Chapter One (Continued)

Looking back, this is the big mistake, where listening could’ve been the key–not that it would have changed the truth–but it would’ve saved me from this torture. She’s fucking me. We’re having coffee. It’s our car ride home, after I pick her up from work. Our favorite late-night sitcom. Sunday morning church. It’s all the same as her fucking me. These moments in time have no distinguishing factors. But right now, she’s really fucking me.

We stare across the table, sipping the brewed beans while she does all of the work. And then I smoke a cigarette, tell a few lies, stare at her eyebrows instead of her soul. We finish. She thanks me. And I remember him.

Staring at the oncoming traffic, praying a drunk driver is on the road, she offers me her day, doing all of the work. I smoke a cigarette, tell a few lies. Luckily, I don’t have to stare at her. I have an excuse now. Dropping her off at home, she thanks me. And I remember him.

She pours a couple drinks and turns out the lights. We watch the last five minutes of CSI before it’s time. She snuggles up against my chest, taking up the whole couch. I kiss the top of her head so she doesn’t ask. I will get out of bed tomorrow if she just doesn’t fucking ask, “What’s wrong? You seem off.” Then I want to blow my brains out, take as many with me as possible. She laughs and asks about the show. I lie in between my cigarette. She thanks me. And I think of him.


Chapter 1 (continued)

It seemed a little harsh for eighteen, but who was I kidding; I didn’t know my ass from my mouth. Luckily, that was unknown information at the time. But every little pipsqueak should be whopped across the mouth until they repeat and believe: your parents end up being right. This is true in some way, at least. So as this weary, foggy-eyed man sat before me with a hairy pooch over his stained pair of proud college shorts and a faded tattoo on his left forearm, I should have carefully listened and noted every word that would one day end up being my future. His smile mocked all of the prized possessions surrounding the house, seen from anywhere in the place: the wide deck riding lawn mower, the tuned up Z28 Camero, 60’’ flat screen, pool table, signed jerseys, baseballs, and—my personal favorite—the carefully crafted collector’s Rolex for a man who has never been caught wearing anything but an elastic gas station clock. This was him, the guy, and I couldn’t help but focus on the Miller-time foam at the edge of his babbling mouth. The thinning college haircut. The tanned forehead, covered with middle-aged sweat and oil. The scars. The muscles. The rings. Shoes. The whole bit. And the only thing I could extract from this vital fucking information: there is absolutely no fucking way this guy knows what he is talking about. I am right. Life will be great, my oyster. As for Dad…Fucktard, for sure.


Before you are quick to hate on a criminal like James Holmes, take a second to see if there is a bigger picture going on. Obama has been accused of not taking enough action, pressuring congress to make change. Has congress listened?—No. But perhaps there are organizations that feel it imperative to keep Obama in office and Romney—the Mormon, wealthy, conservative—out of office. On even a bigger scale, the UN is trying to ban small arms in many countries, including the United States. But why now?

Around the world, a movement called ‘Occupy Wall Street’ has shocked authorities, making them a little nervous. What if weapons broke out? What if the economy doesn’t get any better? Could it not be that the UN as a whole is having the same problem, concerns with their people?

But back to the conspiracy of James Holmes. J.D. Heyes of natural news, wrote an article that noted some interesting details of the case. The most notable one is the Natural Institute of Health’s $26,000 “stipend to Holmes and also paid his tuition to the highly competitive neuroscience program at the University of Colorado Denver. Five other students at the school were also given the stipend. “It wasn’t clear if any of the funds were used by the suspected gunman to purchase the vast array of weapons, 6,000 rounds of ammunition and other gear – such as his bulletproof vest, shin, groin and neck protectors, as well as a gas mask and other items – he used in the attack and to booby trap his apartment.”

This sounds odd does it not? Why would he be so protected? I’ve never seen a shooter so protected. Or was the intention for him to be kept alive, the face of a massacre? Every movement needs a scapegoat. There has to be a finger to point at. I don’t think it’s Obama. His reactions are honest. He’s doing his job. But the CIA?—I can’t be so sure, based on their history. See article ‘Conspiracy or Staged?’ below.

Lastly, “weeks before the shootings, Holmes abruptly left a 35-student Ph.D program in neuroscience for reasons that still aren’t clear.”

He studied neuroscience, very intelligent; but all of a sudden, he left. Maybe he was someone else’s project. An intelligent, geeky, neuroscience student that dropped out and seemed ‘drugged’ in the courtroom. It’s not difficult for them to draw lines and lead the public away from what’s going on behind closed doors; but the story of James Holmes doesn’t add up.

Conspiracy or Staged?

Friends and family called Colorado Shooter, James Holmes, ‘Demonic’. 24-year-old, Holmes, a dropout medical student, allegedly spent over twenty-thousand dollars on military-style weapons, using them with militaristic tactics. Brad Garrett, former FBI agent referred to as Dr. Death and ABC’s expert on killers, thinks the alleged gunman wasn’t ‘in the courtroom’. Holmes would go in and out of wide-eyed stares to head-bobbing fits. Was he drugged, brainwashed or even hypnotized?

A Marine suggested this:  “As a Marine it is still hard if not impossible for me to even have access to such precise federal lever equipment. The AR 15 rifle is not so hard to get, but I know for a fact most civilians are not legally eligible to purchase such body armor. If he did have access to body armor he would have had to had someone get it for him like a federal agent unless he is a cop or federal agent.”

If you are familiar with MK Ultra, an experimental neuro-submission/reaction program in WWII created by the CIA. Morphine induced comas mixed with subliminal messages such as ‘Kill them all’ resulted in an array of effects such as insanity, latent depression/anger, schizophrenia and loneliness.

And perhaps it’s too obvious to state that this massacre hovers dangerously close to the UN’s small arms vote. It’s about election time, a curve-ball at Obama. They’re called conspiracy thinkers, but really they’re just asking questions.

But maybe they have a point:

“How did he get the money?”

“How do you explain Holmes’ interest in neuroscience and the severe personality change?”

“With his intelligence and life-path, where’s the motive?”

“Why did he so easily submit to police?”

“Why does the media/government seem to be rushing things?


Prologue (Excerpt)

Bricks of legacy began stacking precisely atop one another with a patriarchal weight, blotting out a promising future with drops of perceived expectation that dampened the childhood of Abe with a splinter in his young, eager mind. It was almost as if the family mansion, seemingly a castle to any class below, constructed itself actually by the hands of Abe’s father, and the father’s before. The towering edifice, the plethora of cars, even the glamorous nine years of childhood wealth didn’t add any pounds to the sinking annoyance. The murmurs of the neighboring golf acquaintances or the heavy handshakes offered to his father at every public interaction hardly clouded the ideal road ahead, no. The legitimacy of passion dripping from the hands of all the men in a line before Abe served as the burden to bear, the point of the plague in his thoughts.

“Mr. Astely,” a voice suddenly interrupted the nightmarish daydream. Abe’s father smirked with the boy’s sudden jump, impressed with the octave that disguised him.

“Oh, Dad,” breathing heavily as if caught masturbating, “I didn’t even hear you come up.”

“I intended it that way. Why the lonely thinking? Shouldn’t you be off exploring or getting into trouble? Here I find you miles away, standing in the yard with nothing but complication on your brow.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“Well there’s no need to apologize, unless of course you weren’t just sitting out here thinking. Were you actually getting into trouble?”

“No, I was thinking.”

“I thought so. Why don’t you come up to the house with me, I want to ask you something,” Abe’s father said as he began towards the house.

Any destination in the Astley house could be conveniently equipped with quicker transit than two feet, a landscape exceeding the yard space in nine holes of golf. More appropriately put, the Astely house served as an economic system, employing nearly twenty workers at all times—business aside, of course. But in half the time of his fathers’ typical pipe sessions, both arrived at the main family dilemma of the day.

“See your mother, I’m sure you’ve heard her, goes on and on about how lucky she is to have married such a ‘successful, intelligent man’; but—as with all women—there is always something more that needs doing. Apparently, my office is hardly worthy of the man I am, and I have been advised to tidy it up—as I see fit of course. Son, if you haven’t caught on to my sarcasm, your mother has instructed me to make my office more suitable for what she deems a respectable member of society,” Mr. Astely said, standing a reading lamp’s height above the young listener.

“What if you don’t want to be a respectable member of society?” Abe asked, “Or appear as one?” he quickly added.

“Ah, to be young again…As a younger man, I would have remarked the same thing! Why do you think I wanted your opinion? It makes the alteration a bit more pleasurable knowing there were thoughts of rebellion before it. However, son, and you will learn this too, what the women say, goes.”


“Well, that is if you want to end each day with a smile.”

“What about pride?”

“What’s that?” Mr. Astely remarked and bent over guffawing at his son’s confusion. “Of course, I know what pride is, son, but that is something that separates itself from women altogether. Anyway, I feel as though we have strayed from the point. How do I make this office as I want it and how your mother wants it—a hidden compromise if you know what I’m getting at?”

“I don’t think it’s that hard.”

“Please then, enlighten me.”

“Do what I do. Put everything in stacks, the books in the bookcase and put the dishes in the kitchen. Maybe you could even move the desk closer to the window.”

“I knew you were the perfect man for the job,” Abe’s father said.

Abe’s father never hesitated to include him or shy away from expecting that of a much older child. Growing older serves as a waning of years rather than a loss of excitement or distraction from imagination, Mr. Astley concluded. The two worked at the assignment, checking their work more frequently as the end of the hour crept nearer. The calm afternoon rays bent through the glass of the nearly transparent western wall of the office, warming the leather on his fathers’ chair as the room found its woman’s touch. Time passed in the fall months without much hurry; every action seemed to stroll rather than sprint with causality that hinted at more difficult days spent long ago. But without much effort, the appeasement resolved and the day sat available again to be spent to one’s liking.


Chapter One

If you’re having a good day, put this book down.

And if you’re a nice person—forget it.

In the real world, girls don’t flirt; they fuck. Kids don’t party; they puke. Your best friend takes your great idea. Your enemies want your head. Your spouse blows other dicks. And God…don’t even get me started on that. In the real world, no one gives a shit. No respect. No kindness. No fucks. And that’s what he told me, his great advice, his pardoning gift. Thanks, Dad, for the words of wisdom. But he never said to change it. Never sat me down and drew out a map for what kind of man to be, just this is the way it is; now go make sense of the bullshit and realize all of the wondering you did as a youngin’ was a phenomenal waste of the only pure and innocent time in your useless life here on earth. Then he handed me a beer, apologized and said he’d now shut his fucking mouth and smile because death was now nearer than birth, meaning the grand joke would be over sooner than it began. Cheers.

Candy Land

“Daddy, what was it like?” the small boy asked.

“What was what like, son?” the Father answered.

“War,” he said.

“Aren’t you too young to know about that sort of thing?” the Father said.

“No! I’m in third grade, Dad. We learned about that stuff last year too, but you said I was too young again,” the small boy beckoned.

“Do you think you’re old enough now?” the Father asked.

“Yes—I’m a whole year older now!” the small boy said.

“I have an idea,” the Father said.

“What?” the small boy said excitedly.

“How about we play a game?” the Father said.

“We did that last time!”

“It’ll be a different game this time. I promise I will tell you when you’re old enough, but if you complain, I’ll never tell you.”

“Fine, but you promise you’ll tell me when I’m older?” the small boy asked.

“I promise.”

“What game are we going to play?”

“How about Candy Land?” the Father asked on his way to get the game.

“Dad! We played that game last time,” said the small boy.

“No, you’re remembering wrong. You’ve never played this Candy Land before,” the Father said.

“You said that last time too!” screamed the little boy, but the two played having respected the Father’s promise not to tell if the small boy complained.

“Do you remember who won last time?” the Father asked.

“I did,” the small boy said.

“How did you win?”

“I don’t know. It just happened,” the little boy said staring at the board.

“How do you think I won this time?”

“How?” the small boy said.

“I don’t know how I won, either,” the Father said. And the boy began to become restless in his confusion, “—because it’s not up to me or you,” the Father said. Every year, this would happen, but the child still demanded to know about the war. The small boy turned into a big boy and then a small man and then a man. Just before the boy’s eighteenth birthday, he even noticed he was taller than his father, the old man starting to hunch occasionally and shuffle along when the days got long. “What’s that in your hand there, son?” the Father asked over his newspaper. The boy stood facing him with something behind his back, but he remained still, wearing a wry smile.

“Dad, you have not asked me what I want for my birthday yet,” the boy said.

“Fact,” the Father said, “but you’re supposed to let an old man know these things, you know,” he said looking at the boy, “though I have a feeling I’m about to find out.”

“Yes,” the boy said.

“Well then, you have my undivided attention. Please, tell me,” the Father said.

“Tell me about war, Dad. It’s the only thing I want and it’s the last time I’m going to ask,” the boy said to the now silent man.

The Father remained still, only his fragile chest lifting and falling under his bagging shirt. The boy became a blur behind the old man’s glasses, a movie playing over them. He heard the screams, felt the helplessness and saw the faces that God allowed home. He remembered even false motivation is motivation nonetheless. “I will tell you when you are old enough, my boy,” the Father finally said, “It wouldn’t be a very good birthday present.”

“Then I guess Uncle Sam is giving me my birthday present this year,” the boy said lying a folded piece of paper down on the coffee table over his father’s newspaper. The old man let go a whimper, but maintained his bearing. He took three steps toward the boy, shocking him altogether, and wrapped his arms around his son until he felt through.

The old man bought the boy a wallet with a little cash inside, a few beers and shook his hand like he had planned; however, eighteen had a whole new meaning after the boy’s decision. The days passed and the old man didn’t see much of the boy, off chasing women and bragging about the papers he signed. The boy’s friends applauded him and he became a hero: no medal, no training, and no war. The boy liked the attention and grew excited about the life that lay ahead of him. Finally, the day came where his destination awaited him and his ticket sat hot in his pocket.

Out of the door came the boy’s father, respecting the stairs with caution and looking as though he could be in need of a cane soon. But the boy brushed the thought from his mind, ready to become a man, ready to answer his own question. Steadily and in upward posture, the old man made his way to the boy: proud, eager and ignorant. He stuck out his hand, looked the boy straight in the eyes and shook it until each felt satisfied. “I have something for you,” the old man said.

“You do?” the boy asked, now looking down at his watch.

“Don’t open it until you are clear of this place, but remember it when you cross into their land,” the old man said.

“Thank you, Dad. I don’t really know what to say.”

“You’re not supposed to yet,” the old man said dropping his hand with the letter into the boy’s and walked back into the house—taller and faster than he had before.

The boy entered the car, the backseat to his lonesome and thought of the old man as their house faded and ceased to exist in the distance. After enough anticipation, the boy had to know—potentially it was the answer! Carefully, putting a finger through the crease of the envelope, the driver of the car became a peripheral whisper. With a little patience, the envelope opened and inside it sat a small, tethered note. Confused, the boy could hardly order his fingers to grasp it. Finally, they captured the small secret from his father. He heard the old man’s voice when he read it aloud to himself:


We remember our signatures and the day we signed them, laughing and smiling and tightening our racks in Candy Land.

And I laugh when I see my fate before me, the hand that grabbed me, the ground I’m made to march here in Candy Land.

But it’s my brother beside me I weep for, the look on his mother’s face and why not me, why not my funeral here in Candy Land.

Lord we laugh no more, winning be losing and losing be lost; there’s no direction here for us wandering in Candy Land.

If we’d only known of the silly little game heroes call Candy Land.


The boy’s stomach ached and somersaulted with the letter as it drifted over the seat and onto the floor. Now he had the old man’s answer, but headed for the experience. Why hadn’t his father told him? Why hadn’t he made it clear all those years. Squirming and fighting, the boy continued on through his sickness, through his father’s horror. The boy remembered his father when he crossed into their land. The boy met and lost his brother. The boy prayed. But winning be losing and losing be lost, the boy knew not what a life cost.

After many years of the drink, alone and pensive, the old man thinks: false motivation is motivation nonetheless. A flicker of yellow sits in the window as does the dying man on his front porch. Across from his old hands and shaky voice sits an envelope, weathered and solemn even in its mere undisclosed presence; however, still it sits. And in between he and his son sits what so little know and too many rush to see. If we’d only known of a silly little game heroes call Candy Land.