I had a nervous breakdown once--and only once--if you want the Gods honest truth. It wasn't even that bad, but it was sad and painful nonetheless; A wake up call, perhaps. Yes, a wake up call to take prescription drugs to avoid working through any mental and emotional problems.
It happened after a party in January of this year and I simply couldn't function the next day as a human being. Incapable of the perfunctory routines of an urban man I found myself lying in bed not unlike Brian Wilson did. "Taylor, man! pull yourself together," A voice screamed in my head. "Boil an egg, you moron!"
The previous night I had drank RIVERS of beer and snorted an AVALANCHE of cocaine. There was a burlesque dancer at the party. Before her show we were on the front porch and she just finished a cigarette and pulled another one right out and gave it a lit. I've always told myself to be careful of those types; can't control their addictions. I love smoking, the act of it, the feel of the smoke in my lungs, exhaling it through my nostrils but I've never been able to smoke two cigarettes in a row. I have to wait. When you wait it tastes that much better. One needs to play certain games in this world to stay afloat, to stay sane. I will get addicted to substances and then torture myself by witholding the drug (in a teasing way, of course) until I finally acquiesce to my desires. So anyways this dance turned out to be what I was expecting, bending and slithering over a chair, the men whooping it up. She had tassles on her nipples and when she swirled her breasts they are supposed to go round and round and hypnotize you, I suppose. Mesmerizing.
I thought I'd give the tassle trick a go myself. I've got some man boobage. Actually, I have the breasts of a twelve year old girl. Girls! What do they think? I, a man, can't do what they can do? Shit, I can do it and then some. So upon exiting the washroom after just snorting Blue Mountain in January, I peeled off my shirt and exclaimed, "Hey, lemme give those tassles a twirl, honey." (Case in point of under thinking).
She got out the necessary glue and held them in place for a minute on my nips. The rest was up to me. I tried in vain to get the rhythm and momentum to keep the tassles spinning but I couldn't do it. I kept at it but the damn things just went from side to side, not round and round. I failed yet again, but at the very least I can scratch that off my bucket list.
Around 3am I lied down for a few hours of agonizing sleeping non-sleep. Thoughts racing mad all over the place. Nonsense, just never ending nonsensical thoughts piling on top of each other crumbling and building up again only to pile up to the same height as before and then crumble to rubble ad infinitum. Sisyphus, you got a smoke, buddy? Well that seemed to sober me up enough to drive home. Hadn't had a drop for a few hours. My mind cleared up and I didn't have any coke donuts caked around my nostrils. All that's left is to sneak out of the house while everyone else is passed out or shacked up...
I figure that I've been in about fifteen accidents in my life (most minor with no damage, but a couple major ones with lots of damage) but never, and I retype, NEVER did I get in a wreck while drinking. What kind of fool doesn't keep riding a hot streak? I ride my hot streak in a silver Chevy Cavalier circa 2001, thank you very much.
If they made drinking and driving an Olympic event there would be no doubt, I'd bring home some hardware. I'm the best drunk driver in this shit-stinking world! I'd make you proud Canada! I can just picture myself on the gold podium weeping, waving holding a bouquet of flowers. I would struggle through the jungle course but make up for it on the city course complete with pedestrians and cops roaming the streets.
Speaking of being proud I AM proud to say that I have not once gotten into my car while drunk since that night almost a year ago. Oprah, cue the gentle applause. I imagine my therapist would tell me it's good to be proud of myself if I had one (self or therapy?). Drunk driving seems to be the one bad habit I've successfully defeated.
The act of getting into a motor vehicle while intoxicated hasn't changed much since the 20's or 30's. Punishment used to be a slap on the wrist. The sheriff in town pulls you over and you both have a good chuckle about it, and you're sent on your way with a wink and a nod, "Drive home safe now, Mr. Nezbit." But now it's like you raped a toddler. After seven beers and half a bottle of wine, I get behind that wheel and the MAN would have you believe I'm some nutty Jihad fella, but really I'm just a silly old corksucker. Plus, I have really good eye hand coordination; I would win a medal, remember? If a sweet old lady or a woman with a stroller pops out of nowhere you can count on me to swerve out of the way at the very last second as she gasps in horror, "No, not without my baby!" And while smoking with NO hands NO less.
I'm almost home, I can practically taste the sweet relief of solitude, then, seemingly out of nowhere, a priest and a rabbi start crossing the street. 5:30 in the morning, too. Very strange. The good lord upstairs must have sent out the Bat signal. If they don't move I'll splatter their god fearing guts all over my windshield. Catholic and Jew parts all mixed up like some divine Frankenstein. I'm going at least 90k; my car slices through the night, through the fog. I slam my palm onto the horn, one long blast to distill the silence. Could have woke God himself up. They both look at me, horrified with the realization that this is it--their final moment. Though they are spiritual men, or maybe because they are, their bodies cannot move out of the way as fast as their minds can.
My lungs involuntarily lob out a sream and I slam on the brakes, but I know it's too late, the laws of gravity, cause and effect, are a real bitch at times like these. The priest and rabbi hit my front end and roll up the hood to make two distinct imprints into the broken glass of my windshield. The priest was slightly larger though, more cracked glass and a heavier thud on the pavement. The car finally comes to a screeching halt. I frantically clammer to get through the bubble of my airbag and out the door. There on the street, plain as day among the shattered glass are two bodies lying still in severe injury or death. Rivulets of rouge coat the streets. I wipe my nose with the cuff of my jacket, spit a thick one on to the ground, and try to make sense of it all. My car is a write off, smoke billowing out of from the hood adding another thick coating of fog into the night. I had to split on my own two feet and fast. They'll never catch ME though. I won't rot away in some prison. I'm going out on my terms. No warden's going to get an ounce of my soul or body. I'll never mop their dirty death row floors.
In the wreckage I noticed A small hardcover book, ancient looking like it could be appraised on Antiques Roadshow, was lying between the two bodies. For whatever reason I grabbed it, and fled the scene. Who knows, maybe worth something some day even though I'm suddenly running out of days.
I ran all the way to my apartment, got my guitar, got some clothes, got my passport, and got the hell out of there. Now where to? I know the man I AM is busted, my car left right at the scene and all. Not even F. Lee Bailey can get me out of this one. The law won't even send Colombo. This ain't no whodunnit, after all.
I have to get out of the country and start again. Create a new identity in a foreign land somewhere far far away...
I always wanted to see Los Angeles. Cops in cars, the topless bars. Never saw a twenty first century man-PUSSY so alone, SO ALONE! I have read many books set in L.A., I should at least see what all the words are about. IF I'm going to create a new identity what better place to do it than the land of make believe? Palm trees, BMW's in the sun. Looking out from the hills; a city of lights humming in the smog. That's the movie star view, right? But what I was always more interested in was the seedier side of Hollywood--the low lifes and bums--the degenerates hustling for a buck--because that's what I FEEL like, doc! That's who I identify with. The Hollywood of Bukowski, Tony O'Neill, John and Dan Fante. What do ya make A that, doc? Just another middle class white kid who has it all, has the world by the balls, but discards it in favor of the gutter view. Regality does not suit me very well.
I can't wait to take ironic pictures with my two thumbs up, crouching down in front of obscure stars on the walk of fame, like Za Su Pitts. I also can't wait to take a hot one Phil Spitalny's star.
L.A. it is then! A basin in the sun. I heard some news story recently that there are a shit load more stars in the universe than previously thought. L.A. is the only place in the universe you can see a star, a real bright one, covered in cocaine and puke in a bathroom stall.
I got a cab to take me to the airport...
On the plane I started slamming beers and by the time we landed I was quite drunk. I think my new identity was kicking in for I almost forgot my own name. the paranoia was dulled by the alcohol and I didn't give three fucks, two shits, or one good goddamn if these were my last moments of freedom or what. That, my fellow humans is the beauty of alcohol; puts it all in perspective.
While outside I gulped in my first breaths of La La Land and hailed cab. I threw my back pack and guitar in the trunk and settled into the back seat. Even though I'd never been to Hollywood I knew exactly where I was going. "Take me to Beachwood Canyon, my friend," I slurred.
I cruised by neighborhoods, palm tree fronds whizzing past shimmering in the sun. Endless sprawl, endless nameless faces. Every big city's the same. Humans shuffling around going some place with so much purpose, they all look like they're clammering to get away from each other only to run into more and more.
I always loved palm trees and L.A. is full of them. Short, stocky thick ones, or those really tall pencil neck ones that careen into the sky. I don't even know why I love them so much but if I could be a tree it would definitely be one of the palm variety.
But there's no time to become a palm tree...
Here I am in my last moments. Why bother trying to run, create a new life, I'm defeated, I can barely do my laundry for chrissakes. How am I going to put together this Bourne Identity type of guy? Though I'm in Hollywood this ain't like the movies, kid. Plain and simple, I'm a killer--in a vehicular sort of way. Only a matter of hours before the law gets to me; to stay one step ahead for the rest of my days, it seems too taxing. I don't have many options left, prison not being one of them. I remember a guy I once knew, a drinking buddy, Mel, who told me what jail was like when he did a Loonie in Maplehurst. He was in for punching a cop after they provoked him into violence by repeatedly slamming his head against the brick wall of his house. It all started with a noise complaint or something trivial like that. He warned the officer holding his head that if he did it again he was going to pop him. The cop snickered to his buddies and gave him another SLAM. Mel turned around and socked him good right in the cheek. He was seeing STARS. He staggered to his feet only with the help of two more cop buddies. All five or six of them then joined in and kicked and clubbed Mel until he couldn't walk right for a month. All in the name of justice.
The cab dropped me off at the top of a hill. I tipped large. When you have no time left, it is easy to wriggle out of the trappings of man--money, women, big houses, competition. It's OH so liberating to finally be free from it all. Though I didn't want to die, my mind was calm and lucid.
There was a convenient hole in the fence surrounding the "HoLLyWooD" sign and I crept through. I had my guitar on my back, my backpack in my left hand and climbed the wrungs on the back of the 'H' with my right. Once on top I pulled out my guitar and marvelled at the view. Is this what Peg Entwistle saw before she leaped to her death? Another broken star.
I tuned up and began playing, "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" as my last song. It was simply the first song to pop into my head. Fitting perhaps.
"Dragon clouds so high above
I've only known careless love
It's always hit me from below..."
And with that I took a step forward into the great starry night, into the abyss. I began falling, hurdling down to the ravine at the bottom of the hill, all the while still playing guitar no less.
The next day some hikers stumbled upon my body, the debris of my guitar and the belongings in my backpack which were strewn about the scene.
"Hey, Laurie, check this old book out..."
And upon opening it,
This is what