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I wake. I don’t remember falling asleep and I don’t remember sleeping. There were no dreams. No dreams.

I get out of bed. There is Sun coming through the window. Bright Sun. I don’t remember the last time I saw the Sun.

I go to the Bathroom and I shower and I brush my teeth and I shave. I avoid the mirror. I don’t look at my eyes and I don’t look at myself. I shower brush my teeth shave.

I get dressed and I leave my room. I walk into the Unit, men are doing their jobs. I look at the Job Board to see if I have one and my name is listed beneath the word Greeter. I laugh. I am the Greeter, it is my job to greet. It makes me laugh.

I walk to breakfast the Halls are bright I don’t care about the Halls anymore. They are what they are I can’t change them.

I get a tray and a plate of waffles and a cup of coffee and a jelly donut. I walk into the Dining Room. I see my friends sitting at a table in the corner. They are always in the corner.

I sit down. Miles, Leonard, Matty and Ed. There is a new man sitting at the end of the table away from us. I look at Leonard motion toward the man and Leonard shrugs. I am now the Greeter. I decide to greet the man.

I move to the end of the table. I sit across from the man. He is old, probably in his late sixties. He has short gray hair that is thick for his age, and though it is messy and spiked, it could be easily straightened with a comb. He is very thin and gaunt. His skin is covered with liver spots, his veins bulge beneath the skin of his hands. He is staring at his plate. He is slowly eating a wet pile of scrambled eggs and cheese. I speak.


He looks up. He has sharp blue eyes, one of them is bruised and black. He has a long thin nose and thin lips. The area above his upper lip and beneath his nose is covered with bleeding blisters.

What do you want?

His voice is lean and stiff, like the snap of a ruler on a desk.

I’m the Greeter. I came to greet you.

Go greet someone else.

I laugh.

Go away.

I laugh again.

Go away, you Little Fucker.

I reach across the table. Offer my hand.

I’m James.

He doesn’t take it.

Go away, James. You Fucker.

Why don’t you come sit with me and my friends.

I motion toward the other end of the table. My friends are watching me. The man looks at them, looks back at me.

I’d rather be alone.

No, you wouldn’t.

Yes, I would.

If you really wanted to be alone, you’d be sitting at an empty table.

The man stares at me and I stare back. He’s tense, I’m not.

You’re a Little Fucker.

I smile.

I know.

My name is Michael.

Nice to meet you, Michael.

He stands and he moves toward the other end of table and I follow him. We sit and I introduce him to everyone. At first he is quiet. He sits and he listens to us talk. We are talking about the man with no arms, who left this morning and said he was going to find some smack he didn’t care that he didn’t have arms he just wanted some fucking smack. He starts asking questions, about the man, about us, about what we do and why we are here. We answer his questions and we start asking him questions. At first he doesn’t reply, but after a few minutes he says what the fuck, you’re going to find out anyway. He tells us that he is a high-level Administrator at a large Catholic University in the Midwest. He tells us that he has been married for fifty-one years and that he has seven Children. He tells us that after the last of them was born, his Wife stopped having sex with him because she didn’t want any more Children and because she believed that sex was intended for procreation and procreation alone. He tells us he started seeing hookers. Not expensive ones, but Girls off the street. He tells us that he became Addicted to them and to the danger of being with them and to the danger of getting a disease from them. He tells us that one of the hookers gave him some crack and he started smoking it and he became Addicted to it. His addictions became part of each other. He needed hookers and he needed crack. He couldn’t have one without having the other and he needed them both all the time. He needed hookers and crack every single day. He got caught when a Student at the University who was also a hooker recognized him and tried to blackmail him. He decided it was time to stop so he went to a Priest and he confessed. The Priest told him to tell his Wife and his Wife forgave him on the condition that he stop doing it. He couldn’t stop. He did it that day and again the next day. He left his Wife and he spent eight days in a cheap Motel with all of the hookers and crack that he could afford to buy. He smoked so much that he burned his mouth with his pipe. When he ran out of money he went home and his Wife was waiting for him. She called the Priest the same Priest. The Priest drove him here. He arrived four days ago and he has been at the Medical Unit being detoxified.

We laugh at him and we laugh at his story. At first he is angry and confused with us and our laughing, he doesn’t understand it. We continue to laugh. We start telling stories of our own. Matty talks about smoking with a hooker who burned his testicles with a butane torch. Ted talks about smoking with his Momma and going line-dancing with her while they were high. I talk about getting drunk with a hooker and passing out and waking up in an alley without my pants and without my shoes and finding my empty wallet jammed between my ass cheeks. We tell stories and we laugh at each other and Michael the Catholic comes to understand that we are not laughing at him, but with him. That we are the same as him and that we are as awful as he is and that we are not judging him. He starts laughing. We are all awful. It is easier to laugh at ourselves than cry at ourselves. We are all awful.

We finish eating and we put away our trays and we go to the Lecture. It is about drugs and alcohol in the Workplace. Michael is the only one of us who pays attention, the rest of us play cards. When the Lecture ends, Leonard gives envelopes to Matty and Ted and Miles. He tells them to open them after he’s gone. He tells me to meet him at his Room at eleven o’clock.

We walk out of the Lecture Hall and Joanne is waiting for me near the door. She asks me to come to her Office. We walk through the Halls and when we get there, she sits on the couch and I sit on the chair. We both light cigarettes. She speaks.

Heard you were in a Crackhouse the other night.

I was in a place where a bunch of people smoke crack, but it wasn’t a Crackhouse.

What’s the difference?

Crackhouses usually have a supply on hand and they’re usually run by someone and kept secure by them. This was just a deserted old Building where people go smoke.

What was it like?

It smelled bad.

That’s what you remember?


She nods and she waits for me to offer more. When I don’t, she speaks.

Were you near it?


How close?

Touched it and could have done it.

Did you want to?

Very badly.

Why didn’t you?

I made a decision not to.

Simple as that?

Simple as that.

You make it sound easy.

It wasn’t.

You think you’ll be able to do it in the long term?

It’ll be harder than it was the other night, but I do.

Why will it be harder?

I love Lilly more than I love getting fucked up. That made the decision whether to help her or take care of myself an easy decision to make. When I’m alone with it, be it the rock or the bottle, it will be more about me and whether I want to take care of myself or not.

Which do you think it will be?

You know what I think.

She smiles.

I saw Lilly this morning.


I went down to the Medical Unit to check on her.

How is she?

All things considered, she’s good. I think she’s more worried and embarrassed than anything else.

What’s she worried about?

Her Grandmother, and finding the money to stay here.

Is there any kind of Aid she can get?

There is, though it usually takes a while to work it out. We’re trying to rush it through.

Will she get to stay?

I hope so.

What if she doesn’t?

I don’t know.

I look away. I stare out the window behind Joanne’s desk. It is bright and sunny outside, like a morning in Spring. A morning full of life, a morning full of new beginnings. I could still run. Run from jail and run from my past. Run with Lilly run until we’re safe and run until we find ourselves a life. Running is still an option, but I don’t want to run. I have run my entire life I am tired of running. I stare out the window, but the window is without answers. They will come in time. It is a morning full of new beginnings.

What are you thinking about?


You have any?


You will. Answers always come.

I’m starting to learn that.

She lights another cigarette. I light another cigarette.

I want to talk to you about your Inventory and the rest of your time here.


Ken told me you think you’ll be finished with the Inventory by the end of the day.


That’s pretty quick.

I know what I need to say.

The idea of this is to clear your conscience so that you can start your life over without guilt, regret and shame. You think you’ll be able to achieve that with what you want to talk about?

I do.

Ken said you might have issues doing this with a Priest.

It might be uncomfortable for him.

The Priests who do this hear some pretty awful things. Whoever you have, I’m sure he’ll be able to handle it.

If you say so.

Is it something you want to talk about with me?


Does this have anything do with the way you feel about God?

Whatever’s happened between me and any Priest has nothing to do with my feelings about God.

Are you sure?


Fair enough. When do you want to do it?

As soon as possible.

First thing in the morning?


I’ll schedule a Room and a Priest. I’ll make sure the Priest will be able to deal with whatever you have to say. Come by my Office after breakfast and I’ll walk you over.

Thank you.

After you’re through, your Program is basically finished.

What’s that mean?

It means it will be time for you to leave.


The day after tomorrow.

I smile.


Do you have any plans?

Maybe see my Brother for a couple of days. Then I’ll go down to Ohio and do my time.

I hear you’re happy with the outcome of that situation.

Yeah, I am. Very happy.

Any worries?

No, I just want to be done with it.

What are you going to do about Lilly?

Hopefully she’ll be here. Since I won’t, I’m assuming I’ll be able to speak with her and we’ll figure something out. If she doesn’t stay here, we’ll figure something else out.

Like what?

I don’t know. I’m hoping she stays here.

She nods, waits for more. When I don’t give more, she speaks.

Come find me if you have any questions while you’re doing your Inventory.

I will.

I stand and I leave. On my way out I look at her clock, it almost eleven. I make my way back to the Unit and I knock on Leonard’s door. He says who is it and I say James. He says come in and I open the door and I step inside.

There is small, black leather suitcase sitting on the floor next to the door, an open garment bag is spread across his bed. He is carefully filling the garment bag with precisely folded shirts. He speaks.

How ya doing, Kid?

I sit on the edge of the bed.

Good. How are you?

I’m happy to be leaving.

What are you gonna do with yourself?

Got one of my boys picking me up and we’re gonna drive back to Vegas. Probably stop and see Mount Rushmore and Old Faithful and a few of the sites along the way.

I chuckle.

Sounds cool.

You got any plans yet?

Looks like I’m getting out day after tomorrow. I’m going to try to get hold of my Brother and spend a few days with him. After that, I go down to Ohio.

You worried about Ohio?


I probably don’t need to tell you this, but if anybody fucks with you, go after them. Just showing them you’re willing to fight will keep them away.

I’m hoping to avoid that shit, but I’ll do whatever I have to do.

He smiles.

You’re a good Kid.

I laugh.

Thanks, Leonard.

He finishes packing the garment bag and he closes it. He reaches into his back pocket and he pulls out his wallet and he removes a small card like a business card. He sits on the bed across from me and he hands me the card.

Those are all my numbers and the places where you can get hold of me.

I take it.

If you ever need anything, doesn’t matter where you are or what you need, you find me and I’ll take care of you.

I look at the card, look up at Leonard.

There are five different last names on here, Leonard.

He smiles.

I use different names in different places. The numbers correspond to the names. The Vegas number is the best, but they can me find at any of them.

I put the card in my pocket.

Thank you, Leonard.

He nods.

I also heard Lilly was having some financial issues. I don’t want you to worry about them anymore. She is going to stay here and she is going to be fine.

I smile.


He smiles.

Love is a beautiful thing, Kid.

You shouldn’t have done that, Leonard. You—

Say thank you, Kid.

I smile.

Thank you, Leonard. Thank you so much.

He nods again.

One last thing.


Before I say this, I want to say that I mean no disrespect to you or your Family or your Father, so if you feel or you think he’ll be uncomfortable with what I’m going to tell you, let me know.


He takes a deep breath holds it for a moment, exhales. He looks as nervous as I’ve ever seen him.

I have always wanted to be married. I have always wanted to have Children. More specifically, I have always wanted to have a Son. I have been thinking about this for a while now, basically since the first day I met you, and I have decided that from now on, I would like you to be my Son. I will watch out for you as I would if you were my real Son, and I will offer you advice and help guide you through your life. When you are with me, and I plan on seeing you after we both leave here, you will be introduced as my Son and you will be treated as such. In return, I ask that you keep me involved in what you are doing and allow me to take part in it. Outside of here, I see our relationship functioning, to a certain extent, just like it did in here. We are friends, we trust each other, we help each other make it through shitty times, we enjoy the good times together. If there are ever issues with your real Father, I will insist you defer to and respect him before me and over me.

Is this a joke, Leonard?

He shakes his head.

No, not even close.

You want me to be your Son?

He nods.


You sure about that, Leonard? I’m kind of fucked up.

I know what your problems are, Kid. Believe me. But if I had a Son, I would want him to be like you.

I smile.

Sounds cool to me.

You sure about that, Kid?


I’m kind of fucked up.

I laugh.

Doesn’t bother me.

He laughs.


He stands.

Now pick up one these goddamn bags and walk me out of here. This isn’t gonna be all fun and fucking games.

I laugh and I stand and I pick up the suitcase. Leonard grabs his garment bag and he puts it over his shoulder and we walk out of the Room.

We walk through the Halls. He asks me to say good-bye to everyone for him tells me he didn’t want to do it himself. He doesn’t like good-byes and he has said too many of them in his life. He asks me to give Miles and Matty and Ted the number on the card that corresponds to his real name and I tell him I will and he asks me not to show to the card to anyone else. I tell I him I will keep it safe and I will keep it private.

We walk through the Lobby of the Clinic and past the Receptionist and through the front door. There is a large, white, brand-new Mercedes-Benz sitting at the curb. The Driver’s door opens and a tall, thick man in a black silk suit steps out. The man has a long, deep scar along one of his cheeks and he looks like a bear. A mean bear. A bear who would eat a person alive if given the chance. Leonard smiles.


The man speaks.

Hey, Boss.

They hug and they separate. Leonard speaks.

Thanks for coming.

Of course.

This the new Car?

Yeah, you like it?

I do. It’s white and it’s new. Just what I wanted.


Leonard turns to me, motions me forward.


I step toward him.

This is the Snapper. He’s one of my closest friends and an Associate of mine. They don’t call him the Snapper ’cause he likes fish, so be careful. Snapper, this is my Son, James.

We shake hands. The Snapper looks at Leonard.

This the one you told me about?

Leonard nods.

Yeah, and he’s a whole lot meaner than he looks, so you be careful too.

The Snapper laughs, looks back at me.

Nice to meet you, Kid.

Yeah, you too.

Leonard opens the back door of the Car and throws his garment bag onto the backseat. He motions for me to bring the suitcase and I step forward and toss it on to the backseat. Leonard shuts the door and he turns to the Snapper.

Let’s get this show on the fucking road, Snap.

You got it, Boss.

The Snapper walks around the Car and sits down behind the wheel. Leonard turns back to me.

You need anything, you call me. Don’t forget that.

I won’t.

It’s been great getting better with you. I’ll be in touch soon.

Thanks for everything, Leonard. In a lot of ways, you saved my life. Thank you.

He smiles.

You saved your own life.

I smile. Leonard steps forward. He puts his arms around me and he hugs me. I put my arms around him and I hug him. He lets go and he steps away and he looks in my eyes and he speaks.

Be strong. Live honorably and with dignity. When you don’t think you can, hold on. I’m proud of you and you should be proud of yourself.

I look back. In his eyes.

I’ll miss you, Leonard.

We’ll see each other soon, my Son.

I nod. I force myself not to cry. Leonard turns and he opens the passenger door of the Car and he sits down and he shuts the door and the Car pulls away. I stand and I watch it. As it drives down the road leading in and out of the Clinic, the passenger’s window goes down and a fist, a tight, closed fist, emerges from it. The fist is held high in the air. As I watch the fist and Leonard and all that they represent to me drive away, I almost start to cry. Leonard and his fist. I almost start to cry.

I stand there looking down the road after the Car is gone. I stand there for five minutes looking down the road. It is hard to imagine that Leonard is gone. Strange and kind and vicious and magnificent Leonard. Satan and Saint. I am going to miss him. I am going to miss him.

I turn and I walk back into the Clinic. I make way to the Dining Hall. I get in line and I get a tray and a plate of tuna noodle casserole. The meals are starting to repeat themselves. I have had tuna noodle casserole before. I hope I don’t ever have it again.

I sit down alone at an empty table. I start eating. I can’t tell which part is tuna and which part is noodle and which part is casserole. I eat anyway. One bite after another. I fill my stomach. I miss Lilly and I miss Leonard. I am alone at an empty table. I fill my stomach. One bite after another.

I finish my plate. I start to stand I want another plate I want forty or fifty plates I want a fucking vat of this tuna noodle bullshit. I see Miles walking toward me he is smiling. I sit back down. I still want more. More more more.

Hello, James.

Miles sits down across from me.


He puts a napkin on his lap, picks up a fork.

How are you today?

I’m okay. You?

I’ve have some good news.


My Wife called me this morning.

What’d she say?

She said she stayed up all night thinking about us and she spent a long time sitting and staring at our Baby and she decided to give me a second chance. She is going to come here and enroll in the Family Program and we are going to try and work things out between us. There are no guarantees, but we’re going to try.

I smile.

That’s great. Quite an improvement over yesterday.

To say the least.

I don’t know if congratulations is the right word, but congratulations.

He smiles.

Thank you, James. Thank you.

We don’t speak anymore. We just sit. He eats and I stare across the Dining Hall. It’s comfortable. Relaxing. Pleasant. To sit and not talk. To sit and stare at nothing. To sit and let the mind shut down. To just sit. There is no awkwardness and no anxiety. Miles is in his World and I am in mine. We just sit.

Miles finishes eating and he stands and he waits for me to notice him standing. When I do, I stand and we put our trays away. We walk through the Halls and Miles goes to the Lecture and I don’t. He asks why I’m not going and I tell him if I am leaving in two days I don’t want or need to sit through any more Lectures that I have been lectured enough. He laughs and I walk back to the Unit and I go to the Telephone Booth.

I call my Mother and Father. They are on the other side of the World and it is the early morning there. My Father answers the phone. He sounds as if he’s asleep. I ask him if I should call him back and he says no, hold on for a second. I wait. My Mother picks up the phone and says hello and she also sounds as if she’s asleep. My Father picks up another phone. There is an echo and a delay.

I tell them I am leaving in two days. They are both surprised. My Father asks me if I am ready to leave and I tell him I feel ready, but that I won’t know how ready until after I’m gone. My Mother asks what that means and I tell her I won’t know how much better I am, if I am better at all, until I am in the outside World. My Dad asks what that means and I tell him that it’s easy to stay sober in here because there is nothing to tempt me. He asks me if I am ready to deal with temptation and I tell him I believe that I am, but that I won’t know until I leave. He sighs as if he is frustrated. My Mother sighs as if she is frustrated.

I ask them how they are and they say they are fine. I ask them how Tokyo is and my Mother says they wish they were closer to me so that they could offer me more support. I tell her that they have done more than enough. My Father tells me he’s worried about me and I tell him he shouldn’t be, that I have never felt better or stronger in my life. He says that is reassuring. He doesn’t sound as if he thinks it’s reassuring.

They ask me what my plans are and I tell them I’m going to call Bob and try to spend a couple of days with him and then I am going to go to Ohio and start serving my time. They ask me how I’m going to get there and I tell them I’m probably going to take a Bus. They offer to get me a Plane ticket and I say thank you, but no. My Mother asks me if I need anything and I tell her no. My Father asks me to call them when I am with Bob and I tell them I will. He tells me to be careful. I tell him I will. My Mother tells me to be careful. I tell her I will. They tell me they love me and I tell them I love them and we hang up.

I call my Brother. He is not home, so I speak into his answering machine. I tell him that I’m being released the day after tomorrow and that I would like it if he could come pick me up. I tell him that if he can’t, not to worry about it, that I’ll find my way. I ask him, whether he picks me up or not, if I can stay with him for a couple of days, if I can sleep on his couch or on his floor or wherever there is space. I ask him to call me back. I leave him the number. I hang up.

I step out of the Phone Booth and I walk to the shelves where I found the crayons for my coloring book. Next to the crayons there is a small stack of yellow legal pads. Next to the pads is a coffee mug full of pens. I take a pad and a pen and I walk to the Upper Level and I get a tall cup of coffee steaming hot and black. I put the pen in my pocket and I carry the pad in one hand and the coffee in the other and I walk back down the stairs. I open the sliding-glass door with my foot and I step outside.

The Sun is shining. Bright and high, though not warm. A slow breeze moves the air like a whisper. I walk across stiff grass frozen now and for the term of Winter. I walk toward the Lake it is hard and still and it is covered in a shell of ice. I sit down on one of the benches the middle bench and I take a sip of the coffee and I light a cigarette. I look at the pad and the pad is yellow and empty.

I start thinking back across the length of my life. I start thinking about all that I have done and all that I have done that was wrong. I start young, or as young as I can remember. I was bad even then, as young as I can remember. I start writing.

Ran over a Nursery School Teacher with a Big Wheel. I did it on purpose. I was four. Hit a boy with a bookbag full of books and broke his nose. His name was Fred. I was six. Dug a hole and tricked a boy named Michael into climbing into the hole. I put a board over the hole and I sat on it for three hours. He cried and cried and cried. I laughed. I was seven. Put a boy named David in a coatbox at my Parents’ Church. Put a padlock on the box and flushed the key down the toilet. Got permanently banned from Sunday School. I was seven. Stole a pack of menthol cigarettes from my friend Clay’s Mother. Smoked them and threw up. Stole another pack. Threw up. Stole another pack. I was eight.

As I write the wrongs of my early childhood, most of them make me laugh. They were stupid, the actions of a kid who didn’t know any better, or who didn’t give a fuck if he did know better. I write four pages of them. Things I did. They make me laugh.

I start writing again from the age of ten. The age when I started to lose control. Thinking back it seems like maybe I didn’t do the things I did, that someone else did them and I just watched. I wish it were so. I started to lose control at ten.

Snuck out of the house and got drunk. Stole liquor from my Parents more times than I can count or remember. Stole a stack of porn magazines from my neighbor’s garage. Caused a traffic accident by egging a random car. I watched the aftermath from the top of a tree. No one was hurt, though there was bent steel. Got caught mooning the Principal of my School on a Friday night while I was supposed to be in my bed. Was dragged home by the Principal while my Parents were having a dinner party. I ruined the party and humiliated my Parents. I stole a bag of pot from my friend Sean’s Father. I stole a pipe from Sean’s Father. I stole a bottle of pills from Sean’s Father. I smoked the pot in the pipe and took all of the pills. They made me vomit. I did it again the next time I was at Sean’s House.

Three more pages. Filled with stolen chemicals and stupid pranks. Sometimes I got caught, most of the time I didn’t. At twelve the memories start to lose themselves in the haze of liquor and drugs. At twelve my life was blurred.

Attacked a kid in a hockey game. He wasn’t looking and I blindsided him. I knocked him out and I stood over him and I laughed. I filled a Teacher’s mailbox with bags of dog shit every night for three weeks. I lit a Boy Scout Leader’s tent on fire while on a camping trip. I got thrown out of the Troop. I filled the gas tank of a neighbor’s car with sugar and wrecked his engine. I stole liquor and drugs from wherever I could find them whenever I was near them.

Five pages covering three years. Hurt People who didn’t deserve to be hurt. Hurt People who did deserve it. Started to contemplate death, started to realize I was fucked, started to hate myself. I did what I did because I hated myself.

At fourteen I stole a moped and pushed it off a cliff. I took a sledgehammer to a sculpture in a neighbor’s lawn. I blew up a mailbox two mailboxes four mailboxes ten. I learned the strength of words and I used them. I called a girl a fat wench. I told a pregnant Teacher I hoped her Child was born dead. I asked a Doctor’s Wife if she knew her Husband was having an affair. She had been mean to my Mother and I didn’t want to let this woman get away with that. Her Husband was having an affair. The Marriage fell apart.

At fifteen I sold drugs to Kids. I sold them alcohol. They were my age, but they were still Kids. Most of the time I ripped them off, took too much of their money or sold them oregano. Sometimes I pissed in the bottles before I gave them the bottles. I destroyed a drive-in sign at a local fast-food Restaurant. I took a hammer to it in the middle of the night because the Manager had kicked me out of the place while I was drunk. I snuck out of my House. I snuck out the Car. I got drunk and I did drugs. All the time.

Sixteen and seventeen and eighteen take up five pages. More of the same. Drinking and drugs. Sneaking out and vandalizing. Saying things to hurt People if they hurt me or hurt someone around me. I trashed the yard of a local Christian Youth Group Leader when he tried to recruit me. I trashed it every Friday night for eight straight weeks. I stole the mail of a neighbor who had bad-mouthed me. I stole it to get all of his Personal information and I signed him up for twelve credit cards and wrecked his credit rating. The level of my addictions grew, the level of my self-hatred grew, the level of my destruction grew.

Nineteen and twenty. Six pages. My first years at College. I cheated on a Girlfriend once twice three times got caught every time. Told her I would change it wouldn’t happen again. I knew it would. I did it to another Girl. To another. Lying became part of my life. I lied if I needed to lie to get something or get out of something. I cheated at School. I took money from my Parents and I spent it on drugs. I took more money and I bought more drugs. I terrorized a Kid named Rob because I heard him say something about her with the Arctic eyes. I vandalized his Car and his Room. I taunted him and threatened him and intimidated him. I made his life miserable. I never told him why I was doing it, I just did.

Twenty-one. Three pages. Drank smoked got arrested doled out a beating or two took a beating or two cheated lied deceived used women slept with prostitutes took more money wasted more money my best friends were drugs and alcohol those who tried to stop me were told to fuck off and leave me alone. I made a Girl snort lines off my dick. She was a cocaine Addict and I traded drugs for her body. She let me do whatever I wanted and I did too much too often. Drugs and her body. I held a gun to a man’s head. It was an unloaded gun but he didn’t know it was unloaded. He was on his knees begging for his life. I did it for a drug Dealer who wanted to test me and I needed his trust because I needed his drugs. The man had stolen from the Dealer I pulled the trigger of the unloaded gun the man pissed in his pants and pissed on the floor. The Dealer rubbed his face in it and I watched.

Twenty-two. Two pages. My arrest the arrest in Ohio. The arrest I will pay for with time in a cell. A Girl in Paris claimed I was the Father of her Child. I wasn’t. I hadn’t been able to stay erect with her I had never been hard inside of her. She was begging and crying for me to take responsibility for the Child, but I wasn’t the Father, so I threw her out of my Apartment. In a Bar two days later one of her Girlfriends came after me with a bottle and I floored her. When she got up I kicked her in the ass and told her if she came near me again I’d beat her silly. Another Girl I knew carried me back to her Apartment one night after she found me passed out in the Street. I vomited and pissed on her couch and on her floor. When I woke up I took a bottle of vodka and I walked out. I never saw her or heard from her again. I hit a man with a chair at a Bar in London. He had spilled a drink on my table and I hit him when his back was turned. I didn’t bother waiting around to survey the damage. I never bothered waiting around to survey the damage.

I finish writing. The coffee is gone and I have smoked a pack of cigarettes. I look at the stack of paper, count the pages, there are twenty-two of them. Twenty-two pages filled with my wrongs, my mistakes, my lapses in judgment and my bad decisions. Twenty-two pages filled with my anger, rage, addiction, self-hatred and Fury. Twenty-two pages documenting my disgraceful, embarrassing and pathetic life. Twenty-two pages.

I read the pages. Slowly and carefully I read them. As I do, I think about whether I am leaving anything out is there anything I have forgotten is there anything I’m scared to face or acknowledge, is there anything I am scared to admit. I want to come to terms with my past and leave it behind me is there anything I have forgotten left out is there anything that scares me. There is one thing. One thing that haunts me from page one to page twenty-two. I have never spoken of it. I have never told another Person what I did to that man, how violently out of control I was, how badly I hurt him. It haunts me.

I pick up the pen and I pick up my stack of yellow paper and I fold it in half. I place the stack in my pocket I pick up the pad and the pen and I stand and I walk back across the grass the Sun is starting to fall. The breeze is starting to pick up. It is no longer singing it is screaming, screaming bloody murder. I open the sliding-glass door and I walk to the shelves. I put the pad and the pen in their proper place.

The Unit is crowded with men relaxing before dinner. I don’t speak to any of them. I walk up the stairs and I go to my Room and I walk into the Bathroom and I stand before the mirror. I have written the wrongs of my life they are in my pocket I want to see if I can face myself. I put my hands on the sink. They shake against the white porcelain. I start to look up toward the mirror. I can see my lips quivering. I get to my nose to the black lashes beneath my eyes I go to the bottom of my eyes. To the pale green. To the dirty green. To the green that is impure. I am staring at the bottom of the green there is only one thing keeping me from looking into my own eyes. Looking into my own self. Looking into the past that is mine and that is in my pocket. That Motherfucker in Paris. There is only one thing.

I let go of the sink and I turn and I walk out the Bathroom. I walk to the Dining Hall and I eat dinner with Miles and Michael. After dinner I go to the Lecture, but I don’t listen to it. After the Lecture, I go back to my Room.

I try to read, but I can’t.

I climb into bed and I try to sleep.

There is one thing.

That haunts me.



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