“I’ve lived a thousand lives and I desire to live a thousand more.” JSM


Chapter Sixteen

“In case of emergency…”



I detest violence.

The idea of balling up a fist, seeing red, and allowing the mind to transform the body into an object of destruction, bothers me. Striking out with rage and placing knuckles, elbows, or any other body part against another’s flesh, with the sole intent of doing physical harm and intentionally dolling out pain? (shudder) No thank you.

I’ve been close, oh so close, but never once followed through. Terrified of what I may be capable of.

I’ve never been in a physical altercation, save a couple of scuffles. I’ve been the recipient of a couple of hits through my youth (they don’t count), but never a punch by punch, blocking incoming jabs and tussling in the dirt with another person–fight. Just me  randomly struck or shoved by someone who didn’t enjoy my presence, and falling to the ground clutching the point of impact, wincing in pain.

I did suck up some guts and bravery once; lashing out and punching an older student in the throat for stealing some equipment from me during gym class.  He never saw it coming (you’re welcome dad), but other than that, no. No stereotypical fist fights. To this day I wonder why I had to visit the Principal and serve detention for that. Totally unfair.  I was told I could defend myself if needed. The bigger guy started it 😉


I’ve been in some pretty ugly places. Ugly places that quite possibly if I had chosen any other fork on the road, I would probably be a lost cause. Behind bars. In a hole perhaps.

It’s funny how the mind works sometimes.

Just on the edge. Teetering towards the side that leads to utter madness, full loss of control and a consciousness devoid of all faculties–from out of nowhere–without warning, something snaps you out of it. The conjured violent images and possibilities dwindle away and vanish from view.

“That was messed up. Time to rethink the situation.”

Glad I weighed all my options. That could have been bad.

When one lets the mind go wild without an anchor or restrictions, only the worst possible scenario can occur. Especially if dealing with suffering of any kind.

I’ve been to that edge and I don’t enjoy it. It’s a scary place to visit.  A place that truly tests ones perspective.

My mind has led me to choose the lesser of two evils. I choose the path that leads down the lighter side. The darker path creeps up and runs beside me now and again, always within jumping distance, but never stays long and eventually veers away out of sight.

The interaction with the BizarroTech brothers put me over the edge and took me to another place. I place I hate visiting.



“How about this,” I counter proposed, “You give me a loan to buy a car, tomorrow, so I can make all my dreams come true just like you said I will, and we can pretend none of the cluster mess ever happened.  Automatically deduct the money out of this guaranteed monthly check I’ll be seeing in a few months, and when the loan’s done, we can then move onto Phase Two and everyone will be on a clean slate. A fresh start. Does that sound OK?”

Gill crossed his arms high on the chest, “I can’t give you money. I can assist with the criteria and help show you the way, but I’m afraid that’s where it stops. If you need further mentoring and additional help and material, you know how to reach Bill. I trust and support him.  He’s become quite important around here.”

I drove my fingers into my pockets, “Yeah, that’s great. How about those cufflinks?  Or that watch? Those would take care of a new set of wheels.  I don’t think you understand what was sacrificed to get here.”

Gill glowered down at me, “I know my fair share of sacrifice, Jeremy. We all struggle and suffer. That’s why we keep driving home the importance of success and hardship.  The greatest struggles produce the greatest success stories. You and your story are a testament to that. You will be well taken care of and set up for life, if the instructions are followed.”

Shaking my head I looked to the floor between us, “I don’t believe that. I believe if you really understand and sympathize and accept the fact that somebody could use some real tangible help in life, a man of your caliber would be in a position to willingly help that person. Guess I was wrong.  If the situation was reversed… I’d help you.”

I was nothing more than a pest at this point and Gill turned to his subordinate smiling. “It’s always good to see you, my friend. Send me a line before the spring conference and maybe we can meet in the middle somewhere.  I’m going back stage to work with Phil for a moment, set up those numbers, and we’ll catch up for lunch. Enjoy the rest of the day.”

That’s when my mind took me to another place.

You’re not going anywhere.

Beside me on the wall bright red letters flashed like a neon sign in a casino and caught my attention. “In case of emergency break glass.”  My entire conception of time slowed down to a crawl and I watched my actions closely, feeling tears well to the surface while allowing my mind to become unhinged and opened up to the ugly.

The fabric of my shirt ripped open and snared, as I shattered the glass enclosure holding the fire extinguisher. My elbow plunged through the protective casing and I felt the pointed tips of broken remains tear deep into my upper arm. Most of the blood quickly absorbed into the shirt, but I created a few more slices when reaching my hand inside to pull out my red weapon of death.

I clenched my teeth, held the fire extinguisher like a medieval battering ram and brought it straight up under the big man’s chin.

Small sprays of crimson spattered the white walls and the ceiling tiles and he reached out blindly to find something to grab onto to keep from falling. The leader reeled back and when he stumbled over his large feet and crashed into the wall, he brought his bloody gaze down to meet mine.

Wincing, I looked away from the new impact spot, hearing the squish of a flattened nose and damaged flesh as I placed the bottom edge of the extinguisher against his face. A fire extinguisher is quite heavy when used as a baseball bat.

The big man hit the ground with a thud and catching movement to my side, watching my mentor bolt down the hall away from me, I whipped around and threw the red weapon end over end as hard as possible at the back of Bill’s flailing legs.

It cracked against his right ankle and sprawled the old man out on the carpet. My mentor hit the floor and rolled into the wall; coming to a dead stop in a crumpled heap.  He reached down to his twisted and now swelling foot to inspect the damage and I stormed towards him with both fists clenched, and his leader’s blood sprayed across on my face.

A smiling stage hand rounded the corner whispering into a headset, and after witnessing the mess caused by my hand and seeing me standing over the stars of the show he called for help, bolted from the corridor and the emergency doors unlocked throughout the convention center. Red strobe lights activated at either end of the corridor, the DJ spoke into a microphone and in the distance I heard a scream from a terrified attendee in the auditorium and when Bill looked up to me helpless and hurt, pleading with tear soaked eyes, he whispered, “Jeremy, what are you doing?”

I looked to Gill and his large frame disappeared from the floor and without warning, my mind snapped me out of it and I was once again standing before the smiling men watching them exchange their parting way pleasantries. I shook the vision from my brain and patiently waited my turn to be addressed.

That was messed up. Time to rethink the situation.

That could have been bad.


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