After writing about the fire I began to remember some earlier days. We lived in the trailer court. Two teenaged guys often babysat me and my brother Jason. One of them was Steve, who eventually taught me all sorts of stuff about heavy metal and punk rock and dirt bikes, and is still my friend today.
My parents allegedly paid them in whatever weed (under the couch on a frisbee) and beer they could consume during their stay, which is a pretty awesome deal for two teenage boys, to get fucked up and to hang out with me!
Besides those few occasions where I was being babysat by partiers (which I fucking loved), I do not remember much about the time except for one startling incident.
I was not yet able to ride a bike without training wheels. One neighbor kid had tired of his trainers and decided he was going to remove them and ride free. We managed to get his bike upside down, but instead of trying to remove the extra wheel we began trying to use the pedals with our hands to make the back wheel spin fast. Some panicked adult warned us that it was a good way to lose a finger, but we had already learned well enough to distrust adults and continue on in the pursuit of science.
Another kid joined us shortly after, and having not gotten the bulletin about the pending danger to appendages, proceeded to stick his finger on the inside of the chain where it immediately was pulled into a gear that easily managed to remove a chunk of the tip.
If you think this is the part where I learned some valuable lesson, you would be wrong. It was not my finger, my bike or my problem so I got the hell out of there before the heat came down.
Things I remember before that are just sketches.
A recurring dream in which four monster faces, not much unlike the artwork on the covers of the solo records from the members of KISS, hover in emptiness, rotating in many directions, taunting me and causing me to wake up in a panic.
The sound of Bad Company records being played in the other room when I absolutely did not want to be in bed. How dare they have fun without me. I am the fucking party boy here, guys!
Visiting a farm that my uncle Van lived on, and remembering that his red van had a red key, and trying to find it so I could ride in it, because I thought it was great! And also running in those fields, where the corn was more than twice as high I was, and where I felt that I could get lost if I wanted to…and I kinda wanted to.
These things all happened before I was four, and they are the few scraps of memory I have left of that time. Every once in awhile another glimpse will come up, but nothing I ever remember consistently enough to call a memory. Often times I will confuse pictures I have seen for memories I have, but when I try to explore those memories they stand completely still. However my memory is not at all photographic, so without music or movement, I try to be wary of confusing what I have seen for what I have experienced.