Hi. I’m going to share another excerpt from my up-and-coming autofiction, The Street Kid.
Like any autofiction, there is both reality and fiction in this little excerpt I’m going to share. The story itself as depicted here really happened to me: Once, I got myself in a bind, in the middle of nowhere, ever so lost (mentally and physically), and had no place to sleep. I remember distinctly, sitting outside of a hotel at night, listening to music, and wishing they would let me inside … but knowing they wouldn’t. A warm bed wasn’t an option for me that night. I rested by the parked cars, exhausted, and then went on my way. I had no idea where I was headed.
I also had delusions. I was sure that a villain in my mind (whom I call The Bad Guy in this autofiction) had terrible plans to hurt me in unimaginable ways. I remember looking at a building in the darkly violet/violent night, and how ominous the building looked. I was under the impression that The Bad Guy was in that building, coming up with unimaginable ways of hurting me.
Brian, an imaginary friend, also appears in this part. Of course, I never talked to him in real life, but I talked to him, during this time when I was ever so delusional, in my head with him, and the conversation went something like the way it is depicted in this part.
Anyway, it was a very surreal experience: imaginary friends, imaginary villains, the desire to sleep in a warm place but unable to, the surrealism of listening to good music/spiritual music, the impression and affect of being under delusions … it was all pretty powerful stuff.
warmth) Phoenix had slept on the road many times, but he had never felt so cold, never felt so insecure, never felt as though he was only moments away from fading if he didn’t get warmth soon. He could live without a bed, that wasn’t why he needed to get into the hotel: he needed to get into the hotel because it would show that the world cared about him to some degree, which would give him hope. But of course, they were not going to let him in.
Phoenix looked at the sign of the Sunsetter Hotel, which was blue, and he immediately felt Blue inside. Sure, she had helped him once, with the whole castration thing, but she wasn’t going to help him now, because that wasn’t the way she worked; Phoenix wished that The Snake Angel would help him, but he understood The Snake Angel was slowly guiding him to not take the easy way out, to suffer, even if that wasn’t what he could do, even if he felt he couldn’t take it.
So Phoenix looked one more time at the blue sign, and then walked toward the front of the building. He wasn’t going to try and break inside, he was just going to look at what he couldn’t have, and wish that he could have it for a few moments.
He looked inside. The place was bright and secure and warm, and a person was not at the front desk. Because he was so cold, he went against his plan and tried to open the door, but it was of course locked.
(you aren’t getting in man you just have to live with that)
So Phoenix went toward the place where the cars were parked, still looking at the blue sign, which he swore had Blue within it, keeping Phoenix away from what he couldn’t have. He then lay down next to a curb, and stayed there for the longest time, dreaming about what just wasn’t his, but what he needed, if he was going to keep himself sane. He was sick of feeling as though he wasn’t welcome in this world; it had little to do with the luxury aspect of sleeping in a warm place, but more about the love and security that came with it. Phoenix needed that right now.
However, he had to accept that it wasn’t his, and so he closed his eyes, and tried to get some sleep. Eventually, he realized that he wasn’t going to get sleep, it was just too cold and dangerous out here, but he tried to sleep anyway, and finally got up when he decided that it was time to get back on the road.
Phoenix went for his walk, and it wasn’t long before he was indeed on the road, away from the pleasantries of society, away from buildings, simply on a wide, dark road. But he did see one building in the distance, and it was a building he hoped he never had to enter.
The building represented The Bad Guy’s fantasies. Inside, The Bad Guy was doing everything he wanted to do to Phoenix. In the skies, there was nothing but dark, but strangely enough, Phoenix saw the dawn trying to break over just that building. However, the effect was like that of a phantom night of false light, and the color of the light was blood red. There were also some swirls of purple, but that of which represented dark bruises. Phoenix saw red lights flashing at the building, lights that were of course representative of The Bad Guy’s hostility and violence.
Phoenix did not want to imagine what was happening in the building, but he already saw: The Bad Guy was torturing Phoenix in every kind of death scene possible, whether chopping off his head and body parts with saws or axes, or poisoning him, or shoving his head under water to drown him, or breaking his fingers and ankles, breaking his arm, and The Bad Guy wouldn’t stop. The Bad Guy was doing all of these things right now to Phoenix, and Phoenix wasn’t dying.
The Bad Guy was able to do this, not because he’d gotten ahold of a double, but because his wishes were so powerful that it could literally happen. Not quite literally, as Phoenix was standing here now, safe and whole, but literally enough, because The Bad Guy believed in it so much and wanted it so bad. It made Phoenix sad, that The Bad Guy just got more violent and hostile as the days went by, but that was how he was. Phoenix knew that The Bad Guy was losing it the more that Phoenix tried to help The Snake Angel balance things.
The activity Phoenix had done recently had indeed not helped things along. Phoenix tried not to think about it, because he didn’t want to see himself as a troublemaker, albeit a purposeful troublemaker, but a troublemaker nonetheless. However, he could see how his actions were getting under The Bad Guy’s skin, tearing it apart from the inside out: Phoenix was changing things. In fact, things had changed forever the year before, when Phoenix fought The Bad Guy the entire night, with The Snake Angel guiding him.
Still, Phoenix wouldn’t trade his good deeds for anything. He was doing the right thing: The Bad Guy needed to learn that he was not under control.
And that was the thing, of course: the silver compromise, their promise to the life they wanted, had of course been false. Phoenix realized that now; there was no silver compromise, just an illusion that The Snake Angel masterfully created.
Phoenix forced himself to look away from the building, doing his best to not think about how much that The Bad Guy wanted to kill him. He indeed would never give it up, would never put the thoughts aside, and try to change. He only wanted Phoenix dead, because Phoenix was a problem that refused to back down.
Phoenix finally walked away from the sight of the building. He pulled out his mp3 player and put it toward a song by Switchback. He was still thinking about the incident with the hotel just then, where he hadn’t been able to get sleep, but he knew he’d sent a good message, and hopefully, they’d in the past bring in street kids to sleep for the night, even if they of course couldn’t afford it.
Switchback comforted Phoenix with a line: “It’s about four o’ clock and you’re almost there, just a little bit of time to go, or so I tell myself …” It was comforting because he felt Switchback was literally with him, and they knew that he’d get what he needed soon enough, his warmth and his security.
As Phoenix walked, he thought of Brian. Switchback continued to play, song after song, and it wasn’t long before Phoenix realized that he needed to send a message to Brian: “You have to keep your distance from me or things will be too explosive and you won’t be able to handle it,” Switchback sang, and Phoenix stabbed his heart metaphorically. Of course he didn’t mean this one-hundred percent, as he wanted to be around Brian, but Brian was still a dangerous brand, when considering all of his baggage. Brian wasn’t perfect, knew things about the world that Phoenix just couldn’t know about.
He knew Brian got the message, but he also knew that Brian wasn’t going anywhere.
Phoenix finally arrived at a city, and as he walked, he began to think even more about Brian. Brian was a god of sorts, and his goal was eventually to ascend. Brian hadn’t ascended, hadn’t really even begun to ascend, because he had a lot of doubts about his abilities. However, eventually he was going to ascend, and Phoenix imagined that when he did, he would be extremely powerful, would be the god he was meant to be.
That was when Phoenix saw, in bright red lettering on a digital marquee, “Ascension is in.” Phoenix smiled at this. He understood it was a gesture from Brian, who believed that Phoenix was ascending in his own right; even if it didn’t seem that way at times, Phoenix was on his way toward doing even better things, to understanding more about the world, to flying. It wasn’t over. Just because The Bad Guy wanted it to be over, did not mean that it was.
That was when Phoenix saw Brian standing under the sign. He was his shadowy self, and he was wearing a hood. Phoenix went toward him, and said, “Hey, man.”
“Hey,” he said. “It’s good to see you.”
“You too.” Phoenix smiled lightly.
“Can you do me a favor?”
Brian didn’t say anything for a moment, but then stuck out his shadow tongue. “Can you stick out your tongue, like a snake?”
Phoenix laughed. “You want me to stick out my tongue?”
Phoenix only smiled, and did exactly as Brian said, not afraid to let in a little mischievousness, a little sneakiness, that sticking out your tongue like a snake entailed. Brian only laughed, and Phoenix stuck out his tongue again, letting it flicker, and he realized The Snake Angel was encouraging him as well, as he was the one who’d shown Phoenix about this side of snakes. It was all in good fun.
“Ascend, Phoenix,” Brian said. “You deserve that chance. Your time is coming.”
Phoenix smiled. “Thanks.”
“No, I mean it. You want to fly. You’re getting closer and closer to it, closer and closer to making the horizon your own, to pushing past that horizon. Soon, you’ll be there, looking down on it all.”
Brian stuck out his tongue, and then disappeared.
Phoenix realized he couldn’t stop smiling, glad to see his friend Brian again. He walked around the city, and it wasn’t long before he found a restaurant, called The Waffle Crisper. Phoenix went toward the front, saw that they still were locked. He went toward the newspaper stand next to the place, however, and saw a strange headline: “Parents perplex police.”
Immediately, Phoenix laughed out loud. He knew exactly what was happening. Phoenix’s recent actions had made waves with kids. Phoenix understood that many kids were under pressure from parents, to be perfectly smart, to do everything right, to be upstanding citizens before they even had a chance to grow; ultimately, to not be a kid. However, because kids were so gentle, they kept talking to their parents, trying to get them to see their side, and now, the parents were letting their kids do more fun things. Things that weren’t bad, such as making statements to corrupt businesses. Police were of course obliged to make sure that the corrupt businesses weren’t bothered, but when the police tried to confront the parents, the parents were in on it as well, just letting their little junior or missy play, and have fun, and teach with their gentleness (parents perplex police), and indeed, the police were perplexed, as the parents weren’t doing their jobs, by keeping the kids brainwashed.
But that was the way it needed to be. Kids were the strongest people in existence, and with their gentleness, it was amazing what they could accomplish. They were already accomplishing a lot. Phoenix just hoped that these kids would stay safe, that the police wouldn’t freak out and hurt them. Most likely, that wouldn’t happen, not with the police confused so much.
Phoenix waited outside The Waffle Crisper, and they finally let him inside. He savored the warmth of it all.