My Night as the Anti-Christ
Other people watched, transfixed, while I attempted to force this man to my will from my position of apparent helplessness.
I grabbed a luggage trolley and trundled it towards my car. After bellowing, assaulting a bus-stop, and faking a mid-road heart-attack, this was the last thing I could think of to make the Omni security guards call the police. Thirty minutes later I was handcuffed in the back of a cruiser. This was not how I’d pictured my day when I woke up in Ben’s arms at our house in the Hollywood Hills that morning.
It had been three months since I’d emerged, seemingly miraculously, out of an adulthood-long depression. I was beginning to believe I was capable of more than I ever imagined, and had developed an almost messianic view of my own destiny.
Ben correctly recognized that I was, albeit unknowingly, in the grip of the manic phase of a bipolar swing. He kept trying to reign in my wilder impulses, and, on the morning of the Omni incident, I blew up at him, telling him to quit hovering. I’m an imposing, muscular 6’6, but nonetheless I was shocked to see him almost gibbering with terror; my heart was broken to learn I could do that to him. I held him closely until his shaking subsided, but we both knew we needed a temporary separation.
Freed of Ben’s influence in the afternoon, I was like a zeppelin dragging its moorings. I didn’t get to the point of trying to find a hotel room until almost midnight.
After many frustrations, borne from a mind addled with mania, I drove downtown, eventually finding haven at the Omni. When it became clear I’d lost my driver’s license, they wouldn’t accommodate me. I collapsed, weeping.
I refused to leave the lobby when they asked and in the end they carried me, to the accompaniment of my laughter. Things turned bizarre when they refused to give my car keys back. This is where this story began, outside the Omni at three a.m.
As I ran with the baggage rack, a weasel-faced head goon blocked my path. I kept going, running the cart into him, and all three guards launched at me. I slammed my fist into weasel’s mouth before I was wrestled to the ground. I’d assumed the police would take my side.
After my arrest I was taken to the downtown lockup. They took all my personal belongings except my commitment ring, and allowed me to make a phone call. I couldn’t recall any number except Ben’s, so I called him, very reluctantly, to let him know where I was.
They made me sign something, and gave me a pink copy, which, since I was so tired, they stuffed into my pocket. They un-cuffed me, and took me through a door, saying I'd be given my cell-phone.
I sat patiently in the adjacent holding cell for an hour before asking an officer what was wrong. The pink ticket, he said. I scrambled through my jeans and thrust it at him, through the grille, asking why nobody had told me earlier.
Something was obviously very wrong. He got angry at me, insisting they’d told me about the ticket. Out of fatigue and despair, I started to cry, and nothing is more likely to aggravate a cop. They locked me up in a remote cell.
I hadn’t slept much all week, and with my mind racing maniacally, every minute lasted an hour. Sometimes I heard keys clinking and my heart leapt, only to sink again as the sound dwindled. I wept, roared with frustration, and rattled the bars. Once, a cleaner went past, so again I tried to fake a heart attack. She didn't miss a single dust mote. I felt intolerably alone. I was beginning to wonder why Ben hadn’t freed me. It would be weeks before I’d understand what he went through that night.
Hours seemed to pass. I wanted desperately to reach Ben and finally engaged a Hispanic cop. I used every ounce of my ingenuity to convince him I could see his soul, and that he could rescue it from destruction by getting my commitment ring to Ben.
“But that would be breaking the rules,” he said.
But my arguments were having their intended effect. He kept gripping his head saying, "Oh man, you're fucking with me." Other people watched, transfixed, while I attempted to force this man to my will from my position of apparent helplessness.
His partner, a nasty-looking German-American called Weh, full of bravado, tried to goad me; but I told him I could see inside his head. When he asked me what I saw, I said simply: “Nothing. You have no soul.”
He tried to laugh me off, but would no longer meet my eyes. I continued:
“Do you know any German? Do you know what your surname means?”
“It means ‘empty’,” I told him. (It doesn’t).
A chill entered their eyes, and I tore it. I soon had them convinced I was the Anti-Christ.
“You have two choices: hand the ring to my partner; or put it on my finger. But if you put it on my finger, you’ll loose your souls. “
They were saved from eternal damnation when the sergeant, realizing how dangerous I was, reassigned them, but not before I managed to slip the ring to the Hispanic cop.
My audience gone, I became increasingly desperate. I announced that at the count of ten I’d commit suicide. I counted down very loudly, but at “one”, cuffed, and too weak to make a convincing effort, I collapsed and wept more bitterly than ever.
And then I heard the words I’d given up hoping for: I was to be released. They’d believed I was suicidal and were sending me to a hospital. I congratulated myself for getting myself out of jail, not knowing that it was due to Ben’s efforts behind the scenes.
I was strapped into a gurney and as I was being wheeled out, the Hispanic cop came up to me. He avoided looking at my eyes as he slipped my ring into my pocket.
“Find a new partner!” I whispered.