by Fielding Goodfellow
In an arena filled with corruption and deceit, cum soaked cigars and semen stained dresses, Arthur C. Pollard, famed producer of the classic low budget sci-fi porn films ‘Belinda’s Big Bang’, ‘Plutonian Poontang’ and ‘Nubian Nymphos Of Nimbus 9’, was in way over his head. With his mind submerged in a sea of nicotine, caffeine and a handful of Benzedrine, the political theatre of the absurd danced around him so quickly that he was lost in the shadows. This was nothing new for Artie, although this sensation usually found him after taking some shitty acid he scored from a sketchy street hustler in Parkdale, leaving him so dazed and confused that he often couldn’t find his clothes when it was time to go home. And now, as he found himself standing naked at a Taco Bell Drive Thru attempting to order two double stuffed tacos and entice several young women to join him in the colonization of other worlds on behalf of the purely fictional Ministry Of Intergalactic Propogation, realizing that he had no idea how he got there from the yacht party he had been attending for the past five days, he understood that he needed help.
There were many times Artie questioned his stability, if not his sanity, but he had chalked those up to drug induced mind splintering, a term he used to soften the blow of what was really drug induced schizophrenia like psychosis. He didn’t mind it really, but it scared the hell out of him when it was over and he just couldn’t put the fucking pieces back together again. Its one thing to lose your mind, but its an entirely different problem to know it happened and to be helpless to do anything to stop it from happening again.
Artimus C. Pollard had promise, hell we all did at one time or another, but those days were long gone. Politics seemed like a game he had a chance to win. As far as he was concerned, politicians were all out of their fucking minds. Artie had announced his candidacy by stating “There are so many self serving, delusional deviants currently in public office, it seems unlikely that proctologists will ever find the time to remove their pointy, little heads from their asses. I will have to run for office.” No one who knew him, not one of us believed for a minute that he could win. But the allure of the drugged out maker of pornography was just too tempting for the depraved housewives who had, for years, secretly been rubbing their buttons to his alien sex scenes to resist. Artimus C. Pollard won by a landslide.
“I don’t think I should stay in politics.”, he told me during my visit to the Institution. “I think its all just too much right now. I’m going to resign.”
“Well, there’s a blow for democracy.”, I remarked.
“That’s good.”, Artie said as he laughed out loud. “I’m gonna have to steal that one.”
“Its all yours.”, I told him.
“We need to go to that coffee shop we used to hang out in years ago.”, he said. “What was it called?”
“Espress O”Reily’s.”, I informed him. “As soon as they let you out of here.”
“Espress O’Reily’s.”, he repeated and laughed. “Right. The Irish Coffee House. That’s good.” Artie spent five weeks inside the bleak, grey, concrete walls of what he called The Home For The Ambiguous And The Absurd, with nothing to do but talk. That’s all they wanted him to do, all day long. Talk. Talk about how he was feeling now and how he felt then. Talk about his fears and his hopes and his dreams. Talk about everything. And Artie loved to talk. I suspect that they discharged him early when they realized that he just wouldn’t shut the fuck up.
Artie never felt comfortable inside The Home. The nights were the hardest, with everything quiet and still. Everything except his mind. It was hard to sleep, even with the Lorazepam. He just couldn’t stop reliving every moment of every day over and over again, until he passed out from sheer exhaustion. I went to see him twice a week, and he always looked worn out, but I suppose the drugs they were pumping into him had something to do with it. “They’re gonna let me out by the end of the week.”, he told me one day during his final week inside. “I have to tell you, I’m scared to go back out there.”
“I know you are.”, I said as we walked down the hallways.
“I’m working on a new script.”, he told me as we arrived at his room. There was an attractive, young woman inside waiting for him. “This is Gina.”, he introduced me as he climbed up onto his bed. “She’s one of the therapy assistants here. And now”, he continued, “if you’ll excuse me, this young lady is about to deliver another blow for democracy.”
After Artie was released we returned to Espress O’Reily’s, one last time. All of us were there, Farberman, Tate, Hill, Artie and me. I tried to keep in touch with him for a while, but he moved to the coast. Every now and then I get a call letting me know that he’s okay, even though he continues to splinter. His made his final film shortly after his release from The Home and began teaching a film course at a local Community College. He seems better, or at least happier, and I suppose that’s all that really matters.