X-23 (the Nineteenth Chapter)

Hey there maestro. Let’s wrap up this account of the final speed saga. To be honest with you, I’m glad we’re getting to the end of the story about my last episode with crystal. There are other more important things to discuss and I am already tired of it. I hope this e-mail will be short. I think the last thing I told you was how I escaped from that van thanks to a red light and the driver willing to let the rules slide, if even for only a split second. She didn’t chase me down, thank heaven. So, I just started walking in another direction, and when the light turned green, she completely drove away from my life. I think she must have in some way admitted to herself that his “line of duty” stance was ridiculous and only going to do me harm. She must have in some way understood that it would have been more dangerous to deposit me in front of a locked house in a remote suburban neighborhood.

Anyway, so there I was. I was standing on a random street corner in North Scottsdale with a dead phone, a credit card, and a huge case of psychosis. I started walking. I didn’t know exactly where I was. Since I had slept a lot in the institution where I stayed, my mind had healed a little, but I still had difficulty reasoning. However, I had obviously come full circle. During my first drug excursion in Central Scottsdale I ultimately wound up wandering aimlessly and insane through the streets looking for a phone charger, and here I was again doing the same. I was becoming an expert at this.

This time, however, my body was showing many more symptoms of anxiety. I was sweating a lot, and although it is true that Arizona is in the desert, it was November! Normally people don’t sweat in Arizona in November. I also had strange pains in my stomach, and, despite having eaten a lot at the recovery facility, I had not taken a crap for at least four days. This worried me a lot.

Basically, I was wandering around lost. I suppose I had the attitude to Dirk Gently from the Douglas Adams novels, that if I just wander aimlessly, I will get there eventually. I was in a city. I would have to run into a convenience store eventually, and convenience stores had phone chargers and wall plugs. Of course I think dear Dirk was relying on the fact that God tweaks the laws of probability to get us where we need to go. However, the laws of probability can be tweaked the other way, and I can tell you that a schizophrenic meth head on the verge of physical collapse can wander a long, long, long time before he reaches a Seven Eleven. Fortunately, the part of North Scottsdale I was in was a very picturesque area of wealthy retirees with their specialized medical facilities, golf courses, and luxury resort hotels. Scottsdale is, in fact, one of the best places in the world to play golf.

I mentioned medical facilities. So while looking for a freaking Seven Eleven, of course I passed a gastrointestinal cancer clinic. Yes, this is going to light the mind on fire of a guy who hadn’t taken a shit for nearly a week and was suffering stomach pain. Was this some kind of message from on high? Or just a cruel joke from the Almighty? Yet behind the stomach cancer clinic I saw what was for me a vision of another world. Was it a coincidence or was it a bizarre dream? Behind the clinic there was a an idyllic golf course replete with glassy ponds and flocks of elegant swans, and beyond that, a Marriott hotel beckoned me in the distance will all of the majesty of a Bavarian castle of King Ludwig the Second. It one of the premiere ones. A spa resort hotel. This elated my heart with an overflow of irresistible euphoria. Can you imagine the impact this had on my state of mind? Indeed, maestro, contemplating such a scenario was for me what it would have been for a survivor of some plane crash in the middle of the Sahara who had been wandering for weeks drinking his own urine who finally saw an oasis in the distance. Salvation!

The great irony here is that all this time I had been able to make use of the thousands of dollars that I had in my bank account or the seven thousand dollars on my credit card. I still had my wallet with me, believe it or not. Yet here I was, fleeing a prison-like mental institution and wandering as a vagabond, dying and insane. While I had been looking for a porter like a man condemned, worried that I had not been able to purge my bowels of shit, I could have simply rented a limousine and went to one of the most luxurious spas in the most favored city of the richest retirees in the United States and Canada. Insanity is the queen of all bitches, maestro.

Of course I decided stay at the Marriott and trekked across the golf course to my new home. I can only say that I was blessed not to have been tackled by secuirty and clubbed like a baby seal for trespassing.

I was shocked to learn that it wasn’t spectacularly expensive, just $150 a night. The room even had a separate living room and a very comfortable bathroom. I was able to buy a charger in the store in the foyer, so the first thing I did was plug in my cell phone and try to relax in bed.

That time I spent alone with my thoughts was not pleasant at all. I was very nervous. My thoughts were raving and very otherworldly. The strange pains in my stomach persisted. After a bit my thoughts returned to the car I had rented. It was time to go back to the world of Chaz and Haley.

Chaz answered my call. Fortunately, he had not eloped with my car and was delighted at the idea of ​​staying at a Marriott Resort. In no time he arrived with Haley. They were both happy to bathe and rest in a comfortable room. Although, of course, Jonathan Bailey, the mad ex-monk, had other plans that would apparently disturb the paradise before them. This time we barely talked about philosophy, though. I was consumed by the terrifying prospect that the Midgard Serpent might have coiled itself around my intestines with the firm intention of drowning me in my own shit.

I tried to distract myself by talking to Haley about music, but we had endless trouble figuring out how to use the fucking Spotify app. She had the free version and I had the paid version. To top it all off, her phone was basement bargain trinket. It was like when on the way to the hospital the Tame Impala song played over and over again in the car, and while on my way to die at the Aurora Hospital we heard again and again the lyric, But if I never come back, tell my mother I’m sorry. In fact, maestro, ever since that day I have not stopped experiencing unusual technical problems with electrical devices. It’s like I’ve lost faith that a damn phone could work, and this fact allowed legions of demons to infest all my devices and computers.

The couple started to watch television. They enjoyed any given crap TV series that contained nothing thoughtful at all, like two banal entities devoid of every soul. It was for me a shining example of how media seems designed to distract and tranquilize humanity. Witnessing this produced a deep disgust in me. Of course it wasn’t long before the fact that I hadn’t dropped a deuce in at least four days came back to haunt me. Chaz offered to help me, but not before rolling his eyes in annoyance. He went to the hotel store to get me drugs of another kind: diuretics. Of course, he took his girlfriend with him, lest she end up falling in love with my constipation during his absence.

The store was closed, so they went in my car to find a pharmacy. They returned with a small bag containing what promised to be the panacea that I had been waiting for: suppositories and an enema. This was shaking up to be the holiday resort weekend of our dreams. I used the products and followed all the instructions meticulously, but after an hour not much happened. It made me want to shit, and I did so with enthusiasm, to discover without relief that my insides only poured copiously a liquid as crystalline as the waters of Lake Geneva, in the French countryside of Évian-les-Bains. My anxiety persisted.

I went to the bar in the hotel lobby and ordered a rum and coke that produced a powerful sedative effect on me. At last I had found a bit of sanity, and reality seemed to edge just slightly closer. One that I could drink and get drunk in. I wanted to have another one, but when I wanted to pay the first one the bartender blew my mind. The bill was forty dollars! Maestro, this is two hundred pesos for a fucking tiny glass of Captain Morgan that you can buy the Oxxo! The whatever sense of sanity I briefly felt evaporated instantly. How was this possible? The price of one night in the hotel was the same as that of four drinks in the bar! I returned to the room with renewed anguish. My refuge of reality had been transformed into another mirage.

I couldn’t help calling my mother. I told her everything. I asked her when she was coming back. I told her that I needed to be in a comfortable environment. I didn’t tell her that I missed the comfort not having been born that I had when I was still in her womb, but that’s how I felt. Through the phone, a solid and resplendent voice that came from the being that had given birth to me asked me many questions. She spoke with comforting clarity. She calmly recommended that I go to Chloe. I agreed with her.

I called Chloe. Do you remember her, master? I mentioned her in a previous e-mails, I think. She is my daughter’s best friend and is very important to me. Sometimes I see her as a second daughter, and sometimes as a very close friend. My nickname for her is X-23. Have you seen the movie Logan? It’s a movie about a superhero, The Wolverine . Do you know him? In Spanish they call him “El Glotón” or “El Guepardo”. Translations suck. The fact is that he is a very important superhero in the comics and in the movies. I think there are ten movies about this character, played by Hugh Jackman.

In the movie he is old and his powers to heal are weak, so the unbreakable metal in his bones is killing him. He is his own toxin. All of his friends are dead except his father figure, the vaunted Professor X, who is now senile, and he has no hope for the future. People see him as a sick, self-destructive superhero. Yet for whatever reason, in this state of existence he struggles to fulfill the mission of caring for a girl who is just like him, with the same powers of self-healing and with the same unbreakable metal in her bones. It appears that she was created with his DNA and modified by the same methods that he was subjected to. So it’s like she is his daughter, but not exactly. Like him in his youth, she too is very aggressive. Feral, in fact. That’s how I see my Chloe, my X-23, the name that the scientists who created the girl in the movie gave to her.

I say this because Chloe is a young woman with a volatile temperament. She grew up with her father and stepmother because her mother, a Christian, had mental problems and was very cruel. She constantly fought with dad, though, and suffered from depression as well. By the way, she is probably the most beautiful woman I have ever seen with my own eyes. Her dad is a retired sergeant who apparently has a predilection for Asian women. His current wife is Filipino and Chloe’s mother is Korean.

I understand this sergeant, maestro. I find the black hair and pale skin of some Asian women as delicious as a divine dessert. Perhaps this is the reason why I think Mexican women are so beautiful. Just swap the light skin for a more caramelized one and you’ve got the same lusciousness. I saw Chloe for the first time when she was nine years old. When she became a teenager it was very obvious that she would be a beauty of legend.

I was always captivated by the darkness that oppressed her soul. And since she was my daughter’s best friend, I adopted her in a way. At all times I encouraged her to improve her relationship with her father, who was in fact very similar to me in many ways. In my life, especially in my youth, I had the same demons that inhabited her. I love this girl forever and ever, maestro. Concerning the legitimacy of this love, I can only say that her father has never had to call the police to protect her from me.

I thought about her a lot when I left Israel to return to the United States. I even wrote a poem to remind both of us how important she is to me. One that would make sure we both knew I would never leave her. In addition, with that poem I wanted to celebrate not being part of any fucking church, since surely the religious people of the world would censor our friendship. The name I gave her in the poem was The Jade Princess , another nickname I call her.

Anyway, maestro, I called Chloe, just as my mother had recommended. Naturally, the girl complained about my strange requests for succor. The trip from her Tempe apartment to North Scottsdale would cost her a lot of gas! I told her that I simply couldn’t drive, that I had severe problems, that I needed his help, that I could pay her for every liter in her tank and every second of her time.

The princess came to rescue the knight templar. But not without first warning me that it would cost me dearly.

Chaz and Haley weren’t very happy with my decision to leave the Marriot, but their reaction was invested with an unexpected dignity. I think Chaz was truly surprised. Before, several times, he had told me that I had nowhere to go. I thought he had me under control and without escape, since throughout the episode at the Marriott Chaz was my babysitter and caretaker. With resignation and perhaps hoping to spend more days in that Arizona Xanadu, he fought against my anxiety and tried to alleviate it using whatever method he could. And yet, when he found out that my wish was to get out of there, he accepted it without question. I want you to know that my characterizations of of Chaz here as a force for evil, while not exactly inaccurate, are of course the result of the extreme nature of my perceptions at the time. These moments of nobility that, showed through even at that time, in that state, reveal a man who possesses an inherent nobility. He asked only to borrow my car for a few hours and promised to drive it to Tempe afterwards, to Chloe’s apartment. He did so faithfully.

When my X-23 came for me and I was finally able to get into her truck, he practically gutted me with her adamantium claws. As she drove, for five minutes she lost her mind with frustration and yelled, demanding to know what the hell I was doing with my life. I had to admit that I deserved his rage, so I stoically remained silent and absorbed her fury. With all the shame and the enormous feeling of relief that came over me, I confess to you, maestro, I felt loved. Loved as by a mother. As soon as I thought I could open my mouth without getting my head torn off, I told her that my parents would be returning to Arizona in a few days and that I would need a bed until I could go home. She told me that I could sleep in Chase’s bed, her boyfriend, probably because he used to sleep with her when they weren’t fighting (which was rare, but they could apparently make it while I was there). Besides Chase, a friend lived in the apartment, a quirky, nerdy, ever so lovely teenager named Jordan lived there. I was going to heal in a college kid paradise. Or so I hoped.

Upon entering her apartment, though we were greeted by a plumes of marijuana smoke. Chase, Jordan and Jay, a mutual friend of theirs, were on the coutch watching The Office. Do you know her? I forget that you don’t watch any fucking series. It’s probably to your credit, though. Anyway, it’s a comedy with a famous actor named Steve Carrell. He plays a boss who works in the office of a paper company who always says and does things that make everyone feel awkward and weird. That’s all I needed. Something to make me feel weird. Chase and Jay offered me a smoke from their joint.

Maestro, I needed something for my anxiety. I accepted immediately. I missed the peace that rum and coke gave me in that beautiful hotel. Unfortunately, the marijuana smoke did not lead to the same place. So I went from being lectured by Chloe my angry mother to hanging with stoners getting baked on ganja as some sort of cure for psychosis. From speed to weed. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Schizophenia returned with a vengeance. The characters in the series began to discuss my situation. They spoke of my sins and my failure to achieve enlightenment. They were visibly concerned. It was not a comedy to anyone. The specifics were amazing. I think I remember them even mentioning my name. The characters were looking at me, pointing at me, and doing various things to make it completely obvious that they were in severe judgment of Jonathan Bailey’s failure to alter reality with his mind.

I couldn’t focus on the plot nor could I behave like a sane adult. I told them I had to go to bed. First, though, I wanted to assure X-23 that I was okay. With a smile I told her that I just needed to sleep and relax. I disappeared with no other desire than to be buried in my bed. In a little while Chloe brought me a glass of water. Then she came back and tossed her two kittens onto my bed and said, “they’ll make you feel better. She stood there for a second looking at me with the face of a nine year-ols. She right, master. They made me feel better. I had intuitively found a cure for my schizophrenia. It wasn’t marijuana. It was kittens.

Maestro, I could tell you a lot more about my experiences in the apartment with the Jade Princess and her boyfriend and Jordan, their roommate. Especially Jay, the pot buddy. These characters and my experiences with them could provide material for a complete novel. But I have get to the end of this damn tale, so now I just want to tell you that the second miracle I experienced is of total stool dominance. I’ve talked a lot about shit, so you deserve an explanation.

I got to the point of not being able to relax at all because I was constantly haunted by the worry of dying for want of excreting solid body waste. After three days I had to go to a doctor. Chaz and Haley did actually give me my car at Chloe’s apartment. I don’t remember many details about this. Of the couple I just want to say that, after all, it left me with the idea that the two were champions of friendship. My greatest shame is that of having subjected them to my madness. And my primary desire is to be able to share with both of them the fruits of a perfect world. I could write you a book on this too, maestro. But I have to continue the thread of this story.

So there I was, master, with my car keys, sitting on the couch of my X-23, unable to free myself from the terror of being devoured up by my inability to take a dump. Thank goodness I had health insurance, so I could visit any doctor I wanted. So I went.

In the doctor’s office they put me through all the tests you can imagine, including a CT scan (Computerized Axial Tomography). I had to wait in a supernatural panic for the results. After an eternity the doctor returned with his diagnosis. For me he acted it was like a child who could not express an incredible situation. And he told me his diagnosis: “Mr. Bailey, there is no stool in your body.”

For me this was a miracle. a sign. The doctor told me that I was the only individual on earth who could go through what I went through and not be full of shit.

Maestro, these are the two miracles I experienced. I saw how time stopped. I explained that in my last mail. Then, here a medical doctor told me that there was no trace of feces on my body, when I had not gone to the bathroom in a week. Even today this means something to me. In the midst of all this tidal wave of drugs and schizophrenia, God had given me a message. He told me it wasn’t full of shit.

Tomorrow I continue the story, amigo. Sleep well.

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