By Karl J. Niemiec
Author of “Alien Made” – proceeds from book sales benefit Indiana Youth Group (see below for novel excerpt, Chapter 3)
Not everyone knows this about me, but I’ve been married twice.
Unfortunately, my first marriage ended in abduction, kidnapping and sexual abuse. Not to me, to her. Yes, I know, I can’t reveal the details to protect all involved, but these kinds of things happened in my Filmmaking Adventures.
Back then in North Hollywood, according to the FBI – yes, those guys – the kidnapping was by American Indians. I know how that sounds. Tell anyone that your wife has been kidnapped by Indians, and well, it’s actually funny or at least suspicious – but not to her, or her family.
I was kept in the dark the whole time, so the whole thing didn’t make sense. Why would she just pack up and not communicate with her loving family for over four years?
Notably, we weren’t getting along. She was a good person, but had gotten obsessively interested in Indian culture and would sit around making beads everywhere we went. I’m talking sitting on the floor in a disco while the rest of us danced craziness. She’d also get up at sunrise, chant and burn sage on my office loft’s rooftop patio. My tenants loved that.
While attending college, she worked at a grocery market as a cashier. That is where I met her. And that’s where she met a handful of what I considered not-so-closeted lesbians who introduced her to sweat lodges, Indian ceremonies and a self-proclaimed Indian Chief. All nice, interesting people that I actually saw remove evil spirits from someone once – a very scary process.
Now, my first wife was smart, well read, perhaps a bit gullible, but for some reason she still couldn’t see the oddity of what I saw in her new friends. She actually would read while driving on the freeway and ran her new car into the back of a Porsche once. She also won a Golden Mic Award at 18 (www.rtna.org/goldenmikeawards/index.asp). These women empowered her by making her their leader. So she only saw what she wanted.
I’m not sure why I asked her to marry me.
It was Halloween night and we were drinking in a Westwood bar. Perhaps the spirits possessed me in a moment of weakness. I had never been with a person that long. I was working my butt off catering, managing our building, and writing “Bullet Hole Drive,” based on a Corvair I had restored (www.laptoppublishing.com/bullet-hole-drive/).
She was getting up early to be on the radio, then going to school, and would come home to work at the market at night, so our lives were pretty full. I guess I just didn’t look down the tracks far enough to see where that train was heading, and that this was one of those relationships where you know the train will eventually wreck but you just don’t know how to step off. Then the real-life Hollywood ending to a marriage came along.
I had just won a play contest for Voices and More Voices (www.laptoppublishing.com/voices-more-voices/). I was then working for a few days on a soap opera, playing a Fire Chief (of all things), and waiting for a movie that I wrote to start filming, in which I played Preacher. Yes, “Bikini Car Wash,” that played on the USA Channel forever. (Another adventure you can read the making of in “Making the Original Bikini Car Wash” A Murder Mystery Picture Book, at http://amzn.to/karlniemiec.)
When I hung up with the producer, my then-wife asked, “Are they doing it?” I said yes, and she said, “Good, I’m moving out Tuesday, I’m quitting my job at the newspaper, and I’m learning how to be a Cherokee Medicine Woman.”
Yes, I know how bizarre that sounds, but that’s how it went down. She was convinced she was part Cherokee.
On Tuesday, I came home from working on the soap to find everything I owned piled in the middle of our living room floor, and her things were gone. I went to cash a paycheck later and the bank teller told me my wife had closed the account. We were not rich, but now I was cash poor. I got pretty upset until the security guard ushered me outside.
When she said she was leaving I was relieved. It was already an intense focus deep in my mind of how to get out of this marriage without hurting her. So much so, that I thought maybe I willed it to happen.
I harbored a lot of guilt, knowing she was very close to her family and now she lived somewhere else in the world. As far as I knew, she was gone because she wanted to be gone, not just because our relationship had crumbled.
But there was more. I didn’t have a clue until I bought a plane ticket over the phone, hung up, and my phone immediately rang.
When I answered, the conversation went:
“This is so-and-so from the FBI.”
“We have a mutual friend.”
They found her?
“Don’t mention any names. She would like you to have a blood test to see if any of her children are yours and meet with you.”
I’d be glad to meet with her. But I’m not taking a blood test.
“Fine. We’ll contact you.”
“Wherever you stay.”
They would contact me “wherever I stayed.” I didn’t like the sound of that.
I got the call and I met with her. She actually apologized. She wanted me to know she had changed. It was good to see her.
The Indiana Chief and two of his women friends had knocked her unconscious when she changed her mind two blocks from our apartment. Her friends had nothing to do with it. The Chief had knocked her up twice and it took four and a half years to get herself and her kids off the property together. When she did, the FBI grabbed them up and took them to safety.
These people were bad people and did some very bad things to America that she testified about. She’s actually a hero for surviving what she went through to catch them and make sure they couldn’t harm anyone else, and now she’s living somewhere as someone else because of it.
The FBI set up our divorce. I had no intentions of hiding with her. Later, I got a check in the mail for the money that was taken. That was very kind.
To honor that relationship, I wrote a film and stage play, “When the Right Man Finds You”. You can read it at www.laptoppublishing.com/when-the-right-man-finds-you/. It has not been produced.
I bring this story up because I’ve always felt someone was looking after me, fixing the tight spots I’d get myself into if I willed it hard enough. And I almost felt as though I willed her to go. And now, living at Mammoth Towers, I was in the mindset to will the Essinolas out to the desert to off each one of them, if I couldn’t will them to pay for the damage they caused.
And well, someone just might have. Did I will it; is someone or thing really out there looking over me, fulfilling my willful wishes – even the bad ones? Some otherworldly power I don’t know about, one of them – whatever “them” are – cleaning up the little grimy details of my life? My motto has always been “Bad things happen to people who mess with me,” because it’s true. Was I being set up by a bigger picture? Was the Essinolas part of it? Was Mammoth Towers really a vortex to another dimension, where the tenants were all one of them, and not one of us?
And that spooky dog barking and defecating all over. When I opened their door and saw their place, the dirt and filth, I didn’t know what to think. Surely humans, real humans, couldn’t live this way, with this many bugs crawling everywhere, over everything, as though the walls were moving. By the time they walked in on me, I was a mad man with my head spinning around.
Who knows, maybe I did will them to be gone. Maybe the powers that watch over me did as I willed again. As far as I know, no one ever found them. And eventually the two cops stopped coming by and the accusations of my threatening them faded away.
Our minds are very powerful, and who knows what is standing in the shadows of our heads, pulling the strings in our lives. Was it possibly one of them? And my alter ego, Jozeph Picasso, was left to figure it out.
If you choose to read on, just know that these adventures have been twisted tightly into a sci-fi trilogy so that those who have threatened me about repeating what I know to be true will leave me and my family alone.
I don’t claim that any of these people are real – alien or otherwise. And if I did, like Jozeph Picasso, I am not at liberty to admit it. Because of the danger that underscores letting these stories go, I have held on to them for many years.
Below is another chapter of “Alien Made.” If you decide to jump ahead and read the whole trilogy and buy copies on Amazon, either in paperback or Kindle Books, at http://amzn.to/karlniemiec, know that portions of the proceeds from those sales will be donated to Indiana Youth Group, which supports LGBTQ in ages 12-20.
Karl J. Niemiec is Executive Producer of Programming, LapTopPublishing.com and KjN On-Camera Studios; contact KjN@LapTopPublishing.com.
* * * * *
By Karl J. Niemiec
I look into my empty cup. No fortune told there. I’m done with my coffee, but don’t want to go home. I haven’t started my systematic reading of the LA Times. And I’m just sitting here hoping something pretty will buzz me. But the only buzz I get is from cup of Joe number three. I’m in a horrible funk because these horrid visions have left me with this bad feeling. Like something is wrong. Or something astronomically awful is about to happen to me. Maybe I should get in my car and keep driving to the beach and skip heading home right away. But no, I can’t. I’ve got responsibilities now, tenants to deal with, and one family in particular, the piggy Essinolas who dwelled in apartment 101. So I trudge to my car and drive home.
It’s been three days since I’ve served them. I can’t stand it any longer. The monkey on my back is festering into a true emergency. The evaporation of my sanity. I don’t want to know mentally as much as I need to know physically and fiscally what they’ve done to apartment 101. So I go up and get the keys and come back down to case the joint.
I go in. Son of a bitch! I’m beyond shock, sickly appalled. The apartment is so dirty, it’s hard to describe. The carpet’s color, good carpet, about two thousand dollars’ worth, is barely recognizable. The kitchen is so disgusting only cockroaches could love it.
And believe me, they do. I’m talking thousands, crawling everywhere, and scurrying back and forth, playing ping-pong, shooting pool, dancing. I’m telling you, this is the ultimate cockroach hotel. These bugs love it here.
How anybody could live like this is beyond my comprehension. How this many bugs stayed in one apartment and didn’t spread out over the entire building is also beyond me. Unless they’ve had as much as they could eat right here, and from the looks of the grime, heck yes, it is buffets of slime!
My investment is ruined. There’s no way their deposit will cover what I’ll have to spend in order to put the place back in rent shape.
Ah, damn, the screens are torn and filthy. I couldn’t tell from out front, but they are pushed in at the bottom. And the original stained glass in the dining room is cracked. The window shades are missing several slats, and what’s left of the terrace door’s shades are bent.
Then I see it. Or smell it, I’m not sure which sense comes first, the smell or the sight, but it’s poop. At first I think human, but my mind stops short of visiting there because frankly I just can’t allow it.
There’s more. The further I go into the apartment the more I find. And urine stains are everywhere. These pigs turned apartment 101 into a dog kennel. Then it hits me. Dog! That barking dog!
I follow the trail across the dining room into the living room and to the den. 101 is my apartment but smaller, due to a service hall behind the master bedroom. I see no sign of food or water, just urine and poop. The windows are all closed and the terrace door is locked.
I go into the spare bedroom. And there he is. The cutest cocker spaniel you’ll ever want to meet. But then he looks me square in the eyes and curls back his lips to show his teeth and I’m telling you that dog transforms into something that I don’t think it was meant to be in nature. I stop in my tracks. There’s no way I’ll approach this dog. He could be rabid or starving. I simply retreat back into the walkthrough kitchen to find a pan and fill it with water. But when looking for something clean enough to put food on, I glance up at a Blip sound to find the dog standing in the dining room watching me.
Note, I didn’t say he walks into the dining room, I said he was just all of a sudden there, watching me with those eyes. I’m not sure but I think he’s hunting me. Perhaps he’s that hungry or maybe he heard my bubbling stew comment about eating him and didn’t find it funny. I look down wanting something to protect myself with and back up at another Blipping sound and he’s gone. Blip comes from behind me, so I turn around, even more freaked, and there he is sitting by the door. I’m trapped. This is way too weird for me. Perhaps the visitor who claimed to see a cocker spaniel walk through walls wasn’t such a miserable prick after all, because there’s definitely something unnatural happening in here.
Under a pile of junk on the mildew stained granite counter I find an open can of soft dog food. If I feed it, he might not attack me. So I scrape off the top into the garbage disposal, which doesn’t work, and put some of it on a teacup size Statue of Liberty ornamented dish, ruined by a small chip. Perfect, because these slobs have just taken my right of happiness away. The ironic nature of the dish I’m sure I’ll appreciate in some other life. But in the here and now I take both the water and food out to the terrace and quickly back off.
Blip! Immediately the dog appears at the water dish out of thin air. No lie. I’m actually stunned by what I just witnessed, even though I already saw it happening moments ago. Is he a ghost? A demon? Am I nuts? Just in case, I go through the rest of the apartment very quickly while I have the dog distracted. Something in me needs to know if there’s anything else creepy, or if hopefully someone is playing a TV hoax on me. But no, there are three bathrooms, each more disgusting than the last. The toilets are so filthy that evidently the dog chose to shrivel up rather than drink bacteria out of them. Why didn’t he just Blip out of here? Wait, he has been. That’s why we couldn’t tell where it was coming from. Has he been sneaking in to other apartments and eating their pets’ food? I shake my head. I can’t be thinking this now.
Great, the master bedroom is still full of junk furniture. It isn’t clear by the broken Ikea trash in the living room and the yard sale junk in the master bedroom if they’ll come back. So I head for the door as quickly as my feet will carry me, keeping a watchful eye on the balcony door to make sure the dog was still there and wasn’t planning to trap me inside this disgusting place to kill me. When I get there, the door opens and the mother of the pig family enters. Lying Leticia Essinola, followed by the daughter, teen slut Sonya. They somehow don’t see me at first as I steady my heart, even though I’m standing right there in front of them, trying not to pass out from the sudden unexpected opening of the door.
See future editions of The Word for more, or purchase the full book on Amazon.