Wednesday, January 14, 2015

An Accidental Dream







I don’t remember how I ended up in this hospital. I’m sure I was riding my bike, either going down a straight, steep road or standing up on the main horizontal frame of my bike, or maybe, I was doing my most daring trick: going fast and straight, ignoring a stop sign to cross the widest boulevard in my small town. I only perform this trick at night, when there’s not a lot of traffic. I have fun taking risks, but I’m not stupid.

At the present time, my entire body hurts, according to my pain level; I can guess I was run over by an eighteen wheeler. I can’t move, my body feels numb, I think my body’s still scared of what happened in the accident but I’m only guessing. I still don’t know why I’m here. My thoughts are not clear at all. I can’t even remember my name, but that doesn’t worry me a great deal. I’m alive and complete, I think. 

The room is cold and clean. Like a room that was made to last a hundred years, and everything in it too. I wonder how many people have died on this bed. I hope I’m not one of them. I don’t have any experience on this, but I think I won’t die this time, or any time soon. I can barely move, but I have enough energy to bend my head to check if I still have my four extremities, thank God, I do. I just found out another thing, I believe in God, or at least I’m a little religious. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad. I guess that’s good. I guess I’ll be doing a lot of guessing in the next few days, which is good, because that means I’ll be alive for at least a few more days, I guess. 

I must have hit my head and lost a million brain cells or more, I hope I still have some left. I’m so confused, I don’t even know my age, or even worse, I don’t even know whether I’m a man or a woman. Now, that’s a scary thought. Instinctively, and with great effort I decide to investigate, and with my right hand I check for my sex. Since I can barely move, it gives me time to analyze what I wish to be, and what I wish to find. It feels like a great privilege, like being born again, but this time they give me a choice of the sex I want to be, or the sex I want to have. When I reached my object, or my subject, I feel satisfied to find a dick. I immediately decide that I’m not a vulgar person and instead I call “it” a penis. I wonder what I would have done if I had found a vagina in there. I would probably have masturbated it, like if it wasn’t mine. Even for a dream, this is confusing. But I’m a man and that makes me happy, but I’m not going to play with myself, not yet, because I’m too weak now. I’m glad I’m not a woman, because they get things introduced in their different orifices, and I find that very disturbing and discomforting. Thank you God for making me a man.

The nurse still doesn’t know that I’m back, awake, or that I just regained my consciousness. My guess is that she is Hispanic or Latina or Mexican. She is young and cute. She’s checking on some plastic bags with liquids in them, hanging from a metal stand next to the bed. I was going to say “next to my bed”, but it isn’t mine. Then a person wearing a white robe opens the door, I guess he’s the doctor. He begins to talk to the nurse, but they ignore the most important person in the room, which is me, the patient. And I decide to leave the room, and fall asleep. 

My confusion keeps increasing. I’m in another world, and I guess this is the real world, but I don’t like it either. Somebody is chasing me. I’m probably inside a book, or in somebody’s dream. It could be my own dream. 

Right after I fell from my bike, the asphalt road turned into a jungle. And someone who seems to be a Spanish conqueror is after me, chasing me, and he doesn’t seem to have good intentions. It appears that for some reason he's trying to kill me, and if he’s a Spanish conqueror, I might be an Aztec warrior. I decide to call him Cortez. And if he’s Cortez, I might be Moctezuma. And I like the idea. As soon as I decided to be Moctezuma my fears disappear. Cortez, despite his name, is not polite, and also despite his cannons, his soldiers, and his gun, he will not conquer me, because this is my jungle, my Empire, and my dream.

The doctor, who by the way, has a nice red beard, asks me to tell him from one to ten, what level of pain I’m feeling. I say four, but I lie, because I prefer a little pain on this bed, than to be wrong about Cortez and his cannons, even if I awake with a vagina instead of a dick, I mean a penis. Then the doctor reduces the IV drip rate that controls the morphine, or pain killer medication, or anesthesia, or whatever it is that knocks me unconscious and sends me to dream land. The liquid runs straight from the plastic bag to my weak and vulnerable mind/brain and gives me unpleasant and hallucinating images/thoughts/dreams.

After a while the pain returns and I decide to doctor myself and control my increasing pain by accelerating the pain killing drops of the miracle drug. Even just mentioning too many times the word “pain” in my brain increases my pain. The pain is not concentrated in a specific point in my body, and if it is, it must be in my brain, but my whole body aches. Then, it seemed that somebody pressed the pause button, and I immediately got transferred to la-la land and found Cortez behind my tail.

If I remember the story right, according to the Spanish conquerors, Moctezuma was killed, stoned by his own people on a balcony in his palace. On the other hand, the indigenous accounts claim that he was killed by the Spanish. Either way, Cortez will not succeed on his attempt to kill me this time. Just in case, while I run almost unconcerned, (now that I remember the outcome of the story) I pick some coca leaves, and place them in my mouth, to put more distance between Cortez and me. If I’m carrying the effects of the morphine or hallucinatory drugs from the hospital bed to my dream, I might be also able to carry the effects of the coca leaves from the jungle to my hospital room. Does it make sense? Yes it does. This is the best movie I’ve seen all year. I wish I could remember the whole thing and be able to write it all down when this is over.

I only hear the usual noises from the animals in the jungle, I think I lost Cortez. The chase was on my favor from the beginning. Cortez didn’t have any advantage riding his mighty horse in this thick vegetation. I don’t know why Cortez is so persistent to kill me; we already gave him most of our gold, which is useless to us, in exchange they gave us some cheap trinkets and mirrors, which are also useless to us. But I wish I could keep this beautiful medallion hanging from my neck. I’m used to it now. It feels good bouncing on my chest; it seems that my heart and the medallion are having a conversation, while running to escape from the villain in my dream.

For a moment I wonder if my temporary demented mind is confounding the reality with the dream. Could it be that the jungle is real, and the hospital bed is my dream? But it can’t be, because if I’m Moctezuma, I can’t have any knowledge about hospitals and hallucinatory drugs. But actually, the Aztecs did have these two things too. Can you hallucinate about things that don’t exist? I guess you can. But can you imagine an Aztec warrior riding a bike? I need to discard these absurd thoughts; they’re too bizarre, even for a nightmare.

Digging in the archives of my mind, while trying to refresh my knowledge about Cortez and Moctezuma, another character shows up, “La Malinche”. I think that by thinking about my dreams when I’m not dreaming I’m feeding more material to my brain to continue dreaming. If I’m not wrong, La Malinche was an indigenous native who acted as an interpreter, advisor and lover to Cortez, she was also known as Doña Marina.

The chase finished abruptly, when I reached the end of the Jungle and the shore of the lake. I wasn’t afraid, because I knew that wasn’t the place where I would die. But I wished that nobody would change the history. Cortez had many men with him, and I was alone. I knew that if the fight could be one on one, I would destroy him. But conquerors and villains are never alone. 

He brought me back to Tenochtitlan, to my palace and my people. Along the way, I kept hearing voices from the hospital, mixing the dream with the reality, unable to concentrate on neither of them. I could hear the doctor and the nurse, while at the same time I was listening to Cortez leading me to my palace. Cortez was trying to persuade me to talk to my people and convince them to give up our arms, to avoid more bloodshed. While on the other scene the doctor was chasing the nurse around my bed trying to convince her to give him a kiss. It was obvious that the amorous relationship had started recently.

It was hard to concentrate. If I can be a little dramatic, I thought I was fighting for my life on two fronts at the same time. Without knowing which one was my real life. It might be very clear to you, but it was very unclear to me. If I had a choice, I would prefer to be left alone.

But I enjoyed the fact that I was (semi) unconscious most of the time. And that I had the ability to jump from one place to the other, if I was in pain, I could medicate myself and go back to the jungle. If the drug wore off, I could return for more. I didn’t have any idea how long I had been there. I had no notion of time or space. 

I returned chained and ashamed to my palace and my people. I felt ashamed because I was captured without a fight. La Malinche bows to Cortez and ignores me, and I feel abandoned by my people too. When Cortez pushes me to the main balcony of my palace, I know the end is getting near. And I disappear from there, hoping to never comeback. The pain is too painful.

I came to the resolution to take the pain the natural way. I asked the doctor if he could remove the painkillers, and he agreed. 

Then he called the nurse.

“Marina, please remove the IV unit away from him.”

“Yes, Dr. Cortez.” she answered.

Then, it all made sense to me.




Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. 01-14-2015



 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ascending Psycho CHAPTER 15



 
In a descending cycle


Instead of waiting for the police to come to the house asking questions about Father Fidel, I decided to go and talk to them. I had to assume that their investigation would bring them to my house anyway.

I told them he was one of grandma’s best friends and I mentioned about all the donations my grandma had provided to the church and to him personally. I had bank receipts and cashier check copies. I told them about the thirty thousand dollars in cash that he had asked for, to build his boy’s club. I said we gave him the money when we invited him for dinner last Friday. I lied. I withdrew the money and I had the receipt. Of course, I never gave him the money, because it’s useless in hell. The money is in the house, and now I don’t know what to do with it. I can’t re-deposit it, because it’s part of my alibi. I might be able to make small deposits at a time, but for now, I’m stuck with that cash.

I didn’t mention he was a pedophile, I’m sure they’ll discover that during their investigation. I didn’t give them any negative information about him. I never talked about him in the past tense, that might have given the impression that I knew he was dead already. I referred to him as if he was alive and he’d show up any minute. And I told them another lie, that he had mentioned a general contractor from the L. A. area that he might hire. This could be just a little distraction that could keep them away from my butcher shop.

I told the same story to Joy and Sadie. Either they believed my story or were troubled with the other option: that somehow I got rid of him. In any case, they didn’t say a word after I presented my version of the facts.

Two days later, two detectives came to ask a few questions to my grandma, but they didn’t speak Spanish. I bet they believed everything my grandma “said”. 

The church offered fifteen thousand dollars as a reward for any information leading to the whereabouts of Father Fidel, and the City of Visalia put up another fifteen thousand dollars, for a total of thirty thousand dollars. What a coincidence, the same amount Father Fidel had at the moment of his disappearance, ha! 

The entire week Father Fidel had been on the front page. Then, one day the police found Father Fidel’s ring in a pawn shop. Apparently a homeless man had pawned it, and he claimed it had appeared in his hamburger. They didn’t believe him and put him in jail. Since the cops had a suspect in custody, news of the priest went to the second page and things settled down a bit for a while. 


*****


I went to visit my shrink again, her name is Jennifer. She’s in her mid-forties. I like her style and taste. She wears her dresses with grace. The smell of her perfume is discrete and subtle. I wonder how it feels to kill a person so smart, elegant, and professional.

Since we were interrupted in our last meeting by her following patient, I had decided to always have the last appointment. 

I don’t know if the treatment is effective, but I enjoy our meetings. We talk about depressing things, phobias, obsessions, disorders, and other unpleasant mental dysfunctions. I feel relieved when I express my fears, (which are now fewer than ever) and the irrational panic I used to have when I was in the proximity of the opposite sex. 

I know nothing about her, and she knows so much about me. Sometimes I think that I underestimate her professional capacity, and even regret having talked so much afterwards. I shouldn’t call our dialogues or discussions “conversations”, since I’m the only one exposing my soul in our sessions.

“Have you realized that you are not shy anymore Angel? Why do you think your introverted personality started to change?” she asked after greeting me with a few polite words.

“My dad had my mind imprisoned. The day after he retired to Mexico, I began to breathe again. Every day that passed, my self-confidence increased. I’m definitely another person now.” I felt proud of myself, after saying those truthful words.

Having turned into a murderer to become a normal person, sounds like a contradiction, but I know I’m becoming a normal person now. Killing people also has given me self-confidence, because for the first time in my life I could be the one controlling the situation. Consequently, my miserable romantic life, also improved. Killing my father was the best thing I’ve done in my whole life. 

“What would you do if he’d return tomorrow?”

-I’d kill him again- I really wanted to say what I was thinking, but I didn’t.

“It would never be the same, never. I would never go back to be the person I was.”

After I finished with the previous statement, I really felt like a crazy person because I knew he’d never be back, and still, I sincerely imagined he could, and it made me go insanely mad. Deep in my mind, I wished he could come back. I’m sure I would kill him again. 

“Do you consider yourself a violent person?” she asked.

Damn, I don’t know where she’s going with that.

“I know I could defend myself if the situation arises.” I replied.

“What I mean to ask is do you think you’re capable of killing somebody?”

Damn, where is she going with that?

“I think I could be, but only to defend the three persons that I love the most in the world, my grandma, Sadie and myself.”

I didn’t have to be sincere with my response. I know I killed Fredo and the prostitute without a reason, but things have changed. Now, I wouldn’t kill anybody without a motive. 

“How old is your girlfriend, Angel?”

“Old enough.”

“How old, Angel?”

“I think she’s twenty. Why?” I lied again.

“I saw you with her the other day; she was pushing your grandma’s wheel chair. She appeared to be only sixteen or seventeen years old.”

“I said she’s old enough. Can we change the subject now?”

“I’m sure you know that having sex with an underage girl is a grave crime. It’s a felony, and you could go to jail. I’m here to give you advice, and that’s what I’m doing.” she kept insisting.

“It feels like you’re conducting an investigation, this is not a conversation, it’s more like an interrogation.”

“I’m sorry if you feel that way, Angel. But my obligation is to help you in any way I can. And for that, I need your complete collaboration.”

“Okay.”

“Did you read the newspaper today, Angel? There was an article about some people that have disappeared near the Oval Park, right around the area where you live. I’m sure you know about it, having contact with so many costumers in your butcher shop,” then, she grabbed the newspaper from under her desk, and she continued, “The list includes an old lady named, Ana Suarez, a sixteen-year-old girl named Leticia Gomez, Alfredo Lugo, whom they believe was gay, and of course Father Fidel. Should your father be considered disappeared also, Angel?”

My face was hot and probably red too, and I was sweating like a pig. I couldn’t avoid feeling guilty. I’ve never been good at faking or hiding my feelings. I felt like a child again. I wanted to run to my room, and hide under my bed. I was convinced that my attitude was revealing my guiltiness. 

“Of course, I’ve heard about all those people, in a meat market you hear about all kinds of stories, but if you’re implying that I have anything to do with the disappearance of those people, you’re wrong. It seems that you are accusing me of those murders, and that’s completely unjustified and unfair too.”

“I never said anything about murders. Do you think they were killed? Because the authorities are investigating disappearances not murders. They’re missing persons, if they’re dead, they haven’t found their bodies.”

“I don’t know if they were killed, and if they were, I don’t care at all. I didn’t even know any of them.” 

I’m feeling trapped. I can’t compete with an expert, especially if she’s right.

“Well, Ana Suarez was your neighbor, she lived all her life right behind your house. And Leticia worked for you in the butcher shop. You’re contradicting yourself Angel, there’s no need to be nervous. Oh, and another thing, about the homeless man who claimed finding Father Fidel’s ring in a hamburger, didn’t you feed and serve those hamburgers to the poor people in the park? And weren’t you the last person to see Father Fidel alive? I believe he was in your house the night he disappeared.”

“Apparently you’ve been following this case very closely, but everything you mentioned is public knowledge. Ana Suarez lived in the house next to mine, but we never talked to her, she was a recluse. And Leticia worked for me for a few weeks, but then, she went to Hollywood to look for fame and fortune, her mom knows about it. In any case, it feels like you’re accusing me, and it hurts me deeply.”

“Most of what I know is information that you gave me during our conversations. My obligation as a psychiatrist is to take care of your mental health, and by the way, your improvements have been remarkable. Part of the treatment is to question your behavior in society. I need to get inside your mind to know you better and be able to help you even more. About those missing persons, they’re just that, missing. If they don’t find the bodies, there’s no crime to follow. I just want you to talk to me openly about any subject. And if you know anything about those people, you should talk to the police. And one more thing, my intentions are to help you, not to hurt you.”

At that moment, we were interrupted by her secretary to let us know she was leaving. I seized the intrusion to excuse myself too. I was exhausted. She had thrashed me. 


*****


Sadie had never stayed in my room overnight, maybe out of respect for Joy and Grandma, but we make love several times a week. Without a doubt, she’s been my savior and one of the main reasons my sanity is under control. I don’t know what I would do without her. Sometimes she helps me cook and stays for dinner. 

The day after my shrink shook me and crushed me unmerciless and made me realize about my fragile situation, Sadie also came out with some shocking surprises. After we closed the shop, she said that we needed to talk.

First she said that Joy had finally accepted Pablo’s marriage proposal, and that they had plans to move to L.A. 

“Joy wants me to go with them; she insists that I must go to college. And I think she’s right.” she said.

“No, she’s not right, you belong here with me. L.A. is three hours away from here, if you go away, I’ll lose you forever. If you want we can get married. But you can’t go; my whole world would crash without you.” I replied with words coming from the heart.

“No Angel, I wouldn’t know what to do if I was married, besides, I really want to go to college. I can come and visit you every month, and you can visit me too.”

“No Sadie that would never work. I know that if you leave, I’ll lose you forever. If you leave, you’ll change for sure and forget about me. Long distance love could never last; besides, you’ll meet a bunch of guys your age. Please don’t leave Sadie, I beg you.”

“I don’t know Angel, I love you very much, and it breaks my heart to leave you, but I can’t be without Joy in my life. Joy is like my mother to me, she’s better than my mother. It’s a tough decision, but I’ve made up my mind already. You’ve been an angel to us. We will always be grateful to you. It won’t be easy to say good bye to grandma either, especially since I won’t be able to call her on the phone. I’m really sorry Angel. We can visit each other as much as we can, let’s not consider this the end.” 

“You’re killing me Sadie, you really are.” 

She had finalized our relationship, and it seemed that she had ended my life too. My legs were trembling; I felt a desolated emptiness inside my body. I had no reason to continue breathing. I felt numb, I felt dizzy. 

But she wasn’t done with the bad news.

“There are a few more things I need to tell you Angel. Joy and I believe you killed Father Fidel. He was a real monster, but as bad as he was, there was no need to kill him. I don’t need to know whether you did it or not. Also, we've heard some rumors in the street about you and the disappearance of other people. They say that you were involved with Leticia, the young girl that used to work for you. They say she disappeared the day after she stood you up on the dance floor, the night you went with her on a date. They also mention a hooker and a thief that used to hang in the park, and some of them believe you had something to do with their disappearance.”

“But that’s absurd Sadie, if they disappeared, that doesn’t mean they were killed, they never found the bodies. If there’s no body, there’s no crime to follow.”

“That’s the other thing Angel. They believe you’ve been feeding them with human flesh, especially since they found Father Fidel’s ring in a hamburger. Things are about to explode Angel.”

“Is that the real reason you’re leaving then? Tell me Sadie, you really believe in those rumors?” 

Then, a terrible thought crossed my mind. At that moment, I knew I had lost her. She was a million miles away from me now. I wouldn’t dare to cause any harm to her. She was the love of my life, the only love I will ever have. I will always love her. But her love had disappeared too. I remember a thought I had when I was about to kill Leticia . . . guys like me could never be happy. God wouldn’t allow it.

“No Angel, the reason I’m leaving was decided when my mom left us. Joy made me promise that I would go to college. And I never forgot about that promise. And to answer your second question, I don’t believe in those rumors. And I will always love you, and that’s a promise too.”

Then, I asked her to spend the night with me, and she gladly agreed. And that made me immensely happy, because we both knew that that night would be our only night together. And we cried and we made love, and we cried and we made love, sometimes simultaneously, all night long.



Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. 11-08-2014




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Last One




I’ve done it thousands of times

Zero risk factors, I thought before the first one

This is the last one. I said a million times

Don’t care if I die. As long as it’s just me

Don’t care about hell

Much less about heaven or paradise

Don’t care if I die, only if it’s painless, sudden and fast

Five thousand times I should be dead

Don’t call me stupid, I’m already dead

How did I get here, who brought me home?

Lessons never learned

Riding in the back, free ride to jail, handcuffs and all

A.A., community service and the rest, I’ve done it all twice and more

Promised never to do it again

Only to forget and repeat, worse than before

Five thousand times at least, I’m good at math

Never looked bad, hardly missed work, hardworking imbecile

Only understand when I’m sober and dry

But if I kill someone else, I’ll do more than cry

I’ll drink till I drown

Punishment or reward?

Don’t know why I’m still here

A million hours wasted with temporary, transient, fleeting friends

I don’t dare say where I should have been instead, it pains my soul

Shame only appears after the fact

Shame disappears with the first shot

Time gone forever

Time I’ll never recover, even if my sanity is the only thing I'll recover

The ones I love will be with me when I die

If they felt loved during my prolonged absences






Edmundo Barraza

Lancaster, Ca. 09-17-2014