In late May 2020... I wrote about my friend-- "PW"-- who lost his mind & tried to murder his housemate (a guy named James).
https://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.ph ... se#p496123
Yesterday, for the first time, I saw James.
They're both artists & do install work in galleries. They shared a large industrial loft space for 20 years.
PW had a major case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. He also had manic phases, sometimes enhanced by recreational drugs, lack of sleep, self-isolation.
At the height of last year's lockdown, masking, public fear-- and weeks-passing without govt unemployment money being properly processed-- PW & James were stuck in their windowless concrete bunker (with one other guy renting a small room.)
After some ordinary daily bickering and barbs-- James retreated to his space & went to bed. Then-- in a late-night visit to the bathroom-- he saw PW prowling in the dark, with a demonic look on his face. PW smashed several of his own small porcelain sculptures from a nearby shelf-- so James could not walk barefoot back to his own cluster of rooms. James attempted to retreat to the bathroom-- but PW pursued him.
PW is strong & stocky. James is narrow-shouldered & birdlike. PW said something-like "You messed-with the wrong guy!" & began beating James, tried to put James in a sleeper headlock, and... as the scuffle progressed... PW gripped a jagged triangle of 1/4-inch acrylic... maybe 5 inches across the hypotenuse... and gouged James several times in the neck and back. Their renter woke & intervened. PW fled into the night. James & renter changed the door lock. A day or 2 later-- PW attempted to re-enter the building via a roof vent... and was arrested. Restraining orders were filed. The cops took PW to a large, grim public hospital for psych evaluation-- but he was quickly released as the hospital was prioritizing Covid cases. PW was loose for over a week. He posted cryptic & sinister shit to social media. By phone he made threats to his own brother in a distant state. That's when another artist friend contacted me-- warning me, asking if I knew PW's whereabouts, attempting to recruit me to contact/locate/meet/and bring-in PW to another psych hospital. The plan was half-baked & I declined. Eventually he did spend weeks in psych eval-- I don't know if it was voluntary.
As covid abbreviated the court schedule & an epidemic of BLM get-out-of-jail-free antics transpired-- the felony charges against PW were reduced to misdemeanors. I think he spent little or no time in jail. Maybe more weeks of psych eval?
PW did not contact me for many months. When he did call-- he was renting a room, living humbly, working a little. He mentioned none of this, & I didn't hint that I knew. More months passed-- he was in my neighborhood, attending an art opening. I agreed to stop-by. We sat on a park bench & he told his side of the story. His description of events matches what others said-- I think he knew he couldn't deny the truth. He tried to minimize it by describing it as a momentary episode, safely behind him... see how calm & normal he is now?
Yesterday I saw James on the street, first contact I've had with him. We walked & talked. He always reminds me of Gonzo from the Muppets, so his twitchy & jumbled demeanor... was par for the course. But also attributable to the attack. He began with a bunch of details about how his father had died right before the attack, and his mother diagnosed with cancer. As if he
were the one who needed to justify his
mental state. Then he was overly-concerned with whether I believed the attack was serious & all PW's fault. He kept rebutting phantom doubts I hadn't expressed. He kept forgetting what point he was trying to make-- asking me to prompt him ('What were we just talking-about'?). It seemed like his mind couldn't process several simultaneous thoughts 'marked Urgent!"-- it was as-if the attack were quite recent. Or-- like a guilty person trying to get his story straight on the fly-- if he were immediately caught & interrogated-- but unable to calculate how-much the cops already-know. <--Maybe that's due to me having-been a far-closer friend to PW... so James was trying gauge whether I was now friend or affiliated-with his foe.
Eventually our conversation progressed beyond the big event. And then-- a red flag. James said he "heard on NPR" that "65%" of all porn is now "AI deep fakes" putting new faces on existing porn. He made cryptic reference to his personal-theory why Sesame Street recently introduced an autistic character-- something about Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, & Bezos being autistic & that their-kind now rules the world. He said something about AI processing of voice inputs-- so corporate & political entities now have realtime lie-detector capability... (Ok maybe so) ...but this can be paired with AI deepfake technology to track individuals' cognition and auto-generate realtime content designed to keep your attention glued-to the screen. uhhhh... no.
I already-knew that James usually presents as a square little nerd. But... given a few drinks/ or some cocaine/ or a girl he just-met... James will fail to just 'be himself'... instead he'll improvise a cool-edgy-art-guy persona... with poor results. Like a square white guy attempting to 'act black' for the first time ever-- impromptu-- in a rare conversation with a black dude.
So, basically, when James finally relaxed & decided I'm on-his-side regarding the attack... he let his guard down. Removed whatever 'mask' he had been (pointlessly) wearing-- trying to appear credible about the attack.
Then he let his real opinions flow freely... and... he's a dimwitted kook.
I plan to keep my distance from both PW & James. I'll probably bump-into them around town. Keep it polite & cursory.