Hero Apomixis was written during C.A. Seller’s internment in N.Y. state’s notorious maximum security Attica Correctional Facility. A callous often brutal and humorous combination of reality and madness, this novel is an examination of one man’s decent into insanity. READ CHAPTERS ONE & TWO
by Charlie Seller
art by Dan Reece
It had begun to rain. The double glass panes with chicken wire in between them were fogged over. Hero kept still, the yard bell rang, he didn’t think too many guys would be going outside though. The last part of the poem “For Whom The Bell Tolls” kept repeating itself over and over again in his mind.
“ .. any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”
Hero saw the running feet and craned necks of school boys, Saturday-Sunday drivers and convicts as they all scrambled to see who it was fighting or, “is that a car wreck?!” inside Hero’s head.
“Move! I can’t see!”
When he was a boy, the adults all looked older. Maybe it was only the way they carried themselves or his own young interpretations but now that he was a grown man all the adults looked to him like nothing more than big juvenile delinquents with full beards, bad manners and dangerous toys.
Very few men had ever impressed Hero – few that he’d met anyway. Of course he hadn’t been in the most opportune of places, usually, for meeting anyone of any great caliber –
and that opened yet another Pandora’s Box in his mental
house of horrors. And, just whose scale were these men to
be measured on anyway?
“All the good girls in church.”
At least that’s what he’d heard a lot of cons saying for
years though Hero wasn’t very inclined to go looking
for any new friends in church. Besides, it appeared as if
the Christians were having a bad year, what with someone
having declared it open season on them and all. Thousands
of them were praying in stadiums and at roadside shrines,
on the loading docks of countless Winn Dixie Supermarkets and
in the schools: morning prayer would now, finally, be
recognized as the country’s last hope in its battle with
Satan. And, given the opportunity, Hero would have told them:
“Don’t blame God.”
Not for the bad and not for the good. He’d lived with Born
Again Christians and learned that everything they had that
was good was always worthy of an, “Amen, Praise Jesus,”
but they’d missed the next few levels of perception and
interpretation that logically said,
“God sent it All.”
That explained why they’d invented the Devil: to take up
God’s slack and eventually they gave him his own franchise
on BAD sort of like a Mary Kay Cadillac only in black.
Another con once waived a receipt for a money order he’d
received that day, telling Hero,
“See how God works?!”
Hero looked at the ecstatic idiot and just couldn’t resist,
“Yeah, God and the United States Postal Service”
The joke had been wasted on the greedy fat fuck. It had
sailed right over his head twice and would have landed there
but for the huge hole.
Some guys in prison always had to go to church on Sunday.
Some went to get a hand job from one of the homo’s in the
last pew while others more daring would try for a little
back door action in the bathroom. The rest had their gang
meetings or conducted drug deals and guys like Paddy McGuire
held court amongst the white boys, keeping up with all the
latest wires and whatnot and a very small percentage went
to actually try and settle their accounts with “The Man
upstairs” which to Hero meant the armed cop up on the catwalk
watching the chapel and God, who was rumored
to be more of a pimp than the cop, but then again they were
running pretty much neck and neck about that time.
Whenever he heard that someone was going to church, Hero
“Yo, you see God down there, tell’em I said,
And after church, he’d tell them,
“Yo! You just missed him!”
“God! Who else? But, yo, don’t even sweat it, I seen
him, he wasn’t all that.”
Some dudes used to get really offended by him saying these
things to them when they were so seriously trying to get
some religion back in their lives – which made doing it all
that much more fun. They wanted to believe. Then, if they
could get the Parole Board to believe, they were all set.
Hero recalled the story of some miserable piece of shit
that thought he’d got religion. When he came back from the
board he threw that bible clear across the dorm. Amen.
Hero told a group of them once,
“It is part and parcel of the whole that is the hypocrisy
in all these Christians,”
not so much because it was true – which it wasn’t – in fact
it was pure caca but because it sounded so damn good and
he figured that if 2% of the cons listening had understood
what he’d said in the first place, why, it would have been
a miracle as worthy of ecumenical investigation as the
recent report of a purple assed baboon with the sign of
the stigmata – or – an icon in Kazakhstan hidden somewhere
beneath the Caspian Sea that cried tears of Marvel Mystery Oil
and VOS shampoo – alternately – according to the phases
of the moon. Of all these truisms didst Hero telleth them,
and of many things didst he speaketh in those days of terrible
Hero thought of the church as a big haunted house. He
believed that Christ, and most of the other prophets (white
and black), had lived and done miraculous things in the
service of their fellow man but none of that other crap
they’d added, no sir, all that extortion shit had turned
Him into nothing but a po’-pimp’s lookout man. Sheeeit.
Unconditional love. Period. Hero believed in the same
Great Spirit as the American Indians (North and South).
Very simple and very basic yet omnipotent. The great shifting
power, gigantic and crushing, indifferent. The antithesis
of what the “first” Europeans in the “New World” had brought
with them – besides disease that is. Hero could hear them
trying to desperately cop a plea without sounding as if
they didn’t mean it. They didn’t do too good.
“We were wrong, OK?! Sorry! Jesus, it’s not like you never
made any mistakes you know.”
And a defective clone of Cindy Brady they’d sent as a
representative would stick her tongue out backed by her
entire head, pigtails flying every which way, turn around and
march off, another perfect specimen of this civilization’s
latest incarnation of consumer coercion. Five motherfucking
centuries of selling each other shit and lies and then more
shit. The word “penitentiary” came from the word “penance.”
Although Hero thought that maybe something had been lost
in the translation.
“Why, yes .. you’re right, the translation, of course … you’re
a genius, man! How could we have been so blind?! You’ll
see a Nobel Prize at the very least, my boy!”
“Satan is God with a hangover,” Hero said to his shoe.
“What’s ‘at?” Q asked him.
“My shoe .. uh, nothin’, Q, I was just thinkin’ out loud, s’all.
“Satan is God when he’s drunk.”
“What? Hero, you call me?”
“Huh? Nah, sorry, Q.”
Hero and Q never spoke very much and that’s probably why
they’d gotten along so well for so long; they even arranged
their meals via passed notes for more privacy. If he was
lonely, or maybe just masochistic, Hero could always talk
to Jughead, but why? Within ten minutes he’d be thinking
about slitting his own wrists, frustrated that he couldn’t
get to Jughead’s. It always ended in an argument even when
Hero didn’t argue. “ JugFacts” left unanswered and unchallenged
would hang palpably between their cells until the words
that Hero hadn’t spoken to give Jughead the argument he
so desperately yearned for would drive him to start yet
“Piece of shit.”
“Dat was you, Hero?”
Hero had come to notice how all the bullshit artists he’d been forced to listen to in his life, they’d all shared the peculiar habit of telling some ridiculous lie or another and then pause, intensely studying the poor bastard they were holding hostage by exploiting his good manners. What the fuck were they looking for? Such exchanges were unnerving, like the discovery of a cockroach in your bed: you wondered how long had it been there?
This was the same thing Jughead would arrange on the gate
only he wasn’t able to see Hero so he had to relish in
his frustration as reflected by the length of time before
he gave him any answer. Meanwhile, Hero prayed to every
God he could think of that, at the very least, Jughead would
have a speech paralyzing stroke that very moment. Sometimes
Jughead would hold up his small plastic mirror in front
of Hero’s cell and motion in the reflection with his free
hand for him to come closer so no one would hear whatever
nonsense it was that he so clandestinely had to communicate.
Then, while looking at him in the mirror, he would
speak without making any sound so that Hero was expected
to read his lips. He always became very annoyed with Hero’s
inability to understand him. Hero didn’t like speaking eye
to eye with people he wasn’t intimate with in the first place,
never mind that he couldn’t stand having to look at Jughead
murmuring at him in that tiny mirror. He enjoyed a more
broken up eye contact that was part of a totally enveloping
communication which included body language, gesticulation
and vibe. He believed a field of energy existed around everyone
and everything, we just tended to ignore it in our gross
average methods of movement which were too often governed
by base desire; which was ok with Hero, too. He liked himself
in these rare glimpses, this overview as it were, of his
perceived humanity in all its scope. Perceived because
he believed that there was always more and that was the
magic that kept him going. His own worst enemy – his very
best friend. That was part of being all “growed-up” as he’d
recently wrote to an old friend. Your life was a given
when you were eighteen; for Hero it had been a nightmare
struggle of looking inside from out, a social retard with
tools but no experience in their use. Naive, he never thought
he was immortal but things had definitely been easier on
the physical tip than they were now at thirty-five and he
wanted to make sure he lived as long as he could, he wanted
to see what was going to happen next.
“Never trust anyone over thirty,” the kids had said when
Hero was a little boy. Now, forty was right around the corner
and it had taken him thirty-five years and the threat of
an early death at the hands of his own dirty blood and a
disease that had no cure to realize it. Thirty-five years
and Mr. Death kicking back on his liver like it was a fucking
BarcoLounger reminded him that he was mature enough to
care and to think that he just might need a plan to provide
for his comfort later. Hero thought about older guys he’d
known who had fallen on “hard times” (which was just a polite
way of saying that they’d fucked-up). He was looking at
a coin with saw tooth edges. It wasn’t a very pretty picture,
not at all. That wasn’t for him, no way. He figured he still
had about two years to get ready, get set, and Go!
END OF PART ONE OF HERO APOMIXIS
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