The charred and laughing remains of Roland Bland.

I’ve heard other people say things that sound a lot like, “My life is a Roman Polanski film,” or some such thing. Do I believe in people when they say these kinds of things? No, of course not. And what happens when you doubt a thing that someone insists has happened? Life turns around and teaches you that you’re an idiot.

I will now share in brief detail the story of the recent past and the near future. The story of how my life turned into a very fucked up art-house film. Well, I will tell what I remember.

I was in the woods somewhere in Massachusetts, killed a fish after watching it swim around in a small bucket full of lake water, listened to it bang its head against the tin cylinder until I no longer remembered who I was, and then I cut all of its fins off with my pocket knife, put it back in the bucket of water, slowly poured the water out, laughed a bit, until the fish laid on its side, sucking at whatever little life liquid was left. I drank cheap vodka, ate trail mix, smoked Benson & Hedges cigarettes for two days, watching, gazing, until I was sure my fish was dead. Then I bit its head off, got in my Navion, drove somewhere, crashed somewhere, walked somewhere, and forgot everything.

I woke up in the infirmary of a county jail near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They were pumping me full of drugs that made me groggy and clumsy and sad. I’d blink my eyes, and I’d be laying in a bed talking with my lawyer friend (the one who recently sold my house). I’d blink my eyes, and I’d be crying in a damp jail cell. I’d blink my eyes, and I’d be in a court room, I’d catch glimpses of phrases: “in the second-degree,” and “Carl Potts, a 16-year-old boy,” and “bludgeoned him with a tire iron,” and “unfit to stand trial,” and “motion denied,” and other blurry ideas that have now completely escaped me. I’d blink my eyes, and I’d be holding on to bricks in a wall, grinding my teeth in agony, realizing there was a corrections officer behind me, inside me. I’d blink my eyes, and I’d be sitting with my lawyer friend again.

All I really know is that I am “out on bail.” Most of my money is gone. My lawyer friend told me I will be convicted. My lawyer told me, “as a friend,” that I will spend 15 years in prison, with a plea bargain.

My Navion iQ was impounded for evidence. I have just under $28,000 left, all in cash. I’ve made a decision to run. And so I am running. Terrified. I will never again see anyone I’ve ever loved. I will never again hear a beautiful woman say, “I love you, Roland Bland.” Instead, it will be an “I love you, Peter Samsa,” or an “I love you, Gregor Clarke,” or something equally absurd and meaningless to my soul. My lawyer friend tells me there’s a guy I have to go see in Indianappolis, a guy who is going to give me the neccessary paper and plastic, a guy who is going to make me disappear and then reappear with an entirely new identity. New name, new face, new life.

A few months ago, things were bubbling up inside of me. I knew big changes were coming. I was right. I looked at myself in a mirror this morning. My knees buckled. I can barely recognize my own face at this point. There are new scars all over my body, and inside my body too. A few months ago, I knew who I was, I knew where I’d been, I knew where I was going to be in the future. All of that is gone. There used to be security in knowing everything, and now there is a strange cousin of security… in knowing nothing at all.

Soon, everything will be gone. And soon, everything will be brand new. And soon, everything in the world will be staring at me, waiting for my next move, waiting to react to my reaction. Soon, Roland Bland will be a ghost, and I will be an entirely new human being. I am not lying when I tell you how very little I still know of my self. But, at the very least, I know that I have the audacity to call myself human… even after everything else that may or may not have happened.


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