The Dark Lord and the Wildman

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This post is the result of the memory download that has occurred since I wrote the previous post “My Dream of Diane”. I have been flooded by memories of that time, and how strange it all seems, like the life of another person, which is why I wrote that post in the third person. At some point I may try to fashion an extended version of the previous post which includes much more detail, but for now, I wanted to provide some background for interested readers.

My adolescence, teenage, and early manhood was dominated by a strange relationship I had developed with a very charismatic boy/man who I shall refer to as the Dark Lord. Because he was, and I would assume is, an extremely private individual, for, as will become apparent, obvious reasons, he will remain otherwise nameless. He cast a spell on me right from the beginning, when he introduced himself as a new student, to the eighth grade class I was in. He was a handsome boy, with a mesmerizing intelligence and intensity. He piqued my curiosity. Previously, I had pretty much cornered the market on intensity in my little school. I was the class clown, the school oddball, and now I sensed a competitor. He attracted a lot of attention, and, yes, I was jealous. I can recall some early fights between us, but don’t recall who instigated them. We were definitely rivals. Then, one day he and I were sitting next to each other in class. I can recall looking at him, wondering what it was about him that was so fascinating. I wasn’t sexually attracted to him, he just had a quality that drew you to him. I probably was staring at him, because he turned to me and our eyes met. He stared into my eyes with all the intensity he could muster. I thought to myself, ‘there is no way I am going to look away, I am the master of this sort of thing. Nobody is more intense than me. I invented intense!’ I definitely thought I had a reputation to uphold, as the craziest kid in the school. So we stared into each others eyes for quite a while. I never flinched. Finally, the teacher interrupted our staring contest, by saying “I know you two are in love with each other, but could I please have your attention?” I was especially embarrassed because this teacher was friends with Keith, my oldest brother, and I suspected our little bout would get back to him, and I would be teased endlessly for it. I don’t recall the Dark Lord’s reaction, but I do know that we became basically inseparable after that. Whether I was under his spell, or he under mine, is debatable. But he told me later that at that time he knew I wasn’t like any of the other kids. I was different, and he had to get to know me. Over time, as we grew older, he developed a dark, enigmatic personality, which in retrospect seems more than a little absurd. But this is why I call him the Dark Lord. He cultivated a menacing, hypnotic look, and made cryptic remarks followed by a mysterious pause. It sounds comical, but he had it down to an art form, and many girls fell under his spell. Although he was also very funny, and a skilled cartoonist, he definitely had a Charles Manson quality about him. In fact, I did three tarot card readings of him in a row, during one lunch break, and each time his significator card was the Devil. Whoa!! I still wonder about that. When I saw what the Dark Lord was doing, I developed my own act. I decided to portray the exact opposite pole. I became the light to his darkness. I would approach kids in the hall and touch their third eye, saying “Bless you, my son” or my daughter, as the case may be. I was a big hit! All the other kids loved my Jesus act. Finally, one day I was doing this, and I hear the Dark Lord behind me yelling “Crucify him!!!”. I was pinned up against a locker and the Dark Lord pretended to nail my wrists to the locker. Of course, this was all in good fun! But teachers and the principal were concerned, as were my parents. Everybody thought our infatuation with each other was unhealthy, and I’m sure they were freaked out by the whole Good/Evil business. We were very much an Odd Couple. He was essentially impossible to get to know, all artifice, and dark performance. He could never allow himself to look foolish or vulnerable. I, on the other hand, was outrageously honest, and fearless, liable to say anything. I was extremely forth coming about myself, and other students were greatly entertained by my antics. I had no problem with appearing foolish or vulnerable, in fact, I embraced it. I dressed outrageously, copying Elvis with brightly colored scarves around my neck. I was amazingly ugly, with horrible acne, extremely skinny, and you-name-it, but it didn’t get in my way. My yearbook picture my Senior year was so bad I covered it up so no one could see. So this established the beginning of he and I’s relationship.

After high school, I suspected I might not continue to know the Dark Lord. After all, we didn’t hang out together outside of school. But I ran into him at the local library. He was sitting with this ridiculous looking girl. She had on way too much makeup and lipstick, a very short skirt, and most of her breasts were showing. This was pretty outrageous for such a small town. The Dark Lord introduced her as his girlfriend. I asked her name, and she says “I’m not really into names.” Right away, I knew something was amiss. This girl is a prostitute, it’s as plain as the nose on my face. Is the Dark Lord out of his mind? I took him aside, out of earshot, and warned him. “Something is not right about your girlfriend. She is bad news. You had better watch your back.” Unknown to me, the Dark Lord had become, in just a year, the primary drug dealer in the county. I didn’t know that he was the primary source of pot, LSD, you-name-it, for kids all over the area. At that point, I had only had a little encounter with pot, when I was invited to a party in which there were ‘magic’ brownies. I wasn’t that impressed and had no plans to get into drugs at all. But all of that was soon to change. In any case, this girl made no attempt to hide the fact she was a hooker. It was obvious to anyone with half a brain. She would shout out to guys on the sidewalk, as she drove down the street, “Hop in! I’ll take you for a Magical Mystery Tour!” I hated her, because I knew what was going to happen to my friend. Basically, the Dark Lord was just a naive kid, who wanted to impress everyone with how hip and cool and evil he was. Inside he was a scared little kid. It is amazing in retrospect that I had more insight into what was going on than he did, even though I was just a snot-nosed kid myself. Unfortunately, the Dark Lord did not heed my warning, and he got busted shortly thereafter. After some major aggravation, mostly on the part of his Dad, he managed to avoid jail. I don’t know all the particulars. If I had had any sense I should have avoided the Dark Lord after that episode, but I didn’t. I loved him. We were an inseparable team. I was mesmerized by him. Both he and I embarked on an LSD, mescaline, peyote, marijuana fueled journey of self-discovery which I have not regretted. We absolutely trusted one another, and felt a spiritual bond with each other. I think I was probably the closest thing to a friend the Dark Lord had. It was very difficult for him to open up to me, but there were a few times when he did. In many ways, he was a tortured soul who thought he found a kindred spirit in me. He never told me, but I suspected that he developed a trust and love for me when he realized how I had watched his back in regard to that setup (the prostitute had been given a plea bargain in exchange for getting the goods on the Dark Lord). I really think he regarded me as a holy light in his life, that the role I played in high school wasn’t entirely in jest. Unfornately his guarded personality and difficulty in discarding his carefully constructed persona, prevented our really becoming close friends although we spent a great deal of time together, much of it under the influence of one thing or another. I have no idea where he is now, or even if he is alive. He may be in prison for all I know.

Diane and the Dark Lord had a brief encounter. I had wanted her to meet him, and invited him to come to the student union so he could meet the love of my life. They went camping together!! It totally made me jealous at the time, and I regretted introducing them to each other. But, to my knowledge it was the only time they were together. And it sheds some light on what Diane said to me when I confided my love for her. A bit before they met, I told the Dark Lord all about how I was in love with this incredible woman, and he told me that I was actually in love with the Goddess she represented. “It is very important to distinguish between a person and the divine feminine.” he said. He was always saying crap like that. He never said anything ordinary. Now, looking back, it seems ludicrous. Basically he and I were a cult of two. But I was dishing out my own share of bullshit in those days too, so, it wasn’t always clear who was bullshitting who. But I think the Dark Lord was better at being a cult leader than I was. I could never keep a straight face. In any case, he had said that I was not in love with Diane, but with the Goddess within. Now, all these years later, I realize that he might have said something like this to Diane. It would not surprise me if they had discussed me, after all I was what they had in common. It is even possible that the Dark Lord sabotaged my relationship with Diane, because he didn’t want to lose his only disciple. Anything is possible. Who the hell knows. It was a long time ago.

Finally, I want to give a bit more background on what my life was like when I became enthralled with Diane. It is hard for me to relate to the person I was then. I had quite a few friends, which was, and is, very uncharacteristic of me. I drank fairly heavily on the weekends, did LSD and pot, and had a group of about five or six guys, plus Diane, that I hung out with. I can’t believe that I was actually a bit of a ringleader. Although I didn’t call it that at the time, it was my ‘posse’. We did all kinds of shenanigans. The one that sticks out in my memory was when we decided to check out the ‘Leeton light’  The Leeton light was a ghost tombstone, in the Leeton cemetary. To be totally accurate, it was a light that no one could account for, not even Ripley’s Believe or Not, who investigated it. Me and my posse determined that it was a ghost tombstone. We went down there late one Friday, with the lovely Diane in tow. She had always had an otherworldly quality about her, but with the moonlight falling upon her face, and the ghost upon the hilltop cemetary, she was magical. I volunteered to be the guy who went up into the cemetary with a walkie-talkie and a flashlight. I may have had someone with me, I don’t remember. From the road, the gang was telling me over the walkie-talkie, that I was standing right next to a glowing tombstone. They could see the light shining on my pants. They could almost make out the name on the stone. I informed them that I wasn’t standing next to a tombstone, the nearest one was fall too far away to be shining on my pants, and besides, none of the stones I saw were glowing. It was a total mystery. When I returned, I looked for myself through the binoculars and could see a glowing tombstone, and, like the others, I could almost make out a name. Although it was creepy, I didn’t feel scared. Everybody was freaked out by the whole episode. I still can’t explain any of it! That was also the night I lost my large sapphire class ring. It flew off my finger and into the weeds by the road. I could never find it.  Although I tried to include the Dark Lord in my exploits, and make him part of the posse, it was to no avail. He was uncomfortable around a lot of people he didn’t know, It was the only time he seemed awkward. I recall a time when I went out to his inner sanctum, an attic at the farmhouse where he lived, and he seemed at a loss for words (odd, for him), because I came cruising in with five other friends. He remembered me when the only friend I had was him. Now here I was! Popular! Who would have thunk it! I was growing up and developing a maturity which allowed me to come out from under the Dark Lord’s spell. Interestingly, the Dark Lord came to visit me (whereas before it was always the other way around), on several occasions and took a genuine interest in me, it seemed. He still didn’t reveal much of himself, although he had given up his Charles Manson routine, and seemed more himself.

One day as I was returning to my dorm, I heard someone imitating Neil Young, singing “Helpless”. I exclaimed “Neil Young is here!!” and this short, good-lookng kid, with an unbelievably cheerful personality popped out of a doorway, holding a guitar and singing. He said his name was Kevin, he had just enrolled for the next semester, and was there to meet me. He had heard I was a real ‘Wild Man’, he said with his eyes bulging, and a big smile. “I’m no wild man.” I said, “Quite the opposite.” But he said that several guys he had talked to said that he had to meet Russell Miller, that he was the coolest guy they knew, a real ‘wild man’, and gave examples of my wildness. I certainly didn’t see myself that way, and it is still hard for me to realize that a lot of guys (and I suppose girls as well), perceived me that way back in 1975. Like I said, it feels like I was a different person then. I did shoot off my mouth a lot, and was into every weird, outrageous thing you could imagine. I had a crazy sense of humor, and was very much the hit of the dorm cafeteria. I guess I had a bit of a reputation. Kevin wanted to be a part of that, he wanted to join the posse. You couldn’t help but love Kevin, his enthusiasm, and cheery personality was infectious. We became friends right away, and hung out quite a bit. I have a poignant memory of me showing him around Windsor, not long before I left college for good. I remember an amusing time when Kevin met the Dark Lord. Kevin was excited (of course he was always excited, but this time he was really excited) to meet the Dark Lord, that he had heard so much about. But the Dark Lord didn’t quite know what to say, and it was one of the very few times in which I saw the Dark Lord actually being shy. The last time I saw the Dark Lord was when I rode with him and his girlfriend to another state, and I had them drop me off at a Taoist retreat, a sort of commune I had wanted to live in. I told him I wanted him to write me a letter, and he took out a piece of paper from his pocket and wrote the letter L on it, and handed it to me. That was my letter. Then they left and I never saw the Dark Lord again. I had quite an adventure at that Taoist retreat, but that is another post. I hope this gives a bit more of an idea of what my world was about back then. I remember it as a magical time, somehow enchanted. I never had as many friends, all of them charismatic and fascinating individuals. But the Dark Lord was an extraordinary individual, troubled, but talented. I hope he is ok. I hope he learned to be comfortable just being himself.

4 responses »

  1. Awesome post, always wandered what it was like for you in those days. I don’t remember much. JUST the basement where you had cool stuff and I was supposed to stay out of.

    • Thanks. So many are just now beginning to get to know me. All I remember of you was recording you singing. You were so cute! You looked exactly, and I mean, EXACTLY, like Charlie Brown. and you had his personality. I remember when a stranger came to visit, and Marilyn told you to introduce yourself, and you said “I’m shy!” and we teased you saying “Your name is shy?” You were a great kid, very well behaved. I’m sure all that’s changed!

    • I bet you did. the Leeton light has held a fascination for Keith, David, Larry, and myself. It is a family tradition. If we had had stronger binoculars we might have read the name on the stone. Another time, I was there checking it out while high on LSD. I saw a line of prisoners being led to the top of the hill. The time I mention in the story, I recall pulling a Tarot card to represent the light, and the card was Death, I kid you not! I just said “That figures.” but it freaked Diane out, her eyes were as big as saucers. Fun time!

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