Some people spend their whole lives looking for their purpose and never find it. Other poor saps finally settle on one, but it isn’t the real one, so they live a life of quiet desperation. And some people are morons, and their only role is to serve as a cautionary tale for others in their search.
At some point I began to become obsessed with the idea of finding what I was supposed to do. I read books, went to college, and I even built a snow penis so massive that God himself looked down approvingly, but he stayed silent.
I was born on July 19th, and I always had the feeling that was my magic day. The one day of the year the veil between this world and the next would slip a little, and I’d get a fleeting glimpse of my destiny.
One year a voice in a dream gave me Virginia pick 3 lotto numbers. I bought a hundred tickets the next day and pocketed about $30 grand after taxes. The next year the voice returned and gave me more numbers, but I didn’t understand that the word blank meant zero, and by the time I bought all the number combinations for the two numbers I understood, I only made about three grand.
Then it went dark. Year after year came and went without a peep. As the big day approached in 2015 I began to fear I had totally fallen out of celestial favor. I even stopped drinking for a week to see if that rebooted the synapses, but nothing happened, and I fell off the wagon.
This year I had a wonderful dream I was on the moon by a lunar oasis. Only this one didn’t bring up water from some long lost aquifer; it produced oxygen. I took off my space helmet and drove my little moon buggy around the pockmarked surface, and as I paused to look at the earth off on the horizon, I felt a sense of joy and excitement I hadn’t felt in years. Unfortunately a gentle rain started to fall and I awoke.
It seems the mall has their sprinklers set to go off at precisely 11:55 p.m., and as I staggered to my feet I realized I was still too drunk to drive. I started to look for a newer, drier flowerbed to take a nap, but then I saw a sign.
The movie theater was having a special midnight showing of some stupid horror flick that was directed by a hometown kid made good, and that was just the place to have a snack and rest up for round two.
I sank into my theater chair, the lights went down and I slept the sleep of angels. Then the hiss of gas and shooting started.
Alcoholics survive car crashes because they go limp at the time of the impact and that limits the trauma to their body. It also seems to work in mass shootings.
That prick in Aurora, Colorado chose a July 19th showing for his movie theater shooting, and this copycat followed his lead to the smallest detail. He dyed his hair, sported a gas mask, and he used his shitty M&P 15 to fire rounds into the crowd.
Even in my diminished stated I had some appreciation for his act. His attention to detail was impressive, and as performance-art goes, I admired his commitment to the bit. Unfortunately, appreciation fell short of admiration because I’ve always had a thing against people who dye their hair stupid colors for attention.
People dove over seats, martyrs covered their loved ones and people streamed for the exits, but I just stared dead ahead. This guy was killing for attention but I’d happily die before he got mine.
Thankfully, before my adrenaline could overwhelm the quiet calm of the booze and pills, he emptied the magazine, and as he transitioned over to the shotgun a middle-aged bald guy jumped out of the shadows and tackled him.
Baldy must have been a cop or a former Marine because it only took him a few seconds to get on the guy’s chest, rip of his mask and start raining punches down on his face.
As the dull, empty thud of his blows mingled with the screams and cries from the survivors, I couldn’t help but stare as he systematically and methodically beat this guy to death.
In less than a minute he turned his face into a bloody, puffy mess, and it was so slick and rubbery that his punches were glancing off and hitting the floor. At that point he changed tactics and wrapped his raw, red hands around the guy’s throat and choked him so hard I literally watched his eyes start to bulge and pop out of their swollen sockets.
As copy-cat gurgled out his last breath, baldy grunted and kept asking over and over, “You like that, you sick fuck? You like that?”
I got up to leave, and I took one last look into the first killer’s eyes and time stood still. He had been in this exact theater the day after the shootings in Aurora, and a window opened and that lovely music came to his aid as Alfred explained everything. “Some men aren’t looking for anything logical. They can’t be bought or reasoned with. They just want to watch the world burn.”
And we found our purpose.
Dr. Jackson Dayer was standing in the middle of the cracked and wreck-strewn pavement of what had once been the parking lot of an old shopping mall. His followers now inhabited what had been its department stores, eateries, and trendy little boutiques. A small fraction of them at least. Thousands more were camped in a sea of tents that would have amazed Alamgir.
That lucky old sun had the best view, and he saw a mass of men, women and, children frantically twisting and contorting their bodies so that they almost blended into one frothing mass. In the eye of this little hurricane one man stood apart. He had a cadre of body guards, and they formed a tight circle around him. Their arms were interlocked, and every few seconds a small section of their human jetty would buckle as a wave pounded against it.
Dr. Dayer was a tall man, at least six foot seven, and added to his already formidable height by wearing a pair of scavenged cowboy boots. Today his pulpit was the back of an old army truck, and spider webs of speakers went out in all directions, but the truth is it didn’t matter what he said.
Dr. Dayer was the miracle man. El hombre miraculoso. For thousands of years men had been predicting the end of the world, and every single one of them was wrong except for Dayer. He even got the damned hour right.
“But what are we to do about this abomination?” Dr. Dayer’s voice shrieked from the microphones. “This New United States seeks to rise from the ashes, but what God has torn asunder, let no man join together.”
“Men would lie with other men, and they called it a virtue. God was removed from schools, and they called it wisdom. Girls were robbed of their innocence and taught to prostitute themselves like the Whore of Babylon, and that was freedom.
“There shall be no laws except for those found within this book” Dayer shouted while waving the Bible over his head, “And if they will not enter God’s holy light, we will drag them into it.”
Thousands of shouts came back from the crowd. They sounded like they were each speaking a different language.
“God’s kingdom is at hand and only by purifying this earth can this place be made ready. His will shall not be denied.”
Dayer paused and looked down at his notes. The sweat coming down his forehead was dripping onto the pages and blurring the ink.
“I have seen a vision of the things that are to come. We are to overwhelm this land like a tidal wave that will stretch from sea to sea, and we will make it all new again. With God in our hearts we will not be stopped.”
The crowd watched his frantic gestures as he spouted fire, fueled by brimstone, inspired by insanity, and as hard as it is to believe, Dr. Jackson Dayer wasn’t always nuts. Not in any of his lives.
In this one he was a pretty normal guy until grad school – A former archaeology student who was an Atheist until the age of twenty.
Like most of the world’s problems, this one traced its roots to the Middle East, and while on a dig there, he was overcome by the heat and forced to retire to the shade. While drifting in and out of consciousness he got a glimpse of the good old days.
A thousand years ago he had been there as a Christian knight during the first Crusade. His name was Charles Cartier, and he was a warrior and servant of Count Raymond of Toulouse.
In the years after he saw it, he reconstructed the still pictures of his fever dream into an honest to God vision where his Lord and Savior had directed him to this particular moment in history for a reason. It was to show him what the power of faith could accomplish.
Dayer looked on as the knights were besieged within the ancient city of Antioch by Kerbogha, the Emir of Mosul. Racked as they were by hunger and thirst, their brains made fertile breeding grounds for visions and signs from above. The first of these came from a poor soldier named Peter Bartholomew. Peter claimed that he was visited by Saint Andrew, and the Saint showed him the secret location of the lance that was used to pierce Christ’s side during the Crucifixion.
It was complete bullshit, but under Peter’s orders, the floor of St. Peter’s Cathedral was excavated and as their faith began to wane, Peter jumped into the trench and began to claw furiously at the ground with his hands. After some time, his nails scratched against a slender piece of iron. “Behold,” he said. “It is the lance that pierced Christ’s side.” He held it high above his head for all to see.
News of the miracle traveled throughout the Christian city. Morale that flagged a week before, now soared to new heights. The Christian soldiers began five days of fasting in order to atone for their past misdeeds. They pushed their bodies beyond the breaking point. Faith was their only sustenance now.
Camped outside Antioch’s gates, a massive force was arrayed against the city. Composed of both Turks and Arabs, they vastly outnumbered their Christian enemies. Early on the morning of June 28, the starving Christians burst out of Antioch’s gate and the Muslim host awaited an easy victory.
Charles Cartier was among to first men to leave the protection of the city’s walls, and he charged at the enemy headlong. Many of his fellow knights had been forced to eat their horses, but he was still perched atop his skeletal white steed.
In Dayer’s defense, I guess his old body really did resemble one of the four horseman that day. Tendons and bones twisted and flexed as he drove headlong into the enemy’s lines, and in a moment he was in their ranks.
The Arabs fled the field, but their fearsome Turkish masters fought on, and as Cartier pushed forward, the Turks pressed in hard from his left and right. Facing death he became possessed with a wild desperation that animated his sword with superhuman speed and power.
He cut a bloody arc in front of his mount but one man managed to dodge the scythe and drove his lance through the side of the knight’s neck, severing his spine.
As he slumped off his horse and his eyes closed, his psyche fractured so completely, it left an indelible mark on his very soul. He had become death and hell followed with him.
A flushed Jackson Dayer pumped his fist one last time into the air and leapt from the truck. His bodyguards closed ranks around him and attempted to part the sea ahead of them. People whirling madly in circles would hit the men and ricochet into other men behind them. Women would kneel in prayer in their path.
Dayer’s escort continued navigating through the maelstrom until they finally reached the edge of the parking lot. A similar group of men formed another circle around a large white limousine. As Dr. Dayer approached, they threw open a door and stepped aside so he could slip in. A few of the guards followed him inside as others ran ahead to begin the laborious process of clearing a path for the massive car to exit.
Once on the highway, the limousine’s driver buried the gas pedal and the car made the five-mile trip to Dayer’s newest headquarters, the house on the hill.
The house itself was a beautiful mansion based on the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg. It was flanked by a matching pair of outbuildings and surrounded by a thickly-built wall that turned the whole compound into a veritable fortress.
Some of Dayer’s personal security force manned the gates, while others patrolled the walls, but the truth is this was the calmest area for miles. The rank-and-file were told no one was allowed to climb the hill without proper permission and with the threat of crucifixion being a very real possibility, no one disobeyed.
As the car pulled through the gates and made the crushing sound on the white pebble driveway, the Doctor bounded out the door and in five gangly strides made his way up the steps of the building. He was greeted at the door by his only friend, a warm washcloth in her hand.
“Come in and lay down,” she said.
Dayer didn’t ever remember not having headaches, but they were so much worse now. And there was a method to their madness. If he sat alone reading the Bible, he was fine. If he addressed a small crowd, he was still fine. But once he hit the stage, it was as if the personal magnetism that radiated out from him to the crowd was slowly tearing him apart.
Claire walked over the couch and sat down, and in a now well-worn custom Dayer laid down on his back with his head in her lap as she slowly massaged whiskey into his temples.
None of his security force was allowed inside the building without authorization and the men that surrounded the walls could only guess what went on behind the blacked out windows. Even the cleaning staff was only allowed in when the doctor was away.
The security staff was told by his sister that it was because Jackson needed to speak to God, and any outside interruptions could break his tie with the Almighty. It was universally believed. At least, no one ever publicly questioned it.
As Jackson began to relax he felt all of the tension start to drain from his stomach. Then, it seeped out from his shoulders and finally from his mind.
“How does that feel,” she asked.”
“Heavenly,” was Dayer’s only reply.
Claire continued the massage until Jackson’s head lulled back and she stared into his maniacally flashing blue eyes for a second before she leaned over his shoulder and kissed him on the mouth.
Jackson woke up in the early morning hours and was relieved the pain was gone, but it made no sense. He seemed to be punished for doing good and rewarded for sin, but he pushed those thoughts out of his mind. Claire was sprawled out on the bed. The thin linen sheet perfectly molded to her covered breast. The other breast was exposed, and he stared at it for a moment, before closing his eyes tight. Without ever opening them, he slid out of bed and deftly crept from the room.
Jackson walked into the hallway and down to the bathroom. He went inside and locked the door. He flipped on the lights, walked over to the sink and turned on the cold water.
Careful not to remove his gaze from the sink and accidentally catch even a glimpse of himself in the mirror, he washed his hands and face. After drying his hands he draped the towel over the lights to block his reflection.
There’s something cool about townhouses that form a little courtyard. It’s like being in the keep of a castle, and I liked to lounge in the middle of mine and pretend I was the lord. I sat in judgement as people came out of their homes, and I made a mental inventory of what I would do with each one.
Some I would fuck, some I would murder, and maybe one I would marry. Not this one, though.
This old cunt married money, ran the Historic Fredericksburg foundation and lavished attention on her dogs because they were her children. As she hurried by, always seemingly in a rush while never actually doing anything important, she gave me a fake expression of concern. “Are we still recovering?” she asked.
I nodded my head and stared at the ground, and she mentioned something else and kept walking. I fought the urge to smile because that day in the theater was the best day of my life, but that’s our little secret.
It was notoriously difficult to get on disability in this area, and the blowhard judge in Richmond seemed to get a hard-on every time he banged his gavel and denied a claim. But, he didn’t dare do that with me. My lawyer explained the horrible events of that night and how PTSD had left me so scarred; I literally pissed myself if it got dark.
That last part was just lucky. The power went off for about thirty seconds during our first disability consultation in his law office, and I decided to piss my khakis because that seemed like something someone with PTSD would do. It must have made an impression because he kept mentioning it to show how screwed up I was.
The judge banged his little hammer, and just like magic old piss pants was now the proud owner of a $3,000 a month money check. Aside from the 12 large I had to pay my lawyer, that is.
Thanks to my Aunt who was kind enough to die while she still had an inheritance for her only nephew, I now owned my own home and had my monthly expenses covered by Uncle Sam. The system had worked for me, but that didn’t matter. In fact, it did matter. I didn’t want anything rational. I was just going to make it burn.
Dye job seemed like a guy that tried way too hard, but he was weighed and found wanting. Anybody can open fire on a crowd and kill a few people. Hell, it takes some extra training and planning, but it’s not even that hard to hijack a plane, fly it into a building and kill a few a thousand. That’s not for me, though. This little guy was going for the gusto.
The dream, the dream, the beautiful dream. It was hilly and marked with thousands of tombstones. At the top of the field was a massive U.S. flag. Next to the flag was a stone obelisk, at least sixty feet in height.
Each side of the obelisk held a picture. The first picture showed a fresh faced man with an AR-15 as a street battle raged behind him.
I walked to the other side of the monument and saw that it held a different picture, but I couldn’t see it because of glare from the sun. I stepped back a few feet for a better look, but the glare was replaced by frost. A hoary rime of ice had glazed over the picture, obscuring it completely. I strained my eyes but could still not make it out.
I looked out of the see of tombstones to read the names and dates but they all said “Known Only To God.”
At least I had a start. Now I just needed to figure out how to start a war between three hundred million heavily armed and angry citizens who hated each other. Should be easy, right?
It was not easy.