Twice Born A Vagabond
A Novel [Copr. 2008]
By D. DeWitt Thomas
Chapter Thirty-three

SHOCK THERAPY



"True conception, knowing why brings even more than meets the eye, so slip inside this house as you pass by." Song and dance, smoke and mirrors, razmataz, and hoo-rah for Hollywood is my mantra. No matter how much I learn, there is still more said past talking and heard past listening. There is always more past the singularity where everything becomes infinite. Good night innocent children no matter where you might be. Sleep well. Born alone. Die alone. See past watching. Know past thinking. Discover your peace of mind and your un-named purpose. Formulate pictures and postulate notions of what might be your destiny. Find a new paradigm. Follow the no-thing which is to become reality and do by being. Ignore shortsighted limitations. Become enlightened and discover the truth. Find the balance between meaning and purpose. Become cosmic dust.

Dust, from your skin
Must, trust when it scatters
Only love matters, it's been overjoyed

Scents and perfumes
Whence, since your higher fragrance
Is memory's incense and never destroyed.
Our chances reawaken when beginning meets the end
As I love you now it's safe to say
There's no hang-up in our way
As I love you.

Snatches of melody drift into intermittant waves of sound that escape through the cracks in the rock walls of the pioneer's cabin where we practise. Roky continues to play the harmonic overtones and magic feedback sounding much like the Greek chorus of ancient times. Melodies blending through the thresholds of inspiration that feed each note make me feel like Odysseus lashed to the masthead and caught between the rocks in the strait hearing the beckonings of the Siren. The music from Roky's guitar cause both feelings of fear and elation. I wanted to escape yet I wanted to hear more. It was like some sort of hypnotic dream where I was caught in a sonic trance slowly going mad. I wanted to escape but to what and to where... and why?

Artistic conceptualization is organic. It suspends preconcieved notions and surrenders to not knowing. The moment when I accept the intrusion of inspired expression, duality ceases. I not only hear the music but I experience it. I am drawn into the magnetic vibration of the music of the spheres. There is no pain, only awe. I feel the sensations of ego and aggression suspended and replaced by the exquisite feeling of the natural balance. The movement of the positive and negative vibrations flowing through me like the breath of life inside the vortex of spiraling human emotion. I can see and be and feel and know life force energy moved by the music and syncronized with my biorhythms. The sunlight sparkles through the windblown mesquite bushes and the brances of the wateroak along the bank of the crystal clear stream behind the hunting cabin.

Sweep the shadows from your awning
Give the morning winds a chance
Always catch you thunder yawing
Lift your mind into the dance

After spending the summer months in the hill country we finished writing all of the songs for the Easter Everywhere album and were ready to head out of Kerrville to Andrus studio in Houston to record it. By the autumn the album had been released and was climbing on the top 100 charts in all of the trade papers. I was terribly exhausted and needed to recouperate. I began reading the Bible and found a passage that told the story of a man that God commanded not to speak to anyone.

So I thought I would try it. I began to keep to myself and retreated from social activity. I stopped communication with my parents in Carolina and rarely went out of my Houston apartment except to play music at Love Street. I enrolled in school at St. Thomas University and took a few courses in art but things got worse. The Elevators were not doing well. Roky and Tommy had split for California. Stacy was on heroine and Danny Galindo had quit the band. I thought I would try meditation. For several days I fasted from verbal communication like the man in the Bible story and asked God for a revelation but no revelation came. So I fasted from communication for several more days and that's when the trouble began. Everyone thought that I had gone insane.

I got more and more reclusive in my apartment on Westheimer and Montrose. I did not think that refusing to see or speak to anyone would cause a problem. I stopped answering the door and the phone. I simply refused to communicate. I waited for a revelation but it never came. I heard a knock at the door but did not answer it and refused to open the door. A few minutes later the knocks grew louder and the door was forced open by whoever was knocking. Maybe this was a revelation. Two emergency medical technicians in white coats hurried inside and grabbed me. They forced me into a canvas straight jacket and tied my arms across my chest. They told me I had a mental problem and that I was going to the hospital where they kept nervous people. The attendants got a firm grip on each shoulder and dregged me backward down the wooden staircase, my heels thumping and bumping on each step along the way until we reached the bottom. Bond to a strecher, I was loaded into an ambulance, given an injection, and then taken to the mental hospital.
I felt as though an alien force had abducted me. "He will do what I tell him to do or I'll give him another dose," said one attendant. "Yeah, he will co-operate or go out cold," replied the other. Blurry-eyed, I tried to stay conscious and focus. I repeated a mantra, "I am a holy man, I am a buddah christ, I am a rhastafarian, I am a fantastic chronosynclastic infindibulum." As my vision improved, I could see more clearly now on ominous hulk hovering over my stretcher. It was the psychiatrist.
He examined me with a penetrating stare as if I were some sort of laboratory rat. As he looked at me, I could see that the hair on his scalp was only stubble growing after being closely shaved. Layers of wrinkled fat rolled from beneath his stiff starched white collar and too much loose skin folded over the tops of his ears. A pince-nez was squeezed onto his ruddy nose. He inhaled from a cigarette he had pulled from a pack of Calouise. He held it between the extended fingers of his left hand from which the forth finger had been amputated at the second joint.

"How are you feeling?" he asked in a Bavarian accent. "Fine, I guess," I answered hesitatingly. "I am Dr. Crane, your doctor. I have diagnosed you as a catatonic scizophrenic and have prescribed treatment for you problem," he said. As the orderlies rolled my stretcher out of my padded cell and down the tile hallway. Their voices seemed to echo from far away like we were in a canyon. "What kind of treatment?" I asked. "Electro Convulsive Therapy," one of them answered. The psychiatrist and a nurse stood wearing skull caps, face masks, and heavy black rubber gloves next to a stainless steel table. Upon being transferred to the table, my ankles and wrists were buckled down as well as my head.
The thick leather belts were strapped tightly and connected to wires with silver electrodes leading to a black box next to the table. The box had dials, knobs, and meters. It must have been some sort of electric transformer. The electrodes were attached to my head and my toes while the attendants held me down on both sides. The room seemed to vibrate with a low humming sound. Dr. Crane standing at my head with a stainless steel paddle in each hand, instructed the nurse to give me another injection of sodium penethol. My mouth became so dry, I could not swallow. It felt like a nest of maggots were crawling around in my brain and my ears shreeked with a high pitched ringing sound. After placing a rubber bit into my mouth, Dr. Crane shouted, "Clear?" The nurse responded, "Clear." The spatula shaped paddles were place on either side of my head at the temples and a sharp jolt of electricity penetrated my whole body causing me to have a seizure from head to toe as I pulled on the leather belts and clinched my teeth biting at the hard rubber bit.
The attendants stood across from each other tightly holding down my tethered arms shen the Nazi doctor twisted the knob on the black box again. Another surge of electricity jolted through my body. White light was all I could see. Jesus. I uncontrolably writhed in spazmotic jerks, turning to one side then the other. The putrid odor from slow cooking burning flesh filled the treatment room. The doctor sent surge after surge through me until I became unconsious.

The doctor visited me in my hospital room and told me two days had passed since my shock therapy treatment and that everything went well. I was transferred to the rehabilitation unit a few days later where I spent a week or two making pot holders then was discharged no longer insane...cured.

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