Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 09

                Early morning visit


A white sanitation truck slowed to a whining halt along an adjacent street creating an
ominous sound, so distinctly pitched it instilled fear in small unsuspecting animals.
Animals that were usually confined to their own private quarters. Mr. Begaul, having
decided to take his new puppy for a walk, could be seen coming up alongside it.

Without a moment’s notice, the truck released what sounded like a quick burst of
compressed air, and the high-strung Chihuahua darted from it in inexplicable terror.
Taking Pixie on the street rather than through the woods was now obviously a mistake.
In that instant of a heartbeat, it must have sounded like a dragon hissing fire at the small
creature, for it took off like a bullet and almost snapped its own neck in the process.



If you took into account that its brain couldn't have been larger than that of a quarter,
maybe then one could understand what kind of torment it must have been suffering.
From where I stood in my room, it looked like he had a gigantic spider on that leash,
and upon thinking that, I immediately shuttered. I do believe that in all honesty, if it
ever got off that leash it would simply run until it dropped dead somewhere. “That's
one feisty little bastard,” I said aloud to my own surprise. Pulling
the outside screen
up with much difficulty and sticking my head out. I could see it was going to be a
beautiful day. Pete arrived early for a change and slipped in through the back door.

The time read 8:07 when I heard him surreptitiously ascending the staircase.


“Do my eyes deceive me?
Has the afternoon man arrived before twelve O'clock?”

“Ha-ha, you're a barrel of laughs,” said Peter wryly.

Where we came from, calling someone an afternoon man was sarcasm in its
purest form. It meant a person who didn't work. Someone who stayed up all
night long and didn't go to bed until the sun peaked. A person who didn't arise
until after the stroke of twelve, and usually wasn't seen until around three.


“I don't think I've ever seen you before twelve O'clock.”

“You're a pisser man,” he said in an almost jovial tone.
Take a look at what I have here.”

He then proceeds to remove a record from out of a folded brown paper bag.
It was
the new Jethro Tull album. “Here check it out, I picked it up Wednesday in my travels.

I went milling around the city and ended up at Venus Records. That place is incredible.”

“I know, whenever I'm in the city I make it a priority to go there and see what's new.


“So how is it, compared to the other Tull albums we have in the grand collection?”




“I like it better than Stormwatch, but not Songs from the Wood.”

“Is it really that good?”


“It is, once you get used to it.”

“The Broadsword and the Beast. . . What's this, a satanic album?
Because if it is, it's going out the freakin' window.”

“Don't be an asshole-man, it's not a sa-tanic album.”



Shaking his head in disgust.


Nonchalantly, I pulled up on the lightweight aluminum window screen
before saying aloud, “I think we need more air in this room.”
After further examination, I came to the conclusion that it had to go.
“Okay, this record is certainly of evil origin, and will be undoubtedly
destroyed.” As I pulled the curtain aside, Peter contested by screaming.

“Don't be stupid, it's
the last one in the store!”

I then started laughing, “did you really think I was gonna wing it?”

“I wouldn't put it past you, if that's what you mean.”


He then paused to run his hand through his hair like a comb, and it appeared
to me as though he had gotten so flustered, he forgot where he was in the
conversation.
Carefully, he picked up my lava lamp from atop the wooden
radiator cabinet and with his back turned toward me, begins speaking
to the inanimate object as if it were a gentle thing that could understand.




“Anyway, it's not one of those albums that's gonna make you jump up
and down. It takes a couple of listens before it starts to grow on you.”

“In other words, it sucks.”


(He spins around quickly)

“Nah man, it doesn't fucking suck.”

Slamming his fist down upon my dresser like the Hulk in a heated rage.

“Now you're just being a prick.”


                                                                     Pg 40
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-------------------------------------------------

“Hey Pete, do you remember when I went to summer school at Farrell?
The first year the Car's album came out? I was just a sophomore then,
but I can vividly remember saying to myself, I must have that album.

It was only after I bought it, that I started to hear every song from
that record being played on the
radio. To be brutally honest, I would
put it right up there on the shelf with The
Dark Side of The Moon,
Wake of the flood, and my Rocket to Russia album
.



“The more I think about it, the happier I am I went.
Even though, I rued the thought of it with all my heart and soul.”
“At least you never got left back, right?”
“No.”
“Did the summer school program help you in any of your studies at all?”
“I don't know if it helped me, but I started smoking pot that year.
The pot helped me, I guess.”
“How so?”
“It made me less pragmatic.”

I'm not sure I knew at the time what the word pragmatic meant,
but I had a pretty good idea, and so I figured I'd run with it.



                                 Magic - Keep on movin' on

“Pussy willow,” I said, referring to song seven on the album.
“What is he singing about here? A tree?”

Pete looked at me with an expression of mild disdain.

“You're joking, right?”
(((I laughed loudly)))
“I'm screwing with your head man, take it light already.                   

                                        
                

Where were you yesterday,” I asked?
“Yesterday I was floundering around.
I rode my bike to Tottenville, and
went by the Conference House for a while.
Then I came back and looked
for you, but you weren't around, so I hung
out with Paul at his house.
We split a six pack of Kronenbourg and
talked for a bit.”

“I bought Kronenbourg yesterday too. No, that was Löwenbräu, sorry.”




I then removed from my box a wonderfully rolled pfleuba
(as we called it that year,) and
proceeded to light it.

“How on earth did you roll it that perfectly?
“Well, for starters the weed was slightly moist, so I snipped off what
remained of the stems, and then after scrapping next to nothing, I rolled up
the buds rather than crumble them. Then I kept it in my drawer for month.”

“This is excellent,” said Peter as he toked away. We passed it around until
there was nothing left, but a charcoal stem and two burned fingertips.


The time was now nearing 8:20.

Peter turned the white plastic knob on my television set and went past each individual
station until he reached channel 13. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was on, and Fred
was talking in television land. Everything seemed to be a-ok from that side of the
table. Where no one ever gets hurt, and pain is a topic that is never discussed.

Without warning Pete jumps up and does an imitation of Fred Rogers while
holding in his breath. Speedy delivery, Mr. McFeeley, Speeee-dy delivery.




“I-cannot-believe-I-am-watching-this,”
I said in the mechanical voice
of R2-D2, who was beginning to short circuit.


                                                                     Pg 41
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-------------------------------------------------

I really find it hard to believe a fully-grown man can act like that,” I uttered.

Hello kiddies, today we are going to talk about getting high, and the dangers
of
marijuana usage. You really don't want to do any of this stuff, because it isn't
good
for you. I would suggest you all buy a packet of Marlboro cigarettes, and enjoy them.


“You sound like the president of a tobacco company, Pete!

You sound like Morton Wexler!!!

“Who the hell is Morton Wexler?” Replied Peter, trying
desperately to catch his breath from all that laughter.


I have no idea.


Suddenly Fred Rogers began singing that silly song, It's Such A Good Feeling,
and
neither of us could contain our ourselves.
Pete now had his hands covering both eyes
and could in no way stop laughing. “What's wrong with you Fred,” was all he could
muster in a glassy eyed stupor so pronounced, it seemed he could not catch his breath.



 
After that, Fred wave's goodbye to trolley and before long the children's show ended.


It was fun being a jerk, and who really cared about the things people think about or
the thing's people do anyway? Life was to be enjoyed, and I was only trying to enjoy it.

Pete turned the dial until he found something of interest. The Addams Family came on
and Morticia was grooming her hair. Isn't it just lovely darling, she thought to herself?




                                                                         

I don't know why,” said Peter, “but I just can't get into this show.
No matter how many times I see it.”

“Yeah, I'm with you on that, and I think I know why. It's because Lurch is too despondent,
and Cousin It just flutters around without any meaning, uttering complete nonsense that
no one of a sound mind could ever process. Everyone in the show understands her except
the people viewing. Wednesday's too whiny and Pugsley. . .

Where did they find that kid, in a supermarket aisle?”

“He belongs on a farm somewhere in Idaho. He's always blowing things up. What's
with that? Here's a new train set Pugsley, now be a good boy and blow it up for me.”




Hey Pete, imagine your dad got you this state-of-the-art robot, and
you blew its head off with an M-80 in the middle of your bedroom.
What should the rational response for doing something like that be?
Do you think your dad would have been super cool like Gomez?

I think he'd-a-bludgeoned me to death.

And look at Fester. He's always got that friggin'
light bulb in his God damn mouth.


Need a light Gomez?
Let me just unscrew one from gran-mama's lamp.


Peter then begins doing his pantomime routine.


First he impersonates his character by unscrewing the imaginary light bulb
from an imaginary
light source. He then pretends to put the bulb in his mouth
as would a
jubilant Fester Addams. Then with his eyes rolled up and his mouth
in an "O" position, he looks like the confused alien which appears to be having
a nervous breakdown in Edvard Munch's painting of 1893 titled, the scream.





                                                                     Pg 42
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-------------------------------------------------

Soon it is 8:30 and the show has ended.

After a seemingly long commercial break, another show airs.


On 1313 Mockingbird Lane, we come to find the Munster's

shuffling about in a timely fashion and distilling mirth.




All the cobwebs and antiquated furniture nestled away in the arcane
dwelling was now a sanctuary of peace for me to reflect upon. A grand
escape so to speak. I soon found their homestead to be reminiscent of
that of my grandmother's house and began to think of both houses, as
though there were a direct correlation between them. As my being
dissolved into lethargy, my mind was transported to that old black
and white Victorian mansion. Pete then staggered to his feet to do an
imitation of Herman lumbering in after a hard day's work. In a dry but
pleasant voice, he utters the following phrase, “Le-Lee, I'm home.”

                                                                         

I don't know how, but he had the science of it down pat, and with that sullen
face of his ever changing, he could impersonate almost anyone to a tee. The
wind
was blowing outside that house like a giant twister was coming, while
I felt as
calm as a zeppelin floating unhindered in an immeasurable sky.




In an anomalous way, it was almost breathtaking.


Then the daydreams overshadow my mind,
and I allow myself to be led by them. . .


As I transcended deeper into the picture, the story unfolded wonderfully. The pictures in
my head were more along the line of daydream patterns summoning me to participate with
them. As I began to dwell on this, my mind whisked me away. I drifted into the house on
a cool breeze rustling through the curtains and settled down amongst the dusty furniture.
The only currency I took with me had already been smoked. I was now but a vapor in the
mist of time. While the episode continued to air, my mind manufactured dreams, creating
new roles for me to partake in. Most of the time, I didn't have any say in the matter.


Static soon interrupted the picture and a brief adjustment would have to be made to the
antenna, which
was now drooping to one side. As I wandered past several strange rooms
like a midsummer
breeze, I became skeptical as to why I was there in the first place.

Finding myself atop the old
staircase, I was not surprised
to find that under this staircase no dragon was hiding.




That was all a great hoax, but aside from that everything had been masterfully reproduced
right down to the finest detail. How charming everything looked in a peaceful and dreamlike
atmosphere. As I moved about under the spidery stairs, I now felt as though I were being
watched by over a billion eyes. Creeping ever so gently, I made my way down the ancient
withered steps to the lowest region of the house. Here I discovered a multitude of carefully
stored wine bottles preserved in a dank dark corner of the stone walled cellar.




                                                                     Pg 43
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-------------------------------------------------

Using my hand, I wipe away years of dust from two of the bottles. One I can see is from 1896,
but the
other is obscured. Wait, I am beginning to see something. No, that's only my reflection.
Hold
on, there it is, 1902. In the earlier part of the twentieth century, the concept of paper labels
wasn't even a fathomed thought in the mind of inventors. I then carefully placed the bottle back
down
on its side where I found it. Scurrying about like a mouse through cold torch-lit passageways
and into an eerie laboratory, I found everything to be in a rather neat and precise order.




Beakers filled with red and green liquid were contained to their holders. Several distillation
apparatuses, alongside other marvels of ages past were working in the same manner as do
things of present day. There were apothecary beakers emitting a curious white smoke, while
the spherical conical retorts dripped slowly into a simmering glass pan. The long slender
vessels with downward-pointing necks, which appeared to be the most delicately fragile of
all laboratory glassware were now operational, and in full swing. Beside an amber-colored
graduated flask, and a rather interesting looking round-bottom flask, smoke builds inside
a thin pear-shaped separatory funnel. Everything seemed to be awaiting grandpa's return.

A plume of smoke suddenly appears before me. (((Poof))) “What is it, you ask?” spoke the
old vampire excitedly. “Why it's grandpa Munster's super growth formula of course. It'll
make anybody ten times taller, enabling them to conquer any foe at all. No one will ever
bother you again. But if I find out you're trying to swindle me, I'll make you ten times
smaller and watch you get eaten by a hungry aphid. Here, let me show you,” exclaims
grandpa enthusiastically, as he carefully pours the two liquids together.

“Now all you have to do is drink it.”


Traveling to the upstairs portion of the house, I can now see an extensive library of voluminous
books covered in layers of undisturbed dust. All first editions protected from the elements of time
and sun. They are here for your reading pleasure or simply for you to gloat upon at your leisure.




Each room tells a story where the past and present meet. Tree's sway and bend as the impending
storm approaches. Leaves that have pulled away from their branches fly aimlessly in the gusty
wind. Suddenly, the air explodes fulminating in a barrage of pandemonium as the sky crackles
and the thunder booms. Follow the orchestral arrangement of tumultuous sounds as it brings
forth a torrent of darkness in its heavy pitter-patter. Outside you may hear the rain falling to the
sound of a thousand horses. Where tears of victory come streaming down the fragile panes in
stride, unabated. Carefully, they tell their own tale of woe. The years are heavy ladened with
sorrow, but not for you. You hear only hollow echoes within the sanctity of the abode. . .


Am I even watching the show?
Am I really here?

Vintage decor that has long since vanished in a time
frame not our own is perhaps the most beguiling.
To capture the very essence of it, for all to see.

Can it be done?


Is it possible to create another realm of living within
the current realm we are all subject to participate in?

I suppose, if one has the resources and if one has the time.

                                                                     Pg 44
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-------------------------------------------------

Time, what a cursid thing. It moves by invisible numbers that can always be traced back,
but can never be traced forward. I then
realized that time itself doesn't really change at all.
Every season is
more or less the same. It is we that have been changing as new ideas come
forth. As I got higher, I began to think more and more of
that house. I couldn't fathom being
endowed such a magnificent
dwelling. One with grand arches atop its roof and high ceilings.

A
house like that is the equivalent of a town whose population is 1, and you are the sheriff.

The pleasures of getting high, I thought, and why
is it illegal?
It gives the hopeless hope while enabling the blind to
see.
If but for a fleeting moment we're a Terrytoon in time. . .


We joked around for a while before breaking the seal on a bottle of Jeremiah Weed to welcome
in, “I dream of Jeannie.
” The time reads 9:00, and everything was as calm as could be outside.


               
                                                                          

I wasn't into the color scene as much as I was for the black & white shows, and so my attention
span was limited to about twelve seconds, give or take a few. Together we threw down a shot in
unison and Peter gave his opinion while pointing up toward Christ in Heaven. . .


“Nectar of the Gods” he proclaimed, like Caligula Caesar before the fall of Rome.




Peter then held the glistening shot glass at eye level, while conveying an emotion I am still trying
to define. Similar to when a person is
overcome with joy, the words which have almost escaped
from the lips suddenly diminish.
The occupant, baffled at his own loss for words realizes there
is nothing he can say, and so he continues to admire the jigger of honey-like liquid as though
it were
a shimmering cup of bright green absinthe, cleverly designed to open his mind.



“One more and that's it,” I said, like an overpaid actor.
“Don't be a killjoy.”
“Listen, this is a hundred proof, and I don't want you getting sick in the house.”
“There is no way this is one hundred proof.”
“Yes-way, see for yourself, it's right here on the bottle.
Keep thinking like that and we're both gonna be throwing up.”
“Ain't that somethin'. I thought it was sixty, maybe seventy proof tops.”

After partaking of this splendid drink, I began to feel
somewhat propelled into storytelling and laughter.

It was time I revealed to Peter the story of how I acquired the bottle.
A little anecdote to raise our spirits, so to speak.

“Three weeks ago, I felt like taking a little walk, so I left the car in the driveway
and began walking not knowing where I would end up. As fate would have it,
I ended up in Greenwich shopping plaza. I entered the liquor store and asked
them if they had any weed. They all looked at me dumbfounded. I then said,
Jeremiah Weed, and they all laughed behind the counter. Why of course,
(the tall guy said) straight down, you'll see it on the right.”

Pete appreciated the story and laughed. . . “Only you would do that.”

“What did you think of that Honeymooner's episode last night, Pete?”

“I love that episode. I love it when Ralph gets stuck between the pipes.”

“Do somethin' Norton, you gotta help me. Nortin?  NORTIN!!!”


 
They're playing your song, Ralph.

I don't care whose song they're playin, I'm not answerin!


“Sometimes I almost forget that 328 Chauncey street is a prop.

I know, right? replied Peter ecstatically.


It suddenly seemed as though everything was going right today,
and I, had not a care in the world.



                                   
Dial j for janitor


After,
I dream of Jeannie ended at 9:30, I had fallen into a starry
haze and became lethargic. Before I could even realize
what had
happened, another show ended and it was now ten o’clock.




Suddenly, I thought I heard the telephone ring in the kitchen,
and so I go downstairs to answer it.

Mom is on the other end of the line and has called to say she will be coming home
early today.
She says, “No one better be here when she gets home, especially Peter.
I tell her no
one will be here, and not to spend the rest of the day worrying about it.

The time on the kitchen clock reads 10:57.


My parents never liked Pete due to a condition he had called opsablepsia.
I believe it stemmed from smoking too much pot, but Peter will deny this.
For this minor infraction, my parents would accuse him of either being
on Heroin, or being a thief. In those instances when he actually seemed
to overcome the problem, then he way too pauciloquent in his speech.


                                                                     Pg 45
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-------------------------------------------------

After the inevitable phone call, I went back upstairs with two glazed long-cookies
and gave one to Peter. Aren't pop tarts supposed to be heated?” He asks with
a seemingly blank expression. That was yesterday, today it's a cookie so eat it.”




“Can't I at least have a glass of milk with it?”
“What are you a cat or somethin,' just eat it.”

I surprised myself as I unknowingly became
Ralph Kramden and hastily blurted the words out.
Peter laughed at the way it sounded and gobbled up the cookie.
After that little treat, we listened to some music on my turntable.


It was then I asked Peter a question. . .

“Question, what is the best song on the Too old to Rock 'N' Roll album?”
Well, I'm gonna have to go with the title cut on that one, what do you think?”
I think the best song on that album is Strip Cartoon and it wasn't even put on the record.”

That's almost like asking someone which member of Pink Floyd sang, Have a Cigar?”

                               (((The answer is no one, of course)))

We each took a few more hits off the ornate bong as we laughed and talked about
nonsense. Soon the mooring line slowly loosened itself from around its massive
bollard. I then realized, there was no longer anything securing me to my sanity,
and so I began to drift away. This time abased and dejected for the gloom had
set in. Why should I even care about today, if tomorrow I may be uprooted?

Soon the years will become days, and all whom I know and love will vanish
from
this earthly place, leaving only me to face the terror. When at last, my
casket is
lowered into the ground; will anyone even remember my name?



I wasn't a Beatle. Neither was I a Picasso, nor famous actor. When I started
things, I usually never finished them, and when I did finish them, it seems they
were never done right anyway. I just needed to make my existence matter,
though I had no idea what it was, I would one day be attempting to achieve.

The smoke had blown into the dark corners of my mind, and I became morose.

Eventually, I managed to sweep aside the wretched thoughts that manifest despair,
and concentrate on a day which beckoned me to join it.


“It's almost eleven thirty,” I balked. “Wanna go down and raid the fridge?”
“Don't you remember what happened the last time you did that?”
“Yeah, I remember the twenty-minute-lecture, now let's eat.”

The more we stuffed our faces, the hungrier I became,
and the hungrier I became, the more I found myself eating.


This continued until the pound of ham
and the pound of turkey breast was gone.



It's safe to say that when Ramon comes home from work and looks for his cold cuts,
he's going to find nothing but head cheese.

Soon it was nearing twelve, so I went back upstairs.
There was a certain book I needed to thumb through before we began our excursion.




   And not even the shadows of fate could keep the hands of time from turning.


                                                                                                 
                                                     The Lines End - Miss Illusion                                                         
                                                                                                 
                                                                     Pg 46
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Reviews for chapter 9

Craig Martinson - You have a unique writing style and your technique is masterfully composed!
How long did it take you to achieve this form of writing and how many books have you already written?


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PG 40) Lights in the night by Marcelo Sanchez - http://tinyurl.com/k5mogtc

PG 40) Venus Records business card (circa 1982) - http://flamingpablum.com

PG 40) Lava Lamp
by Doug Fraser - http://tinyurl.com/l8vby7t

PG 41) Rocket to Russia
by The Ramones - http://tinyurl.com/lp9rhsy

PG 41)
Löwenbräu original - http://tinyurl.com/6gngfs

PG 41) Mr. McFeeley
- (David Newell) - http://tinyurl.com/27ejsj

PG 42) Won't you be my neighbor
- Mister Rogers - http://tinyurl.com/mkpgvjr

PG 42) The Addams Family
- (Title card) - http://tinyurl.com/kvf92wj 

PG 42) M-80 brand firecrackers
- Made in China - http://tinyurl.com/3athz

PG 42) The Scream
by Edvard Munch - http://www.edvard-munch.com/

PG 43) The
Munsters - (TV series) - http://tinyurl.com/8yasy3e

PG
43) Two tickets to Dublin by Andrej Mashkovtsev - http://tinyurl.com/mdx7bxb

PG
43) Smaug by Alberto Gordillo - http://tinyurl.com/mv699b8

PG 43) Old wine bottles
- Badia a Coltibuono (Gaiole in Chianti, Italy) - http://tinyurl.com/kw2ukcc

PG 44) Grandpa Munsters laboratory -
http://tinyurl.com/myflszn

PG 44)
La bibliothèque by Claude Verlinde - http://tinyurl.com/ot47wz2 

PG 45)
I dream of Jeannie - hand painted limited edition 245/250 - http://tinyurl.com/35a3ox

PG 45) Jeremiah Weed 100 proof Bourbon Liqueur
- http://WEED.COM

PG 45) Green Mana potion
by Lipták László - http://tinyurl.com/mpf6c88

PG 45) The Honeymooners
- Dial "J" for Janitor - http://tinyurl.com/6b236y

PG 45) Wreck of time
by Mihai Criste - http://tinyurl.com/kkhnrj2

PG 46) Kellogg's blueberry Pop-Tarts
(circa 1967) - http://tinyurl.com/mfkf7kt

PG 46)
Physician liability by Jon Krause - http://tinyurl.com/oxr4wq

PG
46) Burger deluxe by Todd Schorr - http://www.toddschorr.com/

PG
46) Illusion of time by Svetoslav Stoyanov - http://tinyurl.com/lo955s4