Day in the Life of an Undead Puer

Christopher was 28 when I met him.  I was a 20 year-old agoraphobic, introvert shut-in of sorts.  I was having difficulty attending school, i.e., being in school with people.  Christopher and I only met once.  He was the younger brother of a good friend of mine.  He had come to visit his family in Michigan since he lived in Los Angeles.  His family placed a great deal of weight on education.  In fact, his parents, Doctors B., expected doctorate studies from all three of their boys.  Something, I guess, Christopher came to devalue for one reason or other.  In fact, he seemed to thumb his nose at them when he suddenly and provocatively dropped out of studies one class away from his bachelor’s degree.  He got a job as a janitor.

I had a great many questions regarding his course in life.  I queried his brother for details.  “‘Topher’ just took a different direction in life; had different ideals.”  He was a quiet, unassuming man.  He was, I guess, a self-proclaimed asexual.  Christopher was ostensibly the mysterious black sheep of the family.  He and I also shared an interest in music.  His brother, my friend, was gay, but he was at least finishing up his dissertation in American Studies.  The oldest brother seemed to take the path of least resistance: he studied, married and had a wife and children.

Christopher was scary.  Well, to me, as per.  But he could have easily been scary to many other people as well.  His hair was long, thin and stringy.  He had a three-day beard.  And he was probably not quite fresh enough for most social occasions in a first world country.

I brought in a 4-track recorder, a keyboard, a microphone and a homemade, fretless bi-tar (as in two strings).  Christopher evaluated the bi-tar with his hands and eyes and a few other senses that were beyond my ken.  I played for him the chords I was messing around with and said, “maybe you can do some lyrics and some arrangement with the bi-tar?”  He answered with no confidence in himself that he would give it a try.  We visited with other friends, and I left for home.

Turns out he’d stayed up all night playing, writing and recording.  We had one tune done before his departure.  Six months later, I was notified he had died in a Las Vegas Hotel room...alone.  Family genetics had caught up with his heart.  I re-listened to the tune we recorded.  One verse—no bridge—repeat:

Stop followin’ me
Stop followin’ me
yeah quit yer followin’ me

...but please don’t go

People want to believe time is linear because it brings us comfort to know beginnings and endings; a little predictability.  Senex swings the walking stick of linear time at a regular interval.  But I am not a believer.  I know that time is anything but linear.  I can hear the voice of the past now.  I can feel the connection to a friend long lost.  And I can fear that which has not yet come to pass.