I woke up one morning feeling different. I just knew that something was out of the ordinary. I closed my tired eyes again and took a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. The smell of sweat lingered in the air of the dark room I was in. The only thing I could hear was the silence. It was just going to be another bad day, I was going to have to face that, that’s all. I exhaled loudly, a little louder than I should’ve, before rubbing my tired eyes and getting up. I wasn’t ready to face the day, I didn’t really want to. The first problem I encountered was that I woke up in someone else’s room. I needed to go to the bathroom too much to look around it so I ran out down the hallway in hopes to find the toilet before I did it in my ugly ripped jeans. They were dirty, and they weren’t mine either.
In the bathroom I came face to face with a problem much bigger than having to pee. As soon as I walked in I came face to face with my reflection in the mirror and I noticed that something had changed. But not just a little something, everything had changed! That person in the mirror wasn’t me! I had been a short, red-haired and green-eyed girl but that guy in the mirror wasn’t. I touched my face just to make sure that crap was indeed real, that that was indeed me, and sure enough it was. It wasn’t all just some weird nightmare. The person I now saw looking back at me in the mirror was a tall young man with long brown hair, dark brown eyes and tattoos. Lots of tattoos. I had a big problem on my hands.
I pulled down my pants and sat on the toilet even though I no longer had to in order to urinate. I was freaking out inside of my own skin, or at least someone’s skin! After I finished my business and I stuck my face in the mirror again. Long flawless face, neat eyebrows, a crooked lip ring on the right side, clean shaven and a huge neck tattoo in a language I didn’t speak. I was a guy, I was literally a guy. My first instinct was to slap myself to wake up from a horrific nightmares but much to my displeasure it wasn’t even a dream. It was reality. So being a guy wasn’t what was horrible, what was horrible was that I didn’t know who the guy was, or who he was supposed to be. Panicking, I stomped out of the room and into the living room where I found a guy sleeping on the couch and another one watching TV. I had no idea what the hell was happening and much less who those people were and what they were doing in my house. I thought it was my house at least?
“Hey Jizz, you alright man?” the guy watching TV asked me, “You look pretty puzzled.”
Jizz?! What the hell was Jizz supposed to stand for?!
“Eh, yeah… I just feel, sort of, odd today,” I muttered out unsure of everything.
He was a short, blue-eyed creepy-looking bald guy wearing a tuxedo. He had the palest skin I had ever seen and a big evil grin on his lips stretching from almost ear-to-ear. He seemed to know me, or at least he knew Jizz.
“You know, you got pretty shaken up in the car accident last night,” he went on, “are you sure you don’t want to go see a doctor?”
A doctor, how convenient! Jizz’s voice — my voice — was low and scratchy. I would’ve given my new body just over twenty years or so, and the voice matched up with the one of most young men in that age group.
“No, I’m fine,” I lied.
I was far from being fine.
The other dude on the couch subsequently got up after he heard us speaking loudly. I must’ve had a blank expression on my face since he didn’t look impressed. That guy had messy burgundy dreads, bright green eyes, more tattoos than I did, and probably too many piercings for his round little face. He looked like he could’ve been a model but sex, drugs and rock and roll had messed him up pretty bad. He rubbed his tired, bloodshot eyes before yawning with his mouth wide open like a cat would. The inside of his mouth revealed most of his teeth rotted away by drug use and a tongue piercing that looked like it was about to fall out.
I simply stood there and stared around the filthy room in front of me until I heard someone pounding on the door. I wasn’t able to react right away. The mess in front of me was too much to swallow at once. That place was a dump to the finest degree. How could anyone live in filth like that?! Even pigs had a higher standard of living than that! It looked like I was the person in charge of the place so I went to open the door since the pounding didn’t stop even after a few moments. Some cute blonde girl pushed me out of the way as I reluctantly opened the door and stomped right in. She immediately started yelling at the guy with the dreads but I was too distraught to listen to what she was trying to get through his head. I couldn’t help but fiendishly smile as she slapped him in the face though. After she was done she just walked out empty-handed like nothing had ever happened.
The dude seemed unfazed, even still in a daze. The creepy tux guy smiled creepily from the side of his face too but didn’t speak. My first instinct had been to laugh but I couldn’t quite get it out of my mind that I still had a whole life to figure out.
I slowly walked to the middle of the landfill-like room called my living room looking down at the roaches crawling on the dirty floor. I then stopped and faced the two guys in front of me and took a deep breath.
“What exactly happened last night?” I asked honestly, somewhat afraid of what the answer was going to be.
“You put my tape recorder in the microwave you son of a bitch!” yet another guy yelled out from behind me.
I turned in a jiffy to look at him. He was a skinny, short brown-haired guy with a menacing frown sweeping over his face. His dark brown eyes fiercely looking in my direction almost like he wanted me to evaporate in his gaze.
“You were in a car crash with that drug dealer guy last night, you escaped unharmed but he got taken to hospital and he got arrested,” the guy with the burgundy hair sheepishly answered my question in his soft voice, “you know they tied him to his bed and shit.”
Oh wonderful, now I do drugs.
“Oh,” I muttered, not knowing how else I was supposed to react.
I figured I was in much deeper than I originally thought. I went back into the room I assumed was mine and sat down at the desk in the corner of the room near a dirty little window that I could barely see out of since it hadn’t been cleaned in so long. I picked up a little book lying in the center of the desk on top of a pile of other junk. It was Jizz’s diary. I figured that might answer a couple of things, about Jizz at least, because how I went from being a woman to some young man overnight while I was sleeping could not be explained with even the best of science.
I took a glance at the clock at the same time too. It was eleven in the morning and it was raining outside. I had no idea where I was; not the street, not the city, not the country, and not which galaxy for that matter. As I read the diary I found out that Jizz — I — was a journalist and that the place I was currently in was California, although Miriam, who I really was inside, was from Idaho. I had a band called The Sexy Killer Barbies in which I was the singer. I also found out that I was addicted to drugs, had a bad girlfriend, and had no life.
There was a guy in my band who played bass, his name was Brady and he was my best friend. But he was also a junkie and I didn’t want him in the band anymore. Then there was Craig, the guitarist whom we all hated. There was one last guy named Allan but we all called him Pogo over his love for the nasty corn dogs of the same name. I didn’t quite know what piece of the band he was supposed to be since all he did was play with kids toys and Silly Putty onstage.
We had a Value Village drum machine instead of a real drummer and we had a real important show coming up on July 4th, 1990 out of town. I didn’t know when that was supposed to be because when I’d gone to sleep the night before it had been January 29th, 2010. So I had a show to sing at sometime, but I had no idea what the hell our music was about! I’d never even heard it! I quickly ran out of the room to go see the others.
“What day is it today?” I asked, somewhat afraid of what the answer was going to be.
“Saturday July 4th, 1990,” the guy with brown hair who accused me of destroying his tape recorder replied apathetically, “but we don’t have to perform if you don’t feel well.”
“No, I just have,” I stumbled with my words, “no, I’m fine.”
I went back into my bedroom which was just as dirty as the living room with what looked like vomit near the closet door that had fallen off the hinges. I turned the place literally upside down but finally managed to dig up some lyrics and a bunch of other band-related junk. In my panic I didn’t know what I was doing. Why in the world did I agree to perform?! But it was too late to back down. I was going to do it. I’d have to do something. Amongst the rubble in the room I managed to find the set list for the show so I shoved it in the pocket for my old jeans. I took a deep breath and rearranged my new long hair before going to sit calmly in the living room with the others. The black leather couch looked infested with mold but it was cleaner than the floor so I flopped onto it. Before anyone could speak or even move there was another knock on the door. The dude with the burgundy hair got up to answer it as if he as expecting someone.
“You owe me $200 Brady!” the guy on the other side of the door yelled loudly and angrily.
So now I knew that burgundy-haired boy was Brady. I had found some money in my gross room so I decided to run and get it and give it to the guy demanding it since according to my diary Brady was my best friend. The guy at the door literally ripped the money right out of my hands and left giving all of us dirty looks as he did so.
“Thanks man,” Brady told me, looking relieved. “No problem, I replied, “you’re my best friend, no?”
He smiled as he walked away to pick up his bass in the corner of the living room and started playing. The guy who accused me of destroying his tape recorder picked up the guitar and joined in. I figured that was Craig and the bald tux guy was Pogo. At least I now had identities for the guys in my house and in my band. As they started jamming in the living room I went back into my room to listen to some demo tapes we had recorded, probably on that infamous tape recorder I had destroyed, and listened to the awful sounds coming out of the headphones over and over again. My band was terrible! We only had ten songs so far so I figured I wouldn’t have too much of a time performing them. That was the first piece of good news I had heard all day.
After multiple hours of listening to that ruckus through the headphones I went into the kitchen to make myself some food — Miriam was an excellent cook but I couldn’t comment on Jizz — but as I opened the fridge I saw that it was mostly empty, apart from a couple of beer bottles and multiple plastic containers filled with rotten cheese like somebody had a fetish for such disgust.
“Since when do you eat?” Brady asked laughing as he joined me in the roach-infested kitchen after he finished jamming with the other boys.
“Well everybody eats,” I replied, not knowing if it was supposed to be funny or not.
“Drug addicts don’t eat,” he said as handed me some white powder in a little clear plastic bag, “here you go.”
That stuff must’ve been cocaine, yuck. I politely accepted the dope, even thanked the idiot for it, and retreated to my room once again. I searched through the closet to find some clean clothes to wear, or at least cleaner than the pants I had on. I had no underwear, mismatched socks and no shirt. I’d recently gotten a new chest tattoo since it still hurt quite a bit. I found a decently clean black shirt so I put it on and swapped my pants for some orange pants that looked like prison suit pants but they were clean so I didn’t hesitate to put them on. I didn’t care what I looked like. Considering the kind of hell my poor house had been through over an indefinite period of time, the clothes I had on my back were the least of my concerns.
Lastly I put on a black and white classic Adidas jacket and just barged out the front door and walked down the street in the pouring rain. I had to remind myself not to venture out too far because I didn’t know where I was going and in the year 1990 I didn’t have an iPhone with a GPS in case I lost my ass somewhere in a big strange city. I stopped at a little random restaurant at the end of the street to dry off and to pig out all while still listening to my band’s demo tapes. In my life as Miriam I had never before seen one of those huge apparatuses that you shoved a tape into to listen to it on the go. And then when one side of the tape was over I either had to rewind it or turn it over. I couldn’t have survived on my own with all of that weird and retro technology that was like a godsend back in the day.
After I finished my extra large portion of the special of the day; a cheeseburger with fries and gravy and a drink of choice, I walked back to my little house in the middle of Waterloo Avenue. I had barely dried off and the rain sure wasn’t stopping but what the hell did I care? I tried to focus on the words on my demo tapes. I could barely hear a thing, it was all just yelling and puking noises with some more bogus banter in the background not to mention the other absurd noises that were supposed to be the melody of the tune. I was definitely discouraged that that was my band and that’s what I had to put up with. I didn’t hold it against Jizz for putting the tape recorder in the microwave just so he wouldn’t have to hear that shit anymore. I wasn’t happy about it to say the least, but I definitely wasn’t the type to back out either.
“It’s all or nothing,” I reminded myself out loud.
Once I got back home the guys had started yet another jam session but the second time around the beer had made it out of the fridge and the empty bottles were lying all over my living room. I’d never had much of a taste for beer in my actual life, but who was I kidding, I grabbed the very last bottle, chugged it down like a big man like Jizz could and joined in on the carnage. I started singing and I managed to make it through all of the songs the guys decided to play. I was just a tiny bit off but it was nothing compared to that carnage they were making.
Once the carnage was over I sat down on the smelly couch and let my head tilt back and just breathe. I glanced over at the clock again, we’d have to get ready for the snow soon. Craig said that some dude was supposed to be arriving at any moment, I figured it was the band manager or something like that that would be arriving to take us to our destination so I figured I should get ready. The other guys, whom I ultimately figured were my roommates, all got dressed in crazy makeup and outrageous outfits including some downright girl clothes at times. Not knowing any better, I imitated them.
As the afternoon went by, my new existence wasted away the seconds and the minutes. Soon it would be time to head to the venue and once again I had no clue what the hell I had to expect. All I had to bring was my megaphone since I didn’t have a real microphone for my off-key singing.
After everyone got their equipment ready in the band van, a big fat guy that I reckon was the band manager the boys were talking about drove us to the venue. It took about an hour and a half to get there. That was enough for my bandmates to get completely wasted on our way there. They all pressured me to join in the debauchery but I repeatedly refused, saying that I had a stomachache, although according to them sniffing coke was supposed to help my aches and pains.
A classic rock band opened our show and entertained the crowd of only about thirty people for half an hour. It was just past eight that night when we took the stage for our 4th of July show. Everyone booed us as we walked up there. I had so much stage fright that I felt like throwing up and somewhat even regretted not consuming drugs and getting high out of mind before winding up there in front of those people. Just before I started to sing I noticed that everyone in there were dressed like absolute freaks, and my makeup and wild hair was pale in comparison. The few actual fans of the band in the crowd had shirts of me and on those shirts I was a true freak as well. I was in a freak band in a freak world. But that wasn’t even me!
After I managed to get through our ten short songs I demanded to go straight home. Since I was the frontman and the person who kept that freak show going, they did what I told them to do. During the trip back to my place all of my guys were completely wasted so I decided to chug down a couple myself until all of my stress was washed away. I needed it. For a big chunk of the day I had been in a blank daze but all of that mixed in with the adrenaline from the show was beginning to wear off and I realized just how actually tired I really was from all that bogus crap called Jizz’s life I had to put up with during the day.
* * *
The only thing that woke me up after I dozed off on the couch amidst the increasingly creepy things crawling on my floor was the loud ring of the phone. It was right next to me on the little table so I simply reached out my arm and picked it up.
“He’s dead Jizz! He’s dead!” a female voice screamed on the other end of the line.
I had no idea what was going on and I really didn’t feel like dealing with it at God only knows what time of the night it was so I hung up.
“Who was that?” Pogo asked me.
I hadn’t noticed that he was nearby. Some sort of debauchery had gone on before I fell asleep but since I was drunk I couldn’t quire remember.
“I don’t know,” I muttered while looking at the phone before looking over at him, “and how the hell did you get into my house?”
“We live together Jizz,” he replied blankly, “don’t you remember?”
No I didn’t. I not only had no idea what was going on and now someone had died! Someone I was supposed to know! Feeling completely lost and not knowing what to do, I simply crawled over to my bedroom, flopped over my cheap mattress on the floor of a bed and dozed off into a dreamless and peaceful sleep. An alcohol and drug-induced sleep I should also note. Such behavior seemed to have been the norm for Jizz so what the heck. There was no longer a difference between Jizz and Miriam anyway.
The next morning I woke up amazingly sore, more than I had ever been in my life. The first thing I did was look around the room. It was Miriam’s room. I quickly rushed into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. It was myself again! I let out a huge sigh of relief! Thank God! I was me again, back in my house in Idaho with my cat and my stuffed toys and my normal life and everything. Let’s just say that I was happy being myself and that I’d never complain that I didn’t love myself again.