By Christopher Lee Jones
Key Themes: fiction, manic depression, bipolar disorder, drugs, relationships
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Waterboarded is the story of an American college student in New York City the summer after 9/11 attending the internship of his life. Unfortunately for him, the pain, confusion and madness of his life long battle with manic depression catches up with him erupting into a summer of debauchery and excess that ultimately leads to self destruction. Through the haze of drugs and illicit sex the young man tries to ultimately find his way out in the most unexpected manner. Will he move on and find hope or simply fall back into the mind numbing habits of his youth?
About the Author
Christopher L. Jones is an author, poet and artist living in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Originally born in Tucson, Arizona, he has been a survivor of mental illness, specifically bi-polar disorder, for most of his life. A graduate of New Mexico State University with a degree in Philosophy and Theater Arts, he has spent over twenty five years contributing to the various performing arts groups in his community. His work has been described as "masturbating on the world's stage in verse" and "...exactly what is wrong with the average white American male..." Christopher started writing after being introduced to poetry as a form of art therapy as a teenager and has not stopped since. Aside from working with words, he is a single father of one.
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer after the Twin Tower bombings. New York City was still not whole. The wound was still fresh and bleeding, sore to the touch. It was like me…
I remember that summer well. It was supposed to be the summer of my life, one that I was never to forget and in a way it was, just not in the way that most would have liked to think.
Being there and then was the worst thing in the world…
I remember walking the streets around our hotel the first couple of days after we had arrived. Everywhere were grim reminders of the tragedy that had only so recently happened. The sign posts and bill boards plastered with pictures of the missing and the dead still haunt me. They reminded me of the make shift signposts the GI’s used to raise on their bases during World War II – the ones that had a sign pointed to every capital and odd city imaginable with the miles to it written carefully and precisely next to it.
Paper and trash was constantly blowing around. It clung to your body in the wind like scattered lost souls being sucked up into a vortex and desperately lashing onto anything they could reach.
I swore in certain parts of the city you could still smell smoke and death, but only in my mind’s imagination.
I remember that there was nothing else on television at the time. There were constant news reports and special reports and world reports on this grand new war on terror. It seemed that everyone in the United States was hell bent on revenge, and the bloodiest deadliest revenge they could manage at that. That always struck me as ironic. How long had it been since Gandhi died? Was I the only one who was forced to watch that film as a kid? It seemed like the whole country had jumped head first in to this carnal blood bath of lust and revenge and the whole time one of its greatest cities lay shattered.
I relished it. I felt like a maggot drawn to a corpse. Perhaps it was just the utter atmosphere of death and dead bodies that drew me to want to do my summer internship in New York. I am still not sure. I had always been fascinated with dead bodies and cadavers ever since my older sister was in medical college. She had taken me one afternoon with her to one of her labs. It was there, at that lab, that I got to see my first real dead body. I mean, I had seen a couple of friend’s dead parents in a casket and that type of thing, but not like that. I not only got to see a whole naked dead man lifted up out of a vat of formaldehyde, but got to watch my sister remove his spleen for her class assignment. I became so fascinated with the body after that. I spent hours copying the illustrations out of Grey’s Anatomy. Not that I was really a very good illustrator, but at the time back then in high school in that depressing southwestern American town there was little else to do.
I always knew something was wrong with me. I remember getting as close to Ground Zero as I could and looking up to where the towers would have been. I remember closing my eyes and imagining all of the debris and bodies falling down on top of me, suffocating me and pinning me down to the ground, covering my mouth so I couldn’t breathe. I would stand there with my eyes closed and my arms out looking up at the sky. I am sure the people who walked past me just thought I was having a moment. Back then New Yorkers let each other act a little crazier than usual.
And this was supposed to be the time of my life.
My life then would have been the envy of any college student. I had earned a prestigious spot at an internship in New York City, the city that never sleeps, and in a program that almost always ended in placement in a decent job in a national or international company. My advisor was working to get me an interview with NBC. Along with that I got to go to the best parties, the coolest clubs and raves and see all the theater I wanted for free.
All from a boring middle class life in the southwest – “too stoned in the arid zone” we used to call it…
Only I was never in control of anything. I simply drifted from event to event by chance. I never felt a desire to do any of it.
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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 07 September, 2010.