It’s Not Your Fault

I failed my board exam. I had spent months studying, and done everything I thought I could and I should. I bombed it.

I have to retake it in June, and hope to still graduate residency in time. I’m really upset about it.

I pray that it’s a glitch, a electronic error on the part of the testing administrator, and this will all be a bad dream. But it brings me back to dark places.

I’ve spent the past few months writing reflective journal entries about my life. I am starting to recognize how many harmful patterns in my life are the result of what I went through as a kid, terrified and humiliated and neglected, beaten by my brother and verbally abused and sometimes physically abused by my dad, neglected by my mom, and made to watch her have sex when she and her boyfriend were drunk, and all the kids were in one hotel room together.

I was starting to heal, as difficult as it all was. Now I’m questioning myself all over again. And I have to go back into study mode, where I have to sit at a computer all day, mentally roasting myself while trying to stay focused.

I thought I had gotten to a place where I could get back to my writing, creative and spiritual interests, and move past all the hurt and shame and pain of the past. But it’s still here, and I have to live in that pit for another three months.

I’m reminded of this gut wrenching scene, Matt Damon and Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting:

For all the internalizers out there, the ones who always had to be strong, smile and say that nothing was wrong, they were fine and didn’t need anything. For those who saw what no one else saw, and bore what no one should bear. For the lonely and the devastated, for all who suffer in silence when they want to scream. For the marks that don’t show and the wounds that won’t heal.

Being an abused and neglected kid, you never leave the pit. It stays in you. I relate to this sequence from Tom Kong’s Mister Miracle, because I always want someone to see the good in me, accept the hurt I’ve felt, and help me to move through it. I have to become that person for myself. I have to hug that boy, and tell him he’s loved and wanted and doesn’t have to prove anything.


My goal is to detect the matrix and test it’s reality.

There are multiple assumptions built into the matrix idea. One is that what we hear in our heads is detectable and influential to a consciousness external to us. The voice that we hear, the emotions in the actions that we take, must be discernible at a distance and matter to the entity that is monitoring them.

Bayesian I did that I can make a statement regarding my confidence that this reality is the base reality. So I can say that I’m 80% confident that the universe functions in a way that is easily apprehensible.

Another is that I and everyone around me can be manipulated in a way which is completely undetectable except under extraordinary circumstances. Additionally, for this to work, I would have to be able to detect that undetectable force.

The manipulation would have to benefit the entities which were monitoring from a distance.

The reason why matrix was persuasive and relatable when it first came out was because it was so apparent how my current reality was the product of my parents sending me the score and desiring me to do academics. It was readily visible how artificial the construction was. It required an extraordinary amount of energy in order to run an entire school.

Then, it’s 2021, and you stop the world for COVID-19. And the other people still exist, but so much of how you interacted with them is now gone. And you interact primarily through a computer now. It feels fake.

I have an intuition of the reality of circumstances. I have an intuition that there are other entities out there, with whom I want to be in contact.

There have been several times when the veil of reality has become thin.

A few times when loved ones acted in such a way that it was like if they were possessed by demons. My brother had a demon in him. It wanted to kill my younger brother. I had to throw myself in front of him, and he hates me forever because of it. That was more than 20 years ago, and I still think about it a couple times a week.

My younger brother had a demon. Maybe he still does. He nearly died several times. He wanted to kill my mom. He wanted to kill himself. He went inpatient multiple times. If you can’t remember anything, how do you know what was in your consciousness?

The demons have always bowed to me. I know their game. I win, but die a little more each time. They take the faces of the ones I love and twist them. They were the ones I trusted. I gave them good things.

The noosphere described by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin would have to exist, and be manipulated by superior beings who treat humans as subjects. Demons could fit into this framework, malicious programs designed to tweak malfunctioning operators. Or stop people who were getting too close to detecting them.

I feel like things are simulated when I realize how things worked together in a way that I didn’t consciously realize.

As described by Nietzsche, the Apollonian vision of reality we behold in dreams, art, theater, music, represents a hyper reality. It is so desirable that I suffer upon waking from it. It encapsulates truths beyond words, and I can only grasp at vapor trying to hold it.

Alternatively, the Dionysian experience has me dance and laugh a riot, singing and celebrating and weeping with a crew of fellow satyrs and nymphs. I get myself into a frenzy, and all boundaries are dissolved. I am loved, I am home, I am one.

Crushed beneath a heap of people, I crawl to the top, sight golden Apollo, and truly experience the god.

Mutant Freak

I have always been

A mutant freak, different

From the norm, and now

You see it, and you

Watch for my horns to grow. You’re

Sure I’m just waiting

For the other shoe

To drop, to flee and fly from

You, join my freaky

Friends. I reassure

You, that I don’t have any

Friends; you are my home.

I have nowhere to

Fly, and I cannot picture

Life without you there.

The Drowned God, Ch. 2

The giant man was quickly pulled off me by a swarm of robed Betas, pouring through the doorway, a tangled mass of fists and feet, screaming “fuck you!”

“Ram Jam – show ‘em how you got your name!” Hank shouted at me; I squared my shoulders and rushed at the leader, who had gotten back on his feet. I threw a right cross over his incoming fist, a left hook into his liver, and thrust hard head butt in the middle of his hood, my signature “ram jam.”  I heard his skull crack, and he went down.

I settled onto the leader’s chest as he landed, pinning his arms with my knees and smashing his face over and over. I crushed his tall purple hood. The gang of torchbearers in the courtyard quickly dispersed with the onslaught of Betas. Some of the guys had grabbed baseball bats, and were smashing at the Penitents, laughing and snorting.

We were a house that liked to fight, and we were good at it. We had a lot of lacrosse, hockey, and rugby players with us. They loved wading into the middle of a crowd and starting shit. I spent a lot of time as fraternity president just bailing guys out and talking the dean out of expulsion.

I’d done some boxing in high school, and I fight dirty as fuck. You get thrown out of enough bars, and you figure out how to win no matter what. Groins, teeth, eyes . . . people got really scared when you went for the face. The face is the center of our personality. Protecting it is powerful; people don’t want to be maimed or crippled for life, and they see getting a facial scar as a sign of that.

The fight didn’t sound right, though. More screams than grunts, and the Penitents were still on their feet. Toby, one of the Seniors, came stumbling back in my direction. “Bro, you OK?” I asked. He looked dazed. A trickle of blood dropped from his lips, then he fell forward. A huge Bowie knife was stuck between his shoulder blades. “Fuck!” I screamed.

Glass shattered, and a Penitent fell with a beer bottle in his back. Two of them tried to pull me off the leader, and some of the Betas pushed them into the bushes. Where the fuck were the cops? I spent so much time trying to get rid of them, now I needed them.

I heard wet coughs around me and saw Betas falling. I ripped the hood off the leader’s head. Staring back at me was the angry face of a horrible looking man. His eyes were narrow slits of hate, his beard was a wreck, and he had an awful looking scar on his forehead. It was a hexagram carved roughly, still oozing and bubbling. My mouth dropped open, and he threw me off him. “Penitents!” He cried out, standing, as the fighters dispersed. “Wail for these dedicated to destruction! Sing the death of the gods! Give them a taste of what’s coming.”

The Penitents began to sing the worst fucking song I’d ever heard. The sound carried throughout the standing Betas, and I felt a crushing weight on my shoulders. Every depressing thought, every hangover, every guilt and shame I’d ever had came to me. I felt like someone puked on my soul. I remembered my mom passed out on the couch, half naked, with a boyfriend cutting drugs on a coffee table. I remembered my Dad raging, spitting on me. I saw myself with a pill bottle and a pint of whiskey. Dimly, I heard sirens.

My feet stood me up and shuffled forward. I moved into single file and dropped to my knees, one white robed beta facing a line of purple robed Penitents, singing and howling together. Most had lost their hoods. They all looked rough, like homeless people. There were women mixed in with the men. Their faces were Indian, black, white, and Asian. They definitely were not the Klan.

The leader stood between two Penitents. One had a fireplace poker in his hand, glowing red and smoking in the evening darkness. Two others carried huge scimitars. It sounded like they were chanting and buzzing, “mark, mark, get the mark on your head or we put it on the ground, mark, mark.” There were whimpers, screams, gurgles. There was a sizzling smell like bacon, and I felt like I was choking. The sounds of wet slicing and hacking gave way to terrible thumps, then silence. The silence were the worst.

I could move enough that I could see Hank next to me. He was defiant at first, sneering and snarling. I cheered him silently, but then crumpled as I watched him bow his proud head. They pushed the hexagram brand into his forehead. He writhed and screeched as he fell to the ground.

Finally my turn came. The wretched face of the leader stared at me. “Robert Beezle, called Ram, who we know as Xarque Ozyeus.” That fucking name, I hadn’t heard it in five years. Goddamn bastards. They did know my fucking Dad. “We give you the mark, a gift. It is their bondage, but your crown. Take it, and ascend to the throne as our king. We will incarnate the kingdom of the drowned god and burn up humanity as an oblation to his unholy name. If you refuse, we will burn you alive in the fires. You will be sent through the flames to honor his ugliness and horror. You will redeem us in his eyes, that we can serve him forever in Tartarus.”

Black fingers of dread and evil clutched at my torn and broken heart, encased in inky nausea. I felt as low as I’d ever been. I wanted to sleep, I wanted to die. I wanted never to have been born, I wanted to erase myself from existence. I wished my suicides has gone through, I wanted the pain to cease, I wanted the noise to end. I wanted to lie down and take the kicks. I wanted the brand.

From my deepest places, something rose. Something strong and angry and alive, who resented being awakened, but who wasn’t about to bow to these ragged fuckers. This dark fire rose in me, despite the black sadness of their dirge. I twisted my head and smiled wide. “You guys know my Dad? Give him a message for me. ‘Fuck you, motherfucker.’ And while you’re at it, every single one of you motherfuckers can go fuck yourselves and fuck each other and whatever the fuck else you want to do, because I’m not doing shit with you. You better kill me now, you piece of fucking shit, because if I ever get the chance, I’m going to put a knife through every single one of your fucking chickenshit lizard dick hearts and piss in your fucking mouths!”

My shit-talking got through the leader’s surly resolve, and he screamed in rage, words unformed, like a yelping seal. He clamped a giant fist around my throat and lifted me from my knees up into the air. He shook me like a rag doll as he crushed my throat. My vision went black.

Things were peaceful. Gradually I became aware of beeping, slow, quiet. My eyes opened, blurry. I couldn’t move my head. My hands were tied. There was something in my mouth; it reminded me of horses. My head felt like cotton. I still smelled the burning flesh and remembered the screams. I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

Over the next few days, I became more and more awake. I was in a hospital, intubated and sedated. I was wearing a cervical collar because of the trauma to my neck and throat. My hands were restrained because I kept trying to pull the tube out of my throat. Whenever the medicine started to wear off, I hurt like fuck, worse than anything I ever knew. Where were the Betas? Where were my friends?

Eventually they extubated me. They let Birdie come see me, but she burst into tears as soon as she saw me. She showed me a mirror. My face was all puffy with the fluids, and one of my eyes was swollen shut. I had a huge cut in one cheek that had been stitched. Worst, I couldn’t speak. Whenever I tried, it hurt like hell, and I only accomplished a high pitched squeak. I wrote some questions out for Birdie, and she told me a little about what had happened.

The police had shot the Penitent leaders seven or eight times while he was choking me. He let me go and fell. The Penitents were arrested. Six Betas were dead. Three had died in the fight, and three had been beheaded.

Birdie pointed to the door. “There’s a cop out there checking all your visitors. They’re watching you really closely because they expect for them to come after you again.”

I wrote her, “did the leader survive?”

She looked away, and her voice broke as she spoke. “Yeah, they kept him alive. Then he disappeared. Right out of a protected ward. The other Penitents never made it to the police station. The whole police transport van disappeared. The cops who were driving it are gone too.”

I heard my heartrate monitor start to beep faster. Fuck. Fuck. I wrote, “what about Hank? What happened to the guys who got marked?”

She looked me in the eye. “They’re gone too. Hank and the other five. Six guys who took the mark were screaming and belligerent when the police came. They got sedated, put into ambulances, and then the ambulances disappeared. Nobody has any answers. They never made it to the hospital. We don’t know if they’re dead or …”

The nurse came in the room and told Birdie she had to leave; my heartrate and blood pressure were off the charts. I was shaking. They gave me blood pressure medicine and sedatives, and I slept. Everything was so fucked. I made numbers in my head. Six dead. Six gone. One left, me.

Chapter 3:

Betwixt and Between

“It doesn’t matter,

But I’m telling you so you

Know.” Education

For me consists of

Polarity. If there is

A fact that I know

It is frivolous.

If I don’t know it, it is

Essential. If I

Answered the question,

They wanted it in different

Units. There was a

Typo. Twenty two

Catches snare me and I am

Broken. I cannot

Stand divided, I

Can be only one thing. I

Will tell my own truth.

June’s New Sex Kitten, Leyla, Ch. 2

Leyla had been with us for a few weeks, and I was pleased to watch her progress. She had integrated well into the team, was exceedingly sharp in her assessments, and gave excellent presentations. Every instance of her radiance and excellence increased my desire to break her, to see her on her knees before me.

On this particular afternoon, she was in my office for a small meeting regarding new markets and expansions. She was explaining to the group that my company must tread lightly when entering a new market which was controlled by our competitors: “I think it’s important to be strategic and deferential to the market. We don’t want to get into a trade war.”

I leaned in, smirked, and offered, “when I see a rose ripe for the plucking, I don’t restrain my hand, Leyla.”

She blushed, and stammered, “you’re right, June, there is an opportunity here. But if we’re seen as predatory, they’ll fight us.”

“I like a fight. I win. It’s my nature. I don’t want peace. I don’t want a settled customer base. I want to conquer and rule an empire. Surely you’re beginning to see my trend, dear?” I arched my eyebrow, and every woman in the room held her breath.

Leyla looked down at her hands, and whispered, “I see, June. Of course.”

I chuckled and dismissed the meeting. The attendees looked at Leyla, who hadn’t lifted her eyes. They slowly withdrew from the room; Leyla remained, frozen, trembling. I walked over to where she was sitting in my now empty office and took the chair next to her. She kept her gaze from me. I took her chin in my hand and raised her eyes to me. “Don’t be frightened, girl, you’ve done nothing wrong.”

She tilted her head to the side and fluttered her eyelashes; I stroked her cheek with the back of my fingers. I could have her now, probably. But I wanted to see her crawl, not take her to dinner.

She was nearly cooing at my ministrations, and I dropped my hand to her knee and gave it a hard squeeze that brought her to attention. “Speak, Leyla, what can I do for you?”

“I’m just so happy you’re not angry with me, June. I can’t bear the idea of disappointing you.” Her open mouth curled into a hopeful smile.

I released her thigh and stood. “We must be bold, and we must not waver in our work. Our products are supreme, and we will take all the customers in the end. It mirrors my beliefs about sex: why fuck one for life when you can fuck them all?”

The tiniest whimper escaped her lips as I strode over to my desk. I poured myself a snifter of whiskey from the decanter. I touched it to my lips, inhaling and allowing the aroma to bathe my mouth and nose. “Would you like one, Leyla?”

She stood and clasped her hands in front of her heaving chest. “I should really get home. My fiancée is cooking dinner tonight, and he says he’s making something special. Last time he did this, I had to cook everything because he got confused in the kitchen. I don’t want to leave him alone in there.”
“Very well, Leyla. You’ll have time for a workout, I hope?” I gave her my most knowing smile, and her alabaster skin flushed a deeper red than I’d seen before.

Her voice squeaked, thrilled and confused. “Maybe!” She gave me a long glance and skittered from the room. I’d have to check the monitors in a few minutes and see if she’d repeat her self-love routine of her first day.

A few weeks later, Leyla was making a presentation to management, a well-crafted slideshow I knew she’d spent several hours on. She was dressed as I liked her: a fashionable, form fitting charcoal blazer over a crisp ivory blouse, open at the neck to hint at her ample cleavage. Her tight skirt hugged the curves of her ass, and her long legs were sheathed by black stockings. She stood on tall black high heels. I watched her strut back and forth as she laid out her points. She concluded and took questions from management.

Marcella, a no-nonsense Hispanic manager, was critical. “Leyla, I know you’re new here, but I’m concerned with how aggressive this approach is. If we run afoul of the regulators, we earn ourselves a heap of trouble.”

Leyla nodded, folding her hands solemnly and knitting her brow. “We’ve been in direct consultation with legal, who has been advising closely to make sure we’re within boundaries. I think …”

Marcella interrupted her. “You think? Listen, our reputation as a responsible company is crucial for our overall sustainability. If we act like a bunch of rascals, we could get shut out of the market.”

Leyla’s eyes went wide. She giggled and rolled her eyes up and down. “Marcella, I didn’t catch the last part of what you said. Could you say that one more time?” She crossed her arms in front of her and felt the sleeves of her jacket.

“Well, I said that the regulators would think we were a bunch of rascals!” Marcella gave her a very concerned look.

“That’s what I thought you said.” She giggled, a high, nasal sound. “I’m just feeling so hot. Is anyone else hot?”

The managers shook their heads. Leyla let her long dark hair down in back of her, and it shimmered as it fell along her neck and shoulders. “I think I hear music. Is that Ginuwine?”

Marcella leaned forward. “Leyla, I think it’s time for you to sit down.”

Leyla slowly shrugged the jacket off her arms, dropping it to the floor. “I don’t want to sit down, Marcella. I want to dance.”

To me, she had never looked more gorgeous than this moment, when she slowly began unbuttoning her shirt, giving the women a fuller glimpse of her ample chest and the modest lace bra beneath. With each flick of her wrist, she’d pause to watch them sigh. She twirled, tousling her hair like a goddess’s headdress. She dipped, alternating knees, opening a button to each beat of the music in her head. The crowd was on the edge of their seats.

After the last button, she thrust her arms back, gaping her ivory blouse and jutting her breasts proudly beneath her brassiere. She rocked her hips back and forth, forcing her tight skirt further and further up her hips.

While I wanted nothing more than to see her bared before me and my company, I wasn’t in the habit of eating my cake before my dinner.

From the head of the table, I quietly intoned “Ruby.” With that, the spell was broken. Leyla froze in place, looking down at her open dress shirt, hiked up skirt, and white panties above her stockings. She jerked to her feet, covered her chest with her arms, and screamed.

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