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The Adventures of Billy Bayber

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  • Mathew Morrell
    Billy Bayber spent an unhealthy amount of time meditating in his parent s basement. For six to twelve hour everyday he could be found either laying in bed
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 19, 2006
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      Billy Bayber spent an unhealthy amount of time meditating in his
      parent's basement. For six to twelve hour everyday he could be
      found either laying in bed above the covers or sitting upright in
      the lotus posture, his eyes closed, his legs crossed, and his face
      pale and bloodless looking from the hours, and sometimes days, spent
      in mystical states. Rarely did he leave the basement other than to
      use the restroom or to ungraciously possess his nightly dinner
      plate, lovingly prepared by his mother, Mrs. Bayber---a stay at home
      Mom. Partly out of fear, partly out of respect, nobody bothered
      Billy Bayber---least of all his parents. Being good liberals, they
      gave their son the "psychological space" to do whatever he wished,
      believing that their young Billy was merely going through a phase.
      The fact that he meditated so frequently---they could hear him chant-
      --made his parent's proud. Their son was simply "finding himself"---
      finding himself, not in the Himalayan Mountains, not in jungles of
      India, not in the Palestinian desert, but in their very own
      basement, next to the washer and dryer.

      As the months passed, and Billy Bayber sunk deeper into the abysses
      of his mind, his hair grew down his neck; and for weeks he went
      without showers. The boy seemed committed to an ascetic lifestyle,
      and yet grew increasingly bold, daring, and erratic. It was not
      uncommon for Billy Bayber to spend the whole evening lying on the
      cool night grass, looking up at the stars; or riding his motorcycle
      through the remote hill country; or attending ballet performances,
      clothed in black leather. Naturally, people believed he was
      disturbed. He rarely smiled or laughed, and rarer still spoke. It
      was as if Billy Bayber had grown mute, or as if some problem weighed
      heavily on his conscience. When awake, and not meditating, he
      meticulously painted other-worldly beings which have never occupied
      the earth, but evidently occupied Billy Bayber's imagination.

      A bare light bulb shone above his paint-spattered easel, but left
      the remainder of the basement in shadows. Stacks of cardboard boxes
      stood in a dim, gray haze of light, and thicker, dimmer shadows
      covered the canvases stacked against the bare cement wall. The
      canvases that were light enough to see made it plainly evident that
      Billy Bayber had yet to master his craft; and that the daily
      struggle for perfection typically ended in failure. The strange
      beasts and mystic figures were unconvincing; the faces, plastic and
      expressionless; the futuristic architecture showing signs of having
      been painted and re-painted numerous times, creating a muck. Still
      others canvases were brilliant. The heavenly spheres that he
      painted were produced in vague, misty colors conveying the musical
      quality of the devachanic realms. His mother preferred the
      paintings that were aesthetically pleasing and fretted over the
      dreary, monstrous, violent, grotesque, homicidal canvases that were
      beginning to dominate the attic and basement. Clumsily, with overly
      urgent brush strokes, he painted half ichthyic, half human sea
      creatures; and because of his urgency, errors emerged in the
      detailed fin and scale formations.

      Nobody in the family understood why Billy Bayber chose to paint evil
      and wickedness over beauty and grace; waste his talent on the
      despicable and the atrocious, and not encourage the early results of
      his student years when he painted flowers and such. Billy Bayber
      seemed to exist in a permanent state of depression. But it was not
      the type of depression that left him sullen and passive, rather than
      the type that fueled his creative passion; it was a contemptuous
      depression repelled by the superficialities of life; an irrational,
      chaotic, impulsive, world-rejecting depression inspiring
      metaphysical ponderings upon the true meaning of life---life as it
      existed at its fundamental core, stripped of pretense. The type of
      depression that he suffered inspired creation, feelings, thinking, a
      desire to know, to believe, and most of all the desire to reject and
      deny. It was the cataclysmic world of the future, and not the world
      that existed in the Now, that occupied his mind as he stood before
      his easel; holding a palette and dabbing a medium bristle brush into
      a mound of gray-blue oil paint, practically blinded by visions.
      Shocked and sickened by what he saw he thrust the brush forward and
      dabbed the canvas anxiously and repeatedly until the gray-blue color
      formed the illusion of rising smoke. The smoke was rising from a
      burnt-out metropolis destroyed by a nuclear blast. A voice called
      down to him from the kitchen; but Billy did not answer and continued
      to add depth and clarity to the sinister landscape clarifying on the
      blank canvas. Again the voice called down to him, and still Billy
      stood there with a lamentable expression---not answering.




      To be continued. . .
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