Reboot , An Evolutionary Tale


Part I

Last thing I remember was sudden darkness and the sound of shattering glass all around accompanied by a coarse rhythm of twisting crunching metal. Car accident? Yes, yes that’s it, I was driving down the highway in a mad rush because I was late for work and then…..and then… then what? Everything is so damn foggy. Wait! Where am I? Feels like I’m in the haze of dry ice smoke at a rock show but maybe its?…Well it sure don’t smell like weed so probably not a rock show but where am I? What’s with all the smoky mist? I was in my car on the way to work and what? Oh shit now I remember, some asshole came across the median and right into……. Oh fuck, I was in a bad accident, I’m in a hospital. Yea, that’s it, I’m in a hospital and….. No wait, that can’t be right, the mist, no tubes or wires, no beeps, not in a bed, I’m…ah I’m in a…No! Wait! I’m fucking dead man? My flair for the dramatic not yet dead I paused for effect…..That’s when it began to settle into my head. I was killed in a car accident and now I’m in….. In where? The morgue? Heaven? Purgatory? The “Heaven Can Wait” waiting room? Is my AS2 guardian angel Clarence Odbody coming to take me away and earn his wings? But that’s not possible, I’m an existentialist, and if there is God he isn’t about to let me hang out on his turf, he’d probably send me to one of those special places I hear them talk about in churches. So then just where the Hell am I, pardon the expression? Actual Hell? As I was pondering my death fate a loudspeaker broke the unearthly silence. “Hilltop, Justin Thyme? Is there a JT Hilltop here?”
Before I heard this announcement I was merely confused. I thought I was all alone but I must be in a group of some sort and someone is paging me. Now its like “Peeewwww…. Mind blown!” Here I am trying to figure out what the hell is going on with my death when I get mind-fucked by a loudspeaker. Do I stand up or do I pretend I didn’t hear it? I was right at the point of making a decision when I noticed standing right in front of me was a young dude. “You’re JT, yes?” I gave this, this, umm, entity the once over. A nerdy looking kid somewhere in his late twenties with thick rimmed glasses and a bargain store suit that was a bit to big for his small clunky frame. He had thick but very short dark black hair and not a hint of a smile on his face. He didn’t even look my way as he was running his eyes over something on a clipboard waiting for confirmation from me. After a few seconds of silence he spoke in a monotone voice, “Don’t make this difficult Mr. Hilltop, you’re already dead so you really have nowhere else to go. Just come with me please.” He never even waited for acknowledgement just began walking away. I stood and blindly followed out of the misty mist.
At first I was kinda hoping he was in search of his lost personality but I wasn’t gonna wait to find out. I decided I would try and engage this nerd so maybe he could help acclimate me as to just where I was, “So this is your job? You come to bring the dead to their destination? Who exactly are you working for?” His pace quickened, “Something like that Mr. Hilltop. I work for no one and everyone now just come along please, no time for idle chatter.” I processed his statement. No time? Maybe he has no time but if I’m dead what the fuck do I care about time? “I have nothing but time young dude, so help an old man out here, what’s going on? Are you with the Geek Death Squad?” The nerd shook his head as though I was exasperating to him, “Mr.Hilltop you died! You have ceased to exist. You were in a car accident, a drunk driver hit you head on. Looking over your file sir it seems about as an appropriate way to die as I’ve ever seen given your pension for the bottle. That or cirrhosis anyway. Your at the terminal right now, and please no lame jokes about the name terminal its been done a few million times over the years by people far less witty than you think you are. I’m your agent assigned to take you to your Sherpa who will assist you in your transition. Now please keep quiet and continue to follow me we’re nearly there.” The only sound after his stern admonition as the tapping of our feet and the cursing under my breath.
I reached the end of a hallway feeling like my head was spinning. Not really dizzy, but constantly spinning. Grumpy the young douche-nerd opened a door speaking to someone on the other side, “I have a very uncooperative Mr. Justin Thyme Hilltop here sir. He never shuts up and he is now your problem, not mine. He’s all yours Dee.” The door opened wide so I walked inside, or actually outside. I found myself on a beautiful mountain about half the way up. Surrounded by gorgeous greenery of tree’s and shrubs, the sound of running water combined with an assortment of indefinable sounds made from various animals. An old man with long white hair complete with matching silvery beard stood in front of me. “Hey, are like Gandalf or something man? Is this Middle Earth here?” The old man smiled warmly like…..well like Gandalf actually, “No Justin, I’m not Gandalf, I’m certainly no magician or wizard and this is nothing like Middle Earth. This is Interface Mountain, I am your Sherpa, Dee Bays. Its my job to lead you back to the Mainframe after discovering your rightful place. Hopefully you can be re appropriated correctly.” I chuckled, “You’re who then and this is what now? Sorry old dude but I didn’t get a word of what the hell you just said. All I wanna know is are you the one who can tell me what exactly is going on here?” The old man had very old eyes, much older than even he himself, yet they were incredibly calming. It was as though those old eyes were a separate entity that seemed to put me at ease. Old dude placed his arm over my shoulders, “It’s okay Justin, or do you really prefer JT?” I smiled, “You can call me whatever you want but I prefer JT. How much longer do I have?” The old dude let a small laugh slip out, “Are you in a hurry JT? I can speed this up if you want?” I was pretty sure he was teasing me but just in case I answered with fear and desperation, “No,no,no, seriously, I’m in no hurry. Its just….Well my head is spinning and I feel confused.” Old dude began walking up a mountain path signaling for me to follow, “You head is spinning because of the buffering JT, it’s a side effect of dying. It will go away once your operating system is renewed. When someone dies their faith dictates their destiny, and you my friend to use a Zodiac analogy, are an Existentialist with Buddhism rising. Therefore your destiny is to reach a sort of nirvana of your own through serenity. You don’t get to reincarnate exactly, no heaven or hell for you but you get to see what really happens at the top of the Hill of Life, Interface Mountain. Some get to believe they are in heaven or hell, some Jahanna or Jahannam, still others get to believe their fates are to be placed on various cycles of life. But in the end it’s all the same, everyone goes to the top of the mountain.” I thought this over in an attempt to make sense for quite some time as I aimlessly followed him up the mountain path heading toward the sound of running water which was getting closer and closer.
Within minutes we reached the source of the sound, a running stream, where old dude sat down. “Sounds serene, yes JT?” I sat as well, “Yea serene, but why would I want serene now? I mean I’m dead right? So why wouldn’t I want to take one last fast ride with blaring rock music? What’s so cool about serenity if that’s what I’m always gonna have now?” He looked at me with a hint of curiosity, “I think you are misunderstanding JT, you’re not going to be surrounded with serenity, your going to be surrounded by nothingness. No serenity, no rides, no music, nothing! This is your last chance to enjoy the feeling serenity brings so enjoy it. Once you complete the climb its just over. Nothing, kaput, nada. Your life has ended my boy and there’s no turning back, no other worlds, nothing. Everything ceases.” Suddenly those warm comforting eyes seemed cold and dispassionate, “Well then why the fuck are we doing this? Just let me fucking die for Christ’s sake!”
The old dude stood up speaking in an exhausted tone, “Maybe its best if you finish your trek alone. You’re in such a hurry to finish dying just go on ahead by yourself, stick it yourself!” He handed me some kind of cable wire, turned and walked away. Feeling a strange aloneness I began chatting myself up, “Who fucking needs him anyway. Stick it myself? What a dick, doesn’t even speak English right. I’ll stick it myself all right. Maybe I won’t even go up the mountain, maybe I’ll just run down the stream. The fuck with him man, I’m outta here.” I turned and began following the stream towards the bottom of the mountain. “Fuck Dee Bays, I’m going where I wanna go dead or not! Stick it myself?! I‘ll stick it where the fucking sun don‘t shine baby. One last ride downstream, to hell with Interface Mountain.”

Galactic Drainpipe


Not even light can elude its powerful clutches
As if the universe inhaled one cavernous breath
Are they potential portals into ethereal worlds
Or quantum vortexes of planetary death

Behold the mighty its strength unchallenged
Come near and get sucked deep into the void
Orbit too close and feel the might of its grasp
Once super massive gravitation is deployed

Primordial Implosion straight outta the big bang
At the galaxy center its the event of the horizon
Cosmic space-time in one weightless singularity
The power of the black hole is constantly rising

Peering out the window at the edge of all time
With whole new worlds stretching out from within
Stare into the abyss who knows what you may see
A multi-dimensional kaleidoscopic tailspin

Is it the gravity center of every galactic life-form
Perhaps a wormhole leading us to multiversity
Or a mysterious anomaly with no hidden agendas
Debate best left up to the scientific university

Swaddled in a mysterious cloth of the unknown
Subjected to theories of both fiction and fact
Brilliant minds have devoted to unravel the riddle
Not sure how or why galactic drainpipes react

A dark swirling cauldron of cosmic Jambalaya
Time light and mass funnel down in stellar rain
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction
So what’s coming out the other end of the drain

Dark City

dark city

Somewhere on the outskirts of obscurity
Not far from the dark side of the road
There’s a town that never shows no mercy
It don’t glitter and it ain’t got no gold

It ain’t no place for heroes babe
And it sure ain’t no place for saints
Fools rush out to this lonely village
Where weak of flesh falls and faints

Because in this land of the unforgiving
On life they don’t never put no price
But for the cost of a soulless promise
You get your chance to throw the dice

Dark city let me go
Set my spirit free
Dark city go away
Keep your bad away from me
Dark city you own my soul
Never gonna let me be
Dark city let me go
Gonna be the death of me

Some get lucky and some just get dead
Neither sure ain’t worth riskin’ your soul
If you stay hangin’ round this vacant city
Guarantee you its gonna take a toll

This dark town it ain’t got no heart
I know cause I done looked around
Been a life an a half and I’m still here
Won’t get out till I’m under the ground

I seen men come and I seen them go
That’s what this dark city’s all about
If you stay more than just the day
Sure you’ll never be getting’ out

Dark city let me go
Set my spirit free
Dark city go away
Keep your bad away from me
Dark city you own my soul
Never gonna let me be
Dark city let me go
Gonna be the death of me

Increase The Peace


Can’t bomb for it or buy it if you want peace just try it
Don’t kill and deny it or don’t just drive by it
Declare peace and cry it

No shout it don’t doubt it declare peace and tout it
Plant peace and we’ll sprout it from mountains we’ll shout it
Peace how about it?

The liars deny it deniers won’t buy it if you love war decry it
War is a riot so come on supply it don’t sit and be quiet
If you want death apply it

But if you want peace just crave it or war will enslave it
No matter who gave it its our planet lets save it
Road to peace lets all pave it

Can’t trap or ensnare it if you want peace declare it
All this killing I can’t bear it now come on declare it
Its our peace lets wear it

Wear you peace proud shout it out loud no haters allowed
Just a peace loving crowd showing we vowed
Peace as our shroud

Make hatred decrease and the killing all cease
Break hatreds lease let tensions release
Just increase the peace

A Dream


I had a dream
A dream that racism and sexism
Became a thing of the past
But they last

I had a hope
Of one world and one peace
Politics free of masquerades
But hope fades

I had a belief
Bundled bales of acceptance
Bound by rope left unfrayed
But it was betrayed

I had a concept
Deep inside we’re the same
Closer as days elapsed
The concept collapsed

I had a dream
Tolerance in world without turmoil
Violence and hate were suspended
But it ended

I had a vision
We all walked hand in hand
Seems my hope was all for naught
The dream has been shot

Kafkaesque Love Affair


Loneliness was all he had and everything he was
Developed a love with a solution and a vial
A relationship that flourished for quite a long time
Both now searching for a little place to smile

But like many lovers a possessive bond did form
Star crossed lovers in each others shadow ever bleak
Together an existence in bargain basement Nirvana
No one could listen when reasons voice would speak

Relying much too heavy across each others boundaries
Exchanging vows of love upon a bloodstained spike
Unbearable unhappiness they found the freedom to suffer
Counting out their blessing of all things that they dislike

Lacking all joy they were free to create their own martyrs
In reckless abandon enthralled in anarchistic passion love
Hopelessness and fear became their finest hour of truth
One last miserable push with the moon glowing up above

Through despair into fate they came to terms with a reality
Wishing to die they finally began to understand their lot
Together forever embraced with antagonistic emotions
Their bond of death became the twisting of their plot

Hey Man Don’t Have A Heart Attack!

heart attack

I was sitting alone in one of the doctors rooms after my first stress test. I could have saved them a lot of trouble because the minute he mentioned stress test I was at 1000% stress level. My heart rate shot up to a million beats a minute and I couldn’t breath. When he suggested I get wired up and prepared to take a cardiac stress test immediately I was already off the scale. The suggestion morphed into a statement in a flash and before I knew it I was laying on my back having my chest shaved by a young nurse. Unfortunately it lacked any of the grandeur of a nurse patient fantasy and went directly to more of a tense horror movie mode completely by passing any intimate after hours flick sentiments. To begin with she applied some rather cold gel and not warm oily sensuous substance. There was no disrobing unless you count the fact that I removed my shirt exposing the hiding spot of all the cholesterol I have indulged in the last few years. Instead of a teasing slightly hoarse voice she had a very matter of fact tone about her. “This may be a bit cold Mr. Hilltop.” Hmm, no first name basis either! After lathering on the cold gel she placed suction cups with colored wires on my now hairless chest to fully complete the diminishing of the mood. I took note of where the red wire was in case I needed to make an emergency cut to avoid explosion. They always cut the red one. Right? Or is the green one? “Okay honey, you’re ready for the treadmill.” Still not in a hoarse sultry whisper but rather far too businesslike. I ambled over to the treadmill and got in place. The doctor came back in, turned a few knobs, and it was off to the races.
He started me off at a slow trot and gradually increased my speed. Feeling uncomfortable and nervous to begin with I was having difficulty negotiating the floor moving under my feet so I held tightly to the handrails for support. “JT, try and take your hands away from the rails and just walk normal.” Shit! Busted. I did my best but found myself unable to control my balance and I was surprised at my lack of co-ordination as well as how easily I became winded as the test progressed. Now I’m freaking out because my chest is wired, the treadmill is kicking my ass, I am running short of breath, and the doctors writing notes with a face that looked far too concerned to have any calming effect on me. Jane get me off this thing! If this is really a test I didn’t feel I was getting very good grades today, wish I had studied more. How did I end up in this predicament anyway?
Obviously I’m here because I was having stress issues. I found myself in this cardiologist office because I was having difficulty catching my breath and felt light pressure in my chest. After prodding his cold stethoscope all over my chest and back while making me gasp for breath my primary doctor was concerned about something so he decided I should be a heart specialist’s problem and not his. He made me an appointment at the cardiologist center and that’s when the stress began to spike only getting higher as the visit progressed. Being chef I was used to high pressure but this put me over the proverbial boiling point. I was a chef/co-owner on this one particular venture so the pressure cooked all that much higher. Add to that the fact that my prep kitchen was a flight of stairs away from the service line, and the storage rooms were on the opposite end of another staircase, the height of service was high pressure plus an abundance of running up and down stairs at warp speed. No wonder my breathing was labored. At first is was just a night here or a night there, but it eventually escalated to a daily routine of not being able to fully catch my breath combined with constant pressure in my chest. I sensed something was off, but no worries, I’m young and invincible. Nothing scares me. Well up until the doctor mentioned cardiologist anyway, that’s when I became a gelatinous bundle of frightened nervous energy.
Anyway, after the treadmill torture left me wheezing and achy the nurse unwired my chest and led me into another room instructing me to sit down. I’ve been working in restaurants my entire career but for the life of me I can’t figure out why the servers are called waiters. Waiters should be another term for doctor patients because with all their waiting rooms and procedures doctor are the supreme beings of making us wait. So I sat while supposedly the Doc was grading my tests. I hoped he graded with a curve because I could sure go with some good news about now. Twenty minutes later the nurse came back in the room with some papers for me to sign. She placed one of her hands on mine to comfort me speaking evenly in a tone laced with empathy, “Mr. Hilltop, The Doctor wants you to retake the test. He is a little concerned with the results but wants to have another try. We have two options here. If the test runs okay we can schedule you for a more detailed evaluation, but if it doesn’t go well we will need to consider keeping you in the hospital over the weekend for observation.” She may as well have delivered the news with a baseball bat because I was floored, had just been metaphorically knocked upside the head with a Louisville Slugger. I opened my mouth to try and respond but I was choking on emotion, thinking not about me or my potential death, but I was concerned what would happen to my family, how would this effect them with me not being there for them. I have two grown children who are old enough to cope, but my baby girl was only five and she relied on me for many things. My wife could cope mentally, but emotionally we were both very fragile. We had lost our first child at the age of two only six years ago and had still not fully processed that. But that’s what goes on in your head, the nurse says hospital and you hear hospice, she says observations and you hear funeral viewing. I was certain what she was telling me is if I fail this make up exam I will get left back and never graduate. Either I pulled it together and passed this test or I’m headed straight for my death.
The mind is a strange thing. I felt blood rushing to my face and a profound sadness set in. I was convinced I was going to die soon, the doctor had come by to confirm what the nurse had told me stating with as much compassion as he could that I had has a mild cardiac infarction. (They use various medical terms to throw us off, he knew if he said heart attack I would have freaked, but what he didn’t know is I watched a lot of hospital centered TV shows so I knew an infarction was an attack). Tempered as it was it still was hard to process. They left me alone to cram for the make up exam and instead of studying the dynamics of treadmills I found myself pre-occupied with death. Mine! As an existentialist I accept the fact that my death is inevitable, but as a human I was more focused on what it would mean emotionally to the people who care about me. I thought about the effect it would have on my children, my wife, my family. The pressure was no longer in my chest but in my eyes as my tear ducts swelled up with a profound sense of void. I wanted to cry in someone’s arms but was all alone, in the abyss of doctors waiting rooms. My death would likely cause some emotional breakdowns and it troubled me that I would be the cause of pain to my family. I thought about how deeply I loved everyone, took a long full breath and went back to the treadmill to kick some ass in the next test.
Having been through the test once I was much more comfortable, and armed with the fact that I share so much love I took the test from a much stronger standpoint. Now I know I didn’t ace the test, but I also knew I had done well enough to earn another opportunity to see my family. I was scheduled for a nuclear stress test which eventually confirmed that I did in fact have a mild heart attack and ha to make some life adjustments. I took the news much more positively, vowing to make every attempt at regaining my health and living a healthier lifestyle. Fifteen years later I’m still alive and kicking. I discovered that life is worthwhile because there is a thing called love. A mysterious unexplainable concept that fills us with good feelings. There are times for all of us when we think its over, or maybe it would be better if we were gone and not a burden to our loved ones. We aren’t burdens, we are wings that help our loved ones soar. They need us as much as we need them and that’s what makes it so damn beautiful.. That’s what I learned from this episode, this infarction of my life. At times I still get down on myself, feel myself unworthy for one reason or another, and often times even wonder if its all worth it. That’s when I think back to that moment, the one in which I discovered how intensely powerful love is, how important we are to each other. Give your love freely and frequently, don’t wait until its too late. Our true strength lies within each other. PEACE