In the Novel I'm writing, most chapters directly correlate to an Abney Park song. Here is the Chapter about "Letters From a Little Boy To Himself As An Adult".
When I was a little boy, my mother and father shared an office in our house. It was filled with hundreds of dusty old books on Anthropology and Psychology, masks and headdress and weapons from various tribal peoples lined tops of books shelves and hung dusty on walls. A massive oak desk stood in the center of the room confidently holding a massive beige electric typewriter. And on an antique sewing table in the corner of the room was a Chronofax.
A Chronofax (“by Calgori Industries”, boasted a little brass plaque on the side) looks like an antique typewriter with a small greenish screen on the top. Its keys were round, like coat buttons, but laid out somewhat similar to a contemporary keyboard layout. Just above the keys was an abacus like slider, with dates on it.
If you typed on the keyboard, your words would appear on the screen. Then, when you pulled a lever on the side it would make a “shunk-chiing!” sound, and the words would disappear.
Supposedly, this machine would send your message forward in time, reappearing at whatever time you had set it to. I would type letters to myself as an adult, mostly warnings, but it never seemed to work for me. I’d pull the lever, and the note would disappear, and I’d never know if it went to me in the future or not.
They would normally read like this,
Dear Mr. Brown
I thought myself very clever for guessing as an Adult I would be a “Mr. Brown”, not a “Robbie”.
Dear Mr. Brown,
Whatever happens, don’t give away your toy Millennium Falcon! And don’t turn into a grown up, they suck.
Well, mom and dad got a divorce, and most of the books, and artifacts, and the Chronofax went into storage.
I grew up and moved out, and got a series of lame jobs. I bagged groceries at Safeway, I sold clothes at the mall, I was even an assistant manager at and umbrella store! (you’d think I made that part up, but it’s a fact.) All the while, I wrote music, and I started a band, and we’d play on the weekends whenever we could find time or energy away from our life sucking day jobs. I passed my 20’s slowly starting to hate my life, as my prospects of becoming a “rock star” seemed more and more unlikely, and the dream of becoming an “Adventurer” was so far gone that just remembering I once had the dream was painful.
One day, after having to turn down a great offer to play a concert in Las Vegas (because I had to work that weekend, and the Vegas show wasn’t going to pay as much as my current day job of “sitting in a cubical trying to look busy”) I got an email from my father, saying “Meet me at the storage unit. I am getting rid of some of the old stuff, and I want to make sure there is nothing here you want.
I got there just around sunset as he was leaving. He tossed me the keys, and said, “Take what you want. In the morning I’ll toss everything else in the dumpster.”
Here were the final remnants of my family and my childhood: nobody wanted any of it, and what I didn’t take with me was to be thrown away. Let that be a lesson on life: what you don’t take with you, or make on the journey, you will never have. (note to self: this would be a great lyric theme for a song)
I dug through boxes of art I did in school, old souveniegers from the travels my family went on, boxes of…Who keeps old purple pillows?... and floor lamps, dusty books from the office…and sitting on top of the old piano was the Chronofax.
On its screen was a letter, probably the last thing I typed on it as a kid:
Dear Mr. Brown,
One day I’ll be you, so I thought I would write to you and make sure you don’t change too much, or turn into anyone we’d hate.
Being a kid is not always that great. Mom and dad have been fighting and yelling a LOT. It’s not fun here. I can’t WAIT to grow up and get out of here.
I think it’s very important that you do something cool as an adult, so I’ve got something to look forward to. Please consider being an astronaut, or a pirate or something cool like that.
Please don’t be a looser with a lame job at a bank or something.
If you are reading this please reply and tell me what we are when we grow up.
Well, I guess the machine did work, sort of! Whatever the last thing I typed on was still onscreen years later, and I’m reading it as an adult.
But this message stung, especially since life was NOT cool and glamorous. I worked a job I hated. After years of working for someone else, I had elevated myself to the position of “Guy who sits in a cubical doing something with a computer”. Excitement in my life came in two forms:
1. Late for work, or left early from work, and now the boss is mad. Ironic, since most of the time at work I was doing nothing, and I certainly would have been doing nothing during these times I was tardy.
2. Waiting for a concert to begin in a small smelly bar some ware, really hoping people would show up to watch it (lord, let there just be enough people watching so as not to embarrass me to the new guitar player!)
So, I sat on the old piano bench in the storage unit, and pulled the Chronofax onto my lap, and angrily typed reply. I didn’t think for a moment it would go back in time, I just couldn’t let that little boy have the last word.
Dr. Little Boy,
I’m doing my best up here, but it’s REALLY hard. I have to pay ALL these bills, which I barely make enough money to pay. I have to buy clothes I hate, so I can where them to a job I hate, and I have to buy gas to keep my car running while I fight gridlock on the way to the job I hate, and I have to pay for parking at the job. All of these add up to more money then I make at this job.
Being a Astronaut is silly, there are like maybe ten in the whole world. Being a pirate is dangerous, and illegal, and cruel, and it does NOT mean you have a cool old pirate ship, and a sword – pirates are not really like that.
No, I am not something cool, I’m just doing my best to stay afloat, and it sucks.
- Robert Brown
I was pissed, and bitter, and I pulled the leaver, and the words vanished. Then I felt a tinge of gilt, how depressed would any little boy get to receive that?
Instantly a new note appeared on the screen, and sent a shiver down my spine.
Dr, Mr. Brown,
That CAN’T be what life is like! It doesn’t make any sense! You’re lying! You suck.
Why would you work a job you hated, so that you could only barley afford to live a life you hate! I would NEVER do that!
You lie. I hate you.
Wait a second, I think I might remember this! Didn’t I get a couple messages from this machine when I was a kid? I told dad, who took me too talk with a guy at his work, who asked me a lot of questions about my parents impending divorce.
Shortly after that, the Chronofax disappeared from the office, and shortly after that all furniture was moved into storage, the house was sold, my mother moved to California, and my father started dating.
However, that day…then and there in that storage unit, I called the band and said, I don’t care about our day jobs, we are playing that show in Salt Lake City! Letters From A Little Boy To Himself As An Adult
Lyrics by Captain Robert
''Robert as boy:''
Dear Mr. Brown,
One day I’ll be you and
Although I’m only eight now,
You need to hear my rules
Never stop playing
Never stop dreaming and
And be careful not to
Turn into what I’d hate
''Robert as adult:''
Dear little boy,
I’m doing my best up here but
It’s a thankless job and
Nobody feels the same
You work long hours
Watch your credit rating
Pay your taxes and
Prepare to die
I have tried to keep my soul
I lost the fight to keep a hold
Now I am not awake
Now I’m not awake
''Robert as boy:''
Hey Mr. Brown,
That can't be what life is like!
I’ve watched some movies,
And I've, I’ve read some books
Life should be exciting
And sometimes scary but
What you’re describing doesn't
Seem worth the time
''Robert as adult:''
Hey little boy,
I think you are always right
I’ve dropped that worthless life and
I’m moving on
Life should be adventure
I’m stealing back my soul
I’ve lost too many years now
''Robert and Jody Ellen:''
You were right
I nearly lost my soul
I will fight to steal back my soul
Now I am awake
Now I’m awake