Chapter One – A Road to Nowhere   ©2020 Bradleigh Munk –


The room was dimly lit and filled with an eerie quiet. As I waited for the doctor to return, I enjoyed the feel of his overstuffed leather chair which was the colour of black licorice.

What am I doing here? I thought while feeling strangely out of place. How did I manage to finally get caught, and now I have to placate this doctor with stories that prove that I’m harmless to myself. I was on my third visit since that neighbor found me wasting away. What business was it of theirs to meddle in my private affairs? I should have the right to end the pain whenever I choose. Apparently, the courts disagreed, because after a short visit to the emergency, they forced me, against my will, to have doctor supervision, one who could—at any time, or if he was having a bad day—turn me back in for my own safety.

“That’s fine. Only another month, and I’ll be free from any oversight, and my next exit plan will be hidden from anyone looking on.”

My name is Bradleigh Munk. Most people try to call me Brad; however, that is a name I have never used and prefer to be called Bradleigh. I am what you might call a person who has been in search of mental comfort and the need to feel safe, running my life in fear of the future and constantly mourning the past. I have no control of it. My personality dictates that I will eventually orchestrate my exit from this broken personality; that is me.

“So, tell me, is anything new going on?” he asked as he sat comfortably in his personal chair, which included a back massager, complete with heating pad built in. I could hear the deep hum of the magic fingers running up and down his back. How could he even pay attention to anything that’s going on? I knew exactly what he was thinking; his monotone voice was booming loudly within my head and saying, I wonder if I would hurt my back if I turned over and let the magic fingers work on something else that’s stiff.

“I started to write again,” I said with excitement.

“What kind of story are you writing? Is it a self-help book?” He was actually listening; I really didn’t want to discuss this with him. Why did I bring it up?

“No, it’s not for self-help,” I said, as I looked out the window at a couple of summer elves climbing up and down his trees. “It’s more like a self-helplessness book.”

“That’s amusing,” he said dryly. “Just make sure to let me know if you start to have feelings of grandeur. We don’t want you to be flying too high. I would need to adjust your medication.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had stopped the pills over a week ago, and I didn’t intend to go back on them. I wanted to feel emotions again, and the pills were making a zombie out of me. As I continued to watch the action outside his window, I thought to myself, It just pisses me off that I have to take a pill, just to fit into this society. To say that I struggle with mental issues would be an understatement; however, if you think about it, who doesn’t? We all seem to have problems trying to keep up with the ever-changing tide of social conflict. This story really begins too many years from the start of my career and several more before I could retire, and the current crisis of the mind started shortly after moving from a place that, for me, provided a safe and happy existence. This was a time when I had the fortune to find myself living in the Pacific Northwest. At first, this was just another stressful existence—the moodiness and rain that consumed the winters and the summers that felt like I was living under a forty-watt bulb, dim and never bright.

After several attempts at employment, I finally had the luck to be hired into a company that changed my life forever. To be correct, it wasn’t the company so much as it was the people working there. My heroes consisted of my boss and two buddies, who worked in the warehouse (and of course, I could never forget the owner’s brother). Most days were busy, and we kept the corporate machine running; other times, I just wanted to be in their presence, to experience a peace of mind not easily found. If any one of them came into the room, they wouldn’t have to say or do anything. I just felt an unmatched contentment, something I had never experienced before. This was a huge leap, and for the first time in my life, I felt safe and connected to my inner spirit energy.

Six years passed; not one moment did I take for granted. I was able to see the greatness as it was happening and recognize the moment when it appeared. All good things must come to an end, however, and this was no exception; my world was soon turned on its side. Unfortunate events forced their way into my cozy existence, and I soon found myself heading south and land just outside the Los Angeles area, where temperatures can reach the “egg-frying degree” of 120 or more. Pulled from my family of positive light, my grief heavy and unresolved, a good friend in Calgary said, “It’s not necessarily the separation from your friends. It’s also a separation from your connection to the divine.” How often, in life, can one say that they had such a depth and quality of connection? The next few years didn’t provide any escape from the pain and anguish running rampant throughout my mind. Within weeks of arriving on death’s door or, as I like to call it, the Valley of the Dead, I discovered a marvelous thing: numbness. I never knew what relief drinking a “very large glass of burgundy wine” could provide.

One night, we were dining at a local Italian restaurant that boasted “the biggest glass of wine in the valley”; arrive before five, and it would only cost you three dollars. I was hooked. Leaving the restaurant; my mind was a blur, and it felt great. This was just the beginning. Soon, I found the relief within a wonderful drink called microbrews; three bottles, and I was under the table.  Moving through the days, it felt like slogging through heavy mud; with my pain deep and never ending, numbness seemed the only cure. Eventually, my evenings were spent, first, applying the numb and, second, sitting in bed, watching YouTube videos until crying and tears would start to flow without abandon. This was not crying like, say, an old Italian grandmother at a funeral. No, it was just tears streaming down and running out as soon as the cycle had been completed.

Last week, during an interview with the local news reporter, the question of suicide came up. She asked, “What has kept you from just taking your own life?”

“I would never be caught committing suicide,” I said. “If I get to the point where I can’t continue, I would conjure the action within my mind, and it would just happen. No drama or mess to clean up. Unfortunately, those of us who have these abilities realize the cost to one’s soul, and I’m not ready to trade in karma just to have a quick fix.”

My list of options felt short to nonexistent, until one day when I heard this amazing musical creation that tugged at my curiosity, so much so that I had to research the backstory. This is where I found you, my hero and glimmer of hope. Digging deeper, I discovered a story that reported the struggles of Mr. Lewinson, depression, drinking, and self-loathing. Looking back at his early works, I was surprised at the difference in his looks. When young, his face was full and always smiling; now, after many years of struggle, it was dark, foreboding, and full of pain. Could this be all his life had become? Had he made any progress with his neurosis?

Reading on about the path he had taken, to my relief, he had come back—deeper in soul and richer for the experience. At this point, I had a feeling that I wasn’t alone on my rutted path of life and could move forward. Eventually, I found myself stepping one foot back into the light, and to my amazement, the voices in my head returned in force. I’m sure, at this point, everyone is shaking their heads, thinking, Oh great, another nutcase. Don’t be alarmed; I’ve heard voices in my head my entire life, and I never thought it was out of the ordinary. It just seemed natural. I also see blurry forms and sparks of energy within my field of vision; many times, past friends or relatives have come by to visit and reassure the moment. I can, with an accuracy of perhaps 85 percent, control the traffic lights, guaranteeing clear passage whenever I take a chance to leave my home. The voices started to fill my mind with words and sentences again, and after several sleepless nights, I realized that I needed to write them down. All of a sudden, I started feeling better. The dark moodiness of the past few years seemed to dissipate, leaving a clear path to contentment. I looked forward to the time when I could sit and write my thoughts down.

As the time of proselytizing the doctor was coming to an end, I was scheduled to have a short meeting with the judge in hopes of making my own decisions again. I was stubborn and didn’t want them to know that I had already decided to stick around for a while; I had committed to a project that would set me on a collision course with icebergs and an ongoing controversy regarding my character Clark. As we walked out of the chambers, I instantly separated myself from the doctor who I could swear was the embodiment of a mushroom; he could absorb a lot but basically had no true purpose in the casserole of life.