July 6th,2023 9:42am pdt

If you are visiting for the first time, go to the beginning.

The Mountains

 read ( words)

"The time is now 1104 and all of my responsibilities are out of the way. I went to the market, pants and all. Splendid. Now I have hours to myself for whatever seems best. Or? Nothing. A nice, icy glass of depressant is sitting to my left and the vampires are on the right, as usual. I need Julie, yet something has changed. My subconscious may have inadvertently influenced the netherworld. Ah... Shit. At least I am already aware of this place (sort of). Heading back to reality, I learned that the dipshit who sold me a very rare knife had yet to ship the fucking thing as of yesterday afternoon. I asked if tracking information was available, and he informed me that the lack of the same was an oversight. He stated that it would be in the mail today. For crying out loud, the auction ended a week ago. Once a parcel is sent, it’s pretty much out of anyone’s hands other than the carrier, and I understand that logistics are not always what we wish. But to delay shipping in the first place is just not good business. The knife will arrive eventually. I’m left to wonder, though, how long it may have been overlooked had I not contacted the seller. The knife was not an inexpensive transaction.

Julie is taller now, somehow and for whatever reason. Er... Miramanee, I guess. Whatever the case, she is definitely taller and wearing a beautiful leather dress adorned with stones and gems. They are also present within her ponytail (which is longer, like all the way to the bottom of her short dress). This is very strange. I swear, if I look around and find an obelisk emanating power I’m going to lose it on Julia. I can’t live this story. I can’t lose Julie. Or, Miramanee, for fuck’s sake. This is going to confuse the shit out of me.

‘Don’t worry, husband. You can do anything.’

Yep, here we fucking go. This has been lifted from a fifty-plus year old tale from the first series and I have no idea of how to proceed here. I can live in the mountains and scratch out a life, yet at the same time I did not actually cause the changes. Julia did that. Before I jump in and embrace this new world, I’m going to need some conversation with that woman. Unfortunately, her voice is not always available. I have no control here.

So lost in life. Very lost. Now I have to deal with being lost in two worlds, as well. Wonderful. Maybe I won’t do anything else today but relax. Feeling this way is not fun. And don’t give me a blast of shit because so many other people are much worse off right now. I am not them. I am me. I have to deal with myself first. I can’t be good to another soul on earth if I remain fucked in the head, so shut the fuck up. Big smile!

Friday morning and the Internet has been offline since some time prior to rising from bed. Splendid. I have the phone tethered to this machine so I can operate like business as usual. I need the morning stuff to be in place or I’ll become uptight. I don’t react well to changes anymore. Today’s plan is much like yesterday, although I need to visit the hardware store to pick up a gift for tomorrow. I have lunch lined up already and will make some early preparations for dinner tonight. An easy dinner equals an easy kitchen the following day. After enjoying a few mellow mornings recently, finding myself sideways again is not much fun. I don’t like feeling this way. The fact is I have been to places and seen some key situations that will not let up on my current condition, and no matter what I do to try shoving all that shit aside, eventually the sadness takes over and I am powerless to stop it. This morning is one of those better left unlived. The only saving throw is to finish the coffee and begin working around the house. I wish I could understand why the world must be as it is. On the upside, the network is operational again. Nice. I have that, at least. The time is 0903 and I will have to get away from this very soon.

Mountains. Hmm. And Julie is apparently a person pulled from one of my favorite programs. How in the hell am I supposed to deal with this? And why did Julia change everything again? Damn it. Miramanee was from another planet and akin to Native Americans of the past. She lived in a small community with others and took the man from an alien world as her husband. He had no idea of why his situation went sideways, either, and simply gave up after some time and embraced the new life. He was strong and demonstrated prowess in fighting and hunting, hence the marriage. Well, that is not me. I am still nothing more than a tiny person between worlds and becoming increasingly confused with each passing day. I will say that Julie looks fucking gorgeous in her dress and makeup. Gorgeous. Unfortunately, I can’t exactly initiate any intimacy right now because I have to figure out what the hell is going on. Too bad. The view around us is really beautiful, too. I am reminded of camping at the top of Yosemite many, many years ago with the family. We had a site next to the river which fed Yosemite Fall. Warm weather and cold water, and believe me, that water was crystal clear. We had spent a lot of time lounging next to the river, as well as relaxing upon the huge rocks that dotted the shallow water.

The Internet fell away for a second time just as I returned from my shopping trip. I was about to run the first series and clean the kitchen, damn it. Fortunately, the connection came back online shortly thereafter. Now my routine is finished and the beets are gently boiling. There was nothing of note in either the hardware store or market, thankfully. I don’t need any more shit in my head these days. Once the beets are cooling, I can have lunch. There is a load of dry cleaning awaiting my attention along with laundry, but other than those items I am going to take it easy for the rest of the day. Dinner will be simple, too. Very nice. I need to maintain my daily comfort above all things because the inside of my head is a fucking cyclone. And? The fucking Internet just dropped off AGAIN. I don’t know what the deal is today, but that is the third loss in as many hours. This is some bullshit, especially considering the other damned provider has been all over our neighborhood since April and touting their superior equipment and lines. I kept turning them down due to the reliability of what we have. Isn’t that poetic? Whatever. One more drop and I’ll tether the phone for the rest of the fucking day.

Oh, Julia. Why did she have to change Julie into an even more stunning woman? Maybe I should be saying, ‘oh, Julie’. This is not good. I don’t want to feel desire right now due to how much damage was caused by similar situations in the past. Well, if I do something stupid and die again, what’s the difference? We are here in this world, yet we are not. Ugh. I guess I’ll just have to go with the flow for a while and learn of whatever clues may be in this strange, beautiful place.

Saturday morning. I am not exactly thrilled at the idea that after so much mental difficulty yesterday, I am to awaken this morning following yet another fucking dream that left me on the side of an emotional superhighway. I barely made it through several hours yesterday of recalling and lamenting, only to sit here this morning believing once again that my life ended long ago. I just need to understand why things must be as they are. I don’t fucking get it. The only consideration that seems to make sense anymore is paying the tab. I realize it sounds strangely related to all that hocus pocus mumbo jumbo voodoo bullshit, yet I cannot find reasons anywhere else in life. If I am correct, how much has to be paid? Years? All of my time? Will things change after I’ve suffered for a specific period? No answers. No ears. This crap is going to leave me fucking depressed and angry again. I don’t need it right now, either, because later I have to make the salad like I always do for a birthday dinner. And then I have to make nice over there with her family for a few hours. This mood had better be finite today.

Mountains all around. Julie (I am still considering her name inside my head) takes my hand and leads me to the water’s edge where she fills a few skins, afterward handing them to me. We walk and carry the water back to a camp which appears frightfully similar to that television episode I mentioned before. I don’t know what to think. Maybe if I just go with the situation, things may become clear later. That’s the second time I calculated patience as being my best option. Eventually, all may be revealed. Julie strolls me around the area so I can familiarize myself with where we apparently live. Ooh-fa. The weather is warm, at least, and much better than the bitter cold from the first door or the searing heat of the desert. We may be living in a period prior to railroad development, too. Right now I don’t know what to think. Julie is almost constantly smiling as I fall into a lounging position to consider everything. I don’t have the first damned clue as to why we are in this scene.

Time passes, like always. We move along as expected, too. Each day brings me closer to Julie and with increasing appreciation for the way she thinks about everything. She is a very gentle soul – much like myself – and respects every step of the processes involved in living here in the woods. We’ve fished, hunted, and begun building a garden; everything required to sustain ourselves within the small community. Others have been building, as well. We seem to be here for the duration. I don’t know how long, though. The moon has changed shape, meaning nearly a month is now behind us after being swept from the desert to the mountains. The weather has been cooling, too. Winter may arrive soon if I am truly feeling the dryness of fall. Life here is peaceful and rewarding, yet way back in my mind is the idea that something bad is going to happen. Comfort is very important to me, and in this world I am very comfortable.

More calendar pages have flown away. Many more. I don’t even know if Julie still thinks of herself as ‘Julie’. I have no idea of much at all because this place is so fucking different from every other journey that the strangeness smacks me in the face every day. We’ve built a beautiful life here and with the other people. It is very nice. If something is going to happen, I am hoping the change takes place soon because I just might let go completely and forget who I used to be. The parallels have gone from stirring to concerning, and then on to downright haunting. My brain goes back and forth to that television program at some point every day and I can’t help but think that I am going to be pulled out of this world by three individuals from a ship. Heh. Too much science fiction? Ya think? None of that exists here, yet after living with Julie in this place for months, I don’t know what the fuck else to think.

Wow. Just... Wow. I believe my mind has passed another threshold this morning. Yes, just this morning and within the last half hour or so. Another change? Maybe. A lower level of thinking, perhaps. I can’t put a fine point on the way I feel, but I will say that the reckless part of me just increased in mass. Wow. ‘Lotta action. Lotta action.’ There is more anger and sarcasm in those words than I can possibly convey through this fucking keyboard. I never thought life could be this way. There have been times when everything felt thinner and less cohesive, but this shit? In no way could I have predicted such a fucked up situation. This is one of those days that finds me very unhappy about going across town for an early dinner. I really don’t want to go anywhere. The only plus will be the feeling of arriving home again afterward. I hope all this shit is worth it. My lack of understanding cannot be cured or alleviated by anyone or anything in daily life. Not even the holidays or special occasions can crack the exterior. I am beginning to believe that avoiding others and remaining alone – no matter how far I tend to fall down sometimes – is the only way I can live anymore. I’ve been projecting the ‘nice’ me to people since last year despite being completely pissed off all the time and the effort is exhausting. I am only doing so for others, too. None of it is for me. In fact, I am most likely worse off covering my feelings rather than speaking my mind. Isn’t that peachy? I am tired of everything but don’t know of any other way to live my life right now. I guess the situation just hit me in the face this morning due to more than a year of extreme longing and pain coming to a head. Anger, too. Once again I am left in the same spot, just like always, sitting here sad and angry, not understanding anything, and without any fucking recourse whatsoever. I just keep covering my feelings and going through the motions. Well, this can only last so long. Dinner this afternoon had better fly by so I can get back home to some much-needed peace and quiet. I already need it and we aren’t even leaving the house for several hours. Nice.

I have never been in a worse situation. The mountains are not going to help me, either. They can’t do anything. Idyllic is an understatement, yet at the same time it is unreal. There is a strong possibility that Julia has placed us in this situation for the sole reason of showing me what I will never feel in reality. If so, I’m going to shoot her in the fucking neck. I need more reminders like I need a pine tree up my ass. Not a good start to the day. Not even close.

‘Jules, I don’t even know where to fuckin’ start.’

Thanks, Amy. Neither do I. This morning is beginning to feel like the end of the world. Some sort of major change seems to be necessary right now, yet I have no idea of what to do (like always). The rare occasion has me actually heading outside the norm to any degree. I am at such a loss today that I must take Amy’s line from that episode to heart. Oh, yes, I have my routine, the salad needs to be made, and then we will drive across town for a few hours. Those items will come and go, and believe me... I cannot WAIT to be back here. We are not leaving the house for more than five hours, yet I am already in need of returning. This is not good. I’ve made it through countless occasions and come out the other side ok, but for some reason today seems far worse. Maybe the recollections, daydreaming and lack of understanding which all combined to slam my head have taken more of a toll than usual. I can’t be certain, but something is very wrong this morning. I don’t even know where to fuckin’ start.

As of this sentence, there have been 4950 occurrences of the word ‘nothing’ within the entirety of this site. Marvelous. One more time for posterity... I don’t even know where to fuckin’ start. The world feels like it is almost finished living its life.

Winter. Julie and I have been keeping each other warm through the days and nights, all the while taking care of the necessities of living. Fires inside the tent create a column which flows up to and through the smoke flap, the sides facilitating the negative pressure necessary for maintaining clean air as the fire burns and keeps our living space comfortable. All of the cooking is done outside, of course. We gather firewood, hunt for food, and snatch the occasional fish. Some keepsakes and other decorations have found their way into our small home, each representing some adventure or trial from the past. We’ve been in this place for a year and I have come to believe that there are to be no changes. Too much time has passed for thinking otherwise. This is our life now and we are all the way in. The small community surrounding us on the shore has welcomed us as family, as well. All the way in. I am happy here and never want to hear Julia’s voice again. As we connect with other people around the main fire ring, I occasionally look up to see the snow-laden trees swaying in the breeze. Maybe everything is too comfortable right now. Maybe. The surrounding mountains are covered in a blanket of white. This place is beautiful beyond description.

Trials abound. There has been a change in one source of income which will force an immediate alteration in my lifestyle. I’m in a bad way right now, meaning a second cocktail is underway; a rarity. I feel like the world is coming to an end. We have to leave in less than two hours and I am nowhere near feeling like being sociable. Fortunately, the last year has shown me that I can shut everything off and appear personable without error. Today will be just that. My need to be half in the fucking bag prior to leaving has not come about for a number of years, to be honest, and I believe the inherent relaxation will help me cope. Yes, I am an alcoholic. Get over it. Many other people are in the same boat, often labeled as ‘functioning’. I know a few of them. The truth is that people like us cannot easily deal with difficult situations without a bit of booze, and that means ‘bad situation’. I never missed work or destroyed a relationship due to alcohol, though. Such facts simply must mean something. I’ll tell you something, though, and that is there have been occasions in which I have been involved that would otherwise have been tragic if not for the subdued mindset and numbing effects of alcohol. Believe it, motherfucks.


Sunday. I am not very excited about it, though. The word ‘excitement’ barely applies to much at all anymore. I’ll be going through the motions soon despite the mood. I usually enjoy this day, too. Most of the good feelings I have toward Sunday and Monday have faded for a time, unfortunately. There are other problems in need of addressing. I need to think about everything. The usual business will not take long today, so perhaps if I can find some motivation, a bit of tree trimming can be completed in addition to the garbage work. I feel like the end of the world is much closer as of yesterday. Our dinner was fine. We popped into the bar for a short visit afterward (waste of time), and upon arriving home, something inside my head snapped and I swung the hammer for a couple of hours. Not good. Now I need peace and quiet. I don’t know what happened, either. Something. Maybe all of the difficulties simply hit me all at once and I felt compelled to lash out for a while. Whatever it was, the sensation is gone. I am back to feeling small and wishing to hide myself away. The time is now 0925. The weather is sunny but with a very cool breeze. I don’t expect to amount to much today. Not feeling it at all.

Monday has arrived on the heels of a very disturbed Sunday. I don’t know what was going on yesterday, although my angry tirade Saturday night may have had a lasting effect upon my psyche. I still regret that mood. As for this morning, I do feel a bit better. One major alteration is the fact that I intend to keep to myself even more than prior to last weekend. Another difference is that rather than being upset about throwing a one-person party due to a lousy mood, I am somewhat ashamed of having lashed out. Eh... Whatever. Today means further separation from what took place the other day. That’s good. The more time that passes, the better and more learned I will feel. I typically accept such a thought as an axiom. Still, doing so also can leave me feeling very much alone. My brain will have to weigh the options and find the best path, I suppose. In the short term, I need to consider much more. The entire scale, actually. Today may be ideal for such thinking if I can remain quiet otherwise. Don’t try to understand that last one, either. All me. Aside from my usual work, I have to pick up a few items at the market and then visit the smoke shop. The plan is to head over there when the latter opens so I can return here and hole up once again. I have visions in my brain this morning. They have to go, meaning keeping busy will remain a priority.

I’ve been referring to that sweet girl as ‘Julie’ rather than the name she told me while correcting me when I first addressed her well over a year ago. I just can’t say it because I’ve known her for too many years to entertain another moniker. Julie is Julie and that is it. Our life here has been wonderful, but I will say that at some point every day I consider what may change. Julia will not toss me into a beautiful situation for too long without some lesson or slap in the face coming by unexpectedly. Maybe she wants me to see a lifestyle that has otherwise been elusive. The senses of family and community have not been part of my real life for a very long time, and yes, I mean other than the dinner on Saturday. That’s different, somehow, and I doubt very much if I can ever explain the reasons. When I look up at the trees and feel Julie’s touch, I am reminded of the glow, believe it or not. We are in the mountains, and the view from the floor of this valley is very similar to the sights from on high in that hotel on the south shore of Lake Tahoe in Winter. The resort was connected to both my family and the glow, two situations that have long since disappeared. This place is very peaceful, too; something I rarely enjoy in reality. Well, there have been small doses, but nothing with any lasting effects. Everything comes back. Even after all this time, my head has not been able to fully let go. This is not real. One further thought is that we may be living here in this small community during a time prior to the advent of railroads. That could be a good thing.

I need... Something. No idea of what it is, though. Something. Maybe I just need some fucking help right now.

‘Maybe this is forever, my love.’
‘I doubt it.’
‘Try to relax, please.’
‘I have no choice in the matter.’

Julie knows my head has been going over lots of permutations at lightning speed. I can’t really relax because at any moment this could all change and become something terrible. Julia is not above hitting me in the fucking face. Maybe she enjoys watching my brain squirm. Whatever the case, I have taught myself to remain on guard no matter how idyllic this setting has – or will – become. Julia has rolled me through the wringer on too many occasions already. I know it’s coming.

1001. I finished my typical morning housework already in anticipation of shopping in a little while. I’d like to have everything in order and one cocktail consumed to ease my head as I leave the house. My new knife will be arriving in a little while, and in stark contrast to the others I have sold and plan to list. The idea is to generate as much cash as possible for a while. Knowing my financial situation is stable has become nearly as important as finding moments of solace within my head. Other aspects of life will not let up their grip on my fucking throat. Splendid. I can’t even begin to count the number of occasions throughout a given day when memories of blissful situations hit me in the face, today being no different. Maybe I’ve seen too much; I cannot know for sure. The fact is my condition has worsened in recent years and forced me to realize that there is no longer any ‘good’ on the horizon. The little enjoyments continue to shrink. On an unrelated note, I learned that despite the program running on my right-hand display, the word ‘evil’ did not originate from the name ‘Eve’. The term and the name evolved from two entirely different languages. ‘Eve’, in Hebrew, means ‘life’, whereas ‘evil’ is defined as ‘to treat badly’. Until today, I had no idea of the distinction. Many people apparently connected ‘Eve’ with ‘evil’ simply because of the apple. Very interesting. I may be a member of the Satanic Temple, but that is not to say that I know everything. Education should be a lifelong process. Just a thought. You may have already known all this shit, but I did not. I will also say that the most important thing a person can know is that they do not know everything. Much like what I said up the page somewhere, I would accept such a statement as an axiom. Go forth and postulate your ass off. I don’t care.

I don’t know what to think anymore.

The afternoon has arrived. My trip to the smoke shop and market was uneventful other than saying hello to one of our neighbors in the produce aisle. I finished everything and had lunch, too. There is a part of me that simply must understand how my world took its present shape. I have to be made to understand, which means if I can’t do it myself, someone else will have to be involved. First, I cannot imagine going back to the beginning and then trying to frame up the present accordingly. How much fucking time would that require? Years? I have to get away from this keyboard for a while. I’m done. My brain has been rolling footage of Laura walking away from me when our lunch date came to an end. I have to stop seeing her walk, yet I have not the strength to push my mind in any other direction right now. Over and over. Damn it.

Tuesday. Today is the fourth, so I have the flags out and will be setting up to grill some stuff on the driveway like I do every year. Right now I am not very thrilled about the idea, either. Maybe I’ll feel more festive a few hours from now. My head is heeled over again, damn it, and I know precisely why. I am fucking sick of feeling this way nearly every morning. The past week has been worse, too. Sometimes my head can’t let go of the past, and then the present only reinforces such changes. This is all so fucking bad now. Bad enough, in fact, for me to begin seeking someone who may be able to help. Right now the odds of finding that person are extremely slim, however. One moment I am thinking of possibilities,and then the next fifty-nine of them have me too frightened of everything. That is each hour, cut and dry. I hate this shit. I’ve been routed and squished for far too many years, hence the effort in the first place. I don’t have any confidence in the process, though. Well, the truth is I don’t know and may never due to fear. Eh... Fuck it. Back to the mountains where the snow is beginning to melt. Wait a second... It is melting faster than I had first thought because I can feel the temperature rising as if the earth is quickly moving toward the sun. What the hell?

Julie is attached to me again, but what do I tell her? The weather does not normally change so fast, anywhere, ever. This is very odd and has me thinking that perhaps Julia has left us here long enough. I don’t know. Flash! Our beautiful home and community nestled on the shore of the lake are gone, yet the mountains remain. Huh? The weather is warm, sunny and very dry now, too. Everything has disappeared and we are left standing on what had been the center of our camp next to the water but is now nothing more than a spread of level ground. No trees. No cool breeze. Is this yet another wasteland? Even the mountains are bereft of foliage. Wow. Something is going to happen... Something much more than this. I can feel it. I turn us away from the sun and begin to walk while remaining in constant contact with Julie. I need her right now. I need her badly.

‘Return to your train.’

I guess we’ll just keep walking until something appears. Oh, there it is ahead, kind of like the opposite of the passage through which we strolled and found a caboose. There is a tunnel but no rails. That’s probably where we have been directed to travel. Julia has something in mind. She caught me completely by surprise this time. Both of us, really, because we’ve been stable and living in that beautiful place for so long I figured nothing would ever change. We had a good life there, too. Now everything is gone and... Ah, fuck. I think I know Julia’s point this time. She’s going to make me feel horrible. Splendid. Julie is beginning to cry. Into the dark tunnel we go...

1054, and... Fucking hell. That girl passed by for the umpteenth time, smiled and waved, and then went on her way with the stroller and baby. The thoughts running through my head during those moments can’t be detailed here for reasons of good form. Jesus God, anyway. I really didn’t need that shit, but there is no way she is going to come into view without me being outwardly pleasant while dreaming of much more. One thing for sure is the fact that I will never entertain any questionable conversation with her. Never. Fuck that. I need to avoid any imperial entanglements, as it were. She doesn’t need any of that crap, either, because she is a person and not just a work of art strolling down the fucking sidewalk. She is a PERSON, damn it. My condition is pretty fucking bad these days, meaning the first thoughts are always driven by desire. The thoughts in my head and what comes out of my mouth are two very different things and I don’t believe I am a bad person for saying so. I don’t believe I am a bad person for feeling such desire, either. It is perfectly natural. No one truly knows what resides in someone else’s brain. The way people treat each other on the outside is the important part. God fucking damn it, though... I want that girl in too many ways to list. Fucking shoot me in the neck; I don’t care anymore. She will never know, anyway. I am the master of snowstorming others into believing whatever is necessary to ensure their comfort and peace of mind. I am not a bad person. I just have questionable thoughts after years of damage and being left on the side of the road like I don’t matter. Again... Shoot me. I will welcome the impact as my issues are destroyed at the same time. Do us both a favor. Anyway...

The tunnel is dim, but not so much that we can’t see ahead, and what is ahead is yet another EOT device flashing its information toward us. Julie is clinging, like most of the time. Bless that girl. I am guessing we are meant to board the fucking train and then be led around to some lesson that I really don’t want to see or hear. I suspect something bad, too. There was a clue when our beautiful life in the mountains was torn away in the blink of an eye. Well, there is an upside right now, and that is the fact that I don’t have to refer to Julie as Miramanee anymore. The first show has never hit me in the face quite so much as when I realized I was living one episode in the netherworld. The title in question is ‘The Paradise Syndrome’, in case anyone was wondering. The point is I believe I know what is in our future. Julia is going to rehash a time period I would love to forget, yet am compelled to remember until my death. I have to remember or I’ll be doomed to repeat it. Julie’s dark eyes are telegraphing love and support, bless her beautiful heart. I love her so much. As we approach the EOT, I see that the ladder extension is already resting upon the soil. That’s a fucking invitation. As much as I would absolutely love to return to the mountains, this too must pass into history. We go.

1338. Everything is set up for the afternoon barbeque shindig (three people... Wow) and I trimmed some of the lower growth from the front tree. It’s been irritating me. I may yet go back out there with my six-foot ladder and trim a bit higher, too. Right now I just don’t know. I also took care of the dry cleaning and straightened the west side of the garage for later. The downside to so much being finished is that there are latent feelings from earlier that have been weighing heavily at each step of my progress today. I was already in a pretty desperate frame of mind when that girl walked by, and now I can’t seem to reconcile everything in order to relax. I just can’t fucking do it right now. The ability is not in me. This holiday has always been one to which I’ve looked forward, as well. I’m sure the afternoon and evening will be ok, but for the time being my head is completely sideways to the point of disallowing further ambition.

Eh... Wrong again. The time is 1805 and I am completely alone here in the garage. Oh, I have everything set up and there were two others here for a short time, but once I ate a bit, they left. So, I have a cold beer, music for the masses, and this machine to keep me company for who-knows how long. The weather is now foggy and breezy, too. Maybe this ‘alone’ situation is payment for having lusted after the au pair this morning. I don’t know anymore. This may be a holiday, but right now it feels like the world has run aslant of me. Lovely. The netherworld is looking better and better as I live and breathe, lessons and all. I did not believe something like this could transpire while at home. The neighborhood has been coming to life for hours, as well. But here? Nothing. Just me and the garage. I don’t even feel like swinging the hammer. That type of mood would seem to be in order right now, honestly. My music is very quiet and barely goes past the middle of the driveway. Very exciting.

I don’t even know where to find words right now. The train?

I straightened up some of the stuff that was dragged out for the occasion and updated the operating system on this machine. Wow. Lots of action here tonight. And though the city updates and expands its system for resisting illegal fireworks, they are already flowing like a two-bit whore. People are just not going to stop with the illegal shit. No way. More and more folks are heading along the sidewalks toward the east end of this street. There is always a big gathering over there on this day. Whatever.

The train. Another caboose. I wish it was her caboose. Well, hers can probably be mine if I wish, but considering the sensitive nature of these journeys, such ideas do not enter my head very often. Only in real life do I go off the deep fucking end. This is the same car we were in before, meaning there is a good chance that the entire train is a match. The time has come for a bit of relaxation here, just as last time. We can clean up a bit and consider the circumstances. I’ll say one thing for Julia, in and around all of the dire situations and painful memories, she certainly has a flair for placing us in close proximity to alcohol. I wish that was funny. Maybe she just KNOWS. In any case, we are here and plan to take advantage of the plush living areas in order to be as comfortable as possible. And then the drinks. This place is beyond beautiful and I wish there was something in the real world that could compare. I can recall quite a few occasions in the past finding that level of comfort, yet each time period carried its share of trials and depression. The comfort was nothing more than a delay or distraction because after a bit of time, everything came back in force. This caboose is different because I have a pretty damned good idea of what Julia is doing. The woman referenced enough information to tell me to remember what took place during the year of ten, something I really don’t like to think about most of the time. I’ll have to enjoy the fact that Julie and I can discuss a few difficulties, and hopefully we can get somewhere prior to me being thrown to the wolves of time again. A shower is once again in order. And then? We shall discuss this situation again. Returning to the same train means either I missed something or am meant to repeat the dioramas in order for Julia to drive her point home.


Ah, shit. I just noticed that the artwork decorating the walls of our living space is different than before. I am seeing paintings of our mountain community from various angles, plus portraits of a few of the inhabitants of that beautiful place. I am becoming emotional over the loss of that place right now, and Julie can read me like a book. Embrace. Tears. Fuck, anyway. Julia has gone to great lengths in order to force me to face wondrous memories, and now I have another in the back of my mind that causes nearly as much pain as that which she threw at me some time ago. Yep, the trailing end of twenty-ten when I performed a knee-jerk reaction to something I believed could save my life, when in reality all it accomplished was a closer relationship with what is clinically referred to as suicidal ideation. The mountains seem to be akin to my situation and position in life when I threw everything away and destroyed two families. Julia is not going to let this shit go by without taking issue with me over and over. Marvelous.

‘Do you still feel ashamed? Full of regret?’
‘Every fucking day.’
‘Julia is trying to help you be a better person, my dear.’
‘I know. Maybe that ship sailed and sunk, though.’
‘You can still rise to the surface and breathe.’

Ugh. The mountains. I am feeling a double entendre right now... The mountains in which Julie and I found a beautiful life and community that accepted and embraced us, and then the mountains of pain and loss I created when I took a terrible left turn into an abyss nearly thirteen years ago. I still feel all of it, as well. I don’t know if I am supposed to be punished for the rest of my life or if I’ve demonstrated enough love and caring to be released from so much torment. I just don’t fucking know. One certainty is that Julia knows her shit very well. She really does, and I say that because every time I am placed in a difficult situation, something related to the damage I caused in the past helps me to rise above and come out the other side still breathing. Julia may be trying to force me to realize that as a human being I am allowed to make mistakes and still forgive myself. Well, I disagree, meaning there is probably more trouble further along the rails. That woman can slam me all she wants, but in the end, the entire process is entirely up to me. Mountains of pain; mountains of beauty. The contrast is horrible; the specific gradient, worse.

Another mountain is the massive pile of memories from when I was a ‘person’, before I turned into whatever is sitting here right now. Julia is going to harp on that one, too, and with good reason. I have withdrawn myself quite a bit throughout the past three years, nearly to the point of what I had actually dreamed while living through the middle of the glowing years. I needed a plan... Some way to get the hell out and away from everyone and everything; relocating to somewhere other people did not wish to visit because it was too cold or difficult for them. I feel the same now, although there is a massive difference between the promise and possibility I saw during the glow and the downtrodden, end-laden feelings of the present. There is no more wonder, not even regarding AI. As such, the memories of earlier times cause nothing more than pain and tend to force me to see the present as the end of everything rather than anything beautiful and full of hope. Mountains of images and recollections inside my brain... These plague me and disallow happiness. The mountains which surrounded us have been torn away like every other beautiful situation in life, leaving me to believe that the same sort of destruction at my insensitive hands is the reason for everything from the doors to the trains and on to the rest. I feel this is the scene Julia has been trying to convey. I have to think about it. One curiosity is that she will not cause me pain unless there is the promise of relief coming out the other side, so I have to know what is going to happen. The woman is a part of me. I am feeling a mountain of fear, however, regardless of Julia’s origin. Mountains all over the place.

I feel like grabbing hold of Julie and remaining in this caboose until something forces us to do otherwise. Last time was unreal as we climbed our way to the roof and then ventured atop all of the cars to reach the controls of this big machine. This time? We are not moving. The current situation feels like nothing more than a pause in the grand scheme of Julia’s latest adventure. I need a cocktail and some time to let go of the glow. I can’t let that period interfere with what took place thirteen years ago. If I sit and wait too long, nothing will be served.

Wednesday morning; better than yesterday, perhaps. The jury is still out. I have coffee and my usual program keeping me company in the office for the time being. After yesterday’s difficulties, I am glad to have this day all to myself and the space to think. Moreover, the first show came to an end yesterday morning, meaning I continued the rotation as is my custom. The third series pilot ran its course and I had tears in my eyes because I fucking love it so much. The series will continue today. I think since there is so much laundry and a need to straighten part of the garage, I’ll be leaving the big door down so I can display my program out there while working.

1021. My daily routine is finished, the first of three loads of laundry is running, and I straightened all of the fireworks and recyclables in the garage. Thanks to my favorite series running in the background, the housework has been enjoyable. I also listed another specialty knife for auction. The funds must continue to roll into my account. I need some room to breathe, both physically and mentally, meaning as much as possible has to go out the door. Mostly little things, of course, because I am no longer very motivated to ship large packages. I will, yet the preference is the ability to ship without leaving the house. I’ll see what else can go as the day progresses. I really like having the third show in the background, too. It brings me comfort. As long as I have lamented that reality has been nearly destroyed by fantasizing about living there, I still watch and am able to enjoy the stories and settings without falling down very much. Once in a while I think of the glow, but that is rare. The second series injects the feelings of the glow into me. It will come around in the rotation after that which I am currently following plus one more.

Thursday. Nice and quiet. Coffee. Vampires. Lots of time to relax. Earlier this morning when I fired up the coffee pot, I calculated that this latest incarnation of Julie kind of relates to some of the artwork I’ve seen on the Internet. For all intents and purposes, she is an ‘AI’ girl. Interesting. That’s like the only connection I have to the present level of technology around the world. Heh. Whatever. The news has been blowing wide open with all of the AI information and developments, both positive and negative, yet here I sit at a regular machine and a creation in my mind which surpasses anything in reality (by a wide fucking margin, to be sure). That’s kind of funny. Believe me, I was dreaming of the Cherry 2000 long before most of this shit was even a glimmer in the news. I don’t even know why I went in such a direction this morning. Maybe the idea of a machine has become too well-cemented inside my brain after all these years. Doesn’t matter, really. Nothing matters.

I need to keep the money train rolling today. The auctions can be slightly offset, too, in order to make shipping easier. I don’t want ot have to head over to the fucking post office. That’s rather a pain in the rear. Everything needs to be sent out from here, so no large items will be listed.

Everything is quiet. The train is sitting idle (I don’t know about the locomotive because it’s likely too far away) and we are very comfortable in the salon. Yes, ‘salon’ is the word due to my penchant for relating everything in the world to either trains or yachts. I can’t even go into the latter right now, though. There was a fairly wondrous period just after the glow during which I had been overly enamored with sailing yachts. I guess some of the terminology stuck with me throughout the decades. In any case, this caboose is wonderful right now. All of the mountains continue to pull my brain into the past and are causing me to be very sad. Julie can sense it, too. The longer we are silent, the more she holds tight to my left arm. One mountain could actually help my life. That would be a mountain of cash. Money may not be able to buy happiness, but it can make a person pretty fucking comfortable no matter the mood. I think I’ve said that enough. Damn... The sadness is taking over and tears are not far behind. Shit. I don’t need this right now. I have to try keeping my head clear so I can work out what needs to be done, or as Julia might say, ‘what I have to do’. I am falling...

'Do you know what you have to do?' 'Shut up, damn it.' 'You're getting there, my love.'

The train is beginning to move. Shit.

I know why Julia is pushing. The mountains of regret have taken over my ability to live peacefully for so long that they’ve become an integral part of life itself. They are the norm, to be honest, and leaving them in the past has never been something I could achieve. I wish I knew the reason for my brain clinging to regret. It operates hand-in-hand with self-esteem, meaning if a person cannot forgive themselves for damage they caused in the past, the regret will hinder (and possibly eliminate completely) their ability to move forward and be happy. Julia wants me to fucking forgive myself, yet I have always felt that my sensitive, caring nature was created through regretting things I’ve done in the past. This is a fucking paradox. I am afraid of changing, too. If I change too much, something special could be lost forever. I don’t know if I can deal with Julia’s intentions. Our velocity is increasing slowly, but steadily, just like a real train. Julie’s grip on my arm is going to cause a reduction in blood flow if she doesn’t ease up soon. I think she is as frightened as I am. Fuck. I don’t even want to think about any of this shit. Faster. Where are we going this time? Will there be painful dioramas again?

I can feel the temperature dropping, and a glance toward the side window tells me that the weather is following my mood; blowing snow. Wait a minute... Every time the train moves, it is just after me realizing that something has become clearer. And the cold seems to hark back to the first train that was loaded with shit from the past. Maybe I need to see what’s ahead of this caboose. After asking, Julie indicates that everything is up to me (of course it is). Despite what appears to be bitter cold outside, I have to know. Time for some warm clothing... AGAIN. Here we go. The train is continuing to speed up as if the closer I get to knowledge, the less chance there could be for Julie and me to see what’s in front. Damn it. Maybe moving outside the caboose right now is not what we are supposed to do. Last time, the train was not traveling very fast, but by the time we decided to grab the parkas just moments ago, our speed was unbelievable. This is far too fast for climbing around outside. Shit... What the fuck are we supposed to do with this information?

I see mountains covered with blankets of snow. No trees. The view through the window reminds me of the way the San Juan Mountains appeared many years ago as we drove south from Grand Junction toward Mesa Verde in Colorado. The peaks jutted at the sky like a row of teeth; very sharp and frightening to a child. But we drove through the pass and came out the other side just fine. The menacing nature of those mountains was all in my head. Could that be the case right now? They are speeding by despite standing what appears to be many miles distant. I don’t know what to think here, but we have to remain inside the caboose for safety. Heh... That’s a bit funny, because I never feel safe in this netherworld. Julie is again clinging and I can’t blame her.

Mountains inside; mountains outside. Where are we going? Um... Probably someplace I don't want to see.

Faster. The train is rolling at an uncomfortable speed right now. Why are we going so fast? Is Julia in a fucking hurry to cause me pain again? I don’t get it. Julie is going to cut off the blood to my left hand very soon. She seems as frightened as me. Damn it... I need to know what is happening to us. The train has to have surpassed anything safe and feels as if it is traveling near eighty. This is too fast. Ah, shit... We are swaying and the floorboards are beginning to vibrate.


Something has been ripped off above our heads; maybe the chimney? A large antenna? I don’t know. Fuck! The caboose is beginning to list to the right, as if the left-hand wheels are going to leave the rails. Those trucks don’t hold much in the way of suspension because of the sheer load limits. We are going to roll over, God damn fucking shit anyway. Julie wraps herself to my torso and begins to cry. Fifteen degrees off level? Twenty? The bottles on the bar fall to the floor and liquor spills everywhere. Paintings are coming off the walls... We’ve been hit with the sofa and it is shoving us to the right-side wall...

Forty-five degrees. This journey is about to be over in two ways.

The worst sound I’ve ever heard fills my ears as I realize Julia has wreaked havoc yet again. I’ve done something wrong. I missed a realization. I failed another lesson. Further... Mechanical hell is all around us.

The last sight is a covered hopper being forced beneath the right side of the caboose. Derailment.

Screaming. Blackness.

Dead. Flash!