This is the life that Adam led. These are the parents that made the life that Adam led. These are the people that harassed the parents that made the life that Adam led. This is the story the people told that harassed the parents that made the life that Adam led. This is the truth about the story the people told that harassed the parents that made the life that Adam led. This is the man who wrote the truth about the story...
All very confusing, isn't it? I'll start over.
My Humble Beginnings
On the day of September 9, 1999, four new stars were born in the Milky Way galaxy. Two pounds and nine ounces of stellar material fell to the earth in the form of meteors which disintegrated as they sped through the atmosphere. Eleven thousand, three hundred and nine new homes were built. Thirty million, two hundred and twelve thousand, eight hundred and forty-seven human lives came to their end, and thirty million, two hundred and forty-seven thousand, six hundred and forty-four new human lives began. And, in the thirty-third minute of the sixth hour of that ninth day of September in the one-thousand, nine hundred and ninety-ninth year after the birth of another ill-fated man, I was born.
I never did like being upside-down; I was determined to come out feet first or not at all. This made the doctors less than happy, as they were forced to try and flip me around. I grabbed the umbilical cord and held on. They pushed and prodded and did a lot of mucking around, but in the end I prevailed and they were forced to pull me out from the top. (Mother still has the scars to show it, and when she thinks I'm getting to full of myself she threatens to show them to me.)
I came out dripping blood and blinking and breathing. The fact that I was breathing already, even as the doctor pulled me out, might have been somewhat of a surprise, if anyone had noticed. They didn't. They were, from what I remember, too busy staring at the glow around my head. It was certainly a shock to me as well, the thin shimmer of yellow in front of my eyes. At first I thought it was just my eyes trying to adjust to life outside of liquid. But, as the yellow film persisted, and as people continued to make a great deal of commotion over the "glow," I came to the conclusion that my head was glowing. Oh well, I thought, I shall just have to get used to it. If anyone had been paying attention, they would have seen my red, shriveled shoulders shrug up and down slightly. Something told me it was going to be one of those days. Maybe one of those lives.
The Attack of the Infidels
It might have been the medication they gave Mother for the cesarean. It might have been a trick of the glaring hospital lights, or maybe even mass hallucination. Whatever it was, I know that I saw the slight glow in front of my face, and many people have since sworn that they saw it around my entire head. Pictures taken at the time have confirmed this, and no one so far has been able to throw a doubt on their authenticity. The pictures show that the glow extended about one inch in front of my face, faded to near nothingness across my ears, and was about an inch and a half thick in the back. Tests were begun immediately, but the glow faded before they got anywhere. I heard doctors wishing that the glow would come back-they wanted to run thousands of tests and take pictures and write reports (one of them even had a book planned). I heard all of this from the comfort of my glass hospital cradle, but it didn't really matter to me. I was ready to be taken home.
I had been at home for only about a week or two when the trouble began. Apparently one of the pictures that had been taken of my glowing head had somehow made its way to one of the many end-of-the-century cults that were flourishing at the time. A member of The Sons of the Final Apocalypse visited my parents on the ninth day I was home. From what he said, I gathered that it was believed that the first coming was either Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Josef Stalin, David Koresh, or Francis Dentford of Houghton, Michigan. I tried not to laugh, but a small giggle escaped and my parents spent several minutes cooing over wht they figured was just gas.
The Son of the Apocalypse explained to my parents that it was written in the scriptures that I was to be taken to the Sons' headquarters in Tampa, Florida. From there they would announce to the world that the savior had arrived, and anyone wishing to assure themselves a place in heaven could do so by signing over their life savings to the Cause, or alternately just making a check out to the Grand Vicar of the Sons of the Final Apocalypse. Well, this is not exactly what he said, but that was the meaning I got from it.
Father politely told the man that they had no intention of supporting a corrupt, money-hungry power structure. (Again, I'm paraphrasing.) The Son explained that it was imperative that I be taken to Headquarters, that the Sons were dedicated to proclaiming me the savior. Father immediately threw him out of the house and stormed up the stairs, muttering.
Two days later, we were visited by Samuel the Elder, the leader of the local chaper of the Final Apocalypse. He made many threats, all centered around my being handed over to the Cause, and involving everything from my parents' bank accounts to the status of their souls when the revolution finally came-mostly the latter. Father threw him out of the house with only slightly more zeal than he had the Son. My parents thought the whole thing was funny and did a lot of "Oh my, look what the world's coming to." I was less jubilant; I knew that sycophants are not fun-loving people.
That night, a chunk of wood, burning and smelling of gasoline, sailed impressively through our front window and onto the carpet. Father calmly threw a blanket over it and called the police.
This was not, however, the worst thing that happened.
The worst thing that happened, oddly enough, happened during a normal dinner. Mother always used to buy this banana-apple baby food that tasted absolutely terrible. I put up with it for a few meals, but it soon became quite unbearable. Finally, I got to the point where I could no longer stand eating that sweet, syrupy mush, and I said so. She was talking to me in that tone of voice that adults reserve for small children and cute animals, saying ridiculous things like "Heeeerree comes the airplane!" and "Be a good boy for Mommy, eat up all of your nummy food," and other such garbage. I was twisting my head back and forth, trying to avoid the flying airplane-spoon filled with tasteless gak, knocking things off the table and generally making a nuisance of myself.
Mother was getting fed up with the games and more than a little frustrated with me. "Come on, don't you want your nummy food, wittle guy?" I sighed.
"No, I don't," I told her, looking straight into her eyes. "And frankly, it doesn't taste very good."
Her jaw literally fell open. "Umma," she said. If only everyone after her had reacted that calmly, my life would have been much simpler.
On How I Came to Be a Personality
It was well into the middle of November that things really began to get out of hand. Religious zealots from every religion, fringe cult, and drug cartiel were camped on our front yard, awaiting my next "miracle." According to the popular press (by which I mean, at best, USA Today), I had performed three miracles so far. Things were rapidly getting out of hand.
As I said, there had been people camped around our house twenty-four hours a day for about two weeks. Almost all of them were highly religious, or imagined they were, and so we had a constant backdrop of hymn singing, chanting, possession by demons and angels, and a disproportionate amount of speaking in tongues. It was getting so I couldn't sleep at night. In fact, I couldn't even sleep in the daytime. I was going to have to do something, but unfortunately I didn't think it through very carefully.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. I waited until my parents put me to bed one night and told them that I wanted to talk to the people gathered outside the next day. "Umma," said my mother. That was all she had said, or all I had heard her say since the incident with the food.
"One at a time, or should we just carry you outside?" My father had been taking everything in stride, much more so than Mother. In fact, I worried that he was taking everything a little too calmly; there was a good chance something had snapped in him somewhere along the way, but at the time I was too concerned with just getting a good night's sleep to worry about it.
"All at once," I said. "Just carry me out, hold me up, and I `ll talk to them." Father nodded, and they both left me to toss and turn and listen to the chanting outside my window.
The next day, after lunch, Father carried me out onto the porch. Bodyguards, which my parents had hired days ago, stood in a ring around the porch, holding back the sycophants. "People of the Earth," I said in the loudest voice I could manage. The crowd fell silent immediately, except for a few possessed folks in the back. "You must all go home immediately. I'm having trouble sleeping. You must go home and put these ridiculous ideas you have about me out of your heads. Thank you. Now please leave."
I nodded to my father, who carried me back inside, followed by my mother. We heard shouts and crying and a host of other noises outside, as our bodyguards cleared people away from the house. As the day went on, the noises became fewer and softer, until, by the time it was dark, I was able to get to sleep.
The next day I realized my mistake. I was eating, or rather, being fed, lunch, when there was a knock at the front door. When they opened the door, my parents were greeted by a gaggle of reporters, thrusting microphones in their faces. In response to the torrent of questions, my mother, with her usual flair for the language, said "Umma," and Father slammed the door. In the brief time they had the front door open, I had seen what our front yard had become. It was not pretty.
Instead of bodyguards, the zealots were being held back by police lines and press vans. Their tents had been replaced by a net of cables and wires, running from the vans to the tiny satellite dishes, to the cameras, to the microphones...it was a real mess. I buried my head in my infant hand, and slowly shook it back and forth. I felt the floor shake as my parents returned to the dining room table and sat down.
"Well, young man," Father said in his Stern Voice. "What do you think you're going to do now?"
I shrugged and told him not to worry, that I was sure everything would come out all right.
"It better," he said. "I don't care if you are the goddam savior, as long as you're living in this house you'll be considerate of the other people living here. All of this," he waved his hand at the front yard. "Is tearing your mother apart. Look at her."
"Umma," she said, smiling at me.
"She look perfectly happy to me," I said. A thick, mumbled stream of obscenities flowed out of my father as he stomped upstairs. A door slammed, and I looked over at Mother, who was still smiling at me and slowly tearing the morning's newspaper into thin strips.
A. Spencer Kamlay lives in Louisville, KY, except when he is somewhere else. He is currently mulling over the idea of possibly considering the prospect of working on, or at least thinking heavily about, the next section of his book.
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