My neighbors are a strange lot. Across the hall are two couples in their seventies, who have had some kind of open group marriage? there is a lot to it, of course; they put together a book once explaining all the human geography they felt they were mapping out, like explorers they felt they were, discovering new and wonderful ways to be a human. They self published thousands and thousands of the book and ended up losing the one woman?s family fortune. They still have boxes of the soft brown leather bound books. The red leather text has faded over the years into a bland beige. Despite their inability to get people to buy their book, let alone take on their lifestyle, they claim to have found the perfect existence for man in a socialist world ? which, they admit, probably would have already swept the world were it ever going to happen. Bush depresses the hell out of them.
Down another flight of stars and there is a heroin addict and her fourteen year old kid, a video game wizard who hangs out as much as possible in our studio. Another denizen of 1436 Jarvis is a man in his early thirties who claims to be an alien. He was convinced by his present religion that he is one of the ?thirty six? of the chosen ones (36 being actually a floating number, based on how many people are keeping up with Sunday school in his sect; we could have been chosen, too, and become, in our mind and theirs, Godly, but I put down my foot on this one. I mean, I look a good religious conversion as much as the next boof, but if everyone is chosen than no one is chosen, you know? The cult lives next door in a basement apartment filled with four teered bunk beds and a small chapel. I am the building manager, a job that supports me while I indulge my habit of painting rather rough, often poorly executed and conceived oil paintings that please me regardless. I am doing my best to stand apart from all the different views of reality that fill the apartment building and our block, as well as our enemies. I am immune to the madnesses of the cult and the socialists and the alein... as they are immune to my madnesses.
When our neighborhodd culters' asked me, "Johny, are you ready to believe that you are god??" I responded by quoting Yeats as I scooted out his door, ? The best lack all convictions, and the worst are filled with passionate intensity.?
My name is Crayon. An artist to some? The people who buy my paintings, a slacker to some ? The parents of the women who I date, a waste to some ?
All the people who mistake my silence and lack of interest as dullardly, and also an object of lust and pity and anger and laughter and all kinds of other shit every damn day of my life?.. I am as puzzled as anyone else as to what I am?
To myself I am a boof, a fool. It took many of years of college to reach such a level of foolishness. This story is an overly wordy, whiny postulation of my life. . .
The others here are more earthy than I am. They smell the turpentine in the air, notice when I leave the toilet seat down, and can always rinse out their coffee mugs. I am always somewhere else, no matter where I am. I am no longer an existentialist. I stand amid white flakes falling from a hot, July sky and yell at everyone around me to shut up and listen for the sound of snow hitting the ground. They shake their heads like I am nuts. At first I believed them.
This is a story that will seem fantastic because it of course is fantastic. As fantastic as a dandelion's seeds whisping white on a breeze. I wish I could provide more of a passage into this dream, one filled with the realism that easily let's you step into a realm devoid of the commuters around you on the train and the low hum of a television in the distant, barking dogs, screaming sirens, crying babes and all the other myriads of distractions that make the mind disconnect from the page....
The easiest, shortest way to explain the events is to say, 'Things just got weird." The long version is required here, to flesh out this book and give me all the space I need to explain why and how and what caused our neighborhood to explode into a bloody civil war.
I'll start back when me and my roomates Paul and Matt took over the building. Matt's uncle Roy had owned the place, and lacking heirs and given Matt's love of the game store and the beat up bar and pot=--which uncle Roy smoked and sold. Before this stroke of good fortune, we were living in a ramshackle apartment, nine months behind on our electricity, which was on only because the landlords vicious dog wouldn't let the ConEd electrician into the basement to shut it off.
Steal from me and you will be cursed in such a way that your hands turn into worthless, jelly fish like appendages that sting your intimates. Or sued or something bad like that...