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There is no place to go, nothing to do, participate in, or witness, that will achieve the elusive state that exists in Bryan “Weed” Tecco’s head. Not that he doesn’t imagine: its glory and the path backwards through memory to the thing he really wants, the euphoric recall. But it’s in the subtext now, this longing. Even at the premature age of twenty seven he’s been coasting along, living with subdued disappointment and thwarted experience; a specimen of ennui and muted self-loathing. In the post-script of this missive, I’ll give him a break and call him by his real name.
Bryan’s day job is that of a game-tester for a telecommunications giant called Sahi communications. Ten years ago the average reader of a book like The Situation might have asked if being a tester of video games was a real job, but these days, with e-sports an actuality, role-play video games more popular than film or music, the job in question might now be the ultimate career choice for the average teenage or tweenie male. Girls wouldn’t want this gift, except maybe those desperate to squeeze into the male world; one-time little sisters playing out the drama of not being left out. However, Bryan works his day job by taking it for granted, paying it little heed while using the languidly passing hours as a springboard for the evening’s moonlighting, his wax dealing side-gig. Though seemingly bright, creative, and possibly ingenious, he nurses an old wound that obstructs ambitions, his prospectively society-contributing lifestyle. In his world, whether that is Richmond, California, or the affluent, hippy back roads of West Marin, Bryan is a misfit: born without guidance or guidelines, though he is subject to hasty yet capable nurturing later on. He is destined to plunder his own path, revisit his original script of rejection more effortlessly than Chris “Crystal” Leavitt ever will. He will keep others at arm’s length, generating intrigue in some, contempt in most, but still assessing his limitations all along.
As a serendipitous adventurer, Bryan fits the bill for me, but not for Sahi, a corporate beast that doesn’t notice the special talents of its worker bees. A wildcard in their system, Bryan recognizes special elements in a game he’s been given to test; elements uncannily similar to the hallucinogenic visions (called ‘Shadows’) that he shares with his also wayward friend, Chris. Galvanized by an impulse not fully expressed to the reader, Bryan steals the files for the game, called ‘The Situation’, half-believing that he’s found a cause that will stoke a dormant heroism. In the novel’s predecessor, Crystal From The Hills, the notion of a situation is given some comic mileage as an inside joke between friends: a situation is a personified event with an attitude, and given a cosmic edge. A situation, as introduced in the first novel, is an umbrella term for an event with some manner of sentience at its core. A situation: it has opinions and feelings; it wants things, and like God, will fuck with people if it has to. It’s a signal that all things, happenings and beings that wander aimlessly, congeal in order to find meaning, reflecting the existence of an overseeing power.
The presumptions of a psychotherapist, which are perhaps similar to those of a dramatist, are that people care: they care about themselves, about their friends, their parents or siblings, their lovers. They care about their communities even, and given half the chance, lifelong frustrations or limitations notwithstanding, they’d seize the opportunity to make a difference, disrupt the presumed versus natural order of things and bring forth something like goodness. Bryan’s adversaries generally see him as an opportunist and a sociopath, and so they miss him. His doppelganger, Eric “fierce” Pierce, chases Weed across the landscape of California, pursuing him with all the righteous fervor of Javert, but also the collapsing delusion of a failing system. Pierce haplessly represents his employer, which thinks it can easily squash the individual, the fly in the ointment, “between the pincers of a superior being”, I write. But of course it isn’t superior, this corporate behemoth that is Sahi Telecommunications. It’s made up of individuals, after all: all lost in the mix. Like Bryan, it only acts as if it knows what it’s doing. Underneath the pretense, my protagonist acts as if he doesn’t stand a chance. That’s why he separates, as in separates from everything and everyone as often as he can. The backstory? Sorry (or not), this story’s not like CFTH; it’s locked into the present and future, not the past. It’s in the subtext also, Bryan’s quiet lack of self-worth.
Who he is lies somewhere in between the texts of the two novels, or else before either, out of sight of his author even, and hiding defiantly. It’s late now, a good several months since I finished The Situation, plus a year or two since I birthed Bryan “Weed” Tecco. I know he’s better than he thinks he is. I knew from the start that he’d be much more than the cardboard nasty I expose in CFTH. I thought he might be a good anti-hero, a curmudgeon with a tender heart, a bit like the John Milner character from American Graffiti: greased, beefy and sour, yet sweet enough to give a kid a break; kissing the thirteen year old girl on the cheek at the end of the night. If you read the dense yet worthwhile gem that is CFTH then you might have thought you’d seen the last of Weed, and thought good riddance (to Weed, and maybe the book, I guess). You didn’t know I had plans, ideas that were only half-thought through as I got started. I was playing it by ear, looking for redemption in a sequel, hope in ordinary guys—not even men—and believing in few things less than I do heroism, which is a problem for me, I admit. Really: the way heroism is sold in this life is a deadly lie. I prefer redemption as a concept. There’s more personal history, less of a script for others to steal, transform into something banal, there just for common consumption, or exploitation. Instead, there’s something musical, un-captured and pure. There’s even more syncopation in the sound of the word.
For e-book link for The Situation, click on the following: