“The imagination is a playground of unlimited potential. A place without borders or rules. The ultimate sandbox.” JSM

 

Chapter Eighteen

Downward Spiral

 

 

While the imagination may be a powerful tool, it means nothing if ignored.

My imagination has become an ingrained part of my day to day life. I call my imagination the “3D Overlay” (I know, everything has to have a name, right?).  It has other titles too but for the moment, the Overlay will suffice.

My simple philosophies and outlooks unfortunately make me to see life as “boring”. We wake, we eat, we work/attend schooling, we deal with the mundane, forced to maintain routines, we sleep a portion of life away, and it’s even to the point where available social time and recreational activities can be viewed as repetitive and structured.

The Overlay allows me to see life in a diverse fashion. Call it a coping mechanism.

The origin of the 3D Overlay is deeply rooted in the old life, and I’ll chat about that in upcoming chapters because I feel as though it’s a story that must be shared. It was developed with the assistance from a man who, for the purpose of the tale I have named, Merlin.

To explain the Overlay, I will keep it as simple as possible.

Each time I enter new surroundings or unfamiliar territory I go through a process of “scoping everything out”. I look to the ceiling, I search out emergency exits, elevators, and I jot a mental notation of everyone around me.  I examine the architecture, the art hanging on the walls, details of the room, the signs posted above and beside doors and once I feel as though I’ve covered it all, I bring up the Overlay.

Now, while sitting in a waiting room or the lobby of a bank, the doctor’s office or where ever, and glancing to the posted beams crisscrossing the ceiling overhead, I see Jackie Chan fighting mafia assassins and ninjas; dancing silently through the air above everyone in the room.

I peer through the windows of the twentieth floor office building and ponder, if the structure was suddenly captured by evil doers, or caught fire, could I make the jump to the roof on the other side and survive?

It’s involuntary. Bringing up the Overlay now is as normal as breathing. No matter where I am, or what I’m doing, I see my world through this virtual shroud.  While I snicker and smile at my superimposed conjured concoctions from time to time, the Overlay can indeed be distracting.

At the end of the meeting with the government officials, I stopped fighting the battle in my mind and allowed my imagination to consume me. Everyone has a breaking point right?  There are indeed straws that break the camel’s back.

After today, I would never be the same again.

 

*****

 

“Please have a seat. Does anyone want a glass of water?”  I asked the two well-dressed men as they helped themselves to the table and opened their cases to withdraw important documents.

A simultaneous robotic “no thank you” came from both.

I sat down at the head of the table, folded my hands on the surface and the man closest to me sighed, “Ok, Jeremy, according to the statement and the diagram, the plow truck was on the right side of the road in the breakdown lane, then proceeded to back up and cross both lanes of the street, correct?”

I glanced over my notes on the paperwork that was filled out on the night of the accident, my police report, double checking the drawings and details and nodded my agreement, “Yes, that’s correct.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to amend it in anyway? Are you sure this is exactly how it happened”

“Of course that’s how it happened. I was sliding down the road, breaks locked up, and the driver cut into my path.  I had to decide what to do. Even the driver admitted he was in error.”

One lawyer looked to the other and butterflies wiggled in my stomach.

“Very well,” the other replied straight-faced as a calculator device was pulled out from a briefcase, “As lawyers representing the state, we are obligated to inform you that we’re willing to ‘negotiate in this manner’. (I won’t put you through the legal crap) As the state accepts the blame and fault in this case, we are willing to provide you with ‘This’ reimbursement.”

The lawyer across the table punched a series of numbers on his calculator and a total was deposited on a small slip of paper where everything was categorized accordingly.

What the calculated amount equaled to was what the state believed a person was worth in a dollar amount based on finances, loss of material possession, and social stature. “With the cost of the damages and the loss of personal items accompanied with the financial situation, here is what the state is willing to take care of.”

“So… I’m still without a car. You’re willing to recoup the cost of the damages, but not replace the vehicle. Even though it’s your fault. Admitted…”

“Yes. That’s correct.  What you see is what you get.”

“Which totals nothing. OK… what would happen if I wanted to fight this and have you replace the car, plus pay off any existing debt? An actual lawsuit if you will. That amount is obviously flawed and absurd.”

He leaned forward and attempted to hide a growing smile, “That’s not how this works. You see, this is the way it is. We have contingencies in place in the event situations arise such as this one, the procedures and protocols will always be the same. Nothing is going to change. If you decide to fight it, like you say, it could be years and years before it even sees court.  Are you willing to go years, waiting, hoping, and thinking?  Lawyer fees, paperwork… Quite a gamble. This is what’s offered and we suggest taking it. If you decided to take it to court, then what is currently being offered is no longer on the table.”

“End of story?” I replied leaning back, crossing my arms in defeat but wanting to remain defiant.

“End of story,” He responded devoid of emotion as the paperwork was stuffed back inside their containers and they rose from their seats. “You’ll be seeing documents and paperwork arriving in the mail which will show and explain everything.  We suggest keeping them for your personal records and if there are any other questions, here is a card, we’re available if needed.  Have a nice day.”

A family man with no vehicle. Back to relying on others while saving up money. Bastards. Sure could use a miracle right now.

No miracle. It’s never that easy.

The lawyers drove away and I turned to the garbage can. The corners of my mouth turned down as I gave the business card a once over before tearing it in half and tossing the pieces in the rubbish.

Another unwinnable battle.

My legs felt weak and wobbly as options continued to diminish and a heavy blanket of despair wrapped around my brain. Waves of nausea ebbed and flowed in my guts and I felt the need to sit on the floor.

Can’t fully be sure of what happened next but I tapped into an event from my past, shot up from the cold tiles and went outside. Snapped maybe? Did I snap?  In hindsight, I believe I may have cracked under the pressure.

Cracked to the point where I left the house on foot, wandered into the heaviest and most populated area I could find, sat down on a park bench… and destroyed an entire city.

I leveled it to powder and smoldering ash with nothing more than the power of my thoughts.

 

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