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 and turned our refuge into a virtual united nations.

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 twenty small 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 us sorry we found the house in the first place. We went
from feeling like we were living in the country, to living in the bowels of an
inner city slum, where no one cares about their neighbors or the environment.

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 groups 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 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 had 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
dead 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 just think we were living in
denial. The rise of progress gave birth to a host of insipid and immoral creatures,
while the foreigners on the other hand, couldn't be bothered communicating with
anyone who wasn't of their own race and creed. We weren't about to go running
up and down the street introducing 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
neighborhood 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 cigarettes 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 the 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 is 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 in. All seemed to be
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 fine. Since there were no signs pointing toward any physical abuse, and if
you took into account that everyone was cooperating with the officers, there was
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 and 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 spent 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
Brooklyn street in less than a year. Our paradise would soon become a ghetto because
people 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 everyone to drop what they were doing and flock to this island?

They came running like we found a cure for cancer. . .
It was like watching what would happen if someone opened a free food court in Biafra.

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

It didn't even bother them that they paid top dollar for less than half a house.
To begin with
, their front yard is a sidewalk. Secondly, the walls are so thin you
can hear everything your neighbor is saying about you from your own kitchen!

And lastly, the driveway to the garage is so inverted that if they should ever try
pulling a car into it, they would immediately need to call a tow truck! 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 a plague 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 on an abundance of greenery which has
chosen to flourish. An area of land beckoning to be explored is now
crying out to the tune of a billion insects buzzing and chirping away.

The woodlands which is home to serenity and that of a new morning.
It was June the 11th, 1982, and the day was just beginning.

                                          The Flowerpot Men - Now and then

                                                              Pg 39

Reviews for chapter 8

Joseph Ogle -
Classic chapter!

Lizette Romanello - Do you feel you are a genius or just an average writer?

Charles Pendelton - They are just words Liz. . . Nothing more than words.

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PG 37) The old clock on the stairs by Edward Lamson Henry -

PG 37) Family tree
by Vladimir Kush -

PG 37) The city is landing
Jacek Yerka -

PG 37) Fructus by Leah Palmer Preiss -

PG 37) Arboreal office by Rob Gonsalves -

PG 38) Execution days by Gary Taxali -

PG 38) Medicine show by Chris Mars - http://cmars.com74094557

PG 38) Help your neighborhood
by keeping your premises clean -

PG 39) L'homme au chaudron
by Andre Martins de Barros -

PG 39) Horn of Babel
by Vladimir Kush -

PG 39) Privacy
by Joe Scorsone and Alice Drueding -