Saturday, September 23, 2017

2004

In the earlier part of the century, anxieties which accompanied the natural condition of humanity due to so many wars and deaths, from 9-11 and Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as anxieties stemming from the hugely significant changing millennium, all combined to make paranormal phenomena at least seem more prevalent.


During the hard-partying 90's, college, work, girls, and the consequences of each had taken their tolls on my world. So many of my fellow students, friends, and acquaintances were dead or would die, that it was astonishing.

And on the corner up from my house, the landmark signifying the place where scores of strangers and friends whom-would-yet-to-become, would be told, "turn at the the Amoco..." was not long for this world by 2004, either. It was sold to BP late in its life, but was still called, "Amoco" by the locals.

Well, it's gone, now. It was ultimately torn down, with the final third shift who staffed it painting a sad, yet befitting spurt of graffiti
Showing my (lack of) cyber skills. This is a pic from the pic off of the tiny screen of an old digital cam! Briefly, prior to its closure, Amoco was bought by BP...you can make out BP in the graffiti. 
commemorating the erasure of an area-wide institution, which was being removed from the citizens like it was never there, to make way for progress, and to make way for capitalism. The Amoco being torn-down was something, which, with so much change happening in the world around us, it was something which sort of came to epitomize every single one of these sudden, and often horrifying changes, and maybe it came to represent maybe just a push too much...

Due to a life-long illness, I had just barely finished my bachelor's program at UAB, and was not a happy camper in early 2001. In fact, I was flat-out depressed. I had been forced, cajoled, call it whatever you like, but I was faced with a dilemma about illness, being too sick to enroll in law school, and the warnings of my Political Science professors kept reverberating in my ears, "You are too talented to enter law! The world needs analysts! It doesn't need attorneys!"

Like, somehow my illness had climaxed when it did to prove their point. And I couldn't find work. I made a meager living playing cover tunes and original compositions in local venues, but that lasts as long as the next time the next member's gf gets pregnant and he hocks his gear.

So, with what some might call a divine bag of tricks upon which to fall back and resort, by 2004 I was engaged nearly full-time in painting or drawing portraits of people and their pets for a living. Plus, I loved the work. It's messy, it can be difficult when a client doesn't make known their wishes, or if one or the other party doesn't understand fully their end of the deal, but the work is very rewarding...

And most rewarding are the hours: they are entirely up to me. And I work in the wee hours, while most folks are sleeping.

Which, by the way, is why I loved my Amoco store: it was open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, Christmas? Open. Easter? Open. 9-11? Open. And there was a chamber full of revolving and hilarious personas with which one played Russian roulette whenever one opened the huge, six foot double doors, and walked, wandered, stumbled, or was assisted, into the store!

One notable among the very last to work there was a pretty, thin, red-headed young lady who wore glasses, and she worked there for the last bit until it closed. Often she worked the third, or overnight shift, so...whenever I would be working on my paintings, I would often take breaks, mandatory for my eyes, you see, and I would ride up to Amoco, sometimes I would even walk, and buy cigarettes, sodas, rolling papers, etc, and I would ask her if she would be creeped-out too much if I wandered through the store, to which she always replied, "Yeah, but...don't let that stop you!"

And I would smoke, (back when I did) and we would make small talk, and when my eyes would quit watering, I would return home, and finish whatever projects I was currently working on.

Well, this night was not like that.

First of all, this requires a bit of pre-quel.

Over the period of two weeks prior to the night-in-question, a triangle on top of another triangle appeared inside of the dust on my tv screen.

At first, I really did not notice it, but, it was there, I cleaned the screen, it returned. So, I cleaned it again, and again, it returned. So...I quit cleaning it.

I showed it to my mom, who is not a believer in these things, and who sighed, and said, "It's dirty, clean it off!"

I wanted to look at the camera like Eddie Murphy when during that scene in Trading Places, where he is in the limo, and the guy says, "I am Randolph Duke." and Eddie Murphy says, "Randolph, you mean Randy, like Randy Jackson, from the Jackson Five?"
"Well, yes, except for I am white..."
Then Eddie Murphy looks at the camera, and gives "the look". It is this, "Really, man?" look, mixed with enough rage to want to break things, but still manage a fake smile...

 A look that says, "I have been forced to keep quiet, too often"...a rage and a perfect "no shit, Sherlock" while still not offending the nice, condescending white people.


....and I feel that way.

Not just with my mom, but anytime anybody thinks these paranormal problems can be remedied via a sponge, and some 409...
Correct movie, and right look, and context. Just not the exact scene, but otherwise perfectly describes how I feel whenever somebody Capt Obviousess me...

But I cleaned it...again.


Then, I will never forget what happened, next. Slowly, over a period of days, the shape reappeared, this time, the words, "save this one for Jason." appeared right underneath the shape. And I have no earthly idea what it means.
Reproduction. Promise to attempt to coax an archaic digital camera into surrendering what photos it may still have of any of these events, and update this article accordingly. Oh, I said the writing was below the shape, otherwise, it would be upside down. Right?

My mom said that it was probably written on that screen when that tv was made: ten years prior to this event.
But, soon after the words, and me showing friends, family, and attempting (poorly) to photograph them, the entire event ceased. Then the actual one began.

I had been working on a portrait from a digital picture, meaning someone only had a photo like what comes out of a Facebook post, or something similar as far as where their photograph came from. Although Facebook was not yet all the rage, email, which took and converted your pics to a digital format, was well known, by that time, as was MySpace, and people just did not get the point about digitized pics: there are no definitive borders on them. So, no clarity at the levels portraiture occurs.

As an artist, I hate that, digital imagery is actually extremely inferior to acoustic imagery for reproduction purposes. And this particular one was also tiny! Extremely very excessively inordinately tiny!

And I had to back light it, and use an opaque projector. Things I hate.

When one of my cousins died, I did his portrait to comfort my aunt, who wanted another. Between the first, and the second portrait, I bought the $175 opaque projector, which takes any photograph, and beams it onto the wall, where you can put your paper, and trace all the important points...it's like cheating.

When I put the first portrait onto the wall, and beamed the photograph from which it had been done by hand, it was a perfect fit! So, by using the opaque projector for the portrait of this little doggie, I didn't feel guilty, just beaten....a little...

When I finally had his little face perfectly copied, I decided that I was in too much pain to continue, and that if I didn't take a break, I would regret it. You see, pain ruins art. You think you can do as well, but I have canvases waist deep proving, and in tragic ways, that pain is a hard lesson to learn to force yourself to stop about: but you must stop.

And I decided to drive up to the old Amoco, and see what the third shift was up to.

Immediately, as I pulled into the parking area, there was an air of something being off. Knowing this has always been to my advantage: knowing when to get out of the area for cops, when to hit a dude in the face, knowing is half the battle.

But, this time, knowing....what? What am I supposed to do? There is no cause of action...no quid, no pro quo.

And this was even more unnerving.

As I walked into the Amoco, the red haired lady was behind the counter, instead of smiling, she was perplexed, and seemed alarmed.

The lady who owned the store across the street, whose husband had recently passed away from colon cancer was standing there, and asked, "Can I use your bathroom?"
The clerk looked at me, and said, "Ma'am, I think that fellow you came in with is actually still in there." smiling in a "wtf" kind of smile...

I started to call the lady who had asked by her name when the clerk interrupted and said, "No, no...Kevin....seriously, that is not her..."
"But..." and I turned to speak.."
" No. No, honey, I know, but I promise you....it is not her!"

Her tone struck me like somebody had just hit me with a fucking tire iron.

And right then, the bathroom door, which is way in the back, opened up, and the largest man I have ever seen in my entire life walked out. He was a blonde dude, about nine feet tall, and he probably weighed close to 400 lbs at least....

When he reached the counter, the lady I thought we knew turned without a word, and when he walked under those six foot industrial sized doors, he had to stoop majorly! I mean, it looked like he was playing limbo! I was all, "So...you don't have to go to the bathroom?!?!?!"


I had been waiting for the bathroom the whole time, and when I got in there, he hadn't even used it!
See, they came in as the clerk was cleaning it, the toilet brush was still in the commode! The sink was bone dry! He couldn't have even fit in the motherf*^¥ker!

He had to have stooped!

For twenty minutes!
When I came out, the clerk was still showing symptoms of skin-crawl and near-nausea. We discussed the trance-like state of the woman, and I found out that they came in, the man asked to use the restroom, the clerk thought it was the lady we knew, but before she could say her name, and as he was walking to the bathroom, the dude said, "This is not so and so (I left her name out)".
And this, of course, freaked her completely out!

Then, the woman asked like a dozen times to use the bathroom before I came in, and only stopped after I came in. Weird!

The clerk thanked me for staying, she said that she honestly felt that they had evil plans for her...idk...

But, as I was driving out of the parking lot, to go home, there, standing in a semicircle were like five of the ugliest, strangest looking creatures attempting to blend-in with people at ~4 am that I had ever seen.


I mean, one of them appeared to either have horns or antennae...and initially I debated leaving that out of this article because I realize that this is extremely hard to believe. And, I am not ever asking anyone to believe me, however. I am relating a narrative of literal events, and this is plainly and simply the long and short of it.

Anyways, as I was driving off, I recall the clerk's extreme unease with my departure, and reckoned those "things" being where they were to be at least a part of the blame...

So I circled back, and commanded them to leave the premises, or that I would contact higher authority.
They nodded and walked off. The odd thing is how used to this we were, at the time...


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