The Agitate by James BychowskiThe Agitate by James Bychowski

The Agitate

byJames Bychowski

Paperback | April 15, 2003

Pricing and Purchase Info

$22.87 online 
$25.70 list price save 11%
Earn 114 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores



Kevin Marszak lets his life flow into the darkness, impelled by forces he cannot understand. He’s been agitated; he’s been forced for no reason by an unknown international momentum to reject the safety of America’s indestructible economic institutions. His uneasiness inevitable leads him from his relatively safe home in Chicago to the insides of Thailand’s shadowed enclaves, where Marszak has no choice other than to face his fears and defeat them, or fall back to safety and remain nothing - accept the emptiness of his life surrendered.


Kevin Marszak: The protagonist

Elena : Marszak’s girlfriend during the safe period of his life. She’s with him from and up until the moment he’s first driven by his internal impulses into the darkness. She’s well educated and disciplined. She’s been with Marszak all through college and shares and apartment with him during the first months of their professional lives.

Burt : A middle aged man gripped tightly to his illusions. He’s learned that dealing out reprisal is a successful method of squashing those who’d make him face his own distortions. Living in Thailand allows him a wide source of unprotectants to practice his tactics on-Marszak will be one of his victims.

Stacey : The real love Marszak will always have. He met her in the months after Elena. At the time of their affair, Marszak had been too distracted by his subconscious drive and he could not settle with her; she wouldn’t submit to his madness and became his inspiration. He’d always kept her spirit with him, though; hoping someday they’d be what he knows is the ultimate possibility of life.

Dao : A young Thai girl corrupted. She may have been a positive force in life, but her youthfully inherent kindness is no match for characters like Burt or the pitiless animism of her family and village. Evil grips her easily in the young years of her life; it shows her a successful way and feeds off the fear of survival.

Phil : A Chicago tough guy who befriends Marszak while the young man begins to drift from Stacey. Marszak wants to be hard and confident like Phil. Phil takes him to places in Chicago that test Marszak’s level of fortitude.

Carla : Marszak meets her through Phil. She’s been damaged by an abusive childhood. Uncontrolled now in her young adult years, she tries desperately to erase her inhuman memories.

Leonard : Carla’s uncle; he shares and apartment with Carla, and has seemingly become her guardian. Leonard is the story’s historical perspective; a view into a time when a young person’s pursuit had importance, it could be justified.

The Gypsies : They are sent to Marszak directly form his controllers of darkness. The Gypsies will enact Marszak’s final destruction (he has gotten too close to his own fulfillment; the demons must draw him into evil.)


Marszak has to free himself from insanity. Every night he’s scared frozen in his dreams by spectres. The laughing and teasing shadows force him into submission. His existential interest has pricked the ears of evil, so they’ve sent forces up to stop him from sapping more power and reducing the strength of their darkness. By traveling to Thailand, and finding his place of efflorescence, Marszak has shown himself to be formidable, someone who must be defeated; the darkness must keep him in Chicago where they can control him with fear and get him to exchange his freedom for sanity,

We’re first teased with Marszak’s curious madness, but have not been told of its exact origin. To explain its intricacies, the narrator takes us from current day Chicago back one year to Marszak’s last days in Thailand (Chiang Rai). We learn of his love for the beauty and quiet: life so different from anything he had ever experienced. And then, within these last days, Marszak flashes back to events years earlier in Chicago. He recounts his breakup with Elena, his supernal love for Stacey and a psychotic episode with Phil, Carla, and Leonard. These events-both Thailand and Chicago juxtaposed against each other-help us understand why Marszak had been traveling alone Through Thailand, impelled by forces driving him to be something of his own definition, forces intent on a confrontation with his demons.

The narrator can now examine Marszak’s final episodes in Chiang Rai. We witness Marszak’s disintegration during sex with a Karaoke prostitute, then watch him break down in a panic as Burt calms Marszak falsely and offers him Dao for comfort. They both rob him later as planned; they send Marszak back to Chicago for protection from that which he us unable to defend.

The story has now come full circle and we’re back in current day Chicago. We’re left to deal with Marszak’s disconnection-his inaccurate assumption that he has been alienated from western civilization. The demon’s come to assault, victorious. Marszak cannot hide his discontent; it comes out in angry bursts outside of his control. He’s fired from his job, and he takes himself back to Thailand-signs deliberately dealt down from God.

Marszak returns to Bangkok, ready now. He’s though over his life, and we have also. He knows he must stand up and fight these demons in order to remove his insanity.

The demons deliver their gypsies to Bangkok. They’ve checked into the hotel room next to Marszak’s and have made their intentions clear: they will rob him of his possessions and humiliate him into insignificance.

Stacey visits Marszak one night in his dreams-the same night he’d been expecting a final strike from the gypsies. She reaffirms their love. Marszak now knows the supreme expression of life; he has felt it and knows he will rise into it again.

He wakes from his dream as the gypsies start to break their way into his room. The force of his anger and anticipation are surging; the emotion how builds in deep for courage. Marszak envisions the gypsies’ destruction with violence-a battle against evil with physical strength. If he does this, a special force will fill his being with a power that will always be. If he defeats this evil with murder, he will acquire a strength needed to fight them forever.

He looks forward and imagines a filthy bloody massacre whose pictures are truly disgusting. Marszak cannot do this; he has enough time to reconsider his plan of murder in light of the fresh feeling of life left to him by Stacey and the dream. He drops his weapons and decides to let the event play out. He surrenders his actions and replaces them with fate. The gypsies enter, but run from the room confused, afraid of a situation they did not expect. Marszak has defeated them with temperance rather than reaching for a power impossible to attain.

Bychowski is a 37 year old Computer programmer currently living in the United States.
Title:The AgitateFormat:PaperbackPublished:April 15, 2003Publisher:Trafford PublishingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1412001730

ISBN - 13:9781412001731