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Based on "Surrealistic Trials: Surviving My Life After Death"


by Hilary Jamron

“So, it’s all here, Hilary. I’m just getting the fuses arranged.”

“Good, Joe. Want me to check anything else for you?” My favorite man-child opened the door to his reality and invited me to cross the threshold. I seamlessly traversed. Such crossings had become an integral part of my life and daily work. Operating from multiple realities gave me enough perspective to maintain both safety and respect in our tiny corner of the world. Plus, it was never boring. Joey was soaking wet, hands and face smudged, clothes covered with dirt. He moved quietly, furtively, purposefully. He came toward me and stood still by my side, shaking his head. When we looked at one another our eyes connected in his world.


“How can I help?” There was no way of knowing what the purpose was, but clearly there was one.

“Okay, Hilary. Wow, I can sure use some help.”

“Just tell me what I can do, Joe.”

He brushed his hair from his eyes, took a deep breath, and I felt his energy relax. “Here’s the deal. They’re gonna come up about five feet to the left of that highest mound of snow by the building.” He led me farther from the road as he talked. I nodded and followed. “So over there is where we need to finish setting up. We still have some time, but not much. We have to finish burying the dynamite next. I’ve got a good start on it.”

Dynamite? Bury? Okay. I spoke slowly, deliberately. “Joey, you know how slow I am. Let’s go over the whole plan from the beginning again, I just want to make sure I understand it all. So we’re sure they’re coming up here?”

They? Up?

“Okay. Sure. So the ninja sewer rat king in New York telepathically confirmed that the tunnel is getting close. That it’s time.”

“Tunnel from New York.”

“Right.” He nodded vigorously, glad that I got it. “Yeah. That band of ninja rats that have been digging? Well, he told me that the tunnel is going to end up right over there. When it does, the ninjas are going to come up armed, take over our town, and move on from here. It’s my job to stop them. I HAVE to stop them.”

“Got it. Do we have enough dynamite?”

Joey led me to his truck and lifted the tarp in the back. The bed of the little ford was filled with neatly tied bunches of explosives. He put the tarp back down and looked around. “Man, I’ve been digging a long time. This s a big job. Got to dig around the whole back here.” His shovel rested in the hard dirt, still partly frozen. We looked down at the trench he was currently working on. Forty feet long and about a foot deep, he was doing precisely as he was being instructed. I was at his side resting easily on his shoulder, an honorary member of Joseph’s ‘blow up the tunneling evil ninja turtles’ club. Big job, huge responsibility, saving the world. Especially with the school across the street and the apartment house occupied.

I looked through his eyes. The ninjas were two feet long, green and I thought they resembled Iguanas more than rats. When they stood erect I saw that they had muscular arms with webbed hands that allowed them to dig very efficiently. Thin legs, long tails, reptilian faces with piercing dark eyes. Two of them menacingly slithered toward me, oozing evil. I stood my ground and met their gazes as they silently challenged me. One of them stood up in front of me and hissed. I looked away in disgust, refusing to engage.

“Gigantic job. Geez, Joey. As cold as this ground is, do you think we could use some more muscle?” His eyes were glazed. He probably hadn’t slept for a few days and clearly hadn’t taken his meds.

“Well … yeah. I’m pretty tired. Was digging between communications all through last night. If I could thaw out the ground I’d be finished, but man, the cold sure is slowing things down. I don’t know who we can trust.”

“Do you have any ideas at all?” I asked. In his world he gets to be in charge. Silence as he searched his mind. I watched the blue eyes travel a steep, narrow trail around his head and get lost in the forest.

“Noooo, I can’t think who to trust. Can you help me out here, Hilary?”

“I’ll sure try – let’s see …… hey Joseph – how about Tom Branton?” Tom Branton was Chief of Police, a kind, fair-minded, robust man in his early fifties.

“Tom! We can trust Tom. Where is he?”

“Don’t know, but I’m sure I can find him if you want me to.”


“There’s no one around, want to come with me for a few minutes?”

He hesitated. “You think it’s safe? Wasn’t easy for me to get all that dynamite, you know.”

“It’ll be okay – let’s just go to my car and try to call him.”

‘Get him away from the fuses,’ I thought as we walked toward the car and cell phone, but he immediately became agitated. We didn’t want that.

“Think you can watch your stuff better if you stand at the other end of the lot? If Tom needs more information, I’ll tell you.”

“Yeah, my stuff is super important. ”He calmed as he positioned himself more strategically.

“Police Department.”

“Hi Shelly, this is Hilary. I need Tom, please, and it’s important.”

“Hang on. I’ll find him.” It didn’t take long. It was well known that I did NOT abuse the word ‘important.’

“Chief Branton.”

“Hi Tom. It’s Hilary. I’m at the Mission Apartments with Joseph Martin. Can you please come help me out? We might be needing an involuntary admission to St. Al’s Psych.”

“Of course. Can you tell me what’s going on?”

“He’s off his meds and has a truck load of dynamite.”

I could hear his eyes roll back in his head. My people.

“Three minutes.”

I was back at Joey’s side when Tom pulled up and got out of his car. A second police cruiser was cresting the hill and I heard the unmistakable horn of a fire truck leaving the station. In another reality dynamite could explode. As Tom sauntered toward us he reached out to shake Joey’s hand. When I stepped aside Joe hesitated, then leapt into a Judo stance with his arms raised as I gently left his world.

“Joey. The sewer rats are not real. You haven’t been taking your medicine and you’re sick right now. There is no tunnel from New York, and we aren’t going to be blowing anything up. It’s not real.”

Tom gently turned Joey around and handcuffed him as two other officers got out of their vehicle. Joe’s eyes remained fixed on mine.

“Am I going to the hospital?”

“You are, Joey. The sewer rats are not real and you need to get back on your medication. Dr. Ekman will be there to meet you.”

Now Joe began to straddle realities. Part of him began to remember that he was sick. He wanted to hug me. He wanted to kill me. He looked at me in silence as he was directed to the back seat of the police car. Given the level of imminent danger to others and mass quantities of illegal explosives there would be no flight risk allowed. They would drive him the two hours to Boise. I’d walked into his world and left without him. Tears overflowed from my heart and welled in my eyes as I returned to the world of the ‘system’ to make the calls, do the paperwork, and let his family know that he was safe.

This is from Surrealistic Trials, a groundbreaking new book that the author describes as an ‘autobiographical fairy tale.’

Hilary Jamron died from a drug overdose in 1972. Following a lengthy coma, a bout with quadriplegic paralysis, and intensive rehabilitation, part of Hilary came back from the experience with an uncanny ability to inhabit more than one reality at any given time.

Later in life Hilary spent twenty years working in a rural outpatient mental health clinic, primarily with chronic, severe schizophrenics patients. The goal was to help them maintain a reasonable quality of life outside of institutional settings.

Working with this segment of the population can be challenging for mental health professionals. Hilary firmly believes that validating other realities and seeing the world through other eyes is, at times, an extremely helpful approach. “Anyone can do it,” she insists, “and I believe in doing whatever it takes when lives are at risk. Sometimes sick people will take your hand and follow you back across the abyss; sometimes they won’t.”

Being mentally ill is not a choice. It is a biologically based, genetic illness that can destroy families, relationships, and overall quality of life. You’ve seen these patients; they’re the ones people cross the street to avoid. The woman with the shopping cart who sits on the park bench chatting with a friend who is visible only to her.

Who are we to demand that everyone around us conform to our version of reality?

Why is our reality more valid than someone else’s?

What are we as a society so afraid of?

How has mental illness sustained such a powerful stigma?

Most of us keep our distance as if mental illness is contagious, perhaps transmitted through dark, mysterious ways known only to the afflicted.

In her book, Surrealistic Trials, Hilary Jamron explores these questions and many others by sharing her world in a riveting, straightforward manner. Her book promises to be the defining beginning of a new genre. Autobiographical Fairy Tales, non-fiction with a twist.

Surrealistic Trials (ISBN 978-1-62233-014-0, June 2014, Light Technology Publishing) is available on Amazon.com, B&N.com and bookstores everywhere.

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