(if you missed Part 1, you’re gonna be confused)
I was so relaxed and filled with euphoria and a sense of purpose in the world 1the idea being, at the time, that I’d shake people from their complacency or something, sitting in the deep red light in my empty bathtub, jammin’ out on some Tiamat 2specifically this track, on an endless loop when the loud bang echoed through the air. It almost felt like it shook the apartment, like a tiny little earthquake.
I immediately jumped up, ran out to the living room and saw… very few people in there. Maybe 10, in total. I said “where is everyone?”, and just got a series of “uhh..”, “umm..”, “well, like, uh…” and I said “where’s Sean?”. No one knew who Sean was. Of course, these were mostly people who didn’t even know who the hell I was, much less who the guy in charge of security was. As I walked towards the front door, Sean was holding a beer in one hand and the rest of him was just draped over and on and around some girl he was kissing. Still don’t know who that would’ve been. I tried to say “Sean! what the fuck!”, but I think I just said “Shaa…..” and opened my front door instead.
What I saw was, to my fried brain, almost post-apocalyptic. My bassist, Madt 3we had two Matts in the band – one we named Madt, the other we named Noyzgimp and this weird quiet kid, Dan 4not Nad – he’s an entirely different guy were standing at the top of the stairs that led down from my front porch, staring ahead. What they were staring at was this 20-foot long eucalyptus tree branch — thick, like the trunk of a eucalyptus tree would be — lying smack dab in the middle of the stairway. I looked up, and I could barely see the height from which it fell. If anyone had been standing there, they’d be injured terribly and perhaps dead. Thankfully, no one was standing there when it fell. I said “WHAT THE FUCK?” and both Dan and Madt just looked at me and said “It… it fell”. They were in disbelief, too.
Just down from the stairwell, on the ground level, there was a little courtyard with a bench and a few short (maybe 10-foot) lamp posts. Sitting on the bench was this girl Anne, who was the shy/quiet Christian one. She was just sitting there, like it was a quiet day in the park. Scattered around her were the remnants of all the glass that once stood atop the lamp posts. Both lightbulbs were also missing from the lamp posts. One of the posts, itself, was crooked like someone had been trying to pull it out of the ground. Over to one side, there was some nutcase walking around with a piece of the fallen branch, smacking it against things, just making noise. He even hit a few windows with it, but thankfully didn’t break any of them. A few other people were walking around with the glass domes from other lamp posts sitting atop their head, like they were aquatic explorers. They even acted like they were underwater. I did a quick head-count and realized that the sum of all the people in my apartment plus all the people out here in the courtyard, I was still 6 people short.
I was also furious. But I didn’t want to wake anyone. So, I had to do a weird yelling/whisper thing and say “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?”. It kinda worked. Everyone stopped in their tracks. I continued on a rant, as I made my way down the stairs. “Do you people need parental fucking guidance? How hard is it to just stay in a nice, calm, relaxing environment with a bunch of cool people and do acid and not fucking break anything? Why the hell are the lamps all shattered? Where are the lightbulbs? Why do you have a fucking branch? Why are you hitting things with it? Why the fuck are you all out here? Get back inside!”. Most of them complied. Two of them, people I didn’t know, just wandered off and I never saw them again.
I grabbed Madt and said we needed to find the others. I put Dan in charge of security. He was quiet, but he looked like Marilyn Manson, so goth kids just instantly loved him. That worked like a charm, and no one else escaped before sunrise.
While Madt and I walked around the complex, we didn’t see anyone. We didn’t even see signs of anyone. It was really eery. My apocalyptic semi-joke was starting to feel kinda real. Madt and I were actually laughing about it, like “who the fuck doesn’t wake up when a goddamned eucalyptus branch falls and crashes on a metal stairwell at 2am?”. We continued walking, continued making apocalypse jokes, never seeing so much as a light on in someone’s apartment and a shadow walking past. When we returned to the apartment, a head-count showed we were only missing those 2 mysterious people who wandered off.
We kept everyone indoors and finished out the trip without incident.
Until the next morning.
When someone I didn’t know woke me up and said “uhh.. there’s some lady at the door looking for you”.
I opened the door, and it was 2 of the managers of the complex. The first thing she said was “I see you have a cat. That’s not on your lease”. I thought “well, that’s an easy fix” but she quickly followed it by listing off a number of other infractions — destruction of common grounds, noise complaints, exceeding the max capacity of people in a single apartment, sub-letting the spare room without notifying them of new tenants, leaving beer bottles at the pool area… and that’s when I jumped in with “I don’t even drink! I didn’t do that! I’m very clean at the pool area!”. She laughed, as if to say “riight, riiight, cause that’s the big one”. They gave me a notice to vacate within 2 weeks and wandered off. I looked out, and the tree trunk was gone. There wasn’t a single leaf in sight. The lamp posts were looking good as new. I thought I’d imagined it, until I read the details of all the shit they picked up outside and around my apartment before delivering my eviction notice to me.
It was not a hallucination.
While people will tell you, as they told me at the time, “they can’t just make you move out that quickly!” — the laws in Phoenix, AZ aren’t as kind to renters as they are in Los Angeles, CA. Also, what was I gonna do? Stay and piss them off, biding my time for no fucking reason? That’s what fucking lunatics and assholes do. I’m at least better than that — I was willing to accept the terrible decisions I made that got me evicted.
Instead of fighting it, I ended up moving into the shithole. Which kinda signaled the beginning of the end of my time in Phoenix. It’s as if that bang I heard while sitting in that tub, ruminating on the shitty world around me, was an omen that it was time to move the fuck on.
Still… it was a helluva trip.
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↩||the idea being, at the time, that I’d shake people from their complacency or something|
|2.||↩||specifically this track, on an endless loop|
|3.||↩||we had two Matts in the band – one we named Madt, the other we named Noyzgimp|
|4.||↩||not Nad – he’s an entirely different guy|