A clean break.

 

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Youíre not going to find me.

By the time you read this, Iíll be long gone, and probably settled into a commune in the hills where I can be myself again, making a clean break from all that rot people call conventional living.

If I had gone away twenty or thirty years ago, no one would be looking for me now, and I wouldnít have to feel so guilty.

But blood on my hands or not, Iím free and thatís all that matters.

Thirty years feels like a life time. But part of me died the minute I realized the 60s were over.

Things got bad real quick: Charlie Manson, Kent State, people got too scared to pick up hitch hikers, thinking we were all mass murders. And when Jones Town happened, all the open communes closed their doors, saying they didnít want strangers coming and going.

So what was someone like me supposed to do?

Broke and lonely and tossed out of the old scene like a piece of trash.

I went home.

Back to the jail cell of suburbia I had run away from. Back to those utterly contemptible people who called themselves my parents.

All they wanted from me was for me to support them in their old age. And they blamed me for dropping out when I could have become a doctor or a lawyer and let them retire in the lap of luxury rather than in the spare room in the back.

When I first got back from the road they didnít even recognize me. I didnít wear my hair long when I ran away. I certainly didnít wear bell bottoms or beads.

I think they were so hurt they decided to pretend I had died or never existed.

Sure they took me back. But only if I cleaned up my act: a haircut, a shave and a job.

A job!

Until then my work history was panhandling and begging meals. I didnít know how to do anything else or how to go about getting work.

Even cleaned up, I could hardly disguise what I was. Employers knew it by instinct, telling me ďNoĒ to any job worth working. They all seemed to know that I sought the job only as a temporary situation, something I needed to do until I got on my feet and a few bucks saved. Then I would be back on the road, looking for the old life.

I believed even then that the old life hadnít vanished, but was hiding out there.

The world couldnít have changed so radically so fast.

The boss who eventually hired me was a prick.

He knew me as well as anyone could and took me on as a special project, as if he needed to prove something or get even for a whole decade of hippies and faggots and radical creeps like me.

He deliberately made every working day a living hell.

Labor wasnít enough for him. He wanted total submission.

ďDo this, do that,Ē he said, making me do whatever his whim whipped up.

I did more than any two of his other workers, and for less pay.

But I stood for it.

A first, I told myself I would take it until the first pay check, but weeks slipped into months and months into years, and finally, I realized my life was passing me by while I existed in my bosses personal circle of hell.

This is not to say I failed to make plans. Every minute of every day I calculated how I might make my escape. I had a plan for every aspect, how I would leave the man in the lurch, how I would burn down my parents house to teach them what it was like to be without it.

But plans didnít stop me from getting old.

And I didnít even notice until I woke up one morning and saw my wrinkling face in the mirror, a fifty year oldís face staring back, my stupid expression framed by graying hair.

And in my house I found two even grayer gnomes who kept reminding me that they were my parents, reminding me that they had plans of their own and that I was hardly making enough to give them the kind of retirement they expected and deserved.

They actually expected me to take care of them as piece of their anatomy fell off or stopped working.

It was only fair they said since they had taken care of me when I was young.

Okay, so I admit I freaked out.

I saw myself getting old and decrepit like them as I waited and waited for them to die, enslaved by my heartless boss, made to feel smaller each year as my chances of escape shrank and the percentage of gray in my hair grew.

I canít say as I mean to hack anyone up the way I did my parents or how I managed to carry that same bloody knife all the way to my bossís office so I could do the same to him.

I just found myself on the road again, hands covered with blood and a cop car pulling me up to the curb as a tried to hitch hike.

I remember the cop telling me not to move a muscle or he would blow my head off, telling me that I was going to spend a very long time in jail.

He didnít understand when I laughed and said I already had, and still looked puzzled when I hacked him up, too.

 


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