Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 06

                    That deadly nutmeg tree

As I thought quietly to myself about the day, I wondered what would become of it.
Looking over to the shelf, I picked up a binder of jottings. Not interested in reading
the whole thing, I opened it and began to read several paragraphs from the first page.

It was last year in the fall of 1981. Roughly eight months to the day of this new journal,
having returned from spending the summer at my father's house, after high school graduation.
My mom and Ray met up in the city as always on a Friday and came home together via the
express bus. As usual, they would depart for the weekend by hooking up the Shasta trailer to
the ole Karmann Ghia, and
Ray would drive it down to Trails End, PA. Where they would meet
up with friends who also enjoyed camping and all things that pertained to the great outdoors.

It was about five thirty in the evening, when I
picked my friend Dave up at his house. He
wanted to celebrate his most recent job as a New
York City Transit Authority token clerk,
but couldn't quite figure out where to go or what to
do. I, having ended a torrid love affair
with my former girlfriend Sharon, had no intention of
consummating another disastrous
relationship for a while. Sharon who was as promiscuous
as she was revealing is now
somebody else's headache. While David’s girlfriend Luisa broke
up with him due to a
more personal matter. He wanted her to have the baby, and she didn't
want to be tied
down, so instead of nurturing it, in utero she aborted it, before telling Dave
he should
find someone else. Someone more mature, I think she meant older. After months
intense pain and grief counseling sessions, he found it within himself to move on.

                                       The One Way Street - Falsely represented society

                                                        It was only natural.

From his house to my house I drove, and throughout the whole car ride he just would
not let up about the failed relationship. When we arrived at my house, it appeared all
was calm. Then he started up again, until I became depressed. After a mild lamentation
about Luisa and the baby, he would never see. His baby boy or girl. What color would its
eyes have been, and that four-letter word which begins with a “C” and ends with a “T”
repeated time and again behind moist eyes. I knew now that we would not be going to
any club tonight, and so I decided it would be best at this point, if we just stayed inside.

The Atlantics - You tell me why

What would be the purpose of going out to have a good time, when the person you are with

has erected an invisible wall between himself and the world? It just didn't make any sense.

                                                        Sounds Unlimited - About you

Some time elapsed before we hopped in my grandfather's old car, which is now my

stepfather's new car and drove to the nearest Sav-on. Once there, I picked out a warm
but friendly case of America's favorite rice beer and carried the rectangular box under
my arm to the counter where I laid it down. It then occurred to me as I was studying the
design, why this beer is so popular. Because it is red, white and blue, and resembles the
American flag. As I was examining some of the smaller text on the carton, a couple of
rapscallions playing tug of war pulled apart a rather large bag of M&M's scattering
them everywhere. Ah, the joys of parenting.

                                                                              Pg 22

I then displayed my identification to the cashier where I paid for the beer, and we left.
From there we stopped at Brother’s Pizzeria on Port Richmond Avenue and ordered
a Sicilian pie. I parked the 1972, black
Galaxy 500 alongside the house, turned off
the engine and went inside. The time was
now nearing seven. I put the entire box of
beer in the large yellow upright freezer and waited a good hour before going down
to retrieve it. Before we had even one beer, we almost finished the entire pizza.

As it was then, it is still “the best Sicilian pizza on earth.”

Dave was saying how much Luisa loved
Budweiser, and this was the first one
he is having without her. I then pulled two cans
out and put them on the table.
Dave hastily goes to open his and the beer tab snaps off,
leaving the can sealed.
Dave begins laughing insidiously and says, “That cunt. She put a
curse on me.”

“She didn't put a curse on you. I'll get the can opener.”
When it happened
again, I said, “On second thought,
I take that back. She did put a curse on you!”

                                                     October Country - My girl friend is a witch

Halfway through the case, I made a ridiculous suggestion. “Look man, it's only a quarter after
ten, I have an idea. There's an unopened tin of nutmeg in the cabinet, and I heard nutmeg can
pack a pretty sweet punch.” Dave began to laugh and told me I was unequivocally out of my
fucking mind. “Okay," I said, slapping twenty dollars on the table. “If we don't get buzzed,
you keep the money.”

“Fine, let's do it.”

We boiled some water and proceeded to pour it into
the blender. Tapping the can
of nutmeg, we watched the gritty powder fall into the water
while the motor ran.
It soon turned oily and had an overwhelming industrial solvent smell.

Oh God, I thought, what are we doing?
This is going to be like drinking Mr. Clean.

I stopped the motor, and all the ingredients sank to the bottom of the blender and became
one solid mass. Seeing that it could not be poured, being that it had a consistency of sand,
Dave uttered in a very despondent and baritone voice, “Get the spoon.”

We waited for the liquid to cool before eating it with great effort. Needless to say,
each spoonful went down like noxious poison and burned the back of our throats.
We gagged and nearly puked throughout the entire endeavor, but managed to keep it
down without vomiting. After the ordeal, I reached into the fridge and pulled out two
beers. “Drink up,” I said, “you're about to lose this race.” Dave was ahead for the
first stretch, but as he began to belch uncontrollably, I soared ahead to the finish line.

“You're just-a son-of-a-bitch, he exclaimed, with a long, animated face while looking
blindly toward the floor and shaking his head adamantly. “You’re just a sneaky fuck,”
he managed to blurt out with eyes bulging like Marty Feldman. We continued to drink
the rest of our beers though our tongues and throats were numb and our stomachs queasy.

                                                                              Pg 23

From out of nowhere Dave begins laughing. I can't get
over those two kids. Did you
see the size of that bag?

I know, they were all over the damn place and one even went
the back of my shirt. What a raucous those little bastards made.

And how.

It was around twelve thirty when Dave phoned for a cab. He said he had some things to do
tomorrow and needed to go. I apologized for the grand fiasco and assumed the nutmeg had
been counteracted by the beer, and that's why the night had fallen into ruin. He told me
to replace the can with a new one, and said he was not going to take the money. The cab
arrived at a quarter after one, and Dave left feeling rather drained. I had my last beer
alone in the quiet kitchen, where I tried to figure out what went so terribly wrong.

Saturday morning upon waking is how this story begins.

My eyes sprung open like an automated device on spring levers, while I lay
motionless; neck moving like an insect. This new head of mine felt more
like a
balloon filled with air, and my face appeared to be distorted, like a surreal
mask had been put on while I was sleeping. One that was not my own.

           It seemed as though when I looked forward, I was, in fact, utilizing more
peripheral vision than I should have been. Almost like my regular eyesight
was now somewhat obscured, and when I observed myself in the mirror, I
couldn't see the details of my face, but instead, something more disturbing.

My eyes flicked open and closed at a sharper rate of speed, like a malfunctioning camera,
and each one was now filled with an indiscernible amount of sticky fluid. Microscopic
to a
viewer behind the mirror in my room, but logical in theory, I attest. They were not irritated

and they did not hurt. They were just uncomfortable, and I would have kept them closed for
duration of the day had that been possible. Not to mention they were 4x their normal size.

                                               (((It waits for you to wake up)))

The hairs on my head did not feel right to me. They were too stiff and bristly like that of
a boar or warthog, and my face was now very similar to that of a fly, while my heart

was going so fast, I could no longer hear it. I was becoming concerned about what was
going on but felt absolutely powerless to do anything to stop it. Like throwing yourself
from a tall building and then realizing you made a mistake. Why the hell did I do this for?
I thought, as I panicked. There was a flash of light that appeared for a brief moment near
my sternum and appeared to open me up at the middle of my chest, separating my being.

There was nothing gross about it.

Nothing red or disturbing from that aspect in the least.

                                                                              Pg 24

It was just so shocking to witness that it brought an intense level of distress to my system,
and I did not know what was going to happen next. In a matter of minutes, the full effect
of this drug would be realized. Without leading you astray, I can honestly say that in those
moments of pure terror, it felt as though a bomb had been surgically implanted within my
chest set to detonate at an undisclosed time. It was now getting difficult to breathe, and my
extremities were becoming numb. As I anticipated my own death, I imagined the Lord God
turning the flame up higher. “You did this to yourself, now you will never see my kingdom.

The tragedy of my situation was coming into focus.

I was dying and not a human soul could save me. I tried to walk, but my legs
collapsed under their own weight. The more I tried to move about, the worse
everything became until it felt like the entire town was resting upon my chest,
and it seemed like I was carrying the fortitude of the entire world with me as I
ran full steam toward the stairs. At this point, my heart was going faster than
Keith Moon could play, and there was no way of undoing it.

I was jittery beyond words and seemed to be existing solely on
the thread of a nervous spasm, that came and went like the wind.

The fact that I knew what nutmeg was meant that I deserved what I was getting.
David, on the other hand, was completely innocent in the matter. It was I who
pulled him into this, and I knew that in the end I would have to answer for that
dearly. David who has an occasional drink every once in a while, to stimulate
his mood or to agitate his senses. David who won't even smoke pot because
it's illegal. Oh David, I do not think you will be ready for this.

This was the end, I thought. There were a number of things that could happen now,
and none of them were good. I could develop intense chest pains and collapse from
a heart attack. I could get an aneurysm or a brain hemorrhage and have a stroke.
Or my kidneys could give out and I could become paralyzed, or even worse.

Aside from being labeled a spice, nutmeg is in fact, a very effective, fairly toxic,

amphetamine-like psychedelic. What I didn't know at the time was that when
taken in large quantities it can cause extreme psychosis, terrible nausea followed
by palpitations leading to convulsions, severe liver damage and finally cardiac
arrest. Had I known all the facts, I never would have taken it. Even so, how
was I to know the high was going to last more than forty-eight hours?

                                          I was standing in the eye of the storm.
                                 A teaspoon more and I would have died for sure.

    Dear Lord, if you are out there, I beg of thee; d
on't let go of me now.

Suddenly, I was surrounded by screaming sirens as I bounded for the staircase
in a vain attempt to reach the telephone below. Four steps were all I could muster
as I desperately clutched the wooden banister for dear life. These dark grey
cartoon teapots were tooting quite loudly as they taunted me inside my mind,
where the sound of sirens abounded. I was flabbergasted to the point of diving
out the nearest window, but did not wish to succumb to injuries withstanding.

The ungodly seraphim ranted in tones above reason to further
agitate my mind, until I was but a portrait of the insane.

                                                                              Pg 25

He's trying to summon an ambulance.
An ambulance?
Yes, an ambulance.
We must stop him from calling this ambulance!

I will have his head!!!

These aerial creatures were acerbated to the point of boiling
as they bellowed aloud from the top of their infinite lungs
before abducting me into their sick and twisted musical.

He's running, he's running, he's getting away.
He's going too slow... He'll never escape!
Can't you all see that this boy is in fear?
Freeze in your tracks and get back over here!!!

I was in a state of complete and utter terror as I obediently struggled to pull myself
back up the steps
and into my bedroom where I crouched down on the rug. On both
knees, I
began to pray and could almost perceive God wanting to smite me.

Who can
say for sure that the next life isn't going to be filled with these creatures?
And so, I had to give myself a fighting chance to save my soul.

And so would begin, the art of collective bargaining between entities and spirits
who would have willingly pulled me apart at the seams for nothing more than this
minor infraction. An iniquity which has created, “the abomination of the year.

It almost felt like there was a rope slung over the banister and three men were pulling
it with all their might. Like I was slowly being hung and there was nothing I could do
about it. I wasn't quite sure if I was even breathing anymore. If I was human anymore.
In fact, I knew only one thing; my heart was no longer beating.

I had the sensation of being in a tomb that to my dismay was slowly being sealed.

I know it must be hard to fathom, but after two solid hours of
wrenching torture, I was going to be absolved of my sins.

Before I could say anything, I was reassured by the four dark grey teapots
who introduced themselves to me by name. It wasn't like a person-to-person
introduction. It was more along the lines of how you would envision a ghost,
if you ever had the misfortune of running into one. In reality, I think I was
listening to the voice of my own conscience, like a carousel going around.

Hello, I'm teapot of the North - (sincere)
I'm teapot of the South - (angry)
Hello lad, I'm teapot of the East - (revered, mighty)
And I am teapot of the West, pleased to meet your
acquaintance *tilting its lid* - (empyreal, inspiring)

                                                                              Pg 26

We do not mean to glorify our own standings by this haughty
and aggrandizing at will, but you had to be stopped.
He was running for
the telephone.
Yes, he was, he was running to the. . .

And the confusion began again as the meeting of the teapots ran amok. Each one
trying to speak over the other until it was nothing more than pure unadulterated chaos.

My cardboard shell of a head now felt like it was only half there. The bottom half seemed
to have disintegrated hours ago, and those little black bugs that were still falling out of it
were everywhere. I knew they were an illusion, unless however, the chemistry of my body
mixed in with the nutmeg created them. After a week of living like this, I'm sure I'd be
completely mad. Certifiably insane (and) or absolutely raving.

I felt the back of my head, and it felt like a light bulb.
One that was still intact.

Had I felt a rather large incision, then I would not have been able to stop my mind

from destroying me. In time, there would no longer be anything falling out of it.

The pure unmitigated despair I felt in my heart must have been my own yearning, and so
once again, I prayed for God's mercy. I now realized in all my foolishness that there is no
one on the face of the earth who is beyond reproach. Everyone will answer for themselves.

I entered through a door which had opened in my mind to see the effigy of Jesus emerging from
the clouds in a burgundy robe. He was handing someone a solid gold chalice 3/4 filled with deep
red wine. The chalice appeared to have 4 large diamonds in the center on all four of its compass
points. The image then faded, and I was escorted back to my cell. My penance it seemed had not
yet been fulfilled, and so in this place of torment, I was bade to suffer some more.

After about thirty-five minutes the teapots stopped bickering and one said,

I think he is beginning to understand.”
“The atrocity you have committed today has been requiemed by prayer.”
“Now do you see why we stopped you?”
“Consider yourself spared from the torment of fire for you see,
the good lord
has once again bequeathed your soul.”

With that they vanished as quickly as they came.

No longer would there be any ambiguity.
No longer would there be anymore strife.
I was free.

The room was so quiet, I could hear the mild sound of my inner ears manufacturing
their own noise. It was kind of like the sound you hear the day after a loud concert.

I looked at the clock to find that three hours had passed. My heart had begun beating
again, and was off the chart. Knowing that I would be allowed to live was far more
than I could ever ask for, and as strange as it may seem, I was now genuinely happy.

If I were to die at this moment, I truly believe my soul would be in peace.

                                             *Reunited in Heaven at last*

                                                                              Pg 27

Only now, could I truly enjoy the effects of this mystical drug.

I knew it was going to be a tremendous challenge for me, in terms of attempting
to map out and define the entire experience through writing. To connect the dots
by piecing together, the vague sequence of events without the aid of any recording
devices. Clearly, the task ahead of me would be next to impossible to even approach.

A brief period of time elapsed before the telephone rang. Although I now had the heart

and body of a ninety-five-year-old man, I managed to find my way down the stairs and
used all my energy just to answer it. Hello? said the muffled voice on the
other end
of the receiver, and sure enough that voice was David. He told me he spent the better
of the morning cowering in bed and praying for salvation for he was stricken
with interminable fear. You don't even believe in God, I vocalized in amazement.

“I do now,” he bolstered in a high voice through confused laughter.

To me, it sounded like it could have been a battle cry from Waterloo.

I told him the twisted tale of the four dark grey teapots, and he tumbled
over, breaking the
chair on the other end of the line. “Don't laugh,” I
said to him through the communicator,
“this is serious.”

“I'm sorry, replied David. Don't take it personally or anything.”
He then continued to laugh wholeheartedly before telling me his story.

“Listen, you're not gonna believe this, but it’s true.
My mother comes up with a cup of tea.
All of a sudden,
the phone rings and it's her friend Dottie.

Do you know - the only thing
she said - on-the-phone - for the
past hour and a fucking half - has been Yeah-ahhHaa-hmm.


I swear to God, she never changed it.
I'm gonna die if I don't stop laughing.


Suddenly there was the sound of an impact crash on the other end of the line followed
by a loud boom. David then picked up the phone to ask, are you still there? I asked
him what had just happened, and he said that he tripped on an extension cord and went
headlong into the closet door, breaking both doors off their tracks. You gotta see it,
he said, guffawing in merriment. I had to hold myself back from laughing deliriously.

My head. My head, I can't talk.
My head went halfway through the bedroom closet door.

Just then his mother could be heard entering the room.

What's going on in here, David?

She sounded quite concerned as she scurried about the room. My lungs retching for release,

but I simply refused to give in. That little cup of tea, I thought, resting on her nightstand as
bolted from the room.
How cold it is going to be when she returns.

You're destroying this house,” she screamed out in fury like a possessed nun.
“This whole house you're destroying!” David then tried to explain the situation
to his mother the best he could, but his mother being a solemn woman refused to
hear any of it. I then pictured that austere face of hers in front of his, and with
that, I started to slip.

I tripped. . . Because I tripped.
Will you let me talk? I'm trying to explain. . .
Okay, I broke the door on purpose with my head.

(There was a long pause)

Why would you do such a thing, asked his mother in shock?

Because I tripped!!!

                                                                              Pg 28

Unable to stop the tickling itch that begged for laughter, I exploded. Swinging off
my chair, I dropped the phone to the floor and collapsed. I don't know how long
I was laughing, or how much oxygen I lost, but when I regained my composure
some twenty minutes later, every part of my being ached in the worst
way. I heard a song that sounded like a tea commercial playing loudly
in my
head. Did I just make the song up or did it just start playing on its own?

                          *Damned if I know*

Dave's mom sure knows how to make tea, boy I'll say.
Go with the best. . . Go with Earl Grey.

Little jingles like this one began to attach themselves to my brain, and
I would find myself unable to get rid of them. Like when you get a song
stuck in your head, and nothing will make it stop playing.

I then followed the individual steps of lush brown carpeting to my room.

As I entered through the open doorway to my nondescript room, I couldn't
help but notice the casement curtains as the wind blew gently through them.

I saw a man kissing a woman on a hill near a castle. The wind changed course
and the dark knight returned to change the fate of the two young lovers. There
was tragedy, doom, glory and finally peace as the story concluded. I watched the
curtains manufacture dreams for me and wondered how I never saw them before.
If everything in the world of visual stimuli appeared to be normal, then what could
have changed to make me see the world through the eyes of a bemused poet?

Indeed, I was spellbound.

Two hours later, I spoke with Dave on the phone again.
“What happened with your mother,” I asked politely?
“She wants me to see a psychiatrist.”
“Because of the door incident?”
“No, something else.”
“Well, can you tell me, I asked curiously?”

My mother was really disgusted with the whole door thing and left the house to do
some shopping. As soon as she left, I went downstairs for a glass of milk and a cookie.
I don't even know why I did that. It wasn't like I was hungry or thirsty. I just wanted
to move around. So anyway, to make a long story short, I fell up the stairs and the
glass of milk broke. I got confused. I wasn't sure what to do, so I left it there.

You left a broken glass of milk on the stairs?
Yeah. . . And the cookie too.

With that I let go a roar of laughter that would not be topped to this very day

and collapsed to the floor. I could not catch my breath for minutes at a time
and thought I might actually die from laughing. The pain I felt later on that
evening was very similar to a man shot from a cannon into a stone wall.

                                                                              Pg 29

At six o'clock, I was to meet my friend John at his aunt's house. They were having
an outdoor party in the backyard, and he told his aunt I would come. I left the house
at around four just to be safe, but found myself wandering at the bottom of my block.

Disoriented and unaware of what was happening, I stood there like a solitary creature of habit.
One that appeared to be waiting for a bus that would never arrive. I soon began s
cratching my
head and with a perplexed face, I looked around like I had just been dropped off in

Only yesterday, I knew this area like the back of my hand, and now my memory
was like that of a dying tortoise. I struggled with the reasoning of the how's
and why's
and for the life of me, could not come to any direct conclusion.

I knew I had to go a certain way, but nothing made sense.

My perception of reality was not altered as much as my instinct of direction was,
considering a part of my brain had been erased, and I wasn't sure if it was permanent.

I went straight, and then left and down, but it did not lead me to the house at all,
only further from it. I was lost, but I knew all the streets. I felt senile, confused
and old, as I stared up at what should have been a very familiar block.

                             The Electric Prunes - Ain't it hard

My mind was now encapsulated in confusion, and everything was fuzzy, vague
and distant. If someone asked me what 6 + 9 was, it probably would have taken
me three hours to solve. That was because the memory sector of my mind had
been boarded-up like an old, abandoned mineshaft, and I couldn't help wondering
what would happen if I had to live like this forever. A burned-out drone, staring
at vitreous shadows in a deluded haze commonly known as dementia. If this is
what I have to look forward to in later life, then maybe it's better to die young.

                                                  After several hours, I was happy I left early.

Bantam laughter could be heard over the ridge of houses as far as a block away, and I had
pinpointed the location to be my acquired destination. I arrived promptly at six and entered
in through the back gate, where the mighty roar of people filled with alcohol charged the air.

On a small runner of grass, the length of the house
I traveled until I reached the backyard.

Standing on an array of firmly set paving stones, it did appear to me at first like we were all
on one big crazy chessboard. The sun shone so resplendent upon the handle of the barbecue
grill that it touched off a wild nerve in my eye, and I had to look away. I was overwhelmed with
excitement and couldn't wait to have a drink of something. Anything. Aunt Dana was dervishly
whirling, (as I thought; so insane) being spun by a partner whom I had not yet met. Some friendly
commotion off to the side, where children were hootin' and hollerin' and teenagers intermingled
in a notorious manner that could have been copied from a page in the Cosa Nostra handbook.

John was talking to his cousin Vinnie and his cousin was going on and on about this new car
of his. A Delta Eighty-Eight Royale. “This new fuckin' Oldsmobile I got Johnny is fantastic.
It'll run circles around these other pieces-a-shit you see on the road. Come around, I'll take
ya for a spin in it one day, you'll see.” He smoked his fancy cigarettes and spoke like an
Italian gangster, while John just listened and nodded his head casually.

I made my way over the squares carefully to where the alcohol had been stationed and then
suddenly began to feel out of place. Walking over to where my friend was standing, I waved.

Hey man, said John in a glowing tone. Glad you could make it. He then shook my hand,
before introducing me to his cousin Vinnie. After this, he casually escorted me over to a part of
the backyard where bottles of alcohol had been arranged on some weird kind of glass shelving.

I swiftly declared Boodles & tonic to be the rouser and after that very first drink,
it was all Bishop to King 9. . . Whatever the hell that meant.

                                                                              Pg 30

Later that evening, after a delightful barbecue and some enchanting conversations with my
friend's niece and cousins, John drove me home in his souped-up, light blue Chevy Nova.

As I got to the top of the steps, I gently inserted the key in the slot and turned it. Upon
entering, I realized my heart was now at a much slower speed than it had been earlier. It was
now like Herb Albert playing Whipped Cream. So relaxing, I could have almost fell asleep.

It was like being on two amphetamines instead of twelve.

I toyed with the idea of brewing a robust pot of coffee to get things going again,
now that I
was completely out of the woods. It was simply an eager temptation
thrown in from afar, which gave me
reason to ponder something so undeniably
real, it literally made me stop to question my own sanity.

Eighteen hours after ingestion and not having slept at all, I watched my bedroom curtain's dance for
me again, only this time it was different than it was during the day. This time it was slow and erotic,
mainly because there was no sunlight shining through it, but rather electric light cast upon it. Besides,
the drug was winding down and it was getting late. I followed the backdrop until it subsided like black
paint thrown onto a magic canvas. The spectacular image then faded away. Every scene shown to me
on that wonderful screen was continually changing in its own way before being repeated.

As I followed the road to Mulhaven on a magic carpet ever so gently blowing, I realized that life is
merely a compendium of words woven into context, promulgated for those around me to hear. The
thoughts and expressions of these words and ideas had been somehow separated from their implied
meaning. The end result was clear, but the destination of perception had stopped by the deer crossing.

Yes, I was now fully aware of reality, but with a heightened ability to daydream, I no longer had to
focus to see what was hidden behind the veil of truth. That mysterious paradox was now uncloaked.

Xiphosuran shapes in the buttery sand marked the erosion of a colossal shoreline.

Castles made from seeds of men decay in the morning sun, like old grain elevators
on long abandoned country roads wither. I watched a maiden draw a symbol with
her finger in the sparkling silica as she knelt down in reverence to the memory of
her kinfolk taken from her in a violent windstorm. They now lay buried beneath
her in the center of what used to be their home, but is now only a skeleton. This
is what time can do, as the fair maiden knows all too well. Mountainous ridges
carved deep into the steep wall from the side of an impressive canyon lay furrow.

Below, the equestrian's mare rides alone
through a dry deluge in his preeminence.

Where vultures pervade the sky, ever looming and cow skulls blanched by the sun
become as common as mirages; they are grave markers. Saddened and without
hope she turns away. Granted, she has brought me a bucket of tears, but are they
really for me or are they mine? As the pail expands to become an ocean, it soon
evaporates to become an inlet of salt. Birds swoop down and take a crystal of
this salt home to their nest for one is all they can carry. It is the seed of fertility.
They will give it to their young, so they might have life.
A life to live freely.

As the scene washes away, a sandy universe takes its place. In the end, it was irrevocably
the same. Much like a sea wave when it rolls in, as it retracts and
is pulled back into the
ocean, the muddy sand left behind seems to dry up
almost instantly. Within but a few
brief moments, the scorched sand is reduced to dust.

Water has now become nonexistent.

Delicate shadow's cascade through rivers of dried seaweed and hollowed out bones
to erect a new day. Such hope lies in waiting, but I find the fair maiden has perished.

                                                                              Pg 31

Eventually, I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep. There I dreamt, I was living
in the Soviet Union delivering packages of the utmost importance to the Kremlin,
but the Kremlin was simply a dilapidated storefront. Suddenly, it seemed as though
somebody was following me, and so I started to run. I never thought I would escape.

Finally, I made it to the way station where I delivered the package to Malvena,
who was, in fact, my mother. “I'll take the package from here, Robert.”

I then went back to my hotel room overlooking the Basilica and waited.

The telephone rang and I immediately snatched it from its cradle. It is done, I said
in a cool tone and hung up. I then waited for further instructions. There was a quick
knock on the door, and so I opened it. Three men dressed exactly alike in grey casual
sweaters and black matching pants stood, anxiously awaiting my command to enter.

Come in, I said hesitantly.

Do you realize what you have done?
said the first man,
before ordering me to turn on the television.

I did as I was told, and there was the small package I delivered this morning.
Malvena was the spy, and now all of Russia is looking for you.

“They are going to torture you day and night, until you give them names.”
“They will take you
to the factory.

The factory?

The factory where they lop off the fingers and smash the
The factory where people smile on the outside, but on the inside
a smile
is nowhere to be found. Where walls are painted in blood
and the agonizing screams can be heard far beyond the old city.

THE FAAAAAACTORY! - My God, I thought they tore it down.

“Make it easy on yourself comrade. Bedroom, third draw to the right.

“You hear that, said the first man looking out the large window?

“They are in the street now. They are coming up.”

With that said, they left and closed the door. I heard the sound of heavy
boots like thunder coming down the hallway and knew I had to move fast.

I hurried into the bedroom and pulled open the third draw to the right. The sound of
a doorknob attempting to be turned abruptly led to the door before kicked open. I will
not be taken alive, I thought. Not to a place that makes Stalin's gulag seem like summer
I could hear them conspiring against me, and it felt like they were setting a trap.

The Russians entered a second room and began smashing everything in sight.

“There is nowhere to hide,” I said to myself calmly as I put the gun to my left
temple, never imagining this could ever be possible. Looking down, I saw the

hotel room key on an orange metal tag by the Matreoshka near the end table.

As I picked up the rusted and filthy tag that looked like it had been kept well hidden
in the back of an old toilet tank, the truth had revealed itself and was plain for me to
see. Room #1302. I grinned for I was amused at the sheer irony of it. I then
to myself rather loudly, only in the heartland, do Bolsheviks fear no reprisal.

                                                 Orange Bicycle - Jenskadajka

As the sound of glass objects breaking and men cursing in demon tongues
closer, the bedroom door burst open, and the hammer instinctively fired.

My eyes opened and I was surprised to find my heart still beating very fast. I thanked the good
Lord for his kindness and for saving my soul from the fires of perdition. I was quite relieved to
be home, rather than lying face down in a blanket of red along the banks of the Volga River.

I closed the book after reading less than two paragraphs. I was glad to have documented
the nutmeg ordeal and returned the book of jottings back to its rightful place on the shelf.

At exactly three o'clock on a warm Sunday afternoon, I heard Ramon pulling
the car up in front of the house. They have returned from their little getaway,
and are now entering the kitchen. “Hello Charlie,” said mother in a manner
that would imply she was fatigued. “Do anything good over the weekend?

I kind of felt like saying, “Yeah, I did half a can of nutmeg which nearly gave
me a
massive heart attack. Then I got Alzheimer’s disease for a day, and I'm
not really sure
if I still have it. Let’s see, I had a sneezing fit this morning,
where I unconsciously
slammed my forehead into the kitchen table, hurting
my neck and nearly cracking
my skull open, and now I find it rather difficult,
if not impossible to shit.

Of course, I would never say such a thing, but the effects of the drug had left me
feeling skittish. My mind was still groggy, but in an entertaining kind of energetic
way, my body felt like it was participating in a rather lewd Vaudeville act. I must
distance myself from them, I thought, and so I took a pleasant stroll down the block.

The sun could be warmer, and my mind could be sharper, but who am I to complain?
Later on, I still had no appetite for food, but managed to partake of some fish.

Sunday was drawing to a close.

No longer were there any visions to behold in curtains hung high.
Neither were there any shocking revelations to run in fear from.
Only a deep need to enwrap myself in my plush comforter and surrender to sleep.
That night, there would be no dreams for me to remember.

I was awakened in the early morning hours to the sound of branches
scrapping against the window.
A heavy gust of wind had kicked them
up to where I was resting silently.
Everything was normal again.

I thought about the nutmeg ordeal, and would eventually come
to the conclusion
that it was indeed worth it. If nothing more than for simply allowing me to see the
world through unclouded spectacles, and with more clarity than I rightfully deserve.

From my bedroom window, I could now see Mother walking down the block
like she was campaigning for a cause. A woman full of vim and vigor in the
morning. She rounded the corner like a cosmonaut, and I thought. . .

This is ground control to Major Tom.
You've really made the grade.

                                          David Bowie - Space oddity

                                                                              Pg 32


Reviews for chapter 6

Harriet Mormer - One page of Charles Pendelton is longer than an entire chapter of James Patterson!
Two masters in their own right. One is a master of mystery, the other a master of madness and I really like it!

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PG 22) Books on books by Jonathan Wolstenholme -

PG 22) Genova Bay vision by
Jacek Yerka -

PG 22) Back side of the moon
by Vladimir Kush -

PG 23) Where there's life. . . Orchestra and chorus conducted
by Russ David -

PG 23) Oddment 83
by Leah Palmer Preiss - 

PG 24) Visions of Nobrow
by Matt Dangler -

PG 24) Faces in a mirror
by R. S. Connett -

PG 24) Self portrait
by Beau White -

PG 25) Damocles
by Heidi Taillefer -

PG 25) Untitled by Brad Yeo - http://BradYeo8456901

PG 25) Chained
by Nathan Rosario -

PG 25) Help me
by Gérard DuBois -

PG 25) Hierophant
by Chris Mars -

PG 25) It was no surprise
by Nathan Spoor -

PG 25) Response Art take 2
by Sante -

PG 26) Oubliette
by Craig Maher -

PG 26) Judgement
by Joe Vaux -

PG 26) Help!
by Otto Schade -

PG 27) Letting Go
by David Ho -

PG 27) Samsara
by David Ho -

PG 27) Eternity
by Samy Charnine

PG 27) Untitled
by Brad Yeo -

PG 28) Goodly Creature
by Leah Palmer Preiss -

PG 28) Daughters of Evolution III
by Charles Wish -

PG 29) Oddment 60
by Leah Palmer Preiss -

PG 30) Moving forward
by Layla -

PG 30) The Western Express
by Martin Wittfooth -

PG 30) Between sand and stars
by Jeff Christensen -

PG 30) Thinking one
by Rafal Hrynkiewicz -

PG 30) Split time 
by Catherine Lall -

PG 30) Chess
by Vladimir Kush -

PG 31) Coffee Nouveau by Gennady Privedentsev -

PG 31) Multiple 
by Gil Bruvel -

PG 31) Spiritual
by Dean Fleming -

PG 31) Birdland
by Leigh Palmer Preiss -

PG 31) The private wave
by Jacek Yerka -

PG 31) The tenuous light of the dream
by Gil Bruvel -

PG 32) Lengiz
, Books in all Branches of Knowledge by Aleksandr Rodchenko -

PG 32) Big Brave Communist Worker Fixes
a Poster on a Wall -

PG 32) Chimneys
and smokestacks built and repaired -

PG 32) Long live powerful aviation
of the socialist country! -

PG 32) The eerie hour by Alessandro Fantini -

PG 32) The population bomb
by Patrick George -

PG 32) Trade unions do not represent the interests of workers -

PG 32) Cross references
by Jonathan Wolstenholme -