Synopsis of Hero Apomixis by C.A. Seller
Hero Apomixis is a work of stream of consciousness written over 22 months while the author was incarcerated in Attica Correctional Facility in 2000/01. A story of tortuous experience at the hands of a broken social services system, bad parenting, and the Prison Industrial Complex, Hero begins to lose his mind as evidenced by fantacide and dreamories only interrupted by prison feedings. Hero is either a victim or a sociopath. The book challenges us to ask, “What would you do?”
“If you like Dante, if you like Bosch, if you like Burroughs, you’ll dig the brutally dark brilliance of C.A. Seller’s HERO APOMIXIS. A rare stroke of ever darkening courage. Welcome to hell.” Ron Whitehead
Hero’s depth perception winked on again – off again –
while the early go-back from the night yard was coming in.
Jughead asked him, “What’s up? You alright in there?”
“Yeah, I’m alright,” he replied rather deadpan. He felt
as much as heard Jughead’s gate crash closed, turned around
to brush his teeth and inspected himself in the mirror.
The whites of his eyes looked like a road map of local routes
outlined in red on a yellow background. His feet were cold
and the floor moved as though it were a tiny seesaw, only
he knew it wasn’t the floor. It was him.
Readying for an early bed he thought again about how
alone he was inside that cell. If a man fell gravely ill
in the night there was no way the cops could hear him calling
out from this far down the gallery – if he could callout
at all. And even sick call was an interrogation
by the police because no one wanted to be bothered
with taking you clear across the jail unless you were really
sick and you’d better be. And that was the better C.Os.
The bad ones would just as soon as leave you right there
for the next shift to handle.
A single C.O. had 2 galleries to cover at night but spent
most of his time out on the bridge over the lobby shooting
the shit with the rest of the cops and drinking coffee.
That’s why Hero couldn’t stand to see them on TV every
time something happened in the jail. They always cried like
they had it so tough in here – that the inmates were terrorizing
them. Oh, it was sooo awful!
There was one in particular who worked Hero’s company
that always made his rounds shining a powerful concentrated
beam of light directly at everyone’s closed eyelids causing
them to not only wake up but to wake up in pain. This was
the guy who your life might depend on. Hero’d heard they
were supposed to walk every 15 minutes – he still didn’t
believe it – it seemed like they only did it twice a night.
Once when they came in and then once more before they went
home. When that cop fucked with Hero’s eyes like that he
woke up and called, “You douche bag!” without any reservations
or consideration for the beating he might get along with
the “Assault on Staff” ticket that would certainly
accompany it. To Hero, sleep was something holy. Something
sacred and not to be fucked with anywhere and especially
not in prison. Technically speaking he‘d once said that it
was the only time he wasn’t inside when he was inside.
The C.O. never said boo about Hero dissing him like that
but he never bothered him with that fucking flashlight again. Hero would have tried to seriously hurt one of them
if they had rolled up on him in his cage that night. They
had absolutely no sense of fair play. He noticed that
a lot of the younger cops were very mouthy. The older ones
weren’t much better but at least there you had a shot at
some kind of mutual respect. The younger ones were just
retarded. Abusive and retarded. Hero thought he deserved
just a little more than that as he’d been coming in and out
for the past 15 years. The entire situation was a reflection
of the immaturity that was coming of age everywhere. He
had 2 words for all that and went to thinking about how
Jimmy must’ve felt every time he sat down to take a shit,
a shower, got undressed, or when he got good and greased
up to get butt-fucked in that bony little black ass of his.
The 2 words were, “Fuckin’ Asshole.”
Hero tried to sleep, tried not to worry about getting
sick in Attica. He was afraid and willed himself to get
better. This was serious biz and he wondered if his liver
wasn’t fucking up in a big way but the symptoms weren’t
there – not enough of them anyway.
“Relax,” he told himself resigned to the fact that it
didn’t pay to worry about something he couldn’t do anything to
change. Hero knew what he needed here. A philosophy like:
EI Borbah , the famous Mexican/Detective/Wrestler in the
comics. “Got to be smart, got to be tough, just like El
Borbah, yeah, that’s the ticket.” He thought the bed had
developed a life of its own and genuinely wished it had.
Something was very wrong with the way his brain was interpreting his body’s senses. It was like being drunk but much
worse and no fun at all either, no, no fun at all. Hero
had never sniffed glue when he was a kid but always
imagined that this was what it would feel like. On the other
hand, he’d smoked angel dust and even snorted the white
powder PCP called “mescaline” in Montreal almost 20 years
before. “Oh, shit!” Hero said when he thought about all
those horror stories he’d heard about bad drugs when he
was a teenager. “What if some of that shit is still inside
my brain or something? I’ll be tripping-out forever. No. No.
A bunch of burnt scrambled eggs filled the screen while
an announcer spoke,
“These are your eggs on dust – GabbaGabba- Hey!”
It did feel a lot like being dusted though. Dust always
fucked with how objects felt and all your other sensory
perceptions like where you thought your body was and time,
too. A whole lot of interesting brain parts were stimulated.
Hero had experienced a mutual precognitive vision on the white
powder PCP and had a friend who’d dealt dust years ago
– a very good artist – who told him about how he’d stacked
pennies on a doorknob upside down while he was high on
dust. A lot of other folks used to smoke entirely too
much of the shit; 4 and 5 bags in one sitting until they
turned into violent retards – or actually – more violent
retards than they already were. Hero was a tea toddler
when it came to dust – the shit was strong and people flipped out
and even died from it sometimes.
His ass shifted as though the whole bed had – slowly vibrating
4 or 5 times and then it didn’t do it again for a while.
“ … is it wrong to gamble or just to lose on this pleasure
Hero stood up to watch smoke exit his mouth in the mirror
from un-inhaled drags of his cigarette. He thought he looked
like some kind of medieval dragon.
“One in 3 dragons who smoke die from it,” some goody-two shoes said in a young, clear, and masculine voice.
“You asshole – they all smoke!” He told the disembodied
voice annoyed at the idea that if someone didn’t know what
they were talking about they should strongly consider
shutting the fuck up. Hero sat back down at his table overlooking
tropical plants leafy and canopy covering the earth
all the way to the waters’ edge: sipping rum and coke, waiting
for another shrimp cocktail. He lit the ha1f a sp1iff of
local kind bud and toked pleasant letting the smoke dream
blue from deep lungs held sweetly long and taste.
“Ahh,” said Hero welcome and warmly when Jassara brought
his shrimp and a small bowl of freshly cut lemon.
“Another rum and coke, Hero?”
“Yes, please, Jassara, thank you.”
Tears of joy evaporated by the tropical heat now cool
with the setting sun west – sounds of Eno and then some
music Hero didn’t know, Sade perhaps? Yes, Sade. Boats full
of lobster, shrim, and broken traps headed back towards shore.
“Look! There they are!” one cried out – and another yet,
“Yoohoo! Patrice! Over here!” waving her sunhat wildly,
all of them with smiles gigantic.
The sun was swallowed into the sea and before it a reflection
of her beauty – ripple shimmer summer’s easy warm evening.
A special gift. Other diners arrived dressed loose, cool,
and relaxed. They said hello to Hero and he smiled and raised
his head to nod in recognition of their friendly shared
approval for the evening as they sat down at one of the
large round wooden tables nearby. Jassara lit the candle
in a red net wrapped glass at the center and the party
of four laughed as they gave her their drink orders.
Jassara: girlishly petit with small pert breasts and thick
dark nipples surrounded by a natural rouge that you could
sometimes see through her shirt. Her body was supple soft
and her skin very deeply tanned by the Equatorial sun. Shoulder
length black hair gleaming with thick curls all crowded
together so that Jassara’s hair looked as did no other woman’s.
She parted it in the middle over big exciting brown eyes
and brows dark and upswept glistening with tiny beads of
sweat. Lips so bronze and full, Jassara was what men meant
when they said a woman was a jewel.
In temperament nuance and style even the least of her
movements held forth treasures to the eyes of those who
sought such things: composers, painters, sculptors, writers,
poets and artisans of every ilk. He loved to watch her. They were like cousins. She the pretty younger first cousin one might flirt with affectionately the way cousins do sometimes.
He imagined them as almost brother and sister. He
older by close to a decade and the roles reversed . Hero
the carefree devil-may-care while Jassara was the sensible
fun yet mature younger sister. And they loved each other
to their deaths. How they giggled when they were stoned.
It was infectious.
Hero knocked off the shrimp cocktail and finished up his
rum and coke. Jassara dropped his bill on the table as she
made her way to the party of four with a small round tray crowded with drinks that she carried up near her bare shoulder with ease. Hero laid some notes on the table and picked
up his roach, thought for a moment, and then replaced it
near the bill and notes for Jassara who he knew would like
to have it for later – maybe alone or with her girlfriends
all giggling gorgeous sexy and young. Good girls, Hero told
himself, and he felt good about his life and the people
in it. So bright everything and everyone. So clean and
clear inside and out. Turning, he said goodnight on his
way past the two couples who were laughing in between sips
on their straws.
“Bueno noche,” one of the young men smilingly told Hero
who smiled back at all of them and then he waved to Jassara
who was busy at another table with a couple of pensioners
on holiday. He smiled happy to see her smile back and wave
to him so hard. Hero followed his way around the building
towards the street and headed back to his cell in A-block
where a cold draft was running over a floor made of
marble divided by brass strips, each one-sixteenth
of an inch wide every 3 feet. The cop was bitching at someone
for playing their TV too loud.
“Turn it down or I’ll turn it off!” in reference to that
inmate’s electricity. Where is this anal joker at 3:00A.M.
when General was blasting all that bad fucking dub?
The cold crept up to just past his knees into his thighs,
on top strange and cold.
Hero wanted to be like one of those Buddhist masters who
meditated into their physical deaths in such a way that
their students couldn’t tell if they were dead or not for
weeks. It was said that their bodies didn’t begin to decay
for at least a month. A guitar player who practiced Wu Shu
had told him about great martial arts Zen dudes who didn’t
die. Instead their bodies exited this physical plane leaving
behind only their hair and fingernails but he didn’t believe him.
“What about their teeth?” the precocious 18 year old Hero
“No, only their hair and nails,” said Cliff, holding his
delicate brown hands – palms down – before Hero to reiterate,
Cliff was a very good guitar player and a skilled martial
Artist. He was half Japanese and half African American,
a very beautiful man raised in Japan. He’d sell you pot
and then smoke it with you without batting an eyelash. Oh,
and he was a dancer, too. Ballet. Hero hadn’t seen him in
almost 10 years and could’ve sworn that Cliff still owed
him a few bucks for something, he just couldn’t remember
what. No matter, Clifford had helped Hero out a number of
times when he was a kid too young to know better and too dumb to care.
AGENTS OF THE FREE
NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE.
Hero drifted off to sleep walking south on 1st Ave. near
6th Street with a purple assed baboon who was experiencing
deja vu. Hero scratched the rash on his stomach and the
baboon vaguely recalled a terrible scene of discrimination
and flying broken glass in a restaurant someplace further
uptown a long, long time ago. He motioned with his left
hand towards the McFood’s entrance and as they walked up
to the glass double doors Hero took the baboon’s left hand
in his own right and let the baboon open the door for them. The muzak was “Bungle In The Jungle” by Jethro Tul1, the baboon’s favorite song.
The baboon studied the menu anxiously while grunting and blowing breath out of his nostrils and then he shifted his weight
first left and then right swaying with his lips pursed.
Hero coughed up a gob of brown phlegm into a folded piece
of state-toilet paper; the baboon squinted as Hero refolded it
and wiped his mouth with a corner of it and then with
the back of his hand. A middle-aged Pakastani rent-a-cop
wearing a uniform two sizes too big and a pair of painfully,
ill fitting scuffed up black plastic shoes approached them.
“Please, sirr, . yourr dog, thee sign,” he said in English
with a very pronounced Urdu accent and then he pushed his
stained rent-a-cop’s hat back on his shiny bald brown head
so it wouldn’t fall over into his eyes. At the same time
he motioned with his other hand towards a sign that read:
“NO PETS” that was hung directly above another one that read:
“NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE”
that were both affixed to the outside of the counter. They
were next in line. Hero told the Paki that the baboon was
neither a dog or his pet and turned so that his back was
to the security guard. The guard tried to tell him something
but Hero wasn’t paying any attention to him. The baboon
was flaring his nostrils and staring hard at the Paki now.
Hero tugged on his hand and pointed to the pictures on the
menu above the serving area when a uniformed Police Officer
of the NYPD (Quality of Life) Street Crimes Task Force came
walking through the doors for his 6 P.M. meal. The police officer straightened his hat so he wouldn’t look like the greasy
Indian rent-a-cop with the cheap plastic shoes and frumpy
uniform who was waving at him to come over to where he was
standing next to a very stoned looking white guy with long,
dirty blond hair a big black messenger bag, and a very
large expensive looking dog. Hungry, the cop noticed they
were on the shortest line and headed over anyway. The Indian
began talking right away, too rapidly for the cop, and he
told him so, “Whoa! Whoa there, Raji! Easy now, easy . What’s’a
matta’?” he said as he checked out the menu. Famished, he
saw where it said that a McFishy Samich was only .99¢ for
the next week – which suited him just fine because he was
into Vinny Umbatz for 3 large as of that weekend thanks
to those bums, The Jets, and that big mouthed pretty-boy,
Boomer Esiason. “Fuckin’ bums,” he mumbled. The rent-a-cop
was trying to explain to P.O. Rigitonelli, pointing at the
baboon and then at Hero who were now first and at the
counter ordering, “Uhm, lemme’ get two Big McBovine Burgers,
two McCheesy Burgers, two regular french-fries and two medium cokes, ok?” Hero said, and then looked at the baboon. “Is that for here or to go, baby?” a sexily overweight,
black pre-GED student asked him. She was wearing a mustard
and rust colored uniform intentionally two sizes too small
for her ample figure along with a matching hat that looked
like it belonged to J.J. Walker. Hero nodded to the baboon
who nodded back as he scratched his purple ass with his
right hand waiting for the pause of indecision to pass
because Hero was too wasted and the baboon couldn’t
decide if they should stay and eat or take their McFood
home where it would probably be cold by the time they got
there. He was getting anxious. Hero was nodding and, but
for this simple fact, the continued delay was keeping the
baboon from eating and he was famished – he’d missed lunch
– having subsisted all day on nothing more than a buttered
roll, a coffee (light and sweet) and a box of stale animal
crackers that gave him indigestion.
P.O. Rigitonelli asked Hero in his hurry-the-fuck-up-and get-
outta’-my-fuckin’-face voice if he was done ordering.
Sanil Mullagetwany was still speaking to the side of Officer
Rigitonelli’s head. The policeman began to get steamed at
all the uninvited sensory input and then his radio began
squauking that all available units were to respond to a
10-54 @ 6th Street and 2nd Ave. involving a hearse and
the Lubavtcher Mitsvah Mobile – “report of pedestrian
injuries. All available units – please respond. “
Sanil was speaking as loudly and slowly as he could the
way a lot of people will do when they’re trying to talk
to somebody who doesn’t speak their language. He was really
starting to aggravate the living shit out of Iggy Rigitonelli,
who pushed his hat back on his balding head prompting Hero
to perk right up, turn, and say, “I swear – you two could
pass for brothers – or,” realizing his mondo fuck-up as
reflected in the cop’s expression, “at the very least cousins?”
And, after a very small interlude of less than a second
– losing volume and enthusiasm – the words, “I swear,”
and then he just stood there looking at Rigitonelli
who was beginning to break a sweat and shaking his head
he looked up and started yelling at Hero, “Just what the
fuck is wrong with you?! Huh? Look at’choo, you high?! You
look fuckin’ high! You got any drugs on you?!” Which he
was and he did. Hero winced with every word Officer Rigitonelli blasted at him and backed into the baboon who was standing up against the counter and sniffing, leaning over as far
as he could while still holding onto Hero’s hand – which
made Lakeesha, the counter girl, back up herself next to
the McFries station in genuine fright.
“Yo, Mistah’ – your dog!” she called to Hero with quiet
alarm staring at the back of his head and then she glanced
to her left looking for an escape route. The baboon snuffled
and sniffed and began baring his teeth excited by the commotion
going on behind him, Hero’s suddenly sweaty hand and
Lakeesha’s plump trembling flesh which he now equated with
the smell of McFood’s french fries and the unmistakable
notion that Hero was trying to push him over the counter.
He must have decided that they would in fact
stay and his famished low blood sugar simian brain put
it all together that he was a “go” to chow down on some
Lakeesha and fries (the soda machine was right nearby).
[see Twinkie defense. id.]
Officer Rigitonelli told Hero, “Turn the fuck around,
asshole! Put your hands on the fuckin’ wall!”
As soon as Hero let go of the baboon’s hand he leapt
with all fours up onto the counter and over it, his teeth
fully bared, his mouth open, and with stringy drool flying
everywhere, claws extended from splayed paws sailing
through the empty air with the fur on his back bristling and screeching a high note to herald his attack directly upon Lakeesha Hattiesburg Thomas, 19 years young – unwed mother of four children by three different fathers – one underage and on Rikers Island and another in Attica locking in A-block in the 33rd cell of 7 company directly below Hero.
Officer Pigitonelli’s partner came in shouting, “What
the fuck, Rigi?! Can’t we just get the fuckin’ food and
get the fuck outta ‘ here before someone sees us? I don’t
wanna’ deal with that pack’a bleedin’ yids and niggers and all that shit around the corner. C’mon, I’m starvin’! Que fa, gumba?”
Which really caught Piggi’s vein in a vice like grip something
proper – he couldn’t stand it when that bambala pollock
tried to speak Italian – he always sounded so phony.
Rigi was facing Zulkowitz, who he’d always suspected of
being a Jew anyway. The rent-a-cop, Sanil, was shouting
at the baboon and backing up. Hero looked up just in time
to see Lakeesha fake right, dip left and with the crazy
smooth stick and move she psyched the baboon and missing
her he landed on the heated metal conveyor belt that was
– at that very moment – carrying two McBovine Burgers and
two McCheesy Burgers right towards him all nice and hot and
cheesy wrapped up and ready to go. He forgot all about
Lakeesha who was now going for the fire extinguisher at
the other end of the counter. All the other girls had run
for the relative safety of the tiny – actually miniscule –
managers office where the assistant manager, Jameson Spokane,
a 23 year old first year community college student, was counting
out change from a register tray that was alleged to
have come up .23¢ short at the close of the previous shift.
All 5 of the counter girls – minus Lakeesha – piled in
burying Jameson and someone’s fat ass slapped down on the
edge of the black plastic register tray he was counting
out sending change everywhere and its sharpest corner
right into the assistant manager’s left eye which, although
he had closed it quickly, was scratched quite seriously
requiring a very uncomfortable litmus test to find out whether
or not any blood had seeped into his cornea.
The dual sound of Rigitonelli and Zulkowitz’s radios were
initially like being surrounded and then suddenly music
to Hero’s ears as he heard them being requested by name
to respond immediately to the 10-54: it appeared that the
overturned Mitsvah Mobile had collided with the hearse from
a Baptist funeral on its way from Harlem to Crown Heights.
The yids were outnumbered 4 to 1 and the crowd was getting
ugly. Over his shoulder, Hero could see flashing red and
white lights heading the wrong way up 6th Street. He turned
his head to follow the sound of a fire extinguisher being
sprayed from about 10 feet away at the baboon who was running
in the opposite direction as that of the conveyor belt with
a mouthful of McBovine Burgers and tattered wrappers, hurriedly trying to fit the fourth and final McCheesy Burger without falling off of the heated “treadmill” he’d created by his
very presence – gaining no ground – but not losing any either.
A large, shiny, swollen purple ass faced Hero and Zulkowitz
said, “What the fuck iz’at?!” to anyone who could answer.
Lakeesha aimed high and shouted, “Now I’m gonna’ bust yo’
shit fo’ real – you hairy purlpe ass motherfucker!” And
this time she hit the baboon dead in his butthole with the frosty fire extinguisher causing him to make a sound that none of them would hear again in their entire lives. It was guttural and screeching and all at once everyone froze as the baboon leapt to the fries station and his face showed such utter terror that even
the pigs felt bad for him. His right hand had slipped on
the oil and his rear right leg had gone splashing into the
Friolator – coming up with a large foot full of soggy, oil
drenched fries which, for the Baboon’s sake, were lukewarm
because the computer automatically turned the heat off whenever
the unit was left unattended too long.
Quiet, calm, and well fed, the Baboon sat with his purple
and white foamy ass on a small mountain of french fries
under the orange glow of the heat lamps and his fur was
illuminated so that everyone there was witness to his wonderful
majesty and natural beauty. He kept eating french fries
and staring at everybody and the whole restaurant fell silent
but for some distant laughing and giggling that was coming
from inside the manager’s office where all of the counter
girls were engaged in a very loose game of slap-n-tickle
with Jameson Spokane while Marion, who was sitting on his lap, kept trying to hold a bag of ice to his scratched and
Rigitonelli shook his head, looked at Zulkowitz, and then
to Lakeesha and said, “Lemme’ get two McBeefsteak Samiches,
two large fries, and a McEYEscream Sundae – FUCK VINNY UMBATZ!”
And Zulkowitz said, “Yeah, Fuck Vinny Umbatz!”
Hero interrupted the Baboon’s comparative deja vu and
told him to grab him some McCheesy Burgers and an extra
large orange soda. The Baboon gestured to the fries, but
Hero just said, “Nah, that’s ok, I’m good.”
Art: Dan Reece