A Disclaimer

A disclaimer: I’m not crazy

but can you really trust someone who says, “I’m not crazy”?

I mean, it’s similar to when a woman calls you dangerous

and you say, “I’m not dangerous. No, really—I’m not dangerous!”

And then she pulls-out her pepper spray.

Lately, in my life

I’ve been able to be more like myself

and it frightens some people.

They are worried about where my fictional characters come from

inside, the dark recesses of my imagination

or,

where my strange philosophies come from

that I espouse.

If I say, “No—I only write to entertain, honestly.” Am I being truthful?

Truthfully, I don’t even know—

I love to play with ideas, and ask the same question

over and over again

“Why?”

People, who are afraid of fiction, don’t read

I am afraid of people

who don’t read—

they believe they have all of the answers

and they are quick to censor,

or to take offense.

My critics

come from

under bridges, where they make their homes

and they say, “Who is that, crossing my bridge? You have to pay a toll. You can’t say that. I’m offended.”

It is laughable, really.

My critics

come from churches—

their love is conditional

most of the love, in the world, is conditional.

It is difficult to explain myself in ink

If I defend my good name, and say, “I’m a good guy,” I am being defensive, and I am guilty—certain sure.

I ask myself…

“Why do I need to defend myself?”

Why do I need to belong—

to be accepted—

when all of that has a price?

This world can kill you in a million different ways

the battle is for your mind

your self-expression is gone when you don’t have a self

They will try to take that from you

In my undergraduate abnormal psychology class, the professor told us a story

about an experiment that went bad

when Research Psychologists feigned insanity

to get committed into a psych ward.

Then they started acting normal, and asked the doctors for their release,

but they were suspected of being insane

and they weren’t allowed to go home.

They were trapped

for months

and no amount of explanation

could prove their sanity.

That was the experiment

and it took doctors from the outside

to convince the insane staff

their patients were sane.

This story horrified me

but it gave me an explanation

for how people think:

social conventions

labels

religion

positions

clothing and dress (A patient wears a straight-jacket and a doctor wears a uniform)

these monikers

dictate,

who is credible, and who isn’t

Most people don’t have a clue

like lost detectives

who believe what they are told

who the murderer is

When you think for yourself

and actually find-out

it’s an uncomfortable truth.

People are blind to reality

unable to escape

their prisons

where they hold themselves captive

in their own minds.

Ambulance Apprentice: Chapter 5 Holy Communion on the Midnight Overpass

In that moment, I was addicted to my job. There is no better feeling than that. The lot of humanity won’t gamble. They are trying to get as comfortable as possible, and the way they do this, is by followin the rules. I was never a good student, because I saw what society was doin. Call it—creative awareness—you know when the standards aren’t your own, and you are reacting to things based on what…exactly? They teach you to walk in a straight line, and society is built in a box. I never wanted that for myself, despite the need to survive. Gettin a job is the worst kind of hell, because there is nowhere to go. Your power expands, and knocks you out, like hittin a golf ball inside a concrete room. There are no open fields—no free ranges—no cowboys, anymore. But I found somethin, as closest to it, on the tired streets at night, when I was wide awake…And now—I was learnin from the best. Malcom was a genuine Southern cowboy—hot dang, I couldn’t wait for our next emergency call!

“9-11-Bravo-1.”

“This is Bravo—come back.”

“Malcom, they’re at it again.”

“On the overpass?”

“The same one.”

“Okay. This could get dicey, Drake. We’ll need your Southern charm. Are you a bible-reading man?”

“Do I read my bible? Hot dang—yes. It has the answers to all of life’s questions, and it’s 2,000 years old. It’s hidden wisdom. You know why it’s hidden? Nobody reads it—and the few people who do, don’t understand it.”

“The only reason I ask, Drake—is in regards to the people we’re going to be talking to. They are well-versed in the bible.

“What? Did an evangelist have a heart-attack?”

“No—nothing like that. Just, well, maybe, you’ll see. I have a bible in the glove compartment. Pull it out.”

I did. I knew there was somethin about Malcom. He was spirit filled—a genuine believer. We drove-up Saint Hill, and I wondered what I was goin to have to do with the Word of God. I couldn’t claim to be perfect. I enjoyed whiskey at night, and women too, but God uses all kinds—even men of ill-repute—to fulfill his will. That’s in the bible… I was always hopin to come back to the Lord, in a big way! This was my chance.

“Will I have to evangelize?”

“Maybe,” Malcom said.

“Will I be castin-out demons?”

“Perhaps…”

What was with the secrecy? It was like Malcom was waiting to spring a surprise on me. Then I saw the situation. There were two men, standing on opposite sides of the overpass. One, held a bottle, full of liquor. He was screaming verses from the bible, like a drunk Jesus. The other, was calm. He walked with dignity towards the apologist, but there was somethin about ‘im that didn’t sit right with me.

The drunk Jesus began yellin. “Satan! Away from me!”

“Cast yourself down, and your commanding angels will pick you up!”

“Thou shalt not put the Lord your God to the test.”

They were homeless men. Their delusions must’ve come from mental illness, and the forced sermons they had to listen-to on Sundays to get a bowl of soup at the Union Gospel Mission. Jesus was the virtuous one, so I thought it would be safest to talk to him. There was no tellin what Satan might do. He was calm, but there was an undercurrent of strange energy, that made me want to put a whole continent between us.

“Jesus?”

“Yes, my son?”

Would you let me wash your feet?”

“I still have farther to go, on my journey. I have not yet completed my Father’s work.”

“Just step over here, into my church, and we can talk about your plans for saving the world.”

“They aren’t my plans, but my Father’s plans.”

“Of course—but aren’t you one in-the-same.”

“I suppose so.”

“Have a drink of wine—your last communion—before you die on the cross.”

“Amen.” He took a drink.

Satan was getting closer to our ambulance. He reached into his black robes, brandishing a knife.

Malcom wanted to step on the gas. I could tell. “Should we pick-up Satan?”

“He’s the prince of darkness. Let’s let him walk the streets at night. He’ll be the psychologist’s problem. I’ll give Andrew a call. I’m sure the devil isn’t as bad as some of those parents he’s talked to.”

“Good idea! Now, I really want to talk to Jesus.”

“You know he’s mentally ill, right?”

“Yes—but you never know… what if he really is Jesus?”

Malcom didn’t answer, and I had a drink with the savior of the world.

As we turned onto the free-way, Satan gave me the finger. I guess he was offended, that we didn’t give him a ride.

(Being) Kind

a spirit of kindness is a blessing

I don’t think people know

how far kindness will go

the spirit is enough

it doesn’t take stuff, to show you care

I feel blessed

to connect with someone

in a meaningful way.

If you want joy

practice kindness

If you want to be loved

practice kindness

Kindness comes from God

and if you don’t know God, it will be difficult to be kind

If your spirit isn’t right

the things you do, will be wrong

any wisdom you have, won’t work

you won’t understand what kindness is

because kindness isn’t a fact you can memorize

You carry it with you

wherever you go

and people will love you

because you have it.

It doesn’t even need to be given

It follows you, like your spirit

There is a time, when a man chooses who he is going to be

I am going to be kind

kindness is a symptom, of a much larger

(Being)

If we become like God

we will have what the world needs

a desired disease

in abundance, that everyone wants to catch

and if we practice kindness to feel good

we won’t have it any longer

than a fleeting feeling.

So, follow God

we’re all imperfect,

and in our worst moments

God’s spirit,

will set us free.

Ambulance Apprentice: Chapter 4 Feminist with a Hatchet

“9-11-Bravo-1, come in…”

“This is Bravo.”

“Malcom—psych intervention needed on the freeway.”

“Not again…”

“I’m afraid so… intermittent phone calls reporting a woman with a hatchet.”

“Is she violent?”

“She isn’t chopping firewood, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“Did you call the psychologist?”

“He isn’t much good at anything besides writing reports. He has a horrible social life, and even worse social skills.”

“I know, but maybe it would help him to practice.”

“If Andrew spends more time with crazy people, he’s liable to cross-over. These psychologist-types are a bit crazy themselves, and they go to school to figure-out their problems… but it doesn’t work. You can talk to people, Malcom. I’ve seen you do it.”

“Okay—I’ll speak to her.”

“DC Police thanks you.”

“How are you at talking to women?” Malcom asked me.

“Fair, or—I do alright.”

“You’re being modest.”

“Modesty is the quintessential Southern virtue.”

“Wait until you try speaking to one of these modern women. Southern sophistication fails every time…”

I stared-out, at the night. Malcom was probably right. The streetlights were a forest of different colors, and I was ready for the wild woods.

There she was, beautiful, in the moonlight, torn dress, like a Southern belle, angrier than hell—my, she was a sight for sore eyes.

“Nooo! You are supposed to give me the right-of-way!” She screamed.

“Blare the siren, will you?” Malcom asked.

I touched-off the warning, and she turned around. Her teeth were rotted, and her eyes were two sunken holes. It frightened me to look at her.

“Now, miss—go ahead and put down the hatchet.”

It was held by two hands, high above her head. “Nooo!”

“Okay. Why don’t you lower the weapon so we can talk?”

I watched Malcom. He was calm, but the woman wasn’t backing down.

“What’s your name?” Malcom asked.

“Faye.”

“Well Faye, you’re blocking traffic. Don’t you want to go home?”

Her neck was twisting in a weird way, and her eyes were rolling into her head. I hollered at the EMTs— “You got anything, that could put that bitch under?”

“Here’s a syringe of sodium pentothal.”

“Truth serum?”

“It’ll knock-out a Rhino, or—an angry feminist. She’ll tell you the truth about the patriarchy, but that’s why you wear earplugs. It also helps to block-out the siren.”

“Much obliged, mam.” I circled around the rig, lookin for a direct shot at her neck! My adrenaline was so high, it was better than the roller-coaster I rode for free when I worked as a Carnie.

Then she hurled her hatchet at Malcom’s head, and he caught the missile two inches from his nose. I dove, jamming the needle into her, and she became docile—like a Southern belle. In 30 seconds, her eyes reopened, and they were like the eyes of hell.

“Straight-jacket!” Malcom said. The intern, and the EMTs gave her proper clothes to wear, and we took her back to the hospital, screaming all kinds of progressive profanities.

“Is this routine?” I asked Malcom.

“In this line of work, you can expect even more surprises.”

If not then, when?

I’ve been telling myself, “If”

If, I make a million dollars…

which doesn’t seem like a lot of money.

So, I must rely on the currency of myself

even though my ego is inflated.

How can it not be?

It’s a defense mechanism against reality.

People don’t want the facts

We don’t live with facts, but with beliefs—constant surprises

It’s after the unforeseen event

that people make sense of the world

with their “Facts.”

It’s like newspapers, that print black and white versions of what happened

They’re in color now, but they’re not anymore truthful

The truth is, what we believe.

And what we believe, must come true.

I am not content to be one of those believers

who prays, without any power.

I can’t arrogantly stand on the truth,

if it doesn’t come true.

So,

now

I look for when things will happen

“If,” isn’t even a word.

Expectation, is what you get

the world isn’t governed by nature

but by man—

those with a will to survive

and with a will to dominate with their destiny.

We are only a random confluence of events

if we believe that.

Who—wants us to?

Don’t give up your expectations

Don’t be severed by your disappointments

You are worth more, than that

If/then statements don’t fit an illogical world

“When?” is your word

and it comes

with full belief.

Ambulance Apprentice: Chapter 3 All a Woman has to do is Spray, and She’s Justified

I checked-in at the front desk. She was this annoying-looking woman, who looked annoyed with me, before I opened my mouth. She wore glasses. The kind that says “I’m smart”—or at least, “I’m smarter than you.”

“Drake, reporting for service, mam.”

“This isn’t the military, Southy.”

“This isn’t Boston, bitch.”

“You would be wise to maintain your previous professionalism.”

“Or what?”

“I use this pepper-spray on rude men in the parking lot. All a woman has to do is spray these days, and she’s justified.”

“Why?”

“You don’t know why? Obviously, you haven’t been educated, or taken a women’s studies class.”

“Oh—I know everything there is to know about women. Trust me—experience counts on this subject, and not the classroom. First, you have to show her who’s boss. You do this by…”

The skunk started to kick-up her high heels. That was the sign to get out of there. “Security!”

“I signed in!” I yelled to Malcom, while running across the parking lot. “And by the way—my name’s Colton Drake Busby, but you can call me by my middle name.”

“Fair enough—you should’ve gotten a job driving limousines. Get in! We’ve got a new medical intern in the back. Take a peek.”

I looked back there. She was wearing tight black pants, squatting over a gurney, revealing a heart-shaped ring, with blue tassel tied-off to her G-string.

“God—I love this job!”

Ambulance Apprentice: Chapter 2 Blood on the Streets Tonight

This Malcom, was on my mind. Why didn’t medical people want to work with him? Was he like me? —hell, most people like me. I am a staunch believer, that a man with enough Southern charm, can talk his way into any room, and the quitters, of the lower life, don’t make it, because they don’t know how to talk. Going through my wardrobe, was like going through a cardboard suitcase. There was my tie. It was the same one I tied Suzie up with, when we did a little hanky-panky. Since then, I’ve gone celibate. That’s not to say there haven’t been other women—it’s just that they vanish in my mind when I think of Suzie. She was so small—petite, like a school girl, fully developed, and she wanted me to punish her in all kinds of ways… Oh well, when I think of Suzie, I can’t think. It’s more than being love struck. It’s…it’s… Oh, hell. I’ve got to make a good first impression. It sounds like I can learn a lot from Malcom. The fact that he can get where he wants to go, faster than anybody, has my respect. And he doesn’t take criticism from no doctor with an education.

The drive over in my Bronco was dangerous. I kept seeing myself shakin hands with the Ambulance Man. Do I present myself as formal, or would Malcom not like that? Heck, I could give him a straight dose of me, but he might not like that. I looked at my face in the mirror, and combed my genteel mustache with my fingers. I checked the yellowness of my teeth, while my car crossed-over the center lane, opening up the rage of America, right below the skin of a spoiled watermelon, bursting on the road. I corrected. That’s my talent, and my charm. It’s the other assholes that wound-up in the trees and the ditches. If you can’t drive, you shouldn’t be behind the wheel. I drove stock cars. And the first thing they teach you, when miscalculating a turn, is how to avoid the wall. It’s a metaphor for life. You look where you want to go, and you press the gas—even when you’re going too fast. You won’t hit, if you keep your eyes on the checkered flag, and you’ll cross the finish line.

The hospital stood before me, like a Southern eyesore. Any amount of make-up, won’t make her beautiful again. Men get tricked by her face-paint, but lipstick on a pig, is still lipstick on a pig. I’m not a misogynist, so ladies who read my diary, must know, my feelings are absolute! And it’s okay for a man to have a diary, just as long as he doesn’t tell his male friends. There was an ambulance that pulled up to the curb. A man got out, smoking a cigarette. He had swagger—you can just tell. I needed to check in officially, but I wanted to see if he was my man.

“Sir, is your name perhaps, Malcom?”

“Yes.”

“I’m your apprentice. I need to check in, but I just wanted to formally introduce myself to you.”

He looked at my hand like it was a fish or a snake. “I’m not so much on shakin hands,” he said.

But I wasn’t offended. he didn’t say this like he was above me. He just told me the truth. Now—hot dang, how many times does a guy tell you the truth, without telling you the truth? It was profound! He was the truth, the way, and the life. I couldn’t believe I was going to be workin with him! “Just give me a few moments, and I’ll be right there,” I said.

“Take your time—the medical guys still need to load the blood and plasma. I figure—there’s going to be lots of blood on the streets tonight.”

Tree of Life

As beauty leaves the woman

and talent, abandons the man

they become gray

like old photographs

that say, who they were.

Maybe, you never had it

those shiny leaves

dancing in the breeze

full of color.

There must be more to life

than nature.

The human condition

is cut down, and forgotten

like a tree, turned into firewood.

Why place your hopes

in exciting leaves

that fade

or in the sturdiness of your trunk?

When we are young,

we are full of possibilities

gradually, then quickly

rolling into a quarry

of forgotten rocks.

Few of us, get sculpted into stone

and our best pieces

might’ve been cut away

Who is to say, what to keep, or to be gotten rid of

but the artist

understood by their art,

or stolen from someone else?

Your life should be art

and not the other way around

How do we deal with the inevitable decline?

We want to believe, our colors shine

in the everlasting light, that doesn’t hint at twilight

but our tree, is not to be forever

the only religion is to be young again, in this faulty philosophy.

If you admire the past

you really are old.

What comes out of you?

If not beauty,

then what?

to be a child

with joy

for each new thing

because your value

isn’t what you know.

My Close Friend, Death

there isn’t enough time

and as twilight turns into night

I don’t want to sleep

I stare at the stars, and feel

the whispering breeze

moving across the lake

the lights

in the distance, tell me

I’m not alone

but it feels that way

and it’s peaceful.

If you’re going to try,

don’t do it half-way.

Don’t care what people say

their advice won’t take you where you want to go—

You will be alone

Why would you choose this way, when friends feel good

when acceptance, makes you feel understood

where resistance

and suffering

meet you, like a close friend?

because…

your life should be an expression of who you are

and not a cheap watered-down drink at the bar

not dogs at cards

but a personal philosophy

that takes you

far

into the forbidden night

where we all have to go

and

few of us

embrace

like a close friend.

Aphorisms in the Workplace

1.

If you want to stand-out at work,

work on yourself.

Change is the rule,

and the rule doesn’t change for anyone.

2.

With invisible victories, comes self-respect

If you don’t have self-respect

no amount of praise, titles, or accomplishments

will give you enough.

3.

Self-control can’t be taken away.

4.

Envy in others, is the byproduct of success

their feelings,

justify why they don’t have

what they perceive,

they can’t get

It’s the ultimate form of self-deception.

5.

When I am kind to others

and my boss accuses me of being kind

to get what I want

I don’t disagree

I want people to be kind to me.

6.

It isn’t the words that you say

or your toughness, or lack of toughness

that matters,

but who you are.

Your love, or lack of love

will change the world.

7.

In the workplace

my colleagues play games of like

or dislike

cool

or uncool

interesting

or not.

When I play my own game

everybody else is a fan.