A brief introduction: I have been doing property caretaking (land stewardship) for many years (decades) and live a rather simple life with my dogs doing what most folks would consider to be an 'alternative minimalist lifestyle' but what I often just think of as a low-impact lifestyle where I get to homestead and spend the majority of my time alone with my dogs in the woods doing projects in the warmer months and taking some downtime during the colder months.
A little over three years ago I began sharing the adventures (misadventures) of my life via writing, videos, pictures and the occasional podcasts and although my intention was to simply share my life with some friends it undoubtedly grew into much more than that over the years and now I find myself doing what equates to a full-time job just 'sharing my life' which is not even all that glamorous or anything but hey folks seem to enjoy it so I just keep doing it!
The way that the Fantastica Chronicles came about is that I was living at another place when I started chronicling and sharing my days but eventually I wound up moving to a new place. The new place is a homestead named 'Fantastica' so I started with 'Day 1' upon my arrival here and just kept documenting my days much like I had done for the previous nine hundred and fifty-seven days at the last place that I lived.
I have mostly done that 'documenting' at Fantastica exclusively with words (and pictures) opting not to do the videos because as I learned at the last place, sharing videos over an intermittent and slow internet connection is horribly time consuming and what I often think of as an 'ulcer inducing' experience. All that said, I opted for simplicity with the documentation and have no real regrets for doing so.
The way that I look at it is that I give it all my best each day and while some stuff I write is better than others I think that for the most part I do a pretty good job at doing what I am doing which is simply 'sharing my life' as candidly as I possibly can and whatever folks get (or do not get) from it there is always the satisfaction of me doing what I set out to do... which is to simply share my life.
TL;DR: There is no tl;dr because you should have more patience and attention span than a gnat on a high wind.
The Fantastica Chronicles Day 273-279!
Day 273-279. (TFC A Graphic And Horrific Story From My Youth)
It has been one hell of a week and I do not even know where to begin writing about what has been going on for me during it. Part of me does not want to write about it at all and another part of me wants to write it all out in such excruciating detail that maybe it will make some sense by the end of it of just how the events that have played out across this country over the previous week have brought me to where I am which is to say the least not a very 'happy' place.
I guess that I need to rewind here to a point long ago when I was sixteen years old and being transferred from a juvenile detention center to a county jail where I was to be held until I could be tried as an adult for a bunch of knuckle-headed delinquent shit that I had done and subsequently been apprehended for. It was not my first 'run in with the law' (as the saying goes) and it assuredly was not my last before I eventually got my shit together and quit doing that sort of stupid stuff. I am not going to go into some elaborate detailed explanation of those crimes but none of them were violent or drug related and none of them had anything to do with folks' homes or their private property. If anyone wants to dig into the nefarious activities of my youth the stuff is all public record and I am neither ashamed of the choices that I made nor do I ever try to conceal them because after all I was just some stupid kid with a lot of emotional, mental and behavioral problems that ran away from home and made a lot of poor choices.
At that particular point in my life (when I was to be adjudicated as an adult) I had just got done spending nearly six months between two juvenile detention facilities and another two or three months at a halfway house that I had been sentenced to for a six month period. During a 'home visit' for a weekend from the halfway house I met up with several folks (friends) that I had gotten into some trouble with in the past and while hanging out with them at a local park we got into a brawl with a bunch of bullies that all had long standing grudges against me and two of my friends.
I had actually forgotten about that brawl until just now while writing this. Trauma has a funny way of fucking up memories I guess because hell I have not thought of that event for the better part of three decades now. Anyway, three of the folks had jumped one of my friends and of course never being one to stand by on the sidelines I through myself into the fray as well and before I knew what was happening I had three other folks jumping me as well. It all escalated pretty quickly after that because I snatched up a bicycle and started hitting everyone doing the attacking with it which effectively drove the attackers back and scrambling to get weapons from their vehicles. Things probably would have gone from bad to worse at that point if a plain-clothes cop had not shown up, waving their badge around which caused all the bullies to flee. Luckily for me I saw the badge as I was in mid swing with the bike and had the clarity of mind to cease and desist.
Well, I thought that I could sum all this up in just a few words but I guess that I should just spell it all out to the best of my ability and get it out of my system. Anyway, after explaining to the officer what had transpired (which was basically that the bullies had tried to intimidate my friend and seeing he was un-phased they started hitting him) he asked some bystanders what had transpired and confirming our story he told us to just go somewhere else (besides the park) and that he would talk to the other folks involved and 'take care of it' which I doubt amounted to anything other than him lecturing the same jerks that he had probably had to deal with numerous times before in that little podunk town because that park was the only place for kids to gather and his job more or less entailed keeping an eye on things at the park. As a side note here most of those bullies involved in that brawl I had gone to school with as a kid and later in life they turned into drug addicts and the ones still alive have spent most of their adult lives either just getting out of jail or returning to jail so go figure.
Anyway, after leaving the park that evening me and my friends traveled to a town to the south (in the same county) and after parking the car near an old abandoned citrus packing plant we ventured into the building and basically I convinced everyone that it would be a good idea to break into a nearby business. I was a lot different as a kid than I am these days and basically I just wanted to 'show off' to two of the folks with us how easily I could burgle a building which is pretty fucking stupid considering that I was halfway done with my halfway house sentence and that I would wind up paying for my petty childish crime with years of incarceration to follow.
I do not recall how I actually entered the building but I do recall that I was in and out pretty damn fast and made off with somewhere around sixteen hundred dollars in cash and twenty-four beers that I found there. Keep in mind here I was a dumb-ass kid just 'showing off' to a couple of folks and after going across the train tracks back to the abandoned building a mere hundred meters from the place I had just burgled we started drinking the beers which just made my series of stupid choices seem like some sort of 'victory' and after a few beers (and lots of bragging on my part) I convinced one of the other folks to go with me and break into another nearby business.
During the brawl at the park earlier in the evening I had twisted my ankle (something that I just now recalled) and there I was half drunk and hobbling around and like the saying goes 'looking for trouble' which I assuredly found in short order. The business that I ultimately targeted was an iron-works place that was a squat little building without much in the way of windows that were not barred which left me faced with going through its front door and given that I did not have anything in the way of tools with me (besides a flat-head screw driver) that wooden door presented such an obstacle that I wound up using a piece of a cinder block to break a hole in it beside the locks so that I could reach through and unlock it.
It was a messy affair and how the hell no one heard all the damn commotion I still have no idea. I did get the door open though and in the process I triggered an internal alarm that immediately started blaring until I located the speaker for it and snatched the wires from it to silence it. I felt confident that it was only an on-site alarm and not one that 'called out' or anything and to this day I am unsure if that was the case or not. Either way I wanted to be 'in and out' fast so after searching through the small office and only finding a cash box with a bunch of loose change in it and a small caliber loaded rifle leaning in a corner we were about to just grab the change and run when (with my back to the office door) I heard the dreaded word 'Freeze!' shouted from behind me and knew that given that I was in a windowless office and the door was now blocked 'the jig was up' unless I grabbed the rifle and somehow managed to get past the police officer standing there.
In that moment I made a very clear choice to not go for the gun and instead succumb to the inevitable and slowly turning around I saw that the officer had his sidearm leveled at my friend and I could probably have put a few rounds into his head before he could realize what was going on because just the way the stuff in the room was, where I was standing blocking the view of the rifle and him being mostly focused on my friend who was much closer to him and given that I had grown up with firearms and was a crack shot even from a young age... again I made a choice and decided that it just was not 'the way' and that I was 'caught' and that was my bad and not this guy's bad who was just doing his job. Instead of making a move for the rifle I surrendered. To this day I do not regret that choice not so much because it would have been a 'bad choice' but because it would have been the wrong thing to do. The jig was up and best to just leave it at that.
All of that preamble just to sort of fill in how many weeks later (after sitting in juvenile detention center and finding out I was to be adjudicated) I was to be transferred to the county jail and booked in there as an adult. When I first got processed into the detention center I had managed to slip four crisp one hundred dollar bills into a hollowed out section inside one of my shoes and during my stay in the detention center I got caught with the money and had it subsequently confiscated and put into my personal property. The money was stolen but since the actual police had not found/taken it as evidence the detention facility workers could not exactly take it as evidence because it just is not part of their job which is how it wound up in my personal property.
When the day finally came for me to be transferred to the county jail my personal property was handed over to the deputy that was to be transporting me and I clearly recall one of the detention facility workers explaining to the officer that was to transport me how they had found the money on me and then put it into my property. Now that I am much older I know what that gleam in that officer's eyes was when he heard that news and the look on his face when he peaked inside that envelope and saw those four one hundred dollar bills.
Over the past three decades I have told a handful of folks the following of what transpired during that short trip from the juvenile detention facility to the county jail and I have never actually written it out so just bear with me because it is painful to say the least and although I really would rather not share it the events that have been playing on repeat in my mind over the last week as I have watched the events unfold not just here in the USA but around the globe.
I do not want folks fucking sympathy, pity or even their understanding but I have to get this shit worded out so that perhaps it will stop replaying in my head. There are other memories replaying in my head also but this one has been at the forefront. I will do my best to keep it short but as you can see it is hard to just give one small part of this story without filling in some of the other details and factors. All of these events of my childhood helped shape me into who I am so I have no regrets but not having regrets does not make it all any less painful.
The county I had committed the crimes in lacked a juvenile detention facility so I was sent initially to one in the county south of it which was common practice and the county jail that I was to be transferred to was in the county the crime was done in which as a side note was also the county I had primarily grown up in and gone to school in throughout my childhood. To say that I was scared getting into the back of that deputy's car would be an understatement because the very notion of being a kid in an adult jail is fucking terrifying to start with but also being handcuffed in the back of a cruiser is always a pretty fucked up feeling and given that less than a year before I had been snatched out of the back of a cruiser while handcuffed and thoroughly beaten by four officers for mouthing off to them... lets just say it brought back some bad memories.
Nonetheless there I was and although I tried to make small talk with the officer transporting me and even once jokingly asking him if I could bum a smoke from him I soon grew quiet because his entire demeanor was rather damn menacing and he seemed pretty high-strung and I knew (from past experience) that when in handcuffs I was liable to get the shit beat out of me with or without a real reason. Knowing the route we should have been taking I grew even more alarmed when I realized that he was pulling into the county jail in the county where the juvenile detention facility was which was not the county jail I was supposed to be on my way to. When I inquired why we were stopping at this jail the officer half mumbled something along the lines of 'having something to take care of here first' which did alleviate some of my fear but only mildly because I figured that maybe there was another prisoner to be picked up or something. The last thing that I suspected was what happened.
Upon our arrival I was taken out of the cruiser along with my meager bag of personal property and brought into the booking section of the jail where the officer was questioned by another officer about why I was there. They had a bit of a hushed exchange and the officer transporting me showed the other officer on-duty in booking the contents of the envelope that had those four one hundred dollar bills in it and the booking officer's demeanor changed and I guess that they reached some kind of agreement. I was so fucking clueless as to what was going on and just figured that they wanted to log the money as evidence or something. After making their 'agreement' (or whatever the hell it was) I was lead into an interrogation room by the officer that had been transporting me.
Shit gets a bit fuzzy at this point but after taking just a few steps into the room ahead of the officer he spun me around and just as I finished my spin and was facing him the palm of his open right hand smacked across the left side of my face so hard that I saw stars and nearly lost consciousness. I clearly recall looking beyond that officer and seeing the booking officer standing in the doorway with a look of something that I can only describe as a mixture of disgust and sympathy on his face along with a look in his eyes that he knew what he saw was wrong but that he was also not going to do a fucking thing to stop it which he promptly proved by shutting the door to the room and putting his back to it effectively blocking the window of the door and 'standing guard' with his arms crossed.
Something in that look and that officer turning his back on what he undoubtedly knew was wrong broke something inside me and tears started streaming down my face as I croaked out a feeble "Why are you doing this?" to the officer that had just struck me and his words will not be something that I will ever forget because he said "Because you are a fucking nigger!" with all the vile hatred that such a statement can bear. Now being a redneck kid from the south I was pretty damned racist growing up and did not learn that there was an option not to be racist until I was much older and I said to him something along the lines of "But I hate fucking niggers!" to which he laughed and struck me again even harder than the first time.
What followed is a bit of a blur at this point in my life but I was placed in a restraint chair in the room, had my feet shackled to it and both my wrist secured to the chair's arms before having a black helmet placed on my head. During this process of restraining me I did not resist at all, I did not struggle, I did not do anything besides cry and scream and looking back on it I think I was probably in shock. Also during the restraining process I was punched repeatedly in the torso and even smacked across the face with the helmet before it was placed on my head.
Once the helmet was on me the real beating began and to this day I do not know what he was hitting the helmet with that made my head ring like it did and left me with a lingering concussion but I do clearly recall a few things. I was repeatedly told that I was a 'nigger' and when I said I was not it was screamed in my face 'You are a white fucking nigger!' between rounds of being beaten. I also recall perhaps some five or ten minutes later the other officer coming into the room and trying to calm the officer doing the beating down by telling him 'that is enough' or some such thing to which the officer doing the beating told the other one that it was his turn to beat on me now. I recall the officer briefly declining to before the other officer told him something along the lines of 'Oh you are going to get your hands dirty in this too' which lead to me then getting beat on simultaneously by both of the officers.
Who knows how long all that actually went on for but eventually I was hauled back to the cruiser, transported to the county jail that I was supposed to be going to in the first place and handed over to the officers there but not before being told by the officer that if I breathed a word of it to anyone that he would fucking kill me of which (after what I had just gone through) I had no doubt that he would make good on his threat. I was subsequently booked into the proper county jail four hundred dollars lighter (yeah he stole the money) with a concussion and what would soon form into bruises all over my body and an ache in my soul so deep that shortly thereafter I wound up spending nearly six months in a suicide observation cell wearing paper clothes.
That was neither the first nor the last time that I was beaten by law enforcement without any provocation. I did provoke a few instances over the coming years of it with my big mouth but meh. The number of times that I was beaten or assaulted by law enforcement officers in my teenage years is more than a dozen times and less than two dozen and the number of times I have assaulted any of them is still zero. That one instance though was so blatantly cruel, so malicious and so uncalled for that it took me the better part of two decades before I let myself forget that officer's name and let go of the anger that I felt over it because I felt that that anger was just poison to me. The injustice of it I never forgot, the hatred I saw in it I will never forget and much later in life I realized just how miserable of a piece of shit someone has to be to do something like that to a fucking child.
All that stuff is a lot of years (hell decades) behind me now and along the way in life I have seen a lot more brutality done to others by law enforcement than what was ever done to me and although I do not diminish my own light by harboring hatred towards them I will undoubtedly never trust any of them nor believe anything that they ever say as being the truth because my direct experience has taught me that would be absolutely foolish.
The big thing that I learned from it all was that if I was ever in any position of authority that I should never abuse it and over the years I have been in not one but many positions of authority and to this day I am extremely proud to say that I never abused said authority even under extreme stress or when I felt my life was in danger during the execution of my duties.
Thankfully I do not take on such roles anymore and I enjoy my quiet life in the woods but gods damn it the thought of all the abuse of authority that goes on will never sit well with me and I can never stand idly by and 'do nothing' when abuses are occurring which is a large part of why I seclude myself away in the wilderness with my dogs where it is peaceful and generally the only human I have to deal with is me.
I know that this is much different than what I generally write about but having written it all out perhaps I have gained a bit more closure, perhaps I have shared something that might help others, perhaps I have opened a giant can of worms but maybe just maybe I will sleep a little better just having gotten it off my chest.
I hope that everyone is doing well and has a wonderful day/night and a safe apocalypse.