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by W. Shakespeare

I was born Jonathon Aaron Steel, to the parents of William and Elizabeth
steel. I am a Leo, born under the sign of the lion and I was raised in a
lower middle class family with only one brother Michael whom I love
dearly. He was five years my senior. My father's nickname was Red which I
could never understand why because his hair was sandy blond. Nevertheless,
the name stuck. So when my brother was born my father became Big Red and
my brother Little Red. I should have known from the first time when I
realised their special connection, that I just didn't fit in to my
father's plans. And as I grew older the constant comparison between my
brother and myself left little doubt who was the image of perfection in my
father's eye. To him, my brother could do no wrong and I became The
Invisible Boy, the proverbial 'black sheep' and I soon figured out that
red and black don't mix. The beatings I received became more and more
frequent to the point where I would ask my father "Am I the orphaned son
you would never need"? But oddly enough I worshipped the ground my father
walked upon.

My brother and I were a strange mixture, as different as daylight and
dark. Looking back, it's hard to imagine we came from the same parents. I
sometimes wondered if we had the same father, but I always dismissed that
idea as my mother was far too religious, my father as well, to ever even
think of such a thing. But my brother who had always sensed my parent's
instilled insecurities tried his best to encourage me. For I was born
different and he knew it. He often told me when I was born an angel flew
over my bed and christened me with a magic wand and said "You shall be the
one". And I had no idea what 'The one' was, but as I grew older I began to
understand. Most boys put their mother on a pedestal and worship them like
the Virgin Mary but with her too my relationship was different and not for
the good. She was opinionated, uneducated, sometimes prejudiced,
overbearing, believed everything she read, true or not, and when it came
to religion was over-zealous to say the least. A mind boggling combination
but she was pretty, very pretty and I would often wonder, bordering on
complete confusion, how a person of this description could rationalise life.

This was a series of characteristics that many times in my life I would
look back on in bewilderment and the women I sought after when I was older
would be nothing like her. In the pain of youth, the misery of my neglect,
would manifest itself in many ways; depression - my enemy, fear - my
friend, hatred - my lover, and anger - fuel for my fire. These four
characteristics of my personality would become the guiding force of my
life and would control everything I did or was to become. I shall explain
later in the story about them which I call my Four Doors of Doom.

The mirror, the great plaything for man's vanity. The mirror was to
become, at times, my altar of refuge and other, my alter ego and its
magnificent obsession with a relentless pursuit of attention. It served as
a chilling reflection of my own wretchedness and my greatness. It was the
one place I could go to see inside myself, to find love, in an otherwise
loveless household where I could be great, where I could be anything or
anyone I wanted to be - one hundred percent pure escapism until I
discovered its precious secret. The mirror lives, it breathes, it talks,
it lies, it has a personality all its own. It is a genie that grants all
the wishes you could ever dream, at least in my case - all except two.

It was my 14th birthday, the day that changed my life forever. My brother
Michael, the one person who was my guiding light, my friend, my hero, was
killed by a drunk driver in a head-on collision. He died instantly. I
couldn't even bring myself to go to his funeral. My agony was so great I
just couldn't come face to face with him that one last time. My failure to
attend intensified my parents' resentment for me even more. But from that
moment on, nothing seemed to matter, especially that living hell called
'home'. For one year after his death I roamed the streets in a fog barely
conscious of anything or anyone. I discovered alcohol, and girls, drugs
and in general a life I had never known which was exciting, frightening
and wonderfully dangerous. And it was then as I staggered through a down
town city street in one of my drunken rages I stumbled across a small
music shop and in the window stood the instrument, the fiery tool that
would become the object of my new found desire. The instrument of my
passion, my obsession, the blood-red six string. It was like I'd known
the thing all my life.

I soon found it was the only way I could truly express myself. It was a
way to vent all my frustrations and all my pain - completely opened all my
Four Doors Of Doom and I found myself going to the mirror for counsel less
and less. Because of this my songs seemed to write themselves and I knew
my destiny was in my music but I was going to have to get out of this
backwards town I was in if I was ever going to succeed. I was 16 going
nowhere and the only thing my parents knew was 'live, work, die. ' And if I
stayed there that was exactly what was going to happen to me - I was gonna
die. So I ran away to the big city with the lights, excitement and danger
and a chance for me to finally live and do my music without the
persecution I had known for so long. I hitchhiked all the way with a
suitcase in one hand and my guitar in the other and as I stood at the edge
of the city the magic of the place was incredibly intense. It was to be my
new home the place I would call the 'Arena Of Pleasure'. I lived and
struggled in the arena for two years trying to get a break in music and
make a record and that's when I ran across a delightful business man named
Charlie. He had been a lawyer for 25 years before he discovered he could
fuck over more people in the recording industry then he ever could in a
court of law and he was the president of one of the biggest record
companies in the world. The music business to Charlie was nothing more
than a sacrificial lamb to be led to slaughter and the weapon of choice
was his record company that he'd wield like a mighty sword. The great tool
he would lovingly refer to as 'The Chainsaw'. The morgue, Charlie said,
was the music business where everyone sells out. Where all the artists
will eventually whore themselves to commercialism, the place where the
music comes to die. And through him I learned everything I needed to know
about the music business and even things I didn't want to know. He said he
could make me a star, one of the biggest things the world had ever seen.
The big time was calling and I was on my way. He introduced me to an
aspiring young manager named Alex Rodman and together we took on the whole
fucking world and kicked it square in the ass.

Just before the release of my first album I was sitting on the steps in
front of my apartment when a gypsy woman passed by. She stopped and asked
me if I would like my fortune read and I had never had it done so I was
more than happy to say yes. She revealed a deck of Tarot cards and began
to tell me of my past in which she went into great detail about the pain
of my youth, my brother and my parents. She saw my present with my great
struggle to succeed and fulfillment of my dreams and new found happiness
but after about ten minutes she stopped and I wanted to know of my future
and pleaded for her to go on and finally she spoke. She showed me a very
disturbing vision of where I was going. I told her that I wanted a
phenomenal wealth and fame and in the cards she saw a fallen hero and
looked at me and said "Be careful what you wish for - it might come true,
for the face of death wears the mask of the King of Mercy". I asked her if
she was sure of what she had seen and with a blank stare she turned and


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