Saturday, April 17, 2010

PSYCHOPOMP - CHAPTER EIGHT (Twitter Novel / Keitai Shousetsu)

To start at Chapter One, click here

Over the course of the next few days KG learns that he had every right to be apprehensive about the Paxil withdrawal. It’s not as bad as it was made out to be on the depression / anxiety boards; it’s actually worse. The constant crying jags and the feeling of being on the edge of losing control at any time would be enough in itself. What pushes Paxil withdrawal up and over into a whole new world of “discomfort” are the physical effects, which are formidable. Walking results in strange electric shocks that shoot up from KG’s heel in a direct line to the top of his skull. His skin becomes so hot and prickly at times that he wishes he could just tear it all off. His jaw aches with a strange feeling akin to chewing on tinfoil, and needless to add, his sleep is disturbed in several different, original ways.

As background to this torture, however, are the first stirrings of something else, which KG can only assume is the Comaxyn. Between rushes of withdrawal symptoms he goes through periods of an almost placid centering, and has become self-aware enough (to the point of self-absorption) due to his mental illness that he is able to discern the new pacifying effect of the Comaxyn from a momentary respite from the Paxil withdrawal. KG spends a lot of time on the anxiety/depression boards this week, trying to find anything that can tell him how to shorten/lessen the withdrawal effects, but seemingly the only curative is time. He continues to find little on Comaxyn either except for messages from others who are trying it out for the first time and looking for more information. KG simply joins their ranks and waits until he can gauge how well it is working for him before he posts any kind of personal assessment. Additionally, he sends an e-mail apology to Matty.

Other than this there is work, and work is slow and unsatisfying. KG does more smoking and fretting than usual, and finds his mind drifting to terrible places if he does not quickly take it in hand. He ends up relying on a technique taught to him by an old counselor (not a very good one) who stated that a good way to address intrusive thoughts and painful memories is to get some distance on them by ranking the memories in terms of “most devastating” to “least devastating” and thereby putting yourself in a judgmental position outside the emotional context. KG has had limited success with this technique in the past but has run out of other ideas and energy to fight. So he begins whittling the chaos in his head down into the Top 3 Most Devastating Things Ever Said to KG. After an arduous elimination round, he finally lists them in ascending order:

3. “You don’t fucking love me. You love your...condition.”

2. “You know when would’ve been a better time to figure all this out, Cage? Anytime before right now. Literally anytime.”

And coming in strong at Number One:

1. “We’re all alone, kid. Always.”

By the time the week crawls to a close KG feels that for once he has truly earned his dinner out at Phuket, the only Thai restaurant in town. He only hopes that he is able to enjoy it.

Go to Chapter Nine


Paul said...

He's very closely and carefully observed this character. Great technique in the exposition too, a gradual and unobtrusive unfolding of the story.

tipota said...

that was intense jason. i hope he can enjoy his dinner too. and that his withdrawal symptoms dissipate soon. geez i really care about KG, he comes alive. he wrote an apology, in the context of his ups and downs, that was really a stunner of an image too. great writing! congrats!

Jason Gusmann said...

hey paul - i'm pleased you like the technique. i've been reading a lot of william t. vollmann and i've been struck by how he uses whatever angle he wishes, even if it breaks the fourth wall (so to speak), similar to some of the freedom i feel in yr poetry.

hey tipota - you are very special.