught doing it, which is really amazing.”

“How many
matches were up there?
“And no one ever got caught?”
“The teacher never looked up.”

Peter then got down on his hands and knees, as if he were completely alone
and began
to claw the earth. He brushed the matchbook cover into the small
hole and swept his hand
across the dirt to make it look like nothing happened.
I threw him a mildly sarcastic look,
and he muttered in disapproval.

I handed him the match and watched in amusement as he tried in vain
to peel apart the matchstick.
After two minutes, I was getting restless,
and he was getting frustrated, so I said to him patiently,

but in a tone that could have implied otherwise, “give it here.”

“Christ Almighty,” said Peter anxiously, as he handed me the match.

“Now if you had normal fingers instead of frog fingers, you could do this.”

Quicker than Ed Nortin could thread a needle did I separate that match into two strands.

“Well, excuse me for having the hands of a layman. Now I have

to try and figure out what I just said. . . You see how this shit starts?”

“You're high man, it's acceptable
,” I said laughing.

Pete always had these strange looking fingers that mildly resembled a tree frog.
This was mainly due to the fact that Peter liked to chew his nails. Not recreationally like
most of us, but as a full-time habit. Let's just say that Peter would chew his nails, the way
most dogs would approach a T-bone steak, thus leaving him with hands that bore a strong
resemblance to a Gecko. On occasion, Paul would taunt him by saying things like,
“you wanna chew on something, Zigfried?” While tugging adamantly at his crotch.
Nothing would inflame peter more than this kind of sarcasm.

“Go fuck yourself, pal,” was usually not a long-awaited response.

As Peter handed me the dry flaking roach,
I looked at it and wondered if it came from Woodstock.

“What the fuck is this?” I asked in amazement.
“What do you think it is? It’s a fucking roach, man.”
“Is this the roach you put in your wallet two years ago at the softball game?”
“No comment,” said Peter growing increasingly agitated at my line of questioning.

I then began to sing, fire and Rain by James Taylor.
Only this version had it's own unique lyrics. . .

“I've seen fire, and I've seen rain.
I've seen Johnny barf from Boone’s Farm on the train.
I've seen Paul fall down the stairs by acting lame.
But I never thought you would save a roach,
from that fucked-up softball game.”

“Oh God,” said Peter in a tone of such despair, I could not stop laughing.

Eventually, I put it inside the match and closed the two ends of the matchstick.
I then asked
Pete if he had a light. He handed me his Cricket lighter, and
I held it against the roach
until it began to smolder. I then took a deep toke,
but upon doing so the paper must have
unraveled slightly and the burning
cinder went straight into my chest cavity. It went bumbling
around in my lung,
until I coughed vehemently and the fiery ember came flying out. I then
Peter the hollowed-out shell and said, nice job on rolling that weed man.

“There’s a lot I could say about this right now.”

“Go ahead, I deserve it.”

I handed him the hollowed-out shell and said,
“you should have just saved it as a historical artifact.”

“And there it is. . . The zinger.” (And we laughed earnestly.)

                                                                               Pg 64

I then started to think of High School and wasn't sure if I even graduated.
Did I graduate? Was I still in school or did I have to go again this year?
Who cares, no one talks about it anymore so I guess it's over.

Walking around in our painted denim jackets
while exercising our right to be cool.

Who wore the hermit from the untitled Led Zeppelin IV album, or who
wore the Boston or ELP jacket matters not. They were
the embodiment
of time long ago. A carefree society that has now been
washed away
and replaced with another of lesser or equal value. All the
whoever bore witness to that envisage, will one day be gone.

And there's not a thing we can do about it,
except live our lives, and wonder what happens next

We have all grown a year older, and I can only hope
the future doesn't beckon us too quickly.

“What was that you said,” I asked Peter?”
“Nothing, I was just thinking out loud.”

I then heard Alice Cooper's teen anthem playing in the grey region of my
mind. I stopped it after the chorus to make sure it didn't get out of hand.

                                      Alice Cooper - School's out

Looking around, I wondered if these trees would still be standing here long after I was gone
and could not come up with a definitive answer. Even time itself didn't appear to know. We
then walked from the moss stone over to the birch trail where broken sections of pure white
bark proved useful in outlining paths. Paths which led into and around this area only.

I'd lay them out like a border when I had nothing better to do, thus giving something
with no purpose a new sense of order. After a month, the bark would begin to peel away
from the trunk and when it turned a putrid shade of brown was usually when it needed to
be replaced. Those old pieces were then tossed aside into the foliage where they were left
to rot. I would then inspect the area for more suitable replacements to gather before laying
them out on either side. This made the rugged path look more like a refined trail, and aside
from that, it made me feel majestic while walking through it stoned. The width of the path I
would say, was roughly three feet in diameter and considering that there was so much of the
white birch strewn about, doing this not only made the area look neater, but cleaner as well.

It wasn't long before we reached our 2nd hangout spot.

A widened area
with nothing but four logs from a dead tree to sit on,
and the imperfect circle of stones for the winter fires. It was here
where we sat for a while, but said very few words to each other.

Together we looked out into a dense and overpopulated jungle of foreboding and inviting
embodiments. All majestic. All so beautifully rich and full of life's bounty. There was a
certain form of understanding we were able to relate to in here. Being apart from mankind
was a wonderful escape for us. Not only did it clarify the mind, but it offered us freedom.

As I began to think of “Animals” by Pink Floyd, I could not imagine a better entrance
into the nineteen eighties than that album. It was definitely cooler than, “The Wall”
terms of how it was laid out and pressed in the studio to give it such a trippy edge.

When the last rays of sunlight had long since dwindled from the sky, the nineteen seventies
had been cast out. It felt strange, knowing we were moving into another period of time.
Of course, we knew it was going to be better because we were no longer in school,
but apart from the obvious, what is the future going to be like overall?

The music on the radio we may no longer be able to relate to.
The vehicles in the showroom may have a different appeal.
The technological advancements of tomorrow will not be
like pressing a button
and materializing in Japan.

Perhaps it will be like carrying a television around in our back pocket.

Well, maybe not that advanced.

I contemplated this thought for a while, and came to only one conclusion.
who has not gotten high to “Dogs” should seriously consider it.

Pink Floyd - Dogs

Eventually, we made tracks to the 3rd area.

An area overflowing with life in abundance so sweet, that my eyes could not wait to
see it. Here a distinct type of fern followed the path and grew like tiny fingers branching
out from beyond our realm of sight. They appeared to be soft as silk and fine as baby hair
to the touch. As we walked on, a reddish type of plant with black highlights intermingled
with the trees, where a new and interesting species of plant life seemed to thrive.

                                                                               Pg 65

Some of which could also be found growing peacefully beside the fern in their own little
designated portion of the woodlands, for they are indigenous to this area. Shiny green leaves
sprouted from the grounds surface bearing what appeared to be slovenly drawn faces on the
inside of each and every one. They had a faux texture, and it seemed like the artist standing
above me had just finished painting the landscape with his magic brush.

Two perpendicular lines dipping downward, a spot in the middle followed
by an uneven, asperous line below it, which one would assume is a mouth.

Not in pretext to the situation given my state of mind, but rather, anyone with eyes to see
would say that this leaf did indeed have a face. In a grayish blue ink, identical to that of a
tattoo fading, ecology could suggest that between evolution and theology, there is in fact a
direct link. As I stare in silence pondering, it appeared that the proverbial essence of life
itself had been touched by the mighty hand of God himself. Indeed, it was pure conjecture.

Since the hypothesis of god cannot be proven in logical terms and considering that the Bible
was written in parables, I myself find it necessary to have faith and believe in things that go
far beyond my own reach of understanding. I do it for the sanctity of my own mental health,  
as well as that of my eternal soul, which dwells deep inside a prism within my heart. So, in  
those final moments, I can close my eyes in peace without ever having to look back. If, there
is nothing there, okay, then it’s back to the beginning of a dark nothingness. But what if it’s
true, and you didn’t believe in anything, but yourself. Then, don’t say you weren't warned.

As I continued to formulate a basis for the Holy Trinity, and how
each of the three were in fact one, I became lost in a maze of curiosity. 

Why was I focusing on things that could only confuse me?
Why do I burn out my brain on rhetorical nonsense that
theologians have struggled for years to comprehend,
when I
should be concentrating on living life?

Am I truly that
far gone, where I cannot see the light
shining through the brume ahead of me?

Not watching what I was doing, I tripped over a half-rotted log, before stumbling and
running over my own two feet. I fell to the ground like I was diving into a pool while
narrowly missing a collision with a tree.

“You all right, man?” Pete asked, sounding
quite concerned.
“Yeah,” I said, feeling shocked.

From a distance, I brushed myself off
and thought of what could have happened,
had fate thrown me a different line. If
my face would have collided with the tree.

It hadn't even happened, and already I was bummed out.
They come from out of nowhere to destroy me, these awful thoughts.

The weed had not only dampened my spirits, but it had seeped down into the layers of my
conscious being. It always made me feel so useless, like I was the biggest failure on the
face of the earth, and I was going to Hell. No matter how kind I was as a person or how
good I was to other people, it always boiled down to me being burned in Hell and feeling
paranoid and miserable like this for all eternity.

I can't stand it anymore.
God, why can't I just stop smoking?

While I was now in complete denial of anything being wrong inside, I was
starting to become more disassociated with everything that was currently going
on around me. It was almost as though I couldn't care less if the whole place
burned to the ground, and I never saw it again. Right about here, I truly felt
I was trapped inside a black hole, with no hope of ever escaping. 

I then started to get those really bad thoughts,
wondered why I even bothered to get out of bed this morning.

                                                                               Pg 66

Thoughts of being drawn and quartered in 16th century England, where even the slightest
infraction carried a penalty of such gruesome torture; it made the knees buckle.

Or spending your last days in Italy on a Judas Cradle. Being seated on a wooden stool
that rose to a point. Weights were added to the legs to drive the object, which was never
washed, nor cleaned, deep into the anal cavity. Sometimes, those inflicting the pain would
hoist a prisoner as high as six feet into the air, Judas cradle and all, before letting them drop.

You do not want to imagine the pain involved.

With a woman, it was usually the vagina that was torn open or shattered.
It was a very slow and painful death.

The worst thought which entered my head was living in Europe during the time
of Saw Torture.
It would take a really sick mind to think of something more
barbaric than sawing a man from ass
to sternum while he screams out in
agonizing pain.
This torture was usually reserved for homosexuality.

I then thought of the poor souls having to undergo the torment of being fitted to a skull
crusher. As the crank is turned, the victim's teeth shatter through the gum until the jawbone
is forced past the nasal cavity. Sometimes the eyes would pop out of their sockets. Then
there's the pear of anguish, the Catherine wheel, disembowelment, being buried alive, etc.,

Lest we not forget the terrible empalement of having to sit on a large wooden stake,
while it slowly and painfully made its way for the neck, chest, back, side or mouth.
Sometimes it would take days to die, and that person was usually left to rot while he
or she was still alive. The end was never sharpened, or the victims would have died
within the hour. It is a well-established fact that Vlad the Impaler took pleasure in this
form of punishment. He would enjoy having his meal while watching the impalings of
men, women and babies pulled straight from the womb. It is estimated he murdered
anywhere from twenty thousand to three hundred thousand people in this manner.

Today, in the heart of Romania, you will find a plaque commemorating the
monster known as Vlad Tepes, who ruled Transylvania from 1448 to 1456.
Instead of erasing his memory from existence, they exalt him for the sake
of tourism. The things countries do for money are atrocious, to put it mildly.

This was the normalcy of life in Medieval times. The savagery of what
when man is given ultimate power. Within my heart, I honestly
feel that
God should have given women the power to rule the earth.
I truly believe it would have been better for mankind.

I cannot help but wonder what punishment God has in store for them.

Those who have tortured others in the most barbaric ways, either to extract a
or merely for pleasure. Monsters who exist only to make others suffer.
I believe the
punishment fits the crime, and it is written in the Bible that no sin
goes unpunished. I am
quite sure that God has a very creative imagination,
and his punishment will be far more
severe than any of us could ever imagine.

In the end, I am sure we may even pity
the most wicked, because
the pain and the suffering they shall endure will have no end.

Why is man so evil?
Why is he so easily led into the fire of his own damnation?
Maybe I should have just stayed inside today.

Ever get the feeling your whole life is a mistake?
That you should never have been born?

How perfect would everything be right now,
if we were still in that place of nothingness.
But oh, how terrible indeed, I thought,
to be nothing now.

Many people have jobs they truly enjoy because they followed their heart.

Others are pushed into college and find that it pays off when they start earning
the big bucks. Not everyone is going to be happy, because you can't always get
what you want in life. Some won't even finish high school, but will carve their
own little niche in society by learning a trade they are proud to showcase.

Some are dating.
Some are married.
Some have children,
so, the family tree lives on.

I know where the problem lies.
What went wrong.
I realize now that it is no one's fault,
and there is nothing I can do about it.

Can you bring back something that is lost in time?
Can you fix something that has been broken beyond repair?
Can you separate the dreamer from the dream?

Sometimes the only thing we can do is cry.

Up until the writing of this book, I was actually doing quite fine.
I was able to lay the past to rest and get on with my life.
Quitting drugs was the first step on the road to a happy future.
Going to work and doing my job was the second.

Sometimes you just shouldn't dig where the ground too shallow.
Sometimes you get more than you bargain for.

I will admit, all I wanted to do in these years was get high and document, and in
a disparaging way, it felt like that was all I was living for. As I stood there with
eyes of the world upon me, I was being taunted. If God could stand before me,
I wonder what he would words he would offer. Sometimes things go bad for no
reason, I know. However, I think in my own opinion the very worst of all has to be
when we voluntarily acquiesce to it. Then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

I knew happiness and sadness were emotions that could be manipulated with,
and I also knew that somehow, they were being transmitted on the same wire.

Instead of feeling sad, why couldn't I just feel happy?

It was then I decided to try using psychology on myself.
What did I have to lose?

So now, rather than focus on negative energy that was already consuming me,
I omitted all thoughts relating to death, disease, pain, suffering, and sorrow.

In other words, if it was bad, then it was wrong, and if it was wrong,
had to be destroyed, and so I made it disappear until there was nothing

bad nor evil in all of existence. Soon, the clouds of despair would pass.

I thought of the lyrics to “The Fireside Song” by Genesis and sang them aloud in my head.

“Once upon a time there was confusion, disappointment, fear and disillusion.
Now there's hope reborn with every morning. See the future clearly at its dawning.”

I will admit, the first Bee Gee's album cannot hold a candle to the first Genesis album.

                                                Genesis - Fireside song

Soon, everything was perfect again,
in a place where peace had been faithfully restored.

                                                                               Pg 67

I then gazed down upon the landscape of a florally sound sylvan.

Leaves that grew underground were now funneling upward from the earth's surface
in strange conical shapes, while some were opening to reveal their unique designs.
The root fiber of this strange and exotic organism could be seen when its leaflets
were parted ever so slightly. They ranged from minuscule to microscopic and
expanded across the grounds surface, as if they were gently crawling.

Pete decided it was time to open the bag of chips, and so we began eating.
As I got to the sixth or seventh chip, I found it difficult to keep putting my hand
inside the foil bag. To me, it felt like there was some weird kind of temperature
change going on in there. Like I was putting my hand inside a chest cavity during
surgery. So uncomfortable was this feeling, that I had to shake the chips out.

“Don't let those thoughts get you," said Peter sounding a bit distressed.
“Beat them away with a stick if you
have to but don't let them in.”
“I think it's a little late for that,” I said feeling
guilty for being alive.
“I don't even want to imagine how depressing that must be,
especially on this stuff.”
“It's beyond madness,” I said, feeling worse than ever.

By the tenth chip, it felt like I was chewing on fiberglass, and wondered how much
damage I had already done to the roof of my mouth, that was now on fire from the salt.
As I unwillingly envisioned my tongue all ripped up from the razor-sharp shards of
these over salted potato chips, I thought to myself, “they're baaaaaack.”

I knew there was no damage.
I also knew it was a mixed reaction brought on by acute paranoia.
I was just upset that I couldn't control it.
I wanted to think what I wanted to think, not what
the Demon within the drug wanted me to think.

It was like trying to restrain a hungry bear from
devouring a blood-soaked doe on the roadway.

Since I couldn't swallow the remaining chips which felt like a
mouthful of glassy sawdust, I had no other choice than to spit
that yellow glob into my hand and dispose of it inconspicuously.

You know there’s no bleeding, and you know there's no damage,
yet still, you fall victim to the delusion and it takes hold of you. 

Like being slowly escorted into a Turkish prison,
you find there is no hope in anything anymore.

As we approached the gentle area, I could see a thousand
yellow, brown and black mushrooms flourishing in the wild.

Some were red as if dipped in blood, as if ever tainted by the passing of time.
I walked over to a coin sized mound of pure white mushrooms as thin as a hair
growing three inches high. There were big brown ones with dark yellow leopard
spots and jet-black sticky ones that were so grossly deformed they would strike
one as being vile. As if just touching them might bring death.

                                                                               Pg 68

Only a disturbed individual would plunder this patch and bring grievance unto
the harmonious spectacle of life, growth and prosperity that begins without
waking. For one to ravage such forms of natural beauty and leave it in turmoil
goes without saying, for this is truly God's own land, and we as a people should
treat it with the utmost respect. Because of this, we did not deviate from the path,
but instead took refuge under a shady tree where we sat for a while and rested.

In the center of all this nature and insects moving about to
make better their lives, were the remains of an old tree fort
built in the early nineteen thirties by the MacAlister boys.

As I looked up at it, I could almost see with my own two eyes, that distinctive time
line that separated matter. It was an invisible shadow that bordered on the ponderance
of time and motion, but not relevant in theory to the actual progression of this movement.

The movement that has passed is no longer in the past, but the present.
Considering tomorrow never actually comes, it is always today, the equation
to realign itself and that is why we can never go back, only speculate.

(((God made sure of that)))

If the time was now twelve o'clock and the year 1834, would there be any life altering
significance? Outside in the street and cities, surely, but in the woods, desert, ocean
and frozen plains, I truly doubt it. A dog, however, might take a couple of short sniffs
and notice a mild change in the atmosphere. It's possible, but they won't let you in
their little secret. That's privileged information from one hound to another.

I loved thinking about things that were beyond my own mind’s comprehension.

Things like going back in time and gathering what I need for the long journey

ahead. Not to go back and buy baseball cards and comic books to make a fortune
with at a later date. I can do that now if I wanted to with the same results.

No, it isn't money I yearn for. It's fixing the shattered mess I left behind that
plagues me constantly. If I could only go back to the child I was, with the
knowledge I have today, then perhaps I could change the past, thus altering
the future. Putting my affairs in order, so we would never have to move,
and relishing every day as though there might never be another. To pierce
through the orbit of time, would only be to correct this world's mistake.

But the sad truth is, I can never go back.

This is my destiny, my curse.
To struggle onward.
To endure but never overcome.
To continue moving in one direction,
but to get absolutely nowhere but further behind.

Like being caught in the grip of a bad dream,
and you're being pulled into the mouth of the monster.

As I gazed up at a weather-beaten tree fort that was
so badly damaged, it appeared to be melting out of
all sides of the tree that had long since outgrew it,
I pondered the fate of those MacAlister boys.

                 The Flowerpot Men - Children of tomorrow

                                                                               Pg 69

Reviews for chapter 1

Harry Lichtenberg - I wish I were with you guys smoking that reefer!

If any image on this site is considered to be offensive, it will be removed. If it has been copied without
proper consent, please contact me immediately and the image will either be removed, or credit shall be
given unto the person or persons responsible. Whether it be an artist, photographer, cartoonist., etc.

PG 61) Rusty car by Ryan Doray -

62) Vintage ad for Old Crow Kentucky bourbon whiskey
circa 1952 -

PG 62) Consumer protection
by Goncalo Viana -

PG 63) Chinese public health poster -

PG 63) Autumn
by Jacek Yerka -

PG 64) Woodstock poster
circa 1969 -

PG 65) Grateful Dead
hand painted denim Jacket by Keri Lynn -

PG 65) Into the clearing by Don Huber -

PG 65) Spiritual evolution
by Simon Haiduk -

PG 65) Fire
by Petra Valouchova -

PG 65) Current
by Vladimir Kush -

PG 66) Autumn Labyrinth
by Jacek Yerka -

PG 66) 2 faced world 2
by Markus Vesper -

PG 66) Reality Maelstrom
by Chris Dien -

PG 67) The Martyrdom of St. Hippolytus
by Dieric Bouts (the elder) -

PG 67) The Judas Cradle
by Unknown -

excerpt from The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology

PG 67) The martyrdom of Bhai Dyala Ji
by Unknown -

Impaling by Unknown @

PG 67) Torture
by Markus Vesper -

PG 67) Homeless, please help
by Kristie Bretzke -

PG 67) The gold bug
by Louis Grell -

PG 67) 2 faced world
by Markus Vesper -

PG 67) Peace Tree
by Shepard Fairey -

PG 68) Mask III. Gratified
by Leon Kubasski -

PG 68) Nocturne
by Ilene Meyer -

PG 69) Trying to stop the time
by Gyuri Lohmuller -

PG 69) Cal Ripken produced by Topps circa 1982

PG 69) The Stranger
by Agim Sulaj -