WORDSUSHI Volume 1
Hawaiian Sea Turtle off the coast of Maui IN THIS ISSUE MAUI CONFIDENTIAL
WHAT KILLED DAVID POTTS?
REAL ESTATE WHORES ON BUS BENCHES
TOP 10 “DARE TO BE AWARE”
THE INTERVIEW WITH JESUS
WHO’S ON CRACK?
FUN WITH S.T.D.’s
MYN AUDIOBOOK PREVIEWS
BECOME A WORDSUSHI FAN
Call it love at first flight. Ever since I
diet out the window when Iâ€™m on vacation,
initially laid my eyes on its impeccable
places to make my tummy very happy.
beaches, gorgeous sights, tasted its amaz-
I love the Sheraton at Black Rock.
ing cuisine and began to enjoy the great
Talk about a wonderful location that is
things this spirited island has to offer, Maui
steps away from some of the consistently
has become my ideal for the perfect vaca-
best beachfront snorkeling on the island.
The first few times on Maui, we would stay
Having been back to the Valley Isle
at The Mahana, a condo complex where
many times over the last few years, I have a
every room has an oceanfront view and the
constantly evolving list of favorite things to
waves crash a mere few dozen yards from
do, see and of course, because I throw my
your lanai. Staying in a condo offers tremendous advantages: full kitchen, bed-
View from the lanai at the Mahana
rooms plus a washer/dryer in the unit means we can pack fewer clothes and clean the ones we have if things get messy. The only things we didn't like about The Mahana was that there was no restaurant on the premises and the beach directly in front of us sat on a coral reef so shallow you couldn't swim
Paradise is a state of mind. Lucky for you it also happens to be part of the state of Hawaii here in the U.S.
there. There’s nothing wrong with the Mahana; it’s just a bit sleepy. A couple years ago, we decided to move a little bit closer to the action and began booking The Sheraton. When you have kids, the pool is always a consideration. Even though you’re staying right on the ocean, you have to have a good pool. Some people can’t deal with being on the sand all day. Plus, the pool is much, much closer to the bar. The pool at the Sheraton is built around a "lazy river" concept that has one main rectangular pool connected to a series o f o t h e r w a t e rways that wind around the hotel's Cliff Dive Bar and eventually terminate at the kiddie pool. There’s also a total joke of a waterslide that little kids love and walls made of fake stone to simulate some kind of ongoing tropical grotto experience. If lounging is your game, poolside chairs, while seemingly plentiful, fill up fast.
whole lot of time in the pool after that given that every time we started to think about why our eyes were now burning so much, it made us remember why there was now so much chlorine in the water that I could feel my genes mutating. The only thing that truly sucked about the Sheraton was I found the bed One afternoon, we came from the beach and descended the stairs into the shallow end when a very nice Australian lady told us we couldn't go into the pool. Now normally, I'd be like, “whatever” and swim off, ignoring her. But this time I could clearly see there was a look in her eyes that warned us that we “shouldn't” go into the pool. Turns out, she explained, some baby splashing around without the benefit of a swim diaper shat in the pool, leading hurried maintenance to dump in a ton of chemicals. Because of the “AFR” (hospitality industry code for ’accidental fecal release’), and the subsequent chemical bomb, guests were told to stay out of the pool for at least an hour. We, instead, spent a couple more hours in the water down at
to be uncomfortable for my taste. Next trip, I think we may stay at The Westin. I love being right at Black Rock beach, but after two Sheraton stays there and a terrible time sleeping, I think the novelty has worn off for me. The Westin is only a five minute walk along the sand, plus not only does their pool seem at least twice as big, but it boasts a waterside that looks like something out of an amusement park. Plus, it just seems like a much nicer place. Don't get me wrong, it's not that The Sheraton is a shithole or anything, it's just that I think my next trip to Maui could benefit from catching winks on a Westin Heavenly Bed as opposed to tossing and turning all night long on a mattress that was definitely not to my liking.
the beach. In fact, I don't think we spent a
My little Honu (green sea turtle) buddy at Black Rock
But if you are fortunate enough get close to sea turtle, don’t touch! They’re a protected species here and it’s illegal to physically touch them. Last I heard, the fine was $500.
SNORKELING If you're a fairly confident swimmer, you can probably handle snorkeling in the cove just on the other side of Black Rock. The beginners mostly stay near Black Rock's southern wall
right up to where the show offs and minor
Kicking back requires more effort so be
thrill seekers jump off the rock into the wa-
warned this could tire you out and possibly
ter below. There's plenty of fish to be seen,
put you in more danger than you were bar-
but if you want to see lots more, kick
around the edge of the point and go into
That being said, it's here, just past the
the cove. There's a lot of living coral here,
cove, that I've seen manta rays on a few oc-
which attracts more fish and, if you're
casions and have had the chance to swim
lucky, you may find a sea turtle or two graz-
near them. When I first caught site of these
ing near the back wall. Just be super
two beauties, I made the common error of
careful. The tide sometimes gets strong
mistaking them for lethal Stingrays. As I
enough to pull you onto the rocks and low
swam close to try and get a clear photo, one
enough to turn all that coral into a flesh-
of them, obviously aware of my lurking
chewing buzz saw. Like all snorkeling,
presence, turned sharply and began swim-
you're doing this at your own risk, so if you
ming right at me. Now, seeing that long,
have any doubts about being physically
pointy tail gave me visions of Steve Irwin
able to handle it, don't swim into the cove.
and I quickly kicked away thinking I had
But if you do, be prepared to have to kick
just ruined a pair of board shorts. As I dis-
hard against the
covered after look-
tide to keep you
ing them up, these
off the rocks when
the surf is coming
manta rays, not
known to attack Now, if you're
humans. Unlike a
in good physical
stingrayâ€™s tail, the
shape and your
mantaâ€™s tail is not
life insurance is
a barbed spear.
paid up, there's
The next day, I
went back to the
things to be found
same area and just
just beyond the cove. Here, as you get to
outside the mouth of the cove, I spotted
the westernmost tip of Black Rock, the tide
them again. This time I lazily drifted above
gets much stronger and always seems to be
them, feeling relatively safe about just
pushing you north. Getting here is easy.
watching them flap their little wings, seem7
ing to soar through the water as if flying.
to use your room key every time you wish
Black Rock is a fantastic place to see fish
to exit or enter. However, there's a sub-
and more. I can’t even tell you how many
level that has its own entrance facing
times I’ve spotted, and even had the chance
Kaanapali Parkway. Inside, you'll find
to swim alongside, a giant green sea turtle.
about a dozen open, totally free parking
But if you are fortunate enough to see
spaces that the hotel is legally obligated to
and get close to sea turtle, don’t touch!
offer people. This garage opens each day at
They’re a protected species here and it’s ille-
7 a.m. So if you want a spot, you may want
gal to physically touch them. Last I heard
to get there early before they all fill up. Oth-
the fine was $500.
erwise, prepare to
Look all you want, but
pay for parking at
please keep a respect-
W h a l e r ' s V i l-
able distance from
lage, a nearby sea-
side shopping cen-
there are tourists who
ter that also has
don’t know any better.
all types of stores
If you happen to spot
someone touching a
For a weekend
turtle, feel free to politely remind them. If
warrior like mySwimming with Manta Rays outside Black Rock Cove.
they continue to touch
self, the west coast of Maui offers
the turtle and I somehow find out you
some of the best snorkel spots. Kapalua
punched them in their stupid tourist faces,
Beach is fantastic, but the parking situa-
I definitely would not think any less of you.
tion is a bit of a pain in the ass. Be pre-
Black Rock Beach boasts some of
pared to have to park on the opposite side
Maui’s most satisfying snorkeling when the
of the street and walk down some stairs
water is calm and clear. There’s easy access
and through a tunnel to get there. Swim to-
and you don’t have to go too far to see fish.
ward the rocks on the north end of the bay
Even if you don’t stay at the Sheraton or a
to see fish and turtles, but if you can handle
nearby hotel, you can swim here. Hell, you
it, kick out to the reef right at the mouth of
can even park for free at Black Rock, but
the bay. There are tons of fish out here.
there's a trick to it. The Sheraton has a parking garage for its guests that requires you 8
schlep to the water, the shoreline is very rocky and the entrance into the water is a bit tricky. (I shimmy out to the end of the concrete beam, then put on my flippers and ease myself into the shallows here. This is not the kind of beach to go and sunbathe, but the snorkeling is really fantastic and worth all the trouble. If you have small kids or anyone with mobility, balance or health issues, maybe take a pass on Honolua. But if you do go, and the conditions are good, youâ€™ll never forget it. Of course, no mention of Maui snorkeling would be complete without a hearty mention of Molokini. Considered one of the best dive spots in the world, visibility is often more than 100 feet. You are guaranteed to spot quite a lot of fish and sea life Honolua Bay is another snorkel spot
here in this half-drowned ancient volcano
chock full of awesomeness. Crystal clear wa-
that last erupted over 230,000 years ago.
ter and tons of sea life make for great condi-
Last time I was here, I saw something stick-
tions when the sea is calm. However, get-
ing its head out from a crevice underneath
ting to the water is the trick. Located to the north of Kapalua, right around the 32 mile marker on Highway 30, there are a handful of parking spaces along the road and a small turnout just around the bend. From here you hike a bit through some woods, and donâ€™t be surprised if you come across the old foundation of a long-gone church and graveyard. Take note, this is all private land so be respectful. Once you make the
A large pod of spinner dolphins spotted off the bow of our Pacific Whale Foundation cruise.
a giant rock. I swam down to take a peek to
If all you’re looking for is a good sandy
find a big-ass moray eel staring back at me,
“drive by” beach to just hang out and get
and to my surprise, hiding behind him was
into the water, I suggest checking out D.T.
a fairly large lobster. I had thoughts of snag-
Fleming Park Beach or Kahekili Beach
ging him for dinner but, alas, Molokini is a
(a.k.a “Airport Beach). Both have facilities
nature preserve so you can’t take anything
and D.T. Fleming usually has a lifeguard on
from there other than photos and memo-
duty. Parking is free at both. Kahekili has
much cleaner bathrooms though so take
Most of the excursions that go out to
heed if that’s important to you. What’s nice
Molokini leave pretty early in the morning
is there are fish right off the beach at Ka-
from either Makena or Ma’alaea in order to
hekili so you can snorkel here as well. Just
get the best conditions before the water
note that Kahekili, for all its positives, has a
gets choppy later in the day. One sugges-
bit of a rocky bottom once you get into the
tion to make getting up so early on your va-
ocean. To keep from stubbing my toes on
cation less of a hassle is to do Molokini
the coral, I always bring a pair of reef shoes
early on in your trip before your body accli-
when I come here.
mates to Hawaii’s time zone.
Though there are different companies that will take you out in a boat for a snorkel-
ing or dolphin/whale watch excursion, I’m
If you haven’t already guessed, snorkel-
a fan of booking these trips with the non-
ing is one of my favorite things to do on
profit Pacific Whale Foundation. One
Maui. It’s fun, you see tons of cool marine
former employee I met once told me the
life and as long as you have the right gear,
guy who runs it is kind of a prick and
it’s free. If you don’t have your own snorkel
knows all he has to do to fill his staff posi-
gear, go rent some from Boss Frogs over
tions is open the door. That being said, you
at the Cannery Mall in Lahaina and then
may see plenty of new faces on the Pacific
go next door to Long's Drugstore and
Whale Foundation crew but the quality of
load up on sunscreen and snacks. Do your-
the people is very high. Because a lot of
self a favor and try the coconut mochi they
them come to the island with degrees in
have out on a shelf in between the main
oceanography and marine biology, they are
cash registers and their photo section.
very knowledgeable about the marine life and ecosystem.
Here's how to keep your snorkel mask fog-free. Use three or at most, four
On these trips, they provide food,
drops of liquid defogger and spread it
which isn't so bad, and as much “reef-safe”
across the inside glass of your mask with a
sunscreen as you need. They claim the
pair of wet fingers. And yes, I have seen
store bought, mass market sunscreen you normally wear into the water comes off your skin and wont chemically break down for ten years. Their “reef safe” goo allegedly breaks down and dissolves in just ten months. Sure, there are more luxurious excursions, but I like the idea that spending my money with them helps support a good cause.
Yes, they come this close to the beach 11
some people try and put defogger on the
towel and sunglasses, go down to any local
outside of their masks. Do not dunk your
ABC Store and drop a dime on a water-
mask into the water; just pour out any de-
proof swim wallet. It's really a sealable plas-
fogger that remains. Pop your mask onto
tic box on a leash you affix to yourself, but
your head and try as best as you can to
it does the trick.
make sure none of your hair gets caught underneath the rubber or silicone of your mask. Believe it or not, just a stray hair or
MORE THINGS TO DO
two is sometimes enough to breach the waterproof seal the mask is supposed to make
Of course, snorkeling isn’t the only ac-
with your face and the last thing you want
tivity worth doing here on Maui. If you
is to be swimming out there and find water
have a jones for sailing or have always
seeping into your mask. Take a few min-
wanted to know what it’s like to ride the
utes to make sure your mask is dialed in
wind on one of those 12-meter racing
and it will save you frustration and hassle
sloops, go buy a ticket for the America II.
when you're swimming off shore.
You can catch this ride from the Lahaina
One thing to note: refrain from pulling
Harbor, off Front Street. This is the sail-
your mask straps too tight because it can ac-
boat that lost to Dennis Connor’s “Stars
tually increase water seepage into your
and Stripes” in the 1987 Challenge cup. It’s
mask. When your straps are tighter than
been retrofitted to take tourists out into the
they should be, it's the mask and not your
booming trade winds along the Maui coast-
skull that gives. Tight straps can bow your
line. You may have even seen it with a dif-
mask on your face and even the tiniest break of that waterproof seal can lead to leakage. Learn something from one of my mistakes. Don't take your rental car keys into the ocean! The automatic door and trunk lock buttons won’t work if the key remotes insides get wet. If you don't feel safe leaving your rental car keys back on the beach with your Riding the trade winds on the America II 12
ferent paint job in the movie, “Wind.”
was also very convenient since we could do
When the trade winds are blowing, this is
it right from Ka’anapali Beach in front of
one hell of a great ride. You may get wet.
Whaler’s Village. Be warned though, one of
Avoid the Atlantis
the boat's crew will try to
Submarine. It’s not
up-sell you a package of
even a real submersible
photos that they take with
vehicle, just one where
their own telephoto lens
you sit below the water-
while you’re up in the air.
line and stare through
They’ll gladly snap a few
tiny portholes. Kids love
with your camera if you
this thing, but it’s claus-
ask, but chances are your
trophobic as hell and kind of lame.
Ask nicely and they may even let you steer.
Sport fishing enthu-
puny point and shoot won’t have the kind of zoom capabilities to really
siasts will find plenty of options for full and
capture that terrified look on your face
partial day trips hunting tuna, marlin and
when you’re up in the air. In all fairness, I
other big gamefish. Those are easy to find,
should mention that parasailing is not with-
but are costly. Good news is that you don’t need a license to fish in Hawaii. If you’re looking to just chill out, cast a line from shore and try your luck, there are some interesting places to fish all along the Kihei coast. I rented a rod and reel from Kendall at Hooked Up Fishing Supply in the Azkeka Plaza shopping center for a measly $10. Bait cost me a couple of bucks extra. He even pointed us to a great fishing spot just a few blocks away. If you’ve ever wanted to try parasailing, you have plenty of options on Maui. UFO is the company we used and I enjoyed the hell out of my ride suspended from a parachute 800 feet in the air above the ocean. It 13
out risk. When I was researching my book
ern California by the name of David
“Fatal Sunset: Deadly Vacations” I
Potts, was dancing around in the spray un-
came across a story about a pair of newly-
derneath the blowhole and was knocked
weds who were tragically killed while
down by a wave that came over the coast-
parasailing. Incidents like this are rare,
line and washed him down into it, never to
though they do happen. Just adopt my vaca-
be seen again. For days, while we were
tion motto: Dare to be aware.
there, they searched for his body and never found it. David Potts had a fiancée and a baby whose lives will never be the same. All I could think of was that I’m the kind of person who may have edged closer to danger just to take a peek. It could’ve been me. Dare to be aware, baby. Dare to be aware. The Nakalele Blowhole is a popular sightseeing attraction on Maui for good reason. It’s really cool. If you go, bring shoes you can hike in. Flip flops are not recom-
Speaking of “Fatal Sunset: Deadly Vaca-
mended. It's a bit of a hike and not wheel-
tions,” I was actually inspired to write this
chair accessible, at least not in a way that
book on vacation tragedies during the sum-
wouldn't make for a terrifying, bumpy,
mer of 2011 while I was on Maui. On the
bone-shattering one way tumble all the way
northern most point of the island there is a
down, if you get my point.
natural attraction known as the Nakalele
All this talk of danger aside, you stand
Blowhole. If the surf is heavy or at high
a very good chance of surviving a visit to
tide the ocean shoots up through this hole
the Nakalele Blowhole as long as you don’t
that has been naturally worn through this
get too close and use caution and common
lava shelf jutting out over the ocean. When
sense. Driving there will take you on some
waves hit the shore, water shoots up like a
winding roads up Highway 30 through
geyser, up to 100 feet in the air. It’s pretty
some very spectacular and unspoiled na-
awesome. So a couple days after we got to
ture between Kapalua and Wailuku. There
Maui, the waves are pounding, I mean real
are no signs so keep an eye out for mile
big surf, and a 44-year-old man from north-
marker #38. You’ll see a gravel parking lot. 14
The hike down to the blowhole will proba-
Like snorkeling, a visit to the Nakalele
bly take you a half hour of navigating down
Blowhole or Dragon’s teeth is free. On an
this rocky trail. As you get closer, you will
island that can often lay a hurting on your
find yourself surrounded by centuries-old
wallet, you can’t go wrong with that.
lava rock and you’ll almost believe you could be standing on the moon.
Another cool (and free) sightseeing stop to check out are the petroglyphs at Oluwalu. Ancient Hawaiians living on Maui had no way to record their history other than to scratch pictures into rock. Here you’ll see dozens of petroglyphs of royalty, common people, animals and other drawings that are hundreds of years old. (You’ll also see some more recent stuff scratched in by douchebags.) Located just off a dirt road behind the Olowalu General Store, it’s a sacred site that has a deep spiritual as well as historical value to
Want to see some more really cool ancient lava, venture to Dragon’s Teeth in Kapalua. Located just off a golf course, Makalua-puna point was created by the last volcanic flows on Maui. As the wind swept over this point, the lava hardened in an upward fashion, leaving jagged formations that look like the teeth of a giant monster. There’s some free, paved parking off of Office Road and you have to hike a couple of minutes across the edge of the golf course
the Hawaiian people. It’s hard to stand
to get there. If you go late enough in the
there and not think about the artists who
day, you can even catch a great sunset
created these stone etchings centuries ago
hoping they would stand the test of time. Because it’s a bit tricky to find at first, do
ancient kings used to surf these very same breaks. The group class consisted of my wife, myself and one other couple. Our instructor, a heavily-tatooed, musclebound dude nicknamed “Bully” ran us through some simple instruction on our boards on the sand before getting us into the water. By the end of our two hour lesson, I was catching waves on my own. It was really awesome. Now I understand the lure of yourself a favor and stop inside the Oluwalu General Store to ask for exact directions (from the store, it’s easy). While you’re there, feel free to try the island’s best Spam musubi, or as it’s known by the locals, “Hawaiian energy bar.” Speaking of Hawaiian royalty, if there is one activity that is commonly associated with the great kings of Maui, it’s surfing. And what could be cooler than surfing on the king’s own beach. Surfing has been a dream of mine for
surfing. There is really nothing like it. I’m not kidding, this was a life-altering event for me. I can’t recommend this highly enough. Because I was so hooked on that feeling of catching even the tiny waves we were surfing, I even went back the morning of our flight home and rented a board from them for a couple hours. I cost about $20, and instead of being grouchy I was leaving paradise, I spent the rest of the day with a big honking grin on my face.
quite a while. I just never thought I’d be able to do it since I had somehow convinced myself that I was too old to try without risk of busting my ass up into pieces. Nonsense. We ended up booking a family surf lesson (group class for me and the wife. Solo, personal instruction for my son since he was younger than nine) with Goofy Foot Surf School right there in Lahaina off of the private beach where the
Getting a bit waterlogged
1 7 9 0 t h a t K i n g K a m e-
and want to check out some
hameha destroyed the Maui
of the great sights inland?
army on his way to finally
Hop in your rental car and
unite all of the Hawaiian Is-
head out just past Kahului to
land. It should be noted that
the Iao Valley. The Iao Nee-
Kamehameha had the help
dle, a 2,250 foot tall stone
of cannons provided by Cap-
pillar that shoots up in the
tain Cook. Historical ac-
air like a prehistoric sky-
counts claim the carnage
scraper, is impressive as hell,
was so overwhelming that
but only if you get to Iao Val-
the river was jammed up by
ley State Park early enough
shredded body parts. Pretty
before the mist and clouds
roll in and obscure the view of the top. This
If youâ€™ve never seen a volcano crater,
was actually the site for one of the bloodiest
you owe yourself a drive up to the summit
battles in Hawaiian history. It was here in
of Haleakala. Itâ€™s a bit of a schlep climb-
ing the Haleakala Highway to get to
Kula Lodge. They do a pretty mean pizza
Haleakala National Park, but on a clear day
in their wood fired brick oven and the view
the view into the crater is stunning. Up
of Maui from above the green hills of Kula
there at 10,000 feet above sea level you’ll
does not suck one bit.
also find the Haleakala Observatory and a
If you’re looking for action, Lahaina’s
rare species of a round and spiny plant
Front Street is a delightful tourist trap
called the Silversword
where you can find won-
that only lives on
derful places to eat for
Haleakala. Take note,
all budgets big and
at this elevation it’s go-
small (not too small
ing to be much colder
though), along with
than down by sea level.
countless stores offer-
You may want to bring
ing the opportunity for
a sweatshirt or jacket
you to purchase any
and pack plenty of wa-
sort of Maui t-shirt or
ter since you may also
souvenir possible. How-
dehydrate faster. They
ever, far from being just
say the sunrises are jaw-dropping at
a shallow commercial drag, Front Street
Haleakala, but given that drive to the sum-
has character and a blow-your-hair-back
mit, I haven’t been able to find the muster
view of the sunset every night that will etch
to get there that early to experience it. If
itself into your brain and make your heart
you’re feeling adventurous, you can bike
yearn to be on the island every night of
down from the summit to see the sunrise.
your life. Yes, you will find fine jewelry
Coast, is really more like it since all you’ll
stores, art galleries showing off paintings
do is point your bike down Haleakala High-
done in earnest by famous millionaire rock
way and let gravity (and your handbrakes)
stars commingled with the tiny storefronts
do the rest. Just a warning, these excur-
trying to sell you discount parasailing and
sions require you to check in at the base of
all other assorted activities if you just part
the mountain sometime around 2:30 a.m,
with a couple of hours of your vacation
which is usually about one hour after my
time in order to watch a time share presen-
last mai tai.
If you do head upcountry and are looking for a place to grab a bite, stop at the
And here's a word about those time share presentations. Don't do it. 18
You'll get a nice tour and a pleasant spiel
them into not wanting us to stick around
about the benefit to fractional ownership of
anymore. It was fun, but never again.
a beachfront condo, but afterwards you will
My wife and I just celebrated our 10th
face the kind of hard sell tactics usually re-
Anniversary and it was on our honeymoon
served for hostage negotiation.
(in Hawaii, of course) that we decided if we
Here's one suggestion if you do find
made it to a decade, we’d renew our vows
yourself irresistibly drawn to the siren song
on the beach in Maui. This last trip, we
of a cheap luau and the subsequent time
were able to have an incredibly romantic
share presentation obligation. Don't bring
ceremony on a secluded beach in Makena
your checkbook or your credit card. Call me
thanks to the folks at
crazy, but I think that dropping several
HawaiiWedding.com. Kevin, the minis-
grand on any “investment” is at least worth
ter, is actually a very talented photographer
sleeping on? Besides, how can you believe
and will take the time to get some amazing
someone who offers you a “limited time only” opportunity when they make the same sales pitch multiple times every day? Don't do it. A ninety minute presentation can quickly turn into three hours once they start playing their psychological games in order to part you from your savings. This is your vacation. Don't waste a moment of it listening to bullshit. If you're really interested, there are services that deal with buying and reselling people's unwanted time shares and their prices are much lower than those offered by the sharks at the resorts. We once made the mistake of doing this (for free Atlantis Submarine tickets no less!) and they just wouldn’t let us leave until I made quite a scene and started screaming like a complete lunatic just to scare 19
shots of you and your beloved afterwards. We went with something small and simple, saying our I do’s at sunset in our bare feet on a nearly-private beach in the shadows of island homes owned by Sharon Stone and Clint Eastwood and it was everything we wanted. One very popular thing to do on Maui that you will see lots of ads for in all the activity guides is taking the Road to Hana. Don’t think of this 42 mile trek as something comprised of 54 bridges and 600 hairpin turns. Instead, consider it a real Maui
quite a few of the bridges are one-lane only. Leave your mainland driving inclinations at home and practice Aloha here, because this drive can try your patience if you let it. Allow at least 2-3 hours to make the drive down to O’heo Gulch, a.k.a the Seven Sacred Pools. When it’s not dry season, all the pools should be full and flowing into one another. Ever wanted to jump off a small waterfall into a pool below? Here’s your chance, but exercise caution. Last time I was here, there were a pair of teenage girls jumping off the O’heo Gulch
sightseeing adventure that will take you
Bridge 60 feet down into the pool below.
past waterfall pools, magnificent seascapes,
Looked like a lot of fun, but nothing I’m
rainforests and botanical gardens. The
crazy enough to try.
name “Hana Highway” is a bit of a misno-
If you want to check out what is consis-
mer when it comes to this side of the island
tently named one of the best beaches in the
because the road is at-times narrow and
world, stop at Hamoa Bay in Hana. On a
calm day, the water is as clear as glass.
taking home lava rocks will bring you
However, if youâ€™ve never seen a black
bad luck. Of course we all remember what
sand beach before you have to go to
happened to Greg Brady when he found
Waianapanapa State Park on the out-
that freaky tiki, but there are countless sto-
skirts of Hana to see this natural marvel.
ries out there of real people who claim truly
Beautiful and unique, this black sand beach
bad things happened to them after coming
was sacred to the ancient Hawaiians. To-
back from Hawaii with lava rocks they had
day, you can park here and walk along the
innocently picked up as souvenirs, only to
beach and even hike through a lava tube.
realize the bad luck was going to stay with
While you may find it all too-tempting
them until they returned the purloined
to pick up some black sand to take back
prize back where it came from. Now, I
home, just note that local legend says
donâ€™t consider myself a superstitious per-
son at all, however this is one thing I refuse
sized aquarium that’s fun for the whole fam-
ily. Getting close up with sharks, rays and
Across the island, almost every day of
green sea turtles and learning a bit about
the week, there’s a flea market or craft fair
the Hawaiian marine ecosystem, is a pretty
somewhere. Some of these are interesting
cool way to spend a couple of hours.
and it’s a way to pick up some locally-made
Nearby, you may also see the Maui
art or cheap sunglasses and t-shirts. The
Mini Golf and Sports Park. Though the
Maui Swap Meet in Kahului is huge one
waterfalls on the two mini golf courses are
with hundreds of vendors every Saturday
and it only costs 50 cents to get in the gate.
Caveat Emptor though... buyer beware.
Some of that stuff is cheap because it’s not
as long as
the best quality.
Under the shade of Lahaina’s fa-
mous Banyan Tree, you’ll find the local
art society’s Fine Art Fair on the weekend. .
Here, a few dozen select Maui artists show
off and sell their work. You’ll find some
that bungee jumper and those bumper
unique jewelry, paintings, photos, sculp-
tures and more here and it’s free to check
If you like trains, or have someone in
out. Even if the art fair isn’t going on, you
your family who is still in that “Thomas the
should make it down here just to see the
Train” phase, you may find yourself check-
Banyan Tree itself since it is such a famous
ing out the Sugar Cane Train. Yes, it’s an
old steam locomotive pulling an old train across the land where sugar cane used to
FOR THE KIDS
grow and it doesn’t do much other than go a few miles one way, have the locomotive
While on Maui, you may find yourself
turn around on a turntable and then come
looking for kid-centric activities that the lit-
back. Expect spectacular views of the coast
tle ones may enjoy. One great way to see
and a bit of a history lesson, but it does get
Hawaii’s many creatures of the sea without
a bit hot and boring for adults. However,
getting wet is a visit to the Maui Ocean
do note that one of the more interesting (at
Center. Situated in Ma’alea, it’s a decent-
least to me) parts of the trip is at the begin22
ning when you pass just feet from the backyards of a number of really rundown houses. The kind of crap people have laying around on their property is fascinating. If you can weasel your
If you can weasel your way out of riding the Sugar Cane Train, I suggest doing so. But if your kids are really young, they will LOVE it
way out of riding the Sugar Cane Train, I suggest doing so. But if your kids are really young, they will LOVE it and you’ll just have to suck it up because once they see it, they’ll ask for it over and over until you give in. THE BEST EATS Ono, is the Hawaiian word for “delicious.” Maybe it’s all the fresh air. Maybe it’s because of all the swimming and snorkeling, but I like to get my ono on when I’m on Maui. Lucky for me, this island has some outrageously fantastic places to chow down. I already mentioned Kula Lodge and Olowalu General Store, but I’m going to start out by telling you about my
new second favorite restaurant on the island (I’ll get to my top fave in a moment). Whenever we meet another couple who loves Maui as much as we do, the conversation eventually goes right to food. One of the places we got clued in on was Star Noodle in Lahaina, located at the top of Kupuohi Street in the industrial park area between the Walgreens and the Barnes and Noble shopping center. Very reasonably priced for Maui standards, the food, mostly
Star Noodle’s amazing Miso Salmon
tapas (small plates), is above excellent. The
there. It’s a hip place with a nice bar, and
garlic noodles, the miso salmon and
it’s popular with tourists and locals alike so
steamed pork buns are outrageously good
get there early or expect to wait.
as is pretty much everything else I’ve had
Turns out that Star Noodle is owned by the same folks who run the Old Lahaina Luau right off Front Street. If checking out a luau while on the island is part of your vacation game plan, choose this one. The show is top notch, the food is yummy and plentiful and the free Mai Tais flow like waterfalls. Right next door to Old Lahaina Luau is another joint run by the same folks. Aloha Mixed Plate even shares a kitchen with Old Lahaina Luau so you’d think it would be much better than it is. Truth is, Aloha Mixed Plate used to be great a few years ago, but has taken a turn for the worse. It’s very affordable and it’s located right on the oceanfront so you’re getting million dollar views with an eight dollar plate lunch. The problem is the service, which has never 24
been stellar, is just awful. The wait staff has
pie, was sold out for the night! Luckily, I
always been a bit rude and brusque. It’s a
was definitely not disappointed by the
real bummer given how generally great
seared ahi sandwich on their signature
service is all over the island. Also, it seems
bread. I also had a chance to try their
their recipes have gotten fairly heavy-
Leoda’s burger and, though I’m not much
handed with the sodium. I used to tell peo-
of a burger guy in general, the full-flavored
ple to eat here, now I’m sorry to say it no
taste of their local beef patty cooked to per-
longer makes my recommend list. Pity.
fection had me saying, “wow,” several
So when it came to checking out
Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, another
But let’s get to the really amazing stuff.
place owned by the Star Noodle cabal, I
Leoda’s bills itself as a “Kitchen and Pie
was a bit hesitant at first. My worries were
Shop.” Warning: When you walk in, you
for naught though. Leoda’s, with its rustic
may actually find yourself pressing your
style and mouth-watering menu of
face against the front of their glass case full
comfort-style foods is a welcome addition
of freshly-baked pies. Their 3” mini banana
to my list of recommends. Leoda’s is lo-
cream pie made a perfect dessert to split,
cated in Olowalu, right next to the Olowalu
and yes, it was really delicious in that way
General Store and their delicious Spam
that makes you wake up in the middle of
musubi--meaning that it’s just south of La-
the night wishing you had a Leoda’s just
haina, so it’s a great
around the cor-
place to stop when
ner from your
coming into town or
anytime you feel like
Now, I’m a total
getting in the car
sucker for Poke
and driving an extra
fifteen minutes for
worth the trip. We
had been planning
to have dinner here
cubed ahi tuna
and drove out after
sunset, only to dis-
salt, sesame oil,
cover the reason we came, the chicken pot
chopped green onions, soy sauce and chili 25
shopping center in Lahaina) has a Poke bar HAWAIIAN POKE RECIPE 1 lb fresh ahi tuna 1/2 small round onion, julienne cut (Maui Onions preferred) 1 1/2 green onions, diced 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated fresh ginger 1 1/2 finely diced garlic cloves 1/4 cup soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1/2 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce (Rooster Brand) 1/2 teaspoon hawaiian sea salt Directions: Cut Ahi into at least 1/2" cubes - set aside & refrigerate. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl & refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
to die for, featuring several different types of Poke every day. The guys behind the counter are very nice and they may see you standing there trying to choose and offer you a taste. Absolutely say yes. The Avocado Poke and the Spicy Bomb are my faves. I can’t wait to go back and try them all. In Hawaii, a plate lunch is a menu item that typically includes some kind of cooked meat (Chicken, Pork, Beef) along with rice, macaroni salad and sometimes, another side dish. Think of it as the Hawaiian version of the Southern U.S’s “Meat and Threes” plate. If you’ve ever wanted to try Kalua Pork (a.k.a “Kalua Pig”), the type of pig typically cooked in an underground oven known as an imu, without having to go to a luau, you can find it a good plate lunch joint.
pepper. Mix that all together and some-
It used to be that my favorite place to
times add other things like avocado, diced
order up a plate lunch was Aloha Mixed
Maui onion, seaweed and you’ve got your-
Plate, but it hasn’t been as good the last
self a protein-rich dish of Hawaiian good-
couple of years and I’ve finally grown tired
ness. Poke is generally served as an appe-
of the consistently slow and surly service.
tizer, but look around and you can find a
Now, when I think of plate lunch on Maui,
place that will serve up generous lunch
my mind is set on Da Kitchen. Located a
Poke bowls over rice. Foodland Farms,
short hop from the airport in Kahului, this
an upscale grocery store akin to a Bristol
is a place frequented heavily by locals, so
Farms or a mini Whole Foods (tucked into
you know it’s good!
the back corner of the Barnes and Noble
The menu here is big. There are even vegetarian options. Try the Panko-breaded, 26
done right. What it's saying? Well that depends upon your acceptance of new and different things. If you happen to be in Kihei, there’s a fish taco place not that far from the beach that is definitely worth checking out. Coconuts Fish Cafe is a small place in a big shopping center off Kihei Road with killer Maui ondeep fried Spam Musubi. It rocks. Speaking
ion rings. The fish is
of deep fried goodness, kids (and you) will
fresh and everything is made-to-order. Just
love the batter-dipped fried mac and
know, fish tacos are their specialty, as well
cheese. They don’t take reservations, so be
as their blackened Mahi burger.
prepared to wait a wee bit during peak
In case you are tempted to try Maui
lunch and dinner times. You can kill time
Tacos, take a pass on their fish taco unless
by browsing the racks of brochures and fly-
you like yours fishy. The BBQ Pork is pretty
ers advertising every Maui activity you can
good. Not crazy about their refried beans,
though their pineapple salsas make up for
A word on poi. Yes, at first it will taste
like elementary schoolroom paste and
I’d never eat at Outback Steakhouse or
you'll wonder why anybody in their right
Burger King while on Maui because can
mind would eat this goo. Just put a bit of
find that crap back home. You're in Hawaii!
poi on your fork and add some good Hawai-
Enjoy the things you can only get here. As
ian protein like kalua pork and a bit of rice.
far as pizza on the island goes, it’s sad to
There's something about poi's starchy
say there just aren’t that many good
makeup that speaks to your palette when
choices. However, if you do find yourself in the tiny hamlet of Paia out on the Hana 27
Highway, you have to go to The Flat-
If you happen to be down around
bread Company. Grab one of their Or-
Whaler’s Village, try to get into the Hula
ganic Salads made with fresh greens grown
Grill. They have a seafood chowder made
in nearby Kula and a sixteen inch flatbread
with coconut milk that is really good,
pizza. My favorite is their Mopsy’s Kalua
though it used to be better. If you’re in the
Pork pizza. Kiawe smoked free-range pork
mood for something a bit more casual, by-
shoulder, homemade organic mango BBQ
pass the main restaurant entirely and get a
sauce, organic red onions, Maui pineapple,
table in the sand at their Barefoot Bar.
Flatbread’s own blend of Hawaiian goat
Try the Coconut Calamari and the Thai
cheeses, premium whole milk mozzarella,
Chicken Pizza along with their Mai Tai.
imported Parmesan cheese and their own
Get there around dinertime and you’ll be
organic herb mix make this baby rock your
treated to some live music, Hawaiian-style.
taste buds. They have their own wood-
It’s a great place to stop if you’ve come
fired, clay oven right in the middle of the
down to this part of Ka’anapali Beach to
floor so you can even see them cooking.
catch a sunset, IF you can get a table. As
Afterwards, take a short walk up the
soon as the sun goes down, the place gets
block and treat yourself to dessert at Ono
really crowded and you can’t make a reser-
Gelato. If you’re still too full, take a walk
around downtown Paia. There’s only a few blocks to look at, but it’s quaint in a hippysurf-town kind of way. Here’s a hint. Right before you get into the part of Paia with the shops and restaurants, there’s a free parking lot on the South side of the street. If you strike out here, there are parking spots up and down Hana Highway, but during the busy season they fill up fast with all the traffic going through town. There’s an Ono Gelato in Lahaina as well, but if you prefer ice cream, do yourself a favor and find someplace that serves Lappert's Banana Mac Crunch on a hot day.
Of course, there are other places to eat at Whaler’s Village. If you strike out at a table at Hula Grill or the Barefoot Bar, don’t fret, just go next door to Maui Fish & Pasta. Here, they have surf, turf as well as
a sushi bar and a kid’s menu. Depending upon what time of day you get here, they even do breakfast and lunch. Turns out that it’s also owned by the same people behind Sansei. Named “One of America’s eight best sushi restaurants” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, there are locations in Kihei and on the Kapalua Resort, their signature Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi Sushi Roll is way ono. Because of Sansei’s reputation, they get booked up far in advance so you may want to figure out when you want to go during your trip
One of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten at anywhere in the world: Mama’s Fish House
ahead of time and make a reservation before you head to Maui, or at least as soon as you get on the island. Now the one place I am going to give my highest recommendation to as a total must is one of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten at anywhere in the world: Mama’s Fish House. No, seriously. Stop whatever you’re doing and make a reservation at Mama’s Fish House right now. Even if you’re not planning on going to Maui. A trip to Mama’s is worth taking a vacation for. Situated up the Hana Highway a little bit past Paia (look for the boat and turn toward the ocean), get there a bit early so you can stroll across the picturesque beach Mama’s is situated upon. This is a spot where you’ll want to snap a photo of yourself, so bring a camera of some kind. You won’t be alone trying to get that perfect shot, trust me, so you’ll probably be able to get a stranger to grab one of you or your entire group. If you call far enough in advance, you’ll be able to request one of the window tables. Don’t forget to mention any special occasions like birth29
days or anniversaries. Given the likelihood that you’ll score a free dessert, you may be tempted to just make up a special occasion. Do yourself a favor, get my Yoshimoto special: A Mai Tai, an order of the Lobster Guacamole appetizer and their signature Mahi Mahi stuffed with lobster and crab and baked in a macadamia nut crust. Is your mouth watering, yet? Everything on Mama’s menu kicks more ass than Chuck Norris on a steroid rampage, so no matter what you get, enjoy every delicious forkful. Though I will go into detail a little later, let me just briefly state that Mama’s Fish House also makes the best Mai Tai on Maui. While most of the food recommendations I’ve made fall into the category of “affordable,” especially by Maui standards, a meal at Mama’s is going to set you back a couple of bucks. But trust me when I say it will be worth every penny. It should be worth noting there are many great places to eat well on this island. My second favorite restaurant on the island is no slouch either. Located in the upscale Fairmont Kealani Maui luxury resort in Wailea, Nick’s Fishmarket offers a bit or Mediterranean flair and exquisite service that will temporarily make you forget you weren’t born into roy-
alty. Supremely romantic, you can dine out-
THE BEST MAI TAI
side underneath a vine-covered trellis overlooking the hotel’s lush grounds. This is
Most people don’t know this but the
one of Maui’s premiere seafood restau-
quintessential Mai Tai, the seemingly signa-
rants, so don’t come here looking for a
ture drink of Hawaii, was actually first cre-
cheeseburger. My suggestion is to try the
ated by a bartender at the legendary Trader
Opah, a Hawaiian fish that is a lot like
Vic’s in California. The name Mai Tai is bor-
swordfish, but less “steaky.” It is truly ono.
rowed from “Maitai,” the Tahitian word for
Though it’s not as good as Mama’s,
“good,” and for excellent reason. This com-
they do make a pretty good Mac Nut
bination of rum, Curacao liqueur and tropi-
Crusted Mahi Mahi over at Lahaina Prime Rib and Fish Company. Check ‘em out right on Front Street situated on the ocean side of the street so a good table will give you an awesome view, especially at dinnertime. Going from “ono” to “oh no,” let me turn to a few restaurants that I’d only recommend to someone I hated. Three places I will never eat at again: Buzz’s Wharf in Ma’alea Harbor, Mai Tai Cafe on Front Street and the take out joint in the Honolua Store up in Kapalua. Save your time and money and go somewhere else. You’re on vacation, you deserve to eat well, especially in a culinary paradise like Maui. 31
you find yourself down in Whaler’s Village, go get yourself a Mai Tai at the Barefoot Bar. Humorously, enough it comes in the same exact tiki-style glass as Mama’s Mai Tai. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not the same, but it’s pretty darned good in its own right and as I say, any Mai Tai on vacation in Maui is a good Mai Tai. ALOHA! cal juices is a true tropical getaway for your taste buds. Now, my ongoing unofficial research findings in search of the best Mai Tai on Maui is admittedly from an incomplete data sample, but so far I have one definitive winner. The best Mai Tai I’ve found on the is-
Paradise is a state of mind. Lucky for you it also happens to be part of the state of Hawaii here in the United States. A Maui vacation is something you should remember for the rest of your life, so come here and make memories and have fun. w
land is at Mama’s Fish House. Arriving at your table in a tiki-shaped glass, Mama’s serves a hearty version of this island beverage that pops with the flavor of fresh tropical island juices. Two other Maui Mai Tais that definitely deserve a spot on your own unofficial “Maui Mai Tai Tour” itinerary are the Ciso’s Passion Mai Tai at the Sheraton Cliff Dive Bar. Just the nightly sunset cliff diving ceremony is worth walking down to the beach at Black Rock, but this overpriced, but definitely strong drink is the perfect companion beverage. Lastly, if
What Killed David Potts? An excerpt from the book FATAL SUNSET: Deadly Vacations
Mt. Haleakela) Naklele Point is a lava shelf that juts out from the shoreline. When waves crash into the underside of Naklele Point, it forces water and air through a lava tube, causing fantastic geyser-like eruptions. Depending upon the size and strength of the tide, the sprays can reach up to one hundred feet into the air. When the surf is pounding, as it was on the afternoon of July 9, 2011, the blowhole is truly a wonder to behold. It was then that San Anselemo, California contractor David Potts, forty-four, wearing only a pair of multi-colored floral printed board shorts and a gray hat, began to dance next to the blowhole, frolicking in the ocean spray. One man, Rocco Piganelli from LaJolla California, snapped a photo of his daughter. In the background, he captured the last image of David Potts. Moments Through the winding path of Highway
later, a violent wave crashed over the
30, visitors make the trek just past mile
point, knocking Potts off his feet and into
marker 38 to see Nakalele Point. In par-
the blowhole. As water erupted from the
ticular, they park and descend a rocky,
hole, Pottsâ€™ head bobbed to the surface for
steep trail to come see the blowhole.
a fleeting second before the force of the
Formed by ancient eruptions of Maui Komohana, the West Maui Volcano, (the islandâ€™s volcanic twin to the more famous
outgoing tide sucked him down into the jagged, murky darkness. Piganelli and several other shocked onlookers quickly scrambled over the rocks 34
and rushed to the edge of the water to see if Potts would wash
Three days later, the search, conducted by air and jet ski and complicated by rough waters and poor visibility, was finally called off.
out with the tide. But he was nowhere to be found. It was then that the sister-in-law of Pottsâ€™ longtime girlfriend let out a horrifying scream. As it turned out, Pott's girlfriend, Tika Hick was not at the blowhole. She and David had traveled to Maui as their last hurrah before she was to undergo a double mastectomy in order to rid her body of the cancer that threatened her life. To make matters even worse, the diagnosis had come only weeks after the
couple lost their house. Three days later, the search, conducted by air and jet ski and complicated by rough waters and poor visibility, was finally called off. Though cited in many Maui guidebooks, and a favorite sightseeing recommendation of hotel concierges, visiting the blowhole is always predicated with a warning to stay a safe distance from the ocean spray. Despite Internet rumor that claims a warning sign in the parking lot says to stay at least twenty yards away, in fact, the only signage 35
is a hand-lettered board that reads, “Blowhole Park And Walk At Your Own Risk.” Because the blowhole is on privately owned land, visitation to it is technically constituted as trespassing, though never enforced. The county of Maui claimed no responsibility for David Potts’ death since neither they nor the Visitor’s Bureau promotes the blowhole as an attraction. w
Find out more about deadly vacations in Hawaii, The Caribbean, Mexico and more in:
FATAL SUNSET: Deadly Vacations
DEADLY VACATIONS Dare to Be Aware... No one ever believes their dream vacation can instantly turn tragic... until it’s too late.
Some tourists vanish without a trace. Over 170 people have disappeared from cruise ships around the world since 1995, several under very suspicious circumstances. Others have their lives senselessly stolen, like the 8-year old boy sucked into an unprotected pool drain at a major resort, leaving his mother crying out his name as security staﬀ held her at gunpoint. Or 22-year old Nolan Webster, denied proper medical care after being pulled unconscious from a Cancun resort pool, only to have his dead body left in plain view for hours and his parents billed for his room. Vacations are meant to be joyous and fun. Sometimes terrible things happen unexpectedly. A parasailing newlywed plummets hundreds of feet to her death on the last day of her honeymoon when her harness snaps in mid-air. Hikers make a fatal plunge on an improperly-marked Kauai cliffside trail. And of course, there’s every mother’s nightmare: the disappearance of Natalee Holloway while on a high school graduation trip to Aruba with members of her senior class. “Sometimes travelers put themselves into situations beyond their limitations or worse, beyond their control,” says Nemcoﬀ. “People on vacation tend to engage in riskier activities than they are normally used to. Sometimes things can instantly turn deadly because you made a bad decision or were in the wrong place at the wrong time.” In addition to FATAL SUNSET’s shocking stories of deadly shark attacks, drownings, suspicious encounters, unfortunate accidents and murder, there is one part of the book that still haunts Nemcoff. “I interviewed Nolan Webster’s mom, Maureen. In the book she explains what it was like to get that terrible phone call about her son’s death. It’s something I think about every day.”
"There's one piece of advice I've learned researching this book," tells Nemcoff. "Dare to be aware."
FATAL SUNSET, the latest exposé from award-winning and bestselling author Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoﬀ is not meant to do for vacations what “Jaws” did for beaches. “I’m not trying to scare you from going on a trip. I’m revealing these hidden true stories in order to make sure you understand what danger lurks in between the sun and sand and that perfect getaway,” explains Nemcoﬀ, the writer behind Kindle bestsellers “The Death of Osama Bin Laden” and “Where’s My F***ing Latte?”, an insiders look at the world of Hollywood celebrity assistants that was not only featured on Access Hollywood, but has spent over four years straight atop Amazon’s best selling charts for both “Television”
AVAILABLE FOR iBooks and iTunes 37
Top 10 “Dare to Be Aware” Travel Tips I Learned From Writing “Fatal Sunset: Deadly Vacations” Tip 1: Never assume you have the same
Tip 5: Just because there isn't a warning
rights, protections and access to emergency
sign, doesn't mean there isn't danger - Use
services in other countries as you do in
your common sense and/or double check
your plans with someone who knows the lay of the land.
Tip 2: Take the time to check out any attractions your children may use before you
Tip 6: Do your research - Any reputable
leave them unsupervised.
company offering trips, excursions, tours will have a digital footprint on the Internet.
Tip 3: Always let someone know where
Use Google to search for reviews before you
you're going and how long you'll be gone. If
you're on a trip, make sure someone in your party knows when you'll be back and
Tip 7: Be suspicious of anyone who takes
check in with them if those plans change.
too much interest in you or your family - If someone you really don't know invites you
Tip 4: Don't assume that video cameras
to join them in an excursion somewhere,
are there to protect you - They are only
don't be afraid to turn them down. There
there to protect the interests of the prop-
are worse things than offending someone
erty owners who may have a different
who you will probably never see again.
agenda when it comes to revealing what those cameras have seen.
Tip 8: If going out of the country, check for government issued travel advisories for your destination. If the state department says someplace is unsafe, take heed. Tip 9: Being on vacation doesn't turn you into Superman - Don't try doing anything that may be more physically involved than something you would do at home. Tip 10: Always listen and be kind to your flight attendant - He or she has much more experience than you in dealing with onboard emergencies and situations. Their help could save your life! w
Who’s on Crack?
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*From the book “Tearing Down the Wall: The Contemporary Guide to Decoding “Pink Floyd-The Wall” One Brick at a Time.
spheres of Pink’s brain and the zenith of his now-altered consciousness. Given the title’s obvious nod to being stoned, we now see the effect of those narcotic references first presented in “Nobody Home;” it becomes a bit more obvious why the connective tissue of that particular song was written and added later in the recording process: to properly foreshadow this tragic moment in Pink’s emotional downfall. From the outright rock and roll circus hedonism of “Young Lust” to the dark reveal of what addictions and physical possessions are used to spackle the divots in Pink’s soul in “Nobody Home” comes the arc of Corruption through Self-Medication that leads us here to Pink’s nadir at the end of The Wall’s second act (which, also incidentally, is the end of Side 3 of the LP). In cinematic three-act structure, the Unmistakable, right from the very
end of the second act is one of the most rec-
first note, is the vastness this musical im-
ognizable moments in the story arc. In
agery connotes. The delay-sodden guitar
short, it’s the moment that despite all the
slide up the neck easily evokes a sense of
things the protagonist has done on his jour-
flight. Echoes place us somewhere in space.
ney, the worst has happened, leading to a
But instead of the outer hemispheres be-
point of immediate and dire crisis. In the
yond the earth’s bounds, “Comfortably
movie Jaws it’s the moment when the en-
Numb” takes us on a journey into the hemi-
gine on Quint’s boat dies, leaving the three
men stranded in the middle of the ocean with no way to call for help and a very pissed off shark circling in the water below. In “Comfortably Numb,” Pink is trapped inside a whirlwind of emotional tor-
You are only coming through in waves. Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying. However, given how this vocal dy-
ment with no escape, facing the prospect of
namic has played out throughout the al-
eternal living isolation similar to Joe Bon-
bum so far, I’m now convinced this is a bril-
ham in Johnny Got His Gun. With all con-
liant and devious twist that more accu-
trol of his life now lost, he nearly overdoses
rately reflects the nature of duality in The
Wall. The way Waters has created songs
“Comfortably Numb” was created from
that seem to be one thing on the surface,
David Gilmour’s music, Roger’s lyric and
but different upon scrutiny under the intel-
Bob Ezrin’s orchestral arrangement; the
lectual microscope, yield a possibility of
end result is something much greater than
the sum of its parts. The song itself is possi-
I realize that in the movie adaptation of
bly one of the greatest examples of pure
The Wall, this is where the band’s man-
rock and roll transcendence.
ager, with a doctor in tow, breaks into
While there can be little questioning of
Pink’s room and the two are forced to resus-
the visual pictures of (altered) conscious-
citate him. I don’t deny that there obvi-
ness the music and arrangement paint in
ously exists such a thread in the lyrics to
the listener’s mind, it is the lyrics that form
“Comfortably Numb.” However, it’s also
the deepest pool in which to let our minds
safe to say that the surreal nature of the
movie lends itself to a more literal transla-
Hello, is there anybody in there?
tion of those elements of fantasy within the
Just nod if you can hear me.
narrative. You also have to take into ac-
Is there anyone home?
count that movies and television don’t have
At first it may appear that the lyrics
the luxury of allowing the onion to be
Roger Waters sing here reflect the voice of
gradually peeled back, layer by layer, and
a “doctor” and that David Gilmour’s vocals
often have to shortcut the narrative to ac-
reflect the voice of Pink.
complish telling a story within the limited
There is no pain you are receding.
running time window of a couple hours,
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
give or take.
Let’s not forget that all the characters
Pink lives like a Russian nesting doll,
we have met that have been voiced by Wa-
inside one world that exists inside yet an-
ters and Gilmour represent Pink’s own in-
other. Is there anybody out there… As op-
terpretations of these individuals and not
posed to the mirror image question Pink
the actual people themselves. It is only the
asked just earlier at the end of “Bring the
groupie, the guy banging Pink’s wife, and
Boys Back Home,” we have the “doctor” try-
the telephone operator who were voiced by
ing to diagnose whether his patient is all
others — because they represent real peo-
there and how far gone he may be. Is there
ple who enter the narrative and are not just
anybody home... The “doctor’s” inquiry ex-
figments of Pink’s memory or imagination.
presses great doubt in his patient’s sanity.
If this consistency in the presentation of these characters is to remain constant,
Come on, now, I hear you're feeling down.
one needs to consider the conclusion that
Well I can ease your pain
Pink is only speaking to himself and not
And get you on your feet again.
someone outside the wall. It is another
This is obviously not a doctor faithful
simulacrum born of his psyche under the
to his Hippocratic Oath (or any sort of ethi-
hallucinatory effects of narcotics.
cal treatment of this particular patient). In
Given how Waters’ vocals take the first
fact, he only cares that his patient marches
part of the song, this is also likely a conver-
off to war, or in Pink’s case, is be able to
sation Pink is having with himself as his
stay on his feet long enough to keep the
Super-Ego plays “doctor” to his wounded
well-oiled machine of rock stardom from
Id, with Gilmour singing the part of Pink’s
grinding its gears. In this regard, the pres-
Ego, which contains regressed past — the
sure Pink feels to keep his financial obliga-
inner child who doesn’t understand what is
tions, not only to himself but to the many
happening to him.
who depend upon him for their daily bread,
Inside this cocoon of Pink’s conscious-
runs rather parallel with what Roger Wa-
ness there is, in fact, a sort of metamorpho-
ters must have felt while trying to finish
sis underway. It would be folly to think that
The Wall under the crumbling of the band’s
Pink could emerge from such an inner war
interpersonal relationships and the rushed
without being changed. That’s the founda-
schedule placed upon him by their record
tion of the cinematic three-act story.
company; if he failed, the financial future
Hello, is there anybody in there?
of Pink Floyd as a business entity would be
in as much jeopardy as the Titanic on iceberg night. Self-medicating to temporarily alleviate the feeling of being crushed by life’s obligations isn’t just a favored pastime of rich rock stars, and it’s this ability to relate on some level to Pink’s actions that wrings sympathy for his self-destructive impulses. Can you show me where it hurts? Given how internal this wound goes, it is fitting that metaphorically Pink has to become his own doctor to open himself
I don’t know if it was a conscious decision on Roger Waters’ part to consistently make David Gilmour the voice of the “Ego”
up raw then become his own patient in order to expose his shattered psyche to himself. The self-realization of the illness’s true depth is what causes Pink to purge himself of feeling anything, or to go numb. There is no pain you are receding. A distant ship, smoke on the horizon. You are only coming through in waves. When the Gilmour vocal comes in during the chorus, we’ve obviously switched to another perspective, this time that of the “patient.” Given the internal difficulties going on with the band at the time, I don’t know if it was a conscious decision on Roger Waters’ part to consistently make David Gilmour the voice of the “Ego,” but again we get the emergence of this part of Pink’s psyche. At first, the Ego reinforces this sense of separation and isolation from the rest of Pink’s consciousness. There is obviously no communication between the two. In the second half of the chorus, we delve into another of Freud’s defense mechanisms: regression. When I was a child I had a fever My hands felt just like two balloons. During “Nobody Home” we were introduced to the lament of “swollen hand blues,” a complaint suffered by heroin addicts who shoot up into the veins of their hands to hide track marks. Now I've got that feeling once again…
This regression into the persona of the “wounded child” takes us back to Pink’s psy-
ful descending phrases that give the proceedings a very pastoral and calm exterior.
chological ground zero. It is here, in child-
Okay, just a little pinprick.
hood, where he suffers an illness so serious
There'll be no more...aaaaaaaaah!
that it wasn’t certain he would survive. The
But you may feel a little sick.
perspective of death’s true finality be-
As heroin enters the bloodstream, the
stowed upon him as a boy finally allows
body’s receptors are flooded by opioids.
him to clearly understand the hole that will
The resulting feeling includes nausea, vom-
always be in his life because of his father’s
iting, dizziness. The abstract clues that
absence. The building of the wall is a result
point toward heroin demonstrate how Pink
of trying to hide the hole from view, but as
is not having these conversations with
the hole widens, the wall must also grow.
someone outside the wall, such as the doc-
Nothing, not a smothering mother’s love,
tor seen in the movie version, but instead
nor fame, nor drugs, can fill the void. As
with himself; he is self-medicating and still
the chasm deepens and the divide that sepa-
rates his psyche from his being whole widens, the wall must go higher to hide it. So now, behind the wall, Pink falls into the void. I have become comfortably numb. This first guitar solo launches on a wail-
Listen also to the way the “aaaaaaaaah!” is sung in the frenetic Pink voice. This is the voice of the present Pink. This is the sound of his reaction to the needle going into his vein. Then the “prescribed” shot starts work-
ing note. Though it is a precursor for the
ing. Pink has rendered himself functional
epic solo Gilmour unleashes later after the
enough to venture forth and fulfill his pro-
second chorus, there is an uplifting sense
fessional obligations once more, assuming
that the guitar is singing a song for itself.
the mask of rock star Pink.
There is not so much virtuosity here as
As we enter the second chorus, there is
there is feeling. The extended sustained
another a separation and lack of communi-
notes that Gilmour lands on at the top of
cation, but here it takes quite an interesting
every other bar are derived from the 3rd of
the root chord, giving us tension and the 5th, which connotes that strong heroicsounding resolution. Behind this, audible in the mix, are Ezrin’s cellos playing beauti-
Listen closely in the recording to the orchestra during this lyric in the chorus. Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying. 46
In the mix, there is a French horn play-
lent gap — both before and — after rather
ing a three note phrase that spans from the
than being audibly connected to the next
root note to the 5th and then up a perfect
song)? Is this just another hypothetical
4th to the octave where it began. This is a
question that can never truly be answered?
mirror image of Strauss’ epic Also Sprach
Given the regression that occurs again
Zarathustra. It is this line in the orchestral
upon the mention of that fleeting glimpse
arrangement that lends a suggestion of tran-
from childhood, this transcendence seems
scendence and the continuation of Pink’s
to suggest a rebirth of consciousness, possi-
bly similar to the one experienced at the
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse
end of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey where the Strauss piece played such an
Out of the corner of my eye.
overwhelming role. The bigger question
I turned to look but it was gone
then becomes this: could what Pink de-
I cannot put my finger on it now
scribes seeing as a boy have instead been
Did he see his own place in the world?
Being walked upon by those authority fig-
In the same way that drug users have
ures who would only tear
been known to associ-
his self-esteem to pieces
ate their spiritual
because they were over-
journeys of altered
compensating for some-
thing? Did he see the pos-
the search to “see
sibility of his own death?
God,” does Pink turn
Perhaps it was the grim
to heroin in order to
reaper lurking just out of
revisit this moment
the corner of his eye?
of unanswered ques-
Or could it have been the ghost of his dead father? Since it’s a vision that can’t be de-
tions from the psychological ground zero of his childhood? The moment eludes his grasp like quicksilver running through his
scribed, did Waters intentionally give a nod
fingers, like the fading echo of a tolling bell.
back to the song “Mother” (also the sixth
To understand what that seminal memory
song on its half of The Wall and the only
actually meant could lead to the resolution
other song in the entire album that has a si47
of his lifelong issues. Though he tries to
out swinging right from the gate. Now if the
find it again, it is gone… forever.
grand build in the solo after the first chorus
Those tolling bells metaphorically
and all of the heroic-sounding root-to-
come alive around 4:25, right before the
perfect 5th jumps made the sound “an-
second guitar solo. The bass plays two bars,
gelic,” then this heavily blues-driven solo is
pounding that D note with steady quarter
the “brimstone and fire” of that devil sitting
note rhythm, subconsciously calling our at-
on Pink’s other shoulder.
tention to the coming of a message of great importance. One that arrives in the form of a guitar
In Freudian terms, it even goes deeper. That angelic solo represents Pink’s SuperEgo, the part of his psyche that includes his
solo that blisters with the passion of a des-
spiritual goals, the psychic energy com-
perate voice fighting to be heard.
monly called the “conscience,” and his ego
Voted by the readers of “Guitar Player
ideals — the inner self-image one wants to
Magazine” to be the fourth greatest guitar
become. That second, darker solo then that
solo of all time (Number one was, predicta-
represents Pink’s Id. Within this uncon-
bly, Jimmy Pages’ immaculately-conceived
scious stew of primal instincts and desires
guitar slinging in “Stairway to Heaven”),
resides, of course, the libido and the inac-
it’s safe to say this is the most signature mo-
cessible part of the human personality —
ment from all of David Gilmour’s six-string
that boiling cauldron of chaos, full of seeth-
work. There’s every reason to believe that
ing expectations and quite unresponsive to
the unstable relationship Gilmour had with
the demands and earthly bounds of reality.
Waters during this period in the band’s his-
Represented in this nearly two-minute
tory played an emotional role here as well.
long fire-breathing feast of screaming tran-
With Waters taking control of Pink Floyd
scendental emotion is the culmination of
and essentially turning it into his band to
record his album, there is an undeniable sense of urgency in what Gilmour played.
From this battle between the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other,
Brilliantly edited together from several
comes the newly reborn Pink. As he
takes Gilmour had recorded, the second
emerges fully-formed from his womb-like
solo in “Comfortably Numb” is composed
isolation, it will become clear that it is the
of a number of scorching licks that, unlike
devil that has won and that Pink’s Id has
the song’s first solo, don’t dynamically
build up to a crescendo but instead come
SECRETS OF THE WALL REVEALED! Imagine dusting off a beloved album, comfortable as an old pair of jeans, and one day discovering that it goes much deeper down the rabbit hole than you ever envisioned. The thematic intention of every note…The nuance behind every veiled reference…Until you finally recognize that hidden deep inside is a distinctly powerful message you never knew was there. It's like discovering buried treasure within the walls of your own backyard. Seen by some as merely as story about how someone disintegrates when they become isolated, or how we, as a society, disintegrate when isolated from one another, Roger Waters’ semi-autobiographical rock opera about a burned out rock star who suffers a dark night of the soul while trying to examine his unhappiness — and along the way is haunted by his unhappy memories of his domineering mother, abusive schoolteacher and distant wife - is a deliberate gape down dark, uncomfortable corridors of the soul, searching for that wounded child within; a work that uses complex narrative structures to express typical Modernist concerns such as the shattering of consciousness and the decay of modern society.
Brilliantly crafted into the album’s message and production are elements of something bigger: a philosophy about the meaning of human existence that tread on the mental real estate owned by giants like Freud, Sartre, Camus, Kafka, Orwell and Kubrick, among others. Without being too obvious, some of these tiny, yet bare glimpses into existentialism are so deeply woven into the framework of The Wall that they remain mostly subliminal, yet there are few who listen to this work and don’t feel it resonate within. The Wall, originally released in November of 1979, is a remarkable and thematicallyrich canvas made powerful not only by how deeply it draws upon some very essential human struggles with anguish, abandonment and despair, but also the crafty way it ultimately reveals itself as a philosophical treatise about our interpersonal relationships with others. Think you know what Pink Floyd - The Wall is all about? What if I told you at the very least it's a lot more than you may have previously imagined. PRAISE FOR TEARING DOWN THE WALL “Smart, sharp, insightful and profound...” - Blake Morgan, President ECR Music Group “The most complete study of any album I’ve ever read. Tearing Down The Wall is absolutely forensic!” - Mike Yusi (UC Radio)
Want to know more? TEARING DOWN THE WALL: A Contemporary Guide to Decoding PINK FLOYD - THE WALL One Brick at a Time
*Excerpted from the novel, “INFINITY”
Highway. Ian Augustine refused to lose them. When his targets accelerated to seventy, he punched the gas of his black BMW 3-Series, closing the distance. Pedal down, his slalom swerve between a white Suburban and beater pick-up truck gained him the slightest bit of ground. Beach mansions whizzed by on the left. To the right, there was nowhere to go but up, into the Santa Monica Mountains. The tingle in the back of his head was hot. I’ve got you, Ian thought. Today you’re going back to Hell. Ian pulled a Beretta PX4 from the glove box. Full clip. Ready for close encounters. He snapped off the safety and dropped the barrel down into the cup holder. Not getting away this time. They had given him the slip before. It had been one of the hottest days of summer PROLOGUE
and he had tracked them to a farm outside
Forever, the din arose, bringing with it
had worked the entire East Coast as psycho-
the inevitable. The red Mercedes continued in reckless haste, bounding with insanity across the tripled northbound lanes of Pacific Coast
of Ithaca, New York. The man and woman therapists convincing simple, everyday people that they been the victims of childhood molestation by members of the clergy. More than forty-one lawsuits had been brought. 51
As expert witnesses for the plaintiffs, the couple would testify to the horrors their patients continued to suffer because of the cruelty of these so-called “men of faith.” Nightmares. Nervous Breakdowns. Depression and Anxiety. “Authority and power enable predators such as these to coerce the victim—in these cases children—into doing things for dominance, sexual gratification, or, mostly, both,” Dr. Rinier would iterate to terrified juries while he cleaned his glasses. Addiction. Dissociative States. Gastrointestinal Distress. The symptoms were myriad. The punishment should fit the crime. The settlements bankrupted the church—but it was mostly the suicides the doctor and his wife were after. One monsignor, guilty only of steering troubled boys in the right direction, cut his wrists with a sliver of broken mirror. Another had swallowed enough drain cleaner to liquefy his insides until he died screaming. The two or three priests who had actually been guilty of something had also taken their lives. “The more the merrier,” Dr. Rinier told his wife, Caina, as they toasted their success. Down in the cellar of their farmhouse, they told Ian, at gunpoint, about the things that would happen to his family. Even his parents, both many years in the grave, would be dug up, their bodies defiled. “I’ll sip soup out of your mother’s skull,” hissed Rinier. In the ensuing scuffle, the couple escaped. It was weeks before Ian located them again. There was no way these two were escaping this time. The two cars shared abandon. The red Mercedes blew through a red light; Ian followed. Lanes were wide open. Their speedometers made it to eighty. The Mercedes throttled up fast. Ian accelerated in turn, gaining. Shoot them at close range. Get away. Dump the car. Leave town. Just like he’d been trained. Just like he’d done countless times before in the name of the Church of Infinity. Ahead, the three lanes became two. Bottleneck. Ian knew he could get them—until the red Mercedes swerved into oncoming traffic, head-on onto the southbound lanes. “Sumbitch!” Ian smashed his palm against the steering wheel in frustration. Grabbing the shifter, he switched the BMW from automatic to manual transmission and dropped it from fifth gear to fourth. The car rocketed ahead, revving up into the red as it crossed the double yellow line. He barely missed the black Honda blaring its horn at him. He swerved back into the northbound lanes to avoid a school bus. 52
The red Mercedes was getting away. For a second time, he jumped the dividing line. A heart-stopping near miss with a minivan cost the red Mercedes speed and Ian was in position again. He downshifted once more, the engine screaming as it redlined. Within seconds he was right on their tail. If he could catch the back corner of their bumper, he could pit maneuver them off the road. Just a little bit more; a little further. He cut left at the same time as his prey and they blocked his advance. Ian juked right, but they matched him move for move. A bread truck came directly toward them, the driver hitting his horn intermittently, as if delivering frantic bursts of Morse code. The two speeding cars evaded to the left. Seeing his opening, Ian cranked the wheel right, entering the space the bread truck had just passed through. The Mercedes slowed momentarily because of a green SUV coming toward it. Ian knew this was a small miracle. In mere seconds he was next to the Mercedes, his Beretta pointed out his driver side window. As if time had slowed to a crawl, Ian could clearly see both driver and passenger—an old man and the woman, their expressions full of terror as they spotted his gun. Once he pulled the trigger and the bullets ripped into their mortal bodies, Ian finally caught a glimpse of their true faces. To his horror, they looked very human. The dead man slumped over the wheel. The Mercedes drifted out of control, first smashing door-to-door into Ian’s BMW before ricocheting head first into a guardrail. The sheer force of the crash lifted the back right wheel of the Mercedes off the ground. The rest of the car followed as it traveled up and over at an angle, hitting the rocks below as it fell. Desperately, Ian fought against the steering wheel of his car to regain control before it fishtailed too far and followed the Mercedes. They weren’t demons. In Ian’s mind, he saw their faces again and could not escape the thought that he made a terrible mistake. What have I done? It was the sudden and distinct blast of an air horn that brought his eyes forward—to the eighteen-wheeler barreling down upon him. The truck grill's grinning face bloomed larger and larger. The accelerated rate of closure caused its unchanging gape to fill Ian’s windshield with the visage of death. 53
The eighteen-wheelerâ€™s air horn quickly blanketed the air. Ian felt it shake him from head to toe. Momentarily, his gaze jerked upward, away from the oncoming grill of the truck, to the rearview mirror. Those dark blue orbs staring back did not correspond with his physiological responsesâ€”the hurricane swell buffeting his mind; the tense feeling in his chest; white knuckles on the steering wheel. Instantly, he knew the moment to pull away had come and gone; he was past the point of no return. Even if he could turn the wheel and change his trajectory, something told him it wouldnâ€™t make a difference. And he braced for impact. *****
I 1. Ian never forgot the day he discovered the book. A dozen years earlier, before he had become a mercenary, he had been something else entirely. Something that felt as empty as a hole in the sky. As usual, the day began after another night of tossing and turning. The things that visited his mind in the dark were never kind. Ping. Ping. Ping. It was it an eerie sound. Ping. Ping. Ping. Like sonar calling from the depths of his twilight. Through the slightly-open window, someone in the building behind his was tuning a piano at six in the morning. Ian sat at the edge of the futon bed inside the tiny, sparsely decorated studio apartment. He rubbed his face with his palms before squeezing the bridge of his nose between the pads of both middle fingers. The static inside his head seemed louder than usual, which troubled him. He had exercises to keep the static at bay. Closing his eyes, he tried to imagine the puppy his father had given him before telling Ian about being diagnosed with terminal cancer by two different doctors. His father meant the puppy to be the best friend he wouldn't have the time to be.
Shortly after his dad passed, his mom was forced to move to a worse part of town. Some bullies stomped and kicked his little dog to death. Ian avoided thinking about the latter part; trying to remember the dog's face calmed him. He shut his eyes harder against the static and attempted to recall the feeling of the puppy's small tongue eagerly licking his face. But the din was too loud and kept the memory from surfacing. He let out an exasperated sigh and knew that any attempt to push harder would also bring up those memories better left buried. These unkind moments were locked inside the vault of his mind, which hid most of this whole life. They were never to be thought of. He had come to Boston to hide and forget. But forgetting was not easy for Ian. He had been hospitalized. They had done something to his brain. And for a while he remembered nothing. There were no bad dreams. There were no sleepless nights. Mostly, there was no static. By the end, forgetting was hard. He remembered everything, especially the worst parts. The static came back. It made Ian think there was something possibly slightly beyond the static—though reaching it would be like swimming too far from shore. As the treatments he had suffered at hands of self-professed men of medicine wore off, he needed to find ways to distract himself. His life earning minimum wage washing dishes at a cafe near Kendall Square offered zero mental stimuli. As far as Ian was concerned, it was numbing his brain into mush. Opening the drawer of the nightstand, Ian touched his pistol—a cheap .22 caliber. He imagined the familiar feeling of the barrel against his temple moments before he placed it there. After letting out a long exhale, he put the gun back and closed the drawer. Like most days prior, he divined the strength to go headfirst into another day without knowing why. Overhead, the cold gray slate—Boston’s late winter skies—ensured gloom on those below. Downing another large gulp of chocolate milk from the cardboard container, Ian exited the Store 24 on the corner. He checked the cash in his pocket. A ten and six singles. A quick glance at the watch on his wrist revealed it was ten to seven; he was already late. No time for the bus. No choice.
Ian flagged a cab, despite knowing it would cost him most of his sixteen dollars. A square-jawed businessman stepped off the curb to steal the taxi, but backed away when he met Ian’s stare. The look in Ian’s eyes, unstable and emotionally distant, compelled the businessman to take the mulligan. If asked nicely, Ian would have let the stranger take the cab, even if he did think the man looked like an asshole. They were easy to spot, Ian often thought—self-absorbed drones whose sense of selfworth could only be derived by the overall value of their possessions. Assholes cared what kind of car you drove or what brand your earbuds were. Some days he’d see more Boston assholes than a Beacon Hill proctologist. Robot, Ian thought, watching the line of businessmen on the sidewalk on the other side of his cab window. Inside, he carried the deathly fear of becoming one. Most of Ian’s life had been spent as an outsider, trying to remain inconspicuous. Then the bad things happened. Things that fractured his humanity. Things that sliced him up inside like the jagged edges of a broken bottle. He had killed. Most of those memories had been expunged at the hospital. That part of his history, taking lives of those who had wronged him—including the two bullies who had coldly snapped his whimpering puppy’s spine—was behind him like a past life gone to rest. No longer did their faces haunt the dark. His escape into the anonymity that cloaked him from notice essentially made him nobody. He lived like a ghost. He kept no bank account, no credit cards. His cell phone used only pre-paid minutes. But the anonymity took its toll because it offered no future. Living paycheck to paycheck with no direction in life made him feel like there was less and less of him left every day. And now the static was going to eat him alive. The cab pulled up to the front of the diner at two minutes after seven. Ian surrendered the ten-dollar bill; thirty-five cents was all he could afford to tip anyway. He tried sneaking in the back, through the kitchen door. He ignored the buzzsaw stare from the cafe’s owner as she looked up from the grill and crossed toward the dishes, already piled up. “I’m warning you,” she said. “If I wasn’t too damn busy to hire someone new…” Her words meant nothing to Ian. She paid him in cash. 56
Besides, he thought, she still owed him. One time, a gangbanger had come in waving a knife trying to rob the place before Ian bum-rushed the guy through the kitchen and beat him into unconsciousness in the alley. The cops never pressed any charges. As it often does, word got out about the lunatic dishwasher. A rumor started that Ian was be some kind of ex-soldier come back from the front lines with a head full of broken parts. If that’s what people wanted to believe and it meant he was left alone, Ian didn’t care. If nothing else, the rumor did wonders for business. So he went to work, scrubbing pots and hosing down plates, scraping wasted half-eaten meals down into the drain. Not once in two hours did he look up from the sink. After the morning rush, LaRon, the busboy, a lanky nineteen-year-old with jailhouse tattoos, took a breather to shoot the shit. “What’s the game today, psycho?” “It’s called Dead Relatives,” Ian replied. “It's all about who you would pick if you could only save one: your kid or your spouse; your dog or your mother.” “Why can’t you save both?” “That’s not how it works.” Ian tried to keep his annoyance from becoming apparent. He knew it was just a stupid game. “You have only seconds to act or both will die. You have to pick one.” “You’re fucked in the melon, Ian. You know that?” Of course he did. He was more aware of it than anybody he knew. “Spot me a Jackson ‘til payday?” asked LaRon. Ian realized the true nature of his visit. “I’m tap city.” “Gum-ment telling me I should just be happy to have a job. Gimme a break. I’m starting to think all that bullshit you always talking ‘bout the gum-ment trying to ‘liminate the middle class ain’t bullshit after all.” LaRon shook his head as Ian stacked pots. “Thing is, I just don’t know why I gotta even give a rats ass ‘bout no middle class. They don’t stand up for poor folks like they used to.” “Protest is dead my friend. Middle-class outrage only happens on the Internet.” LaRon chuffed. “You imagine what kind of world this would be if instead of doing something about it, Rosa Parks just went to the back of the bus and then wrote a blog post about how pissed off she was?” “And you don’t think the powers-that-be like us complacent?” “You are one paranoid motherfucker,” LaRon said, chuckling before walking away.
After lunch, LaRon took a break. Ian was told to fill in and bus tables. He grabbed the grey plastic dish tub and did his duty. While dragging a damp rag across a tabletop, he spotted something on a chair. It was by pure, albeit designed, chance that Ian Augustine discovered this wellthumbed paperback volume of Ranajee’s First Book of Infinity. The book was not thick. It's cover art, cracked by a fold down the middle, alluded to a darkening sky illuminated by an ominous orange blossom of light the color of unbridled flame. Ian picked up the book, he flipped open the dog-eared cover. He had never seen it before, nor did he realize the person who left it behind had done so purposely, intending that someone—anyone—find the text. A simple design, to be sure. There were millions of copies of this tome seeded around the world, thus, the trick of the First Book of Infinity was not in its discovery, but rather in the culmination of a secondary—and much more difficult—search. Only one hundred pages in length—a mere twenty-five thousand words—the entire text was penned in second person, with a single statement per line. Ian, anxious for a respite from sanitizing tables, cracked open the book and began to read. For one destined to become a Falconer, the sum of the book’s total message was encapsulated in a single sentence. The words exploded behind Ian's eyeballs like fire. Earth is Heaven for Demons. 2. Over and over, he read the section that preceded the incendiary sentence. The compass spins. A ship adrift. Tossed in unyielding seas. You cannot find safety. Because you do not know the way. Any course taken is speculation. One of endless choices. Some beyond the scope of what you can see with your eyes. Your perception is so primitive. 58
Your resources are limited. Like the oil of a lamp forced to stay lit. Hope dwindles the longer you are lost. Eventually leaving only helplessness. Desperation follows in the night. Claiming all sanity. Despair is evil’s exploit. The greatest truth of all is mankind’s weakness. You must understand this. Earth is Heaven for Demons. The book had kept him up past three a.m. at which point he fell into a fitful slumber. Shaken from bed by the alarm, Ian shuffled across the floor of his apartment and opened the fridge door. What little was left of the quart of chocolate milk went down his throat in a thin trickle. The water he splashed in his face did little more than wash the sleep from his dark blue eyes. Ian ran a hand through his black hair, trying to summon the mask needed to get through another day. As he gazed at his own reflection in the mirror, he realized something remarkable: the static had vanished. It was only the enigmatic phrase from the First Book of Infinity that lingered, embedded in his mind like a tick. Earth is Heaven for Demons. At first, he believed it was just a trick of the forced perspective of second person prose— like gazing upon an unpleasant blemish in the mirror against one’s will. He took to the streets to think. Ian was used to it by now; the mere act of ambulation triggered his impulse of reflection. There had always been an inkling of sorts—one that, for a time in his youth, led him to believe he was born special. But his childhood had been robbed from him, and that feeling died along with his father. Ian’s feet pounded the sidewalk. He swigged from his small carton of chocolate milk. There was no doubt he could feel something gestating, something long dormant inside him.
His feet took him all the way down to the Commons. Along the pathways he saw more drones, properly attired office workers buzzing all too loudly on their cell phones, fools who believed their brief respite from the hive equaled some kind of independence. Ian knew he could never be like these people—cogs in a great machine destined to turn in place until worn out and thrown away. As a boy, he had been drawn to stories of secret societies and phenomena that could not be explained. An interest quashed by the disapproving and abusive hand of a stepfather he hated—such drivel offended the old man’s sensibilities. Unlike his real father, his stepdad loathed science fiction, calling it a ���subversive liberal tool that only helped children foster a complete distrust of authority.” However, what Ian mostly found of interest was science fact. As a boy, he had been sure these alternate worlds he read about truly existed, though the constant beatings and cruel verbal harassment by his stepfather had put that interest on the wane. Until now. Earth is Heaven for Demons. In his mind the message had germinated, fostering a maddening desire to delve deeper into what the author meant. Ian's discovery of the Second Book of Infinity came as the result of a deliberate search. In it, Ranajee addressed who exactly were these demons. Hell exists. The name adopted by a dimension parallel to our own. It is a barren world. A world without law. A violent world where every being struggles for survival. There are denizens of this plane who have gained the ability to enter our dimension from their own. Demons. Essentially humanoids imbued with additional matter manipulation and psychic abilities. Most Demons know what they are. However, some believe they're earth-born beings. Others, caught in between this conceptual dichotomy, have gone insane. Demons have always walked among you right here on earth. 60
Existence of Demons in our world goes back to the beginning of time. Their traits, those of temptation and torment, are responsible for the afterlife myths common to human spiritual thinking. Though many would like you to believe mortal man’s evil sins will place him in Hell, it is not true. Mankind cannot yet cross the dimensions into the other worlds. For humans, Hell is but a condition of suffering that exists right here. In our own world. Yet we are too blind to see the cause. Demons destroy the lives of mortal humans for their own gain. And to deepen their hold upon our world. A hold that grows stronger. With each passing day, Demons gain ever more control over the affairs of man. 3. Traversing the busy sidewalks of Boylston Street, Ian could not help but look into the faces of all those who passed. A frigid wind cut through Boston, chilling him to the bone. But still he walked. Still he gazed. Above the scarf-lined mouths were eyes—who or what resided behind each pair was what he attempted to find. Nevertheless, answers eluded him. He was going to be late for work,. Turn around, go back, he thought. It’s not too late. However, it was far beyond late. He could no longer turn back. Ian stopped in front of a massive stone edifice, more than a century old. The continuation of his journey required crossing its threshold. And inside the Boston Public Library, hidden deep within those venerated stacks, was where he found the Third Book of Infinity, an entire volume dedicated to the threat these demons proposed. You are prey for Demons. Because of how easily you can be seduced. In practice, Demons thrive in our world simply because of its most basic quality. Earth is a place defined by worldly means. Demons exploit this vulnerability to place people like you in your own living Hell. 61
You who deserve it, whose souls are fully corrupted, are akin to low hanging fruit. You live on the edge. You constantly teeter on the brink. As such, it takes very little effort for a Demon to push you into a chasm of interminable chaos. And endless torment. You must be vigilant. You must stop it from happening to yourself. Most importantly, you must stop it from happening to others. There was nothing outside awaiting Ian. He remained camped out in the library from morning until close. Buried deeper than the previous volumes, the Fourth Book of Infinity explained how demons pinpoint their prey. Does THE CALL beckon to you? Do you heed its siren song? If so, Demons will find you. Demonsâ€™ highly acute senses and abilities to read human minds allow them to easily pinpoint followers of THE CALL. A beacon that has a stronger pull on some humans. THE CALL may not be the same for you as it is for another. It is different for all. Some hear voices. Some are bombarded by impulses and destructive thoughts. Almost always, THE CALL will lure you by appealing to your greed and need for power. In many cases, those followers of THE CALL even revel in the destruction they cause in their wake. Because THE CALL often manifests itself within your sense of spite. Your deep-seated desire to prove yourself worthy or right in the eyes of those who deny you.
Once you have fully succumbed to THE CALL, you are powerless to resist those Demons who choose to control you. You are a pawn of their will and subject to their toxic whims. Ian wanted more. The craving pulsed through his veins. So far, Ranajeeâ€™s claims had dealt only with the powers of darkness. It wasnâ€™t until the Fifth Book of Infinity where the prophet had changed gears. This tome would almost exclusively concern itself with the vast indifference of Heaven. Yes, Angels exist. Though they are far more rare than Demons. And our worldly plane holds much less interest to them. Those that are here, and know of their angelic status, conspicuously feel that it is their duty to alleviate what suffering they can before Armageddon destroys the earth. Most Angels spend their existence attempting to find and mitigate those human minds most ripe for possession by subduing their immoral and aggressive tendencies. By reaching out to those most vulnerable to THE CALL, Angels attempt to show them peace. And grant them access to THE LIGHT. A serenity that makes one immune to the charms of Demons. A calm that inspires confidence and hope. It is a precious and rare revelation. But do not expect the hand of divine intervention to protect you. Do not expect THE LIGHT to prevent the destructive influence of Demons upon you. Most people are partially corrupt. As such Angels very rarely will give specific aid. They fear a butterfly effect. Afraid that if they help you escape death today, tomorrow you may invent the nuclear bomb. Or become the carrier of a plague. But it is the influence of these few Angels that ultimately shields most humans from the destruction Demons want to wreak upon this world. They bear for us a fragile peace between their world and Hell. 63
It is not known by man how long that peace will last. Or how much longer Heaven will protect us. Because once Heaven’s watchful eye has gone away. We will be at the mercy of Demons who see humans only as a commodity. We will be lost. The compass spins. A ship adrift. Tossed in violent seas. Ian flipped the page wanting more. But found only a blank sheet awaiting him. There in the lower corner someone had scrawled in faded pen: Where is the rest? Where do these demons come from? 4. The abrupt ending to the Fifth Book of Infinity left Ian feeling hollow. He spent days searching the stacks for more of the message. But it was nowhere to be found. He couldn’t find a single person who knew of it—who could help him on his search. Even his hours spent combing the Internet turned up nothing other than false leads and dead ends. For Ian, the scribbled missive found at the end of Book Five resonated louder than the other questions firing rapidly in his mind: Where do these demons come from? It was getting late and he had no choice but to leave the library and quit for the night. Back in his apartment, he gazed at the ceiling for hours, unable to sleep. By daybreak, he sat bleary-eyed at the edge of his bed. Carton of chocolate milk in hand, he picked up the phone. Library after library denied that they had the book—that they had the possible answer. It was as if he had fallen into a black hole. Finally, he contacted the Library of Congress, which reignited the search. Packing a bag, he jumped on a BoltBus headed south down I-95 to Washington, D.C. There, he found the Sixth Book of Infinity. The hardback tome appeared to be at least half a century old. Unlike Ranajee’s previous writings, this one seemed more like a history lesson.
In the beginning, there was only a single plane of existence. One that in many ways mirrored our own dimension long before we existed. Then came a vast devastation. An apocalyptic event. One that all but wiped out everything. Causing a rift massive enough to fracture a once fertile ancient world into two separate dimensions. Hell and Heaven. It was this event that created a new world. One overlapping Heaven and Hell. That new world was the earth. These planes are just three of many that exist in the same space. Concentric spheres invisible to each other and unnoticed by nearly all who inhabit them. Including you. Especially you. Ian spent a sleepless night on the street, watching his breath fog before his eyes while his teeth chattered in the frigid air. The final lines of the sixth book flashed repeatedly in his mind. He waited outside for the Library of Congress to open in the morning. His exhaustion weighed heavily upon him. After he registered for a pass and tracked down the book, all fatigue vanished completely once his fingers touched the spine of the seventh volume. The fear created inside him by the other books had caused him to wonder what could be done. The Seventh Book of Infinity chipped away at Hellâ€™s weaknesses. The remains of that long-devastated world is the place from where Demons come. Many believe Hell is a realm of limitless power, one with full legions of demon soldiers at its disposal. But that is exactly what they want us to think. Contrary to popular conception, the dimension of Hell is nothing of the sort. Hell is a barren world full of famine and starvation. A blasted and dying wasteland. 65
It is only through thievery from the human world that Hell is even able to exist. Hell is our destructive foil. It feeds off of our dimension. Taking from us our most precious resources. With its genesis, earth became the plane of physical creation, robbing Heaven and Hell of any ability to develop technology. This is why it is so important for Demons to steal from those on earth. And to possess minds. 5. With a bit of luck he had been able to track down the Eighth Book of Infinity in a private collection just outside of Dallas, Texas. The owner, an elderly woman with a face like parchment, greeted him as if he had been expected. She gave him two hours alone to examine the thin, antiquated book. Held within its pages were the seeds of hopeâ€”a way to alter the tide. Those who control the reins of power in Hell know the future will bring change. The imperialistic force of Heaven, so embedded into the conscience of earthly humans, will lose sway. Eventually, Heavenâ€™s watch over this plane will expire. When that time comes, the forces of Hell will mount a full-scale invasion and leave their dying dimension behind. The date of Armageddon has not yet been written. But do not be fooled. It is approaching. The arrival of the end of the mortal world accelerates with every passing day you allow these demons to walk the earth and corrupt those all around you. As he left, the old woman pushed a piece of paper into his hand. The shaky, geriatric scrawl contained an address several states away along with a cryptic message. Find all ten books. Inside an envelope handed to him was cash for bus fare and food. Before he could refuse, she shut the door in his face and threw the lock.
The journey to Phoenix, Arizona took two days. As he approached the location, Ian double checked the old lady’s handwriting and furrowed his brow. It was a cemetery. He could feel the rust against the skin of his palms as he shook the locked gate. There was no caretaker to be found, though from what Ian could see the grounds appeared recently manicured. Checking over his shoulder, he scaled the wrought iron fence. His chest tightened with an indefinite sense of dread when his feet hit the ground. Carefully, he stalked through the rows of headstones. Ahead, he spotted a mausoleum. His feet picked up the pace; he knew this is why he came. Simple, squarish, unadorned. Above the doorway, the name Ranajee was engraved deeply into the stone. The iron gate, to Ian’s surprise, was unlocked. Heavily glassed small portals in the roof, each no bigger in circumference than a teacup, allowed a dozen pinpoints of sunlight to shine upon the plain rectangular sarcophagus. On top lay the book. The Ninth Book of Infinity, a manifesto for the radical steps necessary to save what was left of this dimension. Both the principals of Heaven and Hell. The opposing forces of the overarching divine principal. Have since the beginning of their times viewed their stewardship as finite. It is bookended on one end by Creation and the subsequent fall. On the other, by Armageddon and the ensuing establishment of a new kingdom of Hell on earth. Mankind will someday perish in a ball of fire. Those few men, women, and children allowed to survive Armageddon will be enslaved. But the Church of Infinity does not accept Armageddon as an inevitable occurrence. Neither should you. You can continue to add volumes and exceed the bookend principle entirely. But this can only occur if you eradicate those Demons who endeavor each day to hasten Armageddon’s arrival. Eradication by any means necessary.
6. The Tenth Book of Infinity proved impossible to locate. There had been no more clues left inside Ranajeeâ€™s mausoleum. The old woman in Dallas had disconnected her phone. Ian called his antiquated answering machine from a pay phone; the temp agency that had placed him in his job at the diner had called a day earlier to tell him not to come by anymore and his landlord said he was late on the rent. Ian deleted both messages. He knew there was no going back. After draining his meager bank account, he took a job as a dishwasher in a Greek restaurant. During his off hours he worked the phones, calling every library and bookstore he could find. His brief, boyhood sense that he was someone special had returned. A mental divining rod inside of him had come to life. Thanks to Ranajee, he felt a drive to somehow become complete. It was this last book that he was certain would make the final puzzle piece fall into place. If only I could find the damn thing, he thought after slamming down the phone for the hundredth time. Weeks passed and the specter of failure began to chip away at his resolve. He had only an inkling of how close he was. Though never one to consider himself a writer, one night he opened his notebookâ€”the one filled with hastily scribbled thoughts, clues, and leadsâ€”and penned a pair of haikus: Life's path, shadow falls My eye sees only darkness Restless heart seeks sun Journey's call to arms To me I fear truth beckons Find its golden coin Ian studied the duality of the haiku pair. It was as if he had snatched them from the ether. Another month passed before he finally tracked down what he was searching for at an antique bookseller in Seattle, Washington. 68
Ian found the store off the beaten path, a handful of blocks from Pioneer Square, in the oldest part of town rebuilt after most of the city burnt down in a previous century. The faint jingle of the bell as he entered caused the clerk behind the register to look up. He was a kind-faced African American man, but there was something behind his eyes that Ian could not dismiss. He felt it was almost sinister. The feeling quickly passed as the clerk shot Ian a smile. The clerk offered to help him find anything he was looking for, but after Ian asked about the tenth volume, the store’s phone rang. The clerk could only point down one of the rows toward the back. Ian passed a man and woman down one aisle and an academic-looking twentysomething nearsightedly squinting at thick, aged volumes down another. On a shelf away from prying eyes, he found what he had traveled all this distance to locate. As his fingers reached for the book’s spine, he could feel his heart hammer in his throat. When Ian picked up the tome, he realized it was far too heavy for its size. Holding it in his hands, before he drew the cover back, he knew what he was going to find. Despite the long and arduous journey he had taken to get here, something inside Ian begged him to put it back and walk away. Even though he could see the images of himself in his head—reshelving the book; walking out of the store—Ian’s hands were already in motion, flipping through page after page, all of which were blank. Until he reached the book’s center—which had been hollowed out and held a pistol. Without thinking, Ian stuffed the gun into his pants and continued to flip through the book reluctantly searching for more instructions. He hoped for some unlikely benign explanation. Ian was stunned when he reached the end of the book—and all of its blank pages—and came across the inside of the back cover. Taped over the space on the reverse flap that normally holds the picture of the book's author was a Polaroid of a nondescript man. Neatly drawn in red ink right over the man’s face were crosshairs—as if Ian was looking at him through the scope of a gun. 7. An address had been written on the back of the photo. The bus ride took a little more than two hours. Knocking on the door and forcing his way into the house of the man in the photo took less than a minute—as did marching him down into his basement.
This was all too familiar for Ian. While holding the weapon and knowing what he was about to do, he was re-entering territory he never thought he would tread upon again. The dark sins of his past ensured that he was quite capable of doing what was being asked of him. Slowly, his eyes adjusted to the low light and, along with his mind, focused on the gun in his hand and the rounded silhouette of the man’s head looming large in front of him. “You just wait until they find you, Ian Augustine,” hissed the demonic Da’Renth, stunning Ian with the use of his name. “They’ll kill you slow. They’ll—” With a simple pull of the trigger, Ian lit up the room and silenced the demon. The moment Ian exited the house he heard the voice. “You did good.” Whipping the gun around, Ian trained the sight on the same man he had seen behind the counter at the used bookstore back in Seattle. “The name’s Turk,” said the black man as he flashed a gentle smile. “Come with me if you want to meet Ranajee.” Ian paused, unsure how to respond. His mind reeled. “Ranajee is dead. I visited his grave.” He kept the gun trained on the black man. “Tell you what. You put that gun down and come with me if you want your questions answered.” 8. “What if I had said no?” Ian asked as Turk drove. “Probably would have made the rest of the afternoon pretty awkward for both of us,” came the response. The lump under Turk’s coat was definitely big enough to be a gun. “So when do I get answers?” “The old fisherman. Unalterably intent. Cold, driving rain,” said Turk with a grin. “What?” Ian tried to figure out if he heard what he thought he heard or if this odd man was just insane. “The old fisherman. Unalterably intent. Cold, driving rain,” repeated Turk, this time slower so Ian could hear the rhythm of his recitation. “Haiku,” noted Ian. Turk nodded, impressed. “Means what you seek will come in time if you cast your line in the right direction.”
Their destination was a public park a half hour away. Once there, Turk pointed to a lone man sitting on a bench half a football field away. “That's him. Try not to act too surprised.” As Ian approached, the overcoat-clad man with the salt-and-pepper hair looked him up and down. His penetrating stare was like an X-ray scan. From inside the man’s coat pocket came a copy of the First Book of Infinity. “You might know me as Ranajee, but my real name is Gil Mathers. I want you to take every word in here to heart. There is much for me to teach you before it is too late.” “Your teachings changed my life,” Ian told him as he introduced himself. “I’ve read everything you’ve ever written.” “Not everything. There is one more book. One that I will give you when the time is right. Ian, now that you know my identity, one of my deepest secrets, I am forced to trust you.” All Ian could do in response was nod. He was still in shock. “I want you to join my army, Ian.” There was no hesitation. “Yes.” As the word fell from Ian’s mouth, he felt as if a giant weight was lifted from his shoulders. “I’ll do anything you ask.” Ian’s voice was eager. “Our quest is about one thing, Ian,” Mathers said. “Killing demons.” “No, that’s only a by-product of what the Church of Infinity is looking for. I need you to help me find a rare substance—a dark matter of sorts; one that, as the legend goes, is the only remnant of Hell’s origin before the cataclysm. By rote, Ian repeated the passage from the Sixth Book of Infinity: “Then came a vast devastation—an apocalyptic event which all but wiped out everything, causing a rift massive enough to fracture this once fertile ancient world into two separate dimensions. Hell and Heaven.” Mathers continued. “That ancient world which existed before ours, the one which somehow destroyed itself and birthed our planet, is known as Origin. Matter from Origin exists in minute quantities buried deep in the earth. Demons have called it Xaava since the beginning of time. They need it to cross over into our plane.” Ian’s head spun with these new revelations. Ranajee’s books were unclear as to how demons were able to move from Hell to earth. Now he knew Xaava was the answer. “Our quest, Ian, is to get our hands on even a small quantity of Xaava.” Ian furrowed his brow. “Why?” 71
“Because,” the old man grinned, “with it, we’ll be able to open a gateway to Hell and kill every demon we find.” w
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Real Estate Whores on Bus Benches *From the book “Porn Vs Chicken”
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The Interview with Jesus *From the book “Porn Vs Chicken”
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Jesus Christ, welcome.
Hello, my son.
Brian: It’s been a long time since I talked to you and it’s kind of weird; I’ve been sitting here waiting for this and wondering why I’m so nervous about it. J.C.: Well, you know good things come to he who waits.
Brian: That’s what they say. I think the last time I talked to you I was asking if you could help me stop jacking off as a kid. J.C.:
Oh, that was you?
J.C.: Oh, sorry. I think I might have helped somebody else by accident. Brian: No, actually I was going to thank you for not answering the prayer.
J.C.: J.C.: Oh, well, you’re very welcome then. Another miracle, praise Me. Brian: Do you ever get people asking or calling you up? I guess they pray to you, right, thanking you for not answering prayers? J.C.: You know what, mostly what I get is really people in the middle of sex, unfortunately, so but we’re working on a spam filter for that Gabriel said he was going to have hooked up for me pretty soon actually, so...
Brian: Yeah, yeah. J.C.: Well, you know what; the thing is that Satan, he rarely ever calls me anymore, mostly because, well...the thing is he lost a bet, which he’s yet to pay up. Really what happened was the fourth time the Buffalo Bills lost the Super Bowl he went, well quadruple or nothing, so motherfucker owes me $80 at this point and that’s why he won’t pick up the phone, which is fine with me. Brian:
Brian: So, you keep Gabriel pretty busy on the spam filter project? J.C.: Yeah, well, you know the problem was we were using Microsoft Windows for everything, so that’s why we had all these problems and bugs. Brian:
J.C.: But we switched over to a good Linux operating system, so we should be okay. Brian: I was wondering if maybe you get calls from Satan, like prank calls, or does he do any kind of little tricks to try to sneak in?
To sneak into heaven?
J.C.: Well, you know last time he came by we had a party, the guy stepped in dog shit before he came in, tracked it all over the place and then denied it, so but what do you expect, so... Brian: Well, I wouldn’t put it past him. Dog shit in heaven, I mean come on. J.C.: Well, exactly. I mean, it’s a totally dog shit-free zone. It used to be a bullshitfree zone, but then some asshole started letting lawyers in, and well you know, and after Michael Landon showed up then it was just a whole bullshit parade up here. Brian:
Everything went to hell?
J.C.: Yeah, almost, pretty much, yeah, so we had to open a whole new wing for bullshitters, but yeah. Brian: I was picturing Satan at the gates and not even wiping his feet, or hooves, or whatever he has. J.C.: Yeah, well that’s the problem; he said well, with these hooves it gets all inside and all that, and I’m like hey, asshole, carry a stick, that’s all you got to do, a pencil, ruler, something; something with a point. Brian: People have been giving me a whole bunch of questions to ask you, and... J.C.:
Brian: A lot of people want to know what a typical day is like for you. It’s kind of a boring question, but I mean like what have you been up to in the last couple days? J.C.: Well, okay, well the last couple of days are not unlike any other day. I get up, I do some stretching, I do some yoga. The problem is when you get about 2,000, a lot of times then it’s your back; if I don’t
stretch out my back then I’m done for the whole day. So, I’ve got to do some stretching, and then I have some fruit, and usually after that the phone starts to ring, pager starts going off, and it’s nonstop putting out fires, much like I did in California last week, so drop down a whole piss load of rain, put down a fire, and you know get going on the next one. It's like, Jesus; oh we’ve got E. coli in New York, so now I’m off to New York tomorrow to fight this whole thing and it’s like E. coli? You know, don’t we have enough shit to worry about and you’ve got to worry about E. coli? That’s what happens with a slow week like this, so... Brian:
Is that the Taco Bell thing?
J.C.: Yeah, it is, it is Taco Bell, which I’ve got to tell you is not sanctioned at all by Jesus. We had a problem with the use of that dog, that little fucking dog they had. So, yeah, I don’t know, I didn’t like the dog. No reason other than that, so...
That’s pretty much a dog from
J.C.: Yeah, you know I...Yeah, we pulled the plug on Taco Bell, so but when they need me they need me, and who am I refuse? So, the thing is we’re coming into my busy season right now and I’ve just got to, you know, I’ve just got to roll with it, just got to try to get everything out of my inbox and into my outbox so to speak. Brian: What makes it a busy season for you? I mean I know it’s coming up on this Christmas where people claim to be celebrating your birth. I’m not even sure it’s your birthday, but is that what you’re referring to? J.C.: Well, yeah everybody thinks it’s my birthday, and that’s the thing; it’s like okay, yeah figure it out for yourself—December 25th, my birthday, shepherds right? Shepherds don’t even fucking work in December, so anyway. So, but you know you’ve got to go with it. After 2,000 years what do I care? Every year, it’s something different, so I’ve got to be grateful for that, and yeah with my birthday comes everybody asking me for something and I figure hey, it’s my birthday, what do I get in return, a bunch of prayers? A bunch of people saying, “oh hey, oh Jesus happy birthday?”
Well, you know that’s nice, but how about sending me a fucking card every now and then? Brian: I was just thinking, you know, people just don’t send you anything for gifts. The last time you got gifts was probably that frankincense and myrrh. I’m just wondering what your mom did with that; did you ever even see that? J.C.: No. You know what, frankincense and myrrh, you know what that is? That’s the ancient biblical term for a fruitcake. I actually still have it to tell you the truth. Every year I give it to somebody and then next year it comes back to me, so it’s like the albatross around my neck. Brian: Is there anything you like about the season at all? J.C.: You know what I like about the season? You know what I absolutely like about Christmas? Brian:
J.C.: Jews, yeah, because they don’t bug me so much, so...
Brian: They kind of leave you alone for the season? J.C.: Yeah, yeah, and you know for the most part it’s really nice when your relatives actually leave you alone during the holidays; it’s a blessing, so that’s the one thing I do like. Brian:
How is your dad by the way?
J.C.: Oh, you know what, he’s good. He was passing a stone just a few days ago. Brian:
Oh my God.
J.C.: Yeah, it was actually a boulder, and so He was a bit cranky, but otherwise, He’s good; same old same old, you know, He’s looking forward to playoffs this year, so I don’t know. He might be betting again, but you didn’t hear that from Me. Brian: He wouldn’t be really rooting for anybody in particular, or does He? J.C.: Oh, well you know He’s a Saints fan, so you know, this year...I don’t know. I’ve got a feeling He put something down on next week’s game at...It might actually have been France, He might have bet France on the Saint’s game, and I hope He covers the spread this time because you know what happened when He lost Florida last year and now that’s all gone to hell, so...
Brian: Well, I wish Him all the luck. You know I feel a little silly wishing God luck, but I wish Him luck. J.C.: The thing with being omniscient like my Dad is, the omniscience actually wears off a little bit after a while. When you get older, well, you’re not quite as omniscient as you were about a billion and a half years ago. So, every now and then He’s like where are my keys? I can’t find My keys? And I’m like “dad, God, just fucking make another set of keys.” And He’s like “What? What?” That’s how it’s...You know, that’s what it’s like when your parents get elderly like that. Brian: Well, besides the fact that I find that really sweet actually, you know old humans they pretty much do the same thing, so or made in God’s image. J.C.: Well, made in His image, so yeah of course, so yeah. Brian: What are the keys to? I mean is he still driving? J.C.: That’s the thing; we’re trying to get him to stop driving, because last...What was it, last month He was going the wrong way down a one way street and almost caused a tsunami, so it was just like one of
those things, so yeah we try to get Him a ride whenever possible, but whenever it’s bingo night He’s just got to go, and He always wins so nobody wants Him there, so it’s just like one of those things. Brian: I never thought when people blame God for stuff that happens I never really thought that God was responsible, but now that I think about it, if He’s driving around recklessly like that, I mean is that what happened to Katrina and shit like that? J.C.: that.
Hey, I’m not saying a word about
J.C.: Yeah, I had to go there and I had to heal Him, but you know, He’s God, so and the problem is He’s everywhere, so I had to go over here and heal Him, I had to go over here and heal Him; it literally took me seven months, you know, to heal Him. It was a big pain in the ass, so... Brian: So, where do you take Him for like an MRI, I mean like Orion or something? J.C.: Well, you know what we do? We actually take the magnetic rays of the sun. Brian:
J.C.: OK? I’m not saying a word about Katrina, and you know, He slipped and fell in the bathroom at the same time; it was complete coincidence, okay, complete coincidence, and I’m sticking to that story. It had nothing to do with it.
J.C.: Yeah, and we do that, and you know most of the time it works out, except every so often somebody forgets some sunscreen or something like that and we, you know, have to put some butter on them or something afterwards; it’s usually kind of ugly, so... Brian:
I’m sure He feels badly.
J.C.: Well, He fractured His hip. He broke His hip when he fell in the bathroom, so you know, so yeah. Brian: Now, when that happens do you go and heal Him then?
J.C.: Yeah, blistering, and peeling, and locusts actually even; it’s fucked up. Brian: Do you ever get sick yourself? What kind of ailments do you have besides the back? I mean you had your back gets out of shape if you don’t exercise every day, but besides that?
J.C.: J.C.: Well, yeah the thing is...I usually have to put some kind of salve on my hands, but the problem is... Brian:
Brian: You’d think after all these years those things would heal up a little bit. J.C.: Yeah, you would think so, too, except I have a feeling those fuckers were using rusty nails on me, so I might have to go get a tetanus shot. It’s been on my to-do list for two millennia now, but I just can’t seem to remember.
J.C.: Yeah, well you want to walk like Jesus? Hunch over a little bit, just like that, yeah, and limp, there you go, and then you’ll walk like Jesus. Brian:
Now I feel really bad.
J.C.: No, don’t feel bad, you know, it’s the way things are, I’m Jesus, I can roll with it; you know, if I can’t take it then nobody can, right? That’s the whole point, so I died for your sins, I can fucking take a little fucking foot pain, I get those little fucking Dr. Scholl’s arch supports in there, I’m good.
And your feet have the same probBrian:
J.C.: Yeah, that’s the other thing too is it didn’t do a lot of good for my arches, so, which were pretty bad, because you walk through the fucking desert for years, and years, and years, it’s going to fuck up your arches, so you know putting a nail through my fucking feet, well hey, thanks a lot Pontius Pilate motherfucker. Brian:
Brian: I’m just thinking, people say walk like Jesus. This is a whole new image for me.
Do they still have holes in them?
J.C.: Yeah, it falls through the hole, so that’s the thing. Yeah, usually have to keep a good antibiotic around, you know?
They work for you?
J.C.: Yeah, they do actually. I usually have to special order them from Dr. Scholl himself who is actually up here in heaven; I have him make some for me. Brian:
It’s like Jesus is Gellin’.
Exactly, Jesus is Gellin’, so yeah.
Brian: Now, you sound a little tired and you know I know you work really hard and you’re everywhere yourself.
J.C.: Yeah, I felt really bad, because I didn’t intend to explode a platypus in front of a bunch of third graders, but you know.
J.C.: The Lord’s work is never done, so it’s been a long day, so...
Brian: That’s an unfortunate mistake right there.
Brian: You get tired, but do you get like really pissed off, and what happens then?
J.C.: Yeah, so that’s why I focus on a kitten, so if just a kitten explodes, some people expect that, so you know.
J.C.: No, I don’t get pissed off. What I do is whenever I feel frustrated about something I close my eyes and I just kind of focus all my energy, all that bad energy into one place, and it eventually goes away. Unfortunately a kitten dies every time I do it, but you know I figure it’s a small price to pay instead of me flipping out or anything like that. I don’t want to freak out the kids, so... Brian: Is it always the same place? Is it always a kitten? I mean are you always like pissed at pussy basically? J.C.: Yeah, it is always a kitten. There was one time though, one time it was a platypus, but what happened was it was actually a platypus in a zoo, and there was a school field trip, and it exploded, and there was a lot of trauma there. Brian:
Oh my God.
Yeah, exploding cats.
J.C.: Well, every so often you’ve got to just let it out, because you keep it inside like that and all the sudden you create some kind of disaster or something like that. Brian:
J.C.: You know, last time...Actually, the last time I’ve got to tell you, when my dad, the last time he got really, really angry, and you know I could tell he was just keeping it all inside, keeping it all inside, and I’m like, “dad you’ve got to let it go, you’ve got to let it go,” and like fucking 300 years goes by, 400 years goes by, and I’m like, “dad, let it go, let it go.”
Finally, finally like 10,000 years of fucking anger building up, finally he lets it go, and then I’m just like, oh fuck, what have I done, what have I done, because I looked down and he had created boy bands, so... Brian:
body told me. That’s the problem when you grow up with an absentee father, so yeah. Brian: It must have been really confusing, because I mean you have this father, God, and then there was this Joseph guy, and...
That’s how it happened? J.C.:
J.C.: We’re taking full responsibility for that one, so yeah. Brian: So, besides cats and the occasional platypus that you focus your anger on, I mean did you have...Do you have hatred for other animals or did this start in childhood; did you have a bad pet, or what happened? J.C.: Well, no I don’t have a hatred of animals at all; it’s just basically like just one of those things. I never had a bad experience with animals at all. I did have a pet as a kid, I had an iguana with me in the desert and it was great, except nobody told me that you don’t walk an iguana, you know, and so I was there, I was trying to walk the iguana, I’m like I got a little leash on him. I’m like hey, come on, come on, come on, and he would just sit there, and so just every day I’d try to walk the iguana and everybody would walk by in our little village and laugh at me, because they knew, but nobody told me, no-
Oh, Joseph, yeah...
Brian: I don’t even understand how that works. Did he think he was your dad and nobody just told him, or what? J.C.: Well, that’s the problem is that he didn’t find out until later, so yeah he was pretty upset, but the problem was everybody knew, everybody knew, but not Joseph. Everybody would look at him, and we’d go by through the village, and everybody would laugh behind his back. They knew, but not Joseph, yeah. Brian: Just leave him in the shop making wood things basically? J.C.: That’s the problem. I think he tried to hide in the woodshop, and really in truth it’s basically like nobody would remember Joseph if it wasn’t for me, so, if he wasn’t moms friend basically, so Uncle Joe.
Brian: I mean did he ever take it out on you? Did he have the contract for the cross or what? J.C.: No, no, no, Joseph, he wasn’t like that at all, I mean he was a complete wuss really. I mean basically, he’s around and every so often he’d be like, “hey, you want to play catch?” and I’d be like, “well, what’s catch?” And he’d be like, “I don’t know, I think they’re going to invent it in about 1,000 years,” and I was like, “what are you talking about?” And “I don’t know,” and then he’d walk away. It’s just he was drunk a lot, so he was around and every so often...He tried to take me to a stoning once; he’s like, “hey I got two tickets for a stoning on Saturday, they’re box seats,” and I was like “well, I don’t know, I was going to go play with my friends and stuff,” but we went, it was fun, you know, he bought me a program and some popcorn. I probably still have that program somewhere. Brian: It sounds like he really tried though, that’s good. J.C.: No, you know I think what happened was that he’d feel guilty every so often. I think it was mom’s doing more than anything, but yeah he tried, he tried. He was a good guy, just kind of a puss that’s all.
What was mom like?
J.C.: Yeah, mom was great, a complete saint, and she, you know what, she would always cook every night no matter how hard her day was, she would always come home and cook, and it was always great. So, she had a way, she had a way with the stove, it’s like she would get home and she’d pile up the wood, and she’d sit there and strike the flint together, and you know, blow on it, and blow on it, and about an hour and a half later she’d get the flame going, and skin the rabbit, and you know she made a great meal; unfortunately it wasn’t ready until fucking morning, but the intention was there, it was. The love was there, she was good. Brian:
Well, that’s nice.
What’d you guys do for the holi-
J.C.: You know what we did for the holidays? Basically nothing, because we were Jews, so you know we had Hanukkah, which was like okay, happy Hanukkah, we’ll light the candles, and here’s...You know what they’d give me? Those little fucking foil wrapped chocolate coins, so that’s what I got, every day, you know, it’s just
like and the problem was it was so difficult to actually make chocolate. Brian:
J.C.: Yeah, and you know and that’s the thing. Mom would have to start in the middle of the year to start making the foil, so you know I’d get one of these things and I’d be like, you know, here six months it took her to make one of these chocolate coins, and I remember I looked at it and I’m thinking, “fuck, dark chocolate, I fucking hate dark chocolate,” but you know I couldn’t say anything; it’s like oh, thank you, thank you, yeah, here’s my chocolate coin in the desert, I better eat it in the next three seconds before it melts all over me. Brian:
What’d you get for your birthday?
J.C.: You know what I got for my birthday one year that was great? I got...Oh, it was the most awesome thing in the world. I got this...It was a whistle, right, and it was made out of a tree branch, and basically...Well, you know, Joseph had made it, he was sitting there, and he had this thing that he was working on from time to time, and quite literally I had no idea what it was; he would just kind of turn his back. I could see he was holding some kind of long weird thing in his hand and I thought it was just some sort of thing he had for mom, but he gave me this thing and
it was kind of like a, I guess you would call it today like an ocarina. It had like a bunch of holes in the side, and I’d blow into this thing, and you know it would make doo, doo, doo, and it would make kind of like a nice little tune and all that. So, it was pretty nice. That was actually the nicest gift I ever got, and you know it was basically a whistle, so yeah there you go. Brian: You were kind of musically inclined then? J.C.: Yeah, pretty much everybody in the family is musically inclined, like my mom she could sing, she could sing like nobody’s business, but you know the problem is when you’re singing in Aramaic, there are only three notes in the Aramaic musical scale – there’s uh, there’s ee, and there’s oo, so everything is...So, you know, it was... Brian:
That doesn’t sound good at all.
J.C.: Well, I mean that’s the thing; for someone singing Aramaic she had perfect pitch, so it definitely made it a little bit better. Brian:
Brian: Perfect pitch in...? How would you even tell if it’s perfect pitch with that music?
J.C.: He certainly did, but He also made hip-hop, so you can’t have everything.
J.C.: Because when she hits the notes it doesn’t rattle all the bones in your skull, so yeah.
Brian: I’m curious what you were like as a kid, you know, with your friends, with school; anything you can tell us about that, because you know we hear about this kid that goes to all the rabbis and basically challenges them, and I mean were you kind of like this kid with oppositional defiant disorder or something?
Brian: Got it, got it, yeah. That must have inspired some of the bad Christian music that we hear these days. I don’t think there’s any good Christian music. J.C.: Well, I disagree, I absolutely disagree, because you know I think that Christian music has gotten such a bad rap for literally almost all of time, you know, I mean look at the Anglicans, I mean, you know, what they’ve done with their version of music, you know, everything is, na, na, na, na, na, you know, it’s nothing; it’s all monotone. But I’ll tell you Christian music really came to life with the band Stryper. Brian:
J.C.: I mean these guys rocked, they really rocked, I mean you know they’d be up there with their guitars, you know, singing about God, and Jesus, and I mean you know, playing like heavy metal. It was badass dude, I, you know... Brian:
God made rock and roll.
J.C.: Yeah, I was a dick really as a kid, I mean that’s the thing, there isn’t a lot really written about when I was little, but for the most part I was kind of sitting around, thinking, philosophizing about things. I’d be sitting there and Joseph would be like, “hey Jesus take the trash out,” and I’d be like, “hey I’m philosophizing over here, give me a break.” He’d be like, “philosophize later; you’ve got to take the trash out,” and I’d be like, “dad!” And I’d piss him off, because whenever I’d actually call him dad he knew that I didn’t mean it, so I’d just do it to piss him off. So, yeah I was kind of like that, but what happened was later on in school, I ended up...You know, I was just kind of like almost a nerd really; I was in the AV squad really, but back then we didn’t have any projectors or tape recorders or anything like that. We had papyrus with a picture of some fish on it, and I was the kid who
would go from cave to cave and set up the papyrus, so... Brian: That must have been something. Did that draw a crowd? J.C.: Yeah, it did, because we had one fish on the papyrus that had those eyes that would follow you wherever you were in the cave, but then again of course the lighting was very bad with one flickering torch, but the whole effect was there, and we actually had one fish on the papyrus that was in color. Brian:
J.C.: So, yeah, kids really loved papyrus day. Brian: Is that how...It sounds almost magical, and that brings me to miracles. Do people kind of view that as one of your miracles or are miracles something else? J.C.: I’ve got to tell you...when I was a kid I was such a dick I took credit for that, I did; I said yeah, you know...Whenever girls would be like, “oh Jesus did you make that fish like all colorful, and all that, and shit?” and I was like, “yeah baby that was me.” So, you know how it is when you’re in high school and stuff like that, so...
Brian: So, you were into the chicks then? I mean you hung out with a bunch of these guys, these dudes in your later years, and I think you had a couple of whores that you hung around with too. J.C.: Hey, hey, hey, well you know what, you know, Mary Magdalene, you know... Brian: Well, yeah, I apologize. I mean you know you’re so easy to talk to, I forget that you’re God basically. J.C.: Well, I’m not God, but I mean you know, son of, but I mean, you know, heir to the throne, waiting, some point, you know, like Prince Charles, but I mean it’ll happen at some point, but I mean Mary Magdalene got a pretty bad rep; she wasn’t really a whore. I mean she was a little easy, you know... Brian: Now how would you describe “a little easy?” J.C.: She was really easy. Basically all you had to do to get, you know, into her clothes, really you had to just kind of feed her, so her folks didn’t really have a lot of money, so you know every now and then I’d sneak some bread and I’d be like, “Hey, hey, Mary, come here, come here, come here, I’ve got some bread.” And you know we’d have some fun.
I’ve got to ask this.
Brian: Is this where “oh Jesus, oh Jesus?” Is that where that came from? J.C.: This is a pretty funny story. Mary and I were actually out and we were in a bunch of reeds, a field of reeds over there by the river, and she was, well we were, you know, kind of going at it, and she’s calling out my name and digging her nails into my back and all that, and so what I found out later was that somebody heard her and they told her parents and her parents were like Mary what’s that all about? And she made up some bullshit like oh yeah, well when I yell “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” it’s a spiritual thing, you know, it means I’m calling out because I’m happy. So, now the funny thing is like a couple days later, right, I’m on my way to school, I’m carrying the papyrus and a bag full of rocks, and I’m on my way to school, and all the sudden I walk by the Finnerstein’s place, I walk by the Finnerstein’s
cave and I hear, “oh Jesus, oh Jesus, Jesus,” and I’m like, holy shit, something’s wrong, right? It sounded like Mrs. Finnerstein was getting killed or something like that. So I run in there and there’s Mr. Finnerstein on top of her and I’m just like “oh.” It was embarrassing; I couldn’t even face them for, you know, many years after that. But yeah, and then I’d be walking around town and especially late at night I hear my name coming out of like, you know, caves, and little adobe huts and shit like that everywhere, and it was just like fuck, you know? Brian: Well, and plus Mary Magdalene, she got around, so I’m guessing she probably accidentally started saying oh Jesus, oh Jesus to others, and pretty soon maybe it was like trendy. J.C.: Yeah, well you had to bring that up, so yeah there was a period of time we had kind of, you know, split up. We were taking a break for a while and you know I think she was trying to get back at me, so
yeah there was that. She basically...She started hanging out with the stoning team at our high school and, you know, I don’t know. I heard some rumors, some parties, a bunch of guys from the stoning team. I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s true; I don’t want to know to tell you the truth. Brian: They had like a stoning club kind of, and did they have like intramurals? J.C.: Yeah, we...Actually it was funny because after that I wanted to get on the varsity stoning team, but the thing is I really didn’t have the build for it, you know, it’s like I’m kind of tall, you know, I didn’t really have a big strong arm; I could only get on the JV stoning team. So, yeah, and we would do some intramural stoning, you know, during gym class and all that they’d usually bring in somebody from out of town and we’d throw some rocks and all that, and it was fun but it was gym class, you had to do it, so... Brian: And the trophy was what, the Rock of Ages? J.C.: No, actually the trophy...The trophy for the stoning...Basically there was one year our high school had won the district stoning championship and as a trophy we got...Oh, this is so great man, we had such a big party because we got shellfish; it
was amazing, I’ll tell you. So, yeah it was the one year my mom was like go ahead, it’s okay, it’s okay, so yeah. Brian: You’re typically not allowed to do that, but... J.C.: No, no, no, you know that was the thing; we were just told oh, no, no, no, shellfish, and I’m just like oh, whatever, so okay, yeah, so we had a clambake, it was pretty cool. Brian: Did you ever try to do like miracles to get out of shit in school? J.C.: Oh, are you kidding? All the time, it was like there was this test that I had, oh, and I didn’t even study for it or anything like that, and so I go “oh fuck, what am I going to do?” So boom what I did was I created a note. I said, here from my mom, you know, there it is, unrolled it, the papyrus, and it said: “Jesus can’t take the test today because he has an ear ache.” So, it was nice, I got out of that one, and so you know I would get caught every so often, so you know, they kept their eye on me. Brian: So, when kids now do that, they’re really being Christian like? J.C.: Well, yeah, they are, and that’s the thing; it’s like you’ve got to understand
that kids are going to do that, kids are going to try to get out of stuff because it’s in your nature to try to avoid any sort of responsibility or anything like that, but you know what, it all caught up with me later; it’s all karma. It’s like all that shit, and you know I have a feeling that there’s just that little part of me that says if I hadn’t lied to get out of that test, then maybe they would have just tied me to the cross or something like that, or you know, whipped me with, I don’t know, some feathers or something, but I don’t know. Brian: But it’s the papyrus that got to you, that whole papyrus association? J.C.: Yeah, it really was, you know, that’s the thing. It’s like when you’re the guy that’s in charge of the papyrus, you think you can do anything. You know, I thought I was such hot shit back then, so.... Brian: So, when you got home after doing that, did your mom...I mean is this where Jesus H. Christ what did you do today kind of thing comes from? And what does H stand for by the way? J.C.: Well, okay, that’s a pretty long story, but that’s the thing. It really was at that point in my life in high school where I was getting a little rowdy, a little out of control, and yeah, and mom would start using
my middle initial because she knew I hated it, and that’s the problem is that...Oh, this is so embarrassing. This is so embarrassing. All right... Brian: I mean you don’t have to tell us what the middle initial is if... J.C.: My middle name is Hyman, okay, and that’s the problem, so you grow up with the kids that I grew up with, right, and they’re like “hey Hyman!” You know, it’s like ah, just like, and here’s the thing: one of the problems was, you know, I’d be with Mary and it’d be like, “Hey Mary I can see your Hyman.” and it’d be like ah, you know, it’s not cool, it’s not cool. Brian: That must have been horrible. Did you ever take it out on these kids? J.C.: Oh, you bet your ass I did, yeah. You know what, I’ll tell you. A plague of locusts inserted anally is no fucking laughing matter, my friend. Brian:
Oh my God.
J.C.: Yeah, that’s right. So, yeah, I mean that’s the thing, but yeah, that’s where it started. Mom would be like Jesus H. Christ, because she knew the next step would be throwing out the middle name, which would send me into a frenzy, so she
knew how to do it; she knew how to manipulate me. Brian: I’m still back on the plague of locusts in your ass. Holy shit, I mean really?
man, I’m like look at the back of your varsity loincloth; it’s all like burst open, there’s like locust wings in there, I see some antenna coming out of your fucking cheeks, Jesus dude, it’s, you know...
J.C.: Yeah, no, it was pretty bad. I mean that’s the thing, it’s like, I had actually done it. Oh man...
Who let a swarm?
Yeah, exactly, so...
You tried this?
J.C.: No, no, I did it to this kid. Oh god, we were in basic agriculture, right, and we were sitting there, and I was like oh you little fucker, oh yeah, and I remember his name too, Jamie Kendrick, and so he was sitting there with his smirk-ass varsity stoning motherfucker in his varsity stoning fucking loincloth, and I was like OK you’re getting it now, and so you could hear this buzzing in the classroom, right, and I could see; I’m watching Jamie’s face and he’s trying to like hold it in, he’s trying to hold it in, right, and then finally he lets out this huge fart and like fucking 2,000 fucking locusts come flying out of his ass everywhere, and girls screaming. Oh man, it was great, so... Brian: him?
Did he try to pretend it wasn’t
J.C.: Yeah, he said, he, you know he was like it wasn’t me. I was like dude we all just saw these things fly out of your ass
J.C.: But yeah, that was kind of one of the worst ones, and it was like this is going a little too far, you know, someone could get hurt at some point, you know, yeah. Brian: sus.
Swarm of locusts up your ass, Je-
Yeah, those were the days, so...
Brian: A couple of quick questions and then I guess that’s it. J.C.:
Sure, sure thing.
Brian: Jersey Todd wants to know any thoughts on the next season of The Walking Dead? J.C.: Walking Dead? Is that some kind of Jesus joke? Brian:
I don’t think so.
Jersey Todd, he’s a Jew, right?
J.C.: Here, this is what I’ll tell you about the next season of The Walking Dead: one of the main characters is going to die, and I’m not going to tell you which one because I don’t want to ruin it for you. Brian:
J.C.: So, yeah, and you know what, the thing about Jersey Todd is, I’ve got to tell you for a Jew he got one of the cleanest circumcisions I’ve ever known a Jew to have, and I should know because he’s always calling my name out when he’s got that thing in full view. But the thing is, Jersey Todd with his beautiful perfect circumcision, he really has done a lot to hide his tail, and I really respect that, because you know as a Jew myself it’s like that’s the toughest thing about being a Jew is hiding your tail, so...
J.C.: Oh, you know what, actually here’s the beauty of it; every time I take a shit, perfect, I don’t even have to wipe, it’s just like boom, I mean that’s it. It’s a gift man, it’s just like one of those things, it’s just like I don’t even have to really squeeze that hard; I just kind of like there’s a little moment, I take a little breath, I go, and it drops in the bowl, and I’m done, you know, clean as a whistle, you know? Sometimes I’ll check, but... Brian:
What does it smell like?
J.C.: You know what it smells like? Here’s the funny thing; it actually smells a little bit, just a tiny bit...You know what, this is going to be weird; this is a little too weird, I don’t know if I can talk about this. Brian: No, no, that’s okay. I’m curious, because you know...
Brian: Jersey Todd’s going to be so happy to know what you think of his circumcision.
J.C.: Okay, it smells just a little bit like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s got a little bit of that old lady smell, and a little bit of perfume, and but it’s, I don’t know...
Brian: I’ve never smelled Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and...
I admire his circumcision greatly,
Brian: So, let’s see, are you a folder or a scruncher?
J.C.: Well, come over sometime after I’ve had, you know, tacos. On burrito night come over and... Brian: So, when you go into, like say at the fast food place and you use the bathroom and it smells like old lady, you know that Jesus must have just been in there? J.C.: Yeah, that was me, that’s me, that’s right, that’s me, yeah. Brian:
Is it kind of like a liniment?
J.C.: It’s a little bit. Yeah, it’s kind of like a little bit like moldy feet and lilacs, so it’s, yeah, so... Brian: Well, I suppose you get used to it after a while. J.C.: You know back home, you know, Joseph would be like Jesus light a torch or something, but you know usually it was okay, so... Brian:
Jesus, where are you off to next?
J.C.: I’ve got a meeting in a little bit I’ve got to get to. We’re discussing this planning ahead thing, and here’s the problem, like any big corporation, everything gets ruined with meetings, and seminars, so it’s just like okay, I’m going to sit around the table, and Gabriel’s going to go, “blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” and I’m going to be like, “yeah, whatever, whatever, whatever,” and dad’s going to be like, “Jesus, what do you think?” And I’m going to be like, “is it time to go yet?” That’s the way they all go so...you look at the minutes from the meeting...Here we go; year 300 A.D. minutes from the meeting. Gabriel, “blah, blah, blah, blah;” same fucking thing every year, so you know it’s to be expected I guess. Brian: car?
Do you drive or do you have a
J.C.: I actually have a driver, so it’s pretty nice. Brian:
Yeah, her name’s Mandy, and you
J.C.: Yeah, yeah, she’s not much of a conversationalist, but she’s, you know, she’s easy on the eyes. Brian:
Yeah, it’s nice.
Brian: Well, my greetings to God, and are you doing anything special for your birthday this year?
Brian: Well, happy birthday Jesus, I just want to tell you that. J.C.: Oh, thank you, thank you Brian, I appreciate that.
J.C.: You know what I’m going to do for my birthday this year? Oh, this is great, I’ll tell you. Every year I look forward to one thing on my birthday, you know what that is? I turn the fucking phone off, that’s it.
Brian: Jesus, thank you very much. J.C.: Thank you Brian, thank you my son. Brian: And have a nice next 2,000 years and maybe I’ll catch up with you later.
Brian: One full day you don’t have to answer the phone? J.C.: One full day, and you know why? Because everybody who gives a shit about me, they’re in church talking to somebody else, and you know, it’s just like it becomes this big noise and I just tune it all out. One day, you know, let them deal with it. I figure you know what, I deal with it 364 fucking days a year, you guys be good to each other for just one. You can fucking handle that and I’ll come back next year, and every year it seems to work out pretty good.
Yeah, and hopefully before June 8th of 2019. Brian:
J.C.: Oh, well, Brian, just stay out of moving vehicles in Denver and yeah, not everybody, just you. w
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Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff is a bestselling and award-winning author who has been featured on TV’s “Access Hollywood” and by Playboy Magazine who compared him to Jon Stewart, Trey Parker and Howard Stern.
Wordsushi (Volume 1)
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