by Russ Pouliot
What’s reality and what’s a dream?
What if you found the cause of your addiction was the
other part of you?
What would you want?
What would you do and which of you would do it?
Gene Stewart is a champion underground fighter and alcoholic living in the most beautiful city in the world, Los Angeles. He is not sure if he is living the dream, or dreaming a nightmare he cannot wake up from. His existence is the glittering Los Angeles nightlife, its alcohol and women. From his secret daytime identity as a gardener and long time surfer, Gene roams from illegal fights in Mexico, to alley fights in Hollywood, boozing harder, ending up lonelier, emptier.
For Gene it is one more fight, one more wave, one more woman, and always one more drink. He pleases the women, pummels his opponents, and hates his single father, whom he drinks at because he was never good enough for him.
Gene has had an ongoing relationship with a fifty-ton Humpback Whale by the name of Rachel. He first began hearing her songs when he was young. She adopted him then and has looked after him, more or less since his real mother abandoned him at age four. Gene communicates with Rachel about life by ‘sonic telepathy’ as she calls it.
Lately Gene’s life consists of coming to from day, or week long drunken escapades, swearing that he will never drink again as he recalls in terror bits and pieces of atrocities he committed in his blackouts, horrified at what he can remember of his actions and what he must be capable of.
God watches over drunks and fools and Gene believes that he is both, but he does not seem to recognize The Angel at his elbow in the form of Mac Sajak, a long time family friend. Unknown to Gene until the end, Mac is really a ghost, roaming the streets and alleys of Los Angeles, giving angelic help by tender, careful ministering of The 12 Step Program to any derelict in any dumpster that wants it.
Not recognizing the sobering potential of Mac’s influence, Gene drinks and fights on when he is challenged to his ultimate fight by an underground organization that has had a scout, Dash Dickendasher, watching him for years. As Gene trains for the fight in the balmy, Southern California ambiance with asphalt between curbstones garnished with palms on gentle knolls overlooking the ocean, the city constantly buzzing with Hollywood glitz, he is sure his greatest battle is just ahead. It’s an underground fight of international and deadly proportions. He wonders if it’s his greatest fight, or just an excuse to check out?
Don, Gene’s father, dies weeks before the fight. Realizing how desperately he loved his father, Gene resolves to take out his anger on his opponent, Carl Collata. Gene destroys Carl in the ring and is knocked into a coma himself by an explosion in the fighting arena in the last seconds of the bout. In a coma for eleven days, Gene talks and argues with the spirit of his father and his physical and spiritual selves. Rachel the whale, in human form visits him while he is out; she heals him of his injuries with sonic waves.
Gene awakens from his coma to find Kathy, The Angel. She has been the Candy Stripper assigned to his hospital room. He is instantly in love and convinced she is an Angel of healing and mercy sent to rescue him. She helps him realize that his ultimate battle is yet to come; it is the mortal argument between his two selves, Styler Gene and Fighter Gene, which he finds he needs The Twelve Steps to resolve and survive, this time with the real, healthy love of a living doll and Mac, his ghostly sponsor.
All of this is hopefully a reality this time. Gene asks himself if Kathy is to good to be true? Reality, dream, or blackout? It has been a puzzle for him throughout his life.
Gene revels in falling in love with and dating Kathy in a new life of joy, yet he falls again, going into the ultimate drinking spree, committing assaults, rape and murder. What’s reality? What’s a dream? Can Gene wake from his nightmare, or has he already?
The effects and results of alcoholism and addiction are foremost in the minds’ eye of the world’s collective consciousness. Addiction rages on with seeming infinite power, the world apparently powerless to stop it.
Why is it we lose some of our most popular, beloved and brilliant celebrities to addiction? After each tragic loss of a celebrity life, we mourn and agonize more, but only greater oaths to stop the carnage are given. The symptoms are treated with ever-greater fervor, the cause goes on untreated and unknown.
Not only celebrities, but those that are addicted in our own families live agonizing lives of insane spiraling down to horrid deaths by decay and dissipation. Who in the world has not been touched by addiction?
The world is increasing in its fascination with addiction and all its effects and fallouts. Demand, desire, and popularity for material on the subject grow at an exponential rate, because addiction is increasing at an exponential rate.
What limit is there in world demand for such material as self help books? Will the world ever get enough of the living nightmares personified by the tragic deaths of film, TV and music legends?
While other works have danced and circled around the bull’s-eye of alcoholism and addiction, Blackout Reveries boldly states the cause as man’s drive for love, applied in a mistaken, sick way.
Utilizing the old concept of the duality of man, the hero in this novel communicates with his spiritual and physical selves. With the help of a sponsor who is himself a ghost and recovered alcoholic angel roaming the streets and alleys of Los Angeles, looking to help any drunk who wants it; Gene Stewart, the hero of Blackout Reveries, is able to observe and educate his spiritual and physical selves that it is their self-preservation based arguments (known as resentments) that create a block to his being loved. Alcohol, which Gene has learned from timeless generations of his families’ culture to use to numb, or block the agony of his loveless, stark life; has now mistakenly come to be perceived by him as the love he’s wondered about, and sought after to the point of insanity and mortal desperation.