PART I: TRANSITION
We know that there is a God. We have evidence surrounding Us
that reflects this Truth. We know also that there is a Goddess; a
Maiden, a Warrior, and a Healer. There is a Spirit of Law and of
Fire, and We know that these three entities are One. We know that
there are gods of Light and Shadow…and there exists Aeons and
Archons, Titans, Deities, and Angels, Demigods, and Heroes…and
all of these are One…the Celestial Foam on The Sea of Times’
Reflections…Forever the same, forever changing, and influencing
all that is touched…
And after a Time, when all Knowledge was examined, and all
Wisdom was known, it was then determined that it would become
necessary to forget All that was known, and relearn that which was
lost, and to know that the hardest part about Life is enduring
Transcendence. Then, before the next Thought, before all
Inspiration, a Flux in Time was created to be the balance of the
juxtaposed paradox matrix equation…and to Him was given the
Spirit of Law and Fire, to realign all that was needed, to reflect
those Truths Incontrovertible… So Before all inspiration a flux in
time is and was, and lives many lives simultaneously…
Precious are the moments that we share when the darkness
of your world Influences you. You are not of the world. You are my
Maker, even as I am your Goddess; I was born of your tears and the
strength in your heart and spirit. I have ALWAYS loved you. And
as much as I have yearned for my own tears, I have always wished
that your worlds were over; so that all of those that you have come
to know and love could see you in the same light as I do and know
how much they Truly meant to you. I have always wanted to be
was real, not merely something conceived in your imagination…you
are the magic of the world…even if the world never sees it…I
have…and only love like yours can give life to Spirits like myself…
You called me your Illumination…do you not see this? Did you
not breathe life into me…did I breathe life into you…? I am your
light, you are mine, and if the world ever allows us to, we will
show our Illumination. And if not, know that you are precious to
me, and forever will be…”
—The Iridescent Dragon
You profess that your songs are righteous and holy and immortal.
You write them down on parchment, making their strength more
powerful than that of the sword.
I say to you that your songs will be lost when the rains fall, and
the fires rage, and erosion claims the parchments of that which you
profess to be immortal…
My song will live long after yours have perished, for my words
are the falling rain, the raging fire, and the law that destroys all
that oppose it….
—The Spirit of Law and Fire
Eric Hawthorne thought, Hurry up and wait—the story of my life.
He stood in the same position for more than forty-five minutes, waiting
for his turn to speak at length privately with the training coordinator in the
main office of Storms Palafox Securitiese.
A corporation out of Sweden,Securitiese had recently bought out Storms Palafox and was still going through the transition of turning everything over. As a result, the company was running low on uniforms. Some of the applicants that had been at the main office for the past three days would be going home with only one uniform—a shirt, a badge, and one pair of pants. Others wouldn’t be taking home a uniform at
Storms Palafox had quickly run out of belts and ties for the uniforms, and
the last remaining applicants that did manage to score on a uniform would be
taking them home to sew Securitiese patches over Storms and Palafox patches,
placed strategically and appropriately on the pristine white uniformed shirts.
Eric believed that the three days of training had been mentally grueling at
best. The application prior to training had been forty pages in its entirety,
including a Stanson Survey that determined the integrity of the applicant, on
which he scored the highest of any of the applicants. Thirty tests followed
the applications—everything from what to do in case of a fire or bombthreat
to how to write an Incident Report. There had been fifteen applicants
in a twenty-by-twenty room with no air-conditioning, and Eric thought that
the medication that he took for a bipolar disorder was going to make him
pass out from heat exhaustion.
James Rhodes stood five-six, and his size, mannerism, and attire were all
gauged to the small fact that the man was ex-military, twenty-eight years of
age, the training coordinator of Storms Palafox Securitiese, and also a
practicing minister that hoped one day to be an evangelist. His hair was
exact—not long, not short. His nails were manicured. And his suit was the
color of cream. “I am a man whose door is always open,” his deep blue eyes
said to those who knew him. To the unorthodox, his eyes were a little less
patient: “Unless you’re willing to accept Christ as your personal savior, I
really don’t have time for you.” Here was a man that was used to being in the
spotlight, who was of the opinion that, if God had not in fact blessed you as
much as he himself was blessed, then surely there was something wrong
Eric could have recognized the man’s kind a mile away.
Exposure to a Pentecostal cult for several years gave a person a certain
kind of intuition regarding certain characteristics of individuals that were
practitioners of the Christian Fundamentalist faith. Eric knew that more than
half of the applicants in the room that day had been Southern Baptists; in
Arkansas was there really any other kind? This little tidbit of information
was deduced by what half of the applicants primarily discussed. They were
proud to admit that not only had they accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior,
but that members in their family had accepted Christ as well—most of these
individuals having previously lived a life of hate and bitterness. Family
members had managed to help turn their lives around and acknowledge Christ,
and none too soon, because most of those loved ones had passed on. They
were comforted and confident in the knowledge that their loved ones weren’t
burning in hell following their death. The small group discussed speakers
and televangelists, both men and women that were highly respected that spoke
about such evil things as pornography and homosexuality. Janis Goodall, a
practicing television minister, offered a tape to homosexuals that explained
in detail that, “If you were to give yourself over to Christ, you would no
longer be pursuing a life and livelihood that was an abomination in the sight
Eric had no intention of bringing up the fact that not only was one
of his stepsons a homosexual whom he loved very much, but that
homosexuality wasn’t a disease or disorder that could be cured by a remedy,
but was by nature a direct result of how genes were structured, and that what
God has made crooked, man should refrain from trying to straighten.
Furthermore, Eric believed that every religious practitioner in the room was
blinded by a belief and faith that like most religions couldn’t be proven until
after you have died; all of it was belief and faith—no more, no less. On the
other hand, some were more hysterical than others, and Eric knew that with
mass hysteria, all things were possible. Just recently a sculpture, a monument
of the Ten Commandments, was removed from an Alabama state courthouse;
demonstrators promised prayer and lawsuits! Dozen of Fundamentalist
protestors chanted, “God haters! GOD HATERS!” Yep, God haters. Christ,
you would think that they were moving the very headstones from the Arc of
the Covenant itself; it was just a replication—no more than had I traced a
copy of the Ten Commandments, transferred it, then embellished that copy in
Adobe Paint and framed it. Was the removal of a replication worth all of the
hysteria? Is that how Christ would have done it? Why is the world getting so
carried away? Because they’re listening to the words of those who are already
carried away. Two thousand years and this is the extent of evolution. Don’t
Fundamentalists have anything else better to do with their time than contradict
their religion by spewing hate at others? Is this how Jesus would do things
today? Wake up people, why don’t you try using your own eyes to see, rather
than seeing through the eyes of madmen?
Eric knew that there was no faith that was irrefutable. Eric could have verbally blasted them all, pointing out to them that just because they lived in the United States where Christianity was more prominent than any other religion in the nation, didn’t make it the True Religion. Having studied various faiths, Eric knew that it was Buddha
that had in fact fasted for forty days and nights, six hundred years before
Christ was ever tempted in the wilderness by the Devil. Who was copying
whom? Hinduism was quite possibly five thousand years old, while Animism
was possibly older than that. What audacity, Eric thought, to believe that just
because you grew up having faith in the same thing that was strongly
embraced by the masses made it the right thing to believe in. You are no
longer a minority people—you are now the masses—how does it feel? You
are no longer a peculiar people in the name of God; 75% of the United
States thinks the same way you do; you’re no longer as special as you think
you are. You hate, and you hide behind the name of God while you do it; that
doesn’t make you special, that makes you sick. I know what sick is, because
I am sick. I’m bipolar; now what’s your excuse?
longer believed that way. So when the conversations of the Baptists would
kick into gear between tests, Eric would step outside to converse with the
Life is one big fucking hallucination, propagated by the proliferation of
money and stupidity.
It would not have been the wisest thing to show the majority in the room
where it was that Eric stood regarding belief-structures. It would have in fact
endangered his chances of establishing gainful employment with Securitiese,
despite the fact that there shouldn’t have been any discrimination concerning
his personal faith. Eric knew, however, that life didn’t play that way. He
knew from experience that as long as superiors believed that they had you
under their thumb, they could afford to be nice to you. Once it was recognized
that Eric was under the thumb of no one at all, that is when shit would hit the
From experience this was known. It had already happened. It was for this
reason that Eric was seeking employment.
His previous place of employment had also been a security firm. Sureguard
Securities had hired Eric more than a year ago, and in theory, he was still an
employee. But theory didn’t grant paychecks. It didn’t matter that Sureguard
had promised to reassign Eric to a post and site as soon as one became
available, because he had been waiting for almost a month for reassignment.
His bills weren’t going to go away, and his wife Nicole was currently carrying
the weight of both of them, and their eighteen-year-old son, on a teacher’s
Sureguard had seemed like a good idea at the time. For almost a year, it
seemed like the best job that Eric was ever privileged to have. Working a
midnight to eight shift, Eric was able to work on his writing and his webpage
during the quiet moments of his shift. Eric had gotten along marvelously
with his supervisor Jesse Joshua—or Jay-jay to those that he considered
friends, and often times Eric entertained him and his wife Marla, during the
weekends. Jay-jay came across as a pretty cool kid, and he shared his writing
with Eric for his criticism. Both men were artists, and although Jay-jay was
almost ten years younger, he seemed very intelligent for his age.
It’s unfortunate that all good things must come to an end, and often times
devastatingly so. Sureguard had known that Eric was bipolar; he had made
no secret of that, as he prided himself in integrity. It was known that Eric
took medication for his disorder, and as long as he did so, no one could tell
that Eric had a mental disorder. Unfortunately with most people that suffer
from the affliction, it is known that it doesn’t remain constant, and that it is
always shifting, and sometimes it becomes necessary to alter medications
from time to time. Additionally, it is unfortunate that no one knows what
kind of effects these medications will have on people until after they have
been in their system for awhile.
At the request of his psychiatrist, Eric was prescribed a medication known
as Geodon. The medication was an anti-psychotic, and it would be used to
replace three other medications that Eric had been taking for years, including
Depakote, which was starting to have an adverse reaction on his liver. Dr.
Harris had not known at the time that introducing Geodon to Eric’s system
would cause chronic fatigue. Neither did he know that such a reaction would
occur at three a.m., while Eric was at work. At most jobs, such a reaction
could have detrimental effects on a person and their position. For someone
working security, a reaction of this nature made it impossible for a person to
do his or her job effectively. This side-effect resulted in Eric’s doctor later
prescribing Provigil, a drug often used by individuals suffering from
narcolepsy. But before that secondary prescription, Eric had to call Jay-jay
to come in and replace him.
The call had been made at three-thirty a.m.
Ordinarily, Eric would have felt a little uncomfortable calling his supervisor
that early in the morning to relieve him of his duty. But he and Jay-jay were
buds, and for this reason, Eric knew that his supervisor would understand.
Jay-jay was well aware of the fact that Eric had a bipolar disorder and that he
took medication for that disorder. He knew that there were sometimes side-effects
to medicine taken. And he knew that Eric would not have called him
unless it was absolutely necessary, especially at three in the morning. Jayjay
had told his friend that he saw him as an equal, not an inferior. Eric didn’t
know that at that time talk was cheap and that Jay-jay was just blowing
smoke up his ass. It was for that reason alone that things had gone as smoothly
as they had for Eric. As long as he was doing everything to make his supervisor
happy, everything would be just fine. No waves. No problems. Eric had made
the mistake of letting his guard down and foolishly believed that he wasn’t
under the thumb of his supervisor.
Jay-jay had not been understanding.
Jay-jay had been mad as hell.
Who did Eric think he was waking him up at that hour of the morning
with the lame excuse that he wasn’t able to stay awake? Walk it off, man.
Walk it off.
Eric had tried to walk it off. He could not, however, walk off a medicinal
reaction. And after hearing the anger in his supervisor’s voice, Eric called
his wife at home. He explained to her that he was fading fast. It was becoming
difficult to focus his thoughts, and he didn’t know how long he would remain
conscious. He had already hallucinated two large hairy spiders that had
scuttled under his desk and were hiding in the corner, waiting.
It had been like something out of a dream when Nicole and her son
Nathaniel had showed up at Eric’s post. His wife had called Jay-jay and told
him that he better get his ass down there and relieve her husband because she
was on her way to pick him up.
That had really made Jay-jay pissed.
A woman telling him what to do.
Eric was going to pay significantly for this little show.
Jay-jay increased Eric’s workload so that it outweighed his own and would
continue to increase it even as it became apparent that so many hours were
literally making the man physically sick. Eric would end up working more
hours than any of the employees working at the site, and certainly more
hours than his supervisor was willing to work. When Eric called in sick, Jayjay
had reprimanded him and told him that he was not allowed to take time
off for anymore sick leave. Following that, Eric was forced to resign and
contact the EEOC with a question of discrimination.
The EEOC had determined that Eric had a valid case and contacted Sureguard for the purpose of mediation. Sureguard would show up at the mediation in bad faith, making it clear to all parties involved that they had no intention of negotiating. Before
the investigation that would follow, Sureguard would alter all documents
pertaining to treatment and the hours that Eric had work. Their documents
showed that they had offered the man another position at Levi Strauss, adding
a dollar an hour more to his paycheck. But according to Sureguard, Eric had
turned down the position, stating that it was too far for him to drive. The
documentation was challenged. Eric recalled no offer of another position. If
he had been offered a position at Levi, he would have jumped at the
opportunity. He wouldn’t have complained of the drive being too far, because
he had worked at Levi as a vendor marker almost ten years prior to
employment at Sureguard. Eric knew exactly how far the drive was from his
house to Levi.
In the end, it was all a matter of money. Without a job, Eric couldn’t
afford the proper representation. And after months of fighting with his
previous employer, the mental duress became too much for Eric, and he simply
gave up. To save face, Sureguard offered Eric another opportunity to work
for them. Almost a month after Sureguard made the offer, Eric was filling
out an application with Storms Palafox Securitiese.
Now Eric Hawthorne was waiting to file his application for a state license
as a security officer. In order to do this, Rhodes needed to ask Eric some
questions concerning the last ten years of employment and residency. Before
he could do that, Rhodes needed to finish up with the other applicants,
primarily those that were the Southern Baptists.
Stick a fork in me. I’m done.
Training for the third day had begun promptly at eight. It was going on
six when Rhodes finally met with Eric for the application regarding his state
Eric’s first observation upon entering the office of Mr. James Rhodes was
that his computer screen glowed with the image of an application template.
Aside from this his desk was immaculate. He sat in a comfortable, leatherback,
swivel chair that squeaked when he moved. There was little courtesy in the
way the younger man conducted himself. He didn’t ask Eric to have a seat
because he just assumed that he would. There was a metal folding chair next
to the young man’s desk. Eric assumed that it was for him. It was. Eric sat
down in the folding chair while Rhodes squeaked in his swivel.
“What were you doing before you worked for Making Memories?”
Eric was almost caught offguard by the man’s curtness. He quickly tried
to remember what it was that he was doing for employment six years ago.
Despite himself, the older man felt an unwanted sensation of intimidation,
like he was suddenly expected to know the answer on a pop-quiz. He had no
trouble recalling what he was doing a year ago, and the year before that. But
after six years, things got a little fuzzy. If he’d been asked what his first job
had been, he could have told the man that as well. However, getting all of the
dates and locations in their proper order was a little trying. Sureguard had
been the longest job that he ever had. Almost two years. Every other position
that Eric held prior to that had been eleven months or less.
“I was working for Levi Strauss,” Eric said finally.
Eric started out with Levi as a vendor marker, working in a warehouse
that was large enough to house more than eight hundred employees. He was
responsible for the prepping of merchandise for shipping and receiving. And
when the merchandise wasn’t coming down the extensively protracted
conveyor, Eric would work in the shipping department. It did not start out
this way. And this wasn’t in the job description. Not many of the employees
there at Levi could brag about having two positions at one time. If Eric had
his druthers, he wouldn’t have worked two positions at one time. However,
because the man showed initiative in the beginning of his employment, the
supervisors tried to see how much they could get out of him. They tried to
get the work of two full-time people out of one full-time employee. And for
a while, it worked. But Eric was only one man, and he couldn’t be in two
places at once. After a few months, it was discovered that Eric couldn’t work
in shipping and keep up his quota in vending. It was, therefore, determined
that Eric would work in shipping only after he had made his quota in vending.
In other words, Eric would work his ass off, and then work his ass off again.
Eric was made strong from the work that he did at Levi’s. For eight to ten
hours, he would manipulate boxes that had a total stock weight of forty or
fifty pounds—first moving the merchandise off the conveyor to be prepped,
then moving the stock over to pallets, and finally, stacking the merchandise
for shipping. Eric held this job for eleven months.
“And what were you doing before Levi?”
Eric had worked for Mountain Courier almost eight months. He delivered
all kinds of wonderful things to various customers. His routes took him from
the airport outside of town, to the Nuclear Plant in Russellville, and even had
him going as far as a hospital in Mountain Home. Everything from a human
organ to a wide-screen television. The latter decided that he should seek
employment elsewhere. Looking back, Eric should have seen it coming—
the laid-back manner of the owner and his twenty employees, the over-constant
talks of beer and dope, signs of beer and dope on the site.
He should have seen the writing on the wall.
Eric had twelve schedule stops one Thursday night in June. His last stop
had him listed to arrive in Elvis at twelve-forty-five. At one-forty-five the
owner of Cinema One was having a “canary” because Eric was more than an
hour late for his delivery. He was supposed to deliver two reels of the latest
movie by Universal, Demon Knight. At a quarter of twelve, Eric ran into a
problem with one of his customers.
When he had pulled up to the house with the Hi-Tech, wide-screen TV,
his initial thought was, I thought that only doctors and engineers could afford
a house like this.
The two-story house was an eclectic mix of Spanish Colonial, Craftsman,
and Monterey. It was brown and cream and sported four structures, two on
each side, front and back. Each structure had the appearance of individual
towers with spires, and Eric suddenly saw a small castle under the moonlight.
Eric knew that the house had a pool before he had seen it, and he wouldn’t
have been surprised to find a tennis court as well. There was an electric-blue
recreational speedboat by Champion lurking behind the tail of a black Grand
Cherokee 4×4 in the driveway. Eric wondered briefly, Where is the Jag? The
Jaguar, as it would turn out, was an XKR Cabriolet, and it sat in the garage
next to the BMW Z8.The house also had access to a ridge-line trail system
for hiking and horseback riding, leading to a network of pedestrian trails and
scenic overlooks. Children in the neighborhood would no doubt attend the
award-winning Riverview Unified School District.
Eric had felt strangely out of place as he rang the doorbell of the castle.
He felt even stranger when the owner of the house opened the door.
The house belonged to a gentleman who couldn’t have been five years
older than Eric. He had worn khaki shorts and a Polo shirt. He seemed anxious
to have his Hi-Tech television delivered. He had waited two days for it and
was about to bust. Eric had meant to be friendly, complimentary, and witty,
when he said, “I thought that only doctors and engineers could afford a place
The man had looked at Eric suspiciously. “I am an engineer,” he said
defensively. The man would be even more shielding and suspicious when
the large box that should have contained the television was finally opened.
There was no Hi-Tech, wide-screen TV. Instead, in the box where the
engineer’s pride should have been, there were twelve rocks. Each stone
weighed in the neighborhood of twenty to thirty pounds.
Eric was horrified. He couldn’t quite read the face on the gentleman that
had expected the wide-screen television, but he assumed that the man was as
astonished as he was sorely pissed.
The next hour had passed like something out of a dream. Eric did all
within his power to prove his innocence in the situation, and his boss had
called him on his pager wanting to know why he was so damned late getting
Eric quit his position as a courier a week later.
Now, James Rhodes, tapping his keyboard proficiently, said, “What were
you doing in ’97?”
Eric was about to answer when he experienced the sensation of having a
grain of salt lodged in his eye. In response to the sudden discomfort, Eric
stuck his thumb in his left eye, pushed, twisted. His eye started to tear fiercely.
And he began slowly shaking his head back and forth.
“What seems to be the problem, Mr. Hawthorne?” Rhodes sounded
annoyed at this sudden activity that sprang up out of nowhere.
“Oh, nothing,” Eric growled to himself, rubbing at his eye. It really started
to smart. “It’s just my contact lens.”
“I see,” Rhodes said with a frown.
But he didn’t see. Not really. Nor did he care. He had no knowledge that
Eric wore contacts. He didn’t know that the contact lenses were extended
wear. He didn’t know that Eric was told that he could sleep in them up to
three days before having to remove them for cleaning. And he didn’t now
that Eric’s right eye produced more tears than his left. Rhodes had no idea
that Eric’s wife Nicole had admonished him to remove his contacts before
retiring to bed every night, regardless of what the doctor said. Eric’s eyes
weren’t like the eyes of most. They dried up. Quickly. Sometimes too quickly.
And Eric was often times caught offguard and hit without warning when the
little buggers did so, causing significant discomfort to the eyes that they
rested in. First the left. Then the right. It was like clockwork. Rhodes had no
knowledge of any of this. Furthermore, he didn’t know that it was the long
hours of sitting in the same room with the same climate that was responsible
for drying the lens out or that by the time Eric was through here, he would
have the slightest of scratches on his cornea. If he had known, he wouldn’t
have cared about any of it, one way or the other. This little show was taking
up his precious time.
It was professionalism not compassion that prompted Rhodes to say, “Is
there something that I can do to help?”
“Do you have a paper cup or something?” Eric asked. He could feel his
eye getting redder with each moment that passed.
“How about a Kleenex?”
Goddammit, man. Don’t you realize that a Kleenex will scratch the lens?
This is what Eric almost spewed on the nice minister. He refrained, however,
from doing so. Instead, growling with pain, teeth clenched, he replied, “A
Kleenex will scratch the lens.”
Eric’s nose started to run as Rhodes got up from his chair. The sigh of
aggravation that refused to escape his lips was easily found in his stolid
movement as he left his office. Eric no longer cared about the attitude of the
minister; he was busy trying to pry his left lens free with thumb and forefinger.
Eric felt as if the room had spun briefly before he was finally able to remove
the damnable lens from his eye. Now his perspective was really screwed. He
could see just fine with his right eye. But everything visually presented to
his left eye was a blur.
The waxed cup echoed with the soft impact of its base hitting the surface
of the minister’s desk as Rhodes placed it down in front of the partially blind
man. Eric grabbed the cup and placed his lens in it. Rhodes sat back down in
his chair. It squeaked as he did so.
“What were you doing in ’97?” Rhodes asked perfunctory.
“Could I have a Kleenex?” Eric replied.
“I thought you didn’t need one.” This time Eric did hear the minister sigh.
“It’s for my nose. My nose is—”
Rhodes pulled open the bottom left drawer and quickly drew out a box of
tissue paper. With his eyes on his computer, the minister handed the box to
“What were you doing in ’97?”
Eric blew his nose with a resounding honk, and suddenly he couldn’t
remember what he was doing in ’97. Now you’ve gone and done it. You blew
your brains right out of your nose.
Eric bit his lower lip slightly to hold back the bray of laughter.
I don’t think that the minister will find that humorous. I wonder who
kicked his cat. I wonder who stuck the corncob right up in his ass.
Eric almost lost it at that. He could feel himself starting to perspire as he
forced back his joviality.
Okay enough. I’ve got to figure out what I was doing in ’97. (’97 ’97 ’97
And then, as his mind was periodically subject to do while he was trying
to focus extensively on something—wracking his brain, the little people in
the sweatshop of his mind decided to play a trick on him. And so, a vision
rose up and came into play from out of the blue. And suddenly, Rhodes was
different. He was still the same minister and coordinator sitting in a squeaky
chair. But now he was wearing different attire. Where his cream colored suit
had been, there was now the deep blue uniform of Napoleon. This would
have been bad enough, except for the simple fact that Napoleon wasn’t
wearing his hat. Instead the little people in the sweatshop had replaced the
hat that he had previously wore so proudly, and now Napoleon wore a tin
bucket. Eric saw the minister actually bite into the bucket’s thin handle as it
came down around his head and under his upper lip.
Get a grip, man. Get a grip.
Somewhere in the midst of twisted hilarity Eric found the strength to say,
“Parts Warehouse. I was working for the Parts Warehouse, in ’97.”
“Which parts warehouse?”
“The Parts Warehouse. That’s what it was called. They’re out of business
now, couldn’t afford proper air-conditioning to work in.”
Rhodes typed the information into his computer.
He said, “What were you doing in ’96?”
Eric knew that answer to that. “I was working for Arkansas RV sales and
Two years after graduating from the Light House Computer Jobs Training
course and Eric was hired as parts representative/parts runner, and sometimes
acolyte for the apprentice-technicians ARV. The Light House was a homeless
shelter that offered, among other things, the opportunity to learn computer
skills for office work. And although Eric had learned software and computer
skills in the eight months of attending the Light House, he hardly utilized
any of those skills at his job with ARV. He would have like to, but his job
didn’t call for it. It didn’t matter that Eric had the knowledge to utilize such
skills. The fact was that he had also been previously homeless like many
other good, deserving, and chronically unfortunate people of the early 1990’s.
And because of that homelessness situation, when it came to filling out
applications and holding his own through the inevitable flesh-flaying
ceremonies known as interviews, Eric’s work history showed two things that
were somehow always misinterpreted by potential employers: Eric has
traveled a lot in the past 8 years; Eric hasn’t held a job ANYWHERE for
more than a year!
The red flag waved. And so it was that Eric was lucky to be working as a
parts representative/parts runner, and sometimes acolyte for the apprentice-technicians for ARV. Why? Because (the world sucks?) after a month of
looking for work, it was the only place available at that time that would hire
him. Ten months later after almost popping the technician’s manager in the
mouth, Eric terminated his position with Arkansas RV.
“What were you doing in ’95?”
After graduating from the Light House Computer Jobs Training course,
Eric took a job as a caregiver. It was again probably one of the best positions
that Eric had held. It was certainly the most interesting, and in most cases the
most rewarding. Eric saw to the needs of a quadriplegic gentleman Burt
Conway, who was a published writer and the cousin of a woman that wrote
sitcoms for a living. Lisa Bloodmoore Thomas had written extensively for
television, and her work included, but was not limited to, the 4077. Her
success made it possible to take care of her cousin in a comfortable manner,
allowing him to live in a lavish condominium off Riverfront Drive. Her wealth
allowed for her to pay the rent and see to all of her cousin’s needs without
ever having to see to him. She did see him of course: once on Christmas, and
again on Conway’s birthday. That is, of course, when her hectic schedule
allowed it. Eric had spoken to her briefly on the telephone, and she seemed
like a wonderful person. He knew it was easy to be wonderful when you
“Now if you need anything, Eric, don’t hesitate to call me.”
How about putting in a good word for me in Hollywood? Did I tell you
that I could act?
Words pointless. Never spoken. Lisa had never known that Eric had been
homeless previous to his employment. She had never known that he was an
aspiring writer. Neither did Lisa know that Eric turned down the opportunity
for a screen-test when he was thirteen—and boy could he act! No. None of
these things were said because they were mute and had nothing to with how
well Conway was being taken care of. For eight months, Eric’s life took a
secondary seat to a man who had been paralyzed for more than thirty years.
Duties included, but were not limited to, bathing the man and cleaning him
and his bed when he soiled it. In return, Eric made eight hundred dollars a
month and had absolutely no expenses to pay. When Eric started seeing Nicole
on a regular basis, it was determined by Conway that the young man’s services
were no longer needed.
Rhodes said, “Well, Mr. Hawthorne, I believe we are through. I have just
a few things to say before I give you your assignment.”
Eric leaned in, focusing on the man with his good eye, his other clamped
“I don’t like you, Mr. Hawthorne,” the minister said flatly. “I don’t know
what it is about you, but I’ve always been a man to trust my gut, and my gut
says that you’re a bad egg.”
Eric looked flabbergasted for half a second, then recovered his composure
briskly. “I’m not sure that I understand.”
“I think that you do. Furthermore, I think that you’re smarter than you
want us all to believe. All those questions in class about the law, one would
think that you were a lawyer instead of a security guard.”
Eric had asked, if someone were trying to steal a pickle from a store, was
it a felony or a misdemeanor? Along with that, he had asked if someone were
caught taking money out of a payphone, if it were a felony or misdemeanor?
He had wanted to know what he could put a person under arrest for. He had
said, “I want to know what a person can get away with.”
Perhaps his sentence had been structured poorly. Perhaps it should have
been structured better.
“I think that the security officers should be familiar with misdemeanors
“Indeed they should,” Rhodes said almost agreeably. “Interesting that
none of the other applicants asked any questions remotely similar to your
Eric frowned. “I can’t determine what people are going to say, sir. I can
only determine what I am going to say. And I really don’t think that I like the
direction that this is going.”
“You can quit now and save us all a lot of time and money, Mr. Hawthorne,”
Rhodes said with a smile.
“Excuse me, but do you treat all of your applicants this way? Because if
you do, I think your superiors should know about it.”
“Don’t threaten me, Mr. Hawthorne. I have been with this company more
than ten years. It’s the first and last position that I ever intend to have. Unlike
you, I have stayed with a company and climbed that company’s ladder, with
loyalty, while you have obviously skated through your entire life answering
only to yourself.”
“Congratulations. I believe that this conversation is over. I’m (dealing
with an idiot?) going to get my assignment from someone else, as you
evidently don’t seem to know where it is.”
“If you mention this conversation to anyone, I will deny your words, and
as a practicing minister, the company will believe me before they believe
“If you keep this up, we’re liable to find out just how quickly too.”
“I know about your suit against Sureguard. I’m well aware of the fact that
you know your rights. Now I will tell you something that you don’t know:
You are out of your league if you think that you can take this company down,
for any reason.”
Not the company; just you, you psycho.
“We aren’t nationwide. We are worldwide.”
“What do you want from me?” Eric asked incredulously. How did he
always manage to find the crackpots?
“Do you believe in God, Mr. Hawthorne?”
Eric felt like he had suddenly sidestepped into the Twilight Zone. Once
again. What did his belief in a higher power, or lack thereof, have to do with
A moment of silence too long and Rhodes pushed on. “Your hesitation is
all I needed. You are obviously not a Christian, Mr. Hawthorne, if you even
believe in God. And people that don’t believe in God are bad eggs.”
How did he always find the crackpots? Was it his lot in life? he wondered.
“Mr. Rhodes, I would like to leave now, with my assignment, if you don’t
“Would you now?”
“Very well, Mr. Hawthorne. I think the sooner that we are out of each
other’s hair, the better.”
Send the psycho to the head of the class!
Rhodes reached into a large file drawer to his right. After thumbing through
the alphabetized color-coded folders, the minister removed one that had
Landers Chrysler stamped on it. He dropped the folder on his desk. Opened
“You will go to the Landers Chrysler on Landers Road.”
“In Sherwood?” Eric said, stifling a feeling of hope. Sherwood was less
than a ten-minute drive from where he lived. It would be a breeze commuting
back and forth to work.
“No. In Benton.”
On the other hand, Benton was a forty-five minute drive.
“There you will see Mathew Barringer, and he will see to your assignment
on the site. Questions?”
“What time do I need to be at the site?” Eric asked pointedly.
“You will arrive before eight o’clock a.m. Do not be late. You will work
until eight p.m., or until somebody relieves you. Questions?”
“Good. I will be keeping my eye on you, Mr. Hawthorne. You can bet
your bottom dollar on that. And I will be watching you very closely. Do I
make myself clear?”
Are you a megalomaniac-inbred moron?
“Yes,” Eric answered.
I believe that he is.
“Good. Off you go then.”
I used to walk the straight and narrow line
I used to think that everything was fine
Sometimes I’d sit and gaze for days through sleepless dreams
All alone and trapped in time…
“Pariah, cursive by multi-talented creator and Timothy Goodwin, is a power fiction, a vision that incorporates some rattling ideas to what is criminal with today’s world.
The characters are colorfully portrayed and the battles were
Eric Hawthorne has bipolar disease, it’s hard for him to hold a job. Going to work at Storms Palafox Securitiese as a Security Guard wasn’t what he really wanted but it would help pay the bills. What he really wanted was to be an author.
When Eric is involved in an auto accident, he is thrown into another world. Becoming someone else in this new realm, Eric must battle to survive to make it back to the love of his life.
Timothy Goodwin has created a wonderful book that will keep you on the edge of your chair until the last page. There are twist and turns that you don’t expect at all. I highly recommend this book. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work.
Timothy Goodwin takes science-fiction and fantasy and melds them together perfectly in his novel “Pariah,” the combination and congruity of the two genres as well as the blending of fantasy and reality makes for a sensational tale that will keep the reader turning pages! I reccomend “Pariah” to any reader—not just those that read science-fiction and fantasy, but those who also read western and horror novels as well! You won’t be disappointed.
Timothy Goodwin’s vibrant writing style brings to life “Pariah’s” protagonist Eric Hawthorne, who grapples with bipolar disorder, employment woes and heart wrenching childhood memories. With a pleasing backdrop of passion and love, Eric manages to muddle through until, following a serious car accident, he finds himself in an exotic and vivid world, light years away from home. He is at once disturbed and awestruck as he faces the physical and mental challenges of forced assimilation. Goodwin’s astounding imagination is reflected in the creation and machinations of this shocking world Eric fights to escape.
With poignancy and finesse, Goodwin conveys a refreshing worldview through Eric. He masterfully leads readers to yearn for the disenchanted Eric’s success, as they would a loved one’s. Goodwin is at his best as he shines a glaring spotlight on the disingenuous proselytizing of the overly pious. I highly recommend this enlightening book and the unparalleled journey that comes with it.
- Review by Laura Somers, Author of “Didn’t See It Coming.”
Although the reviews were decent the science-fiction fantasy novel “Pariah” was not seen by the audience that it was intended for, as it was published in 2004 by Publish America—a rather lax Print on Demand publishing company, that does little or nothing at all to represent their authors; let this be a lesson to all people who are approached by POD publishers, or self-publishers requiring payment from you to publish your work. I wear the albatross around my neck on behalf of PA; and will continue to do so, until I am no longer under contract by them in 2011. Be that as it may, I offer it to you for your entertainment value, and let you determine the integrity of my work.
Following a tragic accident, Eric Hawthorne is catapulted into a fantastic realm where time slides sideways and where a world of shadows determines the fate of mankind. This is a place where monsters, angels, and demons, deities and demigods fight for supremacy.