Psychedelic Kimchi is as rockin' as it ever has been. Despite appearances to the contrary, each and every contributor is preparing a massive, mind-blowing post to satiate our readers' interest. We've been busy, some of us preoccupied by our jobs, others by our passions. Nonetheless, we strive to keep you reading, and some of us, namely the site's progenitor, even keeps a diary. He's been bogged down by administrative nonsense, so he asked me to publish a chronicle of a past experience of his. To be honest, it's a tad lengthy, but then again, it's not like anyone else will post anything, so who cares.
Today was the day that I completed the construction of my best letter to date. I’m not that adept at correspondence, so I feel ecstatic. Currently, I have accumulated approximately three hundred magazines, each of which has been mutilated beyond repair. The destruction of my collection - Vogue, Playboy, GQ, Home and Gardening, Good Housekeeping, Esquire, Stuff, Gamepro, and Maxim, mainly - was almost heartbreaking, because of the effort involved in the decimation. You know that I had to purchase each and every single issue of those magazines, which was a necessary burden, but on top of that, to think that my hands would be capable of such laborious dissection! Yeah, my heart can look back with pride, but my hands are another matter entirely!
But why hadn’t I been diligent in the pursuit? I hadn’t been lazy; perish the thought. The deal is, I have a life to lead, and let’s not discount the importance of appearances. Okay, so my job isn’t very crucial, in the sense that I could always find another lamentable position at some other pathetic institution; that’s a no-brainer. It’s the art, dude, the art that must be maintained. I’ve tried, so hard, to keep my spirits up, especially with my parents gently looking over my shoulder sixty-seven times a week. I want to be a prolific artist, I truly do, but that nagging mother of mine is really killing me, and due to that I drink often. By extension, the drinking causes me to lose focus, and I can’t paint, draw, or sculpt while my brain wanders away from me. You’d think that distraction of the mind would elicit extraordinary material, but that kind of talent eludes me. No joke. Up until today, there was that troublesome missive that hounded me, too. The situation is a snowball effect in motion, but at least the letter is finished. It was the first, and I think that things will be easier from now on.
I should also mention that I did some grilling this afternoon. As it’s nearing the fourth of July, my parents have been getting into the spirit of festive foods, and I can’t disagree with the sentiment. They like to refer to it as Bratwurst Madness, and the season dictates the insanity, because hot weather draws out the best of provisions. My mother was quite surprised that I had expressed an interest in helping out, and to that shock I simply shrugged and said that I was bored; she was appeased by my actions, and asked me to be careful with the amount of charcoal to use. It sounds like a stupid thing, and it was, but I’m not one to argue with her, given the circumstances. The brats? They were Johnsonville, and they’re difficult to screw up, basically. I used a bit too much starter fluid, but you must understand that there were things to burn, far beyond the meat itself! Along with the charcoal, I had thrown in a pair of dainty gloves, cotton perhaps, that had to be annihilated. They were flimsy, lavender things that had outlived their use, and potentially detrimental to my livelihood, and I’d be damned if I were to allow them to remain intact. The gloves had been used to deliver the letters, you see. (The bratwursts were delicious, by the way; burned just enough to acquire the charcoal flavor, and yet retaining the crucial amount of juice. My father knows what he is talking about, so again, I’m not one to contest parental opinion.)
Gloves are but one example of the myriad of items I have acquired in the past months, and as you may ascertain, these things cost money; and money is something that is carefully accounted for in my family. Such matters should be my business alone, but when you live with your parents, things have a tendency to spin away from you. My current job is not exactly lucrative, and thus my cash flow is limited. Mom constantly asks me about my financial situation, and I relentlessly reply that yes, I am saving my earnings, at least as much as I can. Inevitably, however, she lacks the capacity to refrain from opening my mail, my bank statement in particular. The numbers don’t lie, and the woman understands that words often do. Upon query, my line of defense is that I simply must spend money on art supplies; I cannot deny the lure of passion. This satisfies her, partially, and that satisfies me conclusively, because she figures that some of the money dissolves within the mire of alcoholism, as that is what often occurs. Given that my mother ingests a case of beer daily, she is not one to judge neither the situation harshly, nor me. Her estimation is not entirely accurate, but I tell a half-truth, so she cannot held to blame: I do spend money on supplies, and yet she doesn’t envision the breadth of my cravings. Gloves, for example. Magazines, too. Envelopes, postage stamps, paper, and so much more. All are required, but once they have served their purpose, what are they but garbage?
I shouldn’t even begin to discuss the issue of trash, but it’s of unquestionable importance, to be candid. As you know, I like to burn some of my less cumbersome materials, but others require different methods. My younger brother is in high school, but bless his heart, he does provide me with occasional insight, even if it often comes at the cost of considerable inconvenience. A while back, six months give or take a few weeks, Joey was trying to produce counterfeit money. A grand plan, to be sure, although there were, as expected, a few snags in the plan. Joey isn’t one to think in the long term, and by extension, if an idea appears viable when surfing the internet, he’s one to jump upon it rabidly, like a dog in heat. (Or at least, he was inclined to do so, prior to his arrest.) He used my printer to produce the money, that dick, and as you may surmise, my computer as well, all without my prior knowledge.
Yeah, he was caught, at the 7-Eleven no less! Not immediately, per se, but nonetheless, it did occur. He was trying to buy a pack of KOOL cigarettes with a counterfeit twenty dollar bill, and the pudgy bastard behind the counter had requested to see his driver’s license prior to the purchase. The identification checked out (he was eighteen, after all) but the shabby quality of the denomination alarmed the cashier. Joey panicked, and vacated the premises, minus the fraudulent twenty dollar bill, and his driver’s license. He’s a gem, isn’t he? My brother, while foolish in many regards, does have a bit of wit about him, however, and shortly after the incident, saw fit to remove my printer, as well as all unused currency, and ditch it somewhere, in a place where any authorities would not locate them. They can track printers, as I am sure you have been told. He packed the stuff up into my mother’s Dodge Intrepid and hauled it down a few blocks to the Spring Park apartment complex, where he proceeded to dispose of the incriminating evidence by placing it into one of the many A-1 dumpsters available to tenants (and to a few people that aren’t).
To summarize the ensuing scenario: Yes, they tracked him down, and yes, they confiscated my computer for a brief period of time, and yes, they questioned my entire family, and yes, Joey is now suffering because of his foolish endeavors, but they never located the printer, or the remaining junk currency. That hadn’t assisted my brother, given the situation, but it had fostered an epiphany of sorts, for me.
My family lives a few blocks away from the apartments, and while I’m uncertain as to the exact number of people that dwell within them, I do know that there are twelve dumpsters strategically placed throughout the location, and furthermore, the receptacles are routinely filled by tenants, and subsequently emptied by sanitation personnel. The inhabitants of Spring Park are prone to dispose of all manner of garbage, and believe me, I’ve seen far too much in the way of unique junk. Most recently, as I was bringing in a bundle of magazines, I noticed a Schwinn ten-speed bicycle, or should I say, the two halves of a ten-speed bike. Yes, you heard correctly, a perfectly functional Schwinn bicycle deliberately, and neatly, sliced down the center, along the horizontal bar. Beyond that deficiency, there hadn’t appeared to be anything wrong with it. Can you believe that? It’s as if some malicious individual carved the bike in two, just for the sake of tormenting the original owner. Perhaps it was a punishment of sorts for a child’s misbehavior, but nonetheless, it did seem to be a bit extreme.
During that same visit, in the very same dumpster as the bicycle, I spied -believe it or not!- a battered copy of the original Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual, the one written by Gary Gygax, from way back when. The one with the cover that had the red dragon flying around, and the troll holding a bone of some kind. I remember that edition so well because as a kid, I was fascinated by the artwork, especially the succubus, who was nude and posed in quite the suggestive manner, and at the time the drawing elicited an awkward, indecipherable emotion that swirled throughout my chest. Not quite lust, but not quite a crush, it was just something that wanted to be touched, and to reciprocate, I suppose.
I can scarcely imagine why someone would choose to discard such a treasure, but regardless I was determined to confiscate the book. Doing things like that is risky, and I should be scolding myself, but I couldn’t resist the temptation. My genuine intention is be discreet in my endeavors, as the last thing I need is to be discovered. The materials, like my letters, are best kept secret. I prefer to remain inconspicuous whenever possible, but that’s problematic from the start. It’s better to operate during daylight hours, because a twenty-six year old guy dumping stuff at night just begs questions, and street lamps accentuate what people do, and eyes are moths.
On the other hand, during the day, I often have access to no vehicle but my own, and that’s another headache. My father’s truck - a rusted, sooty Chevy S-10 -arouses little, if any, suspicion: A vehicle like that is par for the course. Similarly, my mother’s Intrepid purrs ‘family-friendly’ and no aspiring, white trash detective would bat an eyelash at the sight of it pulling beside a dumpster. But I am the proud owner and operator of a baby blue Suzuki Samurai, replete with a spotless ivory topper. Keep the locale in mind: Cedar Rapids, with its mammoth population of a hundred and fifty thousand enterprising individuals, is not particularly desensitized toward snappy, flamboyant imports. Cruise into Spring Park with a ride like that, and someone is bound to say ‘What’s up with that?’ eventually.
That’s a risk I am willing to take, if need be, although in such instances, brevity is the key. As luck would have it, I had been using the Samurai when I noticed the Monster Manual. Broad daylight, a load of dissected periodicals, and the festive Samurai: I fully comprehend the potential for catastrophe, believe me! I had even left the engine running, ready to vacate premises in an expedient -and yet stylish- fashion, but I couldn’t deny that abrasive urge. To dumpster dive, or not to dumpster dive? That’s a dumb question.
My right forearm suffered a noteworthy scrape during the incursion, but collateral damage hadn’t concerned me, at the time (you know what they say about hindsight.) It bled, but merely a trickle, and I just smeared the blood across my jeans, which were stained anyway.
The Monster Manual is a hardcover game supplement, so despite a few gratuitous lacerations - the centaur’s head had been torn away completely, but given that the centaur looked like a total douche bag with his face attached, I’d gladly suffer through the tragedy - the book was intact. I hastily flipped through the pages, past angry, nitwit bugbears and svelte elves, to the bestiary of demonic entities. I paused to admire the imposing visage of dread, sigmoid Demogorgon. Almost simian in appearance, the demon lord was a maniacal beast, and where arms should have been, were two flapping, hideous tentacles that seemed to leap from the page and into your eye sockets. I’ll freely admit that as a youngster, I was rather intimidated by Demogorgon’s inhuman intensity. I’m still paranoid about baboons, too.
Years later, a friend employed a thesaurus to describe the abomination as vermicious. Maybe it was Kennan, or perhaps Philip Bowman, that portrayed him like that; as they were the only two guys that owned the compendium, either of them could have enriched my vocabulary. My memory sucks in that regard, probably due to smoking too much crap with Bowman. Philip would attribute vermicious to Demogorgon, while Kennan would have labeled the succubus in such a way. I pressed on, beyond something terrible, and into something beautiful.
What can I say about the succubus? As mentioned previously, there is something magical, and subversive about the depiction. The thing is, back in the day, censorship and political correctness weren’t on the collective mind of TSR, so partial nudity was the norm. Granting that, the succubus was no exception. She was portrayed as a nude, lithe female with diminutive horns and scant, leathery wings. There was nothing excessive about the fleshy exposure, and that’s what made it so intriguing to me as a lad, and why I am capivated still. Lounging upon the ground, propped upward by her arms, she gazes at a reader with devilish innocence, while her breasts mangle the designation of demonic. Scratch that; I thought that way during high school, but prior to that (and currently, as well), I was enchanted by her facial expression. If you read the description of the succubus, you would probably think that she was a monster, but I’m convinced that such words belie the image. For all that grandiose talk, there I was sitting in the belly of a dumpster, staring at the succubus while my crotch began to bulge uncontrollably. She reminded me of why I write the letters, of why I keep assembling hamburgers at Wendy’s, and of why Kennan was correct in his assessment; but he must have been referring to her effect upon a viewer.
The picture was not perfect, although the fault lie not with my memory, nor the ability of the artist, but rather the previous owner of the book. As I gazed upon the lovely creature, I couldn’t help but notice a few rough spots which peppered the page. They were coarse and warped to the touch, and the color of a banana that had begun to rot. I need not elaborate, but needless to say, someone else had thoroughly enjoyed this particular page. I will, however, admit to something atrocious, in that my erection was spurred on, unconsciously perhaps, by the pallid stains. I’m not the only one to have been infatuated by the sleek, demure seductress devilish delight!
Don’t worry, I didn’t get carried away, and I didn’t lose sight of my purpose; it was just a distraction, man, a distraction. The scrape had ceased bleeding, and the hum of the Samurai’s engine kept my mind afloat. I slapped the book shut and climbed out of the dumpster, with as much suavity as could be expected of me. Granted, the act of crawling out from a dumpster is ridiculous, and I’m sure that I did look quite the twit, but not half as stupid as I felt when I popped out of the bin and there was a kid peering at me. For a second I just stared back, slack-jawed, at this dopey boy with a shaggy, mahogany mullet. My guess is that he was ten years old, but it’s difficult for me to guess that sort of thing, really. He was wearing this comical, Fanta-orange T-shirt and shorts combo; on the front of the shirt was a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and etched along the sides of his shorts was the word Dinosaur! in enormous, yellow letters. I suppose I shouldn’t dwell upon his appearance, as I must have come across as utterly clownish by comparison.
The situation demanded that I say something, but all I could muster was ‘Haven’t you ever seen a guy crawling of a dumpster?’ and no, I wasn’t being a dick about it. It was spoken in a kindly, congenial manner. The boy responded in similar fashion.
‘Yeah, I have. What are you doing in there?’ He was unintentionally applying pressure to my precarious situation, so I gave him a casually dishonest answer.
‘Well,’ I began, and shrugged my shoulders, ‘I was getting rid of some junk, but I decided that I still wanted this old book.’ I held up the compendium, because I figured that the nature of the book would help endear him to me, or at least not go running to his mother. That would have seriously jeopardized my integrity. He seemed to be appeased, inasmuch that his face didn’t contort from distrust.
‘Did you see a bike in there?’ he quizzed me, and I for a moment I was speechless, as I struggled to refrain from saying something like No shit, kid. Like I couldn’t see the bike. I scraped my arm on the damn thing.
‘The bike cut in two pieces?’ To this the boy nodded, and then asked if I could retrieve it for him. ‘Dude,’ I replied, trying to be conciliatory, ‘it’s sliced in half, including the chain.’
The kid’s eyes were bright blue, and they seemed to ignore the obvious. ‘Yeah, but my dad’s at work now, and I want to put it back together while he’s gone.’ I couldn’t argue with logic, and more importantly, I wanted the boy to forget about what I was doing, so I said okay and submerged once more and fished out his beloved bicycle, in all its dismembered glory. The boy almost forgot about me once he began to study his bicycle, which was fine, but I was foolish to assume that I would escape unscathed. As I was entering the Samurai, the kid tugged on my shirt.
‘Do you have any duct tape? I need to put this bike back together?’
‘Why are you asking me, dude?’ I quipped back, eager to depart. ‘Doesn’t anyone (ahem) else in Spring Park have tape?’ To this the boy’s eyes narrowed, and for the first time he seemed concerned.
‘I live in Park Towne. That’s the real name, no matter what happens. Spring Park is just because the police come around.’ I knew exactly what he referred to; to that incident which had occurred about a month ago, and sent the owners scrambling to reinvent their image. That disturbance with the teenaged black woman.
‘I like the new name. It’s cute. Anyway, let me see what I have, okay?’ The tenacious little rascal waited by the door. I rummaged throughout my car. I didn’t have duct tape, mainly because duct tape sucks a donkey’s dick. I tossed a Plen-T-Pack of Wrigley’s Doublemint gum at the kid. ‘Try that, it could work.’
As I drove away, I looked in the rearview mirror, and saw the kid chewing some gum. Look, it’s the best that I could do, okay?