How I Became The Scarified Boy (a thingamajiggy)
This takes place everywhere and nowhere at once. At the center of a spin art piece before the paint reticulates out; in manifold dusty, dark spaces; in destitute backyards choked with crabgrass; and Gusman Hall in Miami, Florida.
A father. A son. Supporting players.
Illicit substances, vitriol, a gun, mind control techniques, married people that shouldn’t have been… married, that is.
And here, someplace, we join…
Don’t twang that pang of that Journey to Ixtlan at me. I believe the interregnum is better than the internecine, and neither are as good as interstices. What do you sing? What do you sing?
I sing of the sun going out. White dwarf? White dwarf? Pray tell, dying star, where was your fiery giant? This will all disappear someday after we’ve disappeared in an anthropocentric extinction — the sixth great extinction!
(He points savagely at the heavens.)
There will be nothing you can do… do be do be doo… do about that?
I think you mean to bring me down at the nascent end of the good new year! It’s 1979! Get with it.
Nope! Look around, look around, you’re already well into the first act of the end. Act two is a bitch! No one has ever seen anything like it.
(He adjusts his Pope’s mitre — a hat that never became him, always slipping off his shaved head. He flings the hat over the backyard fence. He recoups.)
Act three is acid, bitter, and terminal. The dènouement. So out! Out. Out in your bitter boy britches and fasten your seat belt, son. It gets harrowing from here. A goon’s new year to you, boy!
I fear my grip on reality is tenuous, at best. I grant you that. After all, you pulled a gun on me when I was eleven. You often pulled the same gun on my mother during those hazy rages in our smoke-filled living room.
(A paisley brocade sofa, a large stereo console, and field and stream oils materialize on the busted walls.)
The ash trays were always overfull — the butts were a dark prophecy of lost days to come. The record player always hiccuping from the stylus on the never ending last groove. Pop! Pop! Pop! Johnny Mathis did not soothe your savagery.
It’s best not to bog down in theories or paralyzing rationalizations. It was what it was. Just something. Your experience may vary, my mileage was fine. I’m here aren’t I? Buck up!
I never thought such displeasures were possible. Yours, hers, mine. We drowned.
Oh, yes we did! The best plan was none. Chaos undergirding all designs — it yielded the most mileage per trauma cluster. That hothouse in your skull is full of dendritic knots.
(He swings his arm out like a madcap magician and produces a silk scarf out of his sleeve.)
There will be cold and snowy days; there will be warm and sunny days. I’m here to make sure many of them will be a hell!
Hell— Hello. Helloooo!
(His voice echoes and bounces back from the corners of the warping room.)
Try me, sonny. Go ahead. Try and find me somewhere in the spring of 1981. I disappeared from your life for a reason. Try to shape my thinking. It hasn’t happened since Silva Mind Control — my method is thee only Method! I use it to pick up all the I women want, from 15 to 53!
Wait! You claim to use the power of mustard seed grain faith to move a mountain, and instead you use it to pick up women? Really?
You claim to control and harness your mind power to dissipate clouds and divert hurricanes. You claim to shoot lasers out of your third eye, and you’ve the power to lay hands-on to cure cancer, and instead of doing something truly useful you’re using it to pick up women?
It’s useful to me.
Two weeks later my father came to my high school graduation with his new wife — an 18-year old woman barely six months older than I was — and introduced her (left to right, in order of largest mouth-agape) to my mother and my gangster stepfather of three months; to my 60-year old grandmother-inquisitor and her mute husband of 6 months; and to my drug dealer uncle and his pregnant 16-year old mistress.
In that fitful din of graduates and families finding their seats, during the opening strains of Pomp and Circumstance, I took out my pocket comb and made the first gouge. The first of a thousand of gouges to come.
I resolved to never marry.
After the graduation ceremony, bleeding from the chest and thighs beneath my graduation robe, I drove to Tijuana and joined the Camacho Brothers’ Freak Show.
“The only unity in this story is, please God, an involuntary unity.”
— Samuel Beckett / Dream of Fair to Middling Women