I’m not ready for my close up. I have to confess a few things first. Enumerating them, I count four but they twist together like strings of holiday lights, so…you know…I quit counting. I’ve had a few beers so please excuse me if this isn’t the epitome of coherence.
I didn’t have a plan. That’s the first confession. There is no plan. None of this was planned. It all just happened, like my life, without a plan. I hope that declaration mitigates how others judge me. It assuages my sense of guilt.
I’m confessing here, on Red Room, because this is the source waters of my secrets. I…made up a life…to fit in here. It wasn’t the life I wanted but I wanted a different life from what I had. That one wasn’t working so good.
So what’s the order of my confessions? They don’t really matter. I’m confessing because I’ve gone off and started again. I want to be clear that none of this has to do with Emery Crowhead’s death. I was there but that was an accident. I knew he was dead when I left. I didn’t call the police because I didn’t want involved. I’m selfish like that, and that’s the truth. No one has contacted me about his death. Maybe they’re waiting for me to come back. Maybe Emery is just in there, rotting away.
I didn’t know Emery well. He was a neighbor, little guy with a tall bald head, just moved in last summer, across the street and up a few houses. It was just him, living alone there. I’d had a couple beers downtown and ran into him. We sort of recognized each other as neighbors. I was a bit drunk, subtle and quiet as a fire truck going by with its siren blaring. I literally bumped in into him as he tried getting into the bar out of the rain, and then I waxed on about the excellent Oatis I’d been drinking. He replied that if I liked that, I should go to his house with him to sample some real beer.
Turn down an offer of free beer? Not moi. So I went, following him home through the pouring rain. I parked at my house and ran over to his place. I felt weird in his place. It smelled funny. Stuffy and a little foul, like someone had been sick and it hadn’t been cleaned up. He had some music on that I didn’t recognize. His brewery was set up in his garage. He introduced me to his own oatmeal stout and then started telling me about his operation.
But his stout wasn’t good. It flat out sucked, with this peculiar, moldy taste. I told him that and it all just went to shit. First he started yelling, then he got quiet, then he threw a bottle at me and tried hitting me with another one. I wasn’t fighting back, I was just trying not get hit. I managed to stagger out of the way as he picked up another bottle and swung it at me and then…I don’t know, I guess his feet got tangled up. Next thing I knew he pitched forward into a big spike sticking out of the wall. Went right into his temple. Then he jerked free and fell back onto his back onto the cement floor. His head hit with a sound like a wooden bat connecting with a fastball at a baseball stadium.
Blood sluiced out of his head. I almost lost all that beer I’d consumed that day, which must have been about five pints. I figured Emery was dead or close to it. I didn’t check because I didn’t want to get any blood on me. Keeping clear of it, I stumbled to the kitchen and put my glass of stout on the counter. An accident had killed Emery, I told myself as I left and ran back through the rain to my house. It wasn’t my fault. My wife was out with her girlfriends so she didn’t know what I’d been doing or that I’d been there. As long as I didn’t do anything stupid like try to clear it up, I could tell the cops that I wasn’t there. Of course, if they read this….
Ha, ha. Well, this is about clearing the record so I can start over. That’s what confessions are all about, freeing you of your burdens so you can start fresh, right?
That was the day before I left. Confession number two – is it two? I don’t know. Who cares. Bottom line, I don’t write fiction. I did at one time over twenty years ago and got a few things published but there aren’t any novels or anything like that. I don’t walk to a coffee shop every day and write. It’s all bullshit. I was just making up a life for myself and the writers on Red Room proved friendly and susceptible. I honestly didn’t think anyone would read what I wrote, let alone respond.
I don’t think any of those things are bad confessions. Being a struggling writer was part of a larger online persona I created. I claimed I worked for IBM, that I didn’t have any children, that I’d been married to the same woman since high school, that I have cats. Not of it is true. I have a landscaping business. I did marry my childhood sweetheart, the prom queen, but we started cheating on one another within a year and the marriage ended after three.
That was my first marriage, first of four, like my late drunk Mom. She was married four times, too. My second longest, this marriage has been going on for five years. I have two kids from my second marriage, a boy and a girl, but they’re grown, and I don’t know where they live. Last I saw them was in San Antonio, Texas. I haven’t seen them since the eighties.
I’ve been having an affair for the last year. Funny but I met her through Red Room. She lives here in Ashland and when I posted she saw and ‘connected’ with me. I didn’t plan to have an affair with her. She seduced me the third time we met, after she saw me at a bar. I was there to eat and have another beer after watching a ball game. She came up and tapped me on the shoulder to say hi. Both of us were a little drunk. After a few more drinks, she suggested we go back to her place. She told me I was a beautiful man and I told her she was a beautiful woman, and we decided we couldn’t let all that beauty go to waste. It was damn good so one time led to another until we were hitting one another about twice a week. Wait until she reads this post on Red Room. Hah! She has cats and that’s where all my cat stories come from.
I feel terrible confessing all of this. I thought I’d feel great. Isn’t confession supposed to make you feel better? I don’t. I feel sick and sweaty, like I’m about to vomit, with a growing headache that feels like my brainstem is about to burst.
Just a few more confessions to purge and I’m finished. May as well go all the way, right? I was never in the military, and I left my wife. I mean my current one. She thinks I’m on a business trip. She believes I parked my car at the airport and that I’m attending a landscaping expo in California. She expects me back Saturday morning. I won’t be there. Actually, I drove my car to Bend. That’s where I am now, writing this. I’d wanted to see Bend. Now I have the chance. I don’t think she’ll be very surprised with our change in status. She seems to think I’m someone else and keeps expecting me to act in ways that just aren’t in me.
Finally, the last thing to confess is that I love writing fiction.
There. Now I do feel better.
Time to drink my Mexican mocha and write like crazy.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com