Even after the first misstep in Cape Town with my adjustment to the plague of racism. I got my feet back under me, remembering that if I would be the one to create change, I would have to embrace those people that had viewpoints that I deemed sick, for those were the very people I wanted to save from their own hatred.
Mugabe fell in Zimbabwe thank fuck, but I wasn’t holding my breath, Gods only knew what might come in his aftermath. When I was in Zim it was bad then and that was in 2012. It was a great victory for Zimbabwe and I was hoping there could be some kind of non-violent African Spring that would lead to the fall of leaders like Zuma in South Africa as well.
My first day off my little writing retreat I visited the shop, set up my station, that led to drinks with Manuela, my first boss in Cape Town and one of my dearest friends, we were joined by my current boss, which spiraled out of control and two drinks turned to 9 and I stumbled into an Uber and found my way home.
That Wednesday I messaged Molly with a Michael Jackson video to ask her out on our special Wednesday date for the following week. You know the part of thriller, when Michael and his girl art at the theatre and as she leaves, Michael is smiling that Michael smile and eating popcorn??? Well in the background the movies says all creepy like: “on the wall…scrawled in blood it said…SEE YOU NEXT WEDNESDAY.” Probably the best Wednesday date asking outing in the history of time. 24 hours passed and no response from Molly. I was already strong, I knew she was looking for the out, but if she doesn’t respond to Michael? I mean that shit is nearly genius, if she doesn’t respond to that then she’s not the kind of girl I want in my fucking orbit and baby, my orbit is fucking bangin right now.
400 rand left, at the time the rand was at 14 to the Dollar. Had to get to work and my hands had forgotten how to fucking tattoo. I brought one of my housemates in and finished a giant chest eagle on him and it went swimmingly well. My confidence was right back where it needed to be and I was ready to work.
My morning started with molly saying she was upset that I stated I was upset and wanted to know the purpose. I was nearly over it; I was ready to unleash Edmond upon Cape Town like the old days. All of a sudden my perfect little Molly wasn’t quite as glimmery. Sad really. Here is how it all went down:
That night I got black the fuck out drunk with the boys that night after having my arm twisted, I really just wanted to go home and sulk, but that ended quickly and I was popping valium and Ritalin while knocking back tequilas and making all the Cape Town girls blush.
The next morning I woke up with a puncture wound in my foot from scaling the fence to the house that had bled all over my shoes and no recollection of getting home. I rose from my bed immediately and doctored my foot, popped a few Ritalin and a Modafinil then blasted through yoga, ran harder and drunker than I have in ages, then meditated for an hour. Then Molly was gone. Poof. It was some kind of magic really, any other time I wouldve spent weeks feeling sorry for myself but something had changed in me, this was different my true faith in my path and destiny was so pure nothing could knock me from those heights. I had a girl ready in wait for rebound that I knew from way back come round and drank wine all day in the sun, that led to more and I Edmond was his old silver tongued self again.
At the same times I had a magical 99+ matches on tinder and shit was going to get outta hand. By the end of the day I had a couple dates set up, one Thursday and one Saturday, being unattached in the Cape Town summer while being spontaneously combustable and in great shape was a dangerous combination.
I ended up drinking with Alex at home that night and one bottle of wine turned to four between the two of us, it’s just too easy to drink pinotage.
It was right about this time that an acquaintance reached out to me, one from my days in Hawaii that I only met briefly and immediately felt a connection with. The (PhD girl) we will just call her doc. The days of us talking completely consumed us both and sucked the life out of all the writing and work I was trying to accomplish. I didn’t care, but I do hate to be behind and I was late for work daily because I would be talking to her and then start yoga and running late. She started to scare the living fuck out of me, knowing that my freedom or the chance of getting my heart broken by yet another fucking Libra could be a possibility. All the same, we talked about so much, I told her everything and felt safe and happy talking to her, and I felt guilty for it knowing that the road to my glory could not be happy, it had to be suffering and that created more confusion. I knew somehow that I had found this part of me that was missing in her somehow. Ten thousand miles away and I felt complete and safe. I don’t think she could ever make it through the fact that I’ll be with other women in the mean time before we actually have the chance to be together for an extended time. Pretty sure she is my soul mate, split flame theory to the tenth power, but I also knew that she would be one of the many sacrifices that I would have to make in order to achieve my dreams. I think deep down she knew it too, but that didn’t make it any less difficult for me to be concerned for her heart.
I was talking with the doc while talking to the other girl; Natasha (who sadly dropped the I love you bomb on me already) the doc is obviously brilliant, with a degree in anthro. She really fucking pushes me and gets my new mission of turning to the dark side to create good in the world. My mission was becoming clearer now. I would have to create reach through vanity, or the illusion of it. To quote George Bernard Shaw:
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
I finally felt that I was being understood by the masses through social media, and somewhat from the readers of these scribbles. If only I could get more reach, how much could I really change here? A lot of eyes needed opening, there is so much misunderstanding and hate to be cured in the world. My heart was fire. I still can’t explain it; it could just be the misfiring in my brain and the intoxication of Uganda. It could be the witch doctors spell. It could be the piles of Ritalin, Valium and Modafinil I was taking but Edmond was on the rise, and it was starting to feel like the balance was going to swing heavily in his favor. Bitcoin was closing in on 10k and the future of the world was arriving with a swift violence that just couldn’t be denied. It was laughable, all the bankers and people at the top investing in their own downfall it was the kind of beautiful justice I live for.
The doc booked a flight to join me in England just as I’m broke, it was going to be a difficult time just as I would need to be working the most, to catch back up and pay for my tattoos. All the same I just accepted it as part of my path and assumed it was too important to not see through. During this time Bitcoin broke 11.5k and Ethereum joined the rally passing the $500 mark.
I worked just enough that week and took draws against my first pay day the following week to spend them on drugs for my last bash with cape town for 2017, a tradition that now had to be upheld.
Saturday night in the new shop I was waiting for a Tinder date and lip-synced Loverboy “working for the weekend” in the Amsterdam style hooker window in Rico’s upstairs station while everyone sat and watched in silence, phones aimed at me and just bewildered by my madness. My tinder date was late so I spent the evening getting suckered into drinks I couldn’t afford with the shop crew. Just as I started to feel a tad lonely the magic of the universe gave me a little nod, one of those magical Cape Town Summer moments erupted from the ether. Up to our table rocked up this brown haired girl with bright blue eyes and a magic little smile, she was tiny, 27 years old and named Ashlee, she was the bubbly, gorgeous carefree girl of my dreams and she fell right into my lap. It was as if I had plucked her from a tree, the perfect lady for a summer romance. As soon as she arrived it was like no one else was in the city at all. We were locked in conversation. Our eyes sparkling with an instant chemical spark. I was a little obnoxious and therefore very charming. I played the prick, the whole night, I had to with this one, she was Gemini, pushing away her very forward advances and told her she would have to work harder than that and at least stalk me at work, and by nights end I wouldn’t give her my number. She was a fucking fox and it drove her fucking mental to be rejected so blatantly.
The next day Hung-over, I met with my good friend that hosted me in Zimbabwe years back. He was opening his first shop south of Cape Town and needed some design work done, I chipped away at a free design package for the rest of that week and got it to him refusing his money and reminding him that he took such good care of me when I visited his home with my sister. Around that same time I was in the midst of setting up a charity program till 5am doing ridiculous shit to raise money for the Batwa. It was working and I had raised $2k in a little over a week and I was excited that I was able to do more than the original 35kg of food I had given them when I was there. I immediately realized that philanthropy work was something that was brutal and unforgiving. The doc (who does professional philanthropy in disaster zones) told me of the dark side of tribal politics and how if men gain control of goods or money in the tribe it will often be used to sexually enslave the women looking for food for their children. That thought made me realize I had gotten myself into a bit of a mess and the delivery was going to be an issue. It wasn’t exactly a check I could just write or cash I could send over to Charles. The Ugandan government is apparently very strict about money being delivered by a company that doesn’t have a non-profit license. So if it did send the money over to Charles, I could potentially have him lose his license, something I would never risk, as it was his entire lively hood.
12k Bitcoin happened while my other crypto currencies continued to tick upwards as I was hoping for the fall of western society. I was starting to recognize that the correction in the markets would be brutal, the next day it jumped enormous amounts in a single day to break 15.5k. Futures were coming on the American exchanges and had the ability to really fuck with the market and the speculation was starting to get out of order. I was starting to reconsider my HODL strategy. 15.5 turned to 17.5, and finally after futures opened and the market continued on what looked like more of a bull run all the way to 20k per Bitcoin. I started to see the flaws in Bitcoin and how slow the system was, while Bitcoin cash and Ethereum were doubly fast or better, I was wondering if one would over take the other sooner or later. I went ahead and hedged my bets to make my position less vulnerable. I knocked out a few tattoos here and there, happy to just be at the tattoo shop while all this was happening, I turned my boss into a full crypto-coin psycho and we would talk daily about how exciting it was to watch it tick up and then down. My biggest learning thus far was to be excited to see the bears knock it down knowing that the bulls would take the staircase pattern a little higher each time.
That night I arrived home to my ZA baby sister drama, she swallowed a fuck ton of anti psychotics and ended up in the hospital. She freaked out about her philandering boyfriend, who wasn’t a good guy and all of us just tolerated him, I knew he was wrong from the start and She was just replacing drugs with a new kind of poison. The hospital bill was something my ZA family could not even remotely afford. I got offered money to help the family with the medical bills, from the doc after I told her the tale, I couldn’t say no, which upset me, I didn’t have any means to help myself and I didn’t want to take anything from her ever, she feels like part of me but I worry that there will be a correction in that market as well and worry that this crescendo of intensity is going to end with her broken hearted, especially since I’m road bound for years to come.
Finally that week when Ashlee didn’t arrive to stalk me by Wednesday, around mid-day I just took the initiative, knowing where she worked I took an Uber to her with a note and my number saying she was late. I had less than ten minutes before my next appointment and by the time I returned to the shop she had text. She said she was free that night and the next. I said tonight, she agreed to meet me at this place called Alexander bar, which a friend of Molly’s had treated me to the week before. Each booth had a vintage working telephone where you could order your drinks, which was wonderful, I have a thing for old rotary dial phones and Ashlee felt like she was just as excited. On my first dates, when I like the girl I usually let them know I only have a limited amount of time, an hour and a half or so, just so I can guarantee that second date and leave them wanting more. She seemed disappointed when I told her that, but she won the battle in the end and our date ended up lasting nearly 7 hours into the early morning.
Our date was gleefully easy and fun, cocktail after cocktail and just so light and wonderful. Neither of us ate, the cocktails and chemistry was enough to keep us upright. I was so happy, which again is a rare thing. We hit nearly every joint in town, it was the best first date I’ve ever had. She actually said to me: “look you only have a tiny amount of time here, I want to hang out as much as possible.” Her eyes sparkled, it was a hot night and she was leaning over me while drinking a Cosmo to my martini in some fancy Asian fusion place with an intimate front garden lounge area. She just kept getting closer and closer to me as the night progressed. She would move towards me and put her arm on the opposite side of my legs and pose like a 1940’s model and steal a kiss here and there. She was the exact polar opposite of Molly. Ashlee Stole the breath right out my lungs with her magic words as I blissfully agreed to plans that coming Friday and again on Saturday after work. We made our way to a place called the Crypt, after agreeing we loved jazz. It was a swanky underground joint and we cocktailed and listened to the live band with stars in our eyes. In the end I took her home in an Uber and our lovely night was over.
Thursday I found myself day dreaming of Ashlee right up until our next date on Friday, which was equally as fun, we started at a piano bar that couldn’t seat us and the night just took on a life of its own after we left there, recognizing that the piano bar just wasn’t where we were meant to be. We were drinking tequila and ended up salsa dancing together, so some African styled Spanish guitar. We were drunk; our stares were turning deeper and more intense as our infatuation started to turn to what would soon be love. I knew it, I was sure she did too. I was just hoping the magic wouldn’t wear off before I would have to leave and certainly be heart broken, I was more concerned that she would be left in pain as well, I didn’t want to break her heart, I never do, but there was this chemistry and total honesty between us and other than avoiding the “I’m leaving on the 2nd talk” there was nothing between us that wasn’t unsaid or sidestepped, nothing was off limits and there was no judgment, it was nothing short of wonderful and happiness that was doubled with each passing moment.
Saturday I was late to work. Kari and the crew were just so much fun to be around that my hangover faded and we were all just excited to have each other in that shop. Its one of the most fun and laid back shops I have ever worked in. That night Ashlee had me join with her friends, for a birthday and we all got faded on tequila. I was falling fucking hard for this girl already, its like she was created purely from my projections of what I needed.
We parted ways after I had far too much to drink and she had a bit of a lead from a bump of cocaine she was offered. I Ubered off that night and left Ashlee at a bar with her friends to her disappointment, too many Valium added to my cocktails and I was just too sideways to stay upright. Sunday I was bed ridden, hung-over and lazy all day, I had been going full force since Uganda. It was welcomed, I wrote a little; I called home and watched Peaky Blinders to get caught up with the new season.
Monday I sensed Ashlee was distant, be it from work or whatever, I was concerned we had burned too brightly too fast. That was quickly overshadowed by the excitement of the times to come and we had plans spanning most of the week. I know Gemini’s all too well and think they’re fickle at times and easily moved from hot passion to the cruelest icy cold.
Molly unfollowed me on IG, after some the other girls landed on my feed. I couldn’t believe how petty it was, I couldn’t believe she could be hurt and realized how her expectations, although denied were something that I had disappointed. While saddened by that it was almost disturbing at this point that I thought she came from Gods like I do. What a misstep on my behalf, I was disappointed I was blinded so easily. I could blame it on the drugs, but in all honesty I was just weak. She asked if I was ok before the above pictures landed on my Instagram, when I said yes she asked if I we could still talk. I replied, “talk you bet, see: the jury is still out.” I assumed that was the last I would talk with her. I had given her friend some gifts that I had purchased her for delivery, a Japanese robe I found in New York and something incredibly special, a gift so magical that it felt wrong not to give it to her. I never heard from her that she had received it, I think I learned that Molly was much more fragile than she led on.
Wednesday Ashlee and I had dinner and went to her brother’s art show at his college eventually ending up with a surprise Ashlee’s father and stepmother, step brother and girlfriend. I put on the charm pretty think, enough so that the whole family was pretty taken with me. When her parents left Ashlee grabbed me and said, “I love you, I mean…they love you. Ok fuck. I do, I love you and I can’t believe I said that first.” I returned the sentiment and then the night swirled out of control, poor Ashlee had drank a little too much and I ended up getting her home with plans to see her after work the following day. That morning all the stress involved tattooing my best friend in town, Rico, which I had been nervous about all week, hit me like a ton of bricks. Tattooing another tattooer at the end of the day is always a pain in the ass, and I really needed to bring the hurt to make this thing pop, sorry, make this shit the King of Pop, because it was a Michael Jackson tattoo. I was happy with the result, and Rico was just stoked to get tattooed by me again, this time with much more skill that when I last tattooed him in 2012.
Thursday night I brought Ashlee home to my South African family, not my style, which was a big deal. We watched LaLa Land and it was lovely, it’s really the ole timey cinema that’s missing from our world of late. We ate dinner with the family. She fit right in and it felt strange to bring someone into my circle, a circle I so rarely have at all, but with her laid on my chest, watching the film and reeling from how wonderful it all was we just cuddled into the late hours and I put her in an Uber home.
Friday came and went and Saturday I found myself with her friends again for another birthday but this night I got a hotel room right off of Front Street in town. We got ready early together and I found it hard not to tear her clothes off in a lustful rage. We hadn’t had the opportunity to be truly alone until that night. My lust was barely contained and we got out of the room and made our way to a fancy cocktail place and started drinking. This group of friends weren’t quite as cool as the others, the spoke mostly Afrikaans and I found myself a little bored a few times, which I supplemented with margaritas. We landed in a dance club, added some cocaine and more tequila, while Ashlee and I danced like crazy people, owning the dance floor as if no one else was there at all. Back to the room, more cocaine and sex that lasted hours, I spent a good long while between her legs making her cum so many times she finally asked for a break. We woke up in an embrace that morning, got a late check out and split ways Sunday afternoon.
I was looking fabulous, since I left the states I had lost two whole belt notches from running and yoga, my head was straight, mostly from taking my cocktail of valium Ritalin and Moda every morning. I was meditating daily and it was becoming an integral part of me following the path as it was laid before me. A few days later, the African spring I had hoped for came in the form of the fall of Zuma, who had led South Africa to ruin and was facing so many corruption charges that it is actually insane. The power of the ANC party had shifted and change could be coming to the country, hopefully revving up their economy.
During the week a man was stabbed across the street from the shop, I stepped over him assuming he was just another wasted Cape Tonian in mid day until I returned and from the drawing loft at the shop I could see the blood leaking out of him and onto the pavement in pools while a couple of security guards were waiting for help. I felt bad that I didn’t recognize the situation as it was happening. I also felt guilty that I judged the situation based on my preconceived notions of what I know about this city. That night I partied with Manuela and Tyler, Ashlee came round and met Manuela and ended up getting so wasted that I had to take her home early and hold her hair while she was throwing up out of the Uber the poor child. She tried to keep up with me cocktailing, which is never a good idea in general, especially when she was so little compared to me.
The shop got busy and I was Tattooing in a storm. Rico had gone to his moms in Port Elizabeth for Christmas and I was busy each day more and more, it was becoming chaotic and my end of day’s party was quickly approaching. I put up big numbers that week, enough that my send off party could go nuclear. I found some glass vials to hand out to my closest friends and was slowly starting to split up my stockpile into 9 different packages of chaos to drug my friends into oblivion.
I ran out of my Ritalin and Armodafinil finally and was just barley getting by. I was waiting on a few drug dealers until finally my mind started to degrade and I was losing my vigor. I found the energy to get myself to a doctor and put my hustle into full silver-tongued devil mode. The doctor bowed to my demands and wrote me both scripts, even after not knowing what Modafinil was, and as he looked it up was hesitant; I turned his hesitation into a hustle when I told him I was a tattooer, which immediately became a bargaining chip. I filled the Ritalin immediately after and was back to swinging by the time I returned to the shop.
The next day with new energy I was reborn, smashing my morning heart racing and on fire for life again, my brain was fully recalibrate and I could see the future again. I started painting something for the shop, the guest station at the new shop was lacking artwork and I was asked to be the first, an honor I couldn’t pass up. By the end of the shift I had the lines and black in and would be finishing it upon my return after Boxing Day. I had booked a swanky hotel in Seapoint for Christmas Eve through Boxing Day and would be locked in doing drugs and drinking with Ashlee…neither of us could wait. In a matter of weeks we were already fully infatuated and it felt so wonderful to have that purely chemical, lustful and soul defining connection with a girl so incredible.