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Plastic Life

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Most days are fine. I clock in, smile, collect far more money than I make, and then thank the customers. I've always worked in customer service jobs. I started at McDonald's and moved on to Taco Bell, eventually finding myself in a grocery store. There was a sort of bedlam to it all.

It was a sanitized version of life. Instead of wondering the woods and hunting food, instead of farming and getting your hands dirty, you just walk into the grocery store and buy everything you need. You don't see the cow die, you just buy its body. Human effort, human work, reduced to numbers on paper. Paper, heh, even that's now going out of fashion. More than ninety percent of money is digital now, all plastic.

Yes, plastic, that's a good word for our modern world. Plastic money, plastic cars, plastic toys, plastic food. Oh yes, in some parts of the world even rice was discovered to be plastic. A dull, white glob to take up room in stomachs were nutrition giving food once sat. With all the overpopulation and stress on resources, is it any wonder the meat is filled with pink filler and the food is plastic?

The plastic smiles other cashiers and myself place on our faces. The plastic, “Hi, how are you doing today?” As if we care, as if we want an answer. Some customers go on about their troubles. Some so frail they thank me, thank me for unloading their groceries for them.

This woman once asked me to pray for her. She looked into my eyes and asked me to pray for her. I was stunned. Was this woman really so riddled with ailments that my lifting of her groceries was such a kindness? Was she really so lonely that some random stranger was the only person she could ask to call on God to help her? But her expression showed no sign of humor; rather, the most sincere sense of gratitude and need. I just wanted to cry, but I didn't.

I spend most days starring at magazine covers, looking at the plastic faces of plastic people who are awash with plastic luxuries that afford them no real happiness. Bound to my post by my plastic debt that hangs around my neck like a noose, all because I tried and failed to get my plastic degree, from a plastic school, to get more money to spare me this plastic life. Only everyone's getting these plastic degrees now, they often end up at plastic jobs too, some that pay more and some that pay less. I once worked for a manager with two college degrees, managing a Sub-Way.

I stare at the tabloids and look at plastic politicians who got elected with plastic lies that spewed from plastic TVs; men and women who have mostly never seen war now leading multiple wars. War itself is plastic now, isn't it? Nintendo warfare that allows people to kill others without seeing their faces. Death with a push of a button. Well, for now at least.

More and more it's done by drones. Currently, a human still needs to decide to give a kill order for American drones. But, from my understanding, there are already automated torrents on the Korean border that decide for themselves.

I hear we're getting automated cash registers soon. Oh good, now my job will be to oversee plastic machines that will work for me. Well, not really for me. The company will keep the big lanes open, for now. In China, there are already noodle chopping robots. So, I assume someday even the big lanes will be at risk.

I go home to sit in front of my plastic laptop and plastic TV. I go on Facebook to read about the lives other people lead. They get together, break up, then bitch about how cheated they feel. So many plastic relationships. Some people are genuine. I like them most.

I watch fights on TruTV and Youtube. There's something honest about fights, something real. They don't even have to be about anything, really. A lot of them aren’t about anything at all.

But, after a plastic day, it's refreshing in some odd way to see two people just beat the crap out of each other. Because for those few brief minutes I get to see something primal. The plastic smiles fall off. The plastic pleasantries are not spoken. There is just fists, blood, and sometimes a trip to the hospital.

It's odd to me that the more poor people are, the more they call out to God for help. Customer after customer giving out Jesus pamphlets. Facebook post after Facebook post begging for this enigmatic ruler to care. And the faces of poverty that stare at me when asked how they're doing and reply that they're, “blessed.”

Really? Just how blessed are you? You're on WIC, EBT, and are digging through your wallet for coins to buy food. That's when I decided to scout out the other side. I know it's not recommended, but I started experimenting with drugs and Ouija. Oh good, wood! Well, a very thin layer anyway. At least it's not plastic.

It took some doing, but I eventually got it to work. It would mostly make shapes; drawing dawn portals. It almost always refused to say anything integrable in English. I eventually put it up. But the substances that did alter my state of consciousness did bring forth something.

It would appear to me in dreams, even when I wasn't on anything. It never spoke in dreams. It didn't have a face. It left a card on a white table and its name read, Damion. I researched the name and found this, “People with this name have a deep inner need for quiet, and a desire to understand and analyze the world they live in, and to learn the deeper truths. People with this name tend to be idealistic, highly imaginative, intuitive, and spiritual. They seek after spiritual truth and often find it. They tend to be visionary and may inspire others. If they fail to develop their potential, they may become dreamers, or misuse power.”

He first appeared to me in a dream. I was working back at McDonald's in this dream. For some reason, they had me deliver to a party at a Church. The adults there ignored me, insulted me, stared down their noses at me.

After making the delivery, I made my way down to the basement. There were all these white tables where boys were playing cards. It was like some rule-less club for them. I was offered dipping tobacco, which I was trying to quit in waking life, and brought over to these tables.

There, they all just played card games with me. They all had faces, laughed, had fun. For the first time in my life I felt at home, felt welcomed; like I was not being judged and actually belonged. The curios thing was, they were all dressed in old time clothing; probably from the 1930's. Then, this faceless figure came to me. He was clearly male, dressed in the same period clothing, and sat on my lap. He looked just like my friend who worked at McDonald's, who's the one I tried to date.

As an aside, I'm gay. I almost always had the problem of falling in love with straight guys. They would break my heart time and again. He said he was fine with who I was, and that he wanted to stay friends; but before I moved across country he quickly got distant. Eventually, he stopped talking with me altogether.

But here was this faceless figure with his body, on my lap, caressing me. He had a slender tongue, the tongue of a demon. He slid it under mine, and started lapping at mine lovingly before working his way down my throat. Then, in an instant, he was gone; so were the boys. The room was just abandoned, and on the table lay the card baring his name.

It was still daylight in the Church, the sunlight still shown through the windows. Suddenly, I got flashes. All at once, I understood. They were of newspaper articles and photos of the Church from outside. It was more, feelings really. They were all dead. This was some kind of purgatory for the, “lost boys.” Fire popped into my mind. There was this distinct revelation that this used to be some sort of halfway house for runaway boys; and that they had died in this fire.

Suddenly, it was night and I was in the Church's front hallway. It was empty, aside from Damion. This male, playful laugh just kept repeating. No figure, just this laugh. It was a mixture of dark and playful.

I tried to summon my dream weapon, a Freddy Krueger claw of all things. But, unlike every other lucid dream I had, I couldn't make it appear. I knew at this point I was dreaming, but I couldn't make it appear. The laugh kept going, like Damion knew I was trying to escape. I threw myself, a whole body dive into the window. It was like rubber, it bounced me back into the Church. I woke up.

I could channel Damion. It worked better if I was on something, even alcohol. I first started as if I was just saying things for him. But, slowly and then with a quickness, the words would just come all on their own. I couldn't figure out if Damion was a demon or just my shadow self. A past life? My subconscious? His powers were regulated only to dreams, and my imagination. But, he acted as a demon.

One night, I overdosed on diphenhydramine on accident. I was trying to create a state of a waking lucid dream. I don't recommend it, because it worked. My house was flooded with shadow people. They tore into my house and I fought them off. I saw my parents, when they weren't even home.

I saw these beings, shadows at first, but they soon wore clown makeup to obscure their faces once they got close to me. They had guns, and threatened to kill us all. I got some phone calls off, trying to call the police. My parents were one of the numbers I dialed that night. They sent the police and I was taken to emergency care.

At the hospital, in a room between doctors visits, I could see these little children. They were in hospital gowns and they would peek in. I thought I heard my parents outside the curtain, and kept calling to these children to get my parents or a doctor for me. Their haunting little faces just stared down at me with sadness. They didn't speak, they just watched.

I later realized, long after my recovery, that they were spirits. They were curious that I could see them, and felt bad for my condition, but knew that others couldn't see them and that they could not help. After some time, they would just turn and leave.

I passed out for a week. In my slumber, I was trapped on a ship in “Neverland” of all places. But I had no powers, and was bound to this little wood boat, or plank, or something. No Damion, just other people bound. I was told that in this state I would scream at the nurses to let me off this ship.

It's been months sense then. About a week ago, not on anything at all, Damion came back to me in a dream. I was at a fancy hotel, with mauve wallpaper. He was in a black suit, and said nothing. I felt fear run through me, and knew in an instant who he was. He let me have a dagger, yellow in color, and would try to evade me stabbing at him. Some stabs hit, but didn't do anything.

His face was human, but obscured by shadow. He laughed, like before. This was just some game to him. Like when my Cousin would pin me down when we were kids, just to prove he could.

Damion was, in his way, playing with me. Showing that I had no power over him. When he was through with letting me have the dagger, it would fall apart in my hand again and again. I kept reaching for it, which would give me a full one that would fall apart again. I tried putting its handle back with its blade, but it would fall apart again.

I kept trying to wake up, screaming to wake up. But I kept waking up back in that same room with Damion. I'm not Christian, but in my desperate situation I reverted back to calling on anyone that might be able to help. I screamed to God to help me. There was a white light that lit the dark room. It was not coming from any bulb, but glowed. For a short moment, Damion's power over me was blocked. I woke up in my bed, my arm feeling numb, I was floored.

I can't help but wonder what Damion could show me, teach me about the other side. But, I also fear him. I used to call to see him before I slept, after my first dream of him. But, for half a year he never came. I'm not sure if I'll call for him ever again. In my bed some nights, if all my lights are out, I can feel him watching me.

If I choose to give him voice with my mind, he tells me how awful life is; how plastic. He says that he sent the shadows to save me from my overdose. He said if I would have had a pleasant trip, I would have died. He said they meant me no real harm, and were only there to scare me into calling for help. As it turns out, the drug had dehydrated me to such am extent that either my kidney or liver shut down. I would have died there, in that house, before my parents got home from their weekend trip.

Damion says he wants me to be a willing sacrifice, not an accident. That he wants me to use my dagger and pierce my own heart; to paint the walls of my room with blood. To curse the names of those that broke my heart and draw dawn occult symbols that he could use to reach me.

He says he offers eternal youth. He says I'd be at home, at last, amongst the lost boys that so cheerfully welcomed me that day so many months ago. That I would never have to grow old, face watching my parents die, face even more soul crippling debt.

He says he was there the night my Mother heard something call her names from the shadows while I was still within her. He says he was the shadow I talked with as a boy. He says I'm not the first he's taken interest in; claiming to have molded my interests sense birth. He says he is the shadow of many stories over the years. The nightmare, Freddy Kruger, my interest in horror. A darker tone to Peter Pan after I watched Season 3 of Once Upon a Time.

Time and again, an archetype in the minds of those who never wanted to grow up; never wanted to live. Why had I been the only boy to be born when my three sisters died at or before birth? A psychic once told my Mother it was because they were not meant to be here on Earth at this time; and I was?

Damion says I was. Damion says he has something special planned for my life. I still don't know what that is. The thought sometimes keeps me up at night.

I do my best. Most days are fine. I clock in, smile, collect far more money than I make, and then thank the customers. But in the corner of my mind, hidden in the shadows, is a voice of a boy that says all the things I can't. Is all the things I dream of being.

He is a demon, a demigod, or maybe just a shadow of my own psychosis. Free from life eternally; he never ages, never wilts. About him always is this dark, mocking rascality of youth.

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