Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 08

                      The rise and fall of progress

Everyone had left and the house was now quiet,
except for the silent shifting of time.

Downstairs in a far corner of the living room toward the back of the house
the grandfather clock sits ominously. It is set to go off periodically, but has
a malfunction in its works to where it will occasionally ring thirteen times.

Thirteen. . .

Ever watchful is the scowl of the moon locked in current phase,

preventing the sun from ever shining.

All things break down in time, even grandfather clocks.

I listened to the gentle sound of birds waking as they communicated to one another in a
form of song. How soothing is the voice of nature that floods the ears and encaptivates
one's spirit in its tranquility. Where we lived, there were only two houses on one side
of the street and four on the other, surrounded entirely by a vast expanse of woods.

That was until progress came several years later and turned our refuge
into a
melting pot of multicultural hodgepodge. It had nothing to do with
the fusion
of ethnic diversity. It also had nothing to do with the denizens
of foreign lands who genuinely
strive for a better life, so they leave their
war-torn and poverty-stricken countries to settle here.

No, this was about the domino effect it created.

Houses began to spread like wildfire, until nothing remained of
our woodlands.
It was a desperate attempt to fit as many houses
as humanly feasible
on sixty-four acres of land, and during those
days it felt as though
we were living on three-mile island.

Waiting for the reactor to blow.

Our peaceful little community had been taken over and transformed into a
bustling city block almost overnight. The endless traffic and overpopulation it
produced made me sorry they bought the house in the first place. We went from
living in the country, to living in the bowels of an inner-city slum, where people
no longer cared about their neighbors, nor the environment they resided in.

Between the noise and confusion of people coming and going at all hours of the night,
and the screaming and yelling from parents and children at all hours of the day, made
the block seem threatening. Just walking up the street to your own house after nine or
ten in the evening was like passing through a back alley in the heart of gang territory.
Where delinquents of unknown descent resided and would congregate to conspire.

Money was being funneled into various channels
to appease man's greed while
stirring a cesspool of filth, which were the breeding
grounds of our new inhabitants.
The peaceful serenity as generated by a slow-moving
brook through a bed of stone
was now gone, and the wonderful trails which led to an
enormous weeping willow
tree would become nothing more than a fond memory.

It couldn't have been worse had they built a skyscraper.

                                                    The Deverons - Unnoticed

Our lavish community which had once flourished was now dead and there was no getting
around it. A host of unsavory characters took hold of it and burned it to the ground.

                                                              Pg 37

Through the cracks they took root and would grow. The late-night whisperings of bitter
gossip was a hush-hush out and a tiptoe back inside. Draw the shades
and lock the doors,
the wayfarers were coming. We turned toward these people
with open arms and were met
with sneers and slamming doors for they seemed to have their
own agenda.

As they marched in, our little community took a turn for the worse.
It first
started you could say, when two of the neighborhood dogs were found
and everyone moved on but us. At least we could say we were warned.

It's not like we didn't know what was happening.
I think we were just living in

The rise of progress gave birth to a host of insipid and immoral creatures,
the foreigners couldn't be bothered communicating with
anyone who wasn't of
their own race and creed. We weren't about to go door to door,
ourselves to these people. Neither would we
be defeated by them in our leaving.

Eventually, with the passing of time we
became friendly with several families
in separate dwellings. They would come
over to share small talk and stay for
hot dinner on a cold winter's eve, or a
barbecue in the breast of summer.
All was good with them for they were quaint
and charming, and together
we would discover what the ground had unearthed.

Within the first year, our street was littered with garbage. Plastic bags blew around and
ended up in trees making it appear that you were now entering a white trash
while candy wrappers, old newspapers and tissues turned up in our
driveway on a daily
basis. Alongside the road we would find flattened White Castle
boxes, used condoms,
assorted porno magazines and emptied out cigarette butts from car
ashtrays among
other debris. This went on for years and became a part of the scenery.

                                    The Troll - Professor Pott's Pornographic Projector      

Two months after this all started my mother read in the Sunday paper that a bust
had been made a few miles down the road. It appeared that a certain shoe salesman
named Zoran, who bought the house directly across the street had been polishing
more than shoes down at the shoe mart. It seems that this Yugoslavian fellow had
taken quite a shine to little boys, and so for the next twelve years, he'll be thinking
about them in and out of lockdown. Before the ink had even finished drying from
Zoran's caption, a man who moved into one of the end houses lost control of his
Dodge pick-up apparently in a drunken rage over a layoff and plowed into a family
of four crossing a Brooklyn Street in the late evening hours. The parents were both
pronounced dead at the scene along with their oldest daughter. Only the youngest
child survived but will live his life confined to a wheelchair.

                                                              Pg 38

The following year, police are called to one of the new houses from a concerned
neighbor. They arrive on the doorstep but are not permitted inside. All seemed to
calm and so the police go about their way. A week later, cops arrive at the house
for the second time. They gained entrance into the home, and everything appeared
to be normal. Since there were no signs pointing toward any physical abuse, and if
you took into account that everyone had been cooperating with the officers, there
no reason for them to push the issue. The third time, however, a woman is taken
from the house in a hospital gurney and brought into the awaiting ambulance.

Only then did she have the courage to press charges against her abusive boyfriend
who pummeled her so badly she would need to undergo surgery to mend her wounds.
He was later caught trying to reenter the home through a
broken window and was
immediately apprehended. From there he was led into
the patrol car and taken away.
As he was being escorted from the premises in
handcuffs, he shouted “I'm coming
back for you, bitch.” Tests showed she had
suffered a broken jaw, a fractured pelvis
and a ruptured spleen in the attack, not
to mention abrasions to her face and neck,
along with a series of defensive wounds to
both arms and one of her breasts.

A month later she testified against him in court
and from there upon sentencing,
he would spend the next four years in the slammer.

This is but a sample of the misery that came down our street like a great flood and washed
away any hope we had left. We went from a quiet lovers' lane to a crowded
city street in less
than a year. Our paradise would soon become a ghetto because some
of the earth's populous 
simply do not care about themselves or anyone around them. They wish to live
on top of one
another like rats with ill regard to the problem it causes. What was the
attraction that prompted
the general public to drop what they were doing and flock to this island?

They came running like we had just struck oil. . .
It was like watching what would happen if someone opened a free food court in Biafra.

Within six months we were to witness firsthand, the death of the modern family.

It didn't seem to bother them that they paid top dollar for a sliver of a house.

To start with
, their front yard is a sidewalk. Secondly, the walls are so thin
can hear your neighbors’ conversation from your own kitchen.

And lastly, the driveway leading into the garage is so inverted that if they ever
pulled a car into it, they would immediately have to call a tow truck to hoist it out.

All they possess is a slice of the American dream that they will abuse until it is gone.

Every year the list would metastasize like cancer with people growing more
and more unfriendly by the hour, until finally the birds would sing no more. 

But let us cast aside these woes for they are merely things to come.

Instead let us contemplate the acres of woodland
that are home to serenity and that of a new morning.

It is June the 11th, 1982, and the day is just beginning.

                                          The Flowerpot Men - Now and then

                                                              Pg 39

                                                This review was posted on May/10/22

                                          Lameez' review

   Beta-Read Report for 'The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe - Chapter 8'

                                Beta Reader: Lameez Rushin (Lameezisreal)

Overall Impression

I loved how this chapter highlighted the downsides to progress because
sometimes ‘progress’ means erasing what has already been established.

Chapter Notes

It’s immediately addressed that the Observer loves the flora and fauna, and
why they feel that way from the serenity to spaciousness. It’s also very clearly
emphasized that the overpopulation of this small street, trudging on the forest
is the problem. Not necessarily the people themselves but just the general
claustrophobia and how that brings on little to no privacy.

Character Notes

In this chapter, the character was more of an Observer and the third person
view provided so much more depth. It added to the idea that there the street
became to clustered that all it takes is one long look and you’d see everyone’s
personal problems on display.

Thoughts After Finishing The Chapter

Progression can be either a beautiful thing or truly scary. Most depictions always
show progress as this wonderful thing while avoiding how disastrous it can be.
But this chapter chooses to show all of it. Even the side we choose to avoid
looking at. Thank you so much and I’m excited to see your next chapter!


                                            This review was posted on May/22/22

                                         nehanegi1905 's review
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 8 -
The rise and fall of progress

                                           Reader's Report by nehanegi1905

Hello Chas. Thank you so much for sending me the eighth chapter.

I read the chapter and overall I think it was quite good but now as a reader
I'm getting a bit sceptical as to where this story is actually leading because
with every new chapter the primary subject is changing and I'm finding it a
little difficult to connect to the story when I'm being introduced to so many
new things at such short durations.

Maybe the reason of my specific experience is the chapter by chapter
progression which is slower when compared to someone who will read
the book in one go.

Other than that everything was on point and fantastic. The description of
the landscape change was quite smooth and well thought out. The entire
chapter was quite gripping and made me excited with each progression.
But when we are dedicating an entire chapter to this topic, I was expecting
a little more about the neighbourhood and the typical things that go around.

I would love to know what you think about my suggestions
and always eager to receive the next chapter. Thank you.


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