01-25-2020 06:59

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The Dragon

Part Seven

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"My head is still up despite everything. The routine took over again, leaving me with little time for thinking and comfort. Those things will get here. I will find them later, but for now anything other than discomfort is hard to see. Yesterday was decent. The issues which catalyze often did not have time to push me before I slept. That is what takes place roughly half the time. The other half, well, you know... Pain, uncertainty, worry, fear. They have been amplifying for months, or basically the outset of the fall was the beginning. Now, and having pressed on into another year, nothing looks positive. The long road to October has begun. Maybe I will get there, and maybe I will not. The imagery will not cease, let up, nothing. There is no help. It just keeps going and piling up in front of my intended path just like air molecules ahead of a hypersonic particle. I am fucking sick of it.

I had hoped to get past the issues -- at least enough to be a bit more relaxed in life -- by this point in time. The late days are not going to let up on me at all, so rolling forward without relief is taxing me more than I had originally thought possible.

Holy shit did the water heat in a hurry. I scramble to the bottom in hopes of the flames receding before I have to surface for breath. I had no idea that fucking monster was going to be anything aside from decorative. I can feel the cooling as the fire retracts from the top of the stream. That is my chance.

Inside.

Finally I can reach up and pull that precious air into my lungs. Hanging on the bank of the moat feels like I am on that mezzanine again, dangling for my life. I am still worried about the gunman, but what the fuck? A dragon? Does that mean a giant sarcophagus can attack people in the Luxor pool? Those icons are supposed to be decorative, but am I that shocked? No way, this place is fucked, to say the least. One moment I am securing a room and looking forward to seeing Jessica, and the next I am beneath the water and scrambling away from dragon fire. Splendid situation. After climbing free I can see that the area is for maintenance. I am in what they call the 'back of house' and my dry clothes are down the street. Fuck me. I guess I can just mill around and try to relax while letting my outfit dry some. I have no idea where I can go with what seems the world out to kill me. Damn it, what a fucking situation. I just wanted to snuggle with that girl and take some time for calculating options. I did not realize I could end up running from place to place and trying to save myself. Very unusual, to say the least. There have been many mysteries and confusing circumstances since finding myself in the fucking desert with deadly creatures as my only companions, but this shit takes the cake. And the worry inside over everything else is not helping.

I need to be dry and alert.

In the space of forty-two lines, the machinery at work in the background of my head is beginning to rule. I am not able to understand why these functions are in place, and I am certain that they were not specifically crafted to destroy me, however the idea of looking through different eyes is just not possible. I have to be me, and that means all of the reminders throughout a given day stick right close and make themselves known quite often. There is no ignore, and there is no ceasing the issue. At this very moment the day's thoughts have taken me from myself along with the ongoing worry over weekends and free time. The only saving throw I may have is to hide. This morning was very difficult, having left me to my sordid self-induced wreckage of a process for dealing with anything which I feel is not enough for society. That typically takes place while in a restaurant or bar, but also pops up at work here and there. Today? Fucked. By the time I rolled home and took care of some business, the problem became amplified ten-fold. I gave up, poured a drink to relax, and sunk into the afternoon for some numbing.

And... Worse. I know not which way to turn. There are things going on inside which are leaving me at the mercy of the past and the manner in which it has shaped me.

After resting myself in a quiet corner and out of sight, my head is yearning for comfort. Through the big doors and back into the fold of the tourists. They are few, so perhaps I can get around without a word from anyone. Jessica still floats, just like all the others. I am sad and afraid of everything now. Just when I thought there was enough pushing me down, both aspects of life are now synchronized. There is no up to be found. The fucking hotel had better not choke the life out of me before I can find one fucking answer. I need it. I just need something to keep me moving forward. Damn it all.



686



The ground floor of this huge resort is mostly deserted. I did not see many in the back areas and there are even less people near the lobby. One agent behind the desk, the restaurant where I died is closed, and the entry appears deserted. Right now is not likely the best time to seek out the slipper, and that means I have two possible destinations. The darkness outside indicates the dragon's absence, and the calm atmosphere seems to be sans gunman. There is little activity anywhere. I can either head back to the lounge and see if Jessica is still there (she said midnight), or I can backtrack toward the Luxor and try to get to my room. I do not know what is safe and what is not, however the doors in Vegas hotel rooms are quite solid. Hmm. To the desk for some information.

And that brings a thought to mind... Security. Yep, I have altered, canceled, or otherwise avoided many social occasions out of fear. Just last weekend I did not attend a yearly shindig due to my feelings from the previous year's outing. The entire day has been splayed here for all to see and I do not need to go into it. On the other hand, perhaps swearing and slamming the issues can help me to relax about missing out on so many events due to my fucked up head. Maybe? Maybe not? You don't fucking know anyway. Just read.

Last year one aspect of the day had been changed by me and by choice. That one little tidbit of a difference caused one of the most frightening, threatening, and hideous frames of mind in memory. As I sit here now, the knife is still embedded just as deep as the day it happened. On top of that fucking situation, months passed and one more jab took place from afar which sent me spinning into hell. On a day when I had been relaxing in the fold of others who are partially like-minded, and after enjoying the space and weather, one tiny push created a storm in my head the likes of which I did not know could be possible. I tried and I failed. I attempted to convey the massive gradient between myself and the others in such an environment, but the push still came quickly and split my head in two. It is still mostly there. The repair has failed, just as my efforts to fit in and easily absorb something so fucking fearful. Well, fuck me. I am no one anyway. Just a hole in the world with no possibility of improving or taking things lightly. I am harsh, drawn inward like never before, and very cutting in my responses to anything which is directed at me and causes pain. A few simple nudges and I would be unavailable for comment on any level. Or, I will be. Either. That means do not push or I will not react well. I will do my damnedest to cause equal pain in the opposite direction and without remorse. When something like that takes place, only seconds are required for me to begin loading the magazine with rounds of hurt. Try me.

Anyway, and with threats aside, I did not recover. As is my custom, anything which happens to send me off balance is filed away for all time. I forget nothing... Not a fucking syllable or image. My file cabinet is bulging with information and blame, but there is an ever-expanding space available for me to shove more pain into it. Names are referenced, as well. Suck it. Just fucking suck the words. I will probably die a few paragraphs down, so what does it matter? Right? Be it the dragon, rifle, blonde, or something pressing enough to get me to step off a fucking ledge, the odds of me being alive by the end of the entry are nil.

Something has to change.

My head calculates the chances of making it safely back to the pyramid about as efficiently as an engine running on sugar. I have to do something, so the decision is made to walk right out the fucking front door and back south to my shower and clean clothes. I honestly believe the dragon was not there to fry me alive. I think it was just a demonstration of my lack of control in this place. Well, that may be true, but I can also be a shit-disturbing bastard and will throw my wrench into the nearest machine just to piss people off. I have done it before. As I cruise quietly to the desk to ask of the hotel's status, I notice that same Goddamned woman standing near the restaurant waiting area. With everything going to hell in a handbasket, I figure it is time to take issue with her mystery and the meaning of the wrench. If I was given that tool simply to clock the fucking gunman in the head and get away, so be it. But I have to admit that such an idea is silly, to say the least. Oh well, here I go. And she is more beautiful than ever in her gown and donning a big smile. Closer, I see her arms rising for a hug. Huh?

Wow, the woman is unreal. She throws her arms around me as if we have been long lost family members that have not embraced for decades. All at once I want to fly up her dress like a deranged pelican. Heh.

'Are you ok?'
'More or less. Who are you?'

Jennifer quickly relays a bit of insight, telling me that she wished to help me after learning of who the gunman was. Her purpose in the hotel was to cause enough distraction to allow me to get out and away on the train before being shot to death. She knows Julie had been with me, she knows Julia was to be the voice of reason, and she is aware of my time moving in and out of those places and trying to survive and understand. Hmm... Why has Jennifer not approached me? Well, she states that the insight would have tripped me up rather than assisting. Knowing too much meant that I might just give up and sit tight until something came along to destroy me, and that could have happened over and over until the end of time. I cannot argue, as I have been completely sick and tired of searching for answers. Those early lessons seem to be making me more angry all the time and causing me to chafe against anything I should be doing other than living and interacting with whomever comes along. Like Jessica or Alexandra. Those women were the only link between the strangeness of this hotel and my past excursions I took in search of comfort. Oh well, I suppose the words I am hearing are not so far fetched. The past has shown me to be a cold, calculating individual who will distort the world in order to get what I want and need. No big surprise. Jennifer holds my hands lovingly as she goes on about the scorpions, trains, explosives, and Julie's role on the ledge during that horrible night. Unfortunately, I feel nothing inside other than a strong desire to kiss her. She has caught me at a time when the comfort has taken me yet again. I just don't care.

And still no fucking overarching reason for the whole thing. Fuck. To hell with this shit.



687



Jennifer is dismayed at my negative attitude as I tell her that the entire situation from the first fucking train out in the cold to the last step which brought me under nearly-boiling water is only making me angry and I am in mind to destroy everything again. At the same time, I do not see my willingness to cause mayhem helping at all. I feel that I will only end up back over there... Across the street from this hotel and staring at the slipper. I have little reason to believe that I am able to change anything. Damn, she smells so good. I need to be close but I have to concentrate. The conversation with Jennifer has not been surprising, and even at the beginning I knew the man with the gun. I knew him well... Know him. So, I am left in the same soup as before speaking with that woman. Fuck, does she ever look good.

A glance around the lobby and entrance shows me that more people are appearing here and there and unaware of the fire flying around outside. Perhaps I am out of that for the time being. More past... Why not?

'Sitting at the bar so far from home was nice in many ways. I was so locked-in when it came to finding a nice place for lunch, and years of visiting the same places over and over had become very comforting. I sometimes need quite a bit of familiarity in order to relax in public. Others have to be pushed to the rear and placed behind my little wall of cover. I also will generally sit in an area facing the entry so as to not be surprised by anything worrisome walking in. The day in question was no different, and my usual gazing around the room from time to time took place as I calmly relayed that I felt at ease sitting where we were. The rare occasion of me flipping to the opposite end of the spectrum did not take place right away.

Drinks and lunch. The drive seemed so worthwhile, considering some detachment allowed us to relax more than was typical when closer to home. The simplicity of seeking something familiar, yet different enough to be interesting did the trick. I had a good idea for a change. That would soon end.

The usual conversation took place along with some very good food and a second drink being dropped off by our excellent bartender. The inside of my head was not too bad, although more and more people trickled in throughout the course of an hour and effectively filled the large bar and lounge area. The noise level had risen enough to allow our speaking freely and without worry of others chiming in, as is the custom while in a social atmosphere. None of that took place. I was trying to remain calm and focused, but soon enough the slam took me from myself and forced my head into a gaping hole in the world. Yes, even away from our typical stomping grounds and in an area which had changed dramatically since I lived there years earlier, my brain had a meltdown over imagery and just the right word choice to spin me into a cocoon of worry. I sat back, decided that I could take little more, and made revolutions to leave what was such a comfortable location just a short time earlier. In essence, I did it again and did not feel that I was to blame. Out the fucking door and into the safety and security of my deeply-tinted car. That was likely nearly a year ago but still stings. Why? Because I am worsening.

Even amidst bliss, there are knives.'

I realize what the dragon represents. Holy shit.

Jennifer senses that something inside me has gone aslant, gives me a peck on the cheek and quickly makes herself scarce. I cannot blame her one bit. My face likely displays any number of emotions, none of them being joy. Not happy is a gross understatement. I am ready to kill everyone. All of the searching and trying to find even the slightest hint of meaning for days and days, and all I get is the dragon. And it is a bad one... The worst.

I have to get back to the pyramid before its too late. The hour of Jessica is approaching and she may be the only comfort I can find here. I have to be able to contact her, so to the lounge I trot in hopes of being able to ask that she come to my room there rather than me returning to her place of work and risking my exposure to flame again. Fuck that guy with the gun. Even knowing who he is does not help. And there she is behind the bar looking like a million bucks. No one else around. There is my chance. Her phone number on a cocktail napkin. How many times have I received the same? Oy, too many to remember. Back out the door with a smile and one adorable blown kiss from that beauty. God damn do I ever need to be in her arms. The realization of the dragon is pressing my mind into a mold of fear and worry, so my typical draw is just that. Arms, eyes, comfort. I need it so badly that I may falter in the effort. And now I have to get down the boulevard and into safety before either of those threats catch up. Fuck, what a situation.

The darkness outside is being cut by so many millions of lights everywhere. The enormous signage in front of each sprawling resort is like the sun shining through me. I cannot stand it right now. The desire to be completely out of sight is taking over and causing any brainpower to become convoluted. I have to focus and do my best to get there without drawing too much attention to myself. By the time I reach the massive sidewalk, I notice that the dragon is again atop the casino roof and going through its preprogrammed series of motions, looking exotic, frightening, and beautiful at the same time. In some small way, I love it. Like the beauty of Disneyland combined with my past enjoyment of fantasy and science fiction films. Unfortunately, the thoughts and dreams of being out and away from reality are partially squashed by the fact that the dragon may come after me with every intention of flying away after scorching me to ash.

My pace quickens, and the slipper is still hidden away. Images still slicing me up.



688



'Film, as I wrote back in zero-four, was (WAS!) a dream. Nothing grandiose, mind you, just the idea of working within the industry and being near the medium. At that time, and during a work period in which I had been rubbing elbows with some documentary production people, the dream had expanded and increased since first discovering my desire to be involved in those processes during the early nineties. Well, that all went away due to my needing comfort and stability. Little did I know at the time, but the correlation between the film industry interest and my need to explore the mechanics of females would soon bring me to my knees in a very bad way. Sharon pushed, I learned. The dream went away over time but still tickled me every now and then. The other one? Killing me.'

I dash through the cavernous lobby and make a beeline for the inclinator. So far, no threats from any direction. Hopefully things can remain stable until I figure a way out of this shit. I cannot grab my precious car and expect to get anywhere because the world outside is kind of like 'The Truman Show' in that nothing extends very far beyond the outskirts of town. I am stuck, literally and figuratively. A quick stop at the railing above the beautiful attraction level brings me back to when the resort was new. My dad and I were there for a race and associated festivities, staying way across town at the Showboat, a destination chosen by many retirees due to an abundance of bingo, bowling, and plenty of shuffleboard. The restaurants all catered to the average, meaning there was something for everyone. For myself, I preferred the more exotic locations along the south end of the Strip, however the race inspections and opening banquet were at the Showboat as the hotel management was a big sponsor. The slower pace of that hotel, combined with the sheer amount of aged guests spawned the nickname 'Slowboat'. Heh. After just an hour of meandering through the club and visiting other drivers and their cars, we needed something different. Off to the Luxor, MGM Grand, and Tropicana for sights. The view over that railing is beyond belief. All of the deep Egyptian theming just takes my breath away, every fucking time.

Hence me falling in love with the luxury and beauty that was the Luxor Pyramid.

'I should have known.

I entered college in '89, 95, '07, and most recently in '08. One might think that after three attempts the case would be known. I am a failure. Why try again? Did I believe I would be different? Would the issue not remain the same? Would I get past the initial rush of attending only to find that my interest in improving myself will falter just as it always has? I have lost any ambition to do anything aside from overthinking, overanalyzing, writing useless and meaningless detritus, and drinking myself into a fallen stupor in order to drown my self-inflicted losses. College -- as well as the benefits and openings it can provide - is something I can never achieve. My fucked up decisions early in life have ruined me. I am wallowing and writing. Writing and drinking and wallowing. I am even failing as I type this. Every self-involved step backward is a failure, and to dwell upon this is also a failure. I cannot even fail without making further mistakes.

The dreams were not enough.

Aspirations and desires of achieving something more than what I am and working in an industry of which I have dreamed almost constantly for fifteen years, are smoke. Fucking smoke. In addition to this, my self-deprecating humor is wearing on others as we live and breathe. I suppose I can understand that. I mean, how much can I be affecting others when the destructive thoughts and words have become the norm for me? The answer is a tremendous amount. However, I cannot stop. I cannot. I am unable to alter my mindset nor am I able to be quiet about it. Perhaps I will run aslant of the wrong soul and someone will off me and save everyone a hellish future with me.

The dreams were nowhere near enough.

I sit here even now with my drink and knowledge that after years of analysis and therapy I have failed everyone miserably. My faults are not only many from the past, but in the last year alone I have amassed many new issues. I have failed in my attempts to fit into a group. Fucking failed. One minute I am in a group and enmeshed within the operation and the next I turn around and want to fucking die. Where does this originate? Within me? Yes.

The dreams should have been enough.

Once again, I cannot be near some people without making mistakes and driving myself inwardly insane. For whatever reason, I cannot exercise self-control with regard to my twisted and deviant desire for the sight of beauty. Beauty beyond belief and rational understanding. My desire and its associated thoughts and actions have become yet another series of mistakes and failures. Not a few, a series. Everything continues and only at the point in which I accept it momentarily do I see that I can change it. In a flash, that sense is gone and I am an addict. OCD overload, to be certain. Nothing else. This is not over yet.

The dreams are going to kill me.'

My room -- once deadbolted -- feels safe. Out the window the giant machine rolls on over tourists as they become blinded by glitz. That rarely happens to me because I understand too much of the reasoning behind the look. But I have to keep my head on straight and try not to lose it over being secure and comfortable once again. Plus, Jessica is going to arrive in a short time which blossoms in my head like an upcoming vacation. I could use one, really. There have been too many scares this time and damned few answers. The dragon and what it represents may be something over which I have no control due to it being embedded within me for decades. The latest flaming incidents are not helping, either. Damn it all, anyway.

Shower, clothes, room service booze and snacks. I know it well.

Knock, knock. Oh boy.



689



Julia is at my door, black hair and all of it. Holy fucking shit, batman, why? I thought I was going to see the lovely Jessica. Crap.

'Do you know what you have to do?'
'Not that shit again, please.'
'The dragon, my love.'
'Fuck that creature. And yes, I know why it is here.'
'Good. Destroy it.'

Right. Simple. Just take on the biggest threat of my life in a fucking silk shirt. How in the holy hell am I supposed to defeat something which has pushed me around for years? Talk about a fucking slam. First I expect Jessica and a little cozy time with her to ease my head, and then this broad shows up and pushes the impossible. Julia goes on to tell me that I manufactured the dragon throughout the course of my life and made it show up here in Las Vegas of my own choice. What? That is the last Goddamned thing I ever want. I have done my best to keep it at bay but that is not always up to me. The combination of my fear along with someone right next to me with the gasoline required for a fire keeps it going, always. I usually just sit there and listen until a switch flips inside my heart and I run away from the subject. That day... That one occasion mentioned above was the biggest flame imaginable from the fucking dragon. I took it. I sat and waited until such time as we could exit and did not lose my nerve due to the other fear. I cannot have that. The words cut into me as if I was on an operating table with a blind surgeon in charge. Well, I need more of that shit like I need a gun to my head. I am tired of it, and if I did indeed make such a situation happen out of my own lack of self-esteem, well... It will happen again. I can barely function in public as it is. Julia is going to need to help me. And I already know that destroying the dragon in order for me to truly survive is just not going to happen. The gunman got to me once, right under my nose while distracted, I took the initiative on that ledge and in the train's locomotive, so what the fuck can I do to avoid another death? That's right, nothing. Not a fucking thing can come out of me with strength.

Too fucking tired. That day at the bar killed a part of me that cannot be resurrected. Nope.

Julia does not seem to give a shit. Wonderful. She steps to the night stand and reaches in to grab my big wrench. Huh? And then another lecture about doing things correctly. Splendid. Thanks, doll. She extends her long arm to hand me the wrench and I do not understand. One pointed finger toward the angled window and one more quip from me.

'You did this.'
'I love you, my dear. And I am sorry.' Gone.

There is something behind me. I can feel heat. Spinning quickly, I then see that the door is smoldering as if the building is on fire. Holy shit, the pyramid is huge and I think I know what is going on out there. Do I open the door? Or did I learn enough from 'Backdraft'? Fuck it... I might as well check it out. Out of the bath comes the gunman. God damn it all, how did he get in there? Into my locked room? All of the spinning past events melt away as I realize that I can get out of this, if temporarily. I hold up my hands as if to tell him that I am no threat but he only smiles, barrel trained on my head. Slowly I step toward the ever-warmer door and spin the lock as fast as I can. Still it burns me. This is going to need to happen fast if I am to dispose of that asshole. And here we go...

The door is thrown open and I dash back toward the jacuzzi with all haste. The gunman closes in behind and keeps that fucking front sight on me. Backing... Stepping... And then it happens. I hear the long inhale and turn to get away. Simultaneously I heave the big wrench at the glass as the flame begins to form. The insulated window gives way to my force and I run. Turning my back at the last second I see the gunman incinerated like a cotton ball under a blowtorch. Hovering behind in the massive hollow pyramid is the dragon, wings steadily washing the entire hotel in their enormous wake. The remaining glass is pushed out by the energy of me flying through the frame and I fall, tumbling, to the earth below. Blackness, again.

No more gunman, no more me. Just peachy."



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