The first time I met him, I must say, I was a little taken back.
He, was not what I expected, even though I had seen pictures of him before. That first meeting, would lay the ground work for the greatest story of my career. My very short career.
I received an email in January of 2019, asking for help exposing a police corruption scandal. I thought, this ought to be good, another citizen that did something wrong is trying to get out of it by bashing on the police that caught them. Yes, that was my first thought.
I am glad I listened to my second one:
What the hell, let’s see what he has to say.
That was many months and many twists ago. So many things have taken place, I almost feel inadequately equipped to be the one to tell the story; but, that is what I was hired to do; and, he insisted on a journalism student.
He pulled up in a silver Suzuki 4×4 truck with an extended cab. Nothing really stood out about the truck. It had no aftermarket additions to it, and was for all intensive purposes, a plain silver 4 door truck. What caught me first, was his manner of dress.
Cut-off Dickies pants, flip flops, a t-shirt with a skull and crossbones on it. On the back it said something about hoisting the black flag and begin slitting throats. This could be interesting. His left arm below the sleeve was completely covered in tattoos. Both were. His hands would be finished by the time he moves, he would later say.
What was he putting on?
A King and Queen chess piece on the right hand, the psychology symbol on the other.
His fingers were already tattooed but I would not understand the meaning for some time. Looking back now, I am not sure what kind of planning it takes to put random pictures all over your body for 20 years, then show how they all connect when you look at them a certain way. I would find out that, is exactly how this man thinks.
He is certainly eccentric.
The appearance, t-shirt, tattoos, all of it; did not match what I saw when he spoke.
Passion, for other people, why he was doing; what, he was going to do. Why then did he have his body covered in the symbols some would say represented hate?
A cryptic and complicated man indeed.
His entire body is an art peace in duality, that has spanned decades, coming together to make one big Transformer like story; one you have to ask about, and have time, to hear. If you ask, he will talk, and talk, and talk. “It is a personality trait for the highly intelligent people person; that spends a lot of time alone,” so he says.
They talk to themselves.
They talk to animals.
They talk to inanimate objects.
“Not because they are crazy,” he assures me, but from a psychological standpoint; “It is because we, humans, need conversation; if nothing else, so we do not forget how it should take place. How to talk to ourselves. How to talk ourselves through tough choices. Sometimes un-friendly sounding; but, honest and to the point for sure…” “Once the business is out of the way though, I go hard as fuck in the paint during recess,” he says, somehow in a reassuring tone as if to signify: Just because I like to focus on science, chemistry, and the like, I live for the day and party at night.
Over the course of the next couple months, Justin and I would meet occasionally.
I do not want to say he is paranoid.
Paranoia is an unjustified fear of what could happen. Justin has a very justified fear; but, it does take some time to understand where it comes from, and more importantly why.
He goes on to explain that he has a story to tell, and that it is still unfolding. He just needs someone with patience and writing skill to watch, take notes, and then, then, in time; tell his story from an outside perspective.
You do not have a complete story?
“Nope, it is just starting,” he says.
It was at this point in the conversation I was extremely confused. Anytime I am confused I have been taught to seek clarification, so I ask, “What are you going to do?”
He hands me an envelope with $3,000.00 cash in it. “We lie in 3’s, you get paid in 3’s, if you agree.”
“I am going to trigger an emotionally unstable man in a position of power that has a history of being a bully. He has shown a pattern of behavior that I feel is unacceptable and I am going to expose it; by becoming a scapegoat, a whistleblower and whatever else he makes me to be.”
Uh huh, I think.
Sounds stupid; but, if I am just watching and writing, I am in.
Oh, was I in.
For one hell of a ride. I too never imagined the depths the powerful would go to prevent the truth from coming out.
When I asked him if he was scared, he asked me if I was in. Then, before I could answer he said:
“Yes. Shitless, so to speak.”
You could see the stress had already caused massive weight loss in his face, he continued, “…The idea of being forced from my home is daunting. It is what will happen. He will come after me with everything and I will be losing all of my resources; all the ones he knows about anyway.”
“I am also still in recovery, but feel I have limited time due to the stress, so, I am going all in. Besides, when you think about it like I do; I died already. December 13th, 2018. What the fuck do I have to be scared of? Being remembered for someone who died on their feet in the face of absolute corruption? I will take it.”
I looked at him while he said it. I have never seen that look before, such seriousness. He was not kidding, he said he was prepared to be made a martyr and I believed him. I knew he would not give them a reason and at that point had to decide if I could really take on a project where I knew in advance a man may willingly die.
He swore me to silence; and, I sold my soul, and agreed.
I was hired to write Justin’s story.
After seeing some of his own writings, I asked why. Clearly the man was talented as a fiction writer; he has been published for both it and his poetry under various pseudonyms his entire life.
Humble, never admitting he wrote what he wrote, cashing the checks and disappearing to a new pseudonym and self publishing tools. I have a copy of The Huhman Condition and it is fascinating.
“Keep it simple, keep more of your money in the long term. When you learn how to do something you gain a skill for life. When you pay someone to do something, you get the convenience.” “I am paying you because I know I will not be able to emotionally detach from this story. I will try telling it and it will come out wrong, I will be judged for it and you will capture that perspective also; and tell it. That is the one I need. The outsider, following me around, documenting the truth.”
Then I understood.
This man understands cultural psychology well enough, so he believes, that he is willing to become the experiment to prove it.
Justin hired me to write America Burning.
America Burning will be released on this blog before it goes to the publisher. After it goes to the publisher, it will be taken down and the blog destroyed.
I have received all of the compensation I ever will from it’s writing. The experience, has far outweighed the lack of monetary payment. Just like he said it would.
What was my payment?
He asked that I tell you.
$3,000.00 from his retirement and investment checks. What he is living off of until his medical retirement is approved. He spends money like a millionaire, but he is far from it. He lies, to make people see, what really matters. It is pretty sick watching him change perspectives; but, I will talk about more of what I witnessed in the book.
I was not sure I could do this project until I followed him to the mountains of Arizona, on a whim.
How do you determine truth from fiction?
“Watch, analyze and interpret,” he says.
“Reality is the fiction of perception.”Justin Antle
On a random hot Arizona day he called me up and said to meet him at a little diner, off of 19th Ave and Buckeye, in Phoenix.
He said he would pick me up and had something to show me; provided I could spare about 9-12 hours on short notice.
I went because I thought about who I have been dealing with at this point for almost 9 months now. He paid for me to come to Wichita and interview him; and, he has kept his word on every instruction and detail.
Random calls and emails, documents that need picked up from park benches, USB drives… The man is careful. How do you place dead drops in a city you do not even live in?
Now I know both how and why.
What he found.
A self proclaimed history buff and fan of all things outlaw, he said he has always been fascinated with train robberies. Specifically, in the last Outlaw state, Arizona, for years now.
Tracking different outlaws, who pursued them, and why…
He said he just loved the stories of rough men navigating a rough life in even more hostile terrain. Then would joke about how we are the “evolution,” while glancing up at everyone on their cell phones and making a slightly mocking gesture with his hands imitating a zombie eating the phone.
I did chuckle at that one.
The present is what controls the future; provided you can escape your past.”Justin Antle a.k.a. J.bearding
As we are headed down to the mountain range, he explains the story of an 1895 robbery.
“Time is un-important he reminds me; unless, you are using it to pick apart facts. Then, time and date, become everything. When someone knew, what they knew, what they tried to conceal; and, most importantly, HOW they acted based on what they thought they knew, and, the distance in-between the two. Who else could have possibly known at that time and what does their psychological make-up say about their disposition to act on that information, now and in the future; based on past actions and behavior? All of this plays a part in the future decisions that person will make. The past does not predict the future, the present does. Remember that. The present is the control of the future; provided you can escape your past.”
“Outlaws steal from other outlaws, those are the treasures you want to find.”
We drive for hours talking about everything under the sun because he has me convinced we are going right to where this outlaw treasure is supposedly buried.
I try everything to confuse him, different topics, different theories; yet, he connects it to something else and the conversation seamlessly rolls on.
Once we arrive at our destination, we get some gear out of the truck and walk. It is hot, it is humid, and this asshole doesn’t have a lot of water with him.
He gives it all to me.
Not once during the day does he drink water. He refuses. Milk, cheese, nuts, protein drinks and the equvivellant of V8 juice. That is his entire diet, unless his is given something by someone else, which, even if he does not like it, he never refuses and eats with whomever offers.
“To break bread with a person is to take time to find out WHO they are,” he says.
“I will break bread with anyone, I don’t give a shit what they have done, I want to hear about it all.”
I have met some eccentrics; but, this guy takes the cake. He could care less.
Smiling he loads up two metal detectors, a makeshift pack made from a laundry bag with other tools he thinks he might need. Rope, small shovels etc. Then we start walking.
We are already in the middle of nowhere and a storm is moving in, there is tons of lightning and now we are about 45 minutes from where we parked, deep in the mountains; and, far enough south I swear you can see Mexico.
He checks his map, compass heading, and then breaks out a GPS. Seriously? We have been walking for 45 minutes while you screw with that map and compass and you have a GPS the entire time?
Another lesson in perception.
The map was from 1895. The official map of the Arizona Territory, on it, this mountain we were now standing on.
He explains, “This mountain has not appeared on a map since 1895, and, is not on the official map for the territory of Arizona. In 1895 the locals called it something different than what the government called it. Finding this mountain was like finding Atlantis.”
Within minutes the tone of the metal detector screams.
A small coffee can, and $500.00 in gold.
If you figure it at 1895 prices.
Right at the base of the tree where his legend said it would be.
How did you find this tree? I ask him.
You can tell he is really proud of himself, his eyes actually seemed to sparkle right before he answered.
“I looked on Google Earth once I narrowed the region down. Then I figured the growth rate for a Juniper tree that would have been the size described in 1895. From there I figured out how big it would be today based on rainfall and weather patterns, then just limited my search to a height above the earth I could see the tree tops clearly.”
“A massive Juniper tree in 1895, is still going to be the largest in the area if it is still standing today. Like gravity, two of the same species in the same environment will grow at the same rate; just like they fall at the same rate.”
“Once I found one close, I reverse dated it to see how big it would have been in 1895. This is my tree. I called you, and here we are.”
So why did you bring me with you?
“Do you believe me now?”
America is Burning – Part 1.
(Coming soon. This is the intro.)
He called me up an hour ago and said to type exactly this:
“They tried going after my retirement, I found that out early and put a stop to it. Another Jeffery swing and miss. Now, they have nothing but maybe a bullshit charge they will try to put on me. Fuck them, I will fight that and win like I have at every other stage of this game. My retirement came through today. Log onto the blog and drop the intro please. You are recording this right?”
“Good, make this the last line and separate it from the rest, fuck it, make it a quote box for me please.”
“This is fucking chess, it is not checkers. See you in Federal and State court, you corrupt pieces of shit.”Justin M. Antle – The day he found out his medical retirement was approved.