Tag: poverty

 

Around the same time Zack and I got our first TV and VCR for our bedroom (something Dad Vehemently disagreed with.) The TV was a tiny thing with a red casing, a Zenith that had the unintentional feature of making everything appear to be in technicolor due to some glitch or other in the colorization options. The VCR was one of those two piece top loaders Panasonic used to make, seeming to weigh 400 pounds with a huge array of nobs and buttons on the bottom portion.

My Dad had two VCRs connected to eachother in the living room and showed us kids the wonders of for private use bootlegging.

We literally had over a thousand VHS tapes, each of them  6 hours long, each with three films on them. Dad also fancied himself a editor of sorts and some of the versions of films we had were more chopped up and nonsensical than Lucio Fulci’s films after the FCC got their hands on them in the 80’s. I had my own little secret editing sessions, collecting snippets of nude scenes and gore and stringing them together in bizarre compilations of the forbidden.

ack and I also had a stash of National Geographics Dad had picked up from a garage sale..Guess he forgot how many naked African women were in those things. To this day I have to think of flap jack titties with pieces of woof through the nipples to get off properly…just kidding…Or am I?

Mom and Dad got steadily worse until Dad moved into the basement. He started spending alot of time sleeping and for the first time in my life I started hearing him crying down there. Mom and Dad had split up on a few occasions before but something unfixable was brewing.

CPS  had gotten involved because of too many domestic violence calls and an incident in the backyard I hadn’t intended on writing about…The more I think about it though the more I realize that if I leave it out it’s bound to be discussed and exaggerated and the story won’t make any sense without it so fuck it, here goes…

My Brother and I had just gotten out of school. Dad was working an overnight job at Walmart so sleeping during the day was his only option. Mom was over to John Burke (a low income complex where all the poor people in Queensbury were grouped together except us) visiting her nutty friend Cindy and Amanda was off with her girlfriends chasing boys somewhere.Zack and I were sword fighting with a field hockey stick and a wiffle ball bat. Both of us were  shouting insults back and forth (of course we were, we were pirates!) We had a clubhouse that My Dad, Grandpa Johnson and some of my Dad’s friends had put together out of particle board that had momentarily transformed into a pirate ship. Zack and I parried up onto the roof and lept over to the roof of Dad’s shed (something that would probably shatter my ankles if I tried it at 0 but at 8 or 9 I might as well have been a fuckin cat) The window to the living room opened and Dad stuck his head out “Hey!!” He shouted, “You boys get down from there and come in the house! You’ve got homework to do!” I was at a strange point in my development at that time. Puberty was nearing completion, couple that with the fact that Mom had begun painting Dad as the enemy and the cause of all the woes in our lives and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Any other time I would have just climbed down and went in but good sense had temporarily taken a vacation and instead of listening I shouted back “No! I don’t have any homework and we’re playing!” My father closed his eyes for a second and his face reddened (never a good sign) and then he repeated “I said it’s time to come in damn it!” My Father doesn’t swear lightly, when I said he was an old school Christian I meant it so this little slip of vulgarity should have told me my Pops wasn’t fucking around. I should have just listened but I didn’t, instead I did the dumbest thing I could. I jumped off the roof with Zack in tow, marched up to the window and shouted “Screw You, Fat man! Mom says we don’t have to listen to your bullshit!” Now as you can tell, nowadays I swear pretty freely (at least when reviewing as The B-movie Avenger, which, for all extensive purposes I am right now) but back then I didn’t have the nuts to say so much as darn, especially in front of my Father. I might as well have spit on the cross. My Dad flew out of that house quicker then I’d ever seen him move in my life. I did what all kick ass heroes do in that situation..I ran like a bitch. When that didn’t work I did the unthinkable, I turned on my heel and swung that hockey stick at my Dad..bad move. He caught it, twisted it (flipping me to the ground in the process) and smacked me in the head with it. Blood began flowing from my scalp and into my eyes. My Dad, shaking with rage, held the stick above his head. To this day I don’t know if he intended to bring it down on me a second time (If he had I’m not so sure my brain would have survived) in any case  he never got the chance. Zack, the same kid who’s ass I’d kicked countless times, the same kid I’d jammed into my sweaty armpit on many occasions for a laugh, came out of nowhere with his wiffleball bat, smashing my Dad in the stomach. “Don’t kill my brother!” Zack screamed. Dad easily tore the bat from Zack’s grasp and swung it at him. Zack tried to run but the bat caught him in the back hard enough to dent the cheap plastic in half. Zack fell on the ground screaming and crying. I pulled out the swiss army knife Dad had bought me when I joined the Royal Rangers and flicked out the tiny blade, pointing it at my Father. “Don’t touch him or I’ll kill you!” I growled. “You’re a bad Daddy!” Zack shouted from the ground. Looking back at this moment in my life  as an adult and a Father myself I understand the look in my Father’s eyes while he gazed at the two of us when we fought him like that.  If you asked me back then I would have told you that he looked pissed, maybe frustrated, but it was much deeper than that. His red rimmed eyes held back barely suppressed tears. In those exhausted eyes was something that (as a failed Husband and father of three) I now understand: The recognition of the worst kind of betrayal a man can suffer:Betrayal of his own Children. Our Father may have hurt us that day but in turn we killed a part of him. “To Hell with both of you!” he shouted at us and stormed back in the house. I stood in the driveway waiting for my Mother. It began to rain, soaking me and washing away the tears and blood, but still I stood there until Mom pulled in. When she did, and saw the state my brother and I were in she herded us into the van and carted us back to Cindy’s apartment. Once there she grilled us for info then called CPS. My Father’s story (to this day) is that he tripped Zack up with the bat and the Hockey stick bounced off the dog house and hit me in the head when he threw it. Mom’s version is that Dad was in a psychotic rage because of work and attempted to kill us for no reason, beating me repeatedly in the head to near death…But neither of these versions are even close to true…Laying the story out on paper (and now here on the site) is the first time I’ve ever told it in it’s entirety. I avoided it for years because I didn’t want to upset either of my Parents but now that it’s out I have to admit I feel alot better about it.

When CPS came out to our house they took each of us kids and interviewed us one by one. When my turn came a short little troll of a woman in a brown dress took me into my Mother’s room. I disliked her on sight. Her face and voice smiled but her eyes were dead and emotionless, the eyes of a snake watching prey. She stared me down and begun asking questions. At first it was  school and what shows I liked to watch but then it shifted. Had i ever seen my parents fight? Of course. Had my Father ever abused us? Define abuse. She became colder and colder as she went, more bully-like. She repeatedly asked me if my father touched us sexually. When I told her of course not, that my Father was a Godly man, she kept asking me if I was sure and took the tactic of almost pornographically describing devious sexual acts that could have happened. Even as a child I was appalled. This twisted bitch was trying to lead me into fabricating sexual abuse stories! And my Father wasn’t even the only target. When it came out that I sometimes still became terrified by my dreams and the shadow people and slept with my Mother this fiendish woman actually asked me if my mother ever put my penis in her mouth! I shutter to think  how many children this woman managed to coerce into telling false abuse stories, how many families she’d broken up. My interview  ended with me shouting “I rebuke you in the name of God, Satan!” I ran from the room and told my mother what the woman had attempted. My Mother boot-scooted that bitch like the walking pestilence she was. Before she left though she shouted at my mother “It’s only a matter of time before he kills you in front of your children or kills one of them in a fit of rage! You’re just as guilty as him!”

After that my parents slept separately with Dad moving into the basement (as I mentioned earlier) He wound up getting fired from Walmart because he flipped off a co-worker and and that co-worker took a picture of him doing it the irony of it was that he flipped the guy off after the guy mooned him and Dad was the one who got reprimanded and fired for a “sexual gesture” at work.. I’m not sure where he went  during the day at that point (I’m assuming some church thing or to his friend Frank’s house) but Zack and I had taken to playing down there when he was gone, usually with action figures or with the dress up clothes and masks I always picked up at discount prices after Halloween or pilfered from free boxes at Garage sales.The basement became our playground, we loved it down there…until the day I drew the door.

As I said earlier, my closet was always the beginning point of my nightmares. During the say when I had to get clothes or my Garbage Pail Kids collection or any of the other things I stored in there I’d do so as quickly as possible, sure that whatever evil took residence in there would snatch me up at any moment. In the dream world the closet door never opened. It was secured by the lock that didn’t exist in the waking world. One day at the Library I happened upon the small occult section. Witchcraft, Santeria, Voodoo, I was absolutely forbidden to read anything to do with these topics..but I was alone, and being alone tends to make boys like myself forgetful of certain rules. I looked around like I was about to commit some atrocity (like going on a shooting spree at a nursery or break out in a suicide in an extended version of that 5 hundred kidrillion billion minutes song from RENT) then snatched a book off the shelf at random. For the life of me I can’t recall the title but the book’s theme hit home:Hauntings..Now i’m sure the majority of the books on that shelf were on some variation of “real life” ghost stories but this one was a little more specific to what I was experiencing. This book didn’t focus on haunted places, no, this book was about haunted people. There was several references to shadow people (or “shades” as the book referred to them) more importantly there was a proposed solution. According to the boo, if there was a location where you saw them the most or (even better) a suspected point of origin, the person being haunted could draw a door on a solid wall and the shadow people would use it to exit our world.

I went home and immediately found a red marker and went to work drawing a misshapen door on the inside wall of my closet. I drew a handle and hinges I thought about adding a keyhole but didn’t (Sometime I wonder if I had added that little detail if it would have changed what happened next) I waited for something magical to happen, like the door to suddenly open and everything wicked in my life to get sucked out of it like a demonic version of Harold and The Purple Crayon..Nothing happened, at least not until that night.

That night as I slept I dreampt that the door in the closet opened and a strange looking boy stepped out of it. He was wearing a cloak that was very similar to what the creature I called The Cloak wore only on it were various symbols. Among them were Iron crosses, Maltese crosses, inverted crosses, swastikas and inverted pentagrams as well as quite a few symbols that I to this day cannot identify. The entirety of his body was covered other than his face which was the uneven grey of cigarette ash. His lips were the pale blue of a victim of drowning, covered in fissures and cracks. All of these details were minute compared to his eyes. One of his eyes was a moving spiral ringed by overly long lashes and the other was like a cat’s eye surrounded by living, moving flames. I was on the other side of the closet door but in  that weird way that dreams can sometimes be I was able to simultaneously see the outside of the closet where I stood and the inside where the boy stood in the now open doorway I had drawn. A noxious smell accompanied the boy. It’s very hard to describe but if I had to I’d say that if you were to take a handful of rotten eggs wrap them in bad hamburger dipped in ether and then light it on fire you’d be getting pretty close. I felt something heavy in my pocket and discovered an iron key there. Since this was the first time in the dream where I saw the inside of the closet and it was empty other than this new, apparently benign visitor I assumed that I was meant to use the key on the lock to the closet door (the real door not the drawn one). I stuck the key into the lock and as I turned it I saw the boy react. His strange eyes widened and his hands flew up in a stop motion. His mouth opened revealing thin needle-like teeth as he attempted to shout that very word but it was too late. I had turned the key and when I did the lock leaped off and the door flew off it’s hinges and rollers, blasting me backwards as it did. A mob of horrible aberrations spewed out. First were a group of greaser types. One of them winked an eyeless socket at me, spurting pus as he did and then pulled the lit cigarette from his torn mouth, grabbed my arm and said “Something for your troubles, kiddo.” before jamming the amber into my arm. I felt the flesh scorch and smelled burning hair. After the greasers came a demented clown, it’s mouth oversized and split at the upper and lower jaw into four sections, each ringed with serrated teeth, it’s tongue dangled, ending in what looked like a scorpion’s stinger. The clown gripped what I thought was a balloon animal but as it exited the closet I saw that it was dragging a freshly murdered child behind it. The clown had disemboweled the boy and twisted his intestines into an animal shape. The clown snatched for me but I backed away from it. Like the greasers before it, it was more interested in it’s new found freedom than in terrorizing me at the moment. Also along were the reptilian creatures I described earlier, trailing their human face hoods as they lunged out of the closet and out of my bedroom door. There were other things too, things my mind now blocks me from remembering..

As the last of the walking nightmares poured out I summoned my courage and followed them. The boy had opened the door to the basement and was busy trying to corral them down the steps, they tried to get past him but somehow he was able to subdue them..with obvious effort though, this was not a task that was easy for him to undertake.

I awoke screaming in my bed. The door to my closet had landed on top of me. It was snapped clean off the hinges and the rollers had been broken off. I looked at my aching arm and a circular burn mark was blistered there. At that point in time no one in my house smoked, but it was unmistakably a cigarette burn.

My Father came in. At that point Zack was awake and shouting as well. Dad was pissed, he wanted to know what had happened to the door. I told him but of course he didn’t believe me.

The following day something even weirder began happening. You know how the cheap imitation wooden doors have those marks where it’s supposed to look like knots from the wood? Sometimes those knots look like pictures. I’m sure you know what I mean…Well the basement door’s knots were now in the shape of the clown’s face i had seen..there was also the shapes of several shadow people and other things..more horrible things I’d rather not think about. Now I don’t mean these images were portrait clear, nor am I saying they were obscure to the point where you couldn’t make them out without help. I pointed them out to Dad who cocked his head, looked at the door and said “Hu? I’ll be..That does look like faces and people’s shadows..It’s always been there though..We’re just now noticing it. You’ve got one heck of an imagination kid, patting me on the back before heading outside to the shed. My little brother had joined me and was staring at the door in slack jawed terror. “I don’t like that.” he said. ” What do you see, Zack?” “There’s a clown with an exploded face” he said. I tried to get him to tell me what else he saw but he refused, too scared to discuss it any further.

 

—-Continued in Chapter 3: DIVORCE, BETRAYAL, MOVIES, WRESTLING AND OTHER THINGS THAT RHYME WITH ORANGE

 

Alot of what I’m going to tell you next is going to be hard for you to believe. It will likely result in two trains of thought from you, my readers. One group will think I’m full of shit, making up campfire tales and embellishing to spice up my story. The others will think I’m schizophrenic, relaying my delusions, one step away from abandoning my pen in favor of  finishing up the story as a picture book painted with my own shit. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. What happened happened.

I didn’t know at the time but the land where the church had decided to build my house (directly across the street from the Queensbury Highschool on Cottage Hill road) was already inhabited. By the time I got to the spot most of the trees had been cleared out but I overheard one of the volunteers saying that the land had previously been practically a Forrest and that when they were clearing it out they were shocked to find an old woman living in a shack there (They called her a Gypsy, although I’m pretty sure that term refers to people who are nomadic..so wouldn’t her living in a shack all the time make her no longer a gypsy?) They her that she had to leave because the land belonged to the church. She begged to be left alone, claiming that she was over a hundred years old and had lived there since she remembered but they wouldn’t leave her alone, telling her that if she didn’t leave they would call the police. She told them that they couldn’t build a house there, that the land was at the center of a large Indian burial ground (This part I actually verified to be historically accurate. Almost the entirety of Queensbury was a burial ground at one point and the land where my house was to be built was dead center) She claimed she kept the spirits appeased and if she left they would wreak havoc on whoever moved in. Still the workers demanded she move. She stared them down then screamed out “A curse on the land! Whoever is the first to break the soil, may misfortune follow him everywhere! May the dead follow him, driving him mad! May he see what others cannot” (admittedly this is paraphrased..I was five and heard it second hand..but my memory is strikingly good and it’s damn close.) She spat on the ground, walked out of the shack and dropped dead on the ground.

The volunteers laughed about it. They were all good Christians afterall and didn’t believe in such things as curses and spirits (other then the holy one, of course) When it came time to have the ground breaking ceremony guess who got the “honor” of driving  the shovel into the ground first?

As my shovel struck the ground I felt an energy surge up out of the ground and into my body like a strong electrical shock. I smelled ozone and felt dread pass through me, like death was right there with me. I froze until my Dad gently nudged me out of the way and he and the rest of the men began digging the foundation in earnest. In a Horror film this is when several men would have died in freak accidents while constructing the house. Weird things would happen like wolves coming down from the mountains, power tools starting on their own and cutting off limbs, Bigfoot showing up dressed as Cher to do Karaoke …But this wasn’t like that at all. The really off the wall shit didn’t start until after the house was built and we had moved it. The building of the house went smoothly, in fact while we were doing it I had convinced myself  that I was just imagining the feeling I got when I broke the soil. I got excited about the project, bonding with my Dad and the other men as we pounded nails, poured concrete and put up dry wall. When the house was finished I was shown my room and I instantly fell in love with it. My favorite part was it’s large-ish closet with one of those three piece doors with the little wheels on a track that lets it glide open and closed. I immediately took to sitting in there, playing with my action figures. I didn’t get my own room. I had to share it with  Corey and my new little brother Zack (I didn’t mention him before because he was born right before we moved to Queensbury.)

The first night in our new house I had a nightmare. In it the door to my closet was slamming and rattling from the inside. Unlike in real life the door in my dream was fastened with a large old lock. I could hear scores of voices on the other side screaming, calling my name,cursing me, tossing out every vile thing imaginable. A stream of blackness came out a crack in the door’s casing, swirling into the shape of a man, solidifying into a wraith-like being in a head to toe billowing black cloak the texture of burlap. The room was overpowered with the heavy smell of ozone, rot and dust. Within the cloak I saw nothing but two red dots like the embers of lit cigarettes. A hand shot out form the depths of the cloak like a striking snake,latching onto my wrist and suddenly the figure was my Father, drenched in blood. “I killed that bitch and it’s your fault!” he screamed into my face, his fingers sinking in so deep they pierced my flesh and into my bone. “It’s your fault! You hear me? YOUR FAULT!!!” His eyes exploded, spraying me in the face with blood and millions of maggots started pouring out of the sockets in a tide. Now I want to stress a few things here: As i told you my Dad was a very strict Christian. While  he did  allow me to see alot of Horror films (even a few questionable ones) films about the occult and Satanic being were strictly forbidden. The closest thing I was allowed to see at that point in my life was House Of thirteen Ghosts..So before you go assuming that I had this dream because my mind was full of nonsense from some Horror film I had seen, ponder that information. Also ponder this: When the thing turned into my father and grabbed me I FELT the excruciating pain of it’s fingers sinking into the bone. I smelled it’s putrid breath, I felt the blood and eyeball juice and maggots hit my face when it’s eyes ruptured. This dream wasn’t just vivid, it was REAL.

I awoke  in my bed still screaming bloody murder. Corey was gone somewhere but I could hear Zack crying. I couldn’t move an inch and the cloaked being from my dream was on my ceiling, suspended there like a shadow, it’s red ember-like eyes staring into my own. It pulsed and swelled and I saw something like vapor drifting out of my little body and absorbing into it’s own. My Father rushed into my room. At first I screamed louder, expecting to see him covered in my Mother’s blood but it was just him. Irritated from being awoken and shaking from worry. “What happened? Are you ok?” he asked, flipping on the lights. As he did the thing on the ceiling darted off into a small grouping of shadows made by my dresser. When this happened I saw my Dad’s eyes snap to the ceiling quickly and I knew that just for a split second, so quickly that he likely dismissed it as a trick of the light, he had seen the cloak too. I was suddenly released from my paralysis. I lunged at my Dad gripping him in a fierce hug as I wept into his chest. “It’s ok Andrew. It was only a dream.” he said. He calmed my brother down and then sat down on the edge of the bed. he prayed over me and then in an unsure voice he said “There’s nothing in the dark that isn’t there in the light.” A part of my childhood died in that moment sitting there in my room with my Father. That was the first time my Dad ever lied to me.

Variations of that dream plagued me for a long time. Not every night, that would have allowed me to get used to the event, to expect it. no, it was at random. As if the nightmares and the being that brought them were waiting for me to let my guard down. I slept less and less, got sick and lost weight. The dreams weren’t always the same either. As new fears evolved in my life the dreams would incorporate them. My brother Corey used to turn his eyelids inside out, exposing the bloody pink flesh underneath and chase me around like that. For some reason that really freaked me out. One of the most disturbing dreams I had incorporated that odd fear. In it Corey did his little trick only when he did it this time he tore his eyelids all the way down, blood spraying out in gouts around his fingers as he yanked the skin violently away from his face like a cheap Halloween mask until the ruined face dangled behind like a grotesque flesh hood. what was left was a hideous reptilian demon. It grinned at me, It’s unnatural smile (nothing but hooked ice pick sized fangs so big they shredded it’s lips) stretched all the way up to the top of it’s head. “We’re all around you all the time” It snarled, laughter in it’s voice. ” We own every shadow. We influence every man. Your kind can’t run from us Because WE. ARE. YOU!” I screamed and ran through the house., stopping at a bassinet. My Mother was crouched down over it. I screamed for her and she turned, the lower half of her face was torn off to reveal one of those terrible mouths. Worse her eyes were still human, full of terror. “The baby was crying, Andrew. The Baby was crying.” I looked past her and to my horror saw my brother Zack lying in that bassinet. The flesh was torn from his little body in huge chunks. His little ribs were exposed. I could see his heart, still beating. He went to open his eyes but the sockets were empty. He began screaming. The pain of my brother’s anguish stopped my own heart and I died.

That dream was  the most reoccurring. It was always different in some ways but the Reptilian people were always there somewhere. Sometimes they were only in my house but as the dream expanded I began to flee my house only to find they were everywhere, always mutilating and eating children and babies.

Around this time I was beginning school. I had already been to head start but because my Birthday falls on December 4th I wasn’t allowed to begin kindergarten until I was nearly 6. Will and Kevin were going to school in Glens Falls so I had to make new friends. That turned out to be a harder feat then I had anticipated.

See, Queensbury is a wealthy and privileged area. The adults are snooty pricks and they raise their kids to be the same way. Me and my siblings were seen as the “dirty kids” we didn’t have new clothes, our toys were dollar store knockoffs (Let’s here it fr The Ultra Rangers, Special Man and The Ninja Turtles Machine Gun!) we weren’t in the in crowd. To make things worse my Dad is Blackfoot Indian. I’m pale enough to just say I’m white and thanks to Hollywood solidifying an image of all natives Looking Chinese or Mexican my Father’s appearance doesn’t exactly scream Native American to the majority of Ignorant fucks who live in that area either. I guess the smart approach would have been to say I was pure white but I was raised to be proud of my heritage, that it;s nothing to be ashamed of. First the kids siad I was lying, then when I proved that I was telling the truth they shunned me for being mixed. i got called mud face and savage, was told my Father raped my Mother because “that’s what Injuns do”..Needles to say alot of fights ensued. The Teachers sure as hell weren’t any help, turning a blind eye until I started laying those little motherfuckers out and then they would take action, sending me down to see Principle O’neal.

O’neal was a sadistic cocksucker. He’d get me alone in his office, crack his knuckles and stare me down as if a cockroach had taken a huge shit in front of him. I was that shit. The conversation was always the same: “Andy, what did you do this time?” He’d start. “My name isn’t Andy! it’s Andrew but I prefer Drew.” I’d remind him for the thousandth time. He’d smile that predatory grin that only adults who truly thrive on terrorizing children can manage and say “You’re a problem child, Andy. Your type does not belong in this school or this town. Queensbury is for winners, not miscreants and thugs. You should be grateful that the church had the charity to give your family a home. i wouldn’t have. You see that’s the problem with families like yours, Andy. Give them an inch and they want a mile.” This was when I’d shoot something smart at him, typically I’d point out how hard my Father worked for the tiny bit of money we had while people like O’neal shuffled paperwork, spent tax money and abused kids and then patted themselves on the back for getting through another day. That’s when O’neal would choke me. Yeah, you read that right. That sick twisted fuck would restrict my breathing, wrapping his boney hands around my neck, squeezing and shaking me until i nearly passed out. When he finished he’s straighten his tie, look at me with that Gila monster gives a newborn rat and say “You can tell if you want to but no one will believe you and even if they do they won’t care. I’m a pillar to the community and you? You’re just some little shit scumbag who doesn’t know his place..But you’ll learn it..Andy.” Then he’d kick me out of his office. I’d walk by his receptionist and she’d turn her head to avoid looking at me. O’neal’s office was one of the first places that I saw shadow people during the day. It was full of them, all watching him. I wonder sometimes if he could feel them, if somewhere in the back of his mind he knew he had an audience. At first I thought maybe they were influencing his actions, possessing him somehow but I know differently. People like O’neal don’t need Demons to make them evil, the shadows are drawn to them and not the other way around. The evil of man feed these things, give them strength, make room for them in our world.

To answer your question, no, I never told on O’neal.  Truth be told it wasn’t fear of the man that stopped me. It was fear that he was right, that I DID deserve the way he and others treated me. O’neal wound up fired years later from what I understand. I’m unclear as to why but I doubt if any of the kids he ever hurt told on him. O’neal, if you’re reading this today and you’re thinking of suing me for exposing you, please do. I’ve purposely misspelled your name here, so please come forward. I’m not going to threaten to beat the evil old bastard’s ass. I already know what awaits him. He’s wet their appetites with his cruelty and they’re waiting for the deliciously vile entree’ his soul will make.

Other than O’neal there was another particularly fucked up example of human slime there as well. I pride myself on having a relatively good memory but for some reason this asshole’s actual name slips me. I have a feeling it’s because he insisted on being called simply “coach.” As you’ve likely guessed, Coach was my gym teacher. Tall Muscular with a beer belly, Coach was one of those past his prime and pissed about it evolutionary throwbacks that always winds up teaching Gym or on an episode of COPS in a pissed stained wife beater. Either way they thrive on child abuse. This particular specimen’s favorite thing to do was line all of us up before Gym to shake our hands…Sounds like a pretty admirable thing to do right? Teach us kids some respect and class..Yeah,until you factor in what came into play with the “panty waists” like myself. Thin in the body with a pudgy face with zero interest in sports and a habit of carrying around books, Horror magazines and comics, my mere existence infuriated this guy. When my turn to shake his hand came every class it was the same. He’d lock eyes with me (His eyes blood shot and snake-like, mine heavy lidded and grey with slants at the edges) and squeeze my hand as hard as he could, making the bones pop as he shook it hard enough to nearly dislocate my shoulder. I may not remember his name (fuck, it may have literally been Coach Coach for all I know) but I remember  those hands: Thickly calloused yet slimy, the hands of a compulsive masturbater . While he shook me by the hand he’d say “Mead, you gotta be a man! Firm up your handshake, Pantywaist!” Not only was I not the most athletic kid. I was also severely Asthmatic. i brought this asshole countless notes from my Doctor explaining this fact and without fail he’d squint at them like  they were written in Mandarin, tear them  into tiny pieces (along with whatever book I was carrying) and then throw it in my face and scream “STOP BEING LAZY!” I fuck’in hated Gym..That is until dodge ball season started.

My eye hand coordination isn’t great (It’s right up there with Helen Keller’s singing voice) but for some reason with the added reward of being able to pelt one of these little cocksuckers in the face with a kickball without getting into any trouble I could suddenly dodge and catch like nobody’s business. One day while playing a particularly heated game I saw my chance. Coach was standing sideline behind one of my opponents. I locked eyes with him, making damn sure the fucker knew that what was about t happen was anything but an accident and then I threw my entire body into throwing that ball. My aim was perfect, connecting with his groin so hard it took him off his feet. He landed on his back, smacking his head off the floor and I bowled a second ball smack dab to his nuts. All the kids ran up to Coach (his butt boy Jocks glaring at me like I had sodomized their Grandmothers with a flaming road cone) He lay there gasping for breath, trying to scream but unable. I strolled up, looking down and into his eyes with a predatory smile of my own and said “I’ve been working on my grip, Coach. Thanks for all the lessons.” As an adult I now realize that line didn’t make alot of sense but at the time I was Arnold, that was the best parting line ever and as I walked out of that Gym I strutted like the  most bad ass action star that ever lived. Coach was absent for a few weeks after that. When he did come back he left me alone. After that incident I became a new person. I was never a bully or a tough guy but i refused to take shit from anyone. The school rumor mill exaggerated the incident, making me seem like a ticking time bomb of a psychopath but that was cool with me. It meant people left me the fuck alone.

I had a few friends; Tommy Graves (the likely closet queen), Leslie (the Tomboy) and Jasmine (The Arabian  girl who for some reason thought I was cute) but for the most part school at that point was just an annoying interlude. My grades were good (except when I needed to feign issues to keep up the illusion that I was “learning disabled”) but I never felt challenged enough and with the real life issues I was suffering between watching the fights between my parents, getting less and less sleep due to horrible nightmares and the waking nightmare of seeing shadow people, the dead and other things other people had no idea were around, school just seemed…fake. It wasn’t that I didn’t like to learn, quite the contrary, the library was a constant haunt and I spent countless hours spilling through everything from American History to the introduction of Quantum Physics (..Not too shabby for a retarded 6 year old hu?) I just couldn’t stand the meaningless groups and cliques. The odd thing was, the longer I was in that school the more the other kids started to warm up to me and want to make friends. Sure the preps and Jocks had long ago agreed I was too weird to join them (I’m sure the fact that I openly hated them and called them Australopithecus to their faces had something to do with that.) but the others were drawn to me. They had all of a sudden wanted to know what I had to say. I asked Leslie about this odd occurrence one day. She just shrugged and said “You’re funny, you’re insightful and you’re smart.”  This declaration made me laugh out loud. “I’m awkward, I’m weird and I hate people.” I retorted. We were in the cafeteria having this conversation and she was chewing a forkful of mashed whateverthefuck with a side of please don’t tell me what this is. “and since when are you using the word insightful? You sound like a hard pressed hack critic describing the latest Julia Roberts shitfest.” She spit her food out bursting into laughter. “See?” she said. “I wasn’t trying to be funny.” I said “And that’s why it was. They’re just seeing what I always have. People like you, Bozo, deal with it.” “Don’t ever call me that.” I said with a shutter. (Did I mention I used to be severely Caulrophobic? Yeah..we’ll get to that.) Most kids in my position would likely have been thrilled and gone with the flow trying to foster their new found popularity..Not me, I fuck’in HATED IT.

How do you make friends with little Jimmy down the street when parked in his driveway is a ’57 Cadillac with the shattered remains of a man stuck in the grill that smiles and waves politely saying hello when you go over to visit? Especially when no one else can even see the car let alone Phil Grill (the nickname I gave this gruesome fella) I kept most of my friends at school for obvious reasons.

One day i came home from school to find my brother Corey packing bags. “I’m going to live with my real Dad” he explained and with that he was gone. He’d known for a month that he was moving but hadn’t bothered to tell me. That was  the first time I experienced real  betrayal, real abandonment. It’s also when I came to the conclusion that for better or worse the world always favors the pricks. Think about it, Superman, Batman, The latest big time rappers and movie stars. The ones people really look up to, who take center stage, they’re all pretentious self serving assholes. Seriously, Superman could fly every super villain he ever fought into space and beat their asses so there would be no destruction from the fight on Earth but he doesn’t and why? Because under all the powers he’s just another playboy, another showoff. He thrives on the weak worshiping his strength and in order to do that he makes sure he’s as visible as possible during his battles no matter who dies in the fray innocently. With Batman he could train Commissioner Gordon and his guys in martial arts, buy them body armor and utility belts and Gotham would have the best police force on the planet. Better yet he could have either just killed the dangerous super villains he defeated or helped to design a better super jail to contain them..Instead he time and time again sends them to Arkham, a facility he knows they’ll escape from. He’s counting on it, just as he’s counting on Gordon an his guys failing. Why? Because he wants to be the badass. It’s more important to him then the city’s safety and the dark truth is him being that badass is more important to the People of Gotham as well. I realized my older brother fit right in with that  concept. Not a single fight he had with my Dad was in defense of me or my sister, nor were any of them to protect my Mother. All of them were just pissing contests, bravado for the sake of bravado and when given the chance to jump ship and move down south so he could eventually join the Navy and seek out new places to play the badass role he jumped on it just as quick as he could. Fuck the troubles the rest of us were going through. Fuck the fact that his leaving drove my Mother deeper and deeper into mental turmoil. Our misfit family just wasn’t good enough for his cocksure image. There’s nothing badass about a broken home full of even more broken people.

Corey came back to visit sometimes (less and less as the years went on.) On one of these visits (long before he joined the Navy..I’m not sure how long after he left this was but I’m going to guess a few years because Zack was speaking full sentences at that point) He had one of those cheap plastic air handguns with him, the ones that shoot plastic pellets. We had a cat then and Corey was chasing the poor thing around shooting it and laughing as if this were just the funniest thing he’d ever encountered. he was trying to corner the cat and shoot it in the anus. He explained this as if it made perfect sense. The look on his face still haunts me: An almost sexually excited  grin. He tried to hand me the gun, demanding I shoot the cat too. When I told him not he turned the thing on me, shooting me in the shoulder. “fucking pussy!” He spat, looking at me in pure disgust. I knew that my Hero, the guy who played D&D, drank cheap beer and jammed out to Anthrax and AC/DC while he drew pictures of Spiderman for me was gone forever. Maybe it was the razor strap his “real” father took to him, maybe he’s always been this way and I was simply blinded by my boyhood devotion to him before then to notice. Either way, after that day our relationship was different. He cared less and less to hide his shame at having  me as a brother. I still love him and I’m proud of his military service and many achievements (which spans over 20 years and marks him as one of the best welders in Military History) but I won’t lie and say i like him. He’s a fuck’in prick, he knows that, he thrives on it..so fuck him. Maybe one day he’ll come around and realize that being a badass only goes so far…But I doubt it. As I write this he’s over 40 years old, getting fat and has two daughters (Neither of whom know about their loser Uncle Drew, I’m sure.) and still shows no desire to reach out to us….Anyway I’ve already wasted more words on him in this book than he has on me in the last ten years..so back to our regular scheduled program.

Ages seven to nine are kind of a blur to me. Things were pretty much the same as they were before Corey left..Well, not exactly. Mom took to staying in her room more. I’d go in there with her sometimes and we’d read to eachother. That was my favorite thing to do with her back then and we must have read everything R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike and Doug Adams wrote up to that point. She also taught me bracelet making and sewing (two talents that landed me quite a few girlfriends in my younger years)  ack had gotten older and became my tagalong. Him and I had an odd relationship. On one hand I loved him fiercly (for one thing ever since he could talk he’s been able to see shadow people too and is the only one who ever truly understood me) I never let anyone beat him up or make fun of him…but on the other hand we hated eachother. He’s always had a better time getting along with our family and I’ve always been better at making and keeping friends. Both of us are notorious know it alls and while I never let anyone else beat on him I put him on his ass on more then one occasion, mostly because he’d rat me out any chance he got. It was a typical brotherly love/hate situation (still is most of the time) I could spend chapters talking about the various fights we got in, but honestly there would be nothing all that  interesting in the stories and since him and I to this day argue about the details of alot of it, it really wouldn’t be worth the headache.

One very influential thing did happen the summer I turned eight. Zack and Amanda were off somewhere (perhaps with friends) and Dad was at work. Mom and I had gone to a few different video stores looking for The Stupids for my Dad. We finally hit pay dirt at Price Chopper’s little video section. it was a good night because I managed to get mom to rent me House 2: The Second story as well. We needed to stop at Walmart for something on the way home. My mother had this super ability to ditch me in the toy isle and then disappear until she was at the checkout. (In her defense if she didn’t do this I’d materialize with a handful of candy, toys, and knives and hit her with every variation of “can I have this imaginable.) I still wonder if she was hanging from the ceiling by some secret Mom magnets designed for that very purpose… This time around, Mom found me, telling me that she didn’t find what she was looking for and led me outside. Before we reached the van, a disheveled looking man in a suite grabbed my mother’s elbow. “You need to come back to the store mam.” He said, “You took some items you didn’t pay for.”  I was about to flip out on this guy. Was he out of his fuck’in mind? My mother didn’t steal anything!..But then I saw the sheepish look on her face. She reached into her jacket and pulled out a cordless phone and a package of drillbits. “The drillbits are for my husband.” my Mother explained.

The man in the suite led my mother  and I into a room full of monitors before a second guy noticed us and said “Put the kid in the hallway.” and I was led to a plastic lawn chair and told to stay put. Soon after the Police came and arrested my Mother. I saw her led out of that room in cuffs, her eyes terrified and confused. I started crying and she asked the Officer who was leading her if she could talk to me for a second “NO!! You should have thought about your children BEFORE you shoplifted!” he shouted. Even at 8 I understood the absurdity of this situation. My Mother had attempted to steal less than a hundred dollars worth of merchandise from a multi-billion dollar corporation. She had been caught before she even left the property and admited what she did and returned  the merchandise. Was my mother wrong in her attempted theft? Yes, but in the end what was really lost? NOTHING. And yet that Cop felt it necessary to prevent an obviously scared woman from comforting her terrified child..and Why? POWER. It made him feel powerful to enact that cruelty, to show a woman (whom he had already stripped of all pride and dignity with the use of the clearly unneeded handcuffs) who was boss one last time. As  that power hungry cop marched my mother past me he glared at me with a look I knew all to well. It was the same look O’neal gave me when he had me in his office, the same look Coach gave me and the same look given to me by Corey when he had that goddamn pellet gun. in that moment everything I had thought I knew about law enforcement from my Dad and school and the many Westerns and old action films I’d seen was revealed to be horse shit. Most Cops did what they did for the same reason all authority figures do: POWER and even more than power, for the fear of others because with fear comes a level of respect all normal members of the Human race long for. My Father showed up to pick me up and we followed the Cop to the Police station where I saw my Mother photographed and finger printed. The Cop showed my Dad what my Mother had attempted to steal (Apparently they felt the need to bring these  things as  evidence…? Ten bucks says the Pig went home with a nice new House phone that night for the missus) I thought my Dad would be really upset but he fuck’in laughed! He actually fuck’in laughed! “These drillbits won’t fit my drill!”  he explained and  Porky The Junior Gestapo laughed right along with him, his utility belt jingle jangling away. I had a quick fantasy where I snatched his gun and shot his fick off mid-laugh before releasing my mother and all the other “criminals” before taking his star and declaring myself Sherrif of these here parts..in reality I sat there gape mouthed like a trout witnessing a polar bear making love to the LochNess Monster’s puckered asshole. “I hope this experience has taught you a lesson, kid.” The Cop said to me. I sure as shit did learn something too. Firstly adults were far from the well adjusted individuals they pretended to be, they were seriously fucked in the head! Secondly, the worst crime of all, worse than rape or murder or torturing puppies with Cher music and pickle relish, is getting caught. Think I’m off? How many Cops ignore traffic laws and risk lives just to get their fat asses to lunch on time? How many District Attorneys make deals with Child rapists and give them lesser sentences just so they don’t have to do more paperwork for a fair trial? The proof is in the pudding as the old timers say. We have a justice system that incriminates everyone one way or the other, no matter how law abiding you think you are you’re set up to commit at least one crime every day of your life, be it slowing instead of stopping, watching a movie streaming on youtube or hacking up old Sally down the street because you think her weathered skin would make a lovely lampshade and at the end of the day in the blind eyes of Justice all that matters is whether or not you get yourself caught, that and how much money you have to bribe them with when you do.

We went home from the police station and surprisingly my parents didn’t fight. We just sat down together and watched The Stupid (which turned out to be the most aptly named film ever made by the way.) Mom had to go to court for the incident and wound up doing community service at an Old FOlks home.

 

“Hello! And Welcome to B-Is For Best Movie Reviews And More! Today we’ll be discussing a film sent over by..”

BANG! BANG! BANG!

I’m shaken awake by a faceless corrections officer’s booted foot smashing into my bunk.

“Hey Mead! Uncover your fuck’in head! I gotta make sure you’re alive, man!” He shouts.

As if he cares. My death would simply mean a change in this asshole’s paperwork routine. I thought I was done with this shit, but just like on oh so many other topics I was wrong about this as well. I know I’ll be fighting for sleep for the next few hours. A sleep I won’t be able to return to except in spurts of 20 minutes or less now that these sadists have taken away my tranquilizers. My mind starts to drift to the typical self destruct bullshit I’ve toyed with on and off for the last few months..Afterall I’ve lost everything: The woman of my dreams (who happens to also be my best friend of 11 years) left me for dead months ago, I’m getting old, Hell even the site is likely in fuck’in shambles..That thing was my baby almost as much as my kids are.. So I sit here in prison for the second time and the fucking kicker is I came here on purpose this time around! (although I hadn’t intended such a lengthy stay..but we’ll get to that..) You’re probably wondering at this point if you’re about to read a lengthy droning suicide note. Well I hate to disappoint you but that’s not quite what I have in mind. Instead, consider this my last ditch effort to AVOID taking my own life. I’m acting as my own Clarence The guardian Angel and while it wasn’t always a wonderful life it’s certainly been an interesting one.

 

I’ve always been a bit of a Mama’s boy but strangely enough my earliest (and quite possibly most influential) clear memory is actually more of my Father. I couldn’t have been more then 6 months old because I was sitting in my car seat pricariously perched on the couch. My Mother was unsuccessfully trying to calm me down and get me to go to sleep. It was after 3AM and my Father came through the door, coming home from a long shift at the mill. He cocked his head at me looking irritatedd at first and then broke into a grin. “What are you doing up?” he asked, kneeling down from what seemed at the time to be a gargantuan height and kissing me one the cheek. He smelled of Brute aftershave and hot metal and his stubble was quickly becoming a beard that tickled my face. “Well kid, no sense sitting here in silence in the dark hu? Maybe a little idiot box will put you under.”

My Mother went to bed as he turned on the family TV and flicked past Billy Mays having a loud orgasm over a “special TV offer” to channel 30, the classic movie channel. What I saw that morning would plant a seed in my young mind that would continue to grow forever. This wasn’t Ninja Turtles or Eureka’s Castle. Oh, no, this was pure madness!. A black and white landscape was under attack by ants the size of tractor trailers! Science had run amuck! People screaming in terror! My Father laughed and clapped his hands. “I’ve seen this one! This is THEM! It’s a good one!” I could barely register what he was saying. I was transfixed, mesmerized. After that day I started staying up every night all through my early life to wait for my Dad so I could catch the late late B-movie. I saw every giant creature imaginable from Gila monsters to Jack rabbits! I saw killer yogurt, and people turned into crocodile headed fiends! I learned that you should never trust anything with ping pong balls for eyes. I even saw a Western starring an all chimp cast and another staring nothing but Dwarfs! Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if Gone With The Wind had been playing that morning. Would I be a politician today? Maybe a Sheriff? A professional athlete? HAHAHAHAHAH Yeah right! More likely I would have snapped without my little escape hatch from reality. This would be the confessions of a serial killer instead of…whatever the fuck this.

My memories from this point are understandably choppy and far from linear so if I wind up jumping back and forth in time a bit I’m sure you’ll understand why. I remember living in South Glens Falls in a two family house. There was nothing around for us to look at but a huge water tower. Our neighbors were a little older then I was (I had to be 4 or 5) and their parents had alot more money then mine did. I knew this because while we had a beat up old Atari with 25 variations of Pong under different titles these kids had themselves a Nintendo. They had two games that really caught my attention: Friday the 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street. My Dad is an old school Christian and being four or five I had, of course, never seen the films these games were based on. in fact at the time I had no idea these were movies at all. All I knew is that these monolithic monstrosities were something new. These weren’t anything like the tragic creation of the evil Dr. Frankenstein or the misunderstood Creature From The Black Lagoon. They were as far from the seductive Count Dracula (or his funky counterpart Blackula) as Kanye West is from Gandhi! These fuckers were Brutal. They were murder on two legs. They Boogie men like I’d never experienced. Unlike the Vampires, Werewolves, Crawling Terrors and Triffids I’d come to love they lacked  the inherent weaknesses of their goofy by comparison counterparts. They weren’t the ghosties and ghoulies of my father’s era. These were MY monsters. The Nightmare fodder of my generation, as bloody and apathetic as the age that spawned them and damned if I wasn’t immediately drawn to the Knife fingered  Christmas enthusiast and hulking hobo in a Hockey mask from the moment I saw them plastered on those cartridges even if it wasn’t until years later that I saw their actual films I still dreamed up possible stories for the two characters. In my childhood mind’s version Freddy was coming home from seeing Raiders Of The Lost Ark on Christmas when an asteroid fell on him burning him to a crisp. An Alien parasite got into his brain and reanimated him. Since he lost his hand he got a super strong bladed robot hand and went on a killing spree and the only thing that could stop him…was wood from an Elm tree. My version of Friday the 13th was equally off. A  homeless guy just wanted to play Hockey with the local kids but the mask he dug out of a dumpster was cursed and when he put it on it made him go crazy, remembering back when he was in Vietnam. He goes nuts, and gets his army issue machete then goes on a rampage at a summer camp… Now that I think of it I should probably be working for Asylum..Isn’t what I just described how they make movies? Show a dumb kid a movie poster and tell him to write a story based on it? (Just kidding Asylum, I love you guys..Still waiting for a ripoff of the shitty Robocop reboot..Robo-officer perhaps?) SHIT..I’m getting sidetracked

…Anyway… Another important thing happened while I was living in South Glens Falls. One afternoon my mother was having coffee with the neighbor kids’ mother. Meanwhile I was sitting in the living room with the other kids. They had a movie going. It was one of the Watchers movies, I believe the third one. As usually happened I was caught up in the action on screen. There was a scene where a testing facility was experiencing an emergency lock down. The creature in the film (A slimy reptilian fucker that looked like what would happen if you crossbred William Dafoe, Michael Jackson and a Humanoid from the deep with a rusty radiator) was being pursued by some commando types. The monster cornered some poor scientist. I waited for the traditional cutaway to a shadow and a scream..but no. Not this time. This time I saw it all as this thing tore this poor bastard limb from limb like a rotisserie chicken! Looking back now the scene was pretty tame compared to a lot I’ve seen since but holy fucking shit! I had never seen anything like it at that point. Of course my mother picked that moment to come in, see what was on the screen and dramatically pull me to her like she was deflecting bullets. She yanked me out of there quicker then Eddie Murphy catches a nut with a transsexual prostitute..but it was too late, a gore hound was born.

From that moment on, every time I went to a video store or a grocery store with a rental section I’d lose myself in the Horror section, swept away by the gaudy over the top box art: a Macabre art gallery of half naked screaming women, drooling demons, sex starved cannibals, mutants and madmen sporting everything from knives the size of cutting boards to a guitar with a five foot phallic drillbit sprouting from the neck! Most of these films were off limits due to their R-rating but Dad wasn’t a complete asshole and he’d let quite a few questionable films pass through undetected as long as they weren’t rated R. Thank God for the fact that so many Indie filmmakers couldn’t afford to pay off the MPAA to use their rating system and so had to release their films unrated. This probably has a lot to do with my lifelong obsession with the low budget shock shluck that I consume more then Oprah consumes house wife soul infused lard cakes.. Like most kids I also dug the typical late 80’s, early 90’s cartoons. I loved GI Joe and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tales From The Crypt Keeper and Ren and Stimpy but  one show reigned supreme above all others in my little kid world. A show with goofy stooge-esque humor, gross out characters and a good guys always win formula. That show was THE TOXIC CRUSADERS.

For those who don’t know, THE TOXIC CRUSADERS was an early 90’s cartoon series about a rag tag group of misfit superpowered mutants who team up to save a small town called Tromaville from an evil alien cockroach named Dr. Killemoff who plans to make Tromaville and the surrounding world more inhabitable for his race by ways of massive levels of pollution. (He selects Tromaville New Jersey because it’s already the Toxic Waste dumping capital of the world.) His own pollution accidentally creates our heroes in various ways. You have Junkyard, a redneck who winds up with his DNA mixed with his favorite dog, creating a werewolf-like dog man with super human hearing, smell and one hell of a bite, Major Disaster: An ex-marine who is turned half plant by radioactive swamp gas and now controls plants telepathically, Nozone; A fighter pilot who flew through a cloud of radioactive pepper causing his skin to turn blue for some reason but also causing his nose to grow to twice the size of the rest of his head, giving him a super sonic sneeze, The Headbanger (Fender and Bender): A surfer dude and an evil scientist who wind up scrambled as a two headed  freak by an accident reminiscent of The Fly and have the power to…spout catch phrases and bicker while looking awesome…? (seriously Thats all they did now that I think about it.) Leading the  group was everybody’s favorite hideously deformed creature of super human size and strength The Toxic Crusader! Toxie started off as a 98 pound nerd who worked at the Tromaville Health club until a cruel prank resulted in him landing in a misplaced barrel of toxic waste. He left the barrel as a 7 foot tall muscle bound monster with a lumpy misshapen head, a-symmetrical eyes and the ability to sense (and uncontrollable urge to thwart) evil. Where most cartoons took their crime fighters ultra serious ( No matter how ludicrous they actually were) The fine folks at Troma took the opposite approach, snubbing their noses at the action and drama  and fully embracing  the absurd by placing their head hero not only in tights but a vibrant pink tutu as well and arming him with a mop. Toxie wasn’t suave or debonair, he didn’t ooze confidence and he wasn’t overly smart either but his lacking in all those areas made him all the more likeable. In a weird way, as ugly and odd as Toxie and his buddies are  they were the most HUMAN heroes I had ever seen. This instilled in me the idea that an outcast could still be a hero, hell an outcast could be the BEST hero. Rising above adversity and saving the very people who tormented him in the past instead of using his powers to destroy them like a lesser man would. I’d say that’s one hell of a powerful lesson, no matter how stupid the show was. I never thought i would have thought Tromaville would have collided with my obsession for B-movies, afterall this was a nationally syndicated Saturday morning cartoon, but I would soon find out differently. Toxie didn’t just collide with that world, he came from it to begin with!

You’ll notice most of the jabbering I’ve done thusfar has been about movies (well, until I got all gushy about The Toxic Crusaders and got distracted even further) I haven’t gotten overly personal yet..Well, there’s a reason for that.

As I was blossoming into the film obsessed weirdo you’ve all come to know and love, my real life wasn’t so great. My Father was (as I said Before) a Mill worker and my Mother was a housewife, My Dad was a pretty stern dude and certainly not known for sparing the rod. My older brother Corey and my older Sister Amanda had different Fathers and were both keenly aware of the fact. They constantly seemed to get under my Dad’s skin, setting him off. Dad wasn’t a small man and catching the wrong end of his belt was no joke. The belt was only one weapon at his disposal. Dad was the mcguiver of ass whoopings. You could give him a Ramen noodle, a thimble and a jellybean and he could figure out a way to blister your ass with it. My Mother has suffered from severe Manic Depression since I can remember, alternating between desperately clinging to us kids and angrily shooing us away. No matter how hard Dad worked it was never enough and Mom and him were constantly at eachother’s throats. Mom was of the opinion that she should be best friends with us whereas Dad believed we were Hellions destined to become murderous Satanists and anarchists if we weren’t pushed to submit to his will and the will of God. In a perfect world they would have learned from one-another and us kids would have grown up well adjusted because they came together and to raise us somewhere in between the two extremes…Instead we grew up listening to them hate each other vehemently and very, very verbally, often breaking into actual physical confrontations. I love both my parents and I don’t hold any grudges against either one of them. I know both of them are going to feel  betrayed if they ever read this because I didn’t spew rage against one while praising the other as a Saint, but the truth is both of them were….off. Both of them are human beings and as such they were (and are) flawed and I refuse to tear either of them apart here. That’s why I’ll avoid going into detail on alot of happened except where I feel it’s essential. I think it’s important though to point out that my childhood wasn’t a nightmarish Hell. I won’t pain horrific pictures for Sociopathic book critics to whack off to. This isn’t another A Child Called It or the typical celebrity tell-all.

My Dad made wooden toys for me, taught me how to use tools and carry myself like a man but never be a bully or a braggart. My mother taught me how to sew, make jewlery, read, and indulged me when I went through all my odd little phases (even when I insisted on wearing masks every day, went through an odd “nerds are cool” phase and even at one point took to wearing skirts as a teen despite the fact that I was already heavily bearded before I hit 13) They had their dark sides (Mom forced me to pretend I was special Ed, learning diabled and had ADHD so she could collect SSI in my name. I believed there was something wrong with me until i stopped taking medication, went to college and maintained a 4.0 GPA for three years with zero effort) but they loved us kids in their own way.

My Dad was far from the monster that my mother made him out to be, Alot of the rage we saw was frustration with my Mom and also because us kids were so hard headed, especially me. Contrary to what my mother says I don;t recall my Father ever punching my Mother. It usually came down to them arguing, Mom grabbing a weapon and Dad defending himself. I used to jump in between them, always taking Mom’s side (ironically I did this because Dad taught me a man should never hit a woman no matter what.)

My Brother Corey was my hero back then. I used to think he was the baddest motherfucker who ever lived. He worked out, smoked pot, chewed tobacco and seemed to have a different girlfriend for every day of the week. He was even fucking his friend’s mother! He was my Mother’s favorite and my Grandmother Johnson (who didn’t seem to like anyone) beamed over Corey like he was Jesus himself. The one person who didn’t click with Corey was my Dad. Corey seemed to get off on pissing my Dad off. He’d tell him to go fuck himself, that he wasn’t his “real dad” on a regular basis (despite the fact that Corey’s “real father” was an abusive prick who abandoned him until he was a teenager after him and my Mom divorced.) and the two of them would get into some pretty epic battles. At this point in my life Dad had gotten laid off at the Mill and we were forced to live in a low income housing project in Glens Falls. The official name for the place was The Henry Hudson Townhouses but the locals called it the “chicken coops” because of the high number of crack heads and dealers that lived there. It was what the French refer to as “a fucking shithole” (Mr.French, not the people) but I was happy enough. I made friends with Will and Kevin Paterson (a couple of black kids who lived a few doors down who used to go to headstart with me) and kept busy running around Glens Falls (a City I still consider home). I still longed for a house though. I wanted my own club house and a dog. More then that i wanted my own room i wouldn’t have to share with my brothers and sister.

I thought I would never have those things until one day I came home from school to find two old women waiting for me with my parents. They were holding balloons and wearing huge grins. My mind immediately conjured up the horrific image of the hooked nosed goblin-like hags from that fucked up Disney movie Witches. I braced myself to be turned into a mouse and eat (what the fuck is wrong with you Disney!!??) to my surprise my mother shouted “we’re getting a house!” Me and my siblings went wild! The balloons were released. We did a 4  way flying high five, broke out in an ad lib musical number that landed us a record deal, the whole neighborhood joined in the fun! That’s when Jesus showed up doing cartwheels and handing out free candy that gave us all superpowers and then….ok, so some of that isn’t true (It was only half the neighborhood) What really happened was the balloons got caught in the ceiling fan and popped…but we didn’t give a fuck! We were getting a house! My Dad had been volunteering for a church based organization called Habitat for Humanity. Habitat For Humanity rounded up hundreds of desperate poor men ad women and got them to build houses for poor families. The deal was, if you put in so many hours you get put on the list  to receive one of the houses in the future. Our names had come up on that list and we were finally going to have our home…But first we had to build it.

CONTINUED IN CHAPTER 2:SHIT GETS WEIRD