Chapter 44: The $230 Demon



Chapter XLIV: The $230 Demon

Finally, we had reached Chicago, Illinois and the home stretch was underway. I noticed the farther North we got, the temperature gradually grew colder, and the boys started looking gayer. This was yet another long layover, and I was just ready to leave and go the fuck home.

The final segment back to Milwaukee, all I could think about was the fact that I had just decided to move back to Asheville—and made official plans. My time in Milwaukee was nearing its end. I had to sit next to some douche that in my opinion epitomized everything that I did not like about Milwaukee. He was talking loudly on his cell phone, again completely not interesting, and insisted he needed a ride to his dad’s house so he could get some money from his dad.

Knowing that I would soon be leaving the city that I had called home for the past 2.5 years, I was constantly thinking about what I needed to do. I have no car, no driver’s license, and nobody to help me move.

Therefore, most of my belongings would have to be disposed of—I suppose I could get by with exactly what I have now in this luggage. Each passing moment, I thought of other things that I needed—buying a suitcase would be a necessity. There were also a lot of people I wanted bid farewell. But, it wasn’t going to be all that bad. After all, we do go to Pitchfork every year, and even though I was moving, I would be back to visit in July. Furthermore, I could leave some of my stuff in Milwaukee and get it when I returned in July. There was a lot of planning that needed to be done.

Entering Wisconsin and traveling to Milwaukee made me reflect on how I got here in the first place.

Coincidentally, Englewood by The Bogmen came on and that reminded me that I still have some unfinished business left to take care of—I still have the $230 demon that I need to exorcise. I still owe $230 to the one and only, Jennifer Triolo… AKA- The one that got away.

This song, which soared towards the top of my 1995 list as a result, made me reflect on what was once the number one thing plaguing my life. I had this CD when it was still new as I bought because it was produced by Jerry Harrison, formerly of both The Modern Lovers and Talking Heads. However, it had been a long time since I listened to it, and when I began my 1995 list, it was initially slated to come in around #40 or so. One line of this song, however, genuinely captured the way I was feeling at the time.

And I think back to any of the 268,487 times I was asked “Why did you move to Milwaukee?”

I met a girl named Jennifer Triolo in a place called Asheville, North Carolina. She was from Wausau, WI and wanted to be closer to home. Even though I loved Asheville, I agreed to move with her after she was not accepted into UNC-Asheville. We had been together for some time, people stated we were the perfect, cutest couple ever, and many even assumed we were getting married.

However, once we got to Milwaukee, things started going downhill. She and one of her former roommates hung out frequently, and began acting as if it was still back then. We broke up over the holidays in 2010, lived together as roommates for a few months, and then she packed her bags and moved to Wausau, WI and I haven’t seen her since. Furthermore, she went back to her ex-boyfriend who I had suspected there was something going on, and come to find out, they were never even broke up in the first place.

Here’s the deal: I blame myself for all of this. Some have suggested that she was a bitch, but that’s not the case at all. I am the one who fucked up everything. There is a notion that she broke up with me to move back with her ex-boyfriend. In fact, this is what I tell people. There might be some truth to it, but it could be a fabrication created by me as a means to prevent confessing to be the representative of the entire list of negative adjectives all emphasized with the most obscene forms of profanity imaginable.

There was an age difference between us and I knew that I never wanted to have kids. It occurred to me that I should probably let Jen go if she ever desired to have kids…and do so before it was too late. Furthermore, I sensed something going on between her and her ex. I could have fought for her if I really wanted to, but I did not—I just let her go. My voice of reason told me, broke it to me gently, “look man, she already knew this cat. Her home is Wisconsin, man, and ain’t nothing ever going to change that. It’s just how it goes.”

Maybe I knew the end was inevitable, but maybe was unsure how to go about things. Therefore, I never fully committed to anything genuine with her. In fact, I did not do one single thing right in the relationship and that’s why she sought companionship elsewhere. Also, I had several lingering issues plaguing my life, I was not where I wanted to be in life, shitty job—all that kind of shit, and I allowed that to affect me. I forced the breakup because I did not want to have kids. As it now appears upon further reflection, I broke up with her, in the worst way possible, over the Christmas holidays, for seemingly no reason at all.

Admittedly, I am still traumatized by the very last time I saw her. We live together for several months after the split, which was a difficult period of time, and then agreed that there wasn’t going to be any long goodbye or any bullshit like that—leading up to this date was growing difficult. She was packing everything she owned (as well as some of the shit I owned) while I was getting ready for work. I was almost out the fucking door to go to work and she came around the corner and stomped her foot. I turned around, and I found her standing there in hall, staring at me with tears in her eyes. Stupidly, we had a relatively long goodbye that was neither the lengthy heartfelt goodbye nor a short one.

When I returned home from work and discovered all of her stuff was gone, I felt as empty as that bare apartment. I had misinformed the public that I was excited about her departure because I could get on with life, but in actuality, I was hoping that she would have backed out at the last moment and stayed. In typical Tony J. Neal fashion, I attempted to appear unfazed by the ordeal and looked for the positive things—I suppose it was nice having the place to myself for awhile.

However, I spent the next several months holding it in as I could feel the anguish gradually intensifying. Abundant smiles were decreasing and replaced with that unidentifiable expression that signifies there is something deeply disturbing being repressed from within the soul, and is slowly taking over completely. I frequently walked around for miles, going no place in particular, in a state of complete disarray. I constantly felt as if I was on the verge of a breakdown but pretended as if nothing was wrong. The sight of other people was becoming increasingly bothersome. All I tried to do was keep my mind off Jen. Any interruption of my personal thoughts of resolve was viewed as an unwelcome intrusion of my personal space. Being as Jen constantly dominated my thoughts; any attempt to speak with me was regarded as secondary useless meandering. Furthermore, I grew increasingly hostile with mannerisms that had already bothered me, such as people bumming cigarettes or disturbing me with sheer stupidity such as questioning me about my appearance.

For a lengthy period of time, I barely ate or slept. My sleep and eating schedule had revolved around Jen, and with her gone I either simply forgot to do these things or lost interest in them because she wasn’t there. I stopped watching movies too. Anything that I did primarily with Jen, I no longer had any interest in those activities. Jen and I were together 95% of the time we weren’t working or at school; that meant 95% of my life had been voided. She was the only real direction I had in my life that meant anything, and when she was no longer there, the direction shifted towards crash course. It was then when all I could think about were the good times we had together and I wondered why I did not cherish those more.

Nobody had any knowledge of this. These feelings would surely pass soon and my increasing resentment towards the world would eventually subside.

Unfortunately, the feelings of discontent continued to escalate into deeper realms of the emotions. She sent me a package on my birthday and that’s when it finally started. It has not been completely uplifted either. I decided that I was going on indefinite hiatus and made a declaration that I would hold no appeal to the entire world whatsoever. Any trait I possessed that people found charming was totally repressed. From this moment forward, I vowed to be nobody, nothing special, and boycotted the entire world.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rated Jen a 10, every other person in the world a 0, and me a -864,528,093,141,678,902,356,989,562,309,128,878,456,255,523,435,132,890,098,987,567,345,232,346,878,909,132,593,487,298,354,109,783,456,132,587,909,997,101,342,822,509,000,465,123,254,467,387,098,145,658,987,666,243,465,702,828,513,512,414,254,987,989,565,106,287,654,444,199,658,429,001 to the infinite negative power of the darkest pits of Hell.

That was devastating for me. Like the dumb mother fucker that I am, I finally grew the balls to admit to myself that I was madly in love with her AFTER she left. Had I have been even remotely cool enough to express how I really felt (as opposed to pretending to be too cool to ever be in love with Jen), that spark that was still lingering might still be burning today. But no, I’m too dumb for that shit.

And so it turned out, her forever departure became a life changing event. I did not take it so well and pretty much withdrew completely from society. In turn, I lost all desire in being in another relationship, I lost interest in pretty much every other girl, and I deemed myself unsuitable to ever be in another meaningful relationship ever again. I used to go out every night—now I rarely go out all. There is the possibility that the reason I never established myself in Milwaukee was because I never even tried. Once upon a time, I checked out all the babes—now, I refuse to even make eye contact with most people that I pass. Should I have a meaningful conversation with a woman, I will make no effort whatsoever to take it any further than that. I do not ask girls for their phone numbers, nor do I put forth any effort to give mine out. I make no attempt whatsoever to establish anything other than casual acquaintance with any woman that I meet.

Occasionally, I would flirt with girls who entered my work, but that was primarily for tips, and I would never seek any of them outside of work. On a few occasions, I would screw myself out of tips by refusing to display flirtatious behavior. An attractive girl once put her arm around and moved in close because she thought I was “the most awesome person ever.” The moment she put her arm around me, I jerked away from her; she stiffed me. All occasional flings were met with regret and I never followed up on them nor pursued them with any sort of meaningful ambition. And should a girl ever actually flirt with me, I would then go out of my way to intentionally avoid her… because I never wanted to see her again.

I even took it to extreme levels. First, I got married—to nothing, to nobody, and vowed this marriage was until death do us part. Then, I created a fake Facebook wife… therefore I would never be bothered again. Finally, borrowing a page from Groucho Marx, I declared that I would never date a woman who was attracted to me. With this, I took it a step further as to cover all bases: Any woman who is attracted to me obviously has something wrong with her; she has bad taste in men and probably thinks everybody is attractive; too easily impressed; desperate; if there is nothing wrong with her, then I would be a curse to her and possibly ruin her life. I purposely have made it impossible for any woman to ever get close to me; and if I sensed one was nearing, than I would create a thousand excuses as to how I am the worst possible boyfriend in history, and declared any woman could do better than me. I have devised a checklist of 358,000 things that turn women off and I will resort to a multitude of them to prevent a woman from developing any interest in me whatsoever; if an interest does develop, I would resort to any means necessary to deter her interest.

All this, over Jen. She was the one that did me in. After her, I declared that I was done with women.

As for the $230. When we first split up, I was prepared to move back to Asheville then. However, we had purchased a car together in which we were each expected to each pay half—her dad fronted her half and she was supposed to pay him back. At the time, I was expecting her to keep the car for I was in a state where I wanted nothing to do with her (another time I was going full retard). However, her dad told me that I could keep the car, and all I had to pay him was a little more than half of what Jen owed. So, I agreed to that… but, he stated that he didn’t want me to move back to Asheville until after it was paid.

I paid most of it off. After Jen left and we moved, my half of the deposit covered all of it but $200… the other $30 was for half of the final electric bill. And, I almost sent it to them in the mail several times.

Like I said, I realized that I was madly in love with her AFTER she had left. Somewhere in my head, I knew that once I mailed the $230 to her that would be final, and I would never see her again. The submission of the $230 meant officially saying goodbye forever. I have struggled to do this as of yet.

I sought advice about this from a co-worker, and I even wrote about that conversation in one of my blog entries. At that time, Christmas Eve was to be my last day in Milwaukee and that was the last thing I had to do. However, I got talked in to staying for one more month; now I’m still here with no license and possibly stranded for life.

It is not as if I am trying to screw anybody out of a debt. Her parents, to my knowledge, are not desperate for the money. Furthermore, once upon a time, her dad was hoping we would get back together.

Here it is over a year later, and I still haven’t paid the debt. She asked about it; I told her that I was meaning to send it. For some reason, it was never brought back up until somebody called the police and deemed the vehicle had been abandoned (they called her about it).

She and I have had but minimal contact since and have not seen each other in person. She sends me messages periodically, we’ve talked on the phone once, e-mailed each other shit about music, and we texted each other throughout the holidays. During these brief periods of communication, I have still never expressed how I truly felt about her, nor have I completely gotten over the last time that I saw her. Furthermore, she is the one who initiates all contact between us because I am in a constant state of going full-retard and never message her to inquire how she is doing.

Therefore, I was never sure whether or not I would be able to maintain my composure should I see her again to deliver this fucking God damn shitty ass $230. Also, I have been clinging to her with false hopes and pretensions. I honestly do not know how I would react seeing her in person; maybe I would cry… maybe she would annoy the shit out of me… maybe I would be filled with regret… maybe I would get over it… maybe, just maybe a lot of things. There is also a major possibility that if she decided to give me a hug goodbye that I would not let go of her.

Somewhere in my head, I had made plans to deliver this $230 to her in person. It could be a complete disaster—one that I might never fully recover. But, it could be worth the risk just to at least see her again. And to quote her father on the situation, “you never know what could happen.”

Regardless, to this day, I have not been fully mentally prepared to see her in person after the traumatizing life changing event that took place the day she left. Nor have I been fully prepared to simply mail the money and write it off completely.

That brings us back to the song, Englewood by The Bogmen, which I found myself listening to on repeat the entire rest of the way home. This song became something I could perfectly relate. One line of the song perfectly captured my emotions with the $230 Demon:

“We’ll walk, and we’ll part, in a nice way
Because I don’t think I was ready when you left so suddenly.
And if I could just, set this date up,
It would put my mind at ease to say the things that I failed to say.”

It’s rare for a song to capture an emotion with as much accuracy as that one does for this particular situation.
Somewhere in the midst of listening to this song for the 15th time on repeat (and there have been multiple sessions of doing this) it occurred to me that I have handled this break up like a complete pussy. For that matter, ever since she left, I have been full retard 95% of the time, and could hear a mother warning a child: “You’re douchy looking face is going to stay that way!”

In no way shape or form was I being myself by shutting myself out to the world. And over what? A fucking girl? The other voice of reason declares that Jen is more than "just a girl."

Sadly, there is yet another element other than the fact that Jen herself was so marvelous. I have become absolutely disgusted with myself over a number of issues regarding our relationship and struggle to accept that I was that complete of an asshole. Breaking up with her when and how I did was bad enough; and not expressing how I truly felt about her should have been more than enough for me to question everything about my personality. However, there were two things that had been left behind that intensified both circumstances.

One night she made dinner and created this comment card for me to rate what she had cooked. She did not cook very often, even though she once claimed it was her hobby. The comment card had a bunch of little boxes to check off with absolutely ridiculous answers for the possibilities. When she first made the card, it was cute and funny and we enjoyed a good laugh. When I found the card after she moved, it created another situation where I avoided the entire race for several days.

The other involved a time in which we had some minor scuffle about things and she drew me out this large note expressing how she felt. In this card, she outlined a long list of items that I had apparently complained about and how she was going to resolve them all. She began each one with “I will not… (insert problem)” and ended with “I will (insert resolution).” It finally concluded that she vowed that she was going to my best girlfriend ever, and that she loved me, and all the appropriate things a person should say but I was too big of a douche to ever reveal to her.

When I first found the note, a few weeks after she moved, I thought to myself, “ didn't exactly live up to that bargain.” For whatever reason, I did not throw it away and kept it. The next time I reviewed it, I was absolutely disgusted with myself. All of the things she apologized for were for things that I never should have gotten upset about in the first place. If I got mad about any of that shit, then that makes me a complete total loser. And I was a complete total loser, because I often got annoyed for things that should not have bothered me. This list was simply proof how horrible of a boyfriend I was and she was the one apologizing for it when it should have been me begging for forgiveness for being such a piece of shit.

Side note: everything I have of Jen’s is now considered a prize possession.

The worst case was on my birthday when we first moved to Milwaukee and she decorated the house, made me a special music mix, and insisted that we should go out and celebrate. I didn’t really feel like doing anything because I had not had a free day in a long time and just wanted to do nothing. Rather than be a moderately decent person and happily spend the evening with her, I told her that I couldn’t wait for her to start school so I could have some time to myself. That was the absolute most inappropriate thing to say to somebody putting forth effort to create a special day. I have not forgiven myself for that and never will.

There is a picture of us on my computer that I had viewed several times since she left. At first, I was deeply saddened by the picture because I thought the two of us looked too happy to have ever parted ways forever. Upon further review, the picture gradually began to anger me. Jen looks good in it, but I feel that my presence in the photograph ruins the whole picture. Delving into it, I feel that I wasted two years of her life and she has to consider the era in which we dated among her worst ever. During that entire period of her life, she was more than likely questioning what had gone wrong with her image if anybody insinuated that we made an ideal match; she had to have known that she could have done much better than me.

One day before she left, I apologized to Jen. However, I never expressed any interest of hoping we get back together. I am still yet to tell her how I really felt, how I still feel, and that she did achieve the goal of being my best girlfriend ever. She has no knowledge whatsoever that I was devastated about losing her and probably thinks that I have been perfectly content with the world and maybe even happier this entire (as do a number of people because I do not like to discuss my problems.)

These are the types of things that I am not very good at doing and unsure how to handle it. I contemplated sending her a CD featuring a bunch of sad songs or love songs, but felt that might come off as creepy; later considered it stupid and myself stupid for even conceiving a thought like that. Instead, I resist contacting her because I am hoping these feelings simply vanish.

Jen never has to apologize to me for anything ever for eternity. If she accidentally catches my house on fire, then that is my fault too. She has a free ride to commit any sort of diabolical act she pleases. No matter what she does that violates anything regarding my happiness, I deserve it and it is my responsibility to make her feel better for it.

As for the rest of the world, I remain on hiatus approximately 85% of the time. I still have no interest in meeting somebody. It is most difficult when one already has experienced true love and all other potential replacements seem inadequate in comparison. It becomes increasingly problematic when one has realized his mistakes and deems himself unfit for anybody with admirable qualities. Therefore, I will completely ignore a person in which I feel any attraction whatsoever because I feel I am not suitable to even be in her presence for even 5 minutes.

Somewhere along the lines though, I had to recede the assault I had unleashed on both myself and the world around me. There had to be some way to put all of this aside and return to a functioning lifestyle. A person only has one life, and spending it in constant self-punishment for past mistakes is not the healthiest way to enjoy it.

I had obviously realized that I had made countless mistakes in our relationship. But, that wasn’t just with Jen—that was with pretty much everything I’ve ever done. Yet, you don’t see crying over the time I accidentally cut in line in front of that family at Walgreen’s. Did I boycott myself then like I am doing now? Did I purposely avoid Walgreen’s forever because of one mistake? No, I apologized, explained that I didn’t see them, allowed them back in front of me, and went on with life.

Towards the end of the song, and something that did not resonate too much until that precise moment, the line says:

“Forget the girl; take that drink like a real man.”

Another addition to the list of New Year’s Resolutions; make peace with this somehow.

Index: Chapter List

Chapter 44 Soundtrack Listing:

1. Elf
"When She Smiles" 4:49

Trying To Burn The Sun

2. Sinéad O'Connor
"Nothing Compares 2 U" 5:11

I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got

3. Manchester Orchestra
"Simple Math" 5:05

Simple Math

4. Badfinger
"Without You" 4:45

No Dice

5. Faster Pussycat
"House of Pain" 5:49

Wake Me When It's Over

6. The Durutti Column
"Otis" 4:18

Vini Reilly

7. Black Sabbath
"Solitude" 5:03

Master of Reality

8. L.A. Guns
"The Ballad of Jane" 4:34

Cocked & Loaded

9. The New Christs
"Disconnected" 6:28


10. The Bogmen
"Englewood" 7:00

Life Begins At 40 Million

11. Daniel Johnston
"Some Things Last A Long Time" 4:54


12. Wussy
"Coversation Lags" 3:08

Funeral Dress

13. White Heaven
"Dull Hands" 4:54


14. The Walkmen
"Heaven" 4:22


15. Don Covay
"Precious You" 2:43


16. Prefab Sprout
"Goodbye Lucille #1" 4:29

Steve McQueen

17. Yeasayer
"I Remember" 4:25

Odd Blood

18. The Afghan Whigs
"I Keep Coming Back" 4:52


19. Faces
"Sweet Lady Mary" 5:51

Long Player

20. Angel
"Long Time" 6:59


21. Funeral Party
"Where Did It Go Wrong" 3:29

Golden Age Of Knowhere

22. Marbles
"Move On" 4:10


All Sections Written, Designed, and Music Compiled by Tony J. Neal

Empty picture by Naruto Forums
Isolated picture by: Exits By Alice

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