“So why’d you go Ole Boy? If you knew goin’ to that meditatin’ centa’ wuz only gonna widen a crack in a door you had always swore not to open; what made ya go in da first place?” Paulo asked as the two of us walked laps around the top level of the cell block.
“Are you asking me this because you want to know or is this some therapeutic method where you ask me to relay the details of a defining moment and I come to some sort of inner epiphany by vocalizing the story out loud?” I queried.
“It be dat second ting you just said.”
I rolled my eyes with a smirk having already figured that was the answer. While I pulled up the scene in my head I suddenly noticed how proficient I had become at managing to keep the orange, rubber flip-flops on my feet while pacing around jail. Pulling such a thing off is great for building up coordination, especially when they don’t issue socks after intake.
“Alright, reword the question so I can tell it right.” I said.
“Alright. How does a fella dat been done married for thirteen years and made a vow to the Good Lawd dat he’d neva, eva do no runnin’ round or even point his ship in dat dere direction manage to talk hisself into goin’ some place where he done met some cute lil Chiquita banana gone be. More den dat do; how he talk hisself into goin’ without the company of his wife?” Paulo returned.
“Well…” I said, “…he does it out of temptation for a resurrection I think. That’s really the first thing that comes to my mind. Resurrection.”
Paulo’s dangling bottom lip tightened up into his top as he nodded to himself. He glanced down to the ground floor at the young Korean/African kid everyone called Sensai that happened to be throwing me a head bob at that very moment. I returned the gesture and couldn’t help but thinking how much Sensai looked like Terrance Howard. He headed for the stairs with the obvious trajectory of coming to see me. It would take a minute before he would get to us due to the “no speed walking” policy in jail.
“Does that sound bad? That marriage was like death for me?” I asked.
“Good, bad; dudn’t really matta. What does is if it was true. Was it true?”
“Yes. It was. But I’m not saying it started out that way or that it was Red’s fault that it felt that way to me.”
“What it was then?”
“Before I was married I was a different creature I think. I was this young writer that had a gut feeling there was much, much more to the Universe than met the eye and that I could tap into it. I was well on my way back then and felt like it was my job to explore all of that and relate it to anyone who would read my work who also sought a metaphysical path. The funny thing is; I was actually doing it and that made me feel like I was on the right path and a great part of me felt fulfilled. I mean, my spiritual work was allowing my life to be very much an adventure and as a result others started to gravitate toward me from all walks of life. It was like the downtrodden, outcasts of society could sense through my words that the answers they were looking for were answers I had and so they came to me and in return I gave them a place to finally belong.” I said as those days flashed before my eyes in a blink.
“So what went down south, den?” Paulo asked.
“Because in a crowd I felt alone I suppose. Even though it was great to be able to be a guide and teacher, I was longing for some sort of connection where I didn’t have to be a teacher. I was longing for companionship on an equal playing field. I guess what I was looking for was a female version of myself rather than fair-weather infatuations from chicks who read way too much goddamn chic lit and date sphincterish, motherfuckers to get back at their dads in some twisted way. Sure, I admit it’s probably narcissistic of me to want that but it would certainly make picking out what movie to see on a date a shit load less complicated don’t you think?”
“I can see ya point right dere, I sho can.” Paulo agreed.
Sensai was walking our way enthusiastically and once in our proximity he gave Paulo an apologetic fist bump for interrupting our “stroll”.
“Hey Daniel man, whattup?” Sensai asked.
“I’m in jail dude, so what do you think?” I answered.
“Yeah, yeah I feel you on that. Hey look, me and some of the other guys were hoping that later on you could break some more of that Illuminati knowledge down for us. You got some minds blowin’ the fuck up in this motherfucka, D.”
I smiled and brought my hands together near the heart chakra and gave him a slight bow.
“That’s what I’m here for, Sensai. That seems to be what I’m here for. When they let us out of the next lockdown tell the others I’ll meet them out in the so called yard to answer some more questions.”
Sensai bobbed his head up and down with the appropriate thug life approval and brought his shoulders up and back.
“My nigga my nigga.”
“Your nigga indeed.” I replied as Sensai turned to leave. Before he got too far he turned back one last time.
“Actually D, you know everybody is callin’ you now?”
“No, what’s that Sensai?” I asked curiously, thinking back to my last visit when my jail name happened to be Mr. Spock.
“The Jedi dawg. Everybody is callin’ you The Jedi.” He said then went on his way.
I dropped my head with an ironic laugh. I didn’t know if that was a demotion or a promotion. Talk about the epitome of mixed emotions. After I was able to shake that little moment off I turned my attention back to Paulo who was grinning from one ear to the other.
“What?” I asked.
“Guess they aint no escapin’ yo first, best destiny is dere Ole Boy?” He replied.
“No…I guess not. I suppose that brings us full circle doesn’t it. I walked away from my destiny in exchange for marriage and it was like pouring all the water from one bucket on a balance to another. I didn’t really attain what I needed on the altar that day and walking away to be a husband began to slowly kill me on the inside. I so much wanted Red to be the partner who could live in my world, walk my path and help me in a balanced way that I didn’t realize that what I really had done was begin living in her world, walking her path and that path was leading straight to the suburbs with a mini-van, some kids, a nest egg, whatever the fuck that is, and absolute, utter mundanity.” I observed.
“Couldn’t be no yo world, her world. Fo’ you dere just gone have to be an ‘Our World’ wit’ a woman. Red wudn’t all dat bad; she just wudn’t da one you was ever gone have sumthin’ like dat with.”
“No, I guess not. That being said I think the answer to your fruedian question should be obvious now; when I met Iris the person that I had been and ultimately should be was stirred from the slumber of death and had about as much choice of seeking resurrection as Jesus Christ did. Words were useless and cumbersome little window dressings on the communication that happened between the two of us. I think the only reason we used them was because we didn’t want people around us to freak the hell out that we were able to know exactly what the other was thinking through frequency and vibration alone. When you find someone like that…I guess it makes you want to tempt the foundation of the vow you happened to be locked into, Paulo.” I said.
He put his hand on my shoulder as he looked above the C.O. desk to the clock. Below us the other inmates were wrapping up their games of spades, writing down the scores of the basketball games on the television and going as fast as they could to take the other guys Queen at the chess board. It was nearly time for the Muppet Headed guard to get her sick fix by having all us ball haulers scurry back to our cages. There wasn’t going to be enough time for me to further the story of what happened inside the meditation center with Paulo this go around so it would have to begin next time with me stepping out of the car onto the stoney parking lot beneath my boots; vibrating with the nervous anticipation of what metaphysical doors were about to be ripped off their hinges when I walked through the door to sit down and ultimately meditate with Iris beside me. The psychic connection that occurred between us when we met in the vitamin shop had clearly sent shockwaves into the Universe with the revelation being bestowed upon me that I had come across my wife from a former life; so the question most pressing on my mind was how big the blast radius would be the moment our two energies intermingled like DNA upwards into the heavens?
“Ole Boy, it lookin’ like we might have to be puttin’ a book mark right here fo the time bein’. Not to mention, it also lookin’ to me like you gots yosef’ anotha purpose fo bein’ locked up in dis place…if you seein’ what I’m seein’ dat is.” Paulo said as his eyes narrowed and slowly moved down and over to the table where a fellow sat that went by the name Miami.
Now I had yet to, and would never call this guy by any name, but the name I referred to him in my head was that of Evil Captain Sisko. One reason was because he looked like Captain Sisko from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had beamed down to a planet and in doing so lost a few chromosomes and the second reason was because he was as evil as evil fucking evil and having an evil baby that did evil shit while sitting in evil diapers and rattling a snake rather than rattling a rattler. I guess what I am trying to convey is that this guy was evil…not sure if you caught that.
Evil Captain Sisko and I had met the second or third day after my lock up in the prayer room otherwise known as “the multi-purpose room” where all the recently arrested ultimately find themselves shortly after waking up in orange. When I had walked in he was not the person I expected to find leading a group of young men into a spiritual discussion; rather the fellow I met the first day I went inside which happened to be Eugene, a good and righteous man. Nevertheless when I sat down in all my whiteness his cordial, vocal welcome satisfied the group well enough, but the only one to catch the split second, micro expression of the eye twitch was myself. In that subtle twitch was enough hate, rage, malice and contempt to blow those cinderblock walls away. Through the forced smile of gold plated buck teeth he hissed “Why come on in and have a seat with us my…brutha.” The sides of his neck expanded outward in semi-spheres as he spoke. ‘Ah fuck’ I thought to myself ‘not only have I been locked up with one of these reptilian cunts, this one is a goddamn cobra.’
There is always that moment of recognition between those of us who walk between the worlds that is oblivious to anyone else around. When it happens to be among the side of the Light it is a breath of fresh air and an oasis to recharge the spiritual batteries however when it is between someone like myself in the Light and an agent of the dark like Evil Captain Sisko the metaphysical lightsabers buzz open. Not wanting to give the game away, I returned his feigned smile and nodded with a head tilt. Moving towards the chair I took a second to scan all of his tattoos so I knew what rank I was going to be dealing with throughout my stay and once I saw the book in his hand I could see why the Universe had conspired to bring me to this place. It was The Gods of Eden by William Bramley, a book that details the plot of an alien race that came down way back when with the ever cliché goal of wiping the locals out through subterfuge.
Once I sat down I scanned the room to read everyone else confirming that I wasn’t in a viper den situation, rather a recruiting room for the slit eyes. After smiles, fist bumps and pirate nick name introductions I was positive the only two who had come from across the veil were Evil Captain Sisko and myself. Judging from the hand written notes in front of all the other inmates this guy had been really busy before I arrived and most in the room were well into their cup of his flavor of kool-aid. As he continued his “sermon” which seemed to use Bramley’s book in a fashion very much akin to a Baptist preacher and the Bible, handwritten footnotes and all, I listened intently to see what particular angle he was taking their minds to. After ten or so minutes he placed his long, boney finger in the crease of the book and closed it with a long, overly dramatic pause from his last comment. The others took that as a signal to nod as if letting his words sink in because they were just oh so fucking deep. Evil Captain Sisko could have been reading from a microwave oven instruction manual for all they knew so it wasn’t the words that put them in a worshipful trance. It had been his tone, his cadence, his raspy enunciation of key words and dramatic highs and lows in volume. The body language of someone who knew much about slipping in hypnotic suggestions to the unaware through any and all means can have a crowd in the palm of their hand like putty before lunch. I suppose that’s why I was sent here; takes one to know one as the common phrase goes. The difference was this asshole was using the charm, as I call it, to bring people under submission rather than unlock chains for the liberation of minds. Prick.
“So my…brutha,” he said with his focus on me “being new to our little group study I am most intrigued by your lack of …oh I don’t know…shock as to what we are discussing here in this room full of nigga’s. Please sir, be so kind if you may to …share your thoughts freely with us, your fellow…brutha’s”
The room had boomed with the scrubs of chairs moving on the floor in my direction and the table creaked as all the elbows leaned on it in one formation or the other. The others had no idea that what Evil Captain Sisko had just done was anything but a gesture of goodwill and open invitation. They had heard his words but had no clue that what actually reached my mind was more like ‘Your side really threw you into the briar patch this time didn’t they Daniel? This isn’t some vitamin shop where you can simply sing This little Light of Mine and walk out now is it? This is a cage fight, boy.’
Now, standing with Paulo against the rail of the second floor and looking down to see that Evil Captain Sisko’s numbers had grown considerably since that first meeting I wondered if my response had been a little premature. As Miss Muppet Head C.O. blared on the intercom with commands for all us stinking men to head to our cells with the goal in mind to take more thorough showers next time we were freed from lockdown, Paulo gave me a subtle look of caution as Evil Captain Sisko craned his cobra-esque neck upward to lock eyes with me triumphantly.
“I aint tryin’ to tell you how to conduct yo bidness Ole Boy, but next time you challenged by a cobra in dey home turf…” Paulo said “…a psychic reply like, Bitch Im’ma pick the world up and Im’ma drop it on yo fuckin’ head might be a touch too much if you stop and think about dat.”
Well…channeling Lil Wayne seemed like a good idea at the time.
A SONG TO PLAY US OUT…