Wooly Mammoth Headaches

A sneak peek at what will (hopefully) be his first published novel.

Alexander Gallivanter


I wrote – what has been described as a fantastical, picaresque tale – with a mini-golf pencil over 72 psychotic hours in a Supermax isolation cell at the Maine State Prison. I sharpened that mini pencil every paragraph or so with a bloody thumbnail that I left un-chewed just for that utility. I folded pieces of paper into perfect quadrants and enlivened each, on both sides, with tiny words and corresponding wisps of blood.

At the time I wrote ‘Alexander Gallivanter’ I had been caged in the bowels of one of this country’s most brutal, oppressive Supermax control units for 46 months. Before my psychological saga was over, I’d been in a concrete and steel cage for 63 consecutive months. The trajectory of my Supermax experience began with appropriate shock and horror upon seeing other caged consciousness eating feces and mutilating their own genitals; it graduated to tragic, schizoid detachment as I listened to a bankrupt soul in a neighboring cell successfully coach a desperate young man named James Thomas through completion of suicide by bed sheet. As I listened to James thrash and choke and gurgle away the final moments of his life, it did occur to me that this utopian concept of criminal justice that my unionized captors applied in shifts – and never understood it to be the antithesis of justice – was a concept that they would never understand as long as their paychecks depended upon their not understanding it. But I digress; indeed, this book is merely the product of mental illness, not about the causes that exacerbated it. Needless to say, I was not well when I wrote it.


“Good morning Alex….your lawyer sent me, I’m here to help you….if you want me to? Why don’t you just start from the very beginning….tell me everything. I need to know everything if I’m going to help you, okay?”


“I’ve been here about a week now, maybe a few days more. I’ve been here long enough to know just when to start drooling and acting like I took all of my loony medication. I didn’t take any of it though. In fact, I only ever took it once when I first got here about two weeks ago, maybe a few days more. I had to take it that day for a few reasons. For one, the orderlies were watching me with big eyes. For two, I wasn’t sure how to make it look like I actually took my loony medication. For three, I had another one of them headaches that feel like a wooly mammoth crawled up inside my head and started wagging his tail. I’ll tell you more about that after I tell you what I’ve been doing with my loony medication that I don’t even take. I’d go full-tilt funny gut about it if I wasn’t in the padded-walled booby hatch right now. But I am, and if I went all funny gut the orderlies might think I was taking some other bug’s medication. You sure can’t go funny gut on my loony medication. About all I could do when I took it was drool and mess my shorts. So I can’t be laughing right now, although I could bust up over what I’ve been doing with my loony pills that I don’t even take. You’re not in the bug hut – at least not to stay – so you’ll be all clear to roll like a hyena when I tell you what I’ve been doing with my loony pills. You see, I really don’t want to take them because then I really will drool when I really don’t have to. Plus, I go undercover funny gut watching all the other retards drool and mess their pants from taking their loony meds. Actually, I’m not a retard, in case you thought I was saying that I was a retard. I’m really a fifteen year old genius, really. It would be really hard for you to tell just by looking at me, because if you looked at me I’d have to drool, and if I was drooling you’d think I was right where I belonged; with the retards who have bats in their belfry, in the bug hut. But that’s what makes me such a fifteen year old genius: I don’t belong here! I’m a spot on retard actor and a world class drooler. I really am a genius. Plus, I’m six foot five and my hair is already thinning. It’s all genetic.

I don’t remember if I was going to tell you about my wooly mammoth wagging his tail headaches or what I’ve been doing with my loony medication that I pretend to swallow when the orderly gives it to me in a little paper cup. I can go funny gut over either one if I want. You could too if I told you. But before I do, let me tell you about the guy beside me. I get a pretty good kick out of him even though he can’t talk. Actually, he can talk in case you thought I was saying that he couldn’t. It’s a real temporary thing, I’m sure of it. You see, he takes all of his loony medication. I make him take all of mine too!

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