On Halloween night in 1994, as the sun was setting in Berkeley, California, I was hanging around a warehouse near the Aquatic Park, waiting for a concert to begin. I didn’t have a ticket, and was hoping to run into Jenny Samuels so she could put me on the list.
She was my “girlfriend” for a few days in 1986, while we were both teenage patients at Thomason Memorial Hospital. Actually, she was only 12, but my poor excuse at attraction was OK since I was only a few years older. Well, it wasn’t actually OK, since when they caught us making out, I was put on restrictions, and was no longer allowed to be alone with her.
I wanted her with all of my being, and for a time it seemed she felt exactly the same. I know I should believe Cassandra when she says Jenny and I were literally fated to be together, until the Universe changed and her heart was forcibly pointed elsewhere. It’s just that idea makes it even worse – we were supposed to be together, until something really big was fucked up. Then everyone moved on but me – she never stopped burning my skin, my soul.
Not that it really matters – things changed permanently, and fast. Once she found Laura Elizabeth Watson-Carver, when she somehow ended up at that same hospital, then all bets were off. Jenny saw Laura as her soul-mate, her one true love from that point onwards, and in many ways that’s true. They were together even after they were apart, but Laura moved on to get married and have a girl, while Jenny was left holding on to stray copies of antizine with rusted staples.
But, that laser focus and life-long sadness isn’t what defines Jenny, nor is that why I’m talking about her now. Jenny Samuels is the former host of the one, true world-destroyer – Sasha OS. I don’t want to get too much into the specifics now, because the truth (for the most part) has already been revealed in the Frequently Asked Questions, and elsewhere. Just keep in mind that Sasha OS, a gift and curse from Sarah herself, was conspiring in the very same warehouse building I so desperately wanted to get into.
All of the bands were going to be there. There was a rumor that this could be Suspender’s last show ever, which caused a massive rush for tickets earlier in October. Some of the fliers posted on redwood telephone poles throughout the East Bay were calling it “Slide Rule School”, but it seemed like you couldn’t actually get in unless you were already etched.
I was there in the hospital when Frisbee (Laura Watson) called forth the plans for all Antennas out of thin air, out of her connection to Sarah. She wouldn’t shut up about Sarah, and was so crazily specific in her “news bulletins” from the future that I started to take notes. Over those two months or so, I filled up 13 college-ruled spiral-bound notebooks I “borrowed” from Big Bill and the on-site school for younger patients.
13 journals with detailed descriptions of not just the future from 1986 to 2012, but a large number of Variant futures that Laura wasn’t quite sure how to fit in her rambling narrative. They were in Frisbee speak, full of fractured metaphors, invented slang and inside jokes, but they also had many moments of scary clarity.
Back then, it was just a way to pass the time, and to get closer to Jenny, since she and Laura were increasingly inseparable. I didn’t take them too seriously until Satomi Kurogane appeared in the hospital one night, after Jenny and Frisbee escaped for the second time, and right before I was finally discharged.
Like I said earlier, I don’t want to waste your time, so let me get down to the essential details. The first time I saw Satomi was at Thomason, when she just walked into the cafeteria one morning when I was having breakfast – oatmeal and milk, due to habit. She was wearing a frilly, purple mini-dress, which I now know was her cosplay outfit from Massive Cloud Burst, and she walked right over and sat at my table. She had on a hospital bracelet, but seemed absolutely foreign, and before I could ask her anything, she took the fork out of my hand and set it down on the table.
“You’re Quarter, right?” She called me by the nickname Jenny gave me, that followed me ever since she started to publish antizine, and told unflattering tales of me at Thomason. I couldn’t stop staring at the woman’s eyes – she looked so sad and worn down.
“Yeah.” I assumed that maybe she was an eccentric visitor with a fake bracelet, interacting with a patient she didn’t know for the thrill, until she started talking again.
“I’m Satomi. Yuma is dead, and Masae is missing. Cassandra sent me back from 1994 to get the Frisbee Diaries. Take me to them now.”
For a moment I was worried that I was off my meds somehow, or that I had just been sprinkling my oatmeal with crack. I didn’t have the 13 notebooks memorized, but I remembered Frisbee going on and on about Die Database, the band that Masae, Yuma and Satomi had started in 2008. Frisbee was adamant that Satomi was going to visit this hospital and “steal all of the chickens”. One of the hospital’s neighbors had a little urban farm, so I just assumed that’s what she was talking about.
I’m not quite sure why I took Satomi back to my room. Perhaps it was because she was a cute, adult woman paying me attention, or maybe she was influencing my mind via her ties to The Collective. Maybe both, but I just put my full tray of food on the cart by the door, and led her towards the unlocked unit.
“This one.” I pointed her to my room, which was somewhat nice – large cabinets to keep your clothes in, large curtains to pull around your hospital bed – and my former roommate (Arnold, Frisbee’s side crush) had been released a few days prior, so we didn’t have to worry too much about unexpected visitors.
I was worried about being discovered, due to the litany of rules we had to memorize by heart, passed down orally from patient to patient, including “No guys in girl’s rooms, no girls in guy’s rooms, no free shows.” Thus, I was terribly nervous to have her in my room, looking as she did, as I pointed her to a shelf in the closet.
She was taller than me, so she barely had to reach up for it. Wrapped up in a plastic, red and black Circle X bag – the future.
She peeked inside, and took out what looked like Volume 7, which covered the year 2000. That was when Frisbee was supposed to die, after which she started to back and side track across all of the Variants. That was the year the Infinite Subway was finished, the very same mechanism that brought Satomi to see me.
“Douglas. You can’t realize how many people have died over what’s in these books.” Bundled the bag back up, and held it tightly to her chest. “You can’t realize how important you are to the world, without even trying.”
Walked over to me as I stood watch by the door, and kissed me on the cheek. Instinctively, I reached out and tried to kiss her back, for real that time, but then found myself frozen as she shook her head, and walked down the hallway towards the lobby and front entrance.
“The next time we meet,” she said in my head as she walked out the front door of Thomason, “you’ll recognize me, but I won’t know you. I’ll treat you terribly, but please don’t take it personally. I didn’t know what I was doing.”
That’s it – in 1986 I wrote down everything that Frisbee said about the future, and weeks later Satomi came from that future to take those diaries, and thank me for writing everything down.
When I finally was able to move again, after she was fully outside and already heading down the hill towards MacArthur BART Station, I immediately checked in with Illyana, certain that I needed more meds. I still wasn’t convinced that Satomi wasn’t an imaginary friend, but for some reason she didn’t block her visit out of my memory, like I now know she could have.
You would think that would have been a guiding force in my life, from when I was released to a half-way house, to when I dropped out of high school (again) and started to follow Jenny and the world that antizine represented around the country. She usually paid me little mind, getting me into shows only to ignore me if I ever approached her. Still, I was able to make a life for myself in Fairview, Minnesota – the city that no longer exists.
I have a lot more to say, but here is the takeaway:
I met Satomi in 1986, and gave her the Frisbee Diaries that included thousands of prophetic facts.
In 1994, while waiting for the Slide Rule School concert, I saw Satomi again, wearing the exact same outfit. She was in line with the rest of Die Database, and the Daughters of the Collective, the holders of the Primary Forces.
I was sitting with a bunch of random gutter punks and homeless teens, high out of my mind on DMT. As she was walking past, I stood up and screamed “Where are my fucking diaries! Where is my mind?” I reached for her arm, only to find it around my neck, and she choked me unconscious.
I imagined they had a good laugh. They didn’t know who I was, other than a crazy guy hanging around the bushes. When I woke up, perhaps an hour later, they were already inside the warehouse. I found around $5000 in my army surplus jacket pockets, all in $20s.
Later that night, they would all be dead, or missing.
Later that night, is when Cassandra came to visit me, and when I became Brother Douglas.
I’ll tell you all about that next time, along with another important visitor to Thomason back in the day – Ai Watson-Carver, Laura Watson’s daughter from the future, and the one chosen by The White to usher all souls into its maw.
Ai was Death, and was on strike to visit the mother she barely knew.