Well Scribbler friends Feind has moved on to a new stage of life, a new chapter in the personal journey that has been one long hard road that just keeps rolling on and on. It started rough, got worse then finally it was smooth sailing so now I’m back, I’m refreshed and it’s time to get back to working my damn ass off both here on the site and working with a publisher who has treated me absolutely fantastic for what I hope is a long and fruitful relationship. So on to the details for anyone who gives a flying crap!
So far 2015 has been a stressful damn year but hopefully it will end up being one of the best years of this Scribblers life. Starting shortly after the first of the year it became apparent and obvious that I could not continue staying where I was in Delaware. I wasn’t sad to leave it, in fact I couldn’t wait to get the fuck out of there but as one true starving artist it created a conundrum, where to go and how to get there. Honestly I would have gone homeless and lived on the damn street to keep writing, doing what I do. That may sound downright stupid to some but writing has become who I am, what I am and I would rather die than not be able to do it somehow. Of course we live in a world run by the almighty dollar and the truth is this Scribbler really has none. Most would not understand and there is no way to make anyone who doesn’t but I am not motivated by money and I really don’t care one iota about whether I have it or not. I don’t write to someday become rich and famous, I write because I love doing it. I write because it is my passion to do so. Over the last several years I have learned to get by on very little and I find I really don’t miss any material things. I have all I need for the most part which is this laptop and the keyboard I am tapping away at. What else does a writer need? Ok coffee but that about does it.
Now while I’m willing to do what I do from the street just to keep doing it I’d prefer not to go that extreme and luckily there are people in my life who were determined not to let that happen to me. A multitude of factors led me to the decision to take my partner Cult up on his offer to have me come all the way across the country to sunny Arizona. This decision caused some problems I had not wanted or intended but I knew it was the correct decision for me. Living in a house where what I do wasn’t cared about or respected and going to now a place where what I do is not only respected but expected and supported. I can’t even describe how much better I already feel mentally and it has only been two days since I arrived! This move was not some magic bullet that solves all the problems of my world but honestly it is already profoundly better. Is my world now perfect, the stars aligned and world peace on the horizon? Not too fucking likely but I’ll never really see snow again unless I want to, I can see mountains from where I have my morning cigarette and I have quiet in which to write.
Oh how I’ve forgotten what quiet even was. Where I had been staying it was quite literally never quiet not even in the dead of night. I am only beginning to realize just how irritating and annoying that was to never have more than maybe a few minutes of peace and mother f’ing quiet! Shhhh don’t yell that out loud you’ll break my serenity or nirvana or whatever in the hell you want to call it. There is no dog raising hell every time the wind blows, no herd of elephants parading overhead (my room had been in a basement), no outbursts of insanity for absolutely no reason, no interruptions for no real purpose and the list goes on and on. Only two days and I already feel better than I have in so long I can’t even remember. Its warm (ok it’s Arizona so maybe blistering hot is more accurate but you won’t hear me complaining, I love it!), I have what is for me just an awe inspiring view and I have peace and quiet to write and write and write. Peace now that is something I have not had in a very, very long time. Praise Satan for small miracles.
So everything was set for me to move to sunny Tucson to join my scribblin’ partner Cult finally uniting The Scribblers! What could possibly go wrong? I had my ticket, I had a way to NY to visit my friends and family before making the big journey and I had everything all packed and ready to go. Well things were going great, I spent a couple of days with my old friends from Buffalo at our annual retreat of sorts sharing some laughs, some cold brews and overall just chilling out for a couple of days. My folks picked me up right on schedule took me out to lunch and then I went out on the town with my sister and her husband, it was a great time. We had some drinks, went out for an awesome dinner of crab stuffed haddock which was tasty as hell then back for some more drinks and I even had some chicken wings to end the night. If you’re not a native Western New Yorker you have no idea how terrible chicken wings outside of that area truly are. If all you’ve ever had is wings from some place like Wild Wings honestly I feel sorry for you, you have no idea what you are missing. Unknown to me my family also set up a little reunion of sorts with all of us getting together at my oldest sister’s place for a little BBQ. It was great to be able to have both of my sisters and my parents all together for the first time in a few years. My grandfather and a couple of my nieces and nephews were absent but I still appreciated being with my family before moving a couple thousand mile away. Since my niece is getting married this December in Austin, TX the hope is to reunite there one more time this year. My niece is also conveniently getting married a couple days before my birthday so I hope to have the best gift I can have being able to see my family once more in just a few months.
Now I still haven’t gotten to the damn journey that brought me to my partner Cult in Arizona. This is where the tale turns to my area: Horror. I’ve taken bus trips before but never more than just day trips but this time I’d be traveling 2200 miles from Buffalo, NY to Tucson, AZ and while this shouldn’t be any problem there was the potential for many. The journey couldn’t have gotten off to a rougher start. Originally I was to board in Dunkirk, NY which I chose since it is a short drive for my folks rather than making them travel all the way to Buffalo which is about an hour drive for them. So on my ticket it didn’t give an address for my pickup spot. I looked online and it appeared I had found it, in the meantime my mother called the local ticket office to make sure herself and was told a different pickup location. Just to be doubly sure I called myself with my ticket in hand to read off confirmation numbers and such as well as get some additional info about my baggage and I was told the same pickup location as my mother had been. Believing all was well in hand I waited for my folks to pick me up to go out for a late lunch before boarding the bus to travel on to Arizona over the next two days. I was full of nervous anticipation just wanting to board and be on my way.
We arrived at the pickup spot Greyhound had informed us to be at about a half an hour early just to ensure there would be no problems. Then we waited and waited and waited with all of us growing more impatient by the minute. Thinking there could have been bad traffic since it was the beginning of the evening rush hour I was willing to give it some time but time continued to roll on with no sign of any bus at all. I thought well maybe there was a delay or flat tire or something. At an hour late I had that sinking feeling that something was very wrong and began to look up numbers. Now my pickup was to be at 4:30pm so by the time I called it was about 5:45pm and getting ahold of anyone was damn near impossible. When I finally did I was told that my bus had left Buffalo on time but since it was a company subcontracted by Greyhound that I would be on they had no communication with those buses. WTF? Really?!? Now you can imagine I was now getting pretty pissed off. The bus was not there and apparently wasn’t coming at all leaving me with a now useless non-refundable ticket. Would I have to buy a whole new ticket? That thought had me seeing absolutely red and there was no way to get an answer until the following morning. I stewed about this that entire night unable to get to sleep until about 4am.
I woke up that next morning about 6:30am still having to wait a few hours before I could rip someone at Greyhound apart. It takes quite a lot to get this Scribbler angry but when I am you probably don’t want to be the focus of that anger. So I sat stewing in anger drinking my morning coffee just waiting for the clock to reach 9am so I could get some satisfaction. Finally the time came and to make matters worse I wasn’t able to get through to anyone. I took a deep breath trying to maintain my cool. I got another cup of coffee to wait a little longer before trying again. Finally, and I feel bad for the young lady whose name I do not remember, I got through to Greyhound’s customer service. I began very calmly explaining to the young woman what had happened and that all I really wanted was a new ticket to leave that day. I was informed that I had been at the wrong pickup spot and that by missing the bus my ticket was null and void and that I’d have to buy a whole new ticket. This is when my head exploded. Those who know me well know that I don’t raise my voice often and I have to be extremely pissed off to do it. It just isn’t something I do. So in my best “I will come there and skin you fucking alive” voice I informed this poor woman that it was them who sent me to the wrong place and if they didn’t make it right by me I would fucking destroy them. At this point the poor girl began to stutter not knowing what to say or do but still not willing to actually help me. From friends I know who have worked in customer service you are most likely to get satisfaction when they have to deal with you in person where you can cause a scene which tends to get results. I advised the young woman I would be traveling to the main station in Buffalo to board so they couldn’t fuck it up again advising her that she may want to warn Buffalo I was coming before hanging up on her worthless ass. I was even more pissed than before at this point and having to wait a few hours before it was time to leave just let me stew in those hate juices even further.
We arrived at the Buffalo station and I was prepared for the worst. I marched up to the ticket counter prepared for a fight only to be greeted by a very kind and sympathetic latino woman named Sonia. I explained again to Sonia as calmly as I could what had happened and that I needed a ticket to Tucson that I had no intention to re-purchase. Sonia was a huge help informing me that I didn’t have to buy a whole new ticket just pay a ten dollar fee to change the date of my current ticket. After being about as pissed off as I could be for about 24 hours the whole thing was resolved in all of five minutes. I had my new ticket and would be on my way at 4pm that day. My father being nervous that it would take a lot of screaming and yelling to fix the situation insisted on getting to the station a couple of hours early so now with my new ticket it was back to the waiting game. Finally something had gone my way for the most part and I could begin my long journey arriving just a day later than expected. My baggage ended up costing a fraction of what I had thought it would so it would be smooth sailing from here on in, right?
I boarded the bus excited to finally be on my way to meeting my partner in the flesh for the first time beginning a whole new chapter of my life. As the wheels finally began to move I finally took a nice deep breath and relaxed for the first time in a full day, I was on my way. All was going smoothly… until. A short time after entering Ohio the problem arose. A young black woman who had boarded with me in Buffalo fell asleep which isn’t odd I knew I’d be doing the same at some point of this trip. Unfortunately when she awoke she found her wallet was missing and naturally began to freak out as really anyone would in that situation even though it was her own fault for not having it in a more secure spot. She began just by looking around on the floor for it but not finding it grew more and more frantic realizing that someone on the bus had obviously swiped it. No one was willing to fess up of course. In that situation I may have done about the same but I was smart enough to have all of my things secured as best anyone can. When no one would fess up she did what probably anyone would do which was to threaten police action which our driver seemed to confirm saying that everyone would be searched before exiting the bus. I really hoped at this point that whoever took the damn thing would just return it rather than put everyone through all that bullshit but it didn’t happen. I was loaded for a cross country trip and didn’t relish the thought of having to empty then repack my fully stuffed laptop bag. A stop at a police station didn’t bring a search but apparently just the filing of a police report. However, all of the commotion had caused a major delay which led to this turning into a real trip from hell.
My first transfer was to be in Cincinnati, OH after a short layover of about 20 minutes. All the commotion of the wallet incident put us over an hour behind. This was not cool. We were informed the transfer bus was waiting but we needed to be quick if that was the bus we needed to catch which most did. We arrived, I grabbed my bags as quickly as possible and got in line for the transfer. This is where things really went to hell. Greyhound apparently can’t fucking count to save their lives so while I toted my full laptop bag on my back with my hands full of two heavy ass seabags packed to the gills the announcement came that the bus was full. I was about to be stuck in Cincinnati. It shouldn’t have been a major delay with another bus headed to where I was supposed to go at 5am (it was about 1:00am when we arrived) but my trip to the ticket counter turned into a nightmare. Due to my final destination I was informed that the next bus was of no help to me and the quickest I could leave was about 2pm a full 13 hours away. My head about exploded but I was stuck and there was fuck all I could do about it and giving the ticket agent hell wasn’t going to help anything. It wasn’t his fault he was just the bearer of the bad news. Now I was stuck at the shitty Cincinnati station for 13 hours and would not be arriving here in Arizona until Sunday morning rather than Saturday evening. As much as I was pissed about being stuck there that long I also had to further inconvenience my friend Cult with yet another new arrival time to work around.
As I said I had only slept about 3 hours the night before and now I was trapped in a rather shady Cincinnati station all night where I was not about to sleep if you paid me. Now if you’ve never traveled by Greyhound you might think that being stuck at a station is no real big deal there must be some all-night diner or something to pass the time in but you’d be very wrong. Most stations are on the outskirts of town which makes sense so buses don’t have to try and maneuver through city streets but as such there is absolutely fuck all around bus terminals. Cincinnati’s happens to have a casino right next to it but that was it. I’m not a huge gambler and at that time of the morning all the restaurants in it were closed so I couldn’t get anything to eat or even a cup of coffee. That may have been the longest 13 hours of my life. If Greyhound were a person I would punch that fucker straight in the kisser until there was nothing but a bloody pulp oozing on the floor. Also security there thought they would have a little fun with me just as my departure time neared. Unfortunately cell phones don’t stay fully charged forever so I had plugged my phone in at the “charging station” to charge up before my next bus was due to depart. A bus had just loaded up clearing out the terminal so there were maybe a half dozen people in it. I left my phone charging stepping outside for a smoke and a bathroom trip returning to see my phone missing. After being up all night my heart sank, I didn’t have the energy to panic or freak out anymore. I quickly asked a security person if anyone had turned my phone in hoping someone had just thought they were doing me a favor. He said he hadn’t seen it directing me to another security person. This one informed me there was no lost and found proceeding to ask me if I knew where I was. I thought, “what a dumb question”, but answered, “Cincinnati.” The security asshole went on telling me that this was a bad area (“No shit Sherlock!”) and I shouldn’t leave my phone unattended then started asking me what kind of phone it was and such. After I told him the asshole pulled it out of his pocket pointing to another security person who saw it and brought it to him. These fucktards decided I needed to be taught a lesson though again I had been doing this same thing all fucking night and there were now only a handful of people in the terminal. I wanted to punch his dumbass in the face but my departure time was only about an hour away now. I wasn’t about to get stuck in Cincinnati one extra minute than necessary. I’m sure they had a good laugh about it after I left but all I can really say is, “Fuck You! Really?!?” I made sure I was first to board so I could get the fuck out of there.
Luckily that was pretty much the end of the drama for the rest of my trip with the rest really going without any major hitch. I had to hold my breath a moment in Dallas, TX as though there were no hitches I had a particularly slow driver so what was supposed to have been a half hour layover in Dallas turned into a mad dash to connect to my bus that would take me eventually all the way into Tucson. Luckily I was able to board in time as once again the asshats at Greyhound overbooked the bus leaving a few people stranded in Dallas to catch some other connection out of there. My luck held and there was nothing but a lot of miles in cramped conditions but I had no other connections to worry about missing. I will say Texas is damn huge seeming to take forever to pass through like the damn thing will never end. Then passing from Texas to New Mexico for some reason you have to stop at a Border Security station where agents board to do little more than harass anyone with brown skin. Seriously I was simply asked if I was a US citizen having to produce no evidence in the affirmative while every single brown person was asked to show their papers. I mean I know illegals coming in from Mexico is a problem but what’s to say I wasn’t some Russian spy or some such. The whole thing was pretty asinine and an excuse to harass people on a fucking Greyhound bus, is that not punishment enough even if they were illegal? I think it is.
Finally after being told the wrong pick up spot, 24 hours of brewing rage, leaving a day late, a stolen wallet incident, 13 hours stuck in Satan’s Asshole (Cincinnati), and a near missed connection in Dallas, the bus rolled into Arizona with one very excited, very tired, very stinky Scribbler on board. For one of the very few times on this trip my bus pulled into Tucson almost exactly on time only being 5 minutes past the scheduled arrival. I left the bus signing my first ever autograph which I have to say I may have to practice if it ever happens again because that was definitely an odd experience. I hope for Ned’s sake it’ll be worth something some day. I had no more than collected my bags when I heard a familiar and pleasant voice right behind me. My good friend Cult was right there and at long last The Scribblers were united. All the stress that 2015 has been so far fell away (ok most of it anyway), it was about 8am and nearly 100 degrees and I was smiling. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about all of this but I’d also be lying if I didn’t say I was and am one happy son of a bitch.
These first few days I’ve felt much like a snake shedding an old skin to let the new glisten in the sun. I am and always will be just me but I have an opportunity now to be Feind which is oddly the only name some know me by. It’s ok, Feind is a writer and will die one as well. Though it has only been a couple of days I already feel so much better mentally than I could ever have imagined. Sometimes you don’t even realize how shitty a place you were living is until you’re no longer in the midst of it. It is so great to have some peace and quiet which I haven’t had in I don’t even know how long. It is so much easier to be creative in a space where you’re not being interrupted and distracted every few minutes by some noise or other annoyance. I can’t say what will come of this move or even that I won’t completely fuck it up and find myself on the street anyway but my head is in a better place and that can only mean good things. I’d appreciate it if everyone would keep their fingers crossed though. I need all the luck I can get. Oh also along the way I sent in my contract to Dark Chapter Press and I should have the publishing date for my first time in print very soon! I’ll be sure to link everyone in to where you can find Kill For A Copy as soon as I have that info and also soon I’ll have info on my second time in print in the anthology Kids also via Dark Chapter Press. Hopefully this is the start of a long and fruitful relationship. I can’t thank Dark Chapter Press enough for having faith in my work. Again I’ll have more details for everyone soon on both books. Also I’d like to send out one giant thank you to Cult for getting me out of a bad situation into one that is already a thousand times better. Thank you my friend, it will never be forgotten as long as I breathe.
It'll take me a few days to get back on track everyone due to some computer issues I was having but I seem to have everything ironed out now so we should be all back to normal by next week. Any thoughts please feel free to share in the comments below.
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