Sadist Song

It starts out slow, like a cruel torture, but your pulse becomes a passive slave within mere measures.

That suggestive, seductive, hypnotic rhythm… so beckoning… and so becoming of you. It takes you in like a lost soul, then it gently cleans out your mind with its soothing touch. Oh! How it just loves its control over you. Yet, you are always helpless in welcoming it in. This is now your salvation. This is now your favorite drug.

But, it never lasts, does it? No…

Within moments, it betrays you. Still, you dare not resist. You follow along as the soft roar of that sleazy guitar breaks your trance with a stalker’s prowess and licks the backside of your empty thoughts with a desire to rip your clothes to shreds.

It’s such a rush, isn’t it? Oh, don’t act like you didn’t like it. You know you did. You wanted this – you needed it. It was you, after all, who turned it on. You were hooked with your first experience… and that’s why you always come back for more.

Don’t worry.

We’ve all been there before. There’s nothing to be forgiven for, so waste not your breath in asking. We all desire to lose ourselves. We all crave just a taste of death.

Ah. There it is… that faceless voice, your guide. Here at last to lead you away.

Go now, child. Exodus is calling.

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A Punk looks at 40

When I was much a young teenager, I realized that the world around me was just madness stained with the blood spilled by our violent, greedy, and ignorant history. That epiphany haunts me still.

I had no idea why humans behaved like this. I could not understand why common sense was rare to find. I did not get why compassion and humanity were dying concepts and why apathy was snuffing empathy out of reality. It doesn’t make sense to me even today. I mean, we know we must rely on one another to survive and continue our existence, but we spend all our time doing things that will eventually kill us all off. I could not explain why we had the ability and the knowledge to do so much more for the environment and to help all other forms of life on this planet, yet did nothing but convince ourselves that we were somehow superior to both and tell ourselves that “nature must simply run its course.” And, what of our true nature? We spread like bacteria and act no differently. Makes me wonder what kind of species we really are.

But, before I trail off subject, let me get back to where I was going with this. See, back in those days, all of that deeply scarred me. And all I wanted to do was try my damnedest run away from it all.

When I hit my twenties, I was a raging lunatic. I realized that one day while at a recreation center up the street from my house. For some reason, I found myself engaged in conversation about urban legions with some kids I had never met before. Then it happened. One of them started telling me a tale about this madman who led people into the woods by the cemetery, strung them up, slit their throats, and, with a bucket under them, bled them dry. Then, this kid went on to tell me that is guy drank the blood while watching his prey dangle in front of him. Of course, the story assumed me some. I mean, after all, this kid was telling me a story about me.

No. I did not do those things… not even in the slightest. But, the guy he was telling me about, he kept referring to by using my real name. And, trust me, no one else had that name. I mean, I have only heard of two other people in my entire life who have my first name. It’s not a common name at all.

And, that’s when it hit me. It wasn’t just my name that had made its way into a local urban legion, but my actual behavior as well. See, I was, like I said, a raging lunatic. I made a name for myself as one. I had been expelled for this from a few different schools and ran with crowds just as radical as I was – well, probably not as bad as I was, but…

Point is this: enough people knew of me that tales like that were easily spawned. That’s when I decided to leave town.

From Largo, I went to Pinellas Park, then to St. Pete, Ybor City, Tampa, and elsewhere. Eventually, I ended up back in Largo. By then, I was rapidly approaching my thirties, in college, and still struggling with life and society. I had a library filled with stories I’ve heard about myself along with another filled with tales about things I actually did. I had been many different things to many different people – none of which were good.

As it is better not to summon the devils in the details, let me just say I wasted a lot of time running from something I was actually succumbing to. I had become how I saw the world: madness stained in the blood of the past. Funny how shit like that works out, huh?

When thirty came, I was not ready for it. I had lived as if there was no tomorrow for so long, I had ran into the problem of having no true plan for a future. I mean, sure… I was in college trying to form one, but I was about to graduate with a few degrees in a field which has died while I was learning about it. Again, I was crushed. Just like I was when the Cold War ended, crushed! There was a future ahead of me and I was not at all prepared for it. I was prepared for a future that was not going to exists instead.

Mind you, my parents did they’re best to raise me “right” and I had always carried those tools with me – even when I was racing down the road of self-destruction. And, now that I am looking down the barrel of 40… where am I? Ha. I’m still just as lost as I always was… and just as unprepared. Of course, it’s different now, somehow. I mean, I’ve lightened up a lot over the years, first off. Hell, mentally, I’m the healthiest now then I’ve even been. (Try not to laugh.) And, I’ve got plans now… plans that just might be crazy enough to work. So, what will the future bring? Who knows? But, at least the world seems to be calming down along side me.

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Cheating at Solitaire

Back many moons ago, most of us wasted our time and tried to keep ourselves entertained with a deck of playing cards and a game called “Solitaire.” The rules of the game were no different than they are now, but the opportunity to cheat and the temptation to do so was always sitting our shoulders like nasty, ill-mannered parrots squawking non-stop.

“Awk! Polly thinks you should just flip over that damn card!”

Of course, when we listen to that damn bird, immediately we are slapped with a sense of guilt for breaking the rules. Then, we realize that because no one was watching or there to correct our behavior, we were free to do so… guilt-free. Who were we cheating, anyway? They were just a bunch of damn cards, right? And, after all, it was just a damn game.

But, we were cheating someone. We were cheating ourselves.

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It’s Alive… ALIVE!

Of late, a swarm of thoughts have been clouding my head… each with a wasp’s desire to sting.

A while back, I wrote something about resolutions and my desires for the year. Well, that was for 2011 if I remember it correctly. And… well…

The good news: I have the first installment of Mason Stone online (as you can no doubt tell by the new banner up above). Actually, I uploaded it almost a month ago now – specifically, on the last blue moon. I thought it was a bit poetic. More importantly, I decided then to finish the trilogy on the rise of the next blue moon. What does this mean exactly? In 2.7 years, the last book will be uploaded. Between now and then, however, I’m not just going to write the two books. Oh no. That would be too easy. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic towards myself. Odd, huh?) Instead, I plan on writing a total of six… five minimum. Am I crazy? Is this some sort of ego trip? Do I have any sort of life at all?

Here’s the skinny. I have finally achieved something I’ve been longing for, yes. I’m a self-published author. Problem is… it was a hell of a challenge for me to write just one tale. Since I started Mason Stone, and for two decades before it, I have been jotting down random bit and plots for novels yet to come. I kept trying to just focus on one, telling myself something stupid like: “Just get one done… at least get one finished and out there.” Sure, it worked. But, what I always longed for seemed to take too long to achieve. I kept getting sidetracked by my other ideas and, like everyone else, by life itself. I started writing Mason Stone a few months after my return from Colorado. That was 2009… around the time of the last blue moon. So, 2.7 years later…

And that, in a round-about way, is why I have decided to write so many books at once. It’s not out of ego. It’s out of madness.

But, my resolution also included something about making 18K in one year. Sadly, that didn’t happen. I was short by several thousand. Why? Well, out of necessity, I took a job delivering pizza to a large section of Hillsborough County. I live on tips… and I’m going further in debt because of it.

By the way… something I would like to mention. As a little advertised fact, most people have no clue about this, but… you know about those delivery fees? You know the driver doesn’t get that, right? Yeah… fucked up, huh? The people who actually make those deliveries will not get the fee for doing it. It’s not an automatic tip. Crazy, yeah… I know! That’s so weird! And guess what! We don’t get reimbursed for gas, either! Oh, no… and they don’t cover us under any type of insurance. Get that one, right! Haha! Yeah. And… here’s the real kicker. We get paid the same as waiters while we’re on the road. They literally call us, “waiters on wheels.”

Of course you can see the reason for my sarcasm. I could go on about having no paid vacations, health insurance availability, et cetera… but, I wouldn’t want to bore you with the devil that’s in all those pesky details.  Rather, I would like to remind you that my first novel is available on Amazon® for Kindle™ for a low, one-time payment of ONLY $8.88. Remember, folks… it slices, it dices… it can make mounds and mounds of coleslaw. It’s The Misadventures of Mason Stone (Private Eye): The Strange Case of Lester Mohr –or– Six and a Half Ways to Spend a Wooden Nickel. Supplies are unlimited, so act now! There’s how to order…

[All proceeds go to getting my happy ass out of debt and into a new job. Thank you for your love and support.]

(Oh… I just recently developed a method for tie-dying with bleach and cleaning your tub at nearly the same time! More on that later.)

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Reality vs Reality

“Forget what you know. Forget all you believe in or think to be real. Your perception of reality is a mere fraction – a fraction so tiny, even science has a hard time explaining just how small it is…”

We’ve heard this all before, right? We’ve known for years, yet we still fool ourselves every day and give weight to concepts we simply create. Think of the “importance” of money. We enslave ourselves just for tiniest fraction of wealth, yet… without us, money would hold no value. It would simply be another thing left behind.

Consider power. Without followers, what would be the point of a leader? If we all stayed out of one another’s way and did nothing to harm anything, what would the point be to have laws or those who spend their lives making them, enforcing them, or judging others by them? We’ve heard this all before, too. Hell, we have heard it for thousands of years. All the great minds think this way… and we respect these people. We make religions based off of their philosophies, yet never actually follow anything put forth by them.

Yeah. We, the people, are pretty fucked up. We are 70% water, 99.99% empty space, and are extremely limited in our abilities to perceive light and sound. Yet, we love to think of ourselves as being superior to a planet we cannot control. We feel the overwhelming desire to destroy everything in sight and we call that behavior, “making progress.” We run around telling each other that “we just want to be accepted for who we are,” then make no effort at all to accept anyone else for… well, anything at all, really. And, we make up any damn thing we want to and call it “reality.”

We have prescribed for ourselves an endless routine of beating ourselves to death trying to impress others enough to get those worthless things we claim to need. Sounds insane, right? But, here we are… heading off to a job we can’t stand so we can get a paycheck that’s too small to live on. (And, instead of actually using that money to buy those things to ensure our survival, we spend every last cent of it on tiny electric devises so we can bitch to one another about what we had to do to buy them. How crazy is that?)

So, what’s the point I’m making here? I’m not trying to make one, really. I just wanted to give you something to think about while you’re waiting for that job interview… or before you spend hours on end building up the courage to profess your love… or while you get ready for that protest you’re heading off to… or before heading off to vote… or as you get dressed for church/temple… or while you’re driving to work… or when you lay down to sleep at night…

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Broken Heart Surgery

It has been said that it is better to have love and lost than to never have loved at all. I once believed that was just absolute rubbish – one doesn’t crave a cigarette if one never smoked one, right? Well… I was wrong. But, that was alright. I’ve been wrong before. Hell, that’s kind of what life’s all about, isn’t it? Learning from one’s mistakes?

The flaw in my theory was a simple one: we have all had a form of love in our lives. We often love those whom we call “parents” and those things we knew as “toys,” along with ten thousand things in between. We cannot help it. It is our nature to love. It is unavoidable… even for psychopaths.

Of course, with that all in mind, one cannot possibly “have never loved at all.” Sure, it’s quite possible to have never been loved – if one wishes to argue semantics. It’s not necessary, though. Time is better wasted on other, more provoking thoughts.

To site just one example, how about the weird, little fact that we all crave love like an inherited addiction? Yeah… why not? It’s that weird, little fact, ladies and gentlemen, is the very reason why losing a thing like love is so fucking painful.

When we fall out of love, we feel betrayed. We’re hurt by those thoughts which tell us that we might have missed out on something better while we wasted our time in a doomed affair. We might have been much happier doing something or someone else. Instead, we decided to stick with what we told ourselves was “comfortable,” “tolerable,” or “secure.” Oh, it was all bullshit, of course – and we knew that. We lie to ourselves all the time. It is how we justify our stupid ideas; as everyone knows, we cannot admit to ever being wrong. That sort of thing just kills the ego.

None less, losing love happens and, as statistics state, the majority of marriages today end in divorce, right? Yeah… so what? It’s not the end of the world. It’s just an invitation to a new stream of reality, one which you can build up any way you’d like.

See, we spend way too much time dwelling on what went wrong and how things would have been different. Why? We can’t go back and change it. Hell, I wish I could, too, but we cannot. It’s not even remotely possible. What’s done is done. Yesterday’s gone. All we can do is change our today to improve our tomorrows. Nursing a broken heart only delays the healing process. In fact, it’s a lot like picking your scabs. The more we pick, the deeper the scar turns out. Same principle applies. And, trust me, everyone can see the scars on a broken heart. They shine through quite well.

Something more drastic is needed: a broken heart surgery. Rather than waste any time playing “what if,” go out and enjoy yourself. Let go. Take all of your emotional baggage down to the curb and proclaim aloud, “I will not be depressed! I will not allow this to hold me back! The time for suffering is over. The time to renew my spirit begins now!”

Sure, that’s much easier said than done. But, that does not take away from its power. Doing this is that drastic first step. So what everything’s harder at first? You’re worth it. This is your life. This is your moment. Take control of this “now” and things will be easier tomorrow. Never be afraid of that first step. Never fear stumbling into your stride. It takes a few steps to start walking tall again, that’s common knowledge. And, you can walk tall again, I promise you. You have to just believe in yourself – that’s all. Reclaim yourself and psych yourself up for that new life you’ve always wanted. Only you can make your dreams come true. Only you.

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Iron Eagle, Rubber Chicken

Certainly, I must have failed the test of time. I knew I should have studied more.
While sitting in some dive and sipping on some wine, I spotted a sore for sight eyes across the see of drunken faces. Try as I did, I could not turn away. That’s when she caught me staring in her direction. It may have been that puddle of drool which formed upon my table under my tongue that gave me up for ransom – the same tongue I once used to lick ice cream when I was a child. And that’s when it hit me… I thought I knew her from somewhere I’ve never been before.
Ah, yes! There she was, standing tall and making everyone sweat bullets. She had all the sex appeal of Himmler’s SS… and a personality to match. And, yes! In her eyes, a sinister smile shined like the fall of the Roman Empire. I just had to wake up… even though I hadn’t slept in days.
A long time ago, on a bar stool just three feet away, a new bill was written on a cocktail napkin and voted into law. Never drink rum while unconscious, especially if you’re under three feet tall.
When the lights go out all across Kansas and Toto’s nowhere to be found, remember the Jabberwocky, my friends. Not that it has anything to do with the cost of coffee at the local watering hole, but it does bring to mind how simple things were back in the hay-day of our lives. Well… unless, of course, you’re allergic to hay. But, hey! No baldy’s perfect.

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Twisted thoughts now stir in the breeze of a long, lost storyline. Rag-tagged memories of those once vivid colors have already turned gray in the mist of our pre-dawn fog and the clock has since forfeited any concept of responsibility. Surely, I cannot be blamed for this. I mean, clearly, it was not even a given choice. I had just gotten out of bed, in fact, and I seriously don’t believe I was completely there at the time. Who’s to say? Maybe I was still onboard a train heading back to last weekend. Do I still need an alibi? Would that truly make a difference? Hell no! The judge has already dismissed the evidence and, besides… I’ve got the munchies anyway.

Oh, make no jokes about it. Here I sit with a cup of coffee in one hand and a target on my forehead. The smoke from my cigarette has begun to recount the minutes of our last meeting and some obscure, shadowy figure has mistakenly let the cat out of the bag. Oh yes. This is all too sudden. This wasn’t even in the original script, if I am recalling everything incorrectly. Regardless, it is time to cash in the chips, tally up the results, and summarize it for this naked audience. No one is comfortable, not even the cat.

Like a strand of hair caught in the teeth of industry, the poet inside me bleeds out all over the page. Fear cautiously walks about with non-slip shoes carrying a butcher knife crafted from the very bowels of a hang-over and there are no hills to run to for shelter. Mark my words: this is no place for children. There’s tossed salad stuck to the ceiling and peanut butter caked to the roof of my mouth. Pop the hood. Grab the cables and let’s jump-start this chaos in celebration of all things green with envy. Hold on tight. You’re here for the duration of this ride.

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Lifelines and Deadlines

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” ~ Douglas Adams

Normally, that’s a quote I have often agreed with when it comes to self-induced deadlines. Not this time, though. This deadline isn’t quite that little bluebird of slap-happiness I’ve come to know and love. It’s a bit more like an iron vulture this time… and, unfortunately, it now sits where the eagle once landed, staring at my through kaleidoscope eyes.

Of course, I’m speaking of the deadline I had set for my first novel’s completion. Well, to be specific, the forth deadline I had set for this. Sure, I could offer up some slightly accurate explanations as for why these events have taken place. I could also offer up some pretty creative fabrications as well, if you’d like. However, I really don’t have any intension or desire for engaging in such an activity. In fact, all I have, at this point, is the urge to throw my hands up in a gesture of dissatisfaction and grunt joylessly. You can do this, too, if you’d like. But, if you want my expertise on that and what results may follow, please allow me to share that doing so truly doesn’t help matters any. Neither does exclaiming of the French phrase, “C’est la vie!” Well… knowing is half the battle, right?

On a related topic, I have found much delight in the company of our adorable, yet ornery quadrupeds. To that, I can only add that attempting to devour a ham sandwich, on the other hand, in a house filled with frisky felines is no different than inciting a riot. I’ve seen sharks on TV frenzy, but with nowhere near the same enthusiasm as eight cats longing for a shred of sweetly cured pig. Feel free to take my word on that.

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Under the Influence

In my lifetime thus far, I went from buying music that fit with my personality to changing my personality to fit the music I was listening to and back again. Oh sure, we always hear how impressionable the youth can be, but one doesn’t begin to realize just how much until one hits that turn-around point. After that, I started experimenting with this discovery – experimenting with just how much influence the music I listened to had on me.

First, I started out the day carefully selecting what CD I would put in for the drive to work. I noticed that when I had played something a bit aggressive, I would be a bit aggressive that day at work. For example, if I was listening to Ministry or Bad Religion that morning, I found that my patience that day was a bit shorter than usual. Also, my tolerance for taking shit from anyone ran on empty. However, I did notice a difference between these two bands as well. Sure, they both sang about political topics and the misdirected progression of our society, but they do this in two completely different ways. Ministry has always been a bit more direct with their words and a bit more, shall we say, “violent,” while Bad Religion had always been more intellectual about this with heavy overtones of sarcasm and a sense that anything self-serving or driven by self-importance was a fallacy.

On the days I had listened to Bad Religion on the way to work, I was also a bit more intellectual with my attacks. I would challenge authority with philosophy as opposed to just challenging them with attitude alone. I was acting out on those thoughts which attracted me to these bands in the first place freely, yes. But, I was also acting out under the influence of the mood the music had put me in as well.

So, with that in mind, I started thinking about what kind of day I would have if I had played something else. The second stage of my experiment started out with older favorites of mine – the music of my earlier youth, like Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, and Led Zeppelin. On those days, I was happier. I took more shit from those I had to and I was a bit more productive with work (which, by the way, was creating graphic arts at the time).

That seemed to make those around me more comfortable, which was cool. But, I was also feeling as if no one took me seriously on those days. Most of the suggestions I made at meetings on those days were simply shrugged off like the silly words children say when trying to sound mature and people seemed to have that urge to treat me like I was teenager. That, needless to say, bothered the hell out of me.

So, I decided to try something else. In fact, I decided to try something which had always inspired me to be creative: Primus. Now, this is a band that is all over the place with their songs. Some tracks are funk-punk ballads about sitting at the DMV all day or about some of those colorful folks Les had met in his travels, like “Harold of the Rocks.” Others are a bit more political in nature. “Too Many Puppies” is a perfect example of that. But, no matter what Les was singing about, the sound that is Primus – that signature sound this band creates has always made me smile in ways that usually make people worry about me. The happiness I got from their tunes was an emotion those I worked with could not relate to or empathize with me on. That happiness was mine alone – unique in every way. On those days, I produced the most… and everyone simply left me alone to do it.

So, now… years into this experiment, I have applied this tactic to other aspects of life. For instance, before a photo shoot, I first think of what kind if shoot I’m doing and select something to listen to accordingly. If I’m doing something with stage blood, grit, and raw fury, I usually put in something Skinny Puppy or Rob Zombie in and allow my mind to wander while driving to whatever location I’m doing the shoot. If I’m planning to create something melodic and beautiful with my captures, generally my tunes of choice fall upon Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, and Jane’s Addiction for inspiration. See where that’s going?

I also have music I like to put in to get myself in the mood to write my crazy stories. The novel I’m finishing up now, The Misadventures of Mason Stone, Private Eye, was largely written with Dick Dale and His Del-Tones playing in the background. Of course, I do wonder if my readers will be able to tell when I was listening to something else when I wrote certain sections of the book. Guess that will be something I’ll look for in the future.

I’ve asked around on many occasions to see how many people did something like this for themselves and I have been surprised on many occasions to find that I was not alone. See, I had thought that most people just had music they would put in to help set that romantic atmosphere they were creating, music for relaxation, and what they would put in while cleaning house. I was wrong. However, I was just as surprised to find that these same people didn’t even think too much about this or why they did it. Crazy, huh?

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