Now it's time for some meaty, all American storytelling. Hooplah! This first one is an amalgamation of my own experiences, wishes about what should have happened, and some other soupy ingredients that will be apparently falsehood. Or maybe it's all truth. Who knows? (I do.)
It was a lonely road for me as I walked back home down the highway in the pitch-blackness of the night. I'd been involved in some serious foolishness that involved drinking and smoking illegal substances with no discretion. On top of that, I'd been awake for at least 36 hours, keeping my mind in check with a few too many energy drinks. That's why, in my inebriated state of mind, I decided that it would be as good a time as any to experiment with the stock market. In this case, it would be taking stock into the fact that wealthy business owners received large sums of money in cash form in their mail. This idea occurred to me all at once when I saw a large office depot on the opposite side of the lonely thoroughfare. As these ideas came together, they gave birth to a beautiful prospect - I would ransack their mailboxes with unlimited fury. And they were bursting full, thank God. I came away, hands full of assorted letters and small packages, and immediately began ripping them open, jaunting across an overpass. Their contents saddened me, however; they were entirely comprised of bills, bills, and bills, and as I threw each to the ground with true prejudice. "The hell?" I thought, perplexed. "I thought these people made money, not owed it!"
I'd only had a few minutes to ponder this terrible realization before reality came screeching down the highway after me, sirens ablaze. "Holy fuck!" I screamed, tearing away into a nearby field, giving no care to the fact that I was ripping my arms and clothes in order to hop over and under far too many barbed-wire fences. After ten minutes of this frantic escape, I finally found myself walking through the well-organized lines of a Nissan dealership. The sirens had faded into the distance, and I could no longer see the flashing lights behind me. The paranoia about getting arrested for multiple felonies, however, was still surging. There was nothing I could do but continue on my darkened path and hope desperately that the pig hadn't pursued me. The idea that my fingerprints might be analyzed didn't bother me because I'd never had them put into the system. For a felon, I was fairly clean; I have never and hopefully will never find trouble with the law.
With these dangerous thoughts growing in my mind, I continued my lonely travels, making sure to watch in a hawklike manner for any vehicles with flashing lights atop them. Even with this fear, I was still bold enough to thrust my thumb to the sky as cars passed in hopes of having my first hitchhiking experience. I made it a few miles before someone stopped.
He looked like a nice enough guy, but regret was stamped to his face as soon as he saw me - bloodshot eyes, probably pale, sporting dirt-stained jeans and a cracked smile. "Where are you headed?" he asked. Home was at the end of the long highway stretch, but I needed to stop off at Wal-Mart to get my fix. "Well... Maybe, um. Wal-Mart. Yeah, that'll do finely man. I mean, does that sound good?" I asked, fumbling and slurring. "Yep." And that was it. He wouldn't say another word. I'd try to strike up conversation with sly comments about his hair and vehicle status, but he deflected them with worried hand motions. He was a nice enough guy, but obviously scared out of his wits by my drugged appearance and language.
When we arrived, he let me out and I tried to hand him a few bucks. "No thanks, kid." "You're a nice enough guy." Done. Gone. He drove away and I made my way inside Wally World. I had a designated target - one full bottle of Air Duster; it's a club favorite of mine. For once, I didn't gyp them, and paid in full for the thing. I pocketed a few Monsters, however. Old ways die hard, I guess. It's strange. If you walk out the door with total confidence on your face that you are an honest person, they don't question you. Not even once have I been pulled aside and asked if my merchandise had been payed for - it's simply implied that people like me aren't inherently evil, and won't just rip the store out of its holdings. That's in no way true, but, at the time, it was my anthem and mantra.
From Wal-Mart, home was only a mile's walk. It's a winding trail beneath an overpass, and, as I reached the overpass, I stopped to take a few huffs off of my purchase. "Huh-hah, duuuuuuuuuddddeeeeee!!!!!" I spouted in a reverse-helium deep voice, letting the noxious fumes out of my lungs. Everything got all slow and soft, and I stumbled away on my path. "Onward, to the future!" I sang. "Brain damage, ahoy!"
And brain damage I would forever have.