Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Peering Out from Under the Carts

Aggrieved, saddened, and stoic: my family watches as I destroy our lives.

I am living at the grocery store, under the lean-to for the carts. Jilm says it's safe there and I have to trust him. My only connection is online here. My corps unit broke away and we are each surviving independently until the commander calls us back to duty--our mission was dissolved after our unit's integrity was compromised. I feel awful, I believe it was an old school friend who used the information against us.

I'm not concerned about giving away my location. In a way I wish someone would capture me. I can't go home.

This is only a short update since the conditions under which I can communicate are obviously limited. I feel like the things I once knew are slipping away. I once knew how to file Corp-S tax returns on behalf of mid-sized companies under ERISA; at least I remember who I once was. Now, parachuting from the sky in the dark night among a group of soulless survivors in pursuit of a mission that hasn't been communicated is supposed to provide me with enough to go on. It isn't. I crouch under the carts on cold, wet nights, holding still not to move a muscle until daylight so that they won't hear or see me.

I still seek that meaningful escape.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Like a Kid with No Curfew

I can't say I've had great fun galavanting around like a half-wit recently. My wife brought me up a tall glass of vodka and some Tylenol earlier--I didn't even know we had Vodka in the house. She's not alarmed, but just concerned about me. I am sickened by what's happening to me, and the people who seem to think they know all about what my intentions are. I've never been so liberated, untethered, unattached. At the same time, though, the freedom I have to enjoin the personalities of the world doesn't come without its pain.

For example, the other night I was at a downtown strip club and acted out like a lunatic. Barfights, private dances (not as fun as I imagined), outlandish behavior and the like. But my new pals loved it, and I left feeling as if I would let them down if I didn't return the next evening with the same gusto. I didn't have it the next night. Or the next. What happens to me when I --

Ok, I'm back. I had to excuse myself there for a moment. Sometimes it's all too easy to let the words flow. Words are like children if you don't harness, control, and discipline them. Time to get dressed and ready for the evening. Heels, wig, some shaving, and I'm ready for the sins of the night.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Best Intentions...

Jilm? Do I know you? Are we supposed to have coalesced in some shared space some time ago? I have good recall. Never forget a face. And voices? You could lead me blindfold into a room, have ten people line up and intone the same meaningless phrase, you know something like 'consumer advisory product service' and just like a cola taste test, I could name you each one 100% for sure. But names? Names are unreliable. Shortened by others because of sorry assed stamina. Or mebbee handles people give themselves cos it offers up their character in advance, just so you can 'get' them. Pet names. Nick names. Rep names sposed to sow respect and terror. Anonymous names to hide behind. That what we got ourselves here? Cos jis giving me a name without any corroboration ain't worth squat.

These communiques, these bulletins you fire off at me. They ain't embedded in anything. I think they're fliers. I reckon you're loosing off words, figuring to see what shit they can stir. I bet you go fishing with a rifle full of buckshot and some hand grenades, in place of a hook and a line, don't'cha? Well I ain't no sucker fish. I don't take any bait. You still gotta Jilm, show me who this Jilm character is exactly. You came to me first remember? I never sought you out. You gotta reveal to me what your purpose is in all this. I wanna know what it says on your dog tags and your blood group. So prove who you say you are and mebbee then we can talk turkey.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Experiment Worked

I toyed with the idea for a few minutes and then cast it away, like all the others.

And then I awoke in the night and realized that--not even on my own volition--my idea was taking root without my conscious consent. A while back I would have freaked out. Now, I'm ok with the change. It feels natural.

My experiment worked. I awoke the other morning and approached the day with a different disposition. I felt good, for the first time in months--in years. My interactions with my family and co-workers seemed normal, more truthful. My wife was a little surprised, but she was easygoing after a while I think when she realized that my personification of a stronger character was just what I needed. I think she was worried about me for a while. I was worried about me.

Somehow, through the night, I was able to transform my personality into someone stronger, more worldly, and leap beyond suburban Wilmington, Delaware. And the greatest thing is that I didn't even have to get on a plane or wait on a security line. Just me, Sam Gregory, seeing the world through the eyes of someone else. Sulci, they called me. I felt alive, I felt invigorated, I felt ready to explore and conquer.

It worked. I can't wait to do it again. But I have to be cautious, as Jilm told me.

Lucy, I do remember you. What could you possibly have to tell me? Let me see how things work out on my end. We'll be in touch.

I hope tonight something exciting happens.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Even Inquisitors Have To Get Some Sleep

Hush, don't wake them. They have yielded me a few moments remission. For once they are not chockful with contrary advice. Not goading me to do things their way. I should take the opportunity to get some proper work done. Yet all I want to do is sleep. But then they persecute me more easily there. Dreams are their stock in trade. The legitimate playground for their squalling voices. A cacophony of one on ones, slam dunking me into concussion.

Now I know how god felt when his creations approached him on their babbling tower. Which god have I offended to smite me thus? Prayers are no good. They get wind of them and depth charge them with foul jibes and sound affects to match. Sometimes I think I can detect the smell of sulfur in my nostrils. They have turned my own senses against me. They plunder my thoughts. I have to silence them for once and for all.

I need my head to travel like a stealth bomber. To leave no report of its progress if I am to outwit them. They are armed to the teeth with mental AIWACs and synaptic Patriot missiles to bring me crashing back down to earth. To repatriate me to their cause. And re-swear the oath of allegiance within the military-industrial complex that passes for my mind. My hand on a bible, for He is a vengeful god and somehow I have spited him unknowingly. Assigned me my own personal seers, prophets and flagellants to whip me into shape. To make me a penitent. It's an angel I need to steer me towards the light goddammit. But I fear I killed mine by accident some time ago.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jilm and the Grocery Carts

I sure do know that I haven't been myself these past couple of weeks. Even my cat is looking at me funny.

I was at the grocery store earlier picking up some items after work and the guy who stacks carts pulled me over to the side of the store and told me he had something important to tell me. Weeks ago I would have run with fear, and dodged his gaze. The old me would have avoided eye contact with anyone. But tonight I couldn't help but investigate the intrigue. He introduced himself as Jilm, though I couldn't tell if it was his speech impediment that inserted the "L" in Jim, or if his name was, indeed, Jilm. I've noted his presence on occasion at the store, but never thought anything of it. I guess I felt sorry for him. He walks with a limp, and wears a glowing, oversized vest with reflectors on it. One of his eyes doesn't work. Or if it does, it's not looking in the same direction as the other eye.

Jilm spoke like he knew me well. Maybe he does. He told me that if I don't watch out, I could get run over.

I've thought about that statement for the past several hours and as I'm writing I've come to realize what he meant. My general disposition and outlook on life has indeed changed recently. Jilm gave me the green light, but warned me that I'm entering a new place and to go about it cautiously.

I told me wife about the encounter and she laughed. I'm sure she is just not used to me acting this way and it's her pleasant, but nervous way of dealing with the unknown. I think there may be a lot more of that to come.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Some Details You Might Find Convenient

My office building is one of about two dozen in an industrial park about an hour outside of Wilmington, Delaware. Why do they call them industrial parks? We produce neither industrial equipment nor are we situated in a park. There are no trees here. There are lots of ponds and geese, and large, half-functioning fountains in the ponds. No one walks on the grass. There are no flowers, either. Just grass and water. Our Post Office box's address is Wilmington, so our sad, young assistant must drive her 1999 Nissan Sentra into downtown Wilmington twice per week to retrieve our mail. Invoices in triplicate, office furniture catalogs, glossies for professional education credit courses, and the occasional headshot from a model. We discovered not too long ago that our P.O. Box, 296543, is similar to a talent agency in Wilmington, at P.O. Box 269543. I don't think the office manager forwards the photo packages to the agency; I saw an open drawer when I was in his office to complain about my chair with what looked like dozens of headshots. I sometimes think about the poor souls sending their resumes to an accounting firm. Are they waiting to hear back? Have they held off in sending to another agency until they've heard from us?

I don't have much of a life outside my work and my commute back home. During my commute for the past 15 years or so I have been listening to a talk-radio show, Bobby & Frankie on Funky105.9FM. Only in the last few days have I become utterly repulsed by their voices. They make prank phone calls, embarrass people, complain about local politics and offer no solutions...the same talk radio pair in just about every metro area. Totally unoriginal, but spawned from the only shock-jock ever to make an original show, Howard Stern. Though they are nothing like him. My car doesn't get satellite radio so I can't hear his show any longer. I never really listened before he went on satellite, anyway. I felt like an outsider, and like I shouldn't be listening in on the conversations of people having fun.

I play golf on Thursday mornings with some college buddies and a guy from work. Gene, from my office, is a bloated, conniving dolt and I haven't had the gumption to ask him not to to join us on Thursdays. He talks about women he pretends he's dated, and about his new car lease every couple of months, his clients who detest him but need his advice. He dominates the conversation and I feel responsible. My other two friends don't really talk to me anymore. Michael's wife divorced him two years ago and she was very friendly with my wife. I liked her a lot, too, so it was awkward to split friends. Now it seems we only golf for an hour in decent weather on Thursdays with little else in common. Akshay, my other friend from college, has so far surpassed me and everyone I know in status and success in life. He operates a global outsourcing firm with an outpost in Hyderabad, India. At first I was jealous, but then I saw how talented he was and ambitious, and I became genuinely proud that he is my friend. I feel that he is donating some of his valuable time out of sympathy for me. I feel guilty for that, as well. I wish I could make it up to him, and be a more worthy friend to him, or give him business tips.

My home is quiet. My wife is a part-time editor for two lifestyle journals. My boys liven the house up when they are home. They are not home often. Between sports, friends, and hobbies, they spend little time at home. They are great kids, and I'm so proud to be their dad. I am worried, though. Have I given them enough guidelines to be free thinkers? Will they follow my path, the one that I have now learned to dread? Or have they learned that I cannot offer them anything enriching, so they are seeking it elsewhere?

A few short weeks ago I hadn't given these details any thought. Now I do. I give these details a lot of thought. I realize I must be frank with myself and wake up if I am to keep living in this world. I cannot go on with the drudgery and sameness. I never would have thought these thoughts but something has happened within me that is compelling me to change and I don't know what to do.