Sunday, July 01, 2007

OXFORD CONFIDENTIAL:
Shocking Tales From Dreamland!
Murder! Drugs! Anal Sex!
Librarian Attacks Hair Care Product!

OXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- The walls melted away as the sky outside turned dark purple, the sunlight replaced with the gloom of an afternoon thunderstorm.

And then the breeze kicked up, pushing through the windows, scattering everything in its path.

I was standing at the bathroom door, somewhere, in some strange old house.

As I stared from my omnipotent vantage point, the toilet came right up off of the mounting, the wooden seat and the porcelain flapping in the breeze like a wet shirt on a clothesline, laughing.

I heard her voice behind me, the sound of someone familiar, someone long gone from my life and almost forgotten.

Last I'd heard, she was wanted for all sorts of things out in Colorado, warrants issued and probation violated. I guess I'd heard wrong, since I could hear her voice behind me, garbled and soft.

I turned just as her knife dug a hole in my chest, down between the ribs, right into my beating heart. I waited for her to say something, anything, but she quit speaking as soon as she put the knife through me.

Instead, as I watched, helpless and at the moment of death, she pulled the blade from my chest and cut out her own eyes.

I used to stare into those brown Cherokee-Creole eyes at night, used to run my hands up from her cafe au lait skin... DON'T DO IT!

Terror.

Pure terror as I collapsed to the floor, blood squirting from my chest and blood shooting from her eye sockets, the toilet still flapping in the breeze.

Death had caught me. A creepy, floating toilet laughed at me as the world ended, pitch-black and whimpering nothing.

* * * *

The alarm clock went off just as I hit the floor, just as I was murdered.

Dream. Another stupid, goddamn nightmare.

Got up, went to the kitchen, and put on the coffee. Powered up the laptop and turned on the television. Adjusted the rabbit ears, compensated for the various atmospheric phenomena that usually interfere with good ol' airwave broadcasts.

"... A robbery turns deadly in Over-the-Rhine ..."

Great. Fucking great.

I have a nightmare about my ex-fiancee cutting out her own eyes after murdering my sorry ass, and the first thing I hear on the morning news is something about another murder down in Cincinnati.

At least there wasn't a floating toilet involved, I tell myself.

And I think the house in the dream was that old abandoned place out in Ault, Colorado, the one "Jada" and I once broke into during that hail storm, on the way back from Cheyenne...


I hop in the shower. The water's lukewarm, the building's boiler tapped out by my neighbors and still reheating. I debate hopping back out, letting the shower run empty for a few more minutes, to allow the old furnace time to recuperate.

Instead, I lather up quickly, wash my hair, and put in some conditioner....

Suddenly, I realize why I'd had the nightmare in the first place. And it wasn't the butternut squash ravioli or the cup of yogurt I'd had for dinner the previous night, either.

* * * *

The conditioner was the same brand that "Jada" used to use. The same kind we used, back when I was strung out, back when we lived in that renovated former sorority house, back on 8th Avenue in 1997.

By accident, I'd picked it up from the grocery store. I saw a sale tag and grabbed the sucker without looking, in the here and now, 2007.

Ten years ago. Ten years? I've been drug-free for ten years?

And ten fucking years ago, my fiancee tried to kill me, tried to stab me in the heart with a very real steak knife. And back then, the toilet bowl didn't come up off its pedestal, and the wind didn't blow through that stagnant apartment, either.

But that smell was there, the smell of honey extract fragrance. Unmistakable. And that smell had filled my apartment as I'd slept.

I literally jumped out of the shower, ran to the window, pulled open the screen, and flung the whole bottle out onto the street below. I hung out the window, naked and gloating, as the plastic container exploded on impact.

A college kid, in flip-flops, preppy white shorts and Green Beer Day tee shirt, looked up and yelled something profane, something about the bottle almost ruining his pristine Rich Kid outfit.

"Kid," I yelled back. "Ask me if I give a shit!"

* * * *

We used to shower together, every morning, after that first taste of angel dust pulled us out of our hangovers, at the asscrack of noon.

And sometimes we'd get caught up, white dicks slapping against black asses in that shower, reaching for that conditioner...

Every time I smell that smell, that honey-flowery smell, I think of two things: fucking my ex-fiancee in the ass (she hated vaginal sex in the shower and liked the "feel" of the conditioner inside her), and the fact that the only things we had in common were sex, drugs, and malt liquor.

Both thoughts are but two sides of the same coin, different versions of the same memory. I was, yes, a junkie ten years ago, a reporter by night and a dope fiend college student by day. I did more blow than half of Colombia, smoked more PCP-laced weed than half of San Francisco.

Who you were in 1997 almost got you killed, you ugly sonofabitch! I told the mirror as I shaved that morning. Next time, read the fuckin' labels on the Suave bottles.

I don't need the perfume from some haircare product taking me back to that place, or filling my nostrils as I sleep.

* * * *

A friend of a different ex called last night from Los Angeles.

Some former boyfriend of hers was stalking her. He'd sent her flowers, despite a warning that she'd file a restraining order against him if he ever made contact again, ever so much as sent her a text message.

Her manager had called the cops on the guy a while back, after an altercation at a nightclub, after he'd left bruises on her arm and shoulders because he loved her. Her publicist had told her to just slap him with the order anyway.

She resisted, because, well, part of her liked the attention, the excitement.

When the flowers showed up, she freaked. The guy wasn't just love-sick. All of those nights when he'd stagger with her into clubs drunk, those nights after she'd gone to rehab, when he'd literally squatted in her house, all of those times when he'd just wanted her to go back to being a cokehead ...

He never hit me until I went clean. Fuck! I can't believe I just said that...

She's been holed up in her house for two weeks, sleeping on her couch, watching old movies that I'd recommended, her registered 10 millimeter next to the stacks of books and copies of various fashion magazines.

And last night, she just called to talk. She was lonely. She wanted to hear a bedtime story.

Against better judgment, I told her about my nightmare, about the ten-year anniversary of my attempted murder, about the bottle of conditioner I'd sent rocketing, accidentally, towards a preppy undergrad.

I expected my tale to go over badly. It was a horrible story to tell, a horrible PTSD flashback to share with someone coming to grips with their own domestic violence issues.

Los Angeles Girl just went quiet. And then she laughed.

Dude, right now, I just want to kiss you, just want you here. You or Lee Blanchard. I think you may be the only guys who get where I'm comin' from...

It took me a while to figure out who Lee Blanchard is - had to actually look the guy up on Google. Should've figured he'd be a character from James Ellroy's novels.

She's a huge Ellroy fan, loves noir literature and film. And she has a similar, sordid past to mine, too. I think that's why she likes to call when she's lonely - nice just to have somebody to talk to, somebody who gets the references to L.A. Confidential and Shaun of the Dead.

I figured I'd give her something else to read, a more print-ready version of the story I told her last night. It'll give her something to do, keep her off the streets.

Nothing like two former addicts swapping stories to make for one hell of a conversation.

This is the sanitized version.

Yep.

Ripped out eyeballs and anal sex. Cocaine. Even me describing my actual, almost murder at the hands of my ex.

Sanitized version.

- # # # -

* For those who've been there.
And for those trying to go clean.
Don't try. Just do. It's worth it.


19 comments:

xboxgirl said...

Gee f---ing wizz!

coyotemike said...

forget everything I ever said about our lives mirroring.

Cat. said...

What Mike said.... I knew there was a reason I stopped using Suave a few years ago. Just...dude. Lighting a candle for you. And I'm not Catholic.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Xbox:
Lol. Yep. I've actually been meaning to post about this for a while now. Several friends of mine have been trying to clean up their lives. Figured they might want to read about it, too...

Mike:
Lol, I wish I could say I was sorry to hear that, but, man, thank god...

Cat:
Thanks. I can use any help I can get. It's been a while since I wrote anything about the Dark Year - probably about a year, year and a half.

Ya never know, huh?

Woeful said...

Nearly murdered in a dusted out rage? I'm glad you got clean! I hope you helped your friend... The downward spiral is nowhere to be.

On a side note: "Over the Rhine" is one of my favorite bands...

cooper said...

What can I say.


Nothing is usually best in these circumstances I say no matter how hard to keep the tongue still.

Anonymous said...

man i can't believe you wrote about me. i don't know what to say really. thanks for listening and answer your phone dammit!

:-P

The ZenFo Pro said...

Woe:
Lol, so am I, actually.

The band, trust me, is much less violent than the Cincy ghetto.


Coop:
Oh dear lord. I left you biting your tongue. :P

Hey, whaddaya expect? Almost ten years to the DAY since I almost got killed by my ex-fiancee. And drugs are bad.

Anon:
Kinda defeats the purpose of "Anon" posting, doesn't it?

I answered my phone. See. I'm alive :)

pia said...

Wow was going to say how noir this reads.

I used to love Ellroy until i saw him hosting a TV show. He's a pompous arrogant twit. Actually I think Bernie Kerik was on the show--his friend--if not definetely the policeman who had a dead prostitute for a mother mentioned kerik so many times I would have thought the show was about him

If Ellroy didn't keep coming back to tell people how smart they are because they buy his books

I will buy your books :) Love this post

Ashley said...

omg! i knew u used to have a drug problem but omg! thats so brutal man. hope your doing okay this summer. explains a lot actually. oxford is a den of cokeheads and a lot of girls in the bars uptown are junkies. its disgusting and i can see now why you dont go out much on weekends. must be really hard huh.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Pia:
Lol. Yeah, I really get tired of the stereotypical "Drugs are bad" stuff. Plus, I get at least one Local undergrad a month telling me that they love reading this thing high. Lord, I don't need to know that!

Ellroy is, well, Ellroy. And he's notoriously pompous. It's the LA thing. [I know Los Angelenos who refuse to even acknowledge that the rest of the world exists].

Thanks, chica!

Ashley:
Yup. Does explain quite a bit. And, yup, there are way too many Local U. undergrads, particularly female ones, who think doing lines makes them somehow impervious to the world. Try to steer clear of em as much as I can.

During the summer? Generally, all clear.

And I think I'm doing just peachy :)

Smurf said...

I know you had mentioned drugs J, but I had no clue you were using that many of them.

That could have been the "Jada" flashback from the PTSD, but have you looked into any of the symbolism with the dream as well to see if any of it actually fits? I use this one site to look up parts of my dreams from time to time... and just to see what it says and if any of it might fit... I will share them with you here...

the color "Purple"-
Purple is indicative of devotion, healing abilities, loving, kindness, and compassion. It is also the color of royalty, high rank, and dignity.

"Thunder"-To hear thunder in your dream, signifies a violent eruption of anger and aggression. Alternatively, it is an indication that you need to pay attention and learn an important life lesson.

"Sky"- If the sky is cloudy and overcast, then it foretells of sadness and trouble.

"Breeze"- To feel a breeze in your dream, represents the movement of ideas and minor changes.

"Wind"- Wind

To dream of blowing winds, symbolizes your life force, energy, and vigor. It reflects changes in your life.

To dream of strong or gusty winds, represents turmoil and trouble for you. You are experiencing much stress in some waking situation.

"Window"- To see windows in your dream, signifies bright hopes, vast possibilities and insight.

To dream that you are looking out the window, signifies your outlook on life, your consciousness, point of view, awareness, and intuition. You may be reflecting on a decision and seeking guidance. Or you need to go out into the larger world and experience life. If you are looking in the window, then it indicates that you are doing some soul searching and looking within yourself.

To see shut windows in your dream, signifies desertion and abandonment.

To see shattered and broken windows, denotes misery and disloyalty.

To see a tinted window in your dream, represents you need for privacy and your ways of getting it. You are keeping aspects of yourself hidden or that you want to remain ambiguous.

"Bathroom"-To dream that you are in the bathroom, relates to your instinctual urges. You may be experiencing some burdens/feelings and need to "relieve yourself". Alternatively, it may symbolize purification and self-renewal. You need to cleanse yourself, both emotionally and psychologically.

"Door"- To dream that you are entering through a door, signifies new opportunities that will be presented before you. You are entering into a new stage in your life and moving from one level of consciousness to another. In particular, a door that opens to the outside, signifies your need to be more accessible to others, whereas a door that opens into the inside, denotes your desire for inner exploration and self-discovery.

To see opened doors in your dream, symbolizes your receptiveness and willingness to accept new ideas/concepts. In particular, to see a light behind it suggests that you are moving toward greater enlightenment/spirituality.

"House"- To see a house in your dream, represents your own soul and self. Specific rooms in the house indicate a specific aspect of your psyche. In general, the attic represents your intellect, the basement represents the unconscious, etc. If the house is empty, then it indicates feelings of insecurity. If the house is shifting, then it suggests that you are going through some personal changes and changing your belief system...To see an old, run-down house in your dream, represents your old beliefs, attitudes and how you used to think or feel. A situation in your current life may be bringing about those same old attitudes and feelings. Alternatively, the old house may symbolize your need to update you mode of thinking.

"Toilet"- To see a toilet in your dream, symbolizes a release of emotions or getting rid of something in your life that is useless. If you are cleaning the toilet, then it means that you are starting to shed your shell or lose your inhibitions.

To see a clogged toilet in your dream, signifies that you are holding in and keeping your feelings to yourself. Your emotions have been pent up too long.

To see an overflowing toilet in your dream, denotes your desires to fully express your emotions.

"Stab"- To dream that you have been stabbed, signifies your struggle with power. You may be experiencing feelings of inadequacy and defensiveness. Alternatively, you may be feeling betrayed as the popular phrase goes, "being stabbed in the back".

"Blood"- To see blood in your dream, represents life, love, and passion as well as disappointments. If you see the word "blood" written in your dream, then it may refer to some situation in your life that is permanent and cannot be changed.

To dream that you are bleeding or losing blood, signifies that you are suffering from exhaustion or that you are feeling emotionally drained. It may also denote bitter confrontations between you and your friends. Your past actions have come back to haunt you.



Wow J... it appears to me that this dream signifies that your body is telling you that you are tired and exaughsted from all crap that happened to you in the past and now its time for change. That is over and you are ready for something new. Kinda cool.

Smurf said...

I had a dream last night. I remember parts of the dream, but not all of it. But one thing I do remember is that even though you weren't in the part I really remember, I remember you were in the dream... maybe because I was supposed to pay you a quick visit to say hello.

xboxgirl said...

Happy 4th of July Mr.zenfo pro!

Steph said...

Wow! Even though you could have died, man you have LIVED. What a story.

sassinak said...

the hardest thing i ever did was let go of tobacco but man was it worth it.

i did have a bout with crystal meth in my younger days but never to this extreme. it was, if you will, the nice girl version of a drug addiction because i noticed in time what was happening and stopped.

it was close though, i slept 16 hours a day for THREE weeks after i stopped and i only managed to stop because i had to go to ireland to see my folks and i didn't find any there. course i sort of decided that would be a good time to quit in advance but man, if that trip had been two months later i would have been smuggling drugs across international borders.

i'm sorry that you've had such a nightmare but i hope there was some sort of catharsis in there for you as well sir.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Smurf:
Lol, me? Interpret dreams?!? Never! :P

Xbox:
Hey, thanks chica!

Steph:
Lmao! That's like the most motivational speaker-ish thing I think I've ever seen you write, chica! Thanks so much :)

Sass:
My addictions were, for the most part, very private. I was a reclusive junkie - kept everything from my friends, family, etc. Actually, if my ex hadn't tried to kill me, I'd probably still be a cokehead - I was very good at hiding, but, well, when the cops show up, the hiding goes out the window.

Lol, thanks. I have these sorts of nightmares every once and a while. Stupid PTSD.

Danno said...

ha this really is neat shit dude. you're an amazing writer. why the hell are you wasting your time in ohio anyway? come work for me. or at least move back west. after spending the week in washington i can't see why anybody would live east. fucking claustrophobic.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Danno:
Heh. Thanks.

Sooo... you're not still wanting to kick me in the nads, then?

Does this mean we're, like, going steady? ;)