If I told you everything about me...

(stories)

Written by: Melissa Manifesto May 2008- September 2008

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! - the photos in this draft were used to help inspire the stories and
well as illustrate the characters for a few editing eyes, but they are not approved to be the photos that will be used on the published copy of the book. More likely, there will be new, authentic photos taken of the real people in the book to which the characters have origin.

DEDICATION PAGE:
For the ones who are my source of love and life each day: Mom, Dad, Monique.

INSIDE OF BOOK:

reminder: The content in this book is purely inspired by a true person, but the character in the story is not a total reflection of the character of origin. There are many true accounts but also many made up accounts in this book. It is purely fiction. The book's main purpose is to portray a life changed by God, for God. The harrowing journey of a hopeless youth who finds hope in Christ and instills that hope to many along the way. A Memoir of spiritual awaking...and all the parts before, after, and in-between. (All the Forewards are non-fiction, but the rest is fiction.)

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FOREWARD
by Carlo Diaz

[this excerpt by Carlo Diaz is written by him and is a real account of his life.] *this is not a the official foreward. he will need to re-write one, but this is an idea of what the foreward might be about
As i sit here contemplating what i am feeling right now i realize... it's a feeling of sickness... in the pit of my stomach and in the bowels of my heart i have conflicting emotions jumping aroud in a very erratic manner... some one once told me "to love someone else, one must learn to love thy self." But what if one can't love oneself? I'm just stating one mans feelings on a subject as old as time... love. What once was an emotion of purity and passion... has now become a thing of lust and raw animalistic desire. This is caused by the aging and cruelties of father time. Once upon a time saying "I love you" meant your feelings towards another soul and ones wanting to share ones life with that other soul... now it is used for a quick emotionless and sometimes damaging moment of sexual pleasure. Love is the most complex feeling. You may love a family member, but the love you may feel for a girlfriend or boyfriend, is totally different. People use the word love way to easily now. I know this, because I used to. I used to date a girl, tell her I love her, and in 3 weeks, be sick of her. I never led the girls on to thinking I was in love with them, but it's a powerful word. I have just expirienced true love. I have never felt remotley like this before. I met an angel, and even since before I met her, I loved her. I would take my life in a heartbeat if that as what she wanted( I have tried before). The only fights me and her have ever gotten into were about doubts of our emotions. She is my best friend, and even though we have been through the hardest times of my life, this is the only person I care for.

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And this is not only sexual, because thats not the kind of person I am. Just being in her presence makes me happy, unless I feel she is unhappy...with me. I am absoloutley in love with her, and anyone who has doubts about that can fuck off. She is the world to me, and I would do just about anything for her.

"Death Came Callin, But I Had Caller ID Will You be the one to end my misery, You shattered my heart, soul and pride, Now all I can do is plan my suicide. Broken promises, and you looked in my eyes, And still had the courage to feed me those lies, So i hope your happy, I may never be again, I never thought that my heart, would be broken my my best friend"-Carlo

Do you know what today is? Its September 16th. It’s the day that I dread most. This is the 3rd awful September 16th I’ve had to live through since that first, monumental one. The one that caused such a reaction, I will never fully recover from it. That day, I went to your house. You and Shawn we're going to his house. You said I couldn’t I couldn’t come. So, Me and Koral and Adam hung out. We went to North Miami Beach High school To skate and bmx and of course, to tagg. Then I get a wake up call stating your preliminaries.
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The caller said, "Rebekah is at Shawn’s house.” Hmm. So I wonder what my girlfriend is doing with my ex-best friend (whose been known to stab me in the back, and who took my girlfriends virginity). So i call. Straight to voice mail. Call again. Straight to voice mail. Call yet once more. You turned your phone off. Finally when you do pick up, you tell me to meet you by the storefronts. I see shawn. He asks for my board. I throw it at him. "Take it. You've already taken everything else from me." Carlo to Bekah "Got a smoke?" Bekah to Carlo "Parliaments. Two left." Carlo to Bekah "Dang. Oh well, at least they're sweet." After you light me, Carlo to Bekah "Be honest with me. Were you ‘with’ shawn?" Bekah to Carlo "Yeah." Excruciating silence. Bekah to Carlo "Carlo don't be sad. I'm not that grea..." I interrupt. Carlo to Bekah "@#&^! Don't be sad?? Are you $$#%@ seri.." I get up. Walk away. Jump over the wall. Hour later: Adam finds me laying on the floor. Adam to Carlo "You ok, bro?" Carlo to Adam "Dude, I fucking love her man. What am I gunna do?" Adam to Carlo "Bro, yell out: ‘$%#@ you bekah’. Dude just yell it. @3$#$# that $%@#$@# man."

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Carlo to Adam “Naw man, I love her." Adam to Carlo "Dude look what the hell that bitch just did to you. #$#$ her." Carlo to Adam "#@$#$@ YOU BEKAH!!!! (i love you)." Adam and I met with Bekah and Shawn. They were sitting in piled up chairs. I threw Rebekah the wallet that meant the world to me, along with all the notes she wrote me. The razor blade I cut himself with. I threw empty my bag and threw it all at her. After that, you went back to Shawn’s for dinner. Me, Adam and Pablo walked around the Marina at Water Ways. And then, we went to the pool, but we got kicked out cause I started throwing crap into the pool and taggin the tables. So, we walked around the hood; Me and Shawn went around slashing everyones’ tires. We got those big water bottles, the kind you can find on desks at self important offices, and threw them at peoples’ houses. And when we were sick of it, Shawn’s mom took us to your house. We went up to your pad and while you took a shower me and your mom talked, she gave me a smoke. She left me to go do something in another room. I went over to where Adam was near, sat in a corner, and cried, and your sister hugged me, and said "You really did love her huh?" I told her I was right when I wrote you that note about "lubb." I wrote that poem, and sent you a comment about killing myself, and you said I wouldn’t do it. I thought about that, all we said, and I came upstairs with Adam’s sharpest knife. I walked into your room, with his knife, and threatened my life. You grabbed the knife from me and threw it in the lake. We walked around smoked some ciggs. You and me, like we knew it should be but couldn’t. I tagged up your whole building as I left once our ciggs gave out.

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Me, Adam and Pablo went to Walgreens, and stole 4 packs of triple c’s. I took a pack and a half (24). Overdosed. Woke up the next morning at 6am. Adam took me to do community service, from getting caught taggin’. Went home, tried to keep my promise. Didn’t. Cut myself, and wrote ‘aj<3sbekah’ on the wall. (aj is the nickname she gave me) Obviously didn’t die... Next morning at the gravel pitt (spot at school for my crew, GPC to chill at), Dun Dun (school police officer) tells me to stop smoking. I don't. He takes my ID and he asks what’s up with all the scars. “A cat attacked me.” Dun Dun to Carlo “So what happened.?" Carlo to Dun Dun "My girl screwed my boy." Dun Dun to Carlo "Busted you for drugs before, what did you take?" Carlo to Dun Dun "Bars, weed, and trips." Carlo opens bag; pours all sorts of drugs on his desk. Dun Dun to Carlo "What did you cut yourself with?" Carlo to Dun Dun "Here." Hands knife and bloody razor blades" Dun Dun to Carlo “Dude I’m sending you somewhere." Carlo to Dun Dun “Alright. I mean, you if you think so.” Dun Dun to Carlo “I think so. Come with me...” That was the 17th, the day after. The day I knew that what had happened a night before, changed everything for me. It changed who we were, collectively. The Us was torn into two jagged, completely seperated pieces. I was gipped though. I had absolutely

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nothing left. You took my heart and soul along with you, leaving me as nothing but bone mass and muscle tissue. A sheet of skin covering a dark, heartless void. I felt like I was nothing without you. That next day, and the longs days of rehab that followed, I learned that losing you, actually was the best thing to ever happen to me... But I was far from knowing it, until today. more literature between carlo anf bekka, real dead stuff: ----------------- Original Message ----------------From: This Life Is Yours, I Just Live It Date: Aug 29, 2006 9:23 PM

I can't change the fact that she loves him, And even if I could, I wouldn't. The thought haunts me every second of my life. Is she happy? Would she prefer to stay with him? If that would make her happy, I would be happy, Knowing she is doing what she wants. Not what Me, or Shawn, Or anyone else wants her to do. I have just realized this. I think I guilted her into going out with me. I have been so selfish. I just wanted to be hers, Is that so wrong? The phrase is true. "Money cannot buy happiness" While I can affored to buy weed and clothes, Even two houses and two cars, Money can buy me material objects, That might satisfy me slightly, All the money in the world could not buy her love and affection. All the money in the world couldn't make her love me, and only me.

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So with these selfish thoughts, I leave you with this, You don't know what you have until it's gone Hold on to what you have, and treasure it with your life, Because without it, I have no life. No more happiness, no more memories, No joy, no laughter. I am nothing more that a hollow vessel, A body with no soul. I may be breathing, my heart may be beating, But I am dead.

----------------- Original Message ----------------From: Hi my name.. s Bekka, apparently I.. m addictive. :] Date: Aug 29, 2006 9:40 PM

OMGGGGGGGGGG, I LOVE that. it..s o #%@% Emotionallll. ----------------- Original Message ----------------From: Rebel obScene [UNDEAD] Date: Aug 29, 2006 8:42 PM

thank you? now you have a small idea as to how i feel.

C-I am so sorry. But I think I might commit be emo Real emo
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For the last time I hope you catch my drift Bye B-CARLO STOP IT! [Friends don..t let friends be/go EmO] C-I had a gun in my mouth B-Carlo.. ugh. No need for suicide. The world..s not over. C-Bekka, at least I ain't gunna do it now. I promiesed Renegade(eileen) i wuld wait 1 year B-One year? Can you promise me a whole lifetime? C-no I can't. I am sorry. I trully am. But I am not happy. I haven't been for a while B-Carlo. You are happy, you just don..t know it. yerr mind is focused on one thing; the mor you can..t have the more focues you are on it. I don..t know what to tell you. When this was happening to me I talked to Eileen. He helped lotss. Maybe it..s yerr turn C-if I was so happy, why would there be a gun in my mouth? why would I be trying to OD on bars. Whywould I be slitting my wrists to shreds. I sit at that spot with out writing more than you know. every morning this week. when you were gone I sat there. when you and shawn first went out, i almost killed myslef write there, so I cudd write"a.j.loves Bekka". You are the world to me Bekka. I am sorry about that note. I am home, cring my %$# off now. I said that stuff to get back at you. I did not mean any of it. except for the parts where I said how much I love you. Like, you have no idea. No matter who I was dating, you were all I thought about. I am really 100% in love with you. I fell in love with you when I met you. I can't imagine what my life would be like without you. I don't think I'd be alive.
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You are the love of my life. Don't ever doubt that. Please don't. My heart is yours Bekka. Please don't break it. You are my everything, my world. Without your love, I would die. I love you, Carlo I didn't know how to say say it yesterday. I didn't wanna be corny, but I love you. I love you Bekka. I know that we have been through alot of trouble, and alot heart-break, but I promise Bekka, I will not hurt you again. I love you more than anything imaginable. You are my everything. You have been since I met you. Even when I was with Lex, you were all I could really think about. She knew that. I will see you soon, (and I am bringing waffles). Call me. I love you! Bekka: I only love God(if he's there) because he/she saved Carlo. Carlo: love GOD for who he is, not for me. I love you Rebekah Bekka:I love you, too Carlo. When you can write back in the journals then give them to Courtney to give to me. Please Carlo: Rebekah. I am not allowed to talk to you in anyway. Myspace, thru friends anything. It sucks, but thatz the way it's gotta be. Maybe when thingz cool down, and My mom thinkz I am ready to, and when we sure that you are not doing anything retarted like DRUGS and that crap, then maybe we can talk . I love you, and it kills me, but my mom won't let me, and she moniters my myspace, so please, start doing well, go to school take care of yourself, and don't communicate with me. It kills me to say it, but I still love you, and the thought of you still brings me to tears. My mom and I wish you welll, and I hope that you will straighten up. Potatoe, and Goodbye for now (potatoe was thier code name for ‘i love you’ when in front of bekka’s parents)

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STORIES:
1.REBEL:GPC 2. WINGS FROM REDBULL; LOVE FROM REBEKAH 3. THE PARK NEAR YOUR HOUSE 4. PURPLE PILLS AND RED WATER 5. BREAKING GLASS 6. CRIPS 7. IF I TOLD YOU EVERYTHING ABOUT ME 8. LET THEM EAT CAKE 9. SUNNY ISLES 10. LOVE; LOVE WILL TEAR US APART AGAIN 11 JASON SMITH 12. THE HOPE, THE TRUTH, AND THE STRUGGLE 13. HOOKAH, HARDCORE, AND HEY-ZUES 14. I'LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE...AGAIN 15. JESUS TATTOOS 16. NOAH 17. LIBERATION 18. INSPIRATION

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MY OLD TESTAMENT
A voice says, "Cry!" And I say, "What shall I cry?" All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. Isaiah 40:6-7

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1 REBEL: GPC

In your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth. The wicked go astray from the womb, they err from their birth, speaking lies. Psalm 58:2,3

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Hello, Officer
I spilled my coco pebbles all over the floor again. The milk is billing over the edge of the table, filling the cracks of the tile. The clock says 3:17. Its afternoon already. I can't remember what happened last night-well all of what happened. I think Im about to have an intense migrane again. I get them a lot these days, so strong sometimes that I pass out. I reach my hand up to sooth it, which doesn't do anything, and I notice a dry clump on my temple. What is that? Oh...blood. 4:57. I awake again to find my face in a mess of smushed coco pebbles and sticky milk. The answering machine light is blinking. She must have called me again. I wasn't here though. I don't want to call back right now to face her questions. What did I do last night?- I don't know. Why didn't I stop by like we planned?- I don't know. Was I at the runmill?- I know her questions, I just don't know the answers. Her name is Rebekah, but more on her later. I can remember being carefree. Not the kind where you're smiling up at the sun, glad to be alive, grinning at the light weight of your plate and good deal of the cards that have been drawn. No. What I was, was absolutely rid of any kind of caring that most normal people had. Carefree- school, authority, parents, religion, rules- I could care less. And at the time, I thought that was what made me free. "Tell me your name." "Carlo. Diaz." "Any I.D?" "No." "I need your gaurdian's phone number." He jotted it down. My hands were cut raw. Scratches along my palm and wrist up to my arm. I fell during the run. He saw us and chased us down seven blocks. The cold steel cuffs are digging into the fresh sores. I can't stop spitting. There's a pool of it, collected a few inches from my feet. As I answer his stupid questions, I add to it. There's too many cops in Miami. Its a different one everytime, and so I always get asked what they should already know. Its not my first time, not even close. We are done for now, finally, and I'm making my way into the car, ducking in after Shawn and Adam. This guy doesn't intimidate me, though he might think it at my lack of words. I wasn't scared he caught me, or that I was caught at all. I actually like it. I like breaking rules a lot. And I do. And they try to stop me, but they won't, because I don't care. People are so tied down, you know? There's rules for everything. Stupid things. I can't tag walls, I can't skate sidewalks, I can't skip class- because its such a crime. I have

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racist, pervy, self inducing scumbags as teachers. I have a cokehead father and mother so detatched she might as well dematerialize into the wall she stares at. I have cops stopping me and my friends for defacing public property while underage smoking, when I know this guy is gonna go home and get wasted till he falls asleep. I see the alcohol tinged in his eyes- you can't hide what you are. I guess he sees something god awful in me. All my broken pieces, floating around inside. I bet he has this job for that reason. To make himself feel better, like he's fooling us into thinking he's got it together, that he's good for stopping the bad guys. We're all bad guys. Shawn’s eyes are glued to his hands, like he's trying to burn holes into his handcuffs. His jaw is tight, lips pressed closed, hard. I can tell he is worried. I spit. The car is being parked. The cop is helping us out now, Adam first, walking us three, with escorts, into the dull building. I smell the stale air, look around at the grim white wash walls and sit on a metal folding chair. We wait. Our parents have been contacted already. Mine didn't show. "Better not happen again boys. Alright, drive safe." And with that, Shawn’s mother and father lead him out, scolding before they make it through the doors with Adam and his workaholic mother in persuit, all heading back home. "You have some records kid. Court ordered that any small amount of trouble from you and we get to keep you for a week. So, follow me and make your self at home." Jail, for a week, and all I'm thinking is that it beats sleeping at home again.

What exactly are we made of?
I was released, and went back to school the next day, a Tuesday, when I did it again. I didn't even make it to my second hour, which is where I was headed before my impulsive detour. I got out green and pink spray cans from my backpack. The massive black dumpster sat in between the upper class-men building and the row of extra portables outside. I prided my self in my work, and took my time to make sure that I conveyed my art the way it was in my head. Tagging was one of the few things I did care about. It was something to enjoy, when it seemed I didn't have much of anything else, before her, before everything.

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The "G" took up the top third portion of the dumpster. The "P" full in the center. I was working on the "C", to go on the bottom left, when I heard a frantic, winded yelling of my name. "Put the can down, Carlo." The more composed voice was right behind me now. "Stop." I did. "What in God's name do you think your doing?" I laughed. I wasn't doing anything in God's name... "Come on." I went. I sat in the office and waited. They phoned both of my parents. We waited. They called again. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. They told me they haven't decided what to do with me yet, and they sent me to fourth period. I never got to finish the "C". I walked to Biology. The class was dissecting today. I sat in the back, and I thought about the pig they were cutting open. I looked at it, and I thought about how that pig had it better then me. It was numb with death, and no matter how many people poked and prodded it, it wouldn't feel a thing. I feel too much sometimes. You wouldn't think so, but I do. I watch a group crowded around a table, slicing the skin carefully to pull it back and look at the pig's deadbeat heart. I grabbed one of the razors on the supply table when I walked in, before I sat at my desk in the back. I wonder what I look like inside. I wonder if there's anything real left in there. I wasn't really thinking about killing myself, I just didn't know what else to do. I guess I was really curious, or nuts, or maybe I wanted to feel something different. I can't really say. I had the razor in my hand. I let the blade edge along the surface of my skin. It feels cold and nice. I stroke my self with it, just watching how right it looks, to be against my skin, like the pig's. I push it in, and drag it down and watch, surprised by how quick the blood rushes out and begins to drip down the sides of my arm. Warm rushes over me, even though the cold blade is still in my hand. I close my eyes and smile as a sleepiness washes over me. Then I jolt in my seat when I hear a loud gasp, and then many voices, calling out to me. They said I blacked out a little. I lost a lot of blood, but not enough to kill me. Not enough for it to be anything serious at all. Im bandaged and staring out the car window, running my fingers over the wrappings on my wrist. She's cursing, driving bad, and smoking a fag.

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"Why the hell would you do that Carlo? Do you know how much it is for one hospital visit like that? And now you're expelled. You think you can get out of doing work in class by pulling that? I hope it hurts like hell. Cutting yourself like that. I can't deal with this. I can't. And your graffiti thing, and you just got out of jail! I'm going to find a private school for you, and if you blow that, you're out, on your own, and I don't want to see or hear from you." My head turned slightly towards her, then back to stare vacantly out at nothing.

Just another altar boy
School was hell. Home was hell. Life was hell. I ditched the first two, with continual thoughts of ditching the last, but something held me back. False hope, maybe. I "hoped" that since I was kicked out of school, and ultimately kicked out of my house for that, Life would be bearable. Better, hopefully. It's funny how they tried to get rid of me so fast at that pathetic private school she made me go to. I was targeted dead on arrival. My every move was recorded and calculated so that when I had made just enough slip-ups, they would make sure I could never set foot in a school again. I made them cringe there. They bashed their concepts and beliefs at us, trying to sell us on ideas of God's love and christian compassion. It worked for some people, you know, the perfect ones with everything all neatly together. They had no problem showing them christian compassion. I was different. They saw it, and they hated me for it. And when I broke the rules (again) for shaving my hair into a mohawk and showed up with coffee for class, they had scored enough tallies against me, to have me gone forever, like they wanted from day one. It reminded me of the movie The Dangerous Lives of the Altar Boys. It always had been my favorite movies, and even now, it was nice to know that there are some people who get it. There aren't only self righteous goons in the world. In the movie, Emile Hirsch and Kieran Culkin are these catholic school going boys who create a comic to express and distract from the nightmare of their school life. Throughout the movie, Sister Assumpta (which is the name they give her as villian in their comic) tries everything to get them kicked out. They decide they want to go out, but go out big. Their finished comic gets stolen from Father Casey and they plan to get it back but also leave their mark. It's ends in a bloody mess of a cougar chase and tragic death. I replayed the scenes of the movie in my head while waiting in the office on my last day. I thought about doing

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something to leave my mark, to go out big. I'd love to find a cougar someplace to let loose in this office... There was a new suitcase waiting for me in the car when she came to get me that day. It was one of the only presents my mom has ever gotten me. She told me to pack. I did. She told to me to get out. I did. She said she would call to check on me later. She didn't. I hoped for better, and it got better, and worse and better. Things were really bad, up until I left home. It was just different. Still bad, but not as bad- for me. My living situation might seem bad in some eyes, but it was a vast improvement from the life I had to live before in mine. I could deal with living, and somedays- I actually wanted to. So it did get better, and it did get worse. But it all changed, and it changes again after that, because that's the way things always are. The difference was that I finally felt like I had someone to help me through it.

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2 WINGS FROM RED BULL; LOVE FROM REBEKAH

"The sun shines out of our behinds No, it's not like any other love. This one is different - because it's us" Hand In Glove; Morrissey

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Orange pill bottles
So I'm fully awake now, and I'm doing the best I can to remove the cereal bits from my face and in between the cracks on the floor. I don't have time to clean this all up though. Its almost 6 again and I'm not close to ready. I'm never close to ready, but this is what I have to do. I do this to survive, because unlike other people- there's nothing else waiting for me out there. I know my place, and its not with the people who get what they want. Its not with the optimistic, successful, or happy. Its not with the guy who wakes ups to a wife and kids and a good job. Its not with the people who have things going for them, and its not even with her. She's always telling me not to think like this, but its what I was born into. This is me and all I can do is survive it. Red package. He told me to bring the red package- that it was important. He reminded me its importance. I run some toilet paper under the faucet and dab at my face. The blood is gone, but the cut is red, and ugly and plainly visible. I don't have time to try to cover this up. I have somewhere to be- with that package. he also said I could look inside and take one out for me, but only one. I find the package in my trench coat by the door. They make us wear them when we do rounds. There's a single seal on the backside, and I lift it carefully. There's about seven orange pill bottles. I lay them across the kitchen table next to the spilled cereal and see one with my name on it. RX: CARLO. He said this is his strongest stuff, and I get it free because I help make the rounds. That's why I do it. He also pays for me to live hereapartment 118 Ludlam Miami. My apartment has one room and one bathroom. Sometimes the water is green and the walls are yellow- but its somewhere to sleep and its home. I keep anything I don't want people to find in the air vent above the shower. The AC doesn't work here so that's the only purpose it serves. To hide the things that are mine and no one else’s. When I first moved in, I got robbed of everything. And after, I kept getting robbed until they couldn't find anything worth robbing. Its a secret only I know- not even her, but then again, there's a lot of things she doesn't know about me.

“I wanted to give you one”
Two years ago, when I was fourteen, me and some buddies went to see Hollywood Undead. Those friends are all gone now, off in school and I stayed here. We went to Studio A a lot, a small club in the greater ghetto area of south miami. It was O-town. Thats
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where we went to smoke and listen to local punk bands. Shaun got in some skinhead's face and we had to run out the back door before getting our bones littered on the pavement. Why did we have to smoke half a pack? My breathing was cut dry and i found it difficult to keep pace with my friends. Those days, when we didn't go to shows we tagged up the city. Grafitti, cigarettes, and girls is what we lived for. We had no label other then our tag name- GPC. Our days were spent running from the cops. Anything you might consider bad or stupid, we pretty much did. I liked GPC, but I didn't need it. I was a rebel to the highest degree. Somehow, girls really liked that about me. I just honestly don't give a crap about anything really, and they'd tell me that was cool or sexy. I met a new girl on a daily basis. None of them really lasted though, I guess you could say I got bored fast. Or maybe not exactly bored, but more of just not interested. My bros Shawn and Adam worshiped me for getting so many girls, but I wanted to be able to really care about someone. Just one girl like they did. They both had girlfriends who they'd chill with almost everyday for a little. I didn't think it was possible for me to. We stopped running as we turned the next corner. The skinhead was too drunk to chase us. We were in front of a 7-eleven. I got orbit out of my pocket and shoved three in my mouth. We started laughing like we always do when we get away with something. The rush is what we lived for. Shawn and Adam walked ahead and into the store heading for the counter. I didn't care much for another pack. Red Bull fitted my cravings for the moment. She scanned my drink but wouldn't take my money. I was getting mad because I thought she was just doing it to piss me off. I put the money down on the counter, picked up my drink and walked out. Shaun and Adam were already lighting up by the side of the building. I joined them and finished my drink in with what felt like two sips. The taste lingered on my lips like Red Bull always does. I wanted more but i ran out of money. We sat out there for about half an hour and thats when she came out the doorslooking different. Her hair wasn't pulled back anymore but sleek at the top and curled cooly down a little past her shoulders. It was the color of fall, a golden brown, like maple leaves and it reminded me of warm weather. Her green 7-eleven polo and black slacks were replaced with a punk is not a crime tee, tattered jean skirt, and the sexiest combat boots I've ever seen. Her head turned in my direction and a smile formed across her face. Without skipping a beat, she marched over and pulled a redbull out of her lime green canvas bag.

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"I wanted to give you one for free", she said while holding the drink out for me to take. Then she sat down on the curb and signaled for me to take a seat by her. I sat willingly because my knees could hardly hold me up as it was. "I'm rebekah. I noticed your shirt, I wanted to go to anti flag tonight but I only got off now. How come your not over there, its not over already is it?" she spoke as she pulled out another red bull for herself. After staring at my drink for a good while, I popped the cap and took a long sip. It was the best tasting red bull I'd ever had. I could feel her eyes on me, waiting for an answer. "My name is carlo. That's Shawn and Adam. We had to leave, but they're playing for another 45 minutes." I had to look past her when I said it, I couldn't bare to look her in her bright green eyes. She opened her redbull now and took an even longer sip then I did. Then, she scooted closer to me so that I could smell her, which became my favorite scent and I later learned that 'with love...' was the perfume she used. I learned so much about her so fast. She was very open. She took a long drag from my cigarette and puffed the smoke past my face. She winked her gratitude and began chatting away. I was mostly a spectator, watching as this beautiful strange girl looked me straight in the eyes and let all her thoughts pour out, rhythmically into conversation. Her voice soothed me somehow. We love and hate the a lot of the same things. The music scene, indie film, screwed up novels. She's telling me about how she wants to skydive- to just fly, and feel only the air around her. I can't believe how good she smells. She put her head on my shoulders right in the middle of talking to me about how the punk scene was dying and hip hop was thriving and it use to bother her but now she's glad because it makes her feel like a minority and she thinks its cool to be a minority. We sat like that for what felt like forever.

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3 THE PARK NEAR HER HOUSE

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Taxi
I listened to every word she said, and I remember our entire conversation to this day. But that was then. That was when I met her, and I loved her as soon as she told me her name, and I still do, but things are different now. Right now, I can't keep seeing her like she wants me too. I'd like to, but I have to make my rounds so I can keep getting these pills and a place to return to at night. I stuff the orange pill bottles back into the package and seal it. Mine is still on the table. I twist the cap and grab two of the royal purple pills. They look like grape candy in my hand. I'm tempted to take them now but I can't do this job being the slightest bit out of it. I need to wait till I hand the rest of them off. I put the two pills in the back pocket of my pants. I don't like wearing my trench coat, it makes me feel like I'm doing something really bad. Worse then just delivering a package. That's all I'm doing. Rick makes us wear them though, that's who I work for, rick, from the Runmill- the one who gave me these pills, and this dump. I put my arms through the sleeves, stick the package in the pocket and grab my cell phone. 4 missed calls. Rebekah. I really do feel bad about this, but I can't do anything about it now. Ill make it up to her. I need to take a taxi down to Fillmore. I'm in the elevator. I always second guess myself in here. I think its the awful music. I always thinkdo I really wanna do this? Yes. I have to do this. The doors split apart and I'm exiting my complex. Its raining, of course. Two taxis pass me before one finally stops and I get in. The driver doesn't ask me any questions other then where to, which I'm thankful for because I don't do small talk. I don't see the point in telling some person you don't know and will never see again about yourself. I'd much rather listen to the rain hit the roof of the car. My head is against the glass, and if I close my eyes I could sleep for days. Instead, I start thinking about her. It always rains at night after the day's heat dies out in march.

Biscayne
It was two months after we had met and we tried to do as much together as we could. This day stands out in my memory. Nothing went right that day. After trying to get into a sold out movie, a cancelled show, an expensive restaraunt, a cd store that kicked us out because they thought we were shop lifting, and a private party at the park near her house, we sat outside the Biscayne Park gates-defeated. Without any warning, rain began to sprinkle, then pour down, all too fast for us to reach shelter.
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Rebekah took off running, heading inside the park. She ran through the path opposite of the private party with a protective covering, and headed straight to the playground. I watched her and thought about how she looked just as good with messy hair and dark streams from the eye shadow she wore smeared across her wet face. Her clothes clung to her, marking every curve I've outlined, (not missing a single one) with my finger tips. She stood on the merry-go-round, bare feet on it's painted center and mouthed my name. I took my shoes off where I stood and ran over to her, leaving them in the mud that formed around my own feet. I sprinted over but stopped a bit away from her and took a photograph in my mind. Then I sauntered over and gripped one of the long handles so I could spin her. I told her not to let go. She took her eyes off the dark sky and looked into mine. "I'd never let go." It sounded better then the first time she said I love you to me. Anyone can say I love you. Its used on family and friends. Sure I want her to say it to me, but it didn't mean as much as what she said at the park. I knew she meant it. She'd never let go, when everyone else I've ever known will. My parents let go. My friends let go. My teachers and neighbors let go, but rebekah refused to. It didn't make sense to me, why she chose me. She was so, brilliant, you know. She loved to read, and write, and she was exceptional. She would just say the most amazing things sometimes, without trying to. Like, it was just how her mind worked, and I loved it. She had this way about her; it made me crazy. I always wanted to know what was on her mind. I could tell she was always thinking about- something. It'd be quiet, and I would ask her: what are you thinking? And she would tell me. She would say exactly what she was thinking, and it sounded perfect, and then she would get quiet again, and I stayed quiet. And we both knew. And I would grab her hand and squeeze it tight, and we would keep walking, and sometime later I would ask her again. I loved that. I love the way she...thinks. She asked me once, what I was thinking. I told her. I said I didn't understand why she loved me. I couldn't see why she would, and why she would spend anytime on me. It didn't make sense. She deserved so much more then I could give. I said it, what I had always thought, anytime she was with me, I always thought that, and I couldn't under-

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stand it. She was quiet. I couldn't tell what she was feeling by her face. She stayed expressionless, waiting and listening. I kept on talking. I always thought like this, you know, because I would look at her holding my hand, and it felt right but I know it looked wrong. It looked wrong to the rest of the world, because I don't deserve someone as stable as her. And she shouldn't be with...trash. I think that's the word I used. It was used on me before, and I thought it described me perfectly so I said it. I dropped her hand then, and looked away. I heard her laugh under her breath. "We are all in the gutter',- she said as she reached for my hand again, - but some of us are looking at the stars." "Fillmore." I jumped and hit my head on the window. "Oh. Thanks, how much?" I said reaching into the pocket to my left where I kept my money. "Thirty two", the driver spat back, impatiently. I handed it to him and hunched out of the car. It stopped raining but it was still cold and a lot darker at this part of miami. I was at the skeleton of the city. It was higher class downtown, the inner most part that was protected from thugs and thieves-well, more protected anyway. I wasn't there yet. I wish this was the place I had to go to. Boutiques and families having dinner. Couples by candles listening to the live jazz. I have to walk faster. I was being watched as I passed. I hate that. I hate that they stare at me when I'm doing this. Its like they know everything.

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4 PURPLE PILLS AND RED WATER

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Grape Candy
Anyway, I just turned into a narrow alley between the sushi shack and glamor nails. A pink door he said, with a 'storage' sign nailed to it. The stench is overpowering. I'm pretty sure that its a dead body. I've been doing this for eight months now and I've seen my first dead body on the job. I'm not told anything about it other then to keep my mouth shut. Honestly, I'm not worried about dying because I'm not doing any hustling, I'm just the deliver boy. I'm untouchable as long as I do my job and on time. 5:52. I can hardly see but the smell seems to be behind me now. There's a dim light up head on the side of the building to my right. As I approach, I notice the door is indeed very pink, and the sign says storage. I'm not supposed to knock or anything. I just place the packet by the door and get away from there fast. At six, the customer will go out and check for it, and if all is well, I head home and get a call later on for my next delivery. If it doesn't go well, then they'll try to kill me. I don't plan to mess this up. I haven't and I won't let it happen. Nothing will get in my way from making these trips. Rebekah said she won't let go, so I'm hoping she'll just wait for me, till I get to make big bucks like I'm promised and then I'm out. Then we can be together again. Rick pays for my trips through town.

I got a hindu taxi driver this time who talked the whole way home about baseball. Only he said baseball funny and it took me a while to realize what he was even saying. I let my mind drift as his voice became background music to my dreams. I was in the house I lived at before I got kicked out. my house. My living room looked different. The furniture had a layer of dirt on it. Bugs making their homes on the couch where my dad would snort on the weekends. There was cigerattes tapped to most of the surfaces in the room. The tv blairing an episode of gilligan's island. Stepping into the kitchen I see my mother with her back turned to me. "Get out. Carlo, your father is coming. You know what he'll do. Get out!" I shut my eyes and was outside. The trees around our house were decorated with all the things from my room. They began crashing down when I shot up.

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"Here", the hindu man said, clearly displeased that I fell asleep on his ramblings. I recollected myself and handed him the thrity two dollars plus and extra three of my own I had been saving for a red bull. I left the car and enetered my building. There was a bright blue post-it on my door. I'm worried. Is everything ok? I miss you. Please call me. Plz carlo-Rebekah. My head was spinning when I hit the bed. I wish she could be next to me right now. Maybe tomorrow. Ill call her tomorrow. I almost forgot to take off my clothes. I need a shower. The water is bad again. It's only been two days, but it feels like two weeks. I smell like I haven't come in contact with water in weeks anyway. At least getting out of these clothes and into something else will help a little. I pull my trench coat off and toss it by the door. Out of habit, i reach into my back pocket of my jeans, where I usually store extra money or gum or something I stole and I pull out two perfect circles, small and shiny on my palm. The light of my bedside lamp makes a halo around the pills. The soft aurora allures me and how am I to resist? The color beckons me to taste, and assures me that there is no harm. I put the pills on my tongue and wait. I pull of my shirt so Im only in my boxers now. My bed begins to grow legs and walk away from me. I sprint and tackle it, falling into my pillow of a white tunnel that seems bottomless. My sheets tangle around me and the room dances wildly. Colors jump at me, and then, its black. How did she get in here? I don't think I gave her a key, Who's with her? What is the lobby guy doing in my apartment? Am I still in my apartment? They're talking so loud. What are they saying? Concentrate on their words. Listen to what they're saying. Get up and tell them to leave. I can't feel any part of my body. Am I still in my body? Say something. Let them know you're awake. "Haven't seen him for a while....front door...no, I'm sorry ma'm..." "He never returned my calls. Thank you for unlocking it for me....yes, I hope they come soon...." What are they saying? Who else is coming here? They can't come in. They have to leave right now.

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Lipstick lips
"Carlo." I open my eyes to Rebekah's light ivory complextion. She isn't wearing eyeliner, and I almost don't realize it's her, except for her green eyes and confident voice. She smiles half heartedly down at me. I can't smile back at her, or even get a word out. I can't do anything- but close my eyes again. I must of had a million dreams I can't remember. The last one is vidid though. Last new year's, Rebekah and I were at a party at a friend's house by the inner coastal. It was formal so I had to wear a long sleeve and tie. She looked good in anything. Amazing in any color, but she took my breath away in that yellow dress. She had died her hair with chunks of red and blonde highlights. She wore it straight and long with a single diamond beret clipping a chop of cropped bangs to the right. Her dress cut just right to make her look elegant and sexy. She took a glass of champange in her hand and tilted her head back as she drank. She finished and threw the glass on the floor, smashing it as if celebrating her vitality. Thats when i scooped her up and carried her to the pier. All our friends were sitting in lawn chairs by the pool. I put her down and led her to the edge of the pier, where we sat, feet dangling. We were silent for a long time. A good silent, where you have just enough time to think about how perfect everything is and how its even better then what you were wanting a moment to be like to begin with. In the silence, we could read each other's thoughts, and knew that we shared everything about that moment, and that it was only ours. It was our new year's, our pier, and our minds that connected with the same understanding that no one else knew of. I asked her to marry me. She reached for my hand and jumped into the water, pulling me with her. The water was cold but felt right for some reason. She shouted yes and grabbed my face for a kiss, but looked into my eyes instead. I looked back and we went in for it at the same time. After we kissed, she took off her beret and dunked her head into the water. I watched as she disappeared beneath the surface and rise back up, to sooth her hair, and lipstick lips were all I could see against the water. They trembled softly, as if the cold water was beginning to get to her, and I bit my own lip as I kept my eyes steady on hers. I admired the red water scene, the beauty, the color she brought to me. She stuck the berret to my tie and said that we were officially married. I took off the class ring I got just before I dropped out and slipped it on her finger.

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She kissed me, hard. In my last dream, we were at Moe's Mexicana where we buy their fiesta dishes often. Rebekah's hair was covering her face as if it were combed specifically to lie directly over it. A short fat employee came up to our table to check on the status of our meal, but when he speaks, it sounds like a slowed, fuzzy intercom announcement. His mouth movements don't match the static of his words. I turn away from him too look at rebekah and she seems frozen in time. I'm trying to reach her arm across the table but it seems an impossible distance for some reason. The class ring I gave her appears on the table. She snatches it up and leaps toward me, jamming the ring in my mouth, shoving it and her fingers down my throat. My eyes pop open and there is liquid spilling from my cheeks. This time I'm awake and manage to speak once I'm done coughing. "What. Why." I mumble. "You wouldn't stay awake long enough to take this, so I had to just give it to you. A doctor came in to check on you a couple hours ago and told me you needed to take it." Rebekah was sitting at the end of the bed with her feet to the floor. Once my mind cleared bit and I was fully awake she told me what was going on, and asked me questions, of course. I discovered that its been 4 days since I took the pills. I was in bed the entire time and had been discovered mid day on the third day because she asked the lobby guy to check your room for her. That was the first time I used the pills. I've gotten use to them now and I can control myself better. I know the effects and I know what I can handle. I can even take them anytime I want, and I do. Before I make my rounds, I pop one in and I'm good to go. Waking up in the morning, its like yesterday never happened. I can forget my past. I can stop myself from remembering all the things I see and do. I know I said before that I wouldn't take them before doing my job, but that's becasue I was scared. The pills make my fear evaporate. Everything evaporates into a haze. She told me she can't see me like this. She tried to help me stop, but It can't be stopped. I just need to take another one and thoughts of her will fade. Everything fades and I can sleep my life away. I've been looking to escape this since I was little. Escape my problems, my failures, my life. I don't want to escape her though, but she left me. She promised she wouldn't, but I guess I don't blame her. When she's here, its not like I really am. I get gone whenver I

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can now. Rick gives me a bottle every week, and that's how long it takes me before they're all gone. Sometimes I wonder what happened last night, but the smallest feeling I have left lets me know it wasn't good. I try to stiffle my curiousity, and numb myself completely so I don't have to feel a thing. Rick says he has a better job for me. He's wants me to wait a month. Maybe ill stop the pills then. I just don't want to be the deliver boy anymore. Maybe I can work inside with him. Its not that bad after all. I'm not hustling or killing anyone, and maybe ill just make the calls now. ill stop getting and taking the pills and ill get rebekah back. I just need a month. It'll be okay until then.

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5 BREAKING GLASS
Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry. Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. jeremiah 4:19-20

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My sense of time is completely gone. I can't tell weeks from days or minutes from hours apart. I don't do anything besides make my round and sleep. I cram in food once in a while. I did stop the pills, but I'm on bars now. I haven't seen rebekah in a month. We spoke though. I called her after I took one of rick's purple pills and a zantax. I also took some speed. I called her to tell her that I missed her, but my mind was mucked, and I thought that I saw a beaver eating everything in my fridge, so I freaked out and dropped the phone. I tripped on myself and collapsed. My phone was on speaker, lying next to me turned over so her voice was muffled and traveled to into the floor. I heard her say my name a few times and hang up. I decided to fall asleep then, and I did. My body felt like sharp pins when I woke up. I shook as I stood, wobbling over every direction as I made my way to the bathroom. My brain pounded against my skull, a bubbling sensation of stinging inside, as if my brains were boiling. I reached the bathroom and cluthed at my stomach. All I tasted was acid as I puked. The white toilet bowl was now a thick yellow and light green. I emptied myself then rested my still aching head sideways on the rim of the seat. The smell repulsed me but not enough to make it out of the room. I had nothing left. No food, no drugs, and no strength. I waited. I let my eyes close on the pathetic sight of my life and I waited there, limp over the vomitized bowl, for anything to happen. When nothing did, I raised myself finally and made myself coco pebbles. It was almost gone so I mixed in capn' crunch and I ate it. I ate and I thought about her and I finished eating and I threw my glass bowl against the wall. Back when I was in GPC, we would buy cheap beer, cheers and chug, and then smash it on the gravel. That's what we stood for. Gravel Pit Crew. It wasn't just our tag name, it was who we became when we were together. When we had each other's backs to the point that nothing and no one could stop us from doing what we wanted to. Nothing until her. I left the crew. And she left me.

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balloons inside me burst just bad lungs letting out the years of smoke your smile paralyzes me nowdead weight from my heart down we jumped the guns long ago dodged every word they'd say you twirled the trigger around your finger with the final bullet aimed my way i put my trust in you in you your a cloud of red dust now the swing still sits, awaiting our arrival i put my love in you in you there's nothing left to count seas of empathy have carried me to shore obliterate my stolen life, no one could have cared more your kissing hungry lips leaving nothing left to tell of the boy you loved and left to die by the drugs he knew so well i put everything in you in you it's fallen fast to hell

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6 CRIPS

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Don’t you love making new friends?
Today I'm going to meet rick at the factory. He works at the runmill that closed down a year and a half ago. When I dropped out of school 9 months ago, I was 15. Two weeks later I met rebekah and left GPC. GPC wasn't what it use to be anyway. I was about tagging and Shawn and Adam started to worry about school and their girlfriends. I knew we weren't really the same kind of people. I wish the crew could be the same forever, the way we were when we met, but they had bigger and better to get to. So anyway, Rebekah’s parents weren't really around and when they were, they didn't enforce much so we hung out almost everyday. It was 2 weeks after that, when I met Rick. He made me an offer I couldn't refuse and so I secretly started to work for him. I made $100 flat for delivering to one spot. It was just easy money. I didn't see why I should tell her. So that was 8 months ago when I became a deliver boy. Today, I'm gonna see him about working the inside. As soon as I walk into the abandoned, tan, two story building, three thugs ask me what my name is. Rick told me to say my name is Real, so I did. They told me to follow them. I did. We walked through a narrow, dark hall to the back of the building, going past dozens of doors. They led me into a large room with a little more light due to a single lamp on a mahogany desk. Rick stood behind the desk, back turned, looking out a busted window. Rick is a buff guy who wears a lot of blue. He's probably 20 and entirely made of muscle. I'm 6foot so he must be about 6'2. He's always in a brand new wife beater and swaggy shorts, worn low with a blue bandana hanging off the left side. I know about the gangs in miami. There's tons of crew but mainly two sides to be on. Blood or Crip. Bloods wear red and Crips wear blue. I wear black or white mainly, and I'm not really part of anything other then GPC- which doesn't exsist anymore. Staring at the bandana in his back pocket, he sings my name and calls my attention back to his stony face. He's smiling widly, like he's crazed over some big secret. I'm standing near the doorway when he puts a strong hand on my shoulder and tells me to have a seat.

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I get to my apartment about three hours later. My whole body aches. Every muslce is strained and my skin is erupted violently. Rick's last words were "good to have you kid." I'm not sure all of what happened, but I'm pretty sure that I'm a crip now, because there is a blue bandana around my neck when I look in the mirror. My nose is broken and swollen badly. Blood that spurted out is now dried in dribbles down my busted lips and chin. There is a deep brusing, a dark purple around my left eye. The bones of my ribs feel shattered and out of place. I got the most blows to my abdominan, and any movement feels like another hit. Rick said that I needed to decide if I wanted to make money and get in on freebies. He said that he trusted me to be part of his crew. He said he would make sure I don't get away with letting anyone know about today. Then he called the rest of his crew in, so I could meet them. Then I was on the floor, getting to know the cement, making friends with the cold ground. They had me pinned, and they gave me my first lesson in being a crip. I don't know how I made it back here. I remember the room with the desk, a black mercedes, and then being on my couch. I can hardly recognize the person staring back at me in the bathroom mirror now. I feel the sharp sensations of pain pulsating through me every other second, and it actually feels good to me for some reason. I carefully stretch out on my bed and move my bandana around my neck, in circles, feeling the fabric between my fingers until I fall asleep.

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Together, We’ll fly
Its morning through my broken blinds and the light on my skin feels nice. I'm a broken man but sleeping has healed me some already and I feel revived. I feel the same rush I use to get back when I was in GPC, before rebekah. I feel strong and invincible. As soon as I am able, I will lift weights, and run, and spend my time being as bad ass as I can. I'm a crip now so I need to be able to fight. What I wear changes with each day. I could sport a mohawk or wear my hair straight and long and choppy over my eyes. I typically wear a black cap, keeping my head covered. Shoes gotta be DCs or nikes, sometimes flip flops. Jeans too often, and swaggy shorts when its too hott out. Band shirts or black tops, jackets, and vests. I can look punk, or gangster, or ghetto, or like I'm in a band. It all depends on what's clean. I throw on whatever most days, and just go with it. Since crips, I wear blue chucks, black jeans, white tee, and a blue hoodie most days. My bandana usually makes its home in my back pocket, around my neck, or settled in my hair. My current hairstyle is shaggy but straight, all dark brown with a chunk died dirty blonde on the left. I've always been skinny. Tall and skinny. Not lanky though. Its been about three weeks since my beatdown and joining the crip family and I can bench 120. My muscles are jutting beneath my tight Bless the Fall shirt. I really didn't suffer any real injury from my first beating, seeing as I am 100% now. I'm better then that. I am ripped, and ready. I stop by the runmill on modays and saturdays and otherwise, I am in the gym two blocks from my apartment. Rick says I can start working for him soon. He's already paying me though, just for being a crip, for being on the inside. He gives me enough to buy food. Rick invited me to the first gathering last night. Its when all the crips of the streets he works gather together for some bonding. All the extra stuff from the end of the week gets passed around, and we light up, or in some cases shoot up. Whatever it is, there's something for everyone. Its all covered. Most of the other crips looks about 20 to late 30's. There's about three others who look 18 maybe. I sense I'm the only 16 year old, and I smile to myself. I sat in between a man who looked 28 with a thick hispanic accent and a guy who looked maybe 20 and was asking for a bong. We became brothers. I discovered he is actually 18 and has a past a lot like mine. His name is Josh. He started up the bong and

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puffed out a long stream of smoke. His eyes turned up and rolled lightly into the back of his head. He sighed loudly and smiled lazily. "Good stuff" he said to me, holding out the bong for me to take and see that what he said was true. I was never into drugs. I smoke cigarettes. I've been smoking since seven years back, when my dad gave me my first cigarette. I drink vodka with soda sometimes but I never tried drugs until this year. Until the pills, and the bars. I thought it was pathetic that people had to do this stuff to feel ok with themselves, but now, I understand completely. I hear the bubbling and feel the smoke settling in my lungs, then I exhale and let the waves in my brain blow out with the smoke. I stop thinking about all I lost, or never really had. Thoughts burst and become portraits of color and sound. The room moves around me, and I feel like I am being lifted into the the air. High up, floating above the ceiling. Josh taps me and hands me a red pill. I take it. His eyes are half closed, and his sleepy smile sits on his chin, letting out the smoke once in a while. We are in a huge circle on the floor, taking our drug of choice and laughing, soaring together in the room.

Aboard the Abode
I packed up my things. I got my red duffle bag and stacked my clothes in it. My underoath messenger bag that goes with me everywhere is storing my money, my pipe, my weed, my bars, my ipod, my cell phone, a few photographs, chargers, toothbrush, half bottle of shampoo, hair dye, and my knives, brass knuckles and an unloaded gun. I took the gun from my dad's underwear drawer before I left home. I bet he thinks I never knew about it before it went missing. I don't think ill use it, but I need just in case- so I can be untouchable. A third bag I bring with me, is a black backpack carrying my shoes, belts, socks, hats, bandanas, some favorite books, poptarts, and some redbulls and water. Everytime Rebekah and I would go to Aventura Mall to watch a movie or just hangout there, we would take photo booth pictures. I put them all up on the wall above my bed. I peeled off my three favorite, leaving about 11 behind and stuffed them into the front zipper of my backpack. Taking in the smell of cat piss and mold I have accustomed myself to for almost a year in this apartment, I open the door and let my lips settle into a smile for the first time in a long time. I'm happy to leave.

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Carrying everything I own in my two hands, I walk out of the building and sit on the steps of the stoop, watching my street for a black merecdes. He pulls up but doesn't roll the window down or step out of the car at all. I can't see inside the tinted windows, but I know he's waiting for me to get in. The trunk pops open suddenly, and I place my three bags in it. I open the back door and slide in. Rick puts it in first and pulls out and drives away. I look straight ahead we pass my street, exiting Biscayne and entering the highway. The drive is maybe fifteen mintutes before we arrive at the runmill. Rick told me that the crips of his crew are like a family. He said they stay at the same place, a place he provides for them that's much better then the places he gives his other clients or employees. He told me to pack up by thursday and he'd get me at two. So here I am. The runmill. The old abandoned building where I come to for more stuff to sell or smoke, and it is my new home. I remember all the doors I would pass when going to rick's office towards the back. I imagine fairly sized rooms, white chipped walls and uncomfortable metal spring beds with dirty matresses. Those same thugs are there, beckoning me to follow them, with rick standing beside me. From the lobby we make a right instead of heading straight into the long hall of doors I normally pass. A few steps later we stop in front of two elevators. The button is pushed and lit, and then the elevator to the left squeks open. I had never seen the second floor. We all crowd in and then there's a ding, and the doors open again, letting us out. There was some faces I remember from the nights before from the room where we all got high together. A few guys are in the hall, passing by, walking in and out of rooms. Josh sees me and flashes a wide smile. He runs up excitedly and begins to talk really fast. He's got an arm around me now and he's leading me further down the hall. I look back and rick and the thugs are already heading back into the elevator, waving me off. Josh grabs one of my bags and whisks me away with him, mottormouthing. The walls are all tagged up. The left side is just all tag names in spray paint and markers, and the right is a mural. Pictures of crips and miami street scenery are artistically displayed and decorating the hall, giving a cool vibe and making me feel right at home. I like this place already. Josh is going on about something, but I'm half paying attention. I'm drawn in to the art on the walls, craving to add my own. We reach a point where he finally stops walking and talking all together. We are in a room like rick's office downstairs, but this room is for very different use. Its like a mini

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club, with a bar, beds, giant flat-screens, poles, pool tables, and cushion chairs all around. The interior is royal purple and the walls are painted black. The lights are low and there is music filling my head from speakers overhead. And there are girls who look like strippers and probably are, linked on guy's arms like a corsage. Tables hold bowls of candy, pills, and condoms. "This is the hangout place. Pretty dope huh?" Josh says into my hear, almost shouting over the blair of Tpain flowing through the speakers. I nod my head, not sure what to think, until I see three gorgeous girls wink past me, and Im pretty sure that I love this place. A grin creeps on my face and josh socks my in the arm, telling me the girl in the middle is called Icing. She is a scene queen. She has long platinuim blonde hair with light pink streaks worn straight and volumizing. Her makeup is a heavy eyeliner and mascara that make her blue eyes pop out, and thick coat of gold glitter shimmer that makes her eyes striking. Her teeth are straight and white, her nails manicured and toes pedicured the french way, and she's in a pink tanktop and black booty shorts. Her arms are covered in black and gray sleeves, with a few other tattoos along her neck. The two others beside her look like brunette twins, both tall and beautiful but plain faced and no ink. It was icing who had my attention. She passed by me and winked, puckered her lips up, and then giggled with her friends as they left the room. My eyes followed her till I couldn't see her down the hall anymore. "She's here a lot. She likes crip boys, and they like her." josh rests his hand on my shoulder while he says this, and I jerk around to face him. "Look man, she might seem like she's alright and not so screwed up and everything at first, but trust me- that girl is the most twisted chick you'll ever meet. You should just forget about it now because she's just trouble man. A big sack of crap. Ask anyone." There was something about her that drove me crazy already. She looked pretty sure, but that wasn't all the attraction. Her pull on me was that she did look like a mess. A perfect mess. She was full of dark secrets and I wanted to explore, like so many had done before, but make some great discovery. "Don't worry bro, girls got nothing on me." I said it more convincingly then confiedently to Josh.

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I guess I'm trying to convince myself. Typically girls don't have anything on me. I'm the one who does the heartbreaking, and I don't fall for girls. Girls tend to fall in love with me, but I mainly could care less about any of them. I know the right things to say, so I guess it goes a long way, but eventually, they realize that they're wasting their time. I fell for rebekah though, and I can tell that if I'm not careful, I'll fall for her too. I like girls with big egos. Girls who walk around like they know that they're hot but how come is still a mystery to everyone else and they got all the secrets in their smile. The ones who act like you can never have them, and they become all you want. I wanted Icing. I knew it already.

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7 IF I TOLD YOU EVERYTHING ABOUT ME

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I am vapor; distilled
I don't know who I am. Im not sure of anything, ever, and it scares me a little. It's like I can never stick to one thing. I can never just be one person, one way. The best way I can explain it is schizophrenia. I am not schizophrenic, but there are things about me, my personality I guess that indicates I have a split...thinking process. Not a split personality. I am not bi-polar. I do not have major mood swings. I am generally, contentedly pissed off. I don't act one way and then another without any realization. Oh no, I am very blatantly aware actually. I get consumed with a hate for every fricken last human being out there for sometime, and then other times, I value the human race. I might think it worthless, utterly lost, and a band of morons or I might think it a thriving, genius species that over comes and survives. I can live with or without you- that's about right. Always needing your company but then pushing you out the door. I go about merrily along, knowing that God is just as real as the power rangers, convinced and permeated on the fact, while I laugh at others who foolishly believe. But then, sometimes, I find myself looking at the empty sky, sending my frustrations His way. I don't pray. I have attempted to talk to Him before though. It's just, I can't seem to let go of how ridiculous it all seems. How so many people believe. I wonder why I can't. And I try sometimes. I felt something once, but I spent days convincing myself that it was just me, psyching myself out. I still wonder sometimes. I wonder how God could be real if I've never met him, and how people believe, and if I should believe. I don't want to waste my time believing in something that's not real. But if it is...I wonder what would happen. I change back and forth like that- thinking, too much, and I can never settle into one idea. I feel so clueless all the time. And then I think about her, too. I think how the one thing I did have that felt real is gone. A lot of times, I'm just numb, but there are moments where I feel her absence. I feel that I got a messed up hand to begin with, and I know I did stupid stuff and messed it up more, but I always felt I did one thing right. I had one good thing, and it was her and now, I have nothing. I am nothing. I've lived long enough to know that everything changes. I change constantly, like I said. My world, my thoughts, my emotions. It can all dissolve away and something new can bob to the surface. I realize and I know that she too, will pass, and life continues and I'll meet someone else, but I can't deal with the transition. And its the not knowing that kills
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me. The uncertainity. The blindfold, etched permanently above my eyes. I can't stop from scratching at my scars, and digging into my self, looking for a trace of what I need. Some vaccine or something that will make everything better. It's like I'm in this huge, endlessly empty room, waiting for I don't know, a doctor or something, to call me out. For a checkup or something, for someone to finally safe me from myself. Yeah. I need a savior. I really thought that Rebekah could change my life. She did change my life, but every thing's temporary right? But why her. I knew it, as soon as her gaze blasted every cell in my body vividly awake, I felt that she was what I was always looking for- always needing. It wasn't chemistry so elementary like a kissing on the cheek. It was something real. Something vital. She was so many things to me. She was my love, of course. She was my only family. She was my friend. My lifeboat. My drug. I couldn't live without her. I knew the second she kissed me it was too late. I knew I would never recover if she was gone after that. I could never go on. If my heart wouldn't freeze over, if my organs wouldn't combust inside me, if my blood wouldn't drain out of every pore, I would be nothing more then the walking dead. God, if I had to live without her, I wouldn't ever make it past a year. I was so sure. I was sure she would never do it either. I was. I was. But now- I am not. I am not. Anything. At all.

"Of laughter with a sigh?- a note infallible Of breaking honesty. horsing foot or foot? Skulking in corners? wishing clocks more swift? Hours,minutes? Noon,midnight? Is this nothing? Why, then the world and all that's in it is nothing; The covering sky is nothing; Bohemia nothing; My wife is nothing; nor nothing have these nothings; If this be nothing." The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare.

Transportation, the Public way
It's like a movie in my head. Our debut film, never paused for a second. It's all I can think about these days...when my mind isn't too messed up to think at all. So it seems my life before Rebekah is non-exsistent. I don't remember it, I don't care about it.
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There's all these little things we did together. Too many things she said, and it's all there. Stuck in catastrophic order, images and words- zipping brain waves scrambling about in my head. I see those incandescent green eyes when I close mine. It makes me sick sometimes- to think about all this, all this loss. "Sweat Records is too far. Isn't there any other decent music stores in Miami? Babe, look! Let's just go in there, okay, please. My feet are killing me. They have to having something..." She grabbed my hand and we crossed the Aventura Mall parking lot. She had pointed to a medium sized building that looked like a cabin that should be out in the woods somewhere. It was an odd mix of wood paneling, stone, and a very steep and slanted roof of cement. The words tacked across the front double doors was so faded they were hardly eligible. Library, it said. Someone came out with a stack of about eleven books plied high. They couldn't have seen where they were walking, behind the towering novels. We stepped quickly out of their jagged path, and made our way into the musty open area inside. It was deffinantly a library. She was still holding my hand, leading me as we swerved around the pairs of wide eyes stricken with too much knowledge and not enough sleep. "Yes! They have CDs here. Ok, you take A-M, I got N-Z." The simplest things made her day. She ways always bright, always happy. It made me feel the same too. Every time we were together, it all went right. She smiled at me, and back then, I smiled back a lot too. "Hmm...The Scene Aesthetic, Starting Line- love them. Tony Bennett-classic. Morrissey!- he's brilliant. Ok, what else? Rise Against? It looks like something I would like, let's get it." And with that, she picked up her stack and was shuffling to the counter already. We caught the four back to her place. The bus ride was long and crowded like always, but we managed to get the back row all to ourselves. I let her stretch out along three seats and lay her head on my lap. She closed her eyes and breathed evenly, and I stroked her hair, and her arms, and then her side and thigh. I traced her calf, and tickled her feet. I let my fingers run up and down her skin and I could feel her shiver at the softer touches sometimes.

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I held her tightly against me, and she would crunch herself up to me every so often, trying to get even closer. We couldn't stand to have any amount of space in between us. She never opened her eyes or took the sleepy smile off her face, but she reached her hand up subtly at one point for me to take. I held it firmly, twisting our fingers together like a tied ribbon. I put my lips to each knuckle, then leaned over her, and pressed my lips to the nap of her neck and held there for a long time. I could hear her breathing and let mine match hers. I closed my eyes and breathed her in. My lips stayed secure on her skin, letting out cool breath every so often that made us both tremble softly. The bus wasn't so bad with her there. I never had to notice the old guy in booty cut off jean shorts, or the crazy lady with the huge, flowing mullet. Public transportation is a disgusting thing, but we can't all be so lucky. I take buses all the time. I've gotten accustomed to the sights and smells. Yet, anywhere we went, we could just get so wrapped into each other, it was like no one else was there- no presence but our own.

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Sharpie and heart at hand
The bus stopped at Griffing Blvd. at 107th. We had to walk down just two more blocks to get to her apartment. "Carlo, listen to this, it will blow your mind." She really liked reading Sylvia Plath, and listening to Katy Rose. Stuff like that. She thought they were the most brilliant women artists. I thought she was. She writes amazing. She has these oak chest drawers that take up like half of her room, right next to her bed, which is just two mattresses on the floor. It's what she writes on, all over the front and sides- lyrics and thoughts and pieces. I've read most of it- and that blew my mind. She doesn't even see how talented she is. I laugh at how she looks up to all these people that she clearly outshines. "Ahhh, I could listen to her songs on repeat all day. It's disgusting. Hey, let's play one we haven't heard. Pick one." I handed her the Rise Against. She arched an eyebrow (which is super sexy) and put it in the stereo, then tackled me onto her bed. Her sheets are bundled up in the corner and there's clothes piles everywhere. The first song plays, and we can't decide if we like them yet because we didn't pay much attention. Her hand is under my shirt. She's sitting up now, sitting back on her knees and bouncing around, like she's really excited about something. My head is against her pillow, legs laying flat, on my back, and I'm looking back at her with curiousity. Before any of us think of something to say, the second songs starts. It seems like the CD is scratched at first, but that's just the opening for the song. We stay motionless in our awkward positions and listen carefully to the words so we can come up with a verdict. The song comes to a finish and she gets up carefully and turns the volume down so we can't hear it transition to the next song. She's got this weird look on her face, and I can't quite tell what it is, but from the looks of it, It must be because of me- because I'm wearing the same unreadable expression. We look like...our minds have been blown. It's the kind of look spurred from a feeling of having your eyes pried open with the knowledge that everything you knew suddenly seems incoherent because you just discovered what really matters. Like listening to your favorite band for the first time, or being changed by a novel, or moved by a film. It's hard to take it all in sometimes, to process and put into words. It

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happened on her bed, in her room. And when it does, she can't let herself forget. She grabbed a sharpie off the floor and went to the drawers. A perfect line, an phrase executed like art, she says, she needs to write it down and keep it forever, so she does. She kneels on the mattress by my head and writes: "Am I still your charm, or am I just bad luck? Are we getting closer or are we just getting more lost? I'll show you mine, if you show me yours first. Let's compare scars, I'll tell you whose, is worse. Let's un-write these pages and replace with our own words." She's just looking at it, silent but satisfied and then she puts the sharpie down on the bed still uncapped. I hear her let out a sigh. Her eyes were wild with wonder. I wanted to know what she was thinking, this very moment, but instead, I picked up the sharpie. I held it and looked back at her briefly before writing. I wanted her to know it was for her, and it was true. "If love is a labor, I'll slave till the end. I won't cross these streets until you hold my hand". She was off the bed the second I finished. She hit the back button, and turned it up, playing the song over again. Once she joined me on the bed again, wrapping her arms around my waist from behind, she looked over my shoulder to read my addition. I felt her heart burst. I swear. And mine followed. We looked at the lyrics, we looked at each other, and we listened to the song at least fifty more times. We spent the afternoon in her bed. We listened, we watched, we held each other, and we knew. Every word belonged to us. The song was ours and its lyrics stained permanent through the oak drawers and our infinite hearts. It finds me everyday. No matter the situation- the song creeps back into my thoughts. It's never been just a song for me. I can't hear it or think it without all the things that come attatched to thinking about it. It could have been our wedding song. It sounds ridiculous but it wouldn't have been for us. The song...the words, and her in my arms every time I would whisper them into her ear. I think I just got pole vaulted in the stomach. I feel an enormous gaping hole there. God, this sucks to think about, but I like to torture myself. Anyway, we took pictures that same day. After we let some hours drift past us, we got up from lazying around in her bed and answered the door bell. Her friend Olga made plans to stop by at six to have a fun photo sesh. She does photography and usually

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charges for this kind of thing, but she offered Rebekah to do it free just cause, and Rebekah accepted. And so, she arrived. Rebekah was asking if she wanted to go to the park or downtown or the beach or someplace as nice scenery for the pictures. We stayed put though, because Olga said she liked the look in here, the vibe of the room and she was immediately inspired. I thought I was just going to stand by the doorway or something, but they wanted me in the pictures, too. We were summoned to just be casual, normal, and interact like we always would. It was pretty funny, because we couldn't seem to do that as soon as the words came out of her mouth. We were role playing- spitting out random movie lines accompanied by our pathetic imitating faces. And then we wrestling. And then making out. Olga just walked back and forth making her way around the piles of clothes and snapping shots as often as she could. The end result was astonishing, in that she captured everything exactly how it was. You could see my Jake Gyllenhaal mischevious face impression as I was attempting to be Donnie Darko. And Rebekah taking on Kate Winslet as Clementime in Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind. We were Slater, and Ryder, and Portman, and Braff. And we were ourselves too, and those were the best shots. The sun that came in slanted through her window was beaming less brightly now. Olga left to start developing the film. We stayed a little longer, huddled together on her bed and watched White Oleander. Rebekah says I'm a lot like Patrick Fugit. The characters he plays in movies are always the same, and she thinks that he's really just playing himself. We're both very witty, a little jaded, a lot misfit, too good looking, under rated, over-loving, rude boy rebels, she says. I guess she's right. We fell asleep halfway through The Heathers and woke from a knock at her bedroom door. It opened, and her mom greeted us. We sat up to attention and realized it was ten. I'm supposed to leave her house at 9:30, her mom's rules. She didn't get mad, she just nodded and walked back downstairs. I got my stuff together and kissed Rebekah goodbye. She pulled my in and whispered for me to meet her at the library in two hours. That was the first day she snuck out to meet me there, on the steep slanted roof of the odd library building. We easily pulled ourselves up, laying against each other, staring straight up at the black night sky. After this day, we did the same thing every night for almost a year. We never

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got caught, by her parents or the police. That first night, we decided to stay until morning light. She told me to sing her to sleep. I started the words, and she pulled herself on top of me, singing them with me, while gazing in my eyes. Swing life away...

I can never get the words out
We didn't sleep. I remember what we talked about. The words that slipped out, my words. And her responses. I let myself get so honest with her, and she was so real. But she's not real, not like I believed. Everything I've held onto about us was a lie. I do drugs. I sell them. I get arrested. I do stupid stuff, and I am pretty messed up but I would never do anything bad to her. I do it to myself. I can live with hurting myself but not her. She pretends it's my fault we couldn't stay together. So what if I get messed up, she gets high sometimes too. She cheated on me. She fricken CHEATED on me. With a friend of mine. She got with Shawn when I was making a round for Rick. She lost her virginity to him, instead of me, like we wanted. She lied, she she left me, for him. I can't believe they would do that to me. But I think, sometimes that she had to be real, because she loved me, and she wasn't pretending that night. It's all a lie now. Her and Shawn is a lie she's trying to believe, but we were real. What we..had. I can't get it back but I refuse to let it live in my memory as a hoax. 'Love is just a hoax so forget everything that you have heard'- I've heard that before. Song writers and poets, all of society- they don't really believe in love. Our love wasn't a hoax. It just wasn't enough. It wasn't infinite, because nothing lasts forever. I'm so screwed up in the head, but I know that no matter what, there was a time when we were in love, and that isn't something I can just forget about. We picnicked on the roof. We brought vodka and bawls. We took turns tipping our heads back and holding our mouths open for us to pour each at the same time for each other. We had zebra cakes and sourpatch. Sour Patch is her favorite candy in the world. She can live off it. I surprise her with them whenever I can. I brought a big bag, and her returning smile lit up the dark around us. I'd do anything to see her smile again. She began kissing me with feeling. Her eyes glowed in the dark, like the stars overhead. I let my senses slide, taking in every element of her. For a while, we laid flat side by side, six feet the under stars. I pointed out the Northen Cross constellation. We found the dippers, and the three marys.

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She was really quiet for a while, and I could tell she was thinking about something. I wanted to ask her, but then she said it. She whispered it. "You're perfect for me, you know?" She said exactly what I thought about her, but I couldn't handle hearing her say that I was perfect for her. I was upset because I knew that I needed her, I loved her, and I wanted her to be with me, to make me better like she did, but I couldn't stand myself, and I couldn't stand her loving me when she shouldn't. When I didn't say anything back, I could feel the hint of hurt twinge through her body. "You're perfect. You're beautiful. I can't... see why you want me. If. If I told you everything about me...you wouldn't." My mind and my words couldn't communicate what my heart was telling me. Nothing made sense to me. She was all I could see though, and I knew that she had to be able to see me. If she couldn't guess what I'm really like, I just wanted to make sure she knew, and then let her decide, for herself. I wanted our love to be completely real. I didn't want us to be blinded by attraction, I wanted her to only be with me if she could see all the imperfections I had but choose to love me through them anyway. And she did. That's how I knew it was real, even if it lasted a little while. She did see past everything about me. "Carlo, I know, and I still l love you. I want you. Don't try to mess this up or push me away because you're scared you're not good enough for this. You're more then good enough. You're perfect, remember?" I could never describe the happy that I was. Nothing, no one, anywhere, any day made me feel that before.

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8 LET THEM EAT CAKE

"Don't lust for their beauty. Don't let their coyness seduce you. For a prostitute will bring a man to poverty, and an adulteress may cost him his very life." PROVERBS 7: 25 & 26

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I think we might be on to something
I need to jam the concept into my head, and keep it there. I will never get back what i've lost. I can only search for something else. If I want to finally be able to move on, I need to stop thinking about Rebekah. I have an idea of how to distract myself. She came up to me today, and touched a manicured nail to my cheek. She let it slide down my face, past my neck, and trace along my chest. She stopped right at the pocket of my jeans, looking like she was going in for the kill- but she laughed and walked away without a word instead. It was really hot actually, and I've been thinking about it in the back of my mind all day among other things. Icing's hidden message delivered to me... I still have this little gnawing feeling that if I hook up with Icing I'm hurting Rebekah - but she hurt me, and none of it matters anyway because we aren't together anymore. I wonder if she would care at all if she saw me with another girl. It tears me up to think there could be some other guy she likes more then me. Anyway, it doesn't matter. None of it matters, and I have to remember that. Maybe if I just let myself get alone with Icing, I can finally try to forget. I remember reading a line once, from Chuck Palahnuik: “What we call chaos is just patterns we haven't recognized. What we call random is just patterns we cant decipher. What we can't understand we call nonsense. What we can't read we call gibberish. There is no free will. There are no variables. There is only the inevitable.” I feel so lost and like I have to figure out why things are the way they are. I need to know what made her love for me not be enough. What made it just...end. It's like there's all these codes I can't crack and it's taking everything out of me- but that's just life. It's not anything I can will, and there are no real reasons for things that happen sometimesit's all just inevitable. I think Palanhuik's theory is valid enough, but there is still a small part of me that refuses to completely believe it. I find myself thinking that there has to be a reason for all this. And not just the aspect of her, but everything. I guess that's what I'm searching for. Reasons. Meaning.

80s icon or cover up jiminy cricket.
We tipped back our third bacardi watermelon and held up the jello shot. Someone counted, 3...2...1! And the five of us downed it, and picked up another, then another. Tyrone won. Drinking legend of the crip, of course. I came in third, which wasn't bad see57

ing as I was never that much of a drinker. These guys are pros, they drink alcohol like it's water - too often and excessively and with a dire thirst. It seems I can hold my liquor just as well as them though. Its been four weeks since I've lived here, and it feels like a big never ending party. I haven't had to make any rounds yet. Rick says he got three new boys to do his bidding, and I'm just on the fence, as a back up. I don't even have to do anything anymore, and I can live here at the runmill and bum off all the freebies when they get passed around. It's not perfect, but it's bearable. When my memories creep up on me, I kill them off with the free drinks at the bar. I'm at the bar more then I'm at my room. Josh and I share the room just four doors down. It's about the size of two dorm rooms, so we have our space. The walls are plain and beige, but I find them beautiful to behold when comparing them the former four putrid green walls that enclosed me at my old apartment. This is fricken royalty right here. Windows free of breaks and broken blinds. Beds with clean sheets and no lose springs. A coffee table with two chairs by the door. Two tall lamps next to the beds. Two large chest drawers side by side split into five easy to open rectangles, in which to house all our clothes (which isn't much to begin with). A long, sliding door mirror that opens into a closet with various hangers already inside. A single shelf on the wall above each bed with dusty dictionaries, a holy bible, and useless self help books. And a bathroom, located to the right of the room, complete with a working shower, toilet, and sink- all running with water that looks and smells the way it should. I find myself able to sleep pretty soundlessly most nights here. Josh hung up a huge black and white Joy Division poster, front man Ian Curtis smoking clouds over the rest of the more distantly placed band members who are a background scenery, recording in a studio. Josh brings his two fingers to his lips for a kiss that he then places on Ian's forehead every night before turning out all the lights. I like looking at the poster. Looking, you can see how deadpan his eyes are. Like there's absolutely nothing there. Nothing but smoke. I'm sure if someone took a picture of me, It'd look just like that poster. Empty of life. The story goes that Ian Curtis was very successful in the 80's new wave era. He joined Joy Division as their new singer, and made the band a lot of fans. He was really young, and really emo. He spoke poetry. He married girlfriend Deborah and they had a child. He felt trapped, and had an affair. He wrote the song "She's lost control". They both, the wife and secret but not so secret girlfriend, loved him then and he didn't know how to

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love them back anymore. They longed for his love, but he lost it. He became eccentric. His lyrics were a reflection of the chaos in his brain. He hung himself. His eyes hold no control, no love, no life, just chaos and time and dirty smoke. So he lost it, they say. People who kill themselves, like he did, everyone thinks they just lost it. Let go of sanity somehow. Lost how to deal. I think he never had it, it's in his eyes, proof in a photograph taken long before his suicide. Some people just don't have control, and they lose themselves ultimately, and destruction is their only friend in the end. He tried life and all he got was smoke and mirrors. Well, good for him. Good that he ended it all. Maybe It'll catch up with me, sooner then later, and I'll meet him wherever it is that we end up. Like in the Wristcutters film, in some wierd suicide after life, and me and Ian can play some Bennett and knock back peppermint schnappps. But right now she's in the doorway, and all my thoughts have disappeared like ashes blown from wind after a forrest fire- and she's that fire. She's in the fricken doorway of my room, and she's staring right at me. Seductively. Am I on fire? Intense heat is definitely emitting from somewhere. I feel all the old sweat, a greasy thin layer on my skin from the general heat of my room and effects of a morning workout, and I feel all the new sweat, from sudden anxiety, and lust, and wanting, and nerves, and all this sweat is mixing and streaming and glistening on my skin, and she's watching me. My shirt is completely soaked. My hair is half sticking to my scalp, half swimming wildly in various directions. It's so hot in here I can barely breathe straight. She's so hot. I know I must look like a pathetic ten year old who just drowned in a kiddie pool. I'm sitting on the edge of my bed, sweating excessively as I look around the room, and then at her, and back at my wet palms, eyes circling like my thoughts and racing pulse. And the crazy thing is that the look she's giving me makes me think she doesn't notice any of this at all. It's like all the explanation behind her bright blue eyes is that she came here to see me, to get with me.

Yeahh
I'm thinking I really want her to stay and I should give her the most charming smile I can, not freak her out anymore then she probably is, or probably should be. I pull my lips closed in a tight line and try to flash a confident crooked grin, the one that girls always tell me they love, but I can feel how cheesy it must look. Unconfident and unflattering, and it's a very nervous smile. Her eyes are still glazed over in seduction- locked in a "I want you now" look. She's not in the doorway anymore. She's on my bed, in a

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second, and I don't have time to think of how to react. I don't need it though, because now she's got her hands around my neck and she's pulling my face towards her, and I can react without thinking, and I can react to make her keep going. She's kissing me and I'm kissing back, and I'm suddenly not nervous anymore. I'm still hot, and breathing is difficult, but I'm feeling her and I'm feeling what she's feeling and all I want is more. Her lips aren't on mine anymore, but I'm still kissing her, down her neck and arms. She's delicious. Icing- and I'm eating her all up. She's moving away from me, from the edge of the bed to the center, laying down now instead of sitting up, with her head against the pillow. I'm following, hovering over her. Her lips find me again, and they're planting into mine even harder- with more want then ever. Her hands slide underneath my shirt, icy hot against my bare skin and she's reaching up and up until she pulls my shirt off over my head and tosses it on the floor. Her tongue travels from my adam's apple to my belly button in a single fluid movement. She's got her fingers in the belt loops of my jeans and she's kissing my chest now. I'm reaching for her bra strap, but she pulls away. She's sitting up and shoving me off lightly. "Sorry, not now, Java and Jo-Mint just called, we gotta go." Somehow she heard and I didn't, but the twins had called her name, and now they're at the doorway waiting with impatient looks. They're bronze-tan foreheads are wrinkled with irritation. Whoever came up with the names for this trio did a decent job in picking the sweet to describe them best. Icing's slipping her high heeled boots back on and heading for the door, giving pleading looks their way. No dice. Not even a softening in their stares. Tough. "Rain-check?" She says as she turns back to smile before disappearing with the two girls. "Yeah" I mumbled out in a low voice of broken breath after she was probably already too far down the hall to hear. It's exceedingly difficult for me to process so much at a time. I'm having a little heart to heart with Ian up there and then She's at my door, then on my bed, then on top of me, then under me and all over everywhere, and I can still feel her hair between my fingers, and her legs and thighs knocking into me, squeezing, and her tongue sliding on my bare, hot, sweat-dried skin. Where did she go? Oh yeah, the twins got to her. So she was here, and now she's gone. She was right here. She was next to me about a half second ago...or did I imag-

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ine all that like my conversation with Mr. Curtis? No, it happened. The moment I saw her, I wanted her, and the way her blue eyes burned into me as she winked by me that first day, I had feeling she always wanted me, too. She said we would rain check, so I'll see her soon. She wants to come back to me. She wants me. I'm laying down still on my bed with closed eyes and a mind all too awake. I'm thinking about her, of course, like I will be every millisecond until I get to see her again. My thoughts won't change or settle or rest. That's just how it is for me. I didn't realize when Josh had come in. I heard him I guess. He was having a loud conversation with an obvious upset party on his cell. "Shhh, shh baby don't cry. Come on. Babe. Stop. Please. Look, I'm not lying, I want to see you, I had to do something." He's pacing around the room. Foot steps and appeasement. Sweet talking. His sugar coat it attitude has dissipated suddenly, and his tone seems a bit rougher, but still somehow soft and pleasant. He must've hung up with out a goodbye because now he's standing over me, staring down at me with his cell phone closed tightly in his hand. "Yo." I barely look up at him, hardly open my eyes to acknowledge he is here, and invading my side of the room. "Why the frick do you look so happy?" He's looking at me like he's genuinely curious about what has made this impossible smile appear on my face. "She wants me dude. I have her, and I didn't even have to try. Bro, she came to see me."

She’s what now?
His curiousity becomes confussion. "She was here? She was hooking up with you just now?" I don't see why it matters to him, why he wants to know or why I should tell him. I don't go around gossiping about what just happened to me. I don't feel a need to brag or anything like that. I decide to tell him because he's practically in my face and I want him out of it as non-violently and as soon as I can get it out. I tell him, so he gets his daily gossip spill if that's the fag motive behind all his questioning, and so he goes back to his own business and leaves me to my...thinking. "Yes son, we hooked up. She just left like, I don't know, fifteen minutes ago." He's laughing. And he's still planted in place with no look of intention to move a foot anytime soon.

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"So who was that on the phone?" Ha, my turn to laugh. He looks stumped for a second, hurt almost, but then he recomposes his face to a Josh smile. He's relentless. "That was Joise, she thinks I dipped on her to be with some other chick, as if there's anyone else I'd rather see. She's just paranoid sometimes, but I don't mind cause I'm glad she cares. I had to help out Diggy, one of the new boys Rick got." I forgot about the new boys. I haven't even seen them yet. I feel bad for the kid who got stuck with Diggy as a Crip name. Josh and me are the closest in age and we got in around the same time. Rick decided to call me Real, and Josh's tag name is Fake so that stuck. "Anyway man, how could you hook up with Icing? She's hot, but that's still pretty gross, I mean, you really don't care about all that stuff?" He's acting like I just licked elephant crack. "What stuff? Why would I be grossed out? Are you a complete fruit? I mean, I suspected you were a bit fagbaggy but come on dude, I hooked up with the hottest chick here. What's the deal?" Josh smile wavering. Confusion bites hard. "Hey, I'm not a fruit case. Just cause I don't go for every girl doesn't mean I'm not into them. I'm not into prostitutes. Besides, I have Joise and I don't want anyone else, but if I didn't have her, and Icing was there, I mean, she's fricken gorgeous bro, mad tempting but I still wouldn't go for her. It'd be too worried I'd catch something, or even, I mean say you end up really liking her- it's a wasteshe's with like ten other guys each day. Who wants to deal with that. The girl is busted and you know it." And that's exactly what I didn't know at all and never would have guessed. I mean, wow, I should have guessed- look at where I'm at, where she's at. Most of the girls the Crips bring in here are from the streets. They find them in some alley or club or corner and bring them back for free drinks. Why didn't I ever think Icing might be one of them too? I mean, her outfits are a dead giveaway, but her eyes. She has this youthful look still, buried under her heavy mascara, she looks like the seventeen year old girl that she is. My stomach is experiencing multiple pole vaults, jabs from within making holes inside me. Josh knows that I had no idea by the look that gets knocked onto my face. I am hyperventilating now. I feel like I can't breathe, like all the air that was once in the room, traveling down into my lungs and back out has been cut off and replaced with water. Like I'm drowing, and sinking, and everything inside me burns. Like salt water on a cut, but its my heart that is sliced open by realization and now its pounding and tearing apart, and it really really stings. And I don't even know why this news is effecting me like

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this, but it's awful and I just can't handle it- not now. Not without any warning. I feel the holes in my stomach from the pole vaults, and the water in the room, and the air escaping and I can't breathe and it reminds of this one time when I was seven and my mom took me to the beach to go swimming.

Burnt
She drove two hours north along the coastline, to get to Tampa becuase she said she went there in her college years and it is the best beach in florida. Her stories about the white sand stretched out for miles buried by tiny pretty shells and sea glass smoothed over and shiny against the vast blue ocean's waves that ate up the shore and spat it back out over and over made my seven year old self very excited for our trip. It was my first time going to a beach. She never bothered before because her two jobs had her busy all the time. One of them fired her, which I thought must've been good because she was home in the afternoon with me now. At first she was really mad about it and cried a lot, but then she got all happy and started telling me about all the stuff we can do together now. She said we could walk on the beach and sit on the rocks under the pier and then get icecream. She said we could spend the whole afternoon outside and play the whole day. We got to the beach and set up a special umbrella- the kind for the sun, not the rain. I loved sitting under it, building sand castles and pretending I was Lion-O discovering a hidden ancient temple in the amazon jungles. I saw one on tv a few days before. I watched the show with the tall trees and exotic animals and all the green everywhere and then the incan palace, beige and bronze and gold and mysterious and beautiful. I filled my bucket with the wet sand and stacked pillars and made the same square temple with vines along the walls using seaweed, and stairs in every direction, and secret doors and narrow halls mazing inside. Mom helped, putting tiny shells along the borders and began making holes into places like doors. She asked me what kind of castle I wanted to make and I told her and said that I was Lion-O and that I found the temple in the jungle and the incas gave me gold and a big chair to sit in, like a king. We played like that for a long time and the sun was beating down on us. She had put sunblock on me, a thick layer of white on top of my fairly tan skin and rubbed it in. After a while, my skin looked light pink and sandy. We decided to go into the ocean. I was a

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little nervous. I could swim pretty good but I never swam in moving water, going up and crashing back down like that. Waves- carrying people away. The motion of it made it seem so alive to me. She held my hand and told me to just kick my feet like how I did in the pool. I did. She told me to breathe out through my nose and keep my mouth closed under water, and to close my eyes. And I did. We stayed close to shore, and the mini waves hardly ever towered over my short head. I splashed around and laughed, and reached under by my feet and grabbed at the shells and sand, and hit the top of the water with open palms, and swam back and forth, happy happy happy. And then after a long time, we went back under the huge umbrella for sandwhiches. She told me to sit and wait because she had to put more money in the meter. I kept my butt on the chair and my eyes on the ocean. As soon as she left, I ran into the water. I started swimming, without her hand to help me, and I was doing perfect and I was triumpht and me and the ocean worked together and the water felt amazing and securealmost solid and I kept swimming out, further and further. I was almost up to the point where the older kids swam. I saw three boys and two girls who seemed to be so far out I couldn't believe they could stay out in the darker part of the ocean before, but as I swam and looked around, I saw the light blue water fading and the dark blue engulf around me. I really had to use all my energy now just to keep my head above the surface. The sea was swaying me around, holding onto me underneath, pulling me down and out. I didn't see the big kids anymore. Or sand or sky. I could only see water. My fists hit at it, and I pushed down trying to push off to hold my self up somehow, to get above the water, but it was useless. My hands fell through and my legs were weighing the rest of me to the bottom. And that's when the water started coming in. She told me to keep my mouth closed but I opened it instictively, to call out to her, to anyone, to get me out of the ocean's death water grip. I opened to yell and water poured in, burning my throat and making me cough out hot salty breath before I took in another huge gulp. It kept coming in, even when I tried closing my mouth back up, it went in through my nose. I felt everything inside me tighten up. Outside, I felt numb. I couldn't swim, I couldn't move me legs or arms, and inside the water was filling me up, each drop suffocating and stinging and filling. My eyes blurred and I couldn't tell which way was shore. Which way was the big umbrella, my incan empire, my safety? I couldn't breathe or move and then I couldn't see. That's when I felt myself flying. I felt myself leaving the encasing watery bed and I felt the cool whipping wind, piercing through my skin, drying

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my salt soaked bones and blowing life back into me. I opened my eyes to clouds, and she was over me, gaping and paniked. I coughed the water left inside of me, spitting it onto my bare stomach as I started sitting upright. The water was finally gone, but the burning sensation hadn't gone yet. It stayed with me until I fell asleep on the long drive home. The memory is bittersweet. It is one of the only ones I have of my mother being with me, loving me, and laughing with me like that. Seeing her smile down at me, holding me in her arms and wiping the extra sun-block off my nose, then telling me she how much she loves me, and meaning it. And she saved me from drowning. Drowning is vivid. You don't remember what it's like to be born, or swallow food for the first time, or the feeling of first riding a bike, but you remember how it feels to drown. I remember the water going deep into my lungs, where only air should be, but all the air is gone and now it's a miniature ocean inside you, crashing against the walls of your respiratory organs, knocking them down down down, and you can feel is the kill- slow and and awful, and you can't stop it because it's way inside there and stops you from functioning until you give in to it and let yourself fill up, up, up. I felt it in my eyes, and nose, and mouth, and throat, and ears, and lungs, and veins, and heart. I feel the salt water lick me dry. I am left, burnt. My heart is on fire. And the room is underwater, and Josh is long lost somewhere on shore, and I can't see him anymore. All I can see is the sting. I sat paralyzed and numb on my bed. I don't know how much time passed and I don't know what changed. I don't know what happened to make me be able to finally move. I didn't let the ten thousand thoughts knocking at the door come in. I held it all off, and let myself fill completely up with cold water. I sat and could feel it from my toes, going up, trying to flood my head. Nothing came by me aside from sharp shivers that sent me alert for as long as they were, then back into my unconscious, unmovable state. But then she somehow slithered under the crack with callidity and found a means back into my head.

Naive is a disease
My brain plunged at the thought before my heart could fall any deeper. I had let vulnerability take over. I shouldn't have fallen so fast. I never go for the girls. Where's my head at? Left my sanity at her doorstep- Rebekah has screwed me over and screwed me up. What has made me think that there was any truth to this? To think that an 'i love you' could be real. Or a want could be enough. That trust could break all barriers and someone out there is truthful. All I am is lied to. But I always knew this. It's just human condi-

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tion. We like to write stories about honesty, and faithfulness, and love. I still haven't met someone with one quality as such. Why do we expect the impossible to happen? Of course she's a prostitute. Of course her eyes are alluring and assured. Captivating. Deceptive. It's a circle, and a process, and routine, and a food chain, and that's all life is, and everyone is the same, and everyone is to blame, and everyone is just trying to get by, no matter how inflicting the pain is to others or themselves- as long as they are justified through the lies at the end of the night. If they can move past it, forget to care, then it's all good, because no one looks out for you but yourself. I know this, I understand. I had forgotten and blinded myself with a dream. There's your false hope, getting the best of you again. I liked her skin on mine. I like our lips connecting and binding, and locking into place. I like idea of forever. Who doesn't. Even if you just met, certain people will give you the impression that they can last. Nothing lasts, least of all- relationships. And so I can't see how I let myself get caught up in the fiasco for another let down, but I did, but now I'm back. Back to devastating but all to necessary realizations. I'm Sober-minded. Self-reliant and ready to fake it to make it. There's two options to chose from when dealing with others in life. Two kinds of type you can be- the one who takes advantage or the one who loses it. She took advantage of me without a single hesitation. She recognized the attraction and decided to seize an opportunity because it's the option she chose for herself from the beginning. She didn't want to ever lose. She didn't want anyone to take advantage of her, so she twisted all her ways into doing the very thing to others- to distract possible rejection in bloom and focus everything on the pain of others. My pain. And now I'm licking it up, baby. I mistook her winks and giggles for shy showings of affinity, when really, she couldn't help but play me and laugh it up after. She knew I was clueless and staying that way until she got what she wanted. The theories flashed a duh sign in my head. The waiting hurt left with a toss of sea. I could feel the water draining, and hot frustrated air fly into me. Call me clever or call me pissed. I regained present life consciousness and was suddenly adamant about confrontation. Josh was looking at me like I'd been lost in a cave somewhere for yearscompletely out-of-it crazy I'm sure is what he thought of me after witnessing my many reactions. "I'm gonna show that whore what's up." And with that, I was walking out of our room and down the hall, searching. She had left was the answer I got to every "Hey man, seen Icing around here?" No one had heard where she was going, so I didn't know, and wherever it was, was most likely someplace I wouldn't guess or know of. Probably some stripper friend's house, or tiny

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pub someplace, or some scummy guy's apartment. She could be anywhere, doing whatever. I was gonna have to wait. Wait for her to show up again, and then...well, I'm not sure. I just need to look her in the eyes, and tell her what she is, what she means to me. I want to break her even more then she's already so obviously broken. I want to make her hurt, because she deserves it.

I’d hate to be cliche, but BROS before HOES
Days went by without a word from her or about her. My anger ate away at me. I had a plan though. I was done with everything. I was done with her, with love, with crips, with this place, and with this life. I wanted something different. I knew that I couldn't take living like this, here, anymore, and it had to change. I decided to stick it out here till she got back and meanwhile, I talked Rick into letting me do special stuff for him, to make some extra cash. I delivered down in Hallandale and drove back up to the Runmill, everyday for two weeks. I made $9,000 during the two weeks, from my special (temp) job from Rick and from stealing a Range Rover with Josh. He steals cars. And sells them. He told me stories about the kinds of cars he stole, the money he made, and things like that. He said he started doing it three years ago, and hadn't had an auto theft thrill in months so he wanted to. I told him I wanted to also, to help him steal one. We went to Hallandale together, and I dropped off everything Rick told me to, and then we stole a Range Rover at The Diplomat. We were going to the lobby for a drink and a plan but as we got up to the doors, we saw that the valet parking booth was momentarily unoccupied. Josh ran up behind it and grabbed the first set of keys he could reach.

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Lucky pick. We found the black range rover, got in, and drove away. Easy. Same day, we sold it down in Hollywood. Josh knows a guy. We split the pay. So I had just about enough money and my plan was to leave as soon as she came back. I felt like I had something to say to her, and then I could feel better and leave with closure. I had a plan and I was going with it. A personal vendetta of mine. Homage to my stolen heart- I was getting it back. What I did was naive. I placed it in their hands, and they let go, of course. It's my turn to play thief again. I forgot that she still has no idea I know. We're kissing, and my hands betray me and one is stroking her cheek while the other caresses her waist. I was drinking my second beer and having a conversation with Rye, the bartender when she walked in. It had been three weeks and four days since we were in my room. Her eyes scanned the room and stopped when they got to my slouched over silhouette. I was preparing what I was gonna say to this beautiful wretched girl in hopes of making her stone heart shatter. I knew it'd probably just be a tiny dent she would smooth out eventually, over guys, over time. Still, I had to do this for me. She glided through the room and put a small hand on my arm. She breathed into my ear, "Hey stranger, I've missed you. I've been wanting to come down and see you. Can I have a beer?" My words were lost. I handed her the one I was already drinking. "Thanks cutie." She knocked it back and licked her lips. Dang. Where did my voice go? She held her hands up to mine and kissed me lightly, on the cheek. It wasn't anything, and I had known more then that from her, but still, the subtle sureness of the motion made certain senses sharpen and others disappear. The touch, the taste were senses that tingled strong. The rest was gone. Speech impairment? Oh yeah. Scatterbrained? Definietly. She led me to the small space behind the pay phone where she started making out with me. Ok, where we started making out. I'm tracing the foreign yet familiar curves in my hands and thinking how her lips really taste good, really do taste like icing somehow. But then I remember that she's deadly. I start thinking of her sugar sweet lips as poison. I start thinking that the light feeling I get from touching her is because she's intoxicating me. She whispers that she wants me. My hands are around her neck and her words snap my brain on high alert. I get signals sent all throughout my body to stop! I let go and push her off of me. I won't let her have what she wants, I won't let her have me. "What the-" She lost her balance and hit her head against the wall. She's rubbing the back of it and staring me down. "Why are you doing this? Why would you just make out

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with me and not tell me that you're a prostitute?" I didn't think this conversation was gonna happen here in the bar, with all these other people watching, but oh well. "Ha, well that's not really any of your business but now you know, so who cares anyway." I'm yelling. "I fricken care. Do you just like, have such an insane fetish with crip guys, that you'd screw any of them, pay or not, liking them or not? You repulse me. I actually liked you. I mean, I thought you were a normal person, so yeah, I liked you, and then i found out from Josh what you do. I'm not one of your little perv buyers looking for action. I don't wanna waste my time on someone like you, and I can't believe you would con me into-" "Whoa kid, I didn't con you into anything. Don't act like you didn't wanna do anything we did. Look at you, you were just all over me two seconds ago. If I fricken repulse you so much, then you never would have looked my way. But you did, and if I didn't have to leave that day, you know you would've kept going. What I do with other guys is my thing, I don't care if you don't approve of it. You don't wanna see me anymore, fine, whatever." She looks just as hard as me now. She's cursing and digging in her bag for ciggs. I let my face soften a little but make sure my voice stays cold. I'm smiling at her, but it's not the right kind of smile. It's the kind you give before you put a bullet though someone's skull. I'm looking to leave a wound here. "Yeah. Yeah, okay. Nice being another notch in your bedpost. Have fun sucking those STDpops and all, I've really got to get going, but i'll always remember you as the busted seventeen year old girl who looks like hell and twenty seven years with nothing going for her but sleezy hookups and broken condom cash. You're so burned by your own mistakes." I'm ready for the tears and the turnaround, ready to walk out and leave her there. Ready to get my bags and catch a bus. She takes a drag and sucks on the smoke, then lets it out with a hallow laugh. "Please babe, save the speeches for yourself. I know what's gonna happen to me, but you're so stupid if you think you can make it any better then this. You're just gonna drown. Keep searching for that perfect life, you're just gonna end up with your face in your own vomit. We're all the same, so don't think your any better then me, because your not. Your pathetic and hopeless, and I never really liked you. You were a poker game." She puffs the smoke at me. "Yeah, Icing. You're right. I'm gonna go get a life now. Good luck doing nothing with yourself besides letting everyone have a piece of you."

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She threw her cigarette on the floor, smashed it under her heel, and spat on it. "Thanks dillhole." Her sarcasm was rasping. I could feel the grating in her tone. That satisfied me enough to allow her have the last say. I left. I feel good. I feel really good. I caught the last look in her eyes as I was turning my back to her. She looked sad. Big, sad blue eyes. I'm getting my stuff together, throwing everything into my duffle and underoath bag. I gave Josh the heads up. He's the only one who knows I'm leaving for good. Rick wouldn't let me leave without a goodbye beating. Josh's not gonna tell. Josh says he might leave too, some time this year. He comes out of the bathroom in a towel as I'm zipping my bags closed. Im smiling a happy smile now. He smiles, and gives me daps. "So" he says. "I talked to her" I say casually. "Yeah. That's good man. Yo, what if like, some of her boys come banging on the door someday, asking for you. What should I do?" I'm throwing the bags on my shoulder. I pause. "I don't know, just...Let them eat cake." He laughs and pulls me into a side hug and starts punching me. I'm gonna miss him.

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9 Sunny Isles

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"Dying is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call." -sylvia plath Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” Norman Cousins quotes
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure its worth watching.”

Forrester
As I walked out on another place I could try to consider home, I gave one momentary glance back at the old tan storage building and knew It was something I wouldn't regret. When I leave a place, I leave the self I was with it too. And then I move on and adapt to new surroundings and a re-birth of my self is made. A different carlo. If you were with me from the beginning up until (which no one has been) you might not see the change at first, but the little things about me re-wire themselves and I'm sure within a weekyou'd notice it. You might even think I'm someone else entirely. Its all kinds of things I'm talking about here. Like in one point and place of my life- ill be into grunge and classic rock and skate and hate seafood and shave my hair to a buzz. Then it can all change. I can change things about myself without helping it. Ill be breaking out in raps, and ditch my board, and chow on sushi and grow my hair out long over my eyes. I guess if I were looking at this from your point of view, I'd guess its because I want to earase everything about my old life, about where I was and who I knew and who I was. I feel I need to re-arrange everything to help me to forget the past. But let me tell you how it is from my point of view. - its nothing. I don't plan this, I don't sit and think of ways to re-invent myself or run away from who I was, I just live my life and when I settle (as much as a person like me can settle) into a place I like to adapt to how it is there, so the changes are just part of my personality- one that likes to fit into his enviroment. And now

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I'm looking for that new enviroment to settle into, however long I can before I feel the urge to leave and start again someplace else as someone else. Two names came to mind as I was about ten minutes walking distance from the runmill. Names I haven't given thought to in a long, long time. Matt and Tyler. We met as any bunch of fourth grade boys would meet. Matt was holding bernie forrester best he could from behind, pinning his arms down as tyler swung at him over and over, punching him hard in the mouth and then perpetually in his oversized chocolate pudding filled gut. Bernie forrester was huge. Not just the class fat kid but the class bully who looked like he belonged in middle school. And he was the first person I ever hated. I mean, as a kid who's just in fourth grade, all you know is ice cream outings with the family, presents on birthdays and christmas, the saturday morning cartoon line-up, and other kids you meet at the playground. And then suddenly someone is throwing dirt in your eyes when you finally get the courage to talk to gabby summers who sits in front of you all year. So you and Gabby are making lines in the sand and smiling at each other and then -wham- dirt flies at you full force and blinds you till you wipe it off and see bernie forrester clutch his half exposed, pudgy belly as he laughs and laughs with tears in his eyes and points his fat finger at you and says "hahaha dork!" Then your so angry and mad and embarressed and surprised you have no clue how to react and you want to hit him hard on the head with a big rock but there's none around, and its too late becuase Gabby Summers is getting up to line up with the rest of the class. And now you're alone and your eyes sting becuase some dirt is still in there and then it comes, and tears are streaming down your face and you can't hide it or help it and before you know it your wailing and your loud and messy and wet. So the teacher has to leave the line of all the students in your class to walk over to you and help you off the ground and then everyone is looking and pointing and some are laughing now and all you can do is cry. I hated Bernie Forrester for humilating me . That happened a week before i saw Tyler beat the crap out of him. He must of punched him about 30 times, I didn't count, but I stood real close and watched the entire thing. I saw bernie's face scrunch up and tears well out and he begged tyler to stop but tyler's face was carved from stone, and his eyes never blinked. He hit bernie the same way with the same solid look over and over until Matt got tired of holding on and let go.

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Bernie slumped to the floor and Tyler took a little step back and relaxed his hands but not his face. And that's when tyler turned to leave and saw me, staring and he stared back. Then he let a friendly but intimidating smile strike across his face, and I immediatley smiled back, like it was nothing. I stuck my hand in the air halfway, and held it there, as if to wave but I didn't make the waving motion. Bernie was groaning loudly on the floor as Matt whispered something to Tyler, who then nodded and started to walk away, with Matt trailing behind. He was almost at the end of the hall when he looked back at me, who was still standing locked in place, and he called out "are you coming?" That was as big a turning point for my childhood as I knew, it as ever. I followed Tyler and Matt down the hall and out the aqua blue double doors of hollywod hills elm.

How I got this way
The heavy doors slammed behind me and the bright sun had me squinting under the covering my raisedhand made over my eyes. I heard cars pass by, and I felt the thick heat hang in the air. It must have been October. I remember I school had just started and I was in a new one, again. Summer didn't seem so far removed. The weather, as it is in Florida, gave the illusion that we hadn't left one season and entered another. But it was fall, and summer was behind me. Those first few weeks, I never spoke to anyone. It took me hours of silent debate to finally say hey to Gabby Summers one October afternoon in the playground. Other then that, before Tyler decided to befriend me, I was mute. I felt the gusts of wind as each car passed. I felt the snap of air, as If it were only an inch away, and not all those feet. Across the street were houses and driveways, some with cars parked on them, and some with abandoned skateboards and bicycles. I lifted my shirt up to wipe the sweat off my forehead and above my lip. It was always this hot out here. Always the kind of humid heat that bore itself into your flesh, past your skin, and made your pores explode with thirst. To my left, portables wound behind a fence. The school was the center of a winding street. An island. An impossible escape. The cars were sharks, swimming by, waiting to latch onto kid meat. The street, the black sea made a moat that encircled the entire building. They couldn't have crossed the street.

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I looked to my right, where the baseball field and wall ball courts were. There was a fence around it that had a single door gate that was always unlocked. There I saw them, against one of the tall white walls on the court, leaning. Tyler was laughing. Hysterically laughing, and looking into the sky with an open mouth, then slamming back down, gripping at his knees and shaking with laughter. I couldn't hear it over the cars, but I could see it. I never laughed like that. I saw him take the small white stick to his lips, and smoke streamed out as he let his hand back down. Matt was laughing too. He turned his back to me, and he took his own small white stick to his lips and let smoke out too. They seemed to be having the best time ever, laughing like that. I wondered why they're were laughing so much, and all I wanted was to join them, laughing like that. I didn't think they noticed me watching. The bell rang and everyone poured out of the doors behind me. Cars with busy parents were already lined up. I did not notice or hear before. Classmates bumped past, holding their lisa frank lunch boxes and spiderman napsacks. Then Tyler was in my face. "Why didn't you come over? We called you out with us, and you just stood there. Next time, come." Matt jumped at me, without touching me, and made me jump. And then he laughed, a fake laugh and followed after Tyler. They climbed into a red Jetta and left. I watched the car turn out of the lot, and then turn with the road till it was gone. And I watched the other cars do the same. Then, when I was left alone, I started walking home. Next day, Tyler and Matt decided to leave during lunch. And I went with them. And I smoked with them. And we did that everyday till we where in seventh grade where we started smoking pot in Tyler's room. We were friends through all of middle school. Those days, we didn't have routines or plans. We didn't go out to smoke at the same set time everyday, and sometimes, we did more then just smoke. Some days, we tagged up the back walls of convenient stores. Other days, we left campus and bought beer and beef jerky at gas stations. Matt had an older brother who dropped out when he was sixteen. Andrew. He picked us up when he wasn't busy, just to to drive around. Just to show us a good time, he said. "Don't worry Matt, mom won't find out" he'd say. Sometimes we go to Andrew's friends' houses. Or some chick's house, where we all sit around and do absolutely nothing. One of those times, we went to Bree's house. Bree is a gorgeous, tall, dreaded out blonde haired, compulsive lying little pot head rich girl.

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Her house was not like the trashed low budget homes of Andrew's other loser friends. Her house had a fricken gate, and cameras, and pin code lock, and center mantel sculpture piece and a driveway as long as route 66. It was not a typical Florida style house either. It wasn't beachy at all. There wasn't palm trees encircling it, or tall glass windows overlooking the ocean, or tan organic draperies blowing from the salty breeze through open windows. It was an ancient victorian, looming three stories high with countless tiny wire-rimmed windows and spanish vines overtaking the olive tone walls. Mossy tree trunks with their heads full of leaves made for a little forrest environment. They blocked out Florida's sunshine and left the air cool and clean. Wood smell. I felt like I was in another state, in another time. An old, dark time. Logs lined up to the right of the massive brown double doors, the entrance to the house.

Bree’s Place
Getting closer, you can see the elegant engravements, detailing the wooden doors. You get a familiar sense in your stomach at times like these. You know you haven't been here before, but you wonder. Have I seen this place in a movie? A photograph? Naw. It must be in the air here. Heavy with secrets of a past, and you can feel it as you look at the house. Then you get a thought that tells you, you should leave, but there is this mysterious pull, and you want to stay, so you follow Andrew's footsteps, and walk into the house. Bree greats me with a giant hug I wasn't expecting at all. She's got a smoker's voice but angel skin, face, and hair. She's wretched beauty at it's finest. "My parents are sailing the North Atlantic again. They have two houses in Europe so they just sail over there and then go into town when they want. Italy mostly, but they can be anywhere, and it's hard for them to keep in contact, or so they say. I never know what day they'll show up, but it's never sooner then a week." She backed out of our embrace and she's walking up the spiral staircase as she throws her voice behind her to be heard by us, who are still standing downstairs. I can't hear her words, but I watch her till she's out of sight and in another room. Then my eyes scan around me, and I look at the modern marble structures and leather patent couches. The large framed paintings and trinkets on stands and shelves from all sorts of countries. The glossy tile floor. The high panel cylindrical ceiling with fascinating trims and borders. The dark silk drapes. The satin overthrows. The beaded pillows. The dazzling

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crystal chandelier. The wide fireplace already set with logs. The twenty seater dinning room table, fancied out with spectacular asian dishes. The intricate floor rugs. None of us look like we belong here, not even Bree. Most of the paintings are from Paris exhibition parties and art halls, except one. It's a family portrait and it's set against the wall near the head of the dinner table. Mommy and Daddy in dress and tie, standing in front of a Sinclair houseboat with fourteen year old Bree blank-faced under her mother's diamond heavy hand. Bree's coming back down the stairs with a clear blue plastic box full of weed. "My Dad just brought this back. He'll be pissed if he can tell any is missing, so I can't give you a lot of it. But I still have the kind you got last week." She's talking to Andrew, discussing the cut and taking it out, and glancing at me with a strange smile. "Hey. How old are you?" I knew she was around Andrew's age. Probably twenty. Tyler and Matt played aloof, so they must've seemed older to her. I stuck out. I was the baby, and she was calling me out on it. "I'm fourteen." She started laughing. Why did Andrew bring me? "Get out. You're too hot to only be fourteen. So, what grade is that again?" Did she seriously just say that. I guessed she was just making a joke out of me, because she was still laughing after she said it. I wanted to run out the door. I didn't. I answered her, "Eighth." I looked at Tyler as I said it. He just smirked cooly at me, almost in admiration. "No way. So you're not even in High school yet. You got a name? You smoke?" Kill me, kill me now. "I'm Carlo. Yeah, I smoke but not really. I mean, yes really, I just don't buy it all the time, I just do it when it's there..." I stuttered over my words then told myself to shut up. I was making myself look stupid. "Cool, yeah I get it. Well stick around, I've got people coming. It'll be fun, and there will be stuff here that you can smoke. Haha." "Oh, um okay" was all I could say. Andrew just nodded and said, "Yeah we're all staying. So Jazmine and Cleo are coming right?" Bree brightened up, "Yeah, they're coming. Crino, Karis, Will, they'll all be here too. I told some other people I know. I think Emanuel is bringing some drinks and stuff." I thought she wanted me to leave, but it seems my age wasn't a factor, and now we are being guided to a separate living room with a huge plasma entertainment center and two pool tables. The guys all sit down on the long couch and I follow what everyone else is doing. I still have no clue what I'm doing here. I don't belong.

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A couple hits later and the rest is moving so fast I can hardly remember. I do remember Jazmine though. And I remember how meeting her, changed things. Everyone showed up within twenty minutes of waiting on the couch. People poured in and introduced themselves to me. I was beginning to feel comfortable with them, as the drinks started getting passed around. I just sipped mine, and answered, "Yeah, im fourteen" to which most would reply "That's crazy man, I could have sworn you were older." Matt was well known, being Andrew's kid brother. Tyler was known as Matt's friend. Me, I was the new kid, that everyone wanted to talk to. I don't know why it was like that, but I decided to go with it. The girls who weren't sucking tongue with their baser boyfriends were sitting around me, eying me and starting conversations. Everyone was paired off, and formed into little groups around the room, yet there was no distinct division in the room. It was so chill. And the groups changed constantly. Everyone floated around the room, sharing joints and a few words. I stayed in my place on the couch and relaxed into it. I watched them walk into the room. Whoever was sitting next to me got up abruptly with a noisy sigh. I knew they were trying to talk to me, but

I couldn't hear. And I couldn't take my eyes off the girl who Bree was now greeting with an enthusiastic hug and shriek. She arrived with a short, spunky girl in a tight, bright orange dress and beige beanie capping her pink streaked hair. Her left arm was covered with silver bangles and the right arm housed chunky homemade hemp gear. She was cute but plain faced with an over exgagerated outfit. The hippie style bag she wore, with a single thin strap rested in her bright green bra cleavage, had the name "CLEO" sewn onto it with button letters. She has an awful, throaty laugh, and big raccoon eyes from all her purple mascara. Cleo was the first girl I ever made out with. The party really started when Cleo and Jazmine got here. They were the Paris and Nicole of the hour, and everyone wanted a piece of them. Bree announced the evening activities and everyone roared with excitement. I watched the beer pong. I watched the whip cream and body shots. I watched the stupid drunk guys wrestle with each other. I watched until they made me participate. It was called "Tell me no lies" and it was a game that got invented during a former party and now we were about to play it. Bree's sitting by me, explaining the game while we all get in a circle on the floor. Everyone has to play, which wasn't a problem because they were all more then willing.
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Games gotta begin sometime
We all get a small white index card and a pencil. We are told to come up with one question about our personal lives and an answer to the question. The answer can be true or made up. Bree gave the example: "Have you ever made out with a stranger at a funeral?" The answer has to be in short story form, specifics and with names if you can. So her answer was: "Yes. My neighbor died of colon cancer and so I had to go with my parents to his funeral. I snuck out before it started to get water and saw this hot kid coming out of the bathroom. He said "hey" and I responded by grabbing his face and kissing him." She asked if anyone wanted to take a guess at it. Will spoke out, "That's total bull." Bree smiled, "No, its true, and I never got his name. You're first, middle man." So the game started. One person is in the middle. Everyone has a piece of paper with a question and an answer. The person in the middle points to anyone. The person picked reads the question, and the answer. Then the person in the middle, (Will) has to say if its the answer is or just a story. If they get it right, they move on to the next person and the next question. Three guesses right in a row lands them out of the middle and the last person asked takes their place. When the person in the middle guesses wrong, they have to either take something off, makeout with the person they picked on or down a shot. They can only do each thing once and get the answer wrong three times before someone has to take their place. So you could end up doing all three before it's someone else's turn. Jazmine got picked, big surprise. She reads "Have you ever hooked up with someone ten years older then you?" to which she read on and replied, "I was at Miyako's downtown with Casey, and we were just there having sushi, and then I saw this gorgeous guy walk past us with his wife/girlfriend, whatever. So, I tell the waiter I'll pay him $50 to "accidently" spill the water on her lap when he goes to pour it. And he agreed. Haha. So, she shoots up and curses and storms to the ladies room.

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And Mr. Gorgeous guy, is sitting there, and I go over, and tell him he's too devastatingly handsome to be with an old washed out woman. I tell him he should go for someone younger, then I kiss him, and he's kissing me back! And I go back to sitting with Casey, and eat my Jb tempura. And the woman comes back out of the bathroom, looking God-awful, and he pretends nothing happens. It was really sad for her, don't you think?" Will laughed and said, "True. You have such a fetish for business guys who are already taken." Everyone's laughing, and agreeing. "Wrong. Didn't happen. I thought about doing it, because he did have a busted wife or whatever she was, and I wanted him to feel better about himself. But, Casey stopped me. Next person." Tyler laughs the loudest at this. "Will, you've always sucked at this game," Jazmine sucks her teeth at him. Bree interjected, "Hold on, first you need to pick something." Will took off his shirt. Then, he picked me. I was sure mine would be obvious. I had no stories to tell like everyone else here. I had to make something up of course, and I would be figured out easily. "Ok. Have you ever gone skinny dipping with two chicks? (my fabrication...)Yeah. Jessica invited me over once and her best friend Megan was there. We were home alone. I noticed her pool and said it looked nice, then Jessica smiled and pulled her shirt off over her head. And then Megan did. Then they opened the screen door and took off all their clothes and called me over and jumped in. And so I took my clothes off too, and went in, and yeah. It was the middle of the day, and you could see into the neighbor's yard..." Will thought about it a moment then said, "Sure man, that sounds true." I smiled, sheepish, "Naw, sorry. That didn't really happen." Cleo gave me a nod, my props for tricking Will and then called out, "Mine's good, just pick me next Will." The game kept going on, and Will guessed right on Cleo so she took over the middle. She lost twice and had taken off her shoes and downed a shot. Then, she called on me. I didn't notice the brand new card that was placed by my feet and I had to think up something quick. "Uh, Have you ever mooned a cop?" I couldn't think of anything better. "Yeah, I was prepared for being caught at the spot I wanted to tag, so I'm there and sure
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enough, two guys tell me stop and the blue suits are walking closer to me, and I wait till they're close enough to read it, and I turn around and pull my pants down and then back up and start to run. And I heard them laughing, so I guess they thought what I did was cool or something, they didn't bother getting me. And I saw them again once, they waved at me from their car. I had spray painted "Eat it." by the way, and mooned them.." "That's the best story I've ever heard. You're a cool kid, Carlo. True." No. Wrong. Made up, but I wish I would have done it, I've thought about it before. "Nope. Never actually did that, but maybe we can do sometime." She arched one high eyebrow and said, "Wow, I thought it was true, but yeah we should. Fricken cops man. Well, I lost." And without missing a beat, she crawled over to me and sat in my lap, and started making out with me. Her breath smelled like beer and pringles. She pressed her lips into mine hard, and bit softly at my lower lip. A nibbler. Her hands stayed cold around my neck as she swung her head back and forth with the fast moving motion of her lips and tongue, and then, she crawled back to her seat and pointed me to the center. It was my turn.

Borrowed girlfriend
I picked Jazmine. I lost. I looked at my shoe, ready to take it off, but glanced at her again first. "I uh.." I wasn't sure what to do, but I didn't have to worry much more because she got up suddenly, and started making her way to me. When she was close enough, she held my hand and then pulled herself into me, and met my lips with hers. Then her hands were on my chest, softly scratching them as her lips heated every part of me up. She didn't press hard on them like Cleo did. She did the opposite. The touch of them was so faint, it made the sensation feel like an earthquake. Earthfrickenshattering. Then, she slid her tongue, slowly into my mouth, and just as slowly back out. She did it again, but moved her tongue up to hid behind the top part of my lip, over my gums. Then she slid it sideways, as if she was brushing my teeth. It was the best feeling my eighth grade boy self had ever experienced.

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When she was done, she balanced me back to the middle and sat me down. Crino was cracking up, "Carlo's staggering, Jaz. You could have killed the kid. We all know how leatheal your lips are." I didn't pay attention to why at the time, but I could see Tyler stiffen up. I watched the runway model of a girl as she chose Karis for the next question. I closed in on her perfect pale lips that were just on mine. Then I looked over the rest of her. I didn't want to forget what she was wearing. She had on camel leather Steve Madden Cowboy boots that went halfway to her knee. Her jean dress was tight and mini, high on her lightly tanned thighs, and open wide at her chest. Underneath, she had a 70s floral tube top. She wore a flat prussian blue rock tied on a brown string as a necklace and a big orange flower ring on her right hand. Her bracelet was bronze loops with 5 charms: a wooden heart, a bronze leaf, a silver peace sign, a gold bird, and the word love in silver. Her hair was a natural sun kissed yellow and brown. It was long and styled choppy with a fling of bangs over her bright blue eyes. Her eye lashes were long and curled, and her tiny nose had a single silver hoop on it. Beautiful wasn't enough to describe her. She had style. She had class. And She had the perfect laugh. I remember what she looks like perfectly, still. I can see her like a Vouge advertisement in my head. She must be in magazines by now. That's not all I remember about that day though. That day changed everything for me, Matt, and Tyler. After the game got old, we ended it and went back to sitting on the couch. People were working on emptying the remaining bottles. Jazmine was across the room, held up by Will. Will was in his boxers, never bothering to re-cloth himself after the game. He's got the surfer build and Australian accent, with tousled hair that covers both of his eyes at all times. And, he's got a thing for Jazmine. She's talking to him with a bored expression and I can tell she's dying to get away by how she keeps knocking one boot into the other and clicking her heels on the foor.

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Then, she sees me, and she cuts off Will mid sentence and flaunts over to me. Sits down. People were playing pool now, placing bets. "Man, this is getting annoying. Let's go outside?" So we do. I forget how old the house looks from outside and I feel lost for a second. I also forget how fresh and piney the air smells out here, but I like it, and breathing it in makes me relax. She's got her hand in mine again and she pulls me to sit down on the driveway with her. I don't know what time it is, but it's dark. I can only see the outline of her silhouette and her eyes reflecting against the moon, and they're heavy on mine. I was in eighth grade and I was nervous to be with someone so drop dead gorgeous. "I don't care that you're younger than me. And I know you like me, I like you too. Don't be afraid", she's breathing into my ear. Her face was expectant. I awkwardly leaned toward her slowly for a kiss. She reciprocated, and we were making out again. We jumped apart as we heard the door behind us slam shut, and someone shouted, "Are you kidding me?" We both turned around to see. I already knew. Tyler punched a dent into her red BMW. "What the Fu.." Jazmine's starting to stand"Shut up you stupid slut. Everyone's wondering where you. Then I notice Carlo is gone too, and what a surprise to find you both out here, on Bree's driveway..."Tyler is slicing a hateful tone into us, and I've never seen him this angry before. It's completely different from the stone cold Tyler punching Bernie Forrester. This Tyler is a firecrakcer, exploding onto us with his heated rage. "What's the deal? Calm down Tyler, nothings going on, we just came outside to be alone. It was really loud in there, we needed some air." Im trying to stop him from punching another hole into Jazmine's car or in her face. "She's my girl Carlo. She was my girl. What, she didn't tell you?" His fist is three feet from my face. Tyler's girl? He never mentioned her name at all. But it clicked. He told me about a month ago how met an older chick. He told me stories about hooking up with her, and how she was totally into him. "I didn't kno-" Im backing away as she gets behind me.

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"You both need to get out of my face right now. When I tell Bree, she'll get me. She's never liked you Jazmine. So leave before Bree gets the cops or I bash you're heads into the wall." I stand still with shocked expression. I muster calm as I can, "Bro, I didn't know Tyler. You know I wouldn't.." He hits me, underneath my right eye, and Im shut up. I fall back a few paces and think about hitting him, but I know if I do, he'll only beat me to a pulp, until I'm bleeding or dead. I know him well enough, he'd have no problem doing it. I remember Bernie, and think about Tyler hitting him without letting up. I touch my cheek. It hurt like hell. "I don't care, leave", he whispered and went inside. I crossed Tyler that night. You do that, you could end up a whole lot worse then what I got. I got one hit. I was lucky. He was my best friend. I guess, knowing that he chose to only punch me once and make me leave, it made me think that he really liked me. I wondered if he'd ever forgive me for the Jazmine thing. If we could ever meet up later, and go back to where we left off. Go back to smoking in his room. Something told me, it wasn't gonna be the same after tonight, but it wasn't gonna be the end either. The house looked deadly. The wind picked up and I felt Jazmine shiver involuntarily behind me. I never went to Bree's house again, but I can still see it, like a photograph, or an image in a movie. And when I think about it, I get the same odd sense of familarity, with a season of change in the air. Leaving the Runmill, I was hit with the scent of pine, and taken back to that night. To that house and that fall out. To everything. Jazmine had offered me a ride back home. I got in her car, the cozy and costly BMW with its hideous new dent. We didn't talk other then me telling her where to go. We didn't make out again, or get each other's numbers, or even say bye. She just pulled up to my house, and I opened the door, and closed it behind me. When I got to my front door, her car was already out of sight. I haven't seen her since, but I remember what she was wearing, and what her tongue felt like sliding over my teeth. We were in Summer, the last few weeks of it, and I spent it alone. Tyler and Matt went to different Highschools in the fall. We never saw or spoke again. I moved on, and stopped thinking about our days of
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beef jerky, pot, and pointless rides in Andrew's car that I missed so much. I stopped thinking about the night at Bree's house. And I stopped thinking about Jazmine. As summer and all that came with it faded and Fall began, I met Shawn and Adam, and GPC was born. Middle school died in my memory and Highschool took me to an entirely new place.

All my money is on you
Now, leaving the Runmill with no place to go, the names come back to thought from the deep pocket of discarded memories. I'm still close enough that if Rick finds out, all he has to do is drive out a little and he'll find me. Then kill me. I get a text from Josh. "I left 2. Need a ride? Go 2 IHOP." I check my pants, and then my coat, my backpack- and find it. $7.50, all I have aside from the money I made this last week that I already put in the bank. I cross over traffic, cars honking, I don't care. My bags are starting to weigh a ton. I've only been walking for 20 minutes now. I sit at the stop and text Josh. "Yeah bro, catching 3, B there soon." I wait. It's always been impossible for me to get a bus before an hour of waiting, but not today. 4:57pm. The Bus is there at 5:02. I get on, and I am not surprised to see the same woman with the ridiculous, puffy mullet. Seats are full so I stand next to a guy who smells like a garbage landfill. I dream of never having to take a bus again. Dreams fall short. I jerk into the landfill guy as the bus halts. I apologize and get off, walking down the scenic strip. There's a grand theater across the street, performing arts place. Museums. Galleries. Sophisticated aristocrats and the likes. They parade and strut along the streets and along the stage, and the spotlight always shines on them. The rest of us are in our place, in the dark, without rose to catch that doesn't have a thorn stuck in the side. I don't look up while I walk by it. I watch my feet rise and fall. I turn down the street. Down the next. My bags slam against my sides as I pace. Just a couple stretches of road and you arrive in another world. Your destination, forever. It's the same town, but a different part. Here, McDonalds and IHOP are your five stars. The Family owned Video store is your performing arts theater.

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On corners, you have your displays of flowers and trinkets for sale- your galleries, your high end state of the art museums are just the left over crap of the neighborhood that's sold for beer money. We are the backstagers, fixing all your outfits and setting the stage just for you. Setting the stars up for their perfect performance- a perfect world, while we are nothing here, behind the scenes. I got another text. "Order for u?". Bus was only 50 cents. I had seven dollars. Why not. I was starving. Beyond starving. I hadn't had a decent meal in a while. We fueled up on peanut butter and honey sandwhiches back at the runmill most days. Josh would bring back a box of cereal sometimes, we shared. I'd buy us milk and bagels. Had to have bagels, we'd feast on that breakfeast, lunch and dinner. We got better meals some nights, but not usually. "Trio kijafa crepe plate: no blueberry, strawberry, 2 raseberry and some eggs. A coke." I knew josh would order himself chocolate chip pancakes and a hashbrown. He's not a breakfeast person, but he goes there for that. Me, I'd eat anything on the menu. I'm not a picky eater at all, and I love breakfeast. There's a fierce growl in my stomach. The sun's stabbing its rays into me, and there's no shade for me to hide under from it. The uncomfortable sting is leaving a light lush layer of pink on my utterly ivory tone skin. Columbian blood runs through my veins, but you'd never guess it at my lack of color. I'm not olive or tan like most. I'm not pastey white either, but I am paler then your normal columbian or usual floridian. I can feel sweat drip off my forehead. Sleeveless shirt today, but there's no breeze to help placiate the sun's scheeming heat. It plans to leave me dry mouthed and skin soaked. But fate has something else in mind. I arrive, prominently to the pancake housing restraunt. It sits across from Guitar Center and a Denny's, Hallendale Beach Blvd. Josh is already forking through his short stack pile in a booth towards the back when I walk in. I go to take the seat across from him, feeling the cool air surround me as I sink down in exhaustion. My plate comes. I eat, like I never have before. Finding out where to go next was difficult. Josh offered to take me wherever it was I had to go within a week's time. He had a few sidejobs he wanted to work
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in, and then he was gonna drive up to North Carolina, to rent a room in his cousin's new house. His cousin was a major dealer up there. He was the go to guy for three local highschools, one of which was private and gave him a pretty little salary to take home each friday afternoon. I had to figure out how I was gonna find Matt and Tyler. It was stupid to think that I'd be able to find them, that they'd still be anywhere in or near miami still and that they'd even remember me- much less give me a place to stay if they did. Still, their names came to mind with a strong sense that finding them now, things would work out. I went to the school. Hollywood hills elem. I asked to have records pulled. I got nothing. I went to the library, nothing. I looked through old yearbooks to try to find a phone number, nothing. I looked through the yellow pages. The white pages. Green, blue, black. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I was indefinatly unlinked. I had no link to them or anyone else we formly knew, or anyone else at really. The universe and me, had no connection what so ever. I was indefinatly alone in my search and alone in my life. It could be a terrible thing to come to realize and be forced to accept, but it set me free. Free to do whatever the hell I had to do, because I had no ties to anything. I had no strings to other people, so if I got hurt somehow, it wouldn't hurt them. It wouldn't hurt anyone, at all. Yeah, I was free to whatever I had to do to find them. It gave me sick excitement. I began plotting the ridiculous things I could do to try and call out their attention. I began to not even care about really finding them, I was just thinking about running around the city, franchising their names on my chest, or my ass. Hanging loosely on edges of buildings, looking down on the shocked faces and asking, "have you seen a tyler rhodes or a matt west? I'm kind of looking for them" and then I'd jump off. Maybe break a good three bones, hopefully. Then get up and walk away, and ask the other people around. The ones who quicken their pace about a fourth of a second as soon as they see me. The ones who go out of their way to not make eye contact with me, or even look in my general direction at all. I'd walk right up to them, chase them if I have to- stop them, in their tracks. I'd smile gingerly and
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ask if they know a tyler rhodes or matt west. I could crash big events. I could sneak onto stages, behind press conferance poduims, in front of cameras. It didn't matter if I got thrown in jail for it, nothing mattered anymore. The scheming went on when me and josh got into our crappy white castle quality motel room. He went out as soon as he hit the springy, dustfloral bed. I stayed up, in the dark for a bit, imagining the chaotic scenes. The mayhem I could bring upon the dull, populated steets. The unrelenting traffic outside made for a continous song of screeing tires and honking horns that calmed me somehow and helped me fall alseep. I hadn't done anymore actual searching or displays of clinical insanity, during the next four days. I was two down for when I'd be on my own and totally out of options. Two more days and josh would be in north carolina, and I'd be living on the streets. More like, cities parks. I'd probably curl up on a bench under the trees near a lake. I'd already thought this through, seeing as it seemed so inevietable that in 48 hours I would homeless, again but seemingly for good.

I don’t bother trying to understand anything anymore
Its funny how things come about sometimes. The hilarious aspect I mean, is when it seems so inconviciable for something to just happen, and that's exactly when it does. Going out and finding tyler and matt was impossible. So when andrew found me just as I'd offically given up, humor ruled out logic. Its not that our lives are like sitcoms, its that the sitcoms are about our lives. Sometimes things just happen because they're funny, and someone's getting a kick out of your misery I have to think. I reacted to seeing him unforcabley nonchalant. It was like I'd drained myself of caring about the search now, so when it all fell into place as I quit caring, it really didn't surprise me at all. I should have known that if I gave up trying, things would just come into order. Its like that a lot. You can't plan anything in life. People who plan- their plans fall apart. Andrew made an obvious double take. Then shouted, "woo hoo hoo, look who who it is. Carlo? Carlo diaz? G-est git I know." He pounded my fist and spun me in a headlock. "Its been a good while man. I never seen you come to NICK's before. How's life man, how's life?" I was in NICK's hamburger joint, another open
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food place along the beach boardwalk. I sat in the corner, sure to be un-noticed as I ate my soggy fries. He'd seen me, and come over. And now he took the seat across from me. "Anything else I can get for you boys?" the waitress. "Hit me up with a bacon cheese, thanks Ross." He knew her name, and she giggled as she left to fix his order. No, I haven't come to NICKs before, but you seem to be well aqquainted. "so, still in MIA, huh? Or I mean, I don't know if you moved, its been a while so I was guessing. but if your rooted, you should come by sometime, one of my parties, you'd have fun. Ha. Heh, haa haa. You know man." Andrew West. He mustve been 27 by now. He could pass for 19 by looks, 14 by everything else. "Yeah. Well, thanks bro. I um, I'm still in MIA, yeah, just kinda in a moving transition. I mean, I don't know where I'm staying at yet. I kinda, ran into some problems at the last place I was, and I'm just trying to find...well, you know, but yeah totally, partyyyy. I'm down. Ill uh, hit you up sometime, for sure." I knew I'd be an idiot to not do it. I had to. I had no other options. I had no where to turn. "But yeah, listen, its great seeing you. It has been forever. hey, How's matt? Still doing that bmx thing?" matt got a gt fly in 6th grade, and rode it everyday since I could remember. He got pretty good too. "Haha, yeah matt's still into that, hangs with a whole crew of guys who do that too now. They're always getting these sick air shots of a six-stair or something. But yeah, he's staying with me. Tyler is too actually. I got a place. Its pretty big, I mean I have another guy there n there's room for more. I house the best parties in all of 305." So they were all still a force. Still together, still brothers. I'd been the one to lose it all, but not them.

Party like you’re in 305, because you are
Six minutes into friendly, and I mean friendly, greetings and I'm completely lost in a time warp. Minute has no meaning, and hour holds absolutely no value to me at this vacant point. Was it a tuesday? Was it late november? I hadn't a clue. The entire room seemed to house about 300 or more glistening faces. I noticed the ivorys, the olives, tan, dark, pale- every flesh tone in the palette of the human race, all blending together, glistening wet with sweat.
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The entire spectrum changed with each shake of the bodies or vibration from the bass speaker. The faces were watercolor, dripping in and out of a fuzzy painting. Each time I blinked, the picture changed. I felt like I lived through a hundred different moments at that party. A hundred different days, and emotions. When I woke up on andrew's couch, I knew exactly where I was, and I could recall most of all that I'd been through. Still, time was no factor, as I hadn't a concept of the current hour, how long the party lasted or how long I'd been passed out on the puke green couch. Of all the faces that filled the space before, there was now only andrew, his latest hook up, a blonde dude with dreads, a hot black chick, matt, and tyler. I took in every face in the exact order, stopping on Tyler's, who was intently watching me. Staring at me. He gets up, never flinching his gaze and walks over toward me. “You.” I can’t think of anything else to say, and I don’t know how this is gonna go or what he’s planning to do to me, so I just except whatever fate and as cool and uncaring as I can, I look him dead, right back in the eyes; I say, “Me.” He makes a fist and I’m wondering how hard the blow will be. I wonder if it’ll be so fast and forceful, I’ll get instantly knocked out, put into a comma, or die. Yeah, I ‘m thinking his fist could kill me, easy. He looks like the kind of guy with a lethal punch. When his fist dangles frozen there for a good time two feet away from my face, I realize he isn’t going to carry out a sweeping motion to unhook my jaw. And seeing the way his face still looks hard, like it always has, but with it his crooked smile, the only indication of friendliness on his tough exterior, I can see that he’s happy to me. I bump his fist with my own. He sits down next to me, on the busted green couch. He sits right up, us practically touching, and he leans back, arms folded behind his head and sighs. I do the same. I sigh just as loud and breathy, and relieving as he did, and we both stare at the water-mold stained ceiling, silent, for a long time.
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Then he says, “Andrew told me he ran into someone, but he didn’t say who. I didn’t know. I never would have believed if I did, and I couldn’t guess if I had to.” I nod. Silent. “I wasn’t sure what you’d think of me, showing up here, I wasn’t sure I was gonna come.” He thinks about something. “Yeah, I get that. But, you came, and I had no clue. Maybe if I knew earlier, if I didn’t see you first, maybe I’d think some things, and I don’t know how good that would’ve turned out for you, but it’s different, just talking to you like this. I can only remember the better, right now.” Then I think about it. He laughs and stands, saying he’s getting something, telling me to sit tight.

Drywall solution to lack of belief
I can hear a clock tick on the wall, it gets quiet enough in the living room as everyone else is passed out still or eating something in the kitchen. I have to blink a couple times, and squint real hard to focus on where the hands are. Then I see it’s 1:40 in the afternoon. All the blinds are still closed, the curtains shut, shading any sunlight from the room. Tyler walks in with two mugs and a book. “Orange juice.” He says. He tells me its good for you. I nod, like hearing this brilliant advice for the first, and skeptically take the mug from his head, and take a tiny sip. I hadn’t had orange juice in forever. Maybe not since living back home, since I was ten or something. It tastes amazing, and warm, but cold, and sweet. I drink it down. He offers to get more, but says he wants to share something with me first. I look into my mug, not a drop left behind, then I put it down and give Tyler my attention. He coughs. Coughs again, not like he really needs to cough, or clear his throat or anything, but just coughs to think about how to begin. “I woke up, maybe around eight, and saw you, sleeping on the couch. I wasn’t at the party last night, I was...well, somewhere I go a lot, I’ll tell you more about in a second, but, I saw you right when Andrew saw me walk in. He came up to me, and explained he had run into you. Well, I guess, despite what should be normal reaction, I really didn’t think anything of it. I mean, I did, but I wasn’t surprised or
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anything, I just kind of thought, ‘Oh, cool, Carlo’s on my couch.’ You know? Well, anyway, I made a bowl of cereal, watched some Scrubs, came back and you were still knocked out. Then I got to thinking, about how things use to be for us, and when we knew each other. You know, Carlo, I always saw something in you, ever since we were fourth grade kids, I saw you had something in you I really admire. Not sure what that is, but it’s enough to make me think you’re a cool guy, and you’re a guy I wouldn’t mind having around. See what I’m saying?” It’s weird, because he’s describing in a way, what I think of him. I remember first seeing Tyler, and the intensity of his eyes, the stone structure of his defined boy face, and this pull he had on me. I wanted to, I don’t know, be friends, be enemies, be his sidekick, his victim, something. Anything. He was just so interesting, and I wanted to watch. When he invited me to smoke with him, and then later kept inviting me to skip class, or tag and stuff like that, I couldn’t say no. I liked school. I liked doing assignments, and reading, and the whole bit, but if Tyler didn’t want to go, and he wanted me to not go with him, I would. It was just like that. It wasn’t that he had a power over me, I just preferred being his friend over getting a public school education. I knew it then, that there was some bond between us. If you knew the rest of the story, you might call it some sick-brotherhood we had, but thats only until I was finally able to break free from it. Following Tyler almost killed me, and if I hadn’t run into Rebekah again, I just might have died the night of April 4th, 2006. I always had the idea she would save me, I just didn’t know how literal it would be. Plus, I thought it would be totally different from what actually happened, and a whole lot earlier, but the way everything worked out, that’s what woke me up to life. It was through Tyler, then through Rebekah and her friend, that the change I was after, was the best I ever got. I finally found something permanent. “I see exactly what you’re saying.” I smile at Tyler, and we become brothers. The book is still in his hands, faced down so I can’t see what it is. It’s worn out black leather, with silver edges on the pages of the book and a thin red ribbon marking a spot inside. It looks like a Bible. I’m staring down at the book in his hand, scrutinizing the appearance of it.
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Like he can read my mind, or the expression on me face, Tyler shifts the book into his other hand, flipping it right side up and says, “It’s not a Bible. Well, it is, but not the kind you’re thinking. It’s by Anton Szandor LaVey. The satanic Bible. I got it as a gift, and it’s really changed a lot of view for me, answered questions. It’s real legit.” I opened it, began flipping through the pages. I wasn't too skeptical about tyler introducing me to this. I didn't freak out, or think it was cool, or anything. I had no opinion, which is probably why after a while, I became a devoted satanist. I never stood for anything. And then, Tyler showed me something I could be a part of. A cause. Seeing as I had never any other kind of mentor, I fell for it. For all of it. I absorbed every lie as truth, even when it was hard to swallow sometimes, I pushed it down and I digested the satanic bible. Even when I felt myself stepping into a dark place I didn't want to go- I went, blind, but I went.

Meet Spike
"No man, trust me, it doesn't hurt." I watched spike's hand, the interesting tool it held, closing in on my face. The once shiny metal, worn and dull, coming closer until all was just a big blurry gray. I heard the click. I felt, nothing. "Done bro, looks sick." Are you kidding? "Here, look." He pulled another something out of his neon crafts box. He held up a red hand mirror. I looked into it, seeing a thin silver hoop hooked into the skin buried behind my right eyebrow. "I want a stud, not a hoop. I look gay. I'm not paying you 50 for a hoop spike." He tells he doesn't have any right now, to come back tomorrow and he'll hook me up. He says I won't have to pay anything tomorrow, but I pay the 50 right now or
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he'll smash my face into the toilet bowl, until my head gets stuck inside the sucker hole. I don't have to lift the lid to know there's a pound of crap floating inside there, the sides stained with old urine and past meals. I don't need to see it because I can smell it. I'm right above it, sitting on the close lid, hoping to god it doesn't break somehow from under me. I look at spike, this 300pound mass, 1 inch gauges, nose gauge to a 6, and three hoops on his left eyebrow. He's twenty five, has two daughters and a wife. He lives in an apartment a floor under Andrew's, which is mine too now. He's a piecer, and this is his office space. Stall four, Ray's Din&dine with bar. Its a disgusting health hazard of a place, full of rotting maggots under bottle filled piles of trash, tar-spit dirt tiling, water mold walls, and dark yellow piss stench. But hey, they serve beer. Spike actually makes a lot of money doing what he does. The guy who started this place died, leaving ownership to his lawsuit son, who hired the first guy who came in to take over. He just handed some regular customer the keys and went back to his life in chicago. Happens that customer is a slob and outrageous alcoholic. He drinks about a third of booze from the bar and passes out in the back storage room. Spike comes in everyday from 2-6pm and does piercings in stall number four. You wouldn't believe the number of people who show up. I met spike about two weeks after pretty much moving into andrew's apartment, which happened two days after the party he had invited me to the day before. I didn't have to ask, tyler practically begged. Okay, not really, but he said I should, that he has some mentoring assignments he wants to practice on me. Anyway, I met spike, two weeks after. Our apartment complex is called Sunny Isles. In Sunny Isles, there are three five story buildings. Building 100, 200, and 300. We are smack dab between 100 and 300. I am fourth floor, room 217. Spike is thrid floor, room 217. The first time I saw this intimidatingly large guy with spikes and industrial bars coming in and out about 1/3 of the area of his face, he was at the community pool.
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He was behind the gated space, in the corner, on a towel, doing yoga. Spike, his big torso turning slowly one direction, and holding as he let out a loud but relaxed breath. Spike, turning his monster torso in the other direction, letting out another deep sigh. It was one of those Vongough pictures, diembodied parts, and all wrong. Here, at rays, a backdrop of dried boogers, piss, tags, rust, and beer vomit, a blurred background to the overwhelming focus of the needle gun and gauges, the tools and ink and sheer pain of it all fits better with spikes image. I hand him the 50, stumbling out after the 10 minutes too long in the diseased stall, causing me to wheeze until I catch fresh air outside. Then I light a cigeratte. Tyler's standing against the wall, chill as ever, like he's been waiting for me a long time but its nothing that bothered him. I began noticing that about him, how he seemed so different from the Tyler I knew. He was always bellicose, always ready to knock someone out, just to relief his unending tension. Now, he was Budda. "Hey cupcake." Oh God, I forgot about the hoop. "Spike." Was all I could say. He laughed cooly, deadening his cigeratte underfoot. We stared into nothing, at no one for a while. Spike and Dokey came out at some point. It had been weeks that Tyler had dropped satan stuff on me. Little post-its on the fridge: “8pm @ Barklight Chapel, enter Sax Alleyway across Sedanos.” Or, he would be sitting on the couch, sweat dripping off him from a morning work out, and he’d be there reading his satanic bible, so I can hear when I walked into the room. He’d throw in quotes from it, on regular conversation, things that fit with whatever topic, me expecting it to be from some literalist, but it was always straight from his book. Then he bought me one. Left it on my pillow. I almost threw it away, but I didn’t want to offend him. And then I opened one day, and read somewhere around the middle, just some page, some line, and I kept reading from there, for the next hour. And if I felt like it, I’d open it up and read some it if, going on two weeks.
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He’s been asking me to go with him, to the gathering they have, the Satanic Church they set up, and I’d always given some excuse. Tonight, I was going to a satanic gathering. Tonight I was going to welcome hell.

The Nine
I couldn’t sit in the back for a hideout like I’d planned. This wasn’t like a normal church service or anything. There were no pews, no organs, no women in ridiculous hats the the size of Russia. The chairs were wooden and stiff, with back support but no arm support. With cushions that might as well have not been there at all. The chairs were placed in a large circle for fifty-something people, all facing each other. All inescapable of others’ attention. There was thirty three people there tonight, including me and the Head priest. Apparently, almost everyone in this circle was a satanic priest, but Fritz was the celebritey. He organized and started the small movement, and basically got his closest friends into it, and a few other followers. I didn't know this, but Tyler is a priest too. Spike and Dokey, they're regular attendees, but I guess they're not so adamantly involved. They read and practice the satanic bible, they just aren't much for going to street corners and back alleys to bring new followers in. About 30% of the people in here are like that too. The rest, they're pretty into this whole thing. I know it must sound strange, just describing a room full of people taking their saturday night sit in a circle group and read and discuss from a book for hours, but It was...more than that. The environment was a bit hazey at first, I felt this unusual vibe, this out of place and just wrong twist in my gut, but I decided to just hear these people out for a night. One night, to get Tyler off my back. To take it all in, his whole little society of vamp freaks and sadistic gloomers, and satan slashing worshipers, but it wasn't like that. Well, I can't lie and say everyone in there was completely normal, not weird or creepy in any way, but they were strange, in a good way. Like, I felt really interested in some of the people there, like Fritz.

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It wasn't long before I was a priest. All I had to do for ordination was a reciting of The Nine Satanic Statements.
1) Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence! 2) Satan represents vital existence, instead of spiritual pipe dreams! 3) Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit! 4) Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates! 5) Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek! 6) Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires! 7) Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his divine spiritual and intellectual development, has become the most vicious animal of all! 8) Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emo? tional gratification! 9) Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years!

The main objective of the religion, or non-religion, is to do what you want. Its not against God in the sense that its the rejection of a life lived in worship or service to him, and satanism is seen a service to yourself. Satanism and christianity are the most acient of enemies. Its satan against God, and here, we were taking a stand against God, though, most of us didn't even believe in him, or so we'd tell you. The truth is, and trust me I know, is that all the people in here, no matter how much they denied the existence of a God, they had to believe in him because they devoted their life to spitting in his face. They traded in their will for dedicance of making sure to do all they could to defy any of God's laws. Now tell me, who would waste any space of thought or time or energy of action for something they don't believe in? Oh, they believed. They hated God so much, for whatever reason, they believed denying him completely was just another point toward their aim of defiance. I should have hated God, maybe, like the rest of them, but God was so unreal in my life, I couldn't find a way to even keep a thought steady on him for long enough.

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Any time I thought of the word, God, I just drew blanks. I hadn't even been told much about him. I hadn't know what to think of him, and so I just didn't, and when I opted to cast blame of all my suffering, I put it into humankind. Every cause of pain and let down and infliction- I just decided that people were the problem, and so I made sure not to ever get too close. At first, being a priest, I didn't take it seriously at all. I didn't care about the set up tasks of sin, and after a few ceremonies I didn't mind my turns at speaking to a crowd. Fritz would always open up, he'd introduce each new priest and he'd chant to satan, and then the floor was mine. I only had to say the basics. We had just given flyers, got small word out and let the back alley fill with people in spurts. Five other priests besides me, five groups about thirty feet from each other, with about 8 or so guests to each group. I was to introduce myself, and then the nine satanic statements. I was to open to pages we had marked previously in a meeting. Once I gave out the message, I'd hand each a card with more information, verses, and next dated events. It was whatever. It was easy. It was something to do and something to belong to, and though I didn't really buy it at first, I didn't put much of myself in it, overtime, I began believing the own lies I helped spread. I began seeing satanism not as some non-religion or some cult or practiced rebellion against God, I started seeing it as an answer. I saw it as a purpose and a way to live, maybe no perfectly, but well enough rested in the fact that my outlandish and seemingly insignificant acts of sin might actually be some kind of control, some small control I can have on my meaningless life. And the more I got into it, the more I saw it as a way to make things not as meaningless. I read and heard and taught more and more about satan, and though at times it was scary or I felt weird about it or uncomfortable, I decided doing something for him was better than not knowing what to do with myself. Serving him was better than living without a family, or a love, or a friend I could count on. So I was a priest for satan, and each day of the long six months of my life as that, well each

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day I got more completely, desperately lost, but I pretended that this way would eventually take me where I was supposed to go. More and more I saw that satan was an face for people's inner desire, however acceptable of awful, and a way for them to give a name to all they held in themall that most people would call wicked. This satanic group wasn't really about worshiping satan, I mean they did that, they talked to him but it wasn't like they were that serious about it. They wouldn't spend much time with actual satan stuff, the main objective was to improve your way of life, release your deepest desires and free your self of all social conformaties or binding laws. Here, the rules were...there are no rules. You didn't have to do anything drastic at all if you didn't want, it was all about you, all about being able to do whatever you want. Still, the people who went all out, people who let out their impuslive, violent natures were appraised. The building where we met, it served as a place of refuge for us. It was where we came to learn, to go out of and teach, but also a place to freely commit our acts of rebellion without getting cuffed for it. We were free here. We were completely free to do anything. Here, any room besides the central meeting room, which only consisted of newcomers, in every other square inch of space was someone snorting off a toilet bowl seat, or injecting, or a group of any kind having an orgy, or someone attempting to have sex with a goat or a dog. It was disgusting, it was wrong, and it was they're way of life. I never had a sex with a dog or a goat or a group of people or even a girl. I, by some miracle, stayed a virgin, by my own will but also by the amazing grace of God. Of course, I couldn't see it as that then. I couldn't see anything the way it really was. I called good bad, and bad good. I reversed my way of thinking. I denied my born instict of right and wrong until I had really begun seeing backwards. Everything about that point of my life, about being a priest for satan, about living to please the sick desires I had conjured up was backwards. I was five months into it. I had become friends with everyone there. I had be known and I had been liked. I had done what I had wanted, and then, I had

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wanted to skip the small stuff and do something the most respected satanists did. Human sacrifice.

“Death cancels everything but truth” a proverb Human sacrifice.
You've heard the stories. More, seen the movies. Some chanting circle of hoodlums, thr caped sphere of people holding hands and closing their eyes. The candles on the floor, all around them, making the outtermost circle, lighting everything, dripping wax. the chalk markings of a pentagon, this pointy star with a pair of feet at each point surrounded by another chalked up circle. All these circles in this dugeoun of a room. All these chants and spells and spirits orbiting the room. And then, a broken body at the very center, passed out but still alive, unmoved. The daggers behind the backs, beginning to rise above the capes and hoods and toward this naked, passed out body. This new corpse. Then the sound of blood and the taste of death heavy in the air. All this wax and blood mixing and melting into each other, all over the place. These hoods and hands rushing to collect and bottle the blood, to burn as insense, to offer up to satan. A Human sacrifice. The picture you see, what I’m telling you, what you already know, it isn’t far off, in fact, its all very much the same. This is what I needed to do next. This is what I wanted to do next. If it had been an easier task, if I didn’t have to take so much into account, I probably would have just done it the same day Fritz told us it was the next and final step in establishing deeper membership invovlment to this anticonventional cult. If it didn’t mean the possibilty of going to jail for murder, I’d have done the same day. If it didn’t mean the possibilty of permanently staining whatever little counscious I had left, I’d have done it the same day. If it didn’t mean the possibilty of mild truama, blood ruined clothes, and normal people looking at me like they

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knew I was some crazy guy who killed someone for the rest of my life when I walked down any street, I’d have done it the same day. Maybe it didn’t mean any of those things, maybe it meant all of them and more, but I wasn’t sure and i wasn’t ready. I was willing though. I told myself I just needed some time. I told myself I would do it, just not to hastily. I wanted the perfect human sacrifice, I’d say. Lying to myself, well, I’d been so use to lying, to anyone, to everyone, especially to myself that I just couldn’t detect what was real or not anymore. I’d think, It’d be best for me to pick out someone worthy of sacrificing. I shouldn’t just grab the first person off the street. The first passed out drunk. The first helpless bum. The first child who didn’t pay attention and got seperated from their mother. I wanted someone who would make me look good. I wanted someone everyone else would be jealous of. Like, look at my human sacrifice guys, good pick huh? Well, like I said, I’m good at lying to myself. I delayed. I went weeks like this. Then, the first human sacrifice happened. It was Grazer Grey. The six foot tall, 3 foot long gray dreads, and completely covered in ink. The human tattoo. The man with angels and demons decorating his arms, flame-like framework up his neck, big “suck it” across his chest, and all emblems for gambling, pornography, debauchery, drugs, money, religion, and obscenities all along his legs, ribs and back. Grazer Grey lured, abducted, and brought hostage a thirty six year old woman who went to Florida State University. A woman who spent her teen years chased by boys, riding horses, and visiting her grandmother in North Carolina. A woman who spent her college life studying elementary education, painting, and getting high. A woman who had a bad relationship with a drug dealer who hooked her up and on rocks, meth, and rolls. A woman who finally left all of it to attend groups and therapy and sometimes even church. A woman who happened to be heading to a her friend’s birthday dinner, and ended up her. I saw her, in Grazer’s big, arms, gross and gray with faded ink of twenty, thirty years back. Grazer, carrying her down the hall, to go down the stair, to lay broken on a hard center floor covered in chalk, to die. And for what?
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For satan? I don’t think any of here even like satan. I don’t Fritz really believes in Satan. I don’t think any of us really know what the hell we are doing, and I don’t think sacrificing a human’s life, will make ours any more signifacnt or any less difficult. This is how I got out. This is where I left my backpack, left Fritz, left Spike, left Tyler, and ran out. I was supposed to be a pair of feet standing at a point of the pentagon. I was supposed to...stab this woman. She looked at me. I thought she was completely out but she opened her eyes from behind Grazer’s embrace, and she looked directly at me. That’s where I turned, and that’s where I left. It was when I was five miles away, crumpled against some dirty wall, crouched and frozen and scared and in shock and exhausted that I realized I had done nothing to save her life. I had not tried to stop anything. I had left her to die by the hand of some out-of-their-mind crazies. Sitting there, I felt her death hang over me. I sat paralyzied through the night, unmoved by the cold, or the rain, or the beggers or the police sirens or the hunger or the exhaust I felt. I was only moved by the vision of her eyes on me, and it completely paralyzied me, for two, long eternal days. Inbetween the unbelievable guilt, disbelief, confusion, and self loathing, I kept thinking...what now? I had no clue. I mean, I really had no idea what now; I had left everything and everyone behind and I was lost as to where to go next. Then, from no where that I could really locate, I got an answer. It came from inside me, spontanously, that I should get out of Miami.

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MY NEW TESTAMENT
The grass withers, the flower fades. but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8

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LOVE; LOVE WILL TEAR US APART AGAIN

"Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell." Emily Dickinson

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notes: "Just like forgive, forget and try again Goodbye is just another word"

also, have his perception be changed somehow, and a gradual rise to lead him to make better choices and meet some good people who steer him in the right direction. rebekah could have had a great part in helping this change. think of someone he meets, to how he begins to try out youthgroup.

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Tri-rail
With nothing on me, again, with no one and no where to go, again, I asked around until I got enough fare and took the tri-rail to Hollywood, FL. Getting off, the denny's across the street, I walked over and went in. First thing I seem to do a lot getting off public transportation- get myself some pancakes. Again, of course, with money that isn't mine. Brown money. Borrowed money. Dirt money. Money I asked people I've never seen in my life for. Anywhere I go to eat, the food just doesn't taste as good if I didn't pay for it myself. Still, I ate it in the time it takes a traffic light to change off to the next color. Barb, with the big name tag, tabacco stained voice and orange acrilics brought the stack on a plate. Green. I inhaled. Red. I finished; I left. Carlo lovestruck turned f--kd up. Carlo bull-moose bandit turned soft, soggy taco. Carlo crip turned crap. Carlo leader turned sap. Carlo fearless turned scared-and-running-away-and-homeless-again-and-lets-not-forget-girlfriendless-f or-way-too-long. Carlo, walking to nowhere, answering to no one, turning to nothing. I'd forget my own name sometimes. I'd forget my past, anything that was good about it, and I'd forget to have a future. Walking, I was blank, and empty, and when I heard them calling something, it took a while to realize they were calling me. What I didn't know, what I had to learn, is that the past, the present, and the future are all important, but only one can be the main focus. The past is stories about ourselves, where we came from, what we came into, how we got where we are now, what struggles we've had to overcome and how we've dealt with the growing pile of trash in our life, and litter from other's lives that affect ours the same.
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We all have a past, and its all good to share it with each other and keep memories and all that, but the bottom line is we don't have to. We don't have to carry our past around with us, its just behind us right? Why backtrack? Why delay our pace with constantly reaching behind us and keeping the past up with the present? Who we were then is nothing at all who we are now. The past teaches us, but why keep reviewing old lessons? We need to learn new ones. We need to excell to other chapters and other topics. Other timelines. Other formulas can be learned and applied to generate the same, or a cleaner cut result. The present is me saying this line to you, and you taking it, storing it, rejecting it, or using it. The present is most crucial because it effects our future. Everything we're doing now, its making us who we're gonna be tomorrow. The thing about the future is that its unknown, its made up of actions from our right now-present, and its subject to change. If we change who we are somewhere along the way, a future we built for ourselves before, it reforms itself into a future for the selves we are now. The past stays the same. The present is what we carry with us, whatever we're making it, and the future is always changing. I didn't realize it, but I was changing my future, each new choice I made in my present. You know how people love to say, "oh him? He's destined for failure. Not much he can do now, he's made too many bad choices to fix anything. He messed up. He ruined his life. " Of all the lies I bought into, this one kept me from the life I wanted, the life I could have when I thought- when I was told I never could. This is the worst lie, ever told.

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Your past is not anything that can keep you from your future. The two are so far removed, so opposite, so polar pulled apart that they can never have any effect on each other- unless your present continues to match your past. With a present as an exact repeat of the past, the future will just pattern the present, and so until you change your present, you can't change your future. Change your present kids. If you want something amazing in your future, do something amazing in your present. I was far from knowing any of this then. I was in Hollywood, which I didn't know well, I was disorienated, I was walking and I was being called out to. "Carlo". Them, standing there, me sitting outside a sushi2go, and they were all I could see when I looked up from my cut. Wandering, going into stores like target and cvs. Stores like peace-of-pizza. Stores like jamba juice and office depot and cd trader and barnes and noble. I'd stop in to kill time. I'd go inside because, maybe I secretly love, I mean really fricken adore when people stare at me, and then my cut, and then my shoes. I'd go in to see around, becuase I had nothing else to do, no where else to go. I'd go in, looking for any face I knew, at any point in my life, hoping there would be someone who could...I don't know...save me from myself. I'd go in to take things out of their place and put them, descret or indescretly in my pocket. I'd go into publix to walk around and eat a pop tarts, a banana, down some redbull, take a water. My cut- that happened at office depot. I guess, in the spirit of things, I got ahead of myself, and so grabbed a nikon D40, tucked it into my pants and walked out, holding my pants like I had cerebral palsy. The alarm went off, but before that I saw a big employe already making his way toward me, ready to pounce. I ran out, turned the corner, ran the length of the plaza until finally somewhere in the middle, there was a space inbetween two
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stores, a sidewalk with benches and a fountain leading to the back of the plaza where there was extra parking. Too tired to keep up the running game, I saw the ladder plastered to the side of the building, the flat, metal ladder leading up to every roof top of the twentysomething stores. I went up, getting to the top, sticking my hands out to grab around the edge of the building, to hold as I lifted my legs of the ladder and over onto rooftop ground. As I reached, something hidden, sitting sharp and rusted cut into my palm, shallow enough to deal with, deep enough to hurt like hell. I pushed off the top of the ladder and leaped straight and foreward, onto the roof, brusing something I'm sure. Then I sat, and laughed. The camera, I didn't even have anymore. In my pocket, sour patch. I sat around, for a couple hours, long enough to watch the sky go from bluewhite to bright red to pinkpurple to oragepink to bright blue to dark blue to just dark. Laying, tiny rocks fixing into my back, I closed my eyes, and ate the sour patch. Yellows were her favorite.

Home is where the stomach is.
My palm, the bleeding almost stopped, now just a nasty red scar, and my eyes trying to look into the opening. Trying to see into myself, but only seeing serrated skin and the aftermath of bursted cells and blood that hardened. I looked away from my injury and up into the face of the voice that called me, sitting there in front of sushi2go. My mother. She was bent over me, coffee in hand, pulling off sunglasses and smiling. Her voice, cracked on my name, her smile, not just in her perked lips, in her straight teeth and lifted cheeks, but in her eyes. It could have been the sun coming in and making them shine since they were no longer covered, but it looked like her eyes, her cheeks, her lips, her voice- was all smiling at me. Next to my mother was a man, his hand on her, lightly squeezed closed around her shoulder. And this guy, he wasn't anything like some half squinted, double stubble, bad breath doushbag like all the others who had let their hands slim and slide and claw onto my mother.
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But my mom. She looked...beautiful. She looked like she got an ultra violet makeover. Like she was doused in some solar magic dust. Like she had sun rays beemed under the surface of her skin. Like some of the prominence’s flare soaked into her, leaked into her core and gave her a visible, stunning flair. A light. A warmth. A smile filled with warmth. “Ferdy, this is my son, Carlo.” A big hand in my face, waiting for me to shake it. Waiting, then pulled back. Her still smiling, still close enough for me to smell her scent, to know for certain it really is her despite everything about this moment seeming impossible. Me still sitting, unmoved. “We’re on our way to make stuffed pasta. Carlo? We just bought the shells, I know you loved my stuffed pasta.” What do you do when you’re own mom, who never understood, who never so much as tried, who you hate entirely but completely love...what do you do when you see her, changed, asking you back...h-home for stuffed pasta? “Oh.” Give me words. Give me a grasp on anything at all. “The car, it’s just right there. We have room. Oh, Ferdy- this is Ferdy, Carlo. He’s my fiance. We met well, not to long along. But really, why don’t you come have dinner with us, we can all talk.” She’s still smiling at me. She’s still warm, and I feel like hugging her, but that would be weird. I stand. "Sure Mom.." It's weird but it feels like I haven't seen her in years, in a whole lifetime, but it's also like I've just seen her, this morning, likethis new mom of mine is the mom I've always had, making me stuffed pasta. So we go into the car, and no one talks, but the radio is on, and its some gospel music and things continue to go exactly the way I wouldn't expect them to. We pull up to a house, but it isn't home. It isn't where I grew up. "Is this Ferdy's house?"
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This Monterey house with a Lanai, this incredible front porch. A Mediterranean Beachfront Coastal design. Attatched garage with space for three cars. A peninsula eating bar and a nook. This has to be Ferdy's house. "Well, Ferdy bought this, for me. For us, but I'm lving here alone until we get married in June." He bought her house? My internally tabacco stained mother? My chaotic and forgetful and cynical mother, who threw my dad out of our tiny two room apartment? I guess she decided her games wouldn't get her far unless she really played the part. Maybe got a nice red dress, paid someone to make her hair, nails, and makeup real nice and bought herself the patch to stop smelling like a charred grill smokehouse. In my head, I made the quick descion to just go along with it, with all of it. Maybe this isn't really her, but I liked her much better this way, even if it was a front. I decided I was probably gonna leave real soon anyway, leave her to Ferdy the Sentimental Savior, and keep the memory of my mom like this. Look back at think of my mother as this well put together woman, and not the crack by-product I knew her to be like as a child. "Oh, right. Well nice place. So, do you have any kids Ferdy?" He didn't. Well, I guess no more complications besides me. Inside, just as Florida style and Coastal as the outside tangle of garden and palm tree and shell. It was classy though, not touristy. Not cheap, deffiantely not cheap. Aquamarine was a big color scheme. The bright blue walls, the table cloth, the candles in the golden pleated holders. The rest was shell and sandy, beiges, whites, creams, golds and grays and green. Anywhere there was red, which was the only other distinctive color, it popped out, and blended in. The red pillows on the couches. The red dinner plates. The red beaded curtians and all red abstracts hanging against the backdrop seadeep walls.
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The food. - I can't even describe. The stuffed pasta, effecting every nerve ending, making everything inside me gleam with deliscious evervesent heat. Yeah. Like that. Like the best meal I could ever remeber having, after IHOPs and sloppy cheeseburgers and cereal products. Three plates later, I stopped stuffing, and started settling. I wasn't full, wasn't hungry. Just satisfied. My mother's cooking, where, how could I forget that home is where the stomach is. But this wasn't home. Home had never really exisited, but if you wander from place to place like me, never really settling somewhere, I mean, your origin, the house you grew up in, where you came from at least is your home. And seeing as mine is sold, my home now, will just be where there is a sort of comfort. Like the comfort of good food. Stuffed pasta, black beans and rice, chicken and penne- all the familar foods I remember having, from my mom's cuban side and the italian in my father, who left before I could remember his face. But my mom hadn't forgotten his cooking. Stuffed pasta, she would tell me, was his favorite meal.

Hallelujah
I was glas when I didn’t have to ask, and once my mom would say something, it became law so I didn’t have to fake-argue. I was staying the night. Since at the house, the three of us sat at the table and ate together, then Ferdy said, “That new show, the surban house wife now widow who becomes the neighborhood drug dealer? It’s on in five minutes. It’s the one show I watch besides the news, I just get so into it. Seen it?” I tell him no, I haven’t watched tv in about six years. He will not accept this, and demands with a colgate set of teeth that I follow him to the living room. So I do, and we watch it, and I can’t help but get into it as Nancy makes stupid impulsive mess after mess.

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Then the dog- I forgot to mention they have a pug- it needs to be walked, so we all go out and walk it. We’re out, pretty much all is quiet except for cars pulling into driveways back from work, and Mom huming occasionally. Filling silences. It’s dark out. It’s probably nine. We go around the block twice, and then they’re heading back to the door, unlocking it, going in, and I just stand there, on the wlecome mat, waiting for them to go inside their nice coastal, aquamarine with red pillow cases house, and close the door on behind them, and me, I’d just turn around and walk, wander, drift like I’ve always been doing, just leaving and changing and adapting and forgetting about this night and them and moving on to some empty space in some other corner of the world to waste time there to get up and leave again. The keys jangle in her hand, and I’m wondering how far the bus stop is from here, and she puts the key into the keyhole, and before turning it or anything, she leaves the key suspended there, and she says, nonchalant as possible, “I washed the bedsheets in the guest room yesterday, and I have extra toothbrushes under the guest bathroom sink. The shower is trickey, you have to pull the arrow part of the knob all the way right, then out, and then to get it hot, pull it back over left once the water’s coming out.” She turns the key. “ Tomorrow is Sunday, so I’ll be getting up at seven and leaving at eight for church. Ferdy comes by to pick me up, drives us there. You should join us.” Opens the door. She turns around, and kissed Ferdy on the cheek, whispers goodnight in his ear, and looks back to me again. Ferdy, he’s already walking past us, already near his car, already waving to me. I lift my hand up. My mom, she’s already walking inside, already down the hall, still talking to me, expecting me to follow. I go in and i shut the door behind me and follow her voice into my room for the night. The guest room. I didn’t mean for this to happen. Last night, I just wanted a place to sleep. I just needed somewhere safe for a couple hours, and then I would leave. I planned to go just before she would wake up. Now, the deja vu is just this backseat, this van playing gospel radio, my new put-together mother and her hair commercial fiance. The colgate teeth. The Sentimental Savior and the Detoxified Damsal. And me, in the backseat. And us, going to church.

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I’m more nervous about this then I was on my first bust for defacing property and underage smoking. More nervous than going on my first date with Rebekah. More nervous than my first satanic gathering. More nervous than anything I can remember in my life, and I don’t have a clue why. It’s just church. I’ve never stepped foot in one, so how could I know? I remember though, my mother calling the people who go to church, the “christian crazies”. When changing channels, some tv evangelist, she always paused there for a moment, heard just the next few words out the the foot stomper’s mouth, and changed the channel, muttering to herself. It had only happened maybe twice, but it was all I knew of the whole church scene. The loud preacher, and all the people, “amen”ing or the camera angle changing, the shot of the crowd with about a third of them, holding an arm or both up high in the air. Their eyes closed, mouths moving fast but silent. It was nothing I had ever seen before, not real peope, not in real life, but even now, heading there, the car ride, I’m remebering those instinces, bracing myself for the miraculous propaganda of hallelujahs. Imagine my shock, my disbelief at walking in, sitting in, and though it was all very new and nothing I had expirenced, it was very weird or scary at all. I wasn’t some believer. In fact, I wasn’t sure of just about anything they said, but the guy who spoke was normal, funny even, and looking around, there was just as various a group there than at a mall or election hall. Just, all kinds of people. I had thought, just like at the satanic gathering, that I would find a certain kind of look and personality to the people here, but I didn’t. Even more completely disbelieving was I to see gorgeous, sane looking girls, at least five easily picked out, when I went to the youth serivce. It was a big room with theather seats, bright red walls, projector screens as a backdrop to a low propped floor stage, all the instruments of a regular five member rock band in place. The youthpastor, this guy barely over twenty, with a buzz-cut mohawk. All these people my age, all of them wearing what they’d wear to school or a night out. I expected, what I had heard about, seen on tv, and they had that- the pews, the choir, the shouting, fire-belly pastort, the deacons, the offering plates- they had it
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all, but they also had this whole seperate place. This room for people my age, still attending church, still reading out of the same book with the same beliefs, just without all that other stuff.

C
Christy florio. Soon as I sat in the back, and saw her walk in, sit about four rows ahead, I decided if I came again, it would be to see her. I wanted to know her. You're just drawn to some people like that. Some make an impression after a while, after eye contact or a conversation. Some don't make a difference to you at all. Some you never notice. Some make you want to keep your distance. Some you just hate, just something about them and you, it doesn't click. Then, there's people like Christy, and you just gotta...be around them. I just had to talk to her. The story is, we dated for a week. The story is I wanted her the moment I saw her, and she was the reason I continued to go, but that was just in the beginning, just the first two months. I found more reasons to keep going after time. The story is, I really liked it here, and became friends with just about everyone fast, and they really liked me. I became family with some of them. Like in first few months there, me and bryce got really tight, and became brothers. The story is, bryce and I made a bet about getting these two chicks there who were best friends, like me and bryce had become best friends. The story is, one of those chicks was christy, and she was the one I was supposed to get. Bryce got julia. His bet, which, come on, I couldn't turn down a bet right?- was to "start talking to them right. Then, be really nice, sound interested, and when they react, ask them out. Listen bro, date her for a week, then dump her. They act like they're too good to date anyone, but really, all the guys here want to date them, I know u want to, so lets do it but then we'll break it off. It make it seem like they weren't good enough to date, like they got dumped after a week because they're too boring or something. You know? Then all these other girls will be wanting to date us. Trust me, when you become a known heartbreaker, everyone wants you. They just want to see if they can beat you to the breakup. Its all hook ups from there. But we just gotta hook up then break up, and we'll stay on top, you know?"
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You, reading this, you're one of two things- digusted and asking yourself, "how can these guys be suck morons" or laughing and thinking, "that's what I'm talking about." Yeah, I look back and wish more than anything I was that first person, but when bryce had this idea, made this bet, I just thought he was a cool dude with a lot of balls and I decided to do it. I completely killed any romanticism I could ever have with Christy by demonstrating what an awful boyfriend I'm capable of being, but, I'm thankful we became great friends at least. She's someone I need in my life, I have to talk to her, remember? I wanted more, I probably could have had more if I had acted better, but the story is, I messed up my chances with her. The story is, after asking her out, I became an a-hole the whopping 7 days we were "dating" by avoiding her as much as I could while still not completely ignoring her, as to keep her stringing along, thinking things were okay, until- I dumped her. Bryce dumped julia. We felt like such idiots after every guy was now in line for them, and every girl was hearing what a waste of time we were, and ended up hating us. The story is, I love christy florio, and probably always will, because she is one of the most amazing girls out there. Current day and time, we are close, and I'm grateful. There are a lot of girls in my past. There are a lot of girls I've been with or claimed to love or really loved or who loved me or who I dated or almost dated, but truthfully, there are few who really mean something to me. Rebekah Bennett was one. Rebekah, has yet to fade from my life. You know how things go away for a while and then come back? Rebekah disappears, but something always makes our paths cross again. Christy florio, she always brings me back to a Carlo I most desperately want to be. She brings out the best in me. I’ll call her C from now on, because that’s what I call her when I’m actually talking to her. Talking about her, I should introduce her actual name, but now, you know who she is, and now, you’ll start to see her like I do. As C. That first day there, when it was over and Ferdy took my mom and me out to the Olive Garden afterward, my mom asked me how I liked it. Us, at a resturant together, coming from a church, looking like a gradeA family, I wondered how one
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day could have me drugged out or homeless or about to circle up to a bloodbath show, and the next could have me clean, cared for by my mother (actually acting like a mother), going to church, and being at a fricken olive garden. Its not average transitions we are talking about here, its like my life's got major skips in it. Like these stratches in a disk, cutting ahead and skipping around, leaving out the parts that make the lyrics make sense. My life makes no sense, is what I'm thinking when she asks me how I liked the church's youth group. "It was fine." Our breadsticks come, and we're all eating now, and anyone seeing us would think this is how we are, always were, and they don't know that two days ago, this was not me at all. Two days ago is not who I feel I am right now, and its not who I want to be again. the thing about the past, its not something we can change, but its not something we should try to change either. Its just something that happened, and it means nothing unless we spend more time in it than our future. People are static because their present is all about their past. They keep looking back there, and they're just chopping down their future. Yeah, I know where I came from and I couldn't deny it. I could exactly earase it from my mind either, which is good, because that way I know what choices I made were good and which weren't. That doesn't mean I'm investing anything at all into my past. It means I'm focused on my present with background knowledge if I need it, of where I cam from and what I've done. Who I want to be tomorrow is who I'm trying to be now. Going to church, feeling and seeing the way some of the people there were, that's what I wanted. I knew it immeidiately, but I hadn't perceived it as that just yet. Christy was a good face for why I decided not to protest going with mom and Ferdy over the next few weeks, which turned into months, and then years. Sitting in the Olive garden, I imagined what we looked like to other people. Probably the same as what they looked like to me. Families sitting together, reaching for the last breadstick, talking between forkfuls of alfredo.

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Sitting there, watching them, watching me, I decided I liked the picture, a lot. I decided I wanted to keep this, and even though Ferdy wasn't my family and I wasn't always the good kid son, and my mother wasn't always the sweet smiling mother, and right now, I knew this picture of us to others, was just a picture, I thought that if I could avoid the skips and stratches, if I could live in the present and hold on tight and forget the past, then sometime in the future, this could be more real.

The Transition begins here, see it? You will.
That's what kept me going. That's what made me stay. I let the hope be born in me, that if I got as into my present as I could, that if I for once in my life, cared more, and worked more at being someone who fit into the picture, I could have a permanent spot in this polaroid. I told you I change a lot. I told you I adapt, and its true, and it happened so often, because I never liked who it was I kept changing into. I never liked who I was. I liked the people I met at church. I liked the way they talked, the look of something different in their eyes, the way they lived, what they did, who they had- I liked it all and I wanted it all and so I went and tried to adapt. Things don't work that way. You can't force yourself to be a certain way, you can't make yourself into a type of person, and you can't become a tree not matter how soil, water, and sun you give yourself. My point being, going to church, didn't mean anything...until it actually meant something. I didn't really change, until...I changed. It happened, but not like you might think, and not at first. At first, I was still trying to figure life out. The difference was, I had people looking out for me. The difference was, I surrounded by people who actually cared.

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My mother, she was one. I moved in with her, again. She had said over dinner that night, "Carlo, when's the last time you got new clothes? Go with me to the mall tomorrow, I'm getting you more bedsheets and towels since you're my son and your staying with me now. You can go to other stores while I do that and find yourself some clothing." Just like that. Joking but serious, asking but telling. Just like the old her, but a new her. So there, at Olive Garden, after my first time going to church, after first seeing C, after transitioning into a place of people with a completely different lifestyle, I knew that it was where I belonged and what I wanted. It just took a while before I let myself get there. It took a while before I left my old life, my old ways, and before I let myself be changed. In fact, I held on to things for a long time. I was constantly crossing borders. I would surround myself with puritans then pagens. With good kids then bad kids. The clean, and the filthy. The innocent and the damaged. There was no equilibrium; I kept visiting both, knowing the two were so opposed they could never be balanced together, never met any kind of mutuality, but I tried to keep my feet in both areas all the same. I get lost everytime my heart stops
So now. I’m living in a coastal castle in Hollywood Florida, just ten minutes from the church I attend regularly and five from a shop filled plaza with a movie theater. I have a job at Hot Topic in Aventura mall, back out in Miami which I take the 1 to; I can’t quite escape the bus system still.

At the store, I get to pick out and change cds. I play the heavier ballads, I fold the clothes people leave around the store, and I go to second register if someone asks me to. Everyday, at the turn of another hour, I put on Norma Jean. Then, I can give another hour of folding and unpackaging, and cashering before I gotta get my quick fix again. We are supposed play a variety, unless its a cd release event at the store. I have to give the customers their bubble synthpop and their mockganster-rap and their 80s imitators and their guzzy grunge and their stab-me-in-the-eye-i’memo along with a small set of cliche pop punk and I can’t forget to throw in some-

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thing ska, something folk, something reggae, and something sid vicious would vomit out and call music. I’m death metal. I’m brutality and shreds and double bass and sick screams. Im heavy lows. I’m heavy highs. I’m breakdowns and throwdowns and straight shrills. Its just what I’d rather hear. My friends, rude kids who wanna skank, indie kids who wanna close their eyes and breathe in nature then write about it, swaggers who wanna ride or die, I love them, but I’m on a whole different wave length. In my head, the radio dial doesn’t change. Norma jean, favorite band since Hollywood Undead. Those Undead days, just as I was in school, with Rebekah, tagging, starting drugs, all I plugged into was Hollywood Undead. I can’t tell you if they were what I could relate to from my lifestyle, or if it was my lifestyle that was reflecting their lyrics. Basically, limewire their stuff if you don’t already know and you’ll get set list of prose that was my mindset back then. The Carlo I was, was Undead. I hadn’t listened to them in almost a year. I had been playing new arrivals, requests and my own inserts of hardcore all during my time at Hot Topic. It just so happened that today, I came across ‘Hollywood Undead’ written on a CD-R in a stack by the computer, so I played it, and it just so happens that by the fourth song, Rebekah walked into the store.

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NOTES:

"Uhh, words can't describe you. When you're not near me and i can see you in the distance..i still get 2nd grade butterflies. I suck at relationships and i'm deathly afraid of them. Maybe all i need is a little push :) basically, to wrap things up... I must be a snowflake cause i've fallen for you ;)" -xChri$tayyx "There will be, ups and downs, smiles and frowns Share with me, fairy tales are make believe" -Snoop Dizzle So we are the weirdest relationshp ever. We are so flippin different but so alike in so many wayss. Thank you for always putting up with my stupidity, and not giving up on me. I am so grateful that God has placed you in my life. You have given me the inspiration to be the Christian I am today. Ever since the day we met and I was all trying to impress you, I've known in the back of my mind God would use you tremendously. Maybe one day, soon, you'll be my girlfriend. And we can be together like I've wanted to forever, And all that good stuff. Because I trust you now. Seeing as how we've kissed once, Makes me ridiculously happy. You strive for purity and I adore that about you. But before any of that, I want to be your friend. Not just on Wednesday's and Sundays I wanna kick it with you Get to know you more intensely. I'd rather us never date, and become great friends, then mess up our relationship(again). But I trust that will happen, And we will date. And I will be able to be a good boyfriend and all that "twilight" stuff. Because God is making me a more mature follower As He is with you. I adore you Christy Joy Florio. I think your freakin weird like no other. I truly don't understand you. You are critical of my ideology And I think it's frickin awesome. You make me want to be a better dude. You make me wanna barf. You make me want to be all I can be.
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You make me stay up when I work in 5 hours to write this gayy stuff. You still make me wanna barf. I wanna help you in your walk with Christ. I wanna be able to be there for you always. I wanna encourage you in your darkest hour. I wanna make you feel like a stupid 7th grader at a Jonas Brothers show. I wanna be your good friend. I wanna treat you like you've never been treated. Like a princess. I wanna be all that God wants me to be for you. I wanna be completely different from how I was when we dated. I wanna punch you in the face. I want to treat you like a sister in Christ, with absolute purity. I wanna be that push you need. Christy Joy Florio I love you in the Most Biblical Sense of the Word. Not some high school relationship way, I wanna help you grow into an amazing young lady. With all Love and Respect, xChristxCorex xGPCx "Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good" -Romans 12:21

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NOAH Oldham I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life. John 14:6
-noah’s impact

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-getting serious and close to God -some stories w/ Noah

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THE HOPE, THE TRUTH, THE STRUGGLE
Nevertheless the righteous will hold to his way, and he who has clean hands will grow stronger and stronger. Job 17:9 NASB

notes:

[church camp, choices, changed life, skate life] and then carlo met trevor who was obviously the best skater in the world and is amazing, the end. this story is about trevor, and skate tricks... __________________________________________________________________

HOOKAH, HARDCORE, AND HEY-ZUES

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DO NOT BE OVERCOME BY EVIL, BUT OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOODNESS ROMANS 12:21 notes: [ living for christ, doing&stopping hookah, trying to stop cigs, hardcore shows, screaming, living hardcore and nights in the truck, dancing, love for jesus, homeless, sharing faith church hills & sweat records!] cornerstone with band, foretold the dead and friends in sean michel, roadtrip and stopping in memphis, blues background and conversations and band life together. __________________________________________________________________

I'LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE...AGAIN notes:
[relating with girls, broken hearted, scared, patient, expectant, waiting, potential, dating, girls] -priscilla killa -nicole -kt -christy -chole -bekka -the tons of others __________________________________________________________________

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Kevin Wright
"Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Ephesians 5:14

-trianing, advocate -theology -caleb,carter,cooper -kevin’s impact

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JESUS TATTOOS
FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST, AND TO DIE IS GAIN. PHIL 1:21

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notes: [getting tattoos with melissa:p sharing faith, rebel for christ, reaching the generation, culture obsessed] as citites burn lyrics and norma jean lyrics and me!(: philippians

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LIBERATION notes:
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-current life -aspirations -college

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INSPIRATION
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NASB

notes: [ God is amazing ] __________________________________________________________________

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SOUNDTRACK:
indie tracks mostly/punk/hxc only for the hxc section and band parts 1. 2. ever fallen in love with someone (you wish you hadn't)by Anti-Flag/The Buzzcocks 3. you had me at hello by A Day to Remember 4. ms luna grim by wolftron 5. ice monster by minus the bear 6. twilight by elliott smith 7. swing life away by Rise Against 8. you know I couldn't last by Morrissey 9. slow suicide by Jamison Parker 10. 11. love will tear us apart by joy division 12. original skin by Katy Rose 13. memphis will be laid to waste by Norma Jean 14. yellow birds & coal mines by the scene aesthetic 15. love one jealous love by as cities burn 16. 17. 18.

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NOTES:

Book + MAJOR EDITING NEEDS: *the drowning description scene needs super cutdowns. too long. *need more drug scene information and what he takes. eliminate the parts where I say how he isn’t very into drugs and all that, paint the picture of him more addicted and dependent on them, all kinds, to the point of losing his senses from the coke abuse- which is true. the “strawberry quick” and perscription meds *more girls in the mix, more flirtation and his lust/pornography struggles from early on. his unhealthy cheating cycle with beginning rebekkah cheating on him, him cheating on her, and hom cheating from there on other girls as well. *hollywood undead influence, lyrics, lifestyle, then the show night *sxe and hardcore life, his hardcore band, playing shows

GPC old&new

one beacause the old gravell Pitt creww is dead you know how many people form the "family" I've chilled with Nathan. They ain't nobody. We was supposed to have eachothers backs. I had sarahs back when matt left her, when tomas left her, when staypuff was in the hospital, and when he left her.

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I had dani's back when she was depressed cause sarahs was sad, when she was sick, when she was lonely. I had gregs back when he got caught with drugs, when he got messed with, when he was worng, even after he broke my bass. I hadd darrens back when he needed money, when he needed what I was sellin, when he was lost, when he needed help I hadd vikkis back when she got saved and became a child of God. When she quit drugs. When she decided to live it for for Jesus. I didn't like it, but I supported her. I had her back through heartbreak and through trouble. I hadd matts back when he needed money, when he needed food and a place to stay. Even after he robbed me. I hadd and will have Staypuffs back until my last breath takes me. How many of these people, of my "family" have supported me? Staypuff Vikki (who i have seen once) forget that the GPC i'm reppin and always have repped is about family. Ride or die. One fights we all fight. Rudy has had my back when I got arrested, when I ran away, when i contemplated going back on drugs, when i was addicted to stuff i wouldn't quit, when i needed a home, when i needed food, when i needed money, when i needed someone to tell me i was alive when i was drunk, when i need someone to encourage me to stayt away from my past, when i need to fight, when I need to pray. When i need to stay silent. he is my family. he is closer to me than anyone ever has been. He has never turned his back on me Rudy has helped me become the strong Christian I am today. Louis is my family. Louis pulled the cups from my hand because i didn;t know what I was drinking.

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THINGS I WANT MENTIONED IN MY LITERATURE< WETHER THIS NOVEL OR SOME ORTHER PROSE PROJECT: Bull-moose - fit, strong, the best. Origin: teddy roosevelt's party and self imposed name “snapping turtles”as an expression Speakeasy - secret bars and places when alcohol became banned Muckraker - writers with a purpose Patsy - a pushover, someone easily manipulated "strawberry quick" - cyrstal meth like pop rocks candy, diff flavors, email frm mom, incorporate into story as a drug use aside frm the others John 1:4-5 In him was life, and life was the light of men. The light shines in darkenss, and the darkness has not overcome it. "m-Boys are overrated. And girls are all left attention starved. Really. t-Boys arent overrated, theyre cute. m-Dresses are cute. Boys are diseases. t-Lmao, dresses rnt cute. m-Says u. N eff what u say." “bro-ner” Decanting: pour from one vessel into another. Example with wine & metamphor for his life being poured out from one vessel into another, or his "love" for girls

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explain the aj nickname (carlo antonio jesse james diaz) Illecebrum- glabrous annual with slender taproot and clusters of
white flowers; western Europe especially western Mediterranean and Atlantic coastal areas [syn: coral necklace

Laburnum- poisonous shrub that bears drooping clusters of yellow flowers. Crush*crowded party Suffies- monks, circling for meditation Convo: me"I'm so stressed with newspaper work" Trevor"and math. How was ur test" Me"it doesn't matter, prob F but I won't have that class anymore starting monday" Trevor"why" Me"I switched into stupid math" Trevor"way to fail" Me"whatever. I don't need math. All day today, and yesterday, my AP teacher kept calling me out on my essays, saying they're really good and I'm a sophisticated and mature writer. In creative writing, my stuff always gets put in the lit mag pile. In newspaper, mrs.G keeps saying I'm a really good writer." Trevor"there's no future in writing. You're just gonna kill yourself like all the other writers" Me"haha. No I won't. Well, who knows, they do have high suicide rates, they don't all commit suicide." Trevor"only the amazing writers kill themselves, and you're an amazing writer" Me"well, I'm not gonna off myself." Trevor"we'll see." Me"palahniuk didn't off himself." Trevor"but he has a misreable life"

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Me"no, he has an extrodianry life. He skydives I'm sure. He was a juicer. He travels." Trevor"he's not a good enough writer" Me"you don't anything. He's one of the best" Trevor"well so are you." Me"well, if I were to kill myself, I'd leave on my typewriter, one word-about what I was thinking right before dying, and itd be the best thing I've ever written, then I'd sit in my car in my garage, listening to morrissey, and then..." Trevor"you should jump off the water tower" Me"yeah. Or that."

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