Summer Again (Prologue)

Some person or other said that you don’t know who you are until you’re pushed to your breaking point.  I think it was someone like Winston Churchill.  Don’t really know.  But I can say that that summer, all of us were pushed to our limits, and went into a world that none of us wanted to.  All to get justice for a friend.  Someone I cared about so much.  Maybe, if he ever comes back from what happened to him, I can care about him again.  I want to.  Want those good, innocent days back again.  You never know what you’ve got until it’s not there anymore.  This is gonna be a long story, but I wanna tell it.  So bear with me.  Please.
It ain’t for the faint of heart.  If you can’t handle ugly, twisted, scary things, you should walk away now.  But it’s the truth.  One that the police and our parents can’t wash away with everything else.  What do I start?  I guess it would be when school got out, that fateful summer…

Staring at the clock on the wall is always the worst.  The absolute worst.  Had my science teacher tell me that time doesn’t really slow down when you watch the clock.  Same as when you watch a pot boil.  What does he know?!  Clearly he was never a kid who wanted to get out of school on that last day.  I shouldn’t say that.  That’s mean.  Mr. Bergie is a cool guy.  Probably the coolest teacher here.  I remember when he brought in the beaver to dissect for the class.  That was crazy!  But cool.  All the digesting wood in its gut.
Yeah, this is why mom says I’m a tomboy.  Every other girl was totally grossed out.  I thought it was awesome!  We got to dissect a frog too, and that pretty cool.  I was gonna miss him.  But that didn’t stop me from watching that clock and desperately wishing it would hit 3:00 so we could get the hell out of there!
Looked over at Johnny.  He was my best friend.  Well, one of them.  We had this little crew.  Me, Johnny, our big man Eli who was kind of the ringleader, and Griffin.  It’s weird, because Griffin is Eli’s cousin, but he’s black.  You’d never know the two were related, on his dad’s side.  They’ve been best bros for ages.  Grew up together, and would do anything for each other.  Sometimes I thought Griffin was a bit of a perv, but he was always cool with me.  There was this one girl he was all over who lived down the way from Eli.  I think Eli has a crush on her, but he isn’t talking about it.  Part of me thinks that she likes him too.  I don’t know, call it a gut feeling.
Finally, and I hella mean FINALLY, the clock hit 3 and the bell went off.  Mrs. Guyer told us all to have a good summer and whatever, but none of us were listening.  I grabbed my backpack and was running for the door.  Johnny was right on my heels.
“Dude, we have to call Eli tonight!  I wanna be at the first showing!”
I nodded.  “Hell yeah!”
“Language, Sara!” I heard a voice call.  Mr. McCourt was giving me a mean look.  I shrugged at him.  It’s summer.  Don’t care about his rules.
“So, you got your ticket money?” Johnny asked.
“You know it.  Daddy always gives me some pocket money when I give him the puppy-dog face.”
He rolled his eyes.  “Yeah, well, I had to work for mine, beeotch.  Mom don’t give me shit.”
“But you got it covered, right?”
“Yeah, I do.  We’re good to go.”
“Better be.  I’m not gonna miss out on Jurassic Park because your ass is broke.”
We got outside and saw Eli and Griffin standing there talking.  The two of us ran over.
“Man, could today have gone any fucking slower?” Eli asked.
“I know, right?!” I replied.
“Dude, I couldn’t believe Ms. Pettijohn wanted to give a lecture on the last day that we had a quiz about!” Griffin said, almost with a snarl.  “That’s just evil.”
Johnny snorted.  “Ms. Pettijohn is evil.  What else is new?”
Eli had a grumpy look on his face.  “Okay, new rule – no more school talk for the duration of summer.  Ya’ll are driving me frickin’ crazy.”
I nodded.  “Word!  Let’s pretend school doesn’t exist.”
Johnny gave us a look.  “Hard to do when it’s right behind us.”
Everyone groaned.  Literal as fuck!  This guy, dude.

We biked home.  Everyone was stoked about the movie.  The trailers were everywhere, so everyone was talking about.  I’d seen Eli with the book it’s based on.  Dude always loved books.  Been in his house, he had a ton of them.  Never could get into that stuff.  Give me a good movie or a video game any day over that.  Or learning about cars with uncle Tom.  He could tell me all about his cool cars and how they run all day.  Fucking rad, dude.
All of us were so excited.  This was our big plan for the summer.  See the movie, and talk about it.  We were hoping to get one of our parents to drop us off.  But that was something else to plan.  I just knew we’d have a million things to talk about.  A great beginning to what was hopefully gonna be an awesome summer.
We chilled at our old fort.  Set up under this really huge and really old pine tree.  It had these branches that went way far out and hung down in the front, but were big enough underneath to hide our place.  We had a chest here with our stuff, and a lock that only we knew the combination too.  There was also this rope wrapped around the tree that we could swing around from.  It wasn’t the most crazy fort, but this place was where we had been meeting up ever since we were tiny.
This summer was gonna be awesome.  I was absolutely sure of it.  Nothing could fuck up how amazing it was gonna be.

It started to get dark, so we made our way home.  Perks of being in the 7th grade now – we had a lot more freedom.  Dad’s rule was – it gets dark, you get home.  Simple enough, and summer had nights getting longer, so we had plenty of time.
I came up on my house when I looked over and saw a girl who lived next door.  Her name was Kate.  If we were superheroes, she’d be my arch-nemesis.  We are polar opposites.  I’m jeans, t-shirts, and a baseball cap with the 49ers on it.  She’s sun-dresses, makeup, and a cute hat.  Girl always wore hats.  At least we had that in common.  Except my hat was always the same.  Kate liked clothes.
“Hey Sara!” she called out.
Parking my bike, I smiled at her.  “Hey.”  Every time I saw her, I felt warm inside.  Over the past couple years, it had been getting stronger.  Wasn’t sure why.
“School’s out!  That’s pretty cool.”
“Hell yeah!”
She winced at the swearing.  Girl came from a super religious family.
“I got some big plans!”
“Still going to see that movie?” she asked.
“Nothin’s gonna stop us from seeing it!  Make no bones about it, we are going to that film!”
Kate smiled a bit.  “Just you and your friends?”
“Well yeah.  I mean, I don’t know who else would wanna go.”
She shifted her feet a bit.  Why so awkward?
“Maybe I’d wanna go.”
I chuckled a bit.  “Dude, your parents would NEVER let you see Jurassic Park.  It’s got the word ‘evolution’ in it.  They’d never even talk about letting you see it.”
There was a mischief look on her face.  “Well, maybe I don’t tell them we’re going to see it.  Maybe I just tell them I’m hanging out with you and your friends.  Not really a lie, right?”
Was a little impressed at that, not gonna lie.  “Girl’s sneaking around to see a movie.  Wow.  Wonder what Jesus would think?”
She rolled her eyes.  “I’m pretty Jesus has bigger problems than me seeing a movie with a friend.”
“That ain’t how your parents think.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not them.”  She was smiling right at me.  Made me want to melt.  What was up?  “So, think I can come with you?”
Gave her a little look.  “Well, I gotta ask the others.  We’re getting Eli’s sister to drive us.  Don’t know if there’s room.”
A little giggle.  “I could always sit in your lap.”
Heart pounded!  What the hell?!  “I mean, yeah, maybe.  I’ll let you know.”
“Cool.  I better go in.  Dinner will be done soon.”
“Yeah, me too.”
We kept staring at each other.
“Good night,” she said, finally.
“Night.”
What a weird thing that just happened.  Wasn’t sure what it was.  It felt like…nah.  Couldn’t be.

Dinner was always hella awkward.  Mom’s on this crusade to try and get me to be all girly and shit.  I hate it!  Which meant more shopping trips to the mall to try and dresses and make her happy.  I knew that if I didn’t, she’d try and stop me from hanging out with my friends.  Sometimes you gotta just suck it up and deal.  I never let her buy any of it for me, and I especially will NEVER wear any of it.
Daddy’s cooler.  I think he likes that I’m a tomboy because he always wanted a son.  Instead, he got three girls.  My oldest sister, Jenny, is in college.  She’s going for pre-med to become a surgeon.  Everyone is hella proud of her.  Then there’s Melissa.  She’s a junior in high school, and she wants to join the Army after getting out.  Become a military doctor.  That makes both my parents super proud and super nervous at the same time.  I remember the news that Dad would read and watch every night back when Desert Storm was going on.  It was scary stuff to see.  But she told them she wants to be a doctor in the military because they would pay for college.  That’s smart.
Then there’s me.  The tomboy who just lives life and doesn’t think that far ahead.  Being in the military could be cool, but definitely not Army.  I’m thinking Navy, so I shoot a big gun!  I remember going to the Naval shipyard where they build ships and submarines.  Uncle Tom works there, but he’s not military.  He’s part of the crew who builds stuff.  Took me on base once and showed me some of the stuff there.  It was rad!  Big guns and he talked about how many people it took to use them.  That sounded so fucking cool.  If I was gonna serve, that’s how I’d do it.  Shooting things with big guns.  Hope Uncle Tom would take me shooting one of these days.  He said he would.  See if he would take all of us.  Bet Eli would get hella nervous being around guns.
After dinner I went upstairs.  Didn’t even try and get any phone time.  Figured if Mom wasn’t trying to get online to play Jeopardy, then Mel was talking to her boyfriend.  Those two were so gross together.  Every second of every day he’s clinging on to her like a fucking bat.  Made a joke that I knows who wears the pants in that relationship, and it ain’t him.  Don’t think she liked that very much.
It was really late at night, past my bedtime, when the call came in.  Mom yelling about who would be calling now, and Dad picking up the phone.  Suddenly, he sounded very worried.  Could hear mom getting up, walking down to the phone.  Now my curiosity was piqued.
“Well, maybe he’s at one the other boy’s houses.” I could heard Dad say.
A pause.
“Oh god.  Okay.  We’ll start a search first thing in the morning.  Break of dawn, you have my word.”
Another pause.
“Looking for him at night would be counterproductive.  He’s a smart kid.  He’ll stay where he is so he can be easier to find.  I know it’s scary.  But we’ll find him!”
Now I was at the top of the stairs.  Dad looked up and his eyes met mine.  In that instant, I knew that something bad had happened.  Who were they looking for?!
“You called the police.  They’ll get a search party ready.  First light, we’re gonna go out there and we’ll find him.  I know, Evelyn.  I’m worried too.  But when one of us goes missing, this community will come together to find them.  Try and get some sleep.  You’re gonna need your strength in the morning.”
He hung up the phone, still looking at me.
“Sara, honey.  Johnny’s gone missing.  He never came home.  His mom called Eli’s parents and Griffin’s dad.  Nobody’s seen him.”
This ugly feeling came into my gut.  An ugly, horrible feeling.  He wouldn’t not go home!  Something happened!
“We’re gonna form a search party and look for him in the morning.”
“I’m coming with you!” I damn-near shouted.
“Honey, that’s not such a great idea,” Mom started.
“If you tell me no, I’m just gonna go looking for him on my own!”
The two of them looked at each other, then dad nodded.
“Okay, sweetie.  Be up, first thing tomorrow.”
That wasn’t a hard thing to ask for.  I didn’t sleep a wink that night.

Next day, to dad’s credit, a ton of people gathered.  There was Officer Lewllyn, and his wife.  A young patrol cop and his partner.  Eli and his family, Griffin and his, even Kate and her family.  Friends of Johnny’s family.  There was even family who came from out of town.  Said they drove all night.  Lots of neighbors.  Some of which I knew.  Chief Joe (that’s his last name.  I know, confusing.  He has two first names) came out and broke out a map.  He had drawn up a series of areas that he had likely gone missing.  Everyone got together and started breaking down areas to search.
I got together with Eli and Griffin.  All we could do is walk with everyone.  Couldn’t think of any words.  None of us could.  Kate came over and walked with us too.  I liked that.  The morning dragged on and one.  People calling Johnny’s name, looking for some evidence of him.  Some false-alarms.  A homeless guy who appeared out of the forest, looking disheveled.  Seen the dude around the diner Mom works at.  Nice enough, but you always are a little careful.
The search went on for hours, but there was nothing.  We just kept going around and around, but nothing was found.  Not a single trace.  It was like he vanished from existence.  His route home was always the same.  Always.  We should have found something.  It was nearly nighttime when the search was called off.  Chief said it would “reconvene in the morning.”  Whatever the fuck that meant.

Hours turned into days.  Days when I had no appetite, no desire to do anything except sit in our fort and cry.  You have all those stupid PSAs about being careful and stranger danger and shit.  Guess it was more than something just talking.  Then, after two and a half agonizing weeks, he finally turned up.  Though, I don’t think he was supposed to.
Dad got the call from Officer Lewllyn.  He said that a couple fishermen found a body on the river’s edge, north of town.  He’s alive, but they didn’t think he was supposed to be.  There were rope marks like he was tied to something and thrown in the river.  It came loose, whatever it was.  He floated downstream, washing up on the bank.  Dad didn’t tell me how bad it was, but he was hurt.  Said it was really bad.  The fact that he’s still alive is amazing.  We went to the hospital.
I nearly ran inside.  Was told what room he was in, and charged upstairs.  When I got there, Eli was already there.  He walked over and put his arms around me.  I liked that.  I needed to be hugged right now.  Normally not the type, but I really, really needed it.  Johnny’s mom was there.  She was a mess.  Makeup that was smeared, trying to look like she was holding it together.
The adults all talked, but that wasn’t why I was here.  I walked over to where the bed was.  A curtain was drawn around it.  Walking inside, I stopped cold.  There, lying on the bed, was Johnny.  He didn’t look human.  Tubes in his mouth, one in his nose.  His skin was red and purple.  There was a giant bandage around his hand.  Bandages all over his body.  What the fuck happened?!
Eli put his arms around me again.  The dude had a gift at knowing when I needed to be held.  It was so awful.
“We’re gonna get to the bottom of this,” he whispered in my ear.  “I swear, we’re gonna find out who did this.  And then fucking kill them!”

When I got home, there was nothing that I could feel.  Food had no taste.  Nothing mattered.  I just went into my room and crashed into my bed.  Sleep finally greeted me.  I don’t think I was awake long enough to perceive hitting the pillow.  Just gone.

My eyes opened and I was in a white room.  On a bed that was really, really uncomfortable.  Sitting up, I saw that I was wearing a weird off-green shirt and pants.  Super light.  What the fuck was this?  There was a a window on the door.  It showed sunlight coming in.  My room had a desk as well, with a light.  It was off.  Getting up, my feet greeted the freezing cold floor.  That sucked.  There were slippers.  Like something you’d see in a hospital.  Weird.
Knocking on the door, I tried to look out.  It was taller than I was.
“Hello?  Is anyone there?”
There was a brief pause, and then the door opened.  Standing there was a very large black woman, with curly hair and a kindly look on her face.
“Hey there, honey.  You’re finally up!”
“Where am I?”
She frowned.  “You don’t know?  This is the Millwood Asylum.  We look after people who have mental problems.”
Oh no.  Oh fucking no!  I was in a mental asylum?!  Wait, who even calls them that anymore?
“I’m not crazy!  What am I doing here?!”
The woman gave me a gentle smile.  Very motherly.  “Oh honey, it’s okay.  You’ve nothing to be afraid of here.  We’re gonna help you get better.  That’s why you were brought here.”  She motioned toward the door.  “Come on.  Let’s get you to meeting the population.  I’m sure you’ll have a lot to talk about.”
Part of me knew that this place was connected to what was happening outside.  Don’t ask me how I knew.  I just did.  What the fuck was I going to do now?

Until next time, a quote,

“The instruments are gruesome, but a hole in the head gives the troubles more space!” – Nurse, Alice: Madness Returns

Peace out,

Maverick

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Adulthood Sucks

Decided to do a personal post.  This is about the only place I can be honest with everyone.  In my real world interactions, I basically choose not to talk to anyone, because everywhere I fucking look, it’s people not wanting to talk to me because I’m not super positive guy.  And if you aren’t blowing sunshine up someone’s ass, you are worth talking to.  That’s my life now.  Just avoiding people because if you aren’t happy, NOBODY wants to talk to you.  Everyone avoids you.  It’s just the world we live in.  Right now, I’m getting real sick of that.  Sick of life, and all the bullshit that goes with it.

I hate adulthood.  I fucking despise it.  If I got a time machine, I would go back and tell young me to savor his youth as long as he possibly could.  Of course, my youth ended kinda fast.  See, I had this head injury when I was 14 that fucked my life forever, and I had to grow up real fast.  There’s another thing I’d change.  I’d tell me not to go riding on a bike.  Just walk places.  Stay off that road.  Don’t get into sports.  Was a bad idea to start with.  I’d do a lot of things.

My rent is about to go up.  A lot.  I thought for a while it wasn’t so bad, but now that I see my new financial situation with a vehicle in my name, it just gets worse.  All of my finances are just shit, and my ability to save in any measure is pretty much fucked.  I keep running the numbers, over and over, in my head.  There’s no escape.  None.  I’m saddled with this endless cavalcade of bullshit.  It’s sucking the life out of me right now.

Had a million fucking interviews lately for jobs that pay better.  Getting real fucking tired of it, but can I stop?  Can I rest on my laurels?  I wish I could!  I like the team I’m with now.  They are awesome people.  But no!  I have to keep at this fruitless task, because a job that pays better is a requisite.  I can hear you saying – why not get two jobs?  I work 9-5, five days a week.  So what does that mean for my working?  It means I’d have to get a job I can work on weekends.  You know what that means – retail.  Because no other kind of employer only hires people part time on weekends.  With my medical issues, a job on my feet for hours on end is out.  So yeah, that’s out.

I remember thinking that when I was an adult, I could do what I wanted.  If I wanted something, since I knew I’d be working, I could buy it myself.  Christmas and birthdays would lose some of their child-like luster, but I was more and more enjoying the idea of just spending time with family.  Yeah, my list isn’t going to get any smaller this year.  Because buying things for myself is a cute idea!  Kinda like a vacation, or going to big events, or a social life, or fucking anything!

Doesn’t help that my personal life is another cute idea that died a long time ago.  I get all the ugly shit associated with adulthood, and none of the perks.  No love life.  No sex life.  No fucking anything!  Just getting up, going to work, coming home.  That’s my entire worthless, miserable life.  But you can’t tell that to people.  Because then you get the patronizing bullshit calls or something of “are you okay?”  No!  But what are you gonna do about it?!  I can’t even afford to go long distance to the family because gas ain’t cheap either!  Fuck!

I am so fucking tired of nothing working in my favor.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – where can I cash in on this fucking privilege that these SJWs claim I have in such abundance?  I have white privilege, tall privilege, male privilege, and this is really a thing, smart privilege.  I guess we should extol the virtues of being stupid.  There’s an American thought for ya.  Well tell you what, who do I have to talk to in order to get all the perks?!  I will go there right now and find the nearest minority and rub their nose in these perks!  I want my perks!  Where the fuck are they?!  I have had to fight and scratch and claw and bleed to get ANYWHERE in my life!  So where the fuck can I get these imaginary perks that people say I have?!  Please, tell me where to go.  I will go there.  Today!  Right now!

Bust my fucking ass, and for what?!  So I can have nobody to talk to about why things are hard right now?!  Because everyone ignores me like the fucking plague because I’m negative?!  “Lucien, nobody likes a downer.”  Well then, I guess I get to be alone for the rest of my life.  However long that ends up being.  I take stupid risks just to feel…anything.  I have no fear of death.  Hell, I welcome it.  Am I suicidal?  Damn right!  Only difference is that I have somewhere I have to get to before I can do that.  I refuse to let my life end in this miserable apartment in this miserable city in this fucking icebox state where winter takes up seven months out of the goddamn year.

Every day I do my very best to be the best at whatever I do.  Where has it gotten me?  Nowhere.  It’s gotten me failed relationships, failed friendships, and the subtle realization that one day I will wake up and I’ll be 40 and I’ll probably be in the same goddamn place doing the same goddamn thing.  This is my life!  I fucking hate adulthood.  I would give my last 30 years to be able to go back and enjoy being a kid all over again.  Because looking at the future gives me a fucking headache.  Looking at the past feels pretty alright.

Until next time, a quote,

“‘What’s your favorite childhood memory?’ Not paying bills.” – Anonymous

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Traumatizing Things in Fiction as a Child

I haven’t done a top 10 list in ages, and because I am so original, I want to piggy-back off this concept one of my favorite YouTubers put out – traumatizing things in fiction as a child.  As a kid, I had a love-hate relationship with fear.  I loved getting afraid of things, just so I could become more enamored with them.  Today I have a relationship with fear that it’s just being wasted.  Gory horror films do nothing for me.  Deep psychological thrillers, or horror films that actually take the time to build atmosphere (there are so few) are my jam.  As a kid, the stuff that scared me tended to grab my attention.  But that doesn’t mean that it didn’t fuck me up all the same.  Here is a list of the top ten things in fiction that REALLY messed with me, growing up, in a scary way.  Won’t be including any visual aids for this.  Sorry if that’s a deal-breaker.  I just have some of these attached to memories I’d like to forget.

10. Turning into lizard creatures
Star Trek Voyager
In one episode, Lt. Paris had discovered that it was possible to go to warp 10.  He wanted to test this, and he just so happened to take Capt. Janeway along for the ride.  What followed was them turning into these weird lizard creatures. But it wasn’t what you’d expect from Star Trek.  They weren’t some big bulky thing that you can clearly tell is a costume or prop.  They turn into these small creatures that look real.  It was so unsettling to me as a child.  For whatever reason, it just scared me out of my wits that I would turn into one of those things one day.

9. Pig head girl
Goosebumps
This one just fucked with my head.  An episode of Goosebumps featured this city that people could warp into.  It was a two-part episode where you had one of the main characters being turned into a pig because of her greed.  That image just fucked with me so hard.  Looking back on it now it’s ridiculous.  But at the time it just fucked me up so hard.

8. Back monster scene
Phantasm II
As a kid I had this bad habit of going over to my uncle’s house.  He is hardcore religious, and had a pool.  But he also had another thing that he did – watch movies that were SO not appropriate for children.  And as a kid who liked to do things I wasn’t supposed to, I would sneak over sometimes and watch them.  One such film was Phantasm II.  In it, we have a scene with a woman who is covered by a black cloak.  They pull it off her face, and see that her mouth is taped shut.  What else is under that cloak?  They pull back more to reveal that there is a monster inside of her back, eating her.  That scene stuck with me so hard.  Scared the living shit out of me.  But I couldn’t tell my parents about it because I would have gotten in trouble.  The things I dealt with in silence.

7. The covers
Scary Stories (series)
Remember what I said about things that scared me enticing me to know more?  Well, this was one such instance.  I am so fucking pissed that they redid the covers for the new editions of the stories.  The reasoning?  Because they are too scary for kids.  Bullshit!  That is fucking stupid, and people who think that way are stupider.  Yeah, they are scary, but sometimes things that scare kids also intrigue them.  We like a little fear.  I read all of those books because of the covers.  And the neat fact is that the stories themselves were usually about sources of fear who are just misunderstood.  I hate this idea that we have to make the world less difficult for children.  Yeah, because kids can’t handle some scary imagery.  Give me a fucking break.

6. The Witch
Hansel and Gretel
I honestly don’t know which version of this story I saw as a kid, but I remember that there was one version with this character who just fucked up my head so hard.  Something about her screaming at these two children who she had chained up in a cage just messed with my head so fucking hard.  I wish I could remember which version I saw.  This story has been done to death.  Another relic from a time gone by – when we could scare the shit out of children and it was okay, so long as the story has a happy ending.  Don Bluth became a household name in the 80’s because of that philosophy, and he is absolutely right.

5. The threat of nuclear annihilation
I honestly don’t remember what specifically it was that got me scared of this.  Maybe it was a movie, or the news, but I remember that the idea of a nuclear weapon attacking my house scared the piss out of me.  To the point that I slept in my parents bedroom for ages.  We had these mattresses that you could move around, and I was sleeping on one in the corner of their room for a long time.  Now that we could be facing down World War III with North Korea, and the fact that my home state is in their launch radius, that thought has come back to me.  Only this time I think I’d grab some marshmallows and enjoy the roast.

4. The Oompa Loompas
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
I’m talking about the original, not that weird Tim Burton shit.  In this film, the only thing I found truly frightening as a kid growing up with those orange-faced bastards.  They are fucking creepy!  Their creepy faces and their creepy green hair and their creepy songs.  I hated them so much.  To this day I’m not a huge fan.  If I will say what the remakes did better, it is the different songs.  One good spot on a terrible movie.  That’s something, right?

3. Slappy the Puppet
Goosebumps
Oh my Groj, this fucking puppet.  One of the times that something didn’t entice me through fear and just freaked me the fuck out was this puppet.  Everything from its creepy face to its creepy voice, the thing was just so scary!  The guy they got for this puppet was just amazing.  To this day, that creepy face makes my skin crawl.  I’m well-aware how fake it all is, but it’s all in the performance.  The guy they got for that was just too good.

2. Chernabog
Fantasia
The quintessential example of fear compelling me to fascination.  As I am sure many who read my site know, Fantasia is not only my favorite Disney film, but my second favorite film of all time.  And nowhere was that quality better exemplified than in the final number.  In it, we see a powerful demon by the name of Chernabog summoning forth all of the damned for what must be one hell of a party.  That creature mesmerized me.  I loved everything about it.  It had size, presence, and a creepy smile that just played into how scared and captivated I was at the same time.  This character has become a staple of what I love about that film.  Just made me want to go to the party that much more.

And the thing that freaked me out the most in fiction as a kid…

1. Expanding feet
Full House
A disclaimer – I didn’t like this show growing up.  It was stupid, but I was young enough to be stuck watching it when the rest of the family was.  And one scene that really fucked with my head growing up was when the youngest child in the family had this scary dream about her feet expanding really huge, and seeing it.  That shit fucked me up!  For weeks I had bad dreams about that concept, and to this day I feel a little weird when I see it.  Old trauma, maybe?  In any case, in a series devoid of any real tension or darkness, that one element has stuck with me.  Hell, it’s the only thing I can actually remember about the series, outside of the Nostalgia Critic’s review of it.

So, what stuff from fiction fucked up your life as a kid?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“Like I said before, I think kids like being scared because it pulls them much more into the action. If they didn’t like being scared, they wouldn’t go out for Halloween, or watch High School Musical” – Nostalgia Critic

Peace out,

Maverick

The Music I Grew Up With

I’ve been watching the latest Musical Autopsy video from A Dose of Buckley, and I got to thinking about something – the music I grew up with.  See, unlike the girl in the video that he was dissecting, I actually did grow up in the 90’s.  Well, some of the 90’s.  I was born in 1988, which means that I spent a good couple years of the 90’s in diapers.  Then I was a kid.  But I do remember some things about the music that I grew up with.  This post is probably just going to be self-indulgent, but I will have an avenue for all of you to tell me some stuff in the Comments down below.  We’ll get there when we get there.  Truth is, part of me wants to see what memories come back to me.  After my head injury, the past is a strange animal to me.  So, with that in mind, let’s try and figure this out.

First thing to know is – a lot of the music I grew up with was oldies.  It’s what my parents listened to, and it’s what I listened to.  Well, that and classical music.  The first Disney film I ever watched is my second-favorite movie of all time, Fantasia.  It formed my love of classical music and my love of 2D animation.  A style that I SO lament having died the death it did.  I wish it would come back in this country.  I doubt it will ever happen, but I can dream, can’t I?  So that was the kind of music that I grew up with the most.  I have memories of spending time with my grandma Mary (she’s just Grandma to me) listening to my favorite piece of classical music of all time – Clair De Lune – on a cassette tape.  The tape that was on, I must have listened to it a thousand times.  One of the many memories I have of spending time with her.  Makes me lament the countless memories that have been atom-bombed out of existence when I smashed my skull open.

The next thing that I grew up with was jazz.  I thank one of my oldest and dearest girly-mates for getting me into that.  Or rather, her dad.  Her dad and I had a VERY antagonistic relationship with one-another.  Truth be told, I liked the guy for that.  He was the only adult in my life who gave shit to me, and who had no qualms with me giving shit back to him.  It helped keep my rapier wit sharp.  I honestly have missed having such a person in my life.  If it weren’t for my trolling people on Twitter and various boards, my skills would have gone soft ages ago.  He was an asshole, but so am I.  I always was something of a little shit.  So we got along great.  When him and my girly-mate’s mom got a divorce, I always missed that connection.  Were it not for a guy-cousin of mine who I have had a long-standing shit-giving relationship with, I don’t think my wit would be what it is today.  The memories are coming back.  This feels good.

Anyway, after that amazing tangent, I got into jazz.  The big-band stuff.  But I have something to admit to you – I have a dark secret.  I listened to the Kenny G style smooth jazz.  I know, I know, it’s terrible.  I was young, and my tastes were as odd as I was as a kid.  There is a song that I remembered playing on the smooth jazz radio station growing up.  It’s been driving me nuts!  I couldn’t remember what it was.  Then I remembered.  This is the first song that I remember.  It is the oldest memory I have with clarity – listening to this song in my bedroom on the radio, feeling the breeze come in on my face in the summer.

Another thing I remember being into, music-wise – Smash Mouth.  Whatever you are about to say, stow it.  That shit is catchy!  I still listen to that now.  The aforementioned girly-mate and I would listen to them together.  I remember when we’d be in her room, listening to Smash Mouth and hanging out.  Fond memories.  My music memories are tied in entirely with her.  The brother I never had and I weren’t much for the musical selection.  If you want to talk to me about gaming back in the day, that is where him and I shined the most.  Anyway, Smash Mouth was both popular back in my time growing up, and I will admit to liking it.

Here is where I have to get a little bit bashful.  I am going to send this post to the lady-friend, and I am going to see if this makes her feel a little ashamed to.  There was another group that I was into, growing up.  Listening to their stuff now, it is downright ear sodomy.  But I was young!  It was what was the jamming tunes to hear.  Those of you who know this group, let’s see how many of you will be willing to own up to listening to them – Eiffel 65.  A French electronica group.  Their tune “Blue” was HUGE for a while.  So was their tune “Move Your Body.”  For all you kids today who wanted to know what club music was like back in the day, now you know.  It was electronica madness like that.  Look up those songs, and you’ll learn something about history.  I still, to this day, have their one and only CD they ever released.  I have ALL my old CDs.  I’m retro as fuck like that.

Then there was the music that the Sister was into.  Anyone who knows the 90’s knows what females in the 90’s were listening to.  Anyone wanna put in a guess?  Boy-bands.  The mid to late-90’s boy-bands were among the signature things that marked an era.  After Kurt Cobain and the style he brought forward died (the saddest fucking thing ever), that was the big thing that replaced it.  If I could tell you all the amount of days that I spent having to have my sister’s insufferable fucking taste in music blasted from her room on her stereo, I would tell you of the most hellish time.  It’s part of the reason that I spent so much time in the basement or outside.  Got me away from her shitty-ass music.

Another musical memory I have was from a tape that a friend of the family made for my grandparents on their 50th anniversary.  It was “Just the Way You Are,” by Billy Joel.  I still have memories tied to that song.  I have memories tied to a couple songs by Billy Joel.  He’s one of my favorite musicians now.  I happen to know that my mother reads my site, so this might bring back some sad memories.  Part of me always wondered what happened to that tape.  Copies were given to the family.  With my grandmother having passed last year, it seems like a nice way to keep their memories going.  If I could find that old VHS, there are ways to turn those into DVDs.  Or digital files, but I like having a hard copy of stuff.  Remember what I was saying about having my old CDs?  That song takes me back to my grandparents on the mum’s side.  I was never as tight with them as I was with Grandma.  Part of it was proximity.  The other part was that my grandma Betty and I just bumped-heads in the worst way.  She was a nice gal, but I admit that we didn’t always get along.  Grandpa White was a good guy.  My memories of going to Seward with them in the summer are among the fondest memories I have of growing up.

The last musical memories I have are listening to Christmas music during the holiday season.  Remember what I said about oldies being what my parents listened to?  Same deal.  I LOVE the old stuff in that regard.  Maybe should have made this post during the holiday season, but whatever.  I’m here now, and I am writing this.  I am certain that the old cassette tapes that I listened to to DEATH are gone.  No joke, the old cassettes of Christmas music from the members of the Rat Pack and Johnny Mathis and their ilk were ones that I listened to almost as much as I watched my old VHS tape of Fantasia.  It was insane.  The memories I have of decorating the tree, watching the snow fall, and just being a kid during that time of year.  Makes me wish I could go back.  Living the adult life is doing me no favors.  Living past my head injury hasn’t done me any favors.  In the back of my mind, part of me has always wished that I hadn’t.  That that had been the end of it for me.  The endless medical problems.  The depression caused by brain damage.  It has been an unending hell, that everyone keeps telling me will get better.  But it doesn’t.  I just keep being here, suffering through it.

So yeah, that is the music I grew up with.  Here’s where I want all of you to get involved.  Tell me some of your musical stories in the Comments.  For real, I want to know.  What was the music that you grew up with, and has that music stayed with you?  Let’s all regale our history of days of old.

Until next time, a quote,

“When I was a kid, growing up, music was the escape.  That’s the only thing that had no judgements.  You know?  You could put on a record and it’s not gonna yell at you for dressing the way you do.  It’s gonna make you feel better about it.”  -Marilyn Manson, Bowling For Columbine

Peace out,

Maverick

Lazy Afternoons, Long Gone By

(An old thing I wrote, a long time ago)

I see her there, in that house.  The summer has just begun.  There is three months of freedom ahead of me!  What bliss!  Nothing but time and happiness.  What more could a kid want?  I get to the house, and she’s sitting in the chair, reading a book.  Short shorts and a tee shirt.  Seeing her makes me so happy.  The summer makes me happy too.  I could sit out in that wind for a lifetime.  Indeed, that’s the best thing about summer – the wind.  The wind ties it all together.  Makes it real.  The heat isn’t our favorite thing, but that wind makes everything worthwhile.

Greeting her, I go inside.  She says hi and smiled at me.  That smile, it’s so nice.  For the longest time, I have felt like there is something that I should say to her.  But the words escape me.  Am I too young?  Maybe.  Or maybe it’s just something beyond my grasp.  Still, every time I see her, my heart lights up.  What is this feeling?  Beating so fast.  Where does this emotion come from?  What does all this mean?  I shake my head, putting it out of my mind.  We have a whole summer ahead of us!  I’m not gonna waste a moment of it.

Do adults have these lazy afternoons?  Are they able to enjoy this time, like I do?  I don’t think so.  I don’t think so.  They’re always going to work, and then coming home tired and seemingly unhappy.  I am not looking forward to becoming an adult.  What do they have going on in their lives?  Doesn’t seem like much.  No video games, no books, no nothing.  Just gardening, garage stuff and whatnot.  Geez, is that fun?

So many great plans.  Swimming in my uncle’s pool.  Hanging and talking on the trampoline.  Going out to our secret fort and spending time.  This is the life!  Though part of me always wondered what it’s like to be some small town kid.  I live out in the middle of nowhere.  Nothing but poor people, out here.  Everywhere you look, poor people, in the shabbiest houses.  It’s pretty bad.  Is that also what adulthood is like?  I can’t even imagine.

My best friend will be around too.  Him and I don’t get to see enough of each other.  We can hang out in our secret room in the basement, where we can make our perfect utopia and muse about whatever is on our minds.  He is the brother I never had.  The sibling I always wanted.  She’ll hang with us too.  That’s good.  The three of us are inseparable.  I hope that I never have to leave where they are.  The three of us can do stuff forever.  We can see movies and play games and hang out.  That’s all I really want.  Sure, I want to write and stuff, but that’s just work.  All I really needs is him and her.

If I had more guts, I’d talk to her.  Maybe try and tell her about these weird feelings I have inside me.  It seems so good.  Like, every time we’re in a room together, the world looks so much better.  Then there are the later times.  We will hang out late in the day, sitting in her room and listening to Pure Moods.  She has this trippy glitter lamp that makes the walls all shiny and purple.  I hope to get one of those myself, someday.  Makes me wish I could describe this feeling better.  Like, my heart pounds.  We were at the lake, the other day.  Just talking and swimming and stuff.  We were next to each other, and all I wanted to do was be closer.  She was close to me, and that was enough.  What is that?  Love?  That seems like the right word.  But, it’s weird, right?  We’ve known each other forever.  And…never mind.  I just, if this is what I think it is, I don’t know what I’ll do.  Tell her?  I wish I could.  I really do.

Summer is my favorite time of year.  It gets me to writing this stuff.  You should see my drawer with writing in it.  It’s freaking crazy!  Got so much stuff!  I’m writing this in my “journal.”  Yeah, doesn’t even deserve the name.  I almost never write in this.  Christmas is cool and all, but summer is freedom.  Maybe, someday, if things change between her and I, I’ll be able to tell her.  Until then, I guess that’s what it is.  I think it is love.  I love her.  So weird, saying that out loud.  I love her.  The more I say it, the more it’s real.  Guess I couldn’t stay a little kid forever.

That’s my mission – find a point, before the end of the summer, that I can tell her.  That’s what I’m going to do!  Wish me luck.

(The tragic part is – I never did.  When I finally was able to tell her, the story was been and gone.  That is something I’ll always regret.  It breaks my heart, every time)

Until next time, a quote,

“Well, I doubt we can be together forever. But isn’t that what growing up’s all about? What’s important isn’t how often we see each other, but how often we think about each other. Right?” – Hayner, Kingdom Hearts II.5 ReMIX

Peace out,

Maverick

Jehovah Doesn’t like Magic Toys?

There comes a point where I have to wonder if even Christians aren’t a little ashamed by how ridiculous their beliefs are.  I mean, there is this video that is making the rounds where you see this kid coming home.  He is playing with a new toy and is really having a good time.  It is a magical wizard knight or something.  Anyway, the mom sees him playing  and asks what that toy is and where he got it from.  The kid explains that it was given to him by a friend (or maybe borrowed, but you never find out for certain) and that all of his friends are really stoked about this toy.  There is also a movie about this wizard knight character coming out in the near-future as well, which the boy wants to see.  So, the mother goes into this passive-aggressive talk with the kid asking him who likes magic?  Well Satan, of course.  And since Satan likes magic, his wanting to see a movie about a magic knight and play with that toy is sinning.  The kid throws the toy in the trash and the mother says that she is proud of him, but more-importantly, Jehovah is proud of him too.

This little bit of shitty-shit video was put out by Jehovah’s Witnesses, obviously.  And it brings new light to something that I have always thought – this Jehovah character is just too ridiculously judgmental to be real.

Let me put this into perspective for you.  We live on one arm of a galaxy.  We are one star of billions of stars in this galaxy.  We are one planet orbiting that one star of a arm on the far-edge of this galaxy.  Now, our galaxy is one galaxy of billions of other galaxies.  Each of those galaxies have billions of stars, with most of them probably having planets.  Of those, it is a good bet that probably 1 in 3 system have planets with life.  Of those, it is a good bet that 1 in 5 of those have planets with sentient life.  So, what we are looking at is a number we can’t comprehend of worlds with life that can think and read and make ships that go into space.

With that in mind, I have to ask – how can you possibly believe that this God character would give a shit what toy a kid plays with?  It is hard for people to understand just how vast this cosmos is, or how long it has been here.  We have proven, beyond any doubt, that the universe is over 4 billion years old.  Through all that time, do you honestly believe that a being capable of creating this universe would care what the lifeforms on one tiny, insignificant planet in the vast space of their cosmos does?  How can you buy that?  How does that not strike you as totally nuts?!

I am sure that I am going to get one bible-thumping retard in my comments section who will say that they have faith.  Ah, faith, the device the people use to get rid of their critical thinking skills.  A device where you can live in ignorance all you want and it’s okay.

The god-character that they describe sounds like a butt-hurt child who gets mad and throws tantrums and doesn’t like people because they don’t like what he likes.  Wow, he sounds like a teenage girl.  I don’t believe in ANY of that religious horseshit, but even I have to pause at the idea that they believe that the being who created this unbelievably vast cosmos, who made this universe that we are a part of and is so beautiful, with the endless number of things that we don’t know, and is a character who is so immature that he will send a small child to eternal torment because they played with the wrong toy.  How the fuck can you possibly say that with a straight face?  As annoying as I find it, it is funny to me just thinking about it.

Can Christians just admit that this isn’t real?  All the evidence about this character’s behavior suggests that this is nothing but a complete farce that they believe in because it makes them feel good.  There isn’t ONE scrap of evidence of this creature’s existence, and if there is a creator to it all, it is NOTHING like the character they portray.

Oh, and that cartoon is hilarious.  Look it up, if you ever are of a mind to.

Until next time, a quote,

“Religion is the greatest bullshit story ever told.”  -George Carlin

Peace out,

Maverick

Christians and Youth

I remember as a kid, growing up where I did.  I won’t say where, because I don’t want to embarrass anybody, or make anybody pissed, because as I have recently figured out, I don’t often know who is reading this blog.  There could be somebody from my hometown who is keeping tabs on me.

Anyway, I remember that there was a pastor at my parent’s church (it was never my church.  I never wanted to be there, and I was bored by what I figured out at a young age was a lot of ridiculous non-sense.  I was bored to death, but I didn’t hate it there.  The main pastor was a nice guy.  He always seemed to have a neat story about his travels.  Granted, that was what made his sermons boring, but still, he was a nice guy.  Then, for a lot of my time there growing up, there was this guy who was his underling pastor (I have no idea what the correct terminology is here, so if anyone from the aforementioned hometown wants to correct me, I would be more than happy to hear it).  Let’s call him…Andy.

Pastor Andy was…not the other guy.  See, his schtick was that he was trying to be engaging to the young people.  He played a guitar, and had long hair, and a beard!  Because that’s really cool.  Thankfully, he didn’t do anything really stupid, like try and talk hip or talk down to us in what was popular at the time.  No, he had a much more basic way to try and be fun to the youth.  And…it failed, miserably.  From day one, Andy and I didn’t get along.  Something about this dude rubbed me the wrong way, and the feeling was mutual.  He didn’t like me anymore than I liked him, and while we weren’t open about this animosity, we made no effort to hide it.  Our time together was mostly spent with sarcastic quips and slight little insults.  It was not fun.  The culmination of him and I not liking each other was when we had a youth event that I was forced to go on (to this day, I don’t hold it against my parents that they wanted me involved with the other kids at the church.  I get why they wanted it.  I just didn’t fit in).  The two of us, by chance, ended up alone in a room together, and that was when the insults between us got a lot more open.  It was at that point that I made a point to avoid Andy, because he pissed me off.  When he left the church, I didn’t miss him.  Of course, it wasn’t long after that I left the church, but for entirely different reasons (I was done with Christianity and how stupid it is)

So, to the point of this post, Christians, it is time for you to accept that all your attempts to be cool and connect with the youth fail.  Badly.  And here is one of those few areas that I actually have nothing negative to say about Christians.  Now, I’m not talking about those Fundies or the Evangelicals who try and brainwash little kids.  No, that is pure evil.  I’m talking about the Christian groups who try and appeal to teenagers, and young adults.  The pastors and groups who try all sorts of gimmicks to make the youth like them more.

Let’s start by looking at Christian rock.  Wow, the name alone sounds like some oxymoron that shouldn’t have been uttered by anybody.  This is one of the most unintentional sources of hilarity for me.  For one thing, it isn’t rock.  Let’s just accept that now.  At best, and I do mean best, it is pop music.  Until I hear a Christian group bust out like Rolling Stones, they cannot begin to call themselves “rock.” (and please don’t send me some link to a cover they made of a Rolling Stones song with their BS lyrics.  That doesn’t count!) The lyrics are awful, the message is bullshit, it is just a great time.  If you want to hear a much better dissection of how bad Christian “rock” is, here’s a great video that I recommend you check out.  Not one of the artists featured in that video could stand tall to any of the rock legends, like the Stones, or Pink Floyd, or Metallica.  Not one.  They are pop songs, and that is at best.

You know what’s funny to me?  I actually have more affinity for some of the hymns I had to listen to back in church (I never sang.  It wasn’t worth it) than I do for that bullshit.  Some of them were kind of fun.  Some were bouncy and had catch tunes, and the harmonies were fun.  It was actually enjoyable.  The lyrics were dumb, but at least it had a nice tune.  That counts for something with me.  But apparently, to the rest of the youth, it does not.  Actually, no, it still does.  The youth hate Christian “rock” as much as I do.  I have a great quote from a very underrated show, King of the Hill about this, as spoken by Hank Hill –

Can’t you see you’re not making Christianity any better, you’re just making rock ‘n roll worse.

Well said, Hank.

Then there are the preachers who actually do decide to go down the road of trying to talk street.  I cannot tell you how much I have busted out laughing when I was with a youth group and there was this preacher who tried a Christian rap.  I couldn’t stop myself.  I probably pissed the guy off, and look like a jerk, but it was so bad!  This was some of the worst musical interpretation I have ever heard.  To all preachers out there who are trying to connect to the youth, I have one big suggestion – don’t talk down to kids.  For real, if you are going to insult their intelligence, just go balls-to-the-wall with the concept and treat them like they are idiots.  Because every preacher I have seen in videos on YouTube who comes out wearing “bling” and talking like they are from the ghetto makes me feel sorry for your whole religion.  These idiots are killing it faster than me and my non-belief that is supported by evidence!

Christians, you’re not cool.  Your religion isn’t cool.  It actually kind of sucks.  It’s boring, tied to an enormous guilt complex, makes you hate who you are, and who other people are, and above all that, it makes life less fun.  I never believed any of that bullshit that I heard when I was a kid.  I have always been pretty sharp, and I always had this nagging doubt in the back of my mind that didn’t give a crap what the preacher said.

I don’t hate this guy we called Andy.  He was a bit of a dick, but he wasn’t a bad person.  He just wasn’t the kind that I would get along with, and had kind of a grumpy side (to me.  He could hide it much better from the others.  I brought out the worst in him.  I have a gift at that).  I grew up in a nice Lutheran church, with nice people.  I left because I just didn’t buy any of their holy book’s BS anymore.  It’s as simple as that.

And for all you pastors who are a bunch of fundie bigoted dickwads who are trying to teach your hate to the youth, I have another video for you to watch, here is the link, and I would be glad if after watching it, you shut the fuck up.

Until next time, a quote,

“There are two types of people in this world – those who do what they’re told, and those who are true to themselves. Most people think you’re supposed to follow a predetermined path, keep your head down, obey the rules, do whatever’s popular. But, some prefer to find their own path in life.” -Yuji Sakurai, BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad

Peace out,

Maverick