Thought Catalog • "American Psychonaut"

Email me to access or receive a PDF copy of my short e-book "American Psychonaut" published by Thought Catalog's digital imprint in 2014.

33 pages including diptych photography series (shot by Christopher Turner).

33 pages including diptych photography series (shot by Christopher Turner).

Excerpt

Still seated, my eyes wandered toward the ground. I felt self-conscious about my attire–pajamas, essentially. Given my appearance, I probably gave off a vibe like I was just some loser who stayed in bed till midday then played videos games till daybreak...whose mother still cooked for him...who has no future...and is jobless. Or worse, some creep who locked himself inside his bedroom, watched porn and masturbated the day away, every day. I did other things, too, I tried to communicate telepathically. Big, important, productive things. Challenging things.
The handcuffs were much tighter than I would have imagined. I tried to estimate how much longer I would be in them and calculate if that was a tolerable amount given the rate at which the pain was increasing. Might there be an appropriate opportunity for me to ask about the handcuff situation, without seeming defiant or high-maintenance of course, I wondered to myself.
“Do you have some shoes around here?” Officer Villanueva asked. “Yeah, over there behind the door.”
“And socks?”
“Yeah, there should be in the top drawer up here.”
I motioned with my chin at the chest to my right. “Are these ok?”
“Yeah, those’re fine.”
“And you want pants?”
“Oh...of course. Those’re some sweat pants on the desk over there.”
I was in my room, surrounded by all my things, yet it felt entirely erroneous to refer to any of it as “my” this or “my” that. I didn’t seem to own anything at this moment. But then I mustered the audacity to ask,
“And can you grab that hat?”
I hadn’t showered in who knows how long, and I wasn’t sure if I would get to do so in who knows how much longer. My hair was oily with grafts of dandruff flaking off of my scalp. I didn’t feel entitled to much, but I felt entitled to a baseball cap.
“Here I’ll help you put your socks on.”
Officer Villanueva got down on one knee right before me. I immediately tensed up. He opened the mouth of a sock in front of my right foot, so I unfolded my legs, scooted back in the seat of my chair, pointed my toe, and tried to aim my foot into the sock as I lowered it.
Then I let out an uncontrollable, nervous little giggle. I just couldn’t fight it back. I sensed that Officer Villanueva was offended by my laugh. Although he was still facing down at my feet, I swore I could see a snarl on his face from the corner of my eye. And I could just hear the words getting muttered in his head, “...fucking queer.” Because I just knew he interpreted my giggle as this creepy little telltale sign that my gay ass was secretly relishing all this male attention being doted on me and my licentious gutter mind was sexualizing his inadvertently tender act. Great, I thought, he’s projecting onto my mind some Cinderella fantasy about getting my glass shoe slipped on by Prince Charming. I quickly turned to my uncle.