Author Archives: Daniel C.A.S.

About Daniel C.A.S.

Why is it that the clerk at the convenience store makes me feel inadequate?


I had to wear a school uniform along with all the other kids in all the grades leading up to high school. High school didn’t have a uniform dress code. The other boys all wore clean and hip clothes that looked like they were from the same place, and mostly talked about girls. That was like, their code. The girls wore bell-bottom jeans mostly or tiny shorts or tiny skirts. In the last grade, some of the girls starting taking to hiking up their uniform skirts, but that was against dress code because shorts or skirts weren’t allowed to go higher than 3 inches above the knee. They’d pull them back down when they got scolded, only to hike them back up when the scolder left. That was their code. There wasn’t any of that kind of silliness in the rules to stop them here. Then there were the weird kids that dressed differently because they wanted to be the only person in the world to dress the way they did. They splintered off into different factions of kids that all thought they were the only ones that dressed the way they did while saying bad things about anyone else not like them. That was their code, too. I didn’t know where they sold the hip clothes; I didn’t ask, but I was sure my mom didn’t either. I didn’t want to be the only person in the world that was like me either. But no one could find out because no one talked to me because I wore my school uniform. My school uniform from last year, I mean. There was a faction of us that wore our uniforms, but we were spread out like were were one-man armies. I couldn’t ask if they felt like one-man armies like I did, they probably did, but we didn’t talk to each other like the other factions. Nor did any of the other factions talk to us. I think the radio silence was supposed to be our code.

My uniform polo shirt had gotten tighter around my belly. I sucked in my stomach whenever anyone else was around. Especially girls. I even had to start slouching so my chest would look less like the some of the junior or senior girls’ chests. I ate when I wasn’t hanging out with anyone because I didn’t know what else to do. I wasn’t hanging out with anyone, a lot of the time. My growing belly resulted from my boredom. It wouldn’t bulge in front of me as bad though if it wasn’t for my pants. The seat of the pants were to small for my seat this year. I had to lie down in order to hook the two ends together. I wished I could look like I was lying down whenever I put my pants on. They were tougher to put on after P.E. because there wasn’t a safe place to lie down inside the bathroom stall. But once they were on, it made my lower part look smaller. I thought that was good because I was glad a part of me looked smaller. My polo shirt, now no longer white, stretched, but my blue uniform pants had my back, my backside too.



Kittridge High School Academy was about a decade old. Newly formed and originally re-enrolled with nearly a third of the students that attended Hornby High School, and thenceforth, split the district. They also took the 8th grade graduating class of Lawrence Preparatory and a few others. Hornby High School had overpopulated classrooms, and a big problem with delinquents. Gang violence and graphitied walls from buzzed haircuts and baggy jeans. H.H.S. didn’t have a uniform policy like K.H.S.A., but the third of the students that were taken didn’t seem like delinquents anyway. They weren’t as savage looking, nor did they look like they were in gangs. Like the cliched popular high school kids in some movies. I’d even heard that K.H.S.A. had received a 20 million dollar grant for construction and education programs because one of the departments exceeded expectations and others showed tremendous promise, or something along that line. I even felt a bit fortunate to be enrolled. But it seemed like K.H.S.A was life raft of survivors rowing away from a sinking H.H.S. I liked that idea, I thought as I looked at the newly built clock tower during break period. It read two minutes til the bell. I ducked back down and quickly scarfed the rest of my lunch beneath the bleachers. Pizza in the shade. I was a survivor.


I could go a week without showering. My parents weren’t home enough to force that habit on me. When I was younger, they’d bathe me in hot water. Boiling hot. I’ve only used cold water to shower for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t as though the cold water was preferable to me, it wasn’t, it was freezing and sometimes it even hurt. It was because I felt like I couldn’t trust warm water from the shower head. Warm was closer to hot than cold was, which I considered to be the warning temperature of the water that I’d bail the shower from. If it was warm, it could switch into scalding and hit me before I could escape. So I safely used cold water instead. I easily went a week without showering.

I turned on the cold shower one evening. Unbuckled my belt and my size 34 khaki uniform pants fell straight down. I had stopped wearing underwear because there wasn’t any danger of uninvited hard-ons in gym class anymore. I pinched my socks off with the toes of on the other foot and took off my white uniform polo shirt, knit-vest with it. (The vest was optional, but made my tits less noticeable.) I soaped my body, arms, shoulders, pits, the whole belly, ass, flanks, and feet. I rinsed in quick circles while squirting shampoo onto my hair, then rubbed my whole scalp into a bubbly foam, then rinsed that too, before I shut off the water. The process took no more than 7 minutes, (I timed it several times with the watch my dad gave me.) and always watched the dirty water and the bubbles escape into the drain. I was freezing but I always wanted to watch that filth escape before I grabbed my warm towel. During the shower I took that evening, was when I noticed it. Protruding an inch and a half, squiggly, thick, dark brown; my first pubic hair. But all I thought was, “what the fuck is that!?”

Forgetting to dry-off, I quickly struggled my dirty clothes back onto my body in a wave of anxiousness. Suddenly, I started taking off my clothes again. I had no idea what it was, or why it was on my body. I sat on the toilet seat cover and examined the pubic hair. I didn’t know what a pubic hair was because I had missed the Sex Education class in the 7th grade, nor did I receive the talk from either of my parents. The hair looked like a terrifying mystery, pointing outward and off-centered from that flabby fat area of skin next to and above my dick and below my belly. It was a hair that grew an inch and a half without being noticed. My belly hid my dick from view usually, and my sad sight of a body, deterred me from looking into full-body mirrors. I didn’t beat off very often, just when I had my mother’s Victoria’s Secret catalog, but besides that I didn’t think anything exciting could happen down there.

I was scared. I didn’t know who to go to about it either. I decided remove it. I looped my finger around it, inhaled and exhaled a few times, held my breath and yanked the fucker out. It stung. Bad. My eyes watered, but not a single peep escaped through my gate of clenched teeth. I flushed that thing away like it was my shit. I searched the area around my dick for any stragglers. All clear. Everything was normal again. I dried off, put my dirty clothes back on and left the bathroom. I didn’t understand how anyone could enjoy a damn shower.


Fuck P.E. I hated that class the most. It was the class I was most passionate about. Richard Johnson, was my teacher, and he was so supportive, informative, and encouraging. He was irritating. I was 5’7” coming in at 180-185. I didn’t like standing on scales so I wasn’t sure. Dick, which was appropriately short for Richard, always cheered me on while the class did something physically strenuous. Well, strenuous for me. Like the warm-up laps. Sometimes Dick would run with me because I fell behind, as usual, and he’d shout eye-rolling things like, “Come on!” and “We can do it!’ and I’m thinking, Yeah, I know you can Dick, you do it all fucking day, dick. What a dick. The girls in the class (the class was hopelessly co-ed) all loved him. He was fit, nice, told dull jokes, and only the girls would giggle. He could have them all. I didn’t care about their mandatory sports bras or their loose fitting sweatpants anyway. Dick. I think johnson was another name for a dick.

It was a whole process, having to get up for school in the 8th grade. My alarm would go off at 7 a.m. and I’d hit snooze, and it would go off 5 minutes later before I hit the snooze again. But P.E. was my 0 period class of my freshman year. An optional period that preceded all other periods of the day. It showed me what my clock looked like at It was ugly. Everything looked ugly; milk in the cereal, toothpaste, flipped underwear, blue yawning skies above a mile walk. All in my P.E. uniform because it was my 0 period. My day began in my P.E. uniform and ended in my P.E. uniform because wearing it to bed the night before would save me time in the morning. I didn’t noticed the smell after a while.

Everyone was groggy during that class so I didn’t have to make any conversation nobody wanted with anyone. Any talking would probably have been about how stupid the class was or how stupid a 0 zero period was. I thought the girls looked better without their make-up on, but it was obvious they didn’t think so. They looked the same almost, but some of them were nicer, looked happier after they caked them on at the end of class. The others still looked sad. I wondered about wearing make-up now and then.


Drobomir Cartright Asimovo Smolensk Class Schedule
Kittridge High School Academy – Grade 9

0 Period – P.E……………………………. P108-Johnson
1 Period – Algebra……………………… M203-Makiyama
2 Period – Intro to Theater………….. S301-Henderton
3 Period – English………………………. E102-Newman
4 Period – Computers 1A…………….. Admission Offi
Break Period B………………………….. Cafteria
5 Period – U.S. History……………….. D209-Campbell
6 Period – Biology……………………… M113-Lee

Orientation is mandatory. All students must arrive at
scheduled time to ensure prompt service. Student i-
dentification pictures will be taken. So don’t forget to
dress for success! Uniform Dress Code must be followed
at all times on campus. (Review p.3 under “Uniform
Policies” for allowed attire.) We hope to see 
you all

Welcome to Kittridge High School and hope you all
have a great school year! 

Part II


A month and a half after I began resuming the rest of my eighth grade year at a new junior high school, my father had received a phone call from a hospital. They informed him his mother, my grandmother, had had both a stroke and an aneurysm that had caused her to fall into a coma. I only knew this because I’d overheard him tell my mother (whom had only been back for a month) in the kitchen when he arrived home, earlier than usual. I was sitting on the floor, sketching on the coffee table. The walls were paper thin to the point where it was nearly impossible not to hear everything. Including the sounds of my parents fucking, which my brother and I had gotten used to but still found irritating. Morris was in our shared bedroom playing a video game.

After I’d finished hearing that part, their voices stopped before continuing in another language, French. I recognized the smooth, flowing syllables from a movie I had seen. After their conversation, my father left the house silently and without a glance at me as he walked by. My mother retired to her room for the evening. The  living room suddenly became cold as I sat alone on it’s floor while feint sounds of gunfire, explosions, and musical fanfare were carefully sent to loom in the lifeless, nonchalant air that was the living room. I started a new sketch of which the pencil in my hand that seemed to have begun leading it’s point where it pleased. It placed lines where it may, and that felt almost consoling. More-so when I believed I’d heard a quickly muffled sob from my mother’s room. It may have been a whimper all the same. It felt strange.

Lawrence Preparatory became my new school. It was a uniform school which meant all students were subjected to a uniform dress code and it’s guidelines. I liked that because none of the other kids would notice the same art four articles of clothing I had (which consisted of two shirts, white and off-white, and two pairs of pants, both blue jeans). I also liked it because I knew it would be harder to figure out how much less money my parents made than theirs did. I’d always known their parents made more money despite the uniforms. It was the way they spoke to each other, the absence of a poor posture, the smiles they had in their little groups, pant creases, wrinkle-free shirts; they just generally looked more crisp and sunnier.

With the same uniform, the furthest I could get it from looking  unkempt was after it finished in the dryer. I would fold and plant them between my oblivious mother’s mattress and it’s box-spring. Even then, I felt like a wolf in a sheep’s clothing. More-so because I knew we owned an iron. I was never shown how to use it. I had maimed myself once, trying to learn. My hair had also reached a long enough length below my bottom lip. I wanted to hide my face, because I had so many beauty marks (which I found ironic) on it. I just generally looked blurry with an overcast and I knew it. I was just trying much harder to make my image seem intentional, but sincerely too embarrassed to ever say anything at all.

When I walked through town (mainly to find a replacement comic book store), I would occasionally overhear someone mention to another, my resemblance to Kurt Cobain. He was the rock musician that had died a few years earlier. Often on days my hair greasy carnival red hair covered my chubby face. However, most of the students carried on as though they really loved him, so that eased a bit of tension. The only music I’d heard of was Rod Stewart’s music. My mother loved it. My father had (and still does) his mullet hairstyle but I didn’t want to emulate that.

I began to feel as though it were possible for people not to be afraid of me so much so, that I believed there was possibly a chance I could make friends here. For a while, I believed all of it.

I had never heard any of his work before, only seen pictures here and there. He looked like he had the same clothing situation as I did, only he had intended it. To be different and he was praised for it. I thought they praised him only because he was a famous rock star, but  it seemed like those who really were different could not have been given any kind of break. Those that claimed non-conformity had started groups where a strong, loud mutual distaste was shared for those were indifferent. That could have been anyone, I thought. I wanted to be indifferent to everything but I looked different because I didn’t have a way to afford otherwise.

The outcast members of my peer were nicer to me, despite my being academically exceptional and not wanting to listen to their music.

I couldn’t stand anything on the radio stations everyone always talked about. It seemed the radio was guilty for telling most of us kids where we belonged, anyway. And if you had MTV, you had an idea of what you’re supposed to look like while you’re there. More of an authority. I looked poor which led me to want to look richer, which I couldn’t do, and being compared to a popularly different person that dressed poor, whom hollered annoyingly sad songs unproductively with thought-provoking mantras to angry teenagers, eventually led me to feel even worse for being poor.

I gave up trying to find a comic book store and stayed home as much as I could. Being outside among the people I wanted to get along with, in general, led to me feeling even lonelier than I’d possibly imagined. I had already kept a fuckload of irritating shit to myself, and I just didn’t have anymore room.

At home, I could sketch my drawings without interruptions, play video games with amazing storylines, laugh with all my favorite actors, and shoot all my imaginary friends in the face without an inkling of guilt. Morris wasn’t home often because he was tricked into one of those groups. At the least, during school I would be guaranteed a poorly kept sheep costume. Everyone has always said an education was the most important thing, so I just had to stick with it and stand tall. My intelligence towards what I saw going around me, only ever made me more miserable. Of course, anyone was always the tallest in a room if no one else was in the room. In any case, I knew I was safe staying with the things I knew. I knew that it was improbable for me to deal with any and all consequences with the routes I knew were safer. The comic book stores I wanted to find were replaced with dumb music stores.


I played video games a majority of the time when I was at home. Often only the one’s with a riveting story line. It felt like I was apart of it, like I was playing the character’s life and I did so however I wanted. Another world. I averaged about 6 to 7 hours in this other world until my mother came home from work, as it always went. My dad worked as well, except he’d started coming home in the middle of the night most nights, since I was eight or nine, a few months after his reappearance back into our household. I had [and will never have] any idea where my father had come back into our lives from. My mother didn’t seem to react strongly in any way when he returned, only acted as if he’d been out picking up groceries. So I followed suit; thought and reacted to the predicament as such was so.

I did so because of two reasons: I had already been raised privy to the consequences that would be implemented through any oppositions I had with my mother. And the other because my brother probably had no recollection of him nor his departure, anyway. He’d only been on the planet for two years and the only person I could speak to about it. I was three years older but I remembered when he left, and remember my mother’s reaction. She didn’t have one then, either. The odds were 2 to 1 should I have had any questions about him so I didn’t. I played it safe and never did. In all the years we spent living under the same roofs, it was as if I had taught the “do not talk to strangers” rule with him. I didn’t know I was doing that, but I hadn’t spoken to strangers growing up because that’s what everyone taught us. My father felt like a stranger. The biggest attempt at bonding was when he presented my brother and I, a Gamestation game console. That was also one of the last attempts, and I found it almost moving because I knew how expensive it was and how frugal the family had to be.

I had absolutely no idea what other 8th graders were doing after school nor during their weekends. I didn’t care. Before the Gamestation became a part of our lives, my brother, Morris (preferred over his birth-name of Morriz), was the only real relationship I had with someone close to my age. His dull interests were a justified because he was three years my junior. I just watched all kinds of movies, collected comic books, and acted out action movies of my own.

There was a shop on the route I used to walk to and from school. I was always scared to walk in that store because my mother wasn’t with me. Whenever I walked into a store, my mother was always there. She never actually told me I wasn’t allowed in a store without her. I didn’t like to do it because it felt different, and something different meant something wasn’t right, and if something wasn’t right to me, something was wrong. I thought there would be some kind of consequence. Different scared the shit out of me. Me in the shop alone, was different, but I managed to walk in one day.

A perk about the route I took was partly responsible; it was the same route another student from school used, a girl. A pretty one I wanted to know the name to, whom suddenly, walked into that store one day. I did not follow. I debated for a week, whether or not to walk into that place. Oddly, it taunted my ever-increasing curiosity, but alas, my curiosity became too fucking loud to ever become quiet. I finally entered and discovered the addicting world of comic books.

Before long, I no longer cared about what that girl’s name was. She was just something I stared at the ass of while I walked to the comic book store. I wasn’t particularly fascinated in a comics’ story line as I was fascinated by the drawings themselves. Some I recognized, others I began to recognize. I’d begun saving up spare change, and whatever I had went to that store. My favorite magazine to buy was this one called Sorcerer. Sorcerer magazine was to the world of comics as Vogue was to the world of fashion. Artists interviews, collaborations, jokes, things to look forward to, and most importantly, detailed sketches of how certain drawings came to fruition onto the page of a comic book. Renders of characters faces and bodies dramatically exaggerated emotions so beautifully. I didn’t feel the need to pay too much attention to whatever was written inside the dialogue bubbles. I already knew with the next frame. I read some of the comics. Familiarized myself with a character’s name, but often I came up with my own dialogue for them. I made them say what I wanted them to say within the corresponding frame, and these drawings and their stories flowed through my mind like a river, as a children’s Saturday morning cartoon would on the television screen. I wanted to create my own, despite the fact I’d never drawn before. Which is why the sketches were intriguing to me as they were like blueprints from which I could build. Whatever I’d create could be anything. Something that I alone, desired. I shared that power, that feeling with my brother because the overflowing excitement from it all, couldn’t be shared with anyone else I didn’t know. I thought it was the coolest fucking thing in the world. All kinds of colors.

Throughout our youth, my family and I relocated often, and a large database of foreign and american films were always with us. I watched every single one multiple times, including movies that were supposedly inappropriate, which never mattered unless it was porn (of which I knew was hidden above the closet). I was already very well exposed to the variety of profanities courtesy of the schoolyard, as well as exposed to violence. Some dead bitch that was shot with a 12 gauge shotgun blast to the neck with her head rolling a few feet away in a movie didn’t scare me. I’d even act them out. My reenactments were often of me blasting bad motherfuckers to hell with my finger pistols or slicing cocksucker criminals in half with a katana made of lightning. This was playing to me. A childhood sport.

If Morris played with me, we’d act out similar cheesy story-lines as well. I made-believe with my brother even after the 8th grade. I had no I idea I wasn’t supposed to. I have had a cast of imaginary friends from a young age, except I shot or killed them all. Morris had his own cast and movies often as well, but mine were too interesting for me to ask him about his. It felt like an imaginary competition. It was show business, and it was the mother and father that raised us.

My father was unexpectedly home one day after school. My brother attended a different school so he arrived home earlier and was sitting at the kitchen table. Our father was cooking something in a skillet that smoked dangerously from the stove. He turned his head and saw me, frozen in place with my backpack dangling off my forearm, then continued back to the stove. Without a word, I pulled up a seat next to Morris and quietly asked him what he was doing home.

“He was ‘ready home.” he replied at full volume.
“Oh,” I said, trying hard not to question the unscheduled appearance. That was my father after all, he was allowed into his home at his leisure. It became increasingly hard because his presence was different. Something was wrong, ergo, wasn’t right. I felt nauseous and ready to vomit. I didn’t want that to happen in front of my father. I turned back to Morris, “What is he cooking?”

“I dunno. He just said to sit.” Morris replied in a tone absent of curiosity.

We watched a few minutes more until my father was done. He pulled two plates out of the white cupboard (which turned grayish) and placed them on the burners atop the stove. He split the mystery he was cooking onto the plates and walked them both over. He placed them in front of Morris and I. The thing on my brother’s plate was flat and had the silhouette of a top-hat, and mine of a boot. Both charred with a deep blackness. It was the first time I’d seen my father cook, and I found out why. My father walked back with the same skillet and poured a brownish sludge onto our plates. Then he sat across the table, picked up a fork, and started eating from the skillet. His eyes focused only into the skillet as he ate, a ring of black crumbs collected around his mouth. I stared at him, still wanting to vomit. I had hoped the meal would be the only change that afternoon. The change had already irritated my nausea. The brown sludge was different and looked wrong. The whole plate looked like a consequence as opposed to a meal, and when I turned to see Morris’ disgust, I saw that he’d already eaten half the fucking thing without a hint of distaste. Then my father looked up at me.

“You should eat. We’re moving tomorrow to a safer part of L.A. at noon, your mom isn’t coming home tonight, you’re both going to new schools, we have to pack everything, there’s a Gamestation in the hall the both of you can play at the new house.” He listed. He stared a moment longer then slurped the last of the sludge leftover in his skillet as he got up. He washed it off quickly in the sink, and disappeared into the next room.

“There might be a cooler comic book store at the new place.” Morris said briefly and continued eating. Suddenly, with his mouthful of char and brown sludge, a thought hit him, “Ooooh, I gotta go say bye to some friends!” he exclaimed as he kicked his feet. Then scarfed down the sludge, and disappeared into our room.

I wasn’t worried about my mother because my father seemed to be calm. So I was too. However, the idea of going to a new school, meant my reputation at Rutherford would be gone. I’d have to start from nothing. People could speak to me without fear or having been forced to. The possibility seemed very inconvenient to me. The comic book store would be gone from the route I took to go home. That seemed disappointing as well as inconvenient to me. I’d have to learn a new route to go to and from school which also seemed inconvenient. The dead rat corpses would be shared for dissection, which seemed inconvenient without an obvious reason to me. Miss Spittel’s glorious, bouncing tits wouldn’t shine headlights of joy into the darkness the loomed over most of my days, and that seemed less inconvenient as it seemed more inhumane. The ever-fortunate 4th period Gym class and Aubrey Porter’s blossoming tits would be gone, though inconvenient seemed heart-wrenching. All those things were so routine, so fucking O.K., would be replaced with different, change, and incorrect. The stable structure safely securing sanity, sanity I gave myself was being deconstructed overnight. As these thoughts perpetuated, the room spun itself into a blur, echoing the last words that came from Morris. With that, I vomited onto the charred black dinner boot on my plate before everything went black. Morris said his goodbyes to friends that, for him, seemed inconvenient to have to say a goodbye to, which inconveniently felt like a betrayal to me.


Every now and then, my parents spoke to each other, probably ridiculing something about me I hadn’t notice that they did. But they did it in a different language. They had always done that. It never phased me when they did because they’d never tell me about it anyway. It was more surprising had they told me which language they actually used. That was what Science class was like in the 8th grade. 5th period Science was strange to me, but it also seemed strangely comfortable.

We would do different science labs on certain days, usually a Thursday. We’d be lectured the whole week before getting hands-on. Some of the labs could be done on our own, and we’d watch something interesting happen. Then wrote down the results after trying different things for different results, on Friday. The idea that a completely different result can be achieved by simply changing a small factor, was intriguing. It made me think about my family. Sometimes, we’d have labs that required a partner, but no one ever picked me. I thought I was a great student when it came to science, but that didn’t convince anyone enough to be less afraid of me. Every student usually was. There wasn’t anything I could ever do about that wouldn’t frighten everyone even more.

The point of the partners was probably to teach students the importance of teamwork which I thought was riskier because the grade was shared. Our teacher, Mr. Mackie allowed me to work alone during the partnered labs. He had noticed I was always the odd man out. But my grades were always among the highest in class. I worked hard for them. It was the only way I could make everyone regret never picking me. Teamwork taught me how disappointment from others I relied on could be avoided altogether. I just had to get everything right, and I’d be just fine. No punishments. Maybe the point of the partners wasn’t to show the value of camaraderie at all and just another way they maintained the school budget for the rat cadavers we got to dissect. I was fortunate to be allowed my own.

Aubrey Porter had gym (P.E. for Physical Education as we called it back then) during the same time period I did. 4th period before lunch. Mr. Yamato had replaced my Ms. Spittel, of whom was now Aubrey’s physical educator. I didn’t want to learn anything about Mr. Yamato’s physical self like I (along with every boy) had ached to learn about Ms. Spittel’s physical form. In comparison to last year, that hour had become an even more blessed hour for the pubescent boys that attended Rutherford. At least, those who had 4th period P.E. It was because a blossoming Aubrey Porter and an already blossomed Ms. Spittel was in the class 10 feet over. The warm-up exercises, the physical activities, then glistening sweat around their necks. It was like a three-course meal, I’d never had.

Mr. Yamato was a six foot two Samoan from Honolulu. Like Ms. Spittel, he wore shorts everyday that exposed long deeply tanned, muscular legs. He had the same shape my former grandfather had, because Mr. Yamato also had that oddly placed protruding gut, aside from appearing to in his mid-60’s. The oddest thing about him, was his accent. It was a deep New Jersey accent. I found it odd because older Asians I had met usually spoke terribly broken English. I began to understand that people could be mistaken for something else, just by their looks, people besides me. That old man with a New Jersey accent turned out to be an asshole, though.

I found him a reasonable man whenever he took attendance. He had us all sit as Ms. Spittel’s class began the famous warm-up jumping jacks. It was timed that way as though Mr. Yamato understood the injustice had he not done it. He would yell at a boy if he turned to look. In that sense, we all learned to look at a girl’s tits with our peripheral vision. It was a valuable skill in life. He may have been an asshole, but at least we knew he was one of us.

notes from 6, 7, and 8

Back then, what little family I had left, after the exile from the other house of Smolensk, seemed as brittle as toast. Not too dark, but just right, so long as it didn’t break apart. Especially if I wanted it. Needed it. When I did, under dire circumstances, I reached. And my only concern became a reality; it crumbled. In tiny increments like the clicks you feel when wringing a wet towel, I felt in my heart. It turned on a warning in my mind and I was going to have to start taking care of things without asking for help. I was traumatized from asking help from my fellow man at 9, but I was just told not to talk to strangers, so I guess it fits.

As a kid, you’d think things were your fault if something went wrong, despite the usual consolation people normally gave, that’s the way it’s always been. Partly because it’s terrible seeing a child in silent turmoil, the child having no clue to what turmoil is, and how you know that there’s plenty more where that came from. Breaking it to a child would be like exposing Santa Claus, then explaining it’s his spirit that real in your hearts and most people emulate Christmas at least once a year, and then some. Except some people can live without Christmas, there are options and prerequisites and so on, and that’ll be dealt with when the time comes, but explaining to a child why he feels like it’s midnight during lunchtime, all the time, is several times harder, because not all families were orthodox (I reached my late teens before I discovered not all families were like the Bundy family on Married with Children, as mine was, excluding the laugh tracks and lessons learned at the end of the day.) and ultimately, turmoil ain’t an option, and everyone celebrated it multiple times a year. Tell the kid it isn’t his fault, was all the adults could do, it was the bare minimum expected after all, I wondered if they ever felt guilty when giving an absolution like that to a child, like a priest would to someone who wanted to repent. If they told me something like, say, bumble bees can’t see the color white, that would’ve helped, because after being told that, I was more confused because it actually proved my lesson with that stupid piece of toast. It was a stupid piece of bread that shared the same attributes and philosophy as living and surviving in this family.

I couldn’t entire blame the failures of adults, they were always the same, with that same rote menial philosophies, and new ones got their right their rights of passage everyday like driving permits. When a good one came along, it usually meant they were just as disappointed as a child, and found their own path, which can be any path as long as it didn’t involve crime, which was fine with me. I survived that particular phase of turmoil by inducting myself as an honorary member of the Bundy family. I couldn’t physically communicate with them, but it was no different from being an actual Smolensk. Sharing my thoughts wasn’t allowed, and encouraged not to happen, because I would ‘sound silly‘. I suppose it’s true, I don’t really listen to what most kids say today, and my parents just thought it’d be simpler just to ban it. It was easy, just follow the rules, until one November day of my 8th year. Sam Prochazka, my father, returned after a five year absence. I was not to find out exactly why, for the next nine years.

It was my mother, Janice Merriwether, she spoke broken English despite what her name suggested, raised in Brussels where Italian, German, and French, were all considered a primary language (I researched this information alone), and she was fluent in all of them as well as Czech, Slavic, Russian, and Spanish, and sign language. The wide array of languages she spoke, had always discouraged me from ever trying to learn one because it was exhausting to be disappointing as a Smolensk, and by avoiding certain attempts altogether, as I discovered, I was able to avoid a good deal of emotional battery of my upbringing, and at the same time, exercised my wit and cunning as a child. However, my baby brother Moriz, or Morri, Smolensk was not as lucky, he got the bashings. I was only a few years older as it began, but said nothing to help my brother. I didn’t know how. Even the Bundy’s couldn’t teach me how to look after my brother. Guilt and disappoint meant was all I felt when I was around my brother, and the only way I thought I could do as his big brother, was to stand with him when he was scolded. We never spoke about it or recapped any exceptional scolding, I just stood there and took it with him, and ended up receiving half my brother’s emotional beatings. I was pardoned from the physical ones earned, fortunately, but got them more often because my mind often wandered. Which gave my parents a highly inaccurate judge of my character. The verbal scoldings were like felonies, and the physically beatings were misdemeanors. They believed my brother was the felon, when I was really the mastermind that caused them to believe that. I’ve pondered a confession several times, but it was really much too terrifying to consider as it that would only mean more malcontent toward my brother. My mother and father were convinced their unorthodox approach to raising kids would raise model citizens, and that sounded like a good thing to be at the time, staying invisible was a great way to survive.
Later, when I decided to let my balls speak, I absolved myself from the guilt of my brother’s turmoil later during my years of rebellious teenage angst, which freed my brother into an explosion of artistic vision, and caused an ongoing

I wasn’t a coward by nature, I was a coward by choice and because it was the best way not to cry. The cowards I met in school were cowards by nature, so they wept often. But cowards or lions, I ran indiscriminately. Of course, at 9 years old, I had no idea that people would judge me anyway. Judgement of a person was like a weapon everyone already knew how to use. But having visited multiple courtrooms as a child on various occasions, it was already crystal clear to me that an officiated Judge in an American courtroom was the only judgement that I should give a fuck about about because their judgments actually had the potential to not only be inconvenient, but can cause me some form of distress. I’ve only seen one judge on my behalf as I write this. I wondered if God would look that scary in a black robe when he was in a courtroom. (Come to think of it, people aren’t too crazy about white robes on earth. As for the unofficial judges at school it seemed simpler than correcting their presumptions of what my world was like. I’d have to explain what to a child what it was like to feel like it was midnight, at all hours of the day. I’d have to explain the meaning of turmoil to a child of my peer, and probably have killed Santa Claus several times over in the process and become infamous among New Wellington Elementary, as the emotionless 9-year-old Son of Sam. My established connections were already rubbish. I’ve never heard my brother speak an entire paragraph to me (still to this day.), so making a friend at nine years old, seemed over-priced, and I probably had anything else to do, the most important factor resulting in my conclusion, was because we moved every two months. New faces, new stories about me I’ll never know.

I’ve always wanted to hear them, and who knows, I might might have turned out differently. Their presumptions were probably far from the actual truth, but at least somebody thought something nice about my life. I couldn’t believe anyone would imagine a worse story for me than the midnight I was actually living in. I may not have been a 9-year-old Son of Sam, aside from the obvious technicality, but I was a 9 year-old that never really got a chance to be a young, curious and stupid kid. Jan and Sam saved time by skipping all that and I was actually a 9 year old man, that skipped the second grade. Somehow, I was an accomplishment to them. I had no idea all the little problems I ran from were chasing me all along. When they caught up to me, it was a fucking bloodbath. A bloodbath that allowed me to try it all over again, with tact and finesse, and the heart of a Bundy, and the resources of a 16 year old. I no longer was the son of Sam, and really was the Son of Sam after all.



These stranger thoughts came to me when I was bored, so I had nothingbut stranger thoughts throughout my days as a legal child. I was also forced to mimic a statue when I was out in public, or my mother would slap my ear, which didn’t hurt so much as it stung and confused me, as if physically slapping my ear would improve a child’s attention span. In my youth, disciplinary action was to be taken if I acted like one. That was another thing I had to run away from. It was higher on my list because this didn’t involve a scolding. It was a cold slap, point and stare, like a puppy guilty of the urine on the rug.