I used to want to be a writer. I do not any more. Novels are lies, and when you tell a lie it makes Baby Jesus cry. I never really gave a damn about writing, anyway. I wanted to be a writer so I could live like a writer, expatriated in exotic places like Lima and Tangiers, Australia and Costa Rica. I wanted to run with the bulls and clash with the cops in the streets. I wanted to drink martinis in Cuba and tequila in Spain and shoot smack and smack my wife and bullshit like that. I wanted to live twice as hard and half as long. That's what I had been taught: a mock Chick Tract with Elvis Presley nailed to a cross taught me that. But whether you live fast and die young or die fast and live young, you're just plum fucked from the jumpjump from the get go. I wanted to burn my candle at both ends, and I ended up burning my fingertips. I wanted to throw a brick through everybody's comfortable livingroom window, and I came home to find it on my very own sofa! Mostly though, I wanted to be famous; I wanted little literary groupie girls to fuck me just for who I was. ("Oooh, Griston Reeves! I've read all your work. You're a geeenius." Zzzzzzip! Slurrrpp!!) Hot&sloppy, just the way I like it. I think that's what Picasso did.
My masterpiece was to be called The Hong Kong Chicken Apocalypse, and it would win me the Nobel Fucking Prize for Literature. It would lead the people into a brighter beyond, an M&M Millennium. I would be bigger than Timothy Leary and L. Ron Hubbard combined, and my prose would make Vlad Nab cream trou like the JonBenet Ramsey issue of Playboy - and god dammit, it would get me laid. I even cut out pictures from Live Young Girls and pasted them to my desk to inspire me as I wrote.
I never finished it.
I wrote a few paragraphs I that liked and fruitlessly arranged and rearranged them. I filled notebooks with outlines, and mostly I dreamed about the sweet sweet scent of success, that day my day would come; but I had missed that exit long ago. I can't remember when or where or why I finally gave it up for good, whether there was any epiphany or it just ... faded away, man.
But listen. Just when you feel all hope is lost, the Waiter of Truth comes to your table, looking like a floating head in his tails in the dim light, and serves you up a Heaping Platter of God's Love. It's the color of lobster and you have to crack the shell to get at the meat, but it tastes more like asparagus with maybe a hint of blackberry and oak. Yes, just when you're straight behind the 8-ball, when the Bald Heat is reigning down dystopic on your ass (always harass a brotha' fer nuthin',) you will find there is a man who pulls the hands that pull the rubber bands - a devil-chicken wiring telegraphic messages to the gods, a magic hand to conjure up purple-assed baboons to stomp the pigs and chase dem crazy baldheads out of town. Word up!
Or at least it is reasonable and sane to believe so.
What you have searched the Seven Seas in vain for - that needle-in-the-haystack, that Ziparumpazoo - it has been under your nose all along. You see, there is a better way, and it is not so hard a road as all of that. I have invented the method, a system of thought called Telecult Power, and I have been sent here to show it to you. This is be the self-help book to end all self-help books. Telecult Power is more fun than an acid trip with Deepak Chopra and almost as enlightening. Telecult Power: the Great American Dream Come True Religion! It'll sell better than Hong Kong Chicken Apocalypse Soup for the Asshole's Soul, so purchase your copy on amazon.com today. Come one, come all, come join the hidden brotherhood and enjoy a wonderful new life of money, friends, and power!
I remember my first taste of it. When I was a boy, Father and I went to Key Largo for vacation. While we were lying on the beach, he lost the keys to the rental car and became very mad. He had at that bastardly Buick with a piece of rusted rebar he found on the shore. I busied myself searching all afternoon up and down the beach for the keys, with no luck. The tide came and went. I combed the beach for half a mile in either direction. Finally, I couldn't even remember where we'd originally been sitting. The beach stretched identical in both directions. Frustrated, I gave up and fell to the sand. Father had gone off somewhere for a drink. Stretching to sleep on the beach, I felt what I thought was a crab claw in my hand, and bolted up. It was the keys of course. It felt like my plotline had got scripted onto a cheesy Tv show. I had never believed in God before that moment, never given it much thought, but this was too precise, too ridiculous. Here was God winking at me and I was awed; and right then I knew God loved me just a little bit more than he loved everybody else.
I keep that memory tucked away, and it pops up sometimes, just like the keys themselves, unbidden and exact; and I know.
Somewhere amongst this trash is The Answer, I'm sure of it. A way out - not just for me, but for you, too. After all these years of insomnia, of waking sleep, of aimless walks and infomercials, I gather the scraps of my failing strength to assemble my Message to the World: A New Religion for the coming Millennium. After ignoring me for so long, it is my very invisibility that has produced the Truth which this corpulent and corrupt world so desperately needs. Backwards or no, however this tale may hatch into this world, whether full-formed out my forehead like Athena, or shat out my ass like some sorry butt-baby, I must pass my knowledge on to you. But my story is not so easy to tell. My memory is blank and my notes contradictory and sometimes, I must admit, fictionalized. I like to write things down, you see. Anything. Everything. To try to save the things that cannot be saved. I have kept an assiduous (and sometimes asinine) record of my life. Stories unfinished, letters unsent, diaries of dreams, and notes on napkins. All these things are the clues from which I must piece together this tale.
Let us start with a memory of mine. When I was a kid, living with Father in Page, Missouri, I used to hike down to Box Springs and swim down to Grasshopper Point for a jump in the river. About eighty, ninety feet down, it seemed. You'd hang in the air. Falling right next to the waterfall. Point your toes and hold your balls. I'd stand there up in the redrocks, watching the cars cross the cattle guard on Route 52A so far down that the sound come a second after you saw the car go over. Made you think real hard about what was true and what was only your perception of the thing. It made my blood feel funny to think about how far down I had to go. I bet you couldn't get a dog to do it. No way. And when you jumped, you'd have seconds. Seconds of nothing, just you and the air, out there suspended; and you can kind of hear the air going up past you, by mostly it's just time. Time of nothing. And then ...