The Crowded Destinies (Duran Book 1)

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My wife was pregnant with our second child, but refused to join me in my quest for truth. She chose to take the easy way out and used Dr. After she brought the divorce court papers to the hospital and I never saw her again. This is all the mention she deserves. Shortly before I decided to take a hike, and leave the Waldorph Hysteria, I had an unusual experience that has always lingered in my sub conscious.

There was a patient there who called himself Julius Christopolos. He was a short little homosexual who thought he was Jesus. I could see why he was here. This dude was whacko. The attendant saw this and took immediate action. They came after us with hypodermic needles filled with Thorizine and overdosed us both out of spite. I barely made it to my bed in time to pass out.

The effect I was experiencing was like my mind shutting down. I looked at the walls of the dormitory, and they began to melt away. The ceiling disappeared and I started floating towards the clouds above. I looked down and saw my self sleeping soundly, laying very still. Apparently, the attendants had just killed me, and I was on my way to heaven.

Then out of nowhere, a cool looking dude dressed in a robe appeared and led me to a serene mountain with a beautiful stream flowing next to a small log cabin. He opened the door and showed me what was to be my reward. Someday this would be my own place, but not yet. He told me to go back and finish what I had set out to do. This was my guardian angel. He knew everything that I ever did, and let me know that I had nothing to be ashamed of.

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He pointed to the direction I came from, and the next thing I remember was waking up from very deep sleep. I decided that I had enough of this place and left Camarillo the next day without saying goodbye. On the way back to my old stomping grounds, I came upon a Renaissance Fair in progress.

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There were hundreds of people dressed in medieval costumes just walking around enjoying the sights and sounds. Booths portraying various activities that were commonplace in the 16 th Century were set up on the fairgrounds. I had just escaped from a mental institution, and here I was at least years away from where I came from. Exhilarating best describes my mood that day. The Topanga Minstrel was back! This was just the kind of place where I could captivate an audience.

They were there to be entertained, and I was eager to please. This was a generous crowd too, and the tips helped me get home. It is somewhat ironic, However. I was in one place where a bunch of people thought they were someone else; mostly someone from the past and they were locked up. Then I left and wound up in a place where everyone acted like someone else, mostly someone from the past, and these people were being paid for it! I began to write my songs, and thoughts in a book I called the Falling Figs Journal. The title was a biblical connotation hinting that the fig tree is ripe and Jesus would soon return.

Occasionally, I would type up the pages and take them to the copy center to publish a limited edition. Falling Figs Music Publishing Company was born when I started recording songs and selling cassettes along with the journal. I would use different pen names for the characters I portrayed in the writing styles. Mackenzie wrote the sermons that no one would hear. Father Mackenzie wrote like Ralph Waldo Emerson; deeply philosophical, and spiritually enlightened. The fool on the hill was alive and well, but nobody knew his name. In November of , I ran into an old friend from high school who asked me if I would like to be ordained, and told me that he could do it right there on the spot.

I accepted his offer and became an ordained minister in the First Church of God the Father. This non-sectarian religion accepted every religion as a path to God the Father. I already believed that, and was glad there was someone else that saw things in the same light. I soon started visiting the founder of the church, Bishop Brimm, in his North Hollywood office.

The churches I grew up in all taught that these were false religions, and I worried about these people. I needed to know how they all linked to the same God. The Bishop did not have a solution, but he did have faith that we were on the right track. He knew of the monastery at the Fountain of the World and recognized Melchezedek. He believed we were all saints, asked me to remember him as Saint Claude when I called my church to come together.

We agreed, and understood each other very well. The trial date finally came around in the May of The judge looked and me and then looked at the two cops, he threw out the assault charge right off the bat. He could not believe that a little guy my size would ever assault two large heavily armed police officers, and told the prosecutors that he believed the charges were an exaggeration.

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Then he looked at the minute amount of cannabis sativa they offered as evidence, proclaimed it an unusable amount, and dismissed the drug possession charge. It looked like I would be free. It was apparent I had committed no crime, but he read the letter Dr. Matzner wrote and ordered me to be go to another hearing to determine my sanity.

A few weeks later I appeared for this final hearing was surprised with the outcome. I went into a room where a psychiatrist asked me a couple of questions, I answered them and he said thank you and left. Then I went into the hearing and they asked me if I was Jesus.

I told them no, I am not. I remembered the prayer when I asked God to let me be so much like Jesus, people would mistake me for Him. The psychiatrist snapped back rhetorically, "Then who are you? I said, "I am Buddha. This does not necessarily mean I was actually the Prince of India who renounced his right to the throne and abandoned his wife and children to become a beggar monk several thousand years ago.

I did not say I was the one who sat under a fig tree and became enlightened when a ripe fig fell into my hands, showing me that God would supply my every need. I left that to their imagination. The judge slammed down the gavel and sentenced to an indefinite stay at Atascadero State Prison for the Criminally Insane. This seemed rather harsh, and my dad stood up and told the judge that the church and garden actually existed. I took him once, and he was very impressed. Then to my delight, Bishop Brimm placed a call to the judge and spoke on my behalf right in the nick of time. The judge listened to the Bishop, and recanted his decision.

He said that on second thought he would send me to Metropolitan State Hospital for a clinical observation. Shortly after the hearing, they took me in shackles and chains, to the state hospital in Norwalk, California. The cop who brought me there removed the chains after they put me in a locked ward that they thought was secure. While he was signing some papers, I noticed a familiar face walking through a corridor behind the room where the attendants worked.

I walked towards him, and followed him out an open door that led to the main highway. I decided to go home and get a few things I needed to make my stay here more enjoyable. I never got a good look at the guy who showed me the way out; he just walked out the door and disappeared around the corner. I walked across the street and as soon as I put my thumb out, a psychedelic painted bus rolled to a stop and opened the door.

This was a perfect start to get home. I had less than thirty miles to go. I got off the bus and walked to the spot where I always hitchhiked through the canyon. A middle-aged guy that looked totally straight drove the first car that came around the corner. I never expected him to stop, but he did. He even said that he was not accustomed to picking up strangers, but something told him I would be good company through the canyon, so he picked me up.

He was on his way to Simi Valley, and dropped me off right at my doorstep, on top of the hill in Canoga Park. I went into the house, and found it empty.

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  • I beat my mom and dad home from the court. So I went upstairs and began packing my guitar case with all of the things I wanted to have with me at Metropolitan State Hospital. I could hear the door open and my mom was saying how glad she was that the trial was over. So I went downstairs and said "Howdy Folks". She passed out on the spot. My dad just wanted to know how I escaped, and I told him it was easy. I just walked out the back door, and stuck my thumb up. The same way I get anywhere I wanted to be. When my mom came to, she called the state hospital to tell I was here.

    When she told them how I got away, they said I must be crazy, because, there is no back door in that room. Then it dawned on me who that familiar face was I recognized as he walked out the small corridor to the back door. The same guy showed me the cabin in heaven when they overdosed me in Camarillo.

    My guardian Angel was on the job, and it felt good. I went back the next day, and sure enough, there was neither a back door nor a small corridor in that room. They started giving me a variety of drugs that made me drowsy.

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    This also caused me to sleep a lot; I could barely talk, and had a hard time seeing. The doc said these side effects would wear off after a short time. I did not want to wait. So, every time they passed out the medication I would swallow it in front of them like I had to, then walk back to my room and stick my finger down my throat. I put those drugs right where they belonged, in the sewer. After a few drug free weeks, the staff thought they had cured me.

    They would sign the release on one condition. I had to cut my hair and shave my beard, so I would look like a normal member of society. I hated to do it but I did.

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    It had a haunting melody, and seemed to be referring to what I had been going through this past few months. I hoped to meet him some day. There was a guy in the hospital that said he was John Lennon, but I took that with a grain of salt. He looked something like him, but his hair was short, and he was a little too plump. He played and sang beautifully, and we spent several days in the laundry room making music. Nobody bothered us there, and we picked and grinned for hours on end.

    Sometimes I wonder if he really was John Lennon, and if I had missed an excellent opportunity to get know him. This fellow was only there for a few days, and I never saw him except in the laundry room. I guess the instant karma affected my mom in a real way. They lost their hilltop home when the economy took a turn for the worse.

    So we packed up and moved to Del Rio, Texas. We were going to build a hydroplane, and make a mold for reproducing them in fiberglass. It was a struggle from the start, and we never were able to attract an investor to help us mass produce the little race boats. I was involved with the Southern Baptist Church in town and kept quiet about my past. Some of my new friends and I were able to open a coffeehouse that the church sponsored.

    We called it The One Way Coffeehouse. We built a stage and opened the door every evening for the local kids so they would have a place to hang out, play music, and just stay out of trouble. The pastor asked me if I would write a song describing the salvation experience. It sounded like a good challenge. It turned out beautiful, and I wrote the piano accompaniment and choir parts with a little help from a local piano teacher. The work was so remarkable that both Hardin Simmons and Baylor Universities offered me full scholarships so I could get a degree and become a youth minister.

    I just wanted to make music and spread a little peace around the world. I met a beautiful young girl singer named Nancy, when we competed in a talent contest the city sponsored. Nancy took first place with her rendition of Mr. Bo Jangles; I came in second with a guitar solo. The natural thing to do would be to get together and start making music. We did that and soon were performing live every Sunday night on the local radio station. This got the attention of Happy Shahan from Braketville Texas.

    He owned Alamo Village, a movie site where they built a replica of the Alamo for a movie starring John Wayne. Happy offered me a job to act like the town sheriff, and be a gunslinger. We put on shows daily for the tourist that came to visit. Neil Cole was the other cowboy on the set. It was mandatory on this job to have long shaggy hair, and if we wanted to smoke, we had to roll our own. I wrote several songs while there and improved my style while working with some of the musicians that would visit the set.

    Things seemed to be getting better and going the way I hoped they would before leaving Southern California. The pain was still there, and I resented the way the state of California treated me. I lost everything that was dear to me in one cruel blow. The retreat, the monastery, my wife and kids, everything I loved and worked for had vanished in the gloom. I turned these raw emotions into music and poured out my soul with every song.

    Ringo Star had a new song on the air. It was coming over the country stations. Again I felt like the Beatles were all kindred spirits and wondered if they knew I was out here trying to work my way back to them on this long and winding road. I was half way across the country and felt I had to move on if I was ever going to reach them. Well the Lord works in mysterious ways, and He put me a little closer in one sudden turn of events. It started out like any other payday at Alamo Village.

    The other gunslingers and I would drive to Del Rio to pick up provisions, and blow a few bucks on the way back. This time as we drove towards the city I noticed some clouds rolling in on the horizon. When we got to the supermarket in Del Rio, I started to do a rain dance around the truck. I circled the truck three times like an Indian whooping up a storm. A local policeman came over and asked me what I was doing.

    I told him that I was doing a rain dance. He looked at me funny as I left and went into the store. By the time we finished shopping, I could hear the thunder cracking over head. I went outside and saw huge hailstones breaking windows all around. The cop was still there, he looked at me, and said, "I think you over did it Haltom!

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    On the way back, the driver spotted a young buck deer by the roadside. My companions decided to shoot the little guy and take him home to stock up the freezer. I objected, but to no avail. They turned the high beams on and positioned the car so the light would shine right in his eyes. The dear just froze, and did not move a muscle. I was surprised at how easy it was for them to walk right up and shoot him in the head. There was no sport to it at all, and it was way out of season for hunting. Well, fate took the upper hand, and before they could start the car, the sheriff was there with his red lights flashing.

    We made the Texas State Network News that night. The story headline was about three Alamo Village Gunslingers who were in a shoot out with a young buck. The news story related the fact that the dear may have died, but the three gunslingers were the real losers. They were right. When we got out of jail and returned to Alamo Village, Happy Shahan was not so happy any more. We got our walking papers, packed up our stuff and headed for Florida,. Neal Cole let us in on his little secret when we made it to Florida.

    He had escaped from a prison in near Tampa about a year ago. He only wanted to sneak back to visit his girlfriend and hit her up for some money. We had stopped in Daytona Beach for breakfast and gas when he let us in on that little tidbit of information. I looked around and noticed a room for rent sign on a house near where we were, and told those guys to wait for me for a couple of minutes. I went to ask the owner how much a poor boy like me would have to pay to live there.

    Now that was a very reasonable price for the one room with a private bath even in those times. I told him I was a priest and that I wanted to start a church on the beach, and that I was also a musician and would find work right away. He was a cool old man, and gave me a break. I went back to Neil and the other guy and told them I would be staying here in Daytona. They could go on without me, I said. That surprised them a bit, but they soon left, and I only saw them one more time a few days later as they were leaving Florida for parts unknown.

    It was a two story, well maintained home. I especially enjoyed the lawn and trees that had been there for so many years. The place looked like it could withstand just about any hurricane, and probably survived a few already. I unpacked, and cleaned up to go looking for work. I put on my old Levi jeans and a T-shirt. I was ready for anything, and went looking for it. I found a guy working on an old steam ship, and went up to him and asked if I could be of any help.

    I mentioned my last job was at Canoga Boats, and that I was an expert at fixing them up. He said get to work and shut up, so I started painting the detail work while he was sanding the deck. He paid me well for the help, and became a good friend while I lived there.

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    After work, I went to the beach and looked around, it was awesome. They let cars drive on the shoreline, and there was a neat amphitheater next to a boardwalk. I could not count how many beautiful women there were walking around in bikinis, but I am sure there were enough for everyone. I found a great club right in the area. The new band was a southern rock group that was growing in popularity.

    I went in there and met the owner. After playing a couple of tunes, he hired me to play the breaks when the rock band took five. I went on at least twice a night from then on. This was a good career move for me. A few days after landing in Daytona Beach a news reporter caught wind of me and came to do an interview. They took a picture of me on the beach with my guitar in hand. The reporter wrote a beautiful article telling of my plans to have services at dawn on the Sunday mornings.

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