The World of Interiors
The recording booth smelled like a Jr. High boy's locker room after a mid-summer baseball game that had gone into extra innings! The nimrods outside-toked up wannabes fooling with the nobs and levers expected me to take deep breaths and sing like a glittered up Pavarotti. I'd been elected to carry the lazy man's load. What the fuck did I know about singing on que, taking direction from an uppity Brit shit who couldn't hold a tune any more than I could lay a golden egg?
And that's what they all wanted, even Brian. They were waitin' on me to deliver a glam-rock Opera that would rain down money on their swelled heads and make the ordeal of suffering the likes of me well worth it. But I couldn't fuckin' sing in that shitbox! Breathing was a luxury. I had to push out each word that passed through my dried up lips with an iron lung. That's when he turned on me. The lover who promised to change my life and bring my special southern brand of rock to the whole friggin world told me in clipped sentences that I ain't cuttin' the bread.
The plastic walls amplified Brian's voice. I felt like a suspect in one of those black and white film noirs. Some innocent bastard gets dragged into a dark, dank room. A single light bulb blasts in his face. The trench coat wearing detective demanding the poor idiot cough up a confession, only he hasn't done anything to confess to, c'ept being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Rube that I was, I fixed my burning blue eyes on Brian. He strutted towards me like Twiggy on a catwalk. The moment it registered to him that I'm suffocating in here, he turned on a high healed boot. I'm the dirty wad of gum stuck to the bottom. Now my momma taught me manners. But life taught me never give my back to a friend. That's how quickly he can become your sworn enemy.
I wasn't gonna be a circus freak for these assholes. But, I'm goddamn bowed up. My body reduced to the most primal of responses. I threw my entire one-hundred and twenty pound self against the Plexiglas. It don't give. I'm still at my enemies' mercy. They're on the outside free to gawk and judge. This is how a horse must feel when being 'broken in.' Such a majestic creature forced into a circular pen with a dirt floor compelled to run lap after lap at his master's bidding.
Worse men than these yaller dogs have tried to ride me. So I tossed out some insults and F-bombs and when that didn't work, I tossed a microphone stand into a glass sound board. The cascading splinters rang like bells of freedom. If I pressed my fingers into the jagged pieces, I'd bleed out all the love I once had for this cheap imitation of a man. He put me in the box, but I got myself out.
My eyes were half-opened slits. I was certain that when I could fully register my new environment, I would find that I had passed from darkness into everlasting light and entered paradise. But then the words of Rousseau slipped through my head pounding like cannon fire.
Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the Author of things; everything degenerates in the hands of man.
My hands trembled as I applied soot stained fingers to the source of my ungodly pain. My chin throbbed underneath a damp cloth. All that had transpired unwound inside my fevered brain: the months, years really of unimaginable loneliness, the brief and unbridled experience of passionate love, the sharpest sword of rejection applied directly to my heart, and my crazed plan to win back that lost love. It was my opioid, my survival, my salvation.
I once occupied the most sacred and conversely opulent rooms on earth. I was a ghost hovering in the spiced air, hoping for a chance to remain, to belong. The incense burning on the holy alter lingered longer touching the face of God than my fading spectral form. I was not called to be a solider of Christ any more than I was to be a soldier of Napoleon.
Welcome to hell. As a seminarian you never imagine that hell could exist on earth, living inside each one of us. The worst of hell is inflicted upon you by others. They attack like the plague, sweating sickness or typhoid. But, you welcome the disease because it is better than being null and void. Your soul either shrivels up to the size of an insect, or explodes upon impact.
I was a prisoner chained to ensure no escape. If I could have spoken, I would have told the jailer I knew there was no way out for me. I thought I had already endured the vilest circumstances mankind had to offer. Prison was a hotter, more immediate and intense punishment than I had supposed. The Rabbi Hillel asked; if I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself what am I? No one had ever truly been for me. Perhaps what I am is not worthy of being at all. Ah! I already knew that too, one thousand times over.