Prologue: Chapter Zero

Zero

As per the recommendation of my incredible and beautiful therapist, I’m writing this little memoir from the foldable dining table in my camper trailer, where I live. That’s a confusing statement. Allow me to clarify intent. Dr. Terrance, my brain doctor, recommended me to write the memoir. She had no say as to where I write it.

I strategically chose the cramped locale of my creative office. The imagination works like any engine—the burning of fuel. Some authors, the millennial authors ala my mother’s verbiage, sat in cafes and powered their creative minds with caffeine. I prefer my burning essence in the ways of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Poe, Capote, Joyce—the most established and timeless of my literary peers. 

You see, Dr. Terrance, directly to the right of where I currently sit is a plastic Batman toddler’s sip cup. It’s the old school Batman—gray suit, blue cape, big yellow writing set inside the blocky form of a bat. From it, I drink Cava de Oro straight. The classic tequila bottle stands on the kitchen counter, which from the dimensions of a travel trailer, is within leaning-over and reaching-out distance from my carpeted booth seat. 

I have discovered through exhaustive trial and error that I produce more words while intoxicated. I don’t know if I write better while drinking, but I write more honestly. That’s all writing is, no? Baring your soul naked to the world in a fit pure of honesty.

That’s a deep-thought for only participating in half my first no-spill cup of booze. 

Enough self back patting. Let me tell you a a little about me, myself, and I. My name is Atticus Samuel Gibson. As a kid, my friends called me Atti, likening it to a girl’s name. They meant no apparent harm by childish act, but succeeded into performing a world of mental disaster on my developing psyche. I finally worked up the courage and enlightened those neanderthals that I hated their nickname. To their credit, they understood my plight and accepted my insecurities on the matter, deciding to call me Sammy instead. As an adult with a little more self-assurance than a hormonal boy afraid to make eye contact with a member of the opposite sex, I’ve grown quite fond of Atti, and quite cynical of Sammy. 

I also respond to Atticus or Gibson. 

But never Cus—not that anyone has ever called me Cus. But if someone decided to take up that mantle, I would hate it. The name just sounds too harsh, like the German language. Speaking of harsh words, I’m a founding and an avid member of the No Cussing Club on Facebook. We’re a group of like-minded people who others describe as ‘buckets of fun at parties,’ though I find that description more facetious than accurate.

Speaking of accurate, that entire last paragraph is false… mostly. You’ll notice that about me. I tend to spew a lot of false information just for the darn heck of it. I find misleading commentary amusing. I was being honest when I said I don’t cuss, though. I don’t refrain because I stand on some higher, moral-ground or have a snobby, nose-up stance on colorful language. It’s a simple case of my mother couldn’t tolerate a dirty mouth. She legitimately cringed whenever someone said damn or hell. And if the F-bomb was tossed in her direction, well let’s just say she proved there are more violent and terrifying displays of verbal abuse than cursing someone out. To honor her beautiful memory though, I refuse to dirty my tongue and pollute the air around me with such filthy words.

Quick break in the action to take a delicious sip of anejo tequila. It tastes like syrup. 

Alright. What else do you need to know about me before we jump headfirst into this dark, violent, maelstrom of a story? 

I’m what’s known as a Mage, previously a Wizard of the Eodex Order. I know there’s a lot to unpack in that sentence. What’s a Mage? What’s a Wizard? What the flip is the Eodex Council? Those are all very astute and relevant questions… questions which I cannot answer, yet. You see, Dr. Terrance, my mother gave twenty years of her life teaching high school English, and ten years as an English professor. To define terms in the style of an information dump would warrant her spirit to descent from Heaven and haunt me. 

I will provide you with a brief illustration, though, to at least ground you in my world. 

You know that Harry Potterguy? Well, I’m a little like him, except I’m in my thirties, have a lot more tattoos, refuse to use a wand, and am much more attractive. However, like Mr. Potter, I have some very unique scars. And I once was, more or less, a real-life Auror. My job was to track down and, depending on the assignment, thwart supernatural threats threatening our world. Actually, let’s rewind a few sentences, because it’s easier than deleting. Have you ever heard of George Lucas and his Star Wars creation? The Eodex Order has some strikingly eery similarities to the Jedi Order, and the Eodex Wizards are strangely comparable to the Jedi Knights. But my membership within the Order happened before… well, I won’t spoil every thing in the prologue. I was a Jedi Knight, and now I’m the magical version of Liam Neeson. 

Gosh darn tequila has my fingers saying too much. And my mom said never to erase when writing, but to move forward and edit later. So, you’re stuck with what I gave you… unless, of course, I decide to revise in a second or third draft. 

Let’s move on. 

As you know, Dr. Terrance, my arcane aptitude is why we’ve negotiated the steep five-hundred dollars per hour, once a week, three Tuesdays a month sessions. It’s also why I’m drunk on a Wednesday morning, drinking tequila from a Sippy Cup, and spilling my heart onto the computer screen. The process, you said, would be cathartic for me… would help me tap into fuzzy memories and piece together unfinished puzzles or see patterns previously unnoticed… and help you better understand this strange world of magic. 

Per instructions, you are having me to start from the beginning. But the beginning is a confusing matter, because life is just a series of beginnings. A new year. A new day. A new hour. A new relationship. Ends are always followed by beginnings. 

I told you that, and you rolled her eyes at me.

Your words: “The Big Bang.” 

Me: “I’m a creationist.” I only said that to be annoying because you had given me homework.

“The Big Bang of your life, Atticus. We all have one big moment in our lives that defines who we are. What was that moment for you? I want you to write from that moment forward.” 

Well, the joke is on you, Dr. Terrance. 

My life—much like the Old and New Testament—has two defining Big Bangs. For the sake of clarity, not repetition, there’s the Old Atticus. He’s dead. Gone. Dust in the wind. You will briefly meet him in the first couple chapters of this story. Then there’s the New Atticus, which is the me you are so very fond of.

Dr. Terrance, if you actually read this stream-of-consciousness memoir—quick aside, what’s the difference between a memoir and an autobiography?—about my life, then know I’m sorry for the sarcasm and the occasional crass jokes. You’ve studied my psyche for almost a year now. You know I deflect and cope with my issues through humor, often dark and socially inappropriate humor. But also, I’m not sorry. You asked me to do this.

Enjoy the story of how I rose from the dead.

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