Monday, October 26, 2009

The Misadventures of Isaiah Flowers

Guess what? There were drugs all over the place at The Evergreen State College when I went there. Shocking, right?

Some of it was intense. Some kid took too much Special K (which I’d theretofore thought was a breakfast cereal) and died foaming at the mouth on somebody’s kitchen floor.

Another kid went to a party at a house right on the lake near campus, where he started by drinking a bottle of Evan Williams and shoveling ten or twelve lines of coke into his face. Then he ran down to the little dock behind the house, hopped in a canoe and bailed, never to be heard from again. Nobody could figure out how he managed to disappear with a canoe, but there you go.

Mostly people just smoked weed and drank cheap-ass beer, but another fun one was mushrooms. I thought once that I had killed a man in our apartment, and mushrooms were a part of that story, but for now I want to share the tale of Isaiah Flowers.

Now, if there’s really some dude out there named Isaiah Flowers, I want to emphasize that this story is not about you and you shouldn’t sue me or Spitball Press. This is about some douchebag who called himself Isaiah Flowers and had some mushroom adventures on campus and in the Olympia woods and ended up a campus legend.

Isaiah Flowers was pals with a couple of my roommates and a total Trustafarian – one of those children of financially-comfortable white families who came to Evergreen and stopped washing their hair and started pretending they were poor. In the women’s cases, they cut out shaving their armpits, too, which struck me a touch insincere as a form of protest since they continued shaving their legs. A lot of these assholes grew dreadlocks. I’ve come to forgive and even embrace a lot of hippie practices over the years, like Merle Haggard before me, but damn, I cannot abide a white guy with dreads. I mean, I like to pretend I’m black sometimes too, like when I’m in the car and a really good angry DMX song comes on and I start rapping along as long as no one is looking, but come on, guys.

Anyway, one day Isaiah’s going about his day, talking about Michael Moore and smoking pot and banging on a tribal Native American drum, when he lucks out and gets access to some shrooms and chews a bunch of ‘em down with my roommate and a few other people.

Hours later, he takes off all his clothes and wanders out into the woods. Nobody sees him for the rest of the night, but everybody’s high and they don’t want to call the cops because, you know, what if they get arrested?

So the next day everybody wakes up and through the hangover fuzz they start realizing, Oh shit, our buddy ran off into the woods naked! I hope he’s okay! What should we do?

The answer, of course, is to make some hangover screwdrivers and agree to revisit the issue later in the day.

Well, they were saved the trouble, because Isaiah comes stumbling out of the woods in the mid-afternoon. But here’s the thing:

He’s covered in blood. From his face all down his chest.

He has no idea why.

A week or so later, the legend goes, rangers found a deer carcass out in the woods that had odd teeth marks in it. “Odd” as in “not recognizably made by the teeth of wildlife in this area.”

So, you tell me what happened there.

The next time I heard of the exploits of Isaiah Flowers, he was already in a jail cell.

Again, our hero ate a bunch of mushrooms. And again, he left his home to seek his balls-tripping fortune.

This time, he wandered around campus until he met an elderly couple walking their dog.

Now, nobody knows the provocation, here: maybe the old man was grouchy. Maybe the dog growled at Isaiah. But whatever the reason, Isaiah decided to keep it real and teach these punk idiots a lesson about trying to walk your dog.

First, he punched that dog in the head. BLA-DOW!

Then he punched the old man in the face! BOOM!

Then he knocked the old lady over. KARATE PUSH!

Isaiah fled the scene of his awesome victory over the retired couple and their golden retriever. Along the way he knocked in some people’s windows for fun, because he was super excited about how he just overcame the adversity of having to walk past four pairs of legs.

Then the police found him.

Flowers led the dirty, stinkin’ coppers on a chase all over campus, because apparently he was all juiced up on adrenaline or something by this point. He ducked behind trees, knocked over trash cans to create confounding roadblocks and ended up in the parking lot.

They had him cornered. He had no choice.

Isaiah Flowers jumped up onto the hood of a green SUV, shouted, “Fuck you, pigs!” and head-butted his face through the windshield, knocking himself out cold.

The next day, he was arraigned for seven or eight felonies. Somebody made a banner for him that was posted in the student center: “Free Isaiah Flowers.” There were little drawings of flowers all over it.

I’m pretty sure the banner didn’t work and they didn’t free him. But you never know.

Words: Sean Murray
Art: Manuel Martinez

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tim's Face Proves an Ineffective Substitute for Brake Pads

I lived in Olympia, Washington, for a year-and-a-half beginning the day after 9/11. The drive up there was pretty intense but I’ll save that for another day.

One of my favorite people I met up there was my buddy Tim. Tim was from Alaska so he was crazy as a shithouse rat. He was a big dude, like 6-feet-2 and burly, with a bald head and a huge red beard and a bull ring in his nose. He was huge, and he liked to get piss drunk and break into our apartment in the middle of the night and grab all the food out of our freezer and throw it down the hallway. He almost got me killed at a monster truck show in Tacoma. He was a former private investigator. One time he was asking where the bottle opener was and I told him to stop being a pussy and open that beer with his teeth and he did.


So, one day Tim throws a party. He gets all his batshit Alaska friends out there, and all his stoner hippie friends, and all his alcoholic friends (like me) and his gun-collecting scary-as-shit redneck friends all in this one house stocked with Olympia beers and Fighting Cock Bourbon and vodka mixed with Kool-Aid mix.

So, Tim’s high as a kite on playing host. He’s completely stoked. And he’s totally tanked. And a little group of three or four people goes to leave, ‘cause they’re not super excited about the rednecks getting ready to beat the living shit out of the hippies.

They get in their car in his driveway, and he asks, “Where’s so-and-so?” Somebody says, “Oh, they just left, you might still catch them,” and Tim goes sprinting across the living room – THUD, THUD, THUD – and out the door. He catches their car as they’re turning around to drive out the gravel driveway, and he runs up in front of the car and starts slapping the windshield and shouting at them.



Everybody in the car is terrified. Only one person in the car knew Tim and everyone else just sees this giant pierced drunk blur of shouty crackers roaring and slapping the car. The driver rolls down the window and Tim comes around to lean his head in and start shouting at everybody to stay. I’m standing on the porch watching all this and loving it.

The driver says, “Okay, we gotta go, thanks for the party, good night,” and starts to pull away slowly.

But Tim ain’t having it. He grabs the driver-side door where the window is rolled down and pulls on it to try and stop the car. He’s a huge dude, but it’s not enough. The driver keeps moving. And everyone in the car is screaming at her to hurry up, because now they’re all terrified. Mind you, Tim’s only trying to be friendly, but he can be a scary dude.

For a few feet, Tim manages to hang on to the car and skid on his feet, like he’s water skiing or something. Then he looses his footing and goes to fall down. But he refuses to let go of the car with his right arm. He goes down, the car keeps moving… and Tim gets dragged for 20 feet, face down across the gravel driveway, before he finally lets go and the car rolls into the street and away down into its own future.

Everyone on the porch is horrified.

A moment goes by.

We all look at each other, mouths wide open in that half-laugh you can’t help when you don’t know for sure just exactly how fucked up what just happened was.

Another moment.

And Tim gets up. He trots on back into the house and the entire side of his face is scraped raw, covered in blood. He looks like Two-Face. And he’s got a big fat smile on his face and he wants another beer and some whiskey.


Boy, his girlfriend was pissed.

Words: Sean Murray
Art: Manuel Martinez