Burn this shit down. Burn this house down. Burn this town down.
Burn. Burn. Burn.
I want the world to burn. I want to walk the streets and see a huge fire. I want everything to blaze. That's how I feel right now. I couldn't even be there when the morgue came to get Sampson's body. I couldn't even be there for him.
Where was my happy ever after? Where was anything like that? Time had passed and no matter how long I look at these walls all I could think about was burning down this house and burning down this world.
"Syn what are you doing?" T-Boy asks me, "Is that gasoline..."
T-Boy gives me a look. He looks at the matches in my hand. He looks at the container in my other hand. I throw it to the ground. I'm standing outside of Sampson's old home.
"Syn yes it is. Were you just about to light that?"
"No. I was just. Uh. You know. Smoking cigarettes."
"You don't smoke Syn."
"You don't fucking know me," I respond, "Why are you acting like you know me?"
"Syn I do know you. I know that you have that match and I smell gasoline. I also know that you are a little bit of a sociopath and are a lot like a pyromaniac. Now I've been looking all over town for you. Please tell me you don't plan on burning down Sampson's old house."
T-Boy was annoying me. I drop the matches without lighting it. I should have figured he would show up here to try and find me. Luckily his rental car is already unlocked so I hop in it. Two seconds later that house of Sampson's would have been up in flames.
T-Boy gets into the driver's side. He looks over at me. He doesn't say anything at first. I don't want to talk about it. It wasn't like Sampson's dumb ass wife was there. It wasn't like those kids who really weren't his kids were there. I should have burnt that fucking house down. That's what I should have done.
It's awkward when T-Boy starts driving me away. Before I notice it we are back at the hotel room that we've been staying in. I reach for the door handle to go back into the hotel room but T-Boy stops me before I leave the car.
"Syn are you OK?" T-Boy asks me.
He's been trying to get my attention for a while. T-Boy is dressed up in a suit. He looks so nice. It fits perfectly. He's been there since Sampson died. He's been trying to calm me down and make me feel better. I put on a smile as best as I can. It's not because I want to smile. I put on a smile because T-Boy will leave me alone if I pretend like everything is OK.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm good," I tell him, "Why wouldn't I be OK?"
"Because you were just at Sampson's house about to burn it down."
"Well it was between that and killing myself," I state, "And I never understood how someone can kill themselves when things like bagels exist. You know, Einstein's has that veggie cream cheese. To die for. So I figured. I'm going to burn down Sampson's house and go get some cream cheese after."
T-Boy swallows his spit.
"Syn, you realize Sampson's family lives there right. You realize that Dahlia and the kids still live in that house."
"They aren't home."
"Relax I'm just joking. I wasn't going to burn that house down T-Boy."
I'm lying. T-Boy gives me a half smile in return. He looks nervous. I doubt he believes the shit that's coming out of his mouth but he's being too sensitive to call me out on this shit. He gives me this condescending pat on the back as though it would make me feel better. Whoever told people that a pat on the back makes them feel better? Where the fuck did this start? The love of my life was dead and T-Boy was giving me a pat on the back. Fuck your pat.
You know what would make me feel better. I wanted to burn everything down. That would make me feel better. That would be just ideal.
"He would want you to be happy Syn," T-Boy explains, "Sampson should have been in the hospital resting but instead he was trying to make sure you were safe. He was a lot sicker than he let us know. Brain cancer sometimes kills quickly."
What the fuck was this? Was this T-Boy's way of making me feel better? Why should I give a fuck how Sampson was taken from me? At the end of the day he was gone and I was left with nothing but anger.
"He's dead. Let's just go to this funeral and get this over with."
T-Boy clears his throat.
"Syn. You...can't go."
"The cops are still looking for you."
"The Mayor said he would clear my name," I respond.
T-Boy shrugs, "I haven't heard anything like that. I don't want to take any risks. After this funeral I think we should get out of here. There's nothing left in this town. Wade and the Syn followers burnt everything down."
The church, the libraries, the stores and the government buildings were all ashes. Nothing was left in Briarswood after the Syn followers tore through this place. It smelled like nothing.
"You aren't letting me go to Sampson's funeral?"
"I came to drop you off here and make sure that you stayed here," T-Boy explains.
I roll my eyes. I got it. Cops. Legal issues. Whatever. Wade had made the town look silly and he had booked it before anyone could catch him. A bunch of the Syn followers were arrested. The National Guard had come down and shut that shit down faster than a Black Lives Matter protest. I understood why I should lay low. I understood why I shouldn't be seen. It all made sense.
"OK," I tell him.
"Yeah of course."
"Promise me you'll go back to your room and you won't show up at Sampson's funeral."
I smile at T-Boy.
Of course I'm lying. I show up at Sampson's funeral later that day. It's a gloomy day. The weather seems to be drained. It sounds corny but it honestly feels like the world has lost one of its angels or something. It's almost like God literally was like "Fuck it, nothing else to be happy for." The sun went into hiding. It was still humid as fuck though which didn't make any sense whatsoever.
I've been to way too many funerals in my lifetime and this one had to be one of the worse. I see all of these people who I don't even know. I guess these are people from Briarswood. They are crying. I've never seen so many sad people in my life. Then I notice Ms. Nicole. She's with Dahlia and the kids. They are dressed in black.
Here I am dressed in a white t-shirt and some fucking sweatpants and honestly I feel comfortable.
"Syn. No. No. No. No."
It's T-Boy. I'm pretty sure the moment he sees me he sings a chorus of "No's over and over". He comes over to me and grabs me by my wrist. He's pretty rough.
"Damn. I haven't been here one second."
"I was waiting for you to show up."
"T-Boy I promised. Don't you trust me?" I ask him.
T-Boy gives me a hard look, "Um. Syn. You do realize you lied right? You do realize that you showed up at the funeral even though you promised you wouldn't. I was right not to trust you. You do realize that right?"
T-Boy is trying to explain this to me like I'm a child. I roll my eyes. He has taken me up a hill. The cemetery is crowded. I haven't seen so many people since the one day at Sampson's church. There were probably more people than I felt comfortable with. There wasn't a dry eye in this place.
"I deserve to be here," I explain, "The love of my life is dead. I deserve to be here and pay him my respects. I deserve to be here more than anyone else. I deserve to have people walking up to me and telling me they are sorry for my loss. Because it was MY loss. Just as much as yours. Just as much as his stupid cheating ass wife or his lying egotistical ass mother. It's my loss just as much as those SNOT nose fucking kids that aren't even his. It's my loss just as much as this city. I deserve the misery. I deserve the sadness. I've lost something T-Boy. Don't you get it."
T-Boy turns around. There are tears in his eyes. I can tell there are. I watch at that moment as he leans into me and takes my hand.
"I just care about you Syn. I'm just trying to protect you."
That's when I lean in and kiss T-Boy. His lips are so soft. They press up against mine. It makes him cry harder when I kiss those lips of his. I think all of this is getting to him. I think Sampson's death was something that we all knew may be coming but we didn't expect it so soon. We all thought we had so much more time with him. We all thought we had time to fix the mistakes we made in the past.
Those mistakes were gone. Sampson was dead and gone. He'd never be coming back.
"T-Boy. I love you too. But you can't protect me forever. At some point. You're going to have to have to sit back and let me do the crazy shit that I do."
T-Boy takes a deep breath. I think he was really starting to understand just how serious this is to me. I wasn't going to let Sampson go alone.
T-Boy offers me his hand. I grab it.
Together we walk over to the back where a bunch of people are talking. It's Ms. Nicole who is up there talking to the crowd right now. I don't think she sees me. I don't think she notices what's going on. Dahlia is at the right of her holding her and I guess she was trying to give Ms. Nicole strength. I've never rolled my eyes so hard. Ms. Nicole was crying. The tears fill her eyes to the point that she can barely even talk. Seeing Sampson's mother react like this is causing an emphasis of how sad this is to everyone. People are sick to their stomach.
"My son was a good man. He was a pastor. He was a father. He was a husband. There is nothing he wouldn't have sacrificed for his family. There is nothing that he wouldn't have done to make sure that his family was taken care of. He loved God with a passion that no one else could. Even when he was young I used to think that he was my angel. I used to say. This boy here. This boy is going to change the world. He was sent from God to touch everyone and I know that he's been...he's been...he's been a saint in this town."
I roll my eyes so hard.
"Oh my-fucking-god..." I say.
It is pretty quiet. A few people turn to see who said it. Some people's eyes get large when they see it's me. People don't know how to respond. Some people just stare not sure whether to be alarmed that Syn Clinton has showed up or whether to respect Sampson's funeral. The majority of people seem to be right on the line here more anticipating something to happening. They are at the edge of their seats.
It's T-boy who calms me down. He grabs my hand and gives me a hard squeeze.
T-boy leans over at me, "Give her a chance."
I shut up and listen to T-Boy. Ms. Nicole notices me in the crowd. Her eyes dart at me. I can see the anger in those eyes.
She's looking right at me and I know this woman hates me with every passion inside of her.
"Once he walked the path of sin," Ms. Nicole tells people, "And every moment he fought those sins. He fought against the demons in his life. And sometimes he didn't win. Sometimes he was overtaken by sin. A large part of me believes his sins were the reason that he is dead now. I felt...you know what. Maybe God is punishing him for those sins. My son tried to repent. He did. We prayed together. And there were always times when the Devil would come back and TEMPT him. Today I want to take a minute to pray for my son so that he doesn't enter the next world with that sin hanging to his back. Let's all bow our heads and help Sampson do some soul searching, one last time."
I'm shocked. Soul searching? Sampson didn't need to go soul searching.
All I can think of is `really bitch.' She was going out of her way not only to take jabs at me but taint Sampson's legacy and make him seem like he was some deeply flawed individual. Was she serious? Was she joking right now?
I'm even more surprised when I find out I'm not the only one annoyed by Ms. Nicole.
"Ok, if you don't do something I will," T-Boy tells me.
He means it at that moment. T-Boy looks pissed. I haven't seen him so pissed in his life. For most of his life he had avoided his mother. He tried not to get on her bad side. This was different. It was clear that she had gone over the line. Sampson didn't die from AIDS or a drug overdose or anything that was based off his own actions. Even if he did die from a sexually transmitted disease or even drugs it still didn't make the case for him to be demonized. Sampson wasn't that guy.
I find myself walking up to Ms. Nicole. She is standing in front of Sampson's grave. They've already lowered his casket into the hole.
Ms. Nicole's face goes white when she opens her eyes from her moment of prayer and sees me standing right there in front of her. Her mouth goes completely wide.
I snatch the microphone out of her hands.
"You guys can all stop your fucking bullshit," I say into the microphone to the crowd of people at Sampson's funeral, "You don't know Sampson. This bitch who calls herself his mother doesn't know Sampson. Sampson wasn't a family man. He was playing at that. Sampson was a faggot."
Ms. Nicole gasps. She falls into Dahlia's hands and Dahlia attempts to catch her.
They are clutching their pearls again. I guess not much has changed since Wade ran through this town. They were back on their high horses acting like they never heard that word before.
"Get the mic. Get the mic..." Dahlia is screaming.
"You're not touching him," T-Boy threatens.
T-boy is standing at my side. I'm glad he is. He leans over and pats me on the back. At that moment it makes sense. The back patting helps actually. I feel better. It's kind of like a little "Go get `em champ". It stirs something in me.
I look over at the crowd.
"There was something that Sampson wanted more than a family. There was something that he wanted more than those kids...eh erm, who still aren't his. Sampson loved something more than he loved his church. He loved something more than he loved his God. He loved me."
"Sinner! Blasphemy!" Ms. Nicole says.
A chorus of the same kind of shouts were coming out. I assumed they would. Most of the Syn Followers had been arrested or skipped town. The only ones left were these deeply religious zealots who looked for any reason to be outraged.
They start booing me. They are loud and clear with their outrage. They hate me but I don't care. If I was doing this shit for cheers I would have stuck with the Syn followers. This had nothing to do with applause. This had nothing to do with reaction.
I was setting the record straight.
"Sinner. Blasphemer. Yes, I am all of those things," I state, "Hell you guys can even call me the devil if you want. And that's completely fine. One thing I do know is that Sampson was in love with me. True love. And I'm not trying to make this about me---because it isn't. This is about Sampson and who he was. He wasn't the sinner. He wasn't the blasphemer. He just loved one. I always thought that you had to find someone who completed you. That isn't the truth. You have to find someone who loves you, completely. So if you want to talk about someone who needed soul searching then talk about me. I'm the sinner. And I'll admit the only soul searching I wanted to do was when Sampson fucked me with his 10-inch dick and made a cold asshole like me feel something for someone."
"Move. MOVE!" Ms. Nicole says.
Ms. Nicole and Dahlia are fighting with T-Boy to get at me and grab the microphone. There are some people who are standing up wondering if they should interfere and help them.
That's when I see in the distance the police cars. There are 20 of them. God knows if there were 20 police cars in Briarwoods period. But I knew why they were here. I knew they were here for me. Someone had called the cops. It didn't matter who. It never really mattered.
"You want to know who Sampson was?" I ask the crowd, "Sampson was a lover. He was a gay boy. He was a protector. He was corny. He was self-aware. He was easily influenced. He loved someone that society said he shouldn't and he was ready to risk everything for them. Sampson was dribbled when he woke up from sleep in the morning. The size of his dick should probably be a crime. Did I mention how corny he was? He was passionate and gullible. You know what was wrong with Sampson. Me. I was his greatest sin and he was OK with that. You know? Regardless of how evil I was. Regardless of if I was the sinner and the blasphemer. He accepted me. He never attempted to complete me. Above with all of those things that are wrong with him and all of the things that he shouldn't have done...Sampson was perfect. I never had to complete him. He was perfect the way he was. And because of the way he was I loved him...completely."
Ms. Nicole breaks through. She attempts to grab me. She holds onto my shirt.
"Burn in hell," Ms. Nicole hisses.
"I intend to...just not today," I respond.
I push Ms. Nicole. I push her hard. She falls back, tripping and stumbling. I hear her scream within the next few seconds and as she starts falling. It happens in slow motion. Dahlia attempts to stop Ms. Nicole from falling but it doesn't work.
Ms. Nicole falls.
Not on the ground. No. That would be too easy. She falls in Sampson's grave. I can hear her hitting onto his casket hard in the 6-foot hole. She is screaming for help at the bottom and crying in agony.
"Syn" T-boy says.
I know what he is trying to alert me. The cops are making their way towards me. I should have known that Mayor Edwin Reading was a fucking liar. He wasn't going to clear my name. As soon as we let him go I had no doubt he was plotting on how to capture me and throw the book at me for everything that Wade had done.
I shrug, "It's OK."
"Syn this isn't OK. I'll call a lawyer. I'll figure something out," T-Boy states.
I shake my head, "There's no way I'm getting out of this one. They got me man. It was just a matter of time. Don't tell them I'm crazy T-Boy. Not that. I don't want to go to the looney bin again. I meant everything I did. I'm not going to plead insanity again."
He nods. Tears are coming down out of T-Boy's eyes.
He grabs me and holds me tightly. The hug is so tight that I lose my breath for a moment. The cops come in the next couple of seconds. They literally have to PRY T-Boy out of my hands and threaten him with a Taser before he releases me.
I watch the crowd as I am being pulled away. The people are cheering. They are celebrating the fact that I am being arrested.
I take my walk of shame and hear the words they scream out.
I'm surprised no one has thrown anything at me when the police walk me down the aisle back towards the police cars. I can hear T-Boy screaming from a distance being restrained. I know he would help me if he could get to me. I wish I could just spend another moment with him and let him know that it was OK.
It could be worse. Sure...they were happy I was being dragged away. They were clapping. They felt safe. The bad guy was being taken away. Sure they called me a fag, a sinner, Satan and a bunch of other things as they march me away. They called me a bunch of things but they didn't call me crazy.
They didn't call me crazy.
"Aren't we all sinners?"
I'm in prison. I've been in prison for 4 months now. They threw the book at me literally. After I cursed the judge out in court he literally picked up his book and threw it at my head. Needless to say I got 15 years for a crime that I didn't commit.
T-boy moved to Atlanta which was where my prison was located. I guess he says he wanted to be close to me. He came to visit often. I know at some point I'm going to have to have a talk with him. I'm going to have to tell T-Boy that he needs to move on with his life. It wasn't healthy to visit a man that was locked up. T-Boy was young and ridiculously sexy. He could be with anyone that he wanted. He needed to get over me. Still that was hard to say when I still haven't gotten over Sampson. Even from the grave I loved Sampson something vicious.
"Aren't we all sinners?" I say in the courtyard, "What is a sin? Keeping it real must be a sin. Not putting up with the bullshit that people want. What's so bad? I'm sure all of you aren't good people. Some of you sin differently. Some of you know damn well what you did was wrong, but every once in a while there is a time when you can justify your Sins so they sound like poetry. There are some sins that aren't that bad. Let's be honest. Gluttony. Who made that a sin? Sometimes you want to stuff your face..."
A couple of people laugh in the crowd. Well. Not really a couple. Somehow I managed to get 150 inmates in the prison courtyard and they are all are listening to the things I say.
The Sin theory has only grown bigger. It has only spread.
"Pride is another bullshit sin. Why should you be humble every day? Live under a rock? The way I look at it...if we don't sin then Jesus died for nothing. You know? And we wouldn't want to have him waste his time. We are all sinners. Don't forget that. And those people...those people who say they are better than you aren't. Those judges and lawyers aren't better than you. Those religious people aren't better than you. Those GOOD people aren't better than you. They are just scared of you. Why condemn a sin before we have even tried it?"
Stomping breaks out in the yard. They don't clap. They stomp.
"Syn Clinton?" one of the correctional officers say.
I roll my eyes, "What? What the fuck did I do now? I did not start that fire last week...those matches were NOT mine..."
"Come with us."
Fuck. I roll my eyes. Great. Solitary again. Maybe I did start the fire. It wasn't like anyone got hurt or anything. I wanted to send a message. Ok. I'm not sure what the message was other than I was a pyromaniac but it wasn't like anyone got hurt or anything. Burning bedsheets is kind of fun. That's what happens when you bore people.
I'm marched back into the building. The officer hands me off to another officer who hands me off to another officer. Something weird is going on.
I look at the cameras and notice they are being turned away.
"What's happening here?" I ask.
"Keep moving," the officer states.
I walk through the building. My heart is beating fast. Maybe the correctional officers were sick of my shit. Maybe they were ready to do me in while the cameras weren't working.
"Ok. So I did start that fire, but c`mon...you have to admit that was some cool looking smoke."
I'm not going to solitary! I can tell. I haven't been to this side of the jail. I'm taken past heavy stone brick walls. My heart is racing. I can't believe this shit is happening.
"I know I started that riot but honestly I blame whoever picks out the reading material in this place. It's just awful. I mean let's be honest. It didn't take a lot to convince people to riot. They already wanted to. At least you had stories to go home and tell your wife. I mean, let's be honest...you go home and tell your wife stories about me. Right?"
"No? Really? Your boyfriend then?" I ask.
I laugh but this guy doesn't really find it funny.
He takes a hood at that moment. No. Fuck no.
"Oh my god. Don't kill me. DON'T..."
Before I finish the hood is put over my head. Then there is nothing but blackness. I'm shocked and amused at the same time. I guess this is how I die. Sampson I was coming to see you. We can roast hot dogs in hell. I had to give Hitler a piece of my mind anyway.
There is darkness and there is silence for a while.
I'm taken somewhere I don't know where.
We walk longer than I assume I should but then my hood is removed and I realize that I'm not in the prison. Then I hear a car. The music is up loud but I feel like I'm in a car. Where the fuck are they taking me. Was I being transferred prisons? Were they going to dump my body somewhere. I had been a walking nightmare since I entered that prison. I could at least admit that part. I wasn't surprised they were killing me but why not just have someone shank me or something? Maybe they felt like the prisoners would riot again if I ended up dead.
Maybe I should feel kind of lucky. In a weird way. You know?
They were going through a lot just to kill little old me.
My hood is taken off.
"Thank you officer," a familiar voice says.
I'm not in the prison anymore. I'm in a building. It looks like a rather wealthy looking building. I look around barely able to see. It took forever to get here. The officer who took off my hood leans over and takes off my handcuffs. I'm confused by this. Where the fuck am I? And why am I being released?
That's when I see someone in a huge chair.
The person turns around and it all makes sense.
"Wade?" I ask.
Wade smiles at me, "You like my suit. The donations started coming in from the Syn theory not too long ago. Let's just say I've been doing very well. Let me correct that actually. We have been doing very well...master."
I look around.
There are so many people. They are all in the room in this building. Looking outside of the window it looks like I'm in downtown Atlanta. I'm in a skyscraper on one of the top floors. Several things stick out. This was an expensive office building and the people who were in this room with Wade looked mighty familiar.
They all have "Syn" tattooed on their foreheads.
They were all followers.
"I may be jumping the gun here," I state wrinkling up my forehead, "But uh...did you just break me out of prison."
Wade smiles. He walks over to me. It's just been a few months but he seems so much more mature. He seems so much more put together than when I last saw him. Don't get me wrong there is still that craziness in his eyes but it's masked by a suit.
"You'd be right to assume that," Wade says, "Things have changed Syn. They stole from you. The same way they stole from me. The do-gooders. Our enemies."
I raise my forehead.
"Wade what are you getting at."
"It's time for a new world order. A new era. The world is crying out for a new leader. The Theory is taking hold. First we took over Briarswood. Now we are onto bigger things. Here...come take a seat..."
I look at the chair he is pointing to.
I walk up to the leather chair. I'm surprised with what happens next. As soon as I sit in the chair people start to bow to me.
"What the fuck is wrong with them?" I ask, "Why are they bowing? What the fuck?"
"What's your favorite cartoon?" he asks me.
"Pinky and the brain."
"Well let's play a game," he tells me, "I'll be Pinky. Because a smart man used to say we are nothing but crazy lab rats. But the Brain...the brain wasn't crazy. It was Pinky that was crazy. Pinky was a lunatic. Do you remember what Pinky used to say to the Brain?"
"How can I forget?"
Wade smiles, "Every day crazy Pinky would ask the Brain: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight? I assume you remember what Syn used to answer."
"Wade I don't have time for these games. Get to the fucking point. I spent the last few months in jail. I'd like to get a hot dog or something."
"I'm getting to the point. You want to know why you're here Syn? I'll explain why we're here. Let's be creative though. I know you're creative. Let's play make believe Syn. In this situation I'll be Pinky. You be the Brain. Ok."
Sure Wade sounded bat shit crazy, but who was I to judge? It was still interesting.
"Ok," I answer.
"So," Wade starts off, "Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight."
I look at Wade.
I lean back in my chair. I kick up my feet. Sampson wasn't here any longer. There was no calm to be had. There were no shits to be given any more.
I wasn't just released from jail. I was released from my sanity. What was my limit? I had a following of crazy lunatics who were bowing to me for god sakes. Wade had money to do anything that I wanted to do. I was released after being wrongly accused of something I really didn't do. What else can I do that I haven't done?
What was next for Syn.
"Gee, Brain," Wade asks again, "What do you want to do tonight?"
"The same thing we do every night Pinky," I answer Wade, "Try to take over the world."
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