Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 10

              The story of Captain Hook


From my shelf, I removed the notebook when a picture fell to the floor.
It was a picture of my grandmother standing beside her house. I don't  
know why I had that picture inside the Mead composition notebook. It
was probably because I had nowhere else to put it, and it just ended up in
there. How I missed that old house, I thought as I reflected back through
the years. Hanging out in there was like an escape for me as a child. Each
room was hauntingly original in every facet of its primal structure, and
yet aside from the attic which clearly highlights the main fabric of this
tale, I feel a great urgency to mention the other rooms as well.

Before you could enter the house, you would first have to walk along the
street while following a lengthy row of neatly trimmed six foot hedges,
which encompassed the property to an awaiting path. You would then
enter in through a small archway and follow that path around to the side
door, or you could always come in through the porch! As you walked
into the house from the backyard, you could only go up or down a narrow
staircase. Upstairs is where you would find the TV room, two bedrooms,
the main bath room, the foyer, and the sick room, where my paternal
grandfather passed away from tuberculosis in the spring of 1970.



This room was painted a cerulean blue in the late 1950's and remained that color until
the house was demolished in September of 1979. After the death of my grandfather, my
grandmother began putting my things in there, and from 73' to 79' it was called the blue
room. In the left corner was my Radio Flyer wagon I got when I was three, and on the
right wall hung my Flexible Flyer sled, which was my father's when he was a young boy. 




I had my Johnny Lightning racing track complete with cars along with my G.I. Joe's,
Battling tops, etch-a-sketch, Silly Putty in an egg, Play Doh, crayons and a slinky.
And last but not least, one brand new unopened tube of super elastic bubble plastic! 



                                                                        
                                                            

I had lots of toys and things I seldom played with so everything in that room would
be considered fairly new. Living life was easy and I had a glorious future ahead
of me. I was learning as much as I could and absorbing everything. Not only
about my schoolwork and classes, but the very aspect of women in general.


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It is best if I do not dwell near this river. Though it appears to be moving calmly
and does look peaceful, it is filled with broken glass. Some may even attest that
within the water flowing past the walls of its embankment lies the answer to all
of man's woes. In truth, that river is filled with skeletons. *(A sight unseen)*
As sweet and refreshing as it may very well be, the water is infected with sorrow.
Let's just say it has turned into something far worse than blood. What was once
a blessing had become a curse, and I, would find the heart of true madness. 


Unlike most residential homes, the dining room was located toward the back of the
house in the cellar. I could still see the gypsum board with its manila colored face
paper adorning each wall. It was always so smooth and shiny, like shellac had been
applied somewhere during its manufacture. All the various hues that came streaming
in on sunlit wings coated the walls in its grace. At around midday the sun would
illuminate that room like no other turning a simple dining area into a Florida room,
and at the end of the day come sundown, the sun would impart to it an impressive
orange stain. Only for a few minutes a day could that scene be witnessed. It would
then rapidly lose its lustre before fading into a thin transparent film of eerie haze.
Then disappear as it would into the gloom of the evening twilight. 


Often would I sleep there in the summer months. The light green guest room, that at
one time was a playroom for my aunt, my uncle, and eventually my dad, whose old
wooden bed still withstood the test of time. To the left of the bed, near the radiator
was my uncle Bobs Bakelite radio! This transistor radio was special because it had
the vacuum tubes that when they grew warm, the whole box would become orange!
How I loved that radio, whatever became of it, I would never know.

Grandma always kept the heat down, and so upon awakening, I would usually have to
remove seven or eight wool blankets or heavy quilts just to get out of bed and relieve
myself! In the morning, grandma made breakfast like no other person in my family! First,
she removed a coffee can from the freezer that she poured the bacon fat in. Then she put
a tablespoon into the black cast-iron pot that looked like a relic from medieval France. 
She made eggs over easy that would've had anyone drooling! They were the best-tasting
eggs on the planet! Now everyone eats healthy, and nothing has too much taste anymore.

One dark and windy day in the fall of 1970, my father comes back from New Jersey.
He is carrying a box, and I was getting ready to go across the street to see my friend.



“Take a look Kathy,” he says to my mom as I walk into the living room. “I got 'em for my mother.”
(((Removing the lid)))
“Ohhhh, he's adorable!” “Wow,” I said as my eyes lit up! “A baby Bulldog!”
“Come on, let's go and surprise grandma!” My grandmother loved him, and we named him Sam.
That dog would watch our every move and when he got excited, he would shake his ass like he
was doing the Hucklebuck and scuffle around snorting! He was a great dog, but after putting seven
people in the hospital due to his over protective nature, he was totally confined to the basement
where he would live out his days. Then one day my grandmother found out from a very reliable
source that my father, wanting to save money, bought an interbred dog! The year was 1978.
. .

“You son of a bitch,” she screamed! “You bought me a sick dog!!! That's why he's crazy!
That's why he tries to kill everybody who comes into this house! This, this. . . Trap!!! How could
you?” “He's eight years old ma, I think his bitin' days are over.” “They're not over! Not by a long
shot! As long as he's still breathin,' they're not over!” “So what do ya want me to do? She gave
him an angry stare.
“You know what, gimme the dog. Come on Sam!” “What are you doing?”
“I'm gonna solve a problem.


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“Let's go!” “Where are you taking him?” “I'm takin' him to the backyard.” “For what reason?”
“Cause that's where I'm gonna shoot 'em. C'mon Sam!” “You're gonna do no such thing! Get
away from him; you're crazier than he is!!!” Every time my father left, my grandmother grew
another grey hair. She then looked at Sam sitting on the floor. “This is all your fault! Yeah, look
at me! Your fault! BASTARD!!!” Sam looked back at her with an expression of confusion and
sorrow, before attempting to wiggle his tail-stump. . . As if that would make it all better again.

I will never forget the evening of May 25th, 1979. I went to visit my grandmother and was
helping her with several chores that needed to be done around the house, when finally it's
time for the CBS evening news with Walter Cronkite. We watched in horror as he spoke
mournfully of both the passengers and crew members of American Airlines flight 191. The
worst disaster in U.S. history claiming 271 lives. Around ten O'clock I went downstairs to
the basement and was preparing to take Sam out to do his business when I realized he would
not budge. As I lifted his head, I realized he had passed away. If not for that terrible plane
crash, I strongly doubt I would have been able to recall the exact day of his untimely demise.


Considering that my grandparent's house was built in 1923, almost everything inside it was
original. Even the toilet bowl was a marvel to behold. Not one of those swishy bowls you
see today that uses a quart of water and barely flushes. You could flush a lamp down this
contraption, and it'll be halfway to the Atlantic ocean before you could wipe your nose!
That was because it was an original “American Standard” on a Flushometer that went
straight into the wall. Now only commercial enterprises are permitted to use toilets without
a tank, and they usually are quite noisy! Toward the back of the kitchen was a food pantry
and above it an old wooden decorative vent. On the vent was this antiquated cobweb.

It was unlike any spider web I had ever seen before! Two inches thick and totally opaque,
it was a fascinating thing to look at! Whenever I arrived at her doorstep, part of my visit
would always entail looking up to see if it was still there. When I was five years old, I
asked my grandmother if she knew how long it's been up there. She then replied, “that
thing? That's been up there longer than your father's been breathing!” And so it began,
my fascination with the past and with time. Gently, I blew from my lips a slow but steady
current of air, which would find it seconds later. This shock wave sent trillions of atoms
coursing through its insubstantial mass of ligaments that had been held together like a
decaying piece of old tissue, which seemed to be dangling from its own invisible threads.
“Let me dampen a rag and clean it,” she said. “No,” I screamed out, and she stopped.


Then it was up the winding staircase to the attic, where I would watch first run episodes of
Star Trek as they aired in an atmosphere of total peace. Just me and the old television set!



                                                                                 

Nothing disturbed the tranquil order of things here, for as time rolled on in the outside world,
it didn't move much in the house. Be that as it may, I loved being there as often as I could!



Sitting on the sofa with my legs outstretched to the hassock, I watched television in living
color and everything was wonderful! Sometimes I'd lift the lid on the old footstool to find that
Grandmother had left candy inside of it. No homework nor house chores impeding would
keep me from watching Get Smart after school! Always talking on that amazing shoe phone!
“Agent 99, do you read me?” The mild buzzing of an old electric Kit Cat klock kept me company.
Her eyes ever watching my every move with tail swaying and a smile. She seemed to enjoy it too!




                                                

I could go anywhere I wanted in here,
and Grandmother let me come and go as I pleased.


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By the window and to the right was a trap door painted pink. Thirty inches high and twenty four
inches wide were its dimensions. With a small flashlight that was always on hand, I would turn
the wooden peg and pull the door open. On my hands and knees, I'd crawl looking for treasure.
Maybe they put something new up here I can rummage through! Though I rarely found anything
that wasn't already up there. An old Bamberger's box that hadn't been moved in years. Four tins
of Horn & Hardart coffee that had an assortment of lead sinkers in each of them. An unopened
can of O-Cedar Mop polish, etc. On the wall hung a curved sickle with a bright red handle.
I remember asking my grandmother once why she hung it there and her reply was, “I hide it
from your father. If he sees it, he's gonna take it, and then I'm shit outta luck.”


In the adjacent room was the same type of hidden door painted the color of bittersweet to
match the walls as well. In that closet were twelve shoe boxes, some of which said Crowley's
shoes for ladies and Church's English shoes for men, along with a few other boxes and biscuit
tins of ages past. All the way in the back was a mahogany box that to this day has me mystified.
There was no lock or latch but rather a very distinct type of old fashioned lip seal. One day I
decided I had to look in this box, so I dragged it over to where the particles of lint and other
foreign matter could be seen hanging gracefully in the sunny air of daylight and proceeded
to pull it open. What I found was an astonishing collection of old books in mint condition by
a man named Edward Gorey. I can remember four titles in particular. The Doubtful Guest -
The Curious Sofa - The Hapless Child, and my all time favorite, The Gashlycrumb Tinies!
A child's book of the alphabet where every page turned is a black and white illustration of a
different child in a precarious situation. “A” is for Alice who fell down the stairs, and so on!


 
                                                                     

So captivated was I in its spell that I would read it everyday after coming home from school
before finally doing the unthinkable. Yes, I took the book to school. I was in second grade at
the time and my teacher was so shaken by it that I was taken from that class and put in a special
room until my father arrived. All the boys liked it and thought I was cool, while the girls thought
it was a sick and twisted book. I can still hear my father lamenting about it in the car. “About
twenty minutes ago I got in a warm shower. No sooner did I turn the water on, I hear yelling.”

It's your mother standing downstairs, screaming like a lunatic! She sounded so distraught, I
couldn't understand half-a-what she was sayin'. Ya know, ya keep goin' like this and we're gonna
have a problem! I know you're only seven years old, and I understand that you're still developing
mentally! I really do, but you should be able to know the difference at this stage of the game
between what's right and what's just completely fucked up. . .
I mean do you? Seriously.


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Needless to say, the box was removed from the attic that week, and I never saw it again. Neither
would Grandmother ever see that red handled sickle of hers again either. The following year
my Aunt Gloria came down from California as she always did during the summer. So anyway,
grandma boots as we all called her was up there looking for it for whatever reason she had
in mind when out of the blue we heard, “that son-of-a-bitch!!! He took my sickle, I knew it!
He oughta drop dead!!!” My aunt and I were laughing so hard we couldn't stop! “Oh mom,”
she said calmly as if speaking to me, “you curse like a longshoreman!”


The reason why everyone called my grandmother “Grandma Boots” was due to an incident
involving me as an infant. My mother claims to have taken me over there when I was only
four months old. Anyway, my mother told me that all the aunts and uncles were congregated
together for my grandmother's official birthday party. My grandmother just so happens to
be born on leap year.
Now on this particular Saturday at the height of the festivities, just
when everyone was making a big fuss over me, my mother said I astounded them all!

I pointed to my grandmother who had just finished boasting about a new pair
of boots she had just bought for herself
, and said defiantly, “Gaama Boots!”



According to my mother the whole house went crazy! It must have sounded really good to me,
because that was all I said for the remainder of the entire year! From that moment on, no one
ever called her Mildred again, but rather, Grandma Boots. Eventually, the phrase evolved thanks
to my cousin Roberta, who at some point in the early seventies changed it to Grandma Bootsie.


Upon entry to the adjacent room was a full sized bed with a fancy wooden headboard. My father's
bed while growing up in the house and a very odd walk-in closet. My father called it, the suffocation
room. One day when I was three or four years old, I inquired by asking him what was behind those
doors. “Listen” he said, “because I'm only gonna say it once. Under no circumstance whatsoever
are you to even think of going into this room. Do you understand?” “But why?” “Because it's very,
very dangerous! Do I make myself perfectly clear? Not only are there some very sharp tools in
there. There's also mice in there, not to mention the exposed wiring and half a dry rotted floor,
so unless ya wanna fall through the floor and land on your grandmother's dining room table, I
suggest you stay outta there.” Not knowing what to say, I just nodded my head in agreement.



“I'm just making sure that we understand each other,” he said, and that was the end of it.


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                         Sleeping in the attic

Once when I was five years old, my mother locked my father out of the house, and we were
forced to stay at my grandmother's house. It was quite convenient at the time for it was only
one house down and on the same side of the street! As we entered the house, I asked my father
if he had a favorite TV show when he was growing up; his reply surprised me. “When I was
about ten or eleven years old, I asked my brother, “what's a television set?” He said to me, and
I'll never forget it, “it's a radio with a picture.” “Okay,” I said, because I just wanted to know.”



                                                                       

Now to make a long story short, I was following my dad and we were headed upstairs to sleep in
the attic, because my aunt's bed was slightly larger than the one downstairs in my fathers old room.
As any typical child growing up in the mid nineteen sixties, I had a bladder control problem.
In other words, I had to go to the bathroom quite often. Anyway, the story had already been
told to me about Captain Hook and the suffocation room, so there was no way he could reverse
it. If you take into consideration that the bathroom was on the second level under this bedroom,
and my father could only fall asleep in complete darkness, then you would understand my dilemma.




At around four O'clock in the morning, I woke up and had to pee. Being that I was afraid
of the dark, I started to shake my father and told him he had to go downstairs with me.
That I couldn't go down there alone. What he did next was amazing! Child psychology at
its best. He then proceeded to remove the magnificent solid gold Christ head pendant from
around his neck and put it around mine. “Now,” he said, “you're protected from devils,
hobgoblins, monsters under the bed and most of all, Captain Hook in the closet, now go.”
“What about you,” I said, sounding most concerned? “Don't worry about me, I'll be fine.”



“What if Captain Hook comes out?” “If Captain Hook comes out, I'll kick him in his balls
and throw him through the window! Now for the second time, go.” “What if something
gets me anyway?” “Aww, Jee-zus Cah---rist! That would be a human impossibility! Do you
understand what impossible means? It means that it can't under any circumstance happen,
now for the third time, go!” As I stepped down from the bed into that pitch black darkness,
I was without fear. Then, with total confidence, I descended the old winding staircase.
One that squeaked and gave an occasional snapping sound, that could have awoken evil.

Finally, I reached the bottom where I did my business and returned in total obscurity! As I
climbed back into bed, I felt the chimera's scurry around the room, and could almost see one
cleaving unto the bedpost. “Who's in charge now,” I thought to myself with a wry smile? “Hand
it over,” my father said to me. I looked at him in astonishment, before asking if I could give the
medallion back in the morning. “If you think for one minute that you're gonna be foolin' around,
while I'm sleepin' ya got another thing comin,' now give it up!” As I gently removed the pendant
from around my neck and handed it back to my father, the monsters under the bed slowly returned.



Not to mention Captain Hook, who could almost be heard
gritting his teeth, ever so disdainfully from the closet!


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                         The suffocation room

Only once did I ever go in there. I was with my father, and I remember him closing the
bedroom door and pulling the roller blinds down on that main window. The sun was out in
full force, which meant my confidence level was up and just knowing that darkness would
not fall anytime soon, it was enough to keep me from being frightened of almost anything!


As I recall, it was a hot summer day in July, 1969. My father had just opened the first set
of doors, and all that was visible to the naked eye was a ladies' coat closet. Sliding back
a row of coats, the sweet smell of mothballs and cedar dominated the air. A second door
could now be seen. Pulling a slide bolt from above and turning a handle would open this
door, where warm air could now be felt trying to escape. Behind this door was the strangest
door I had ever seen. It was about three inches thick and solid for it was made of old maple!
There was an image carved on the door of a demon head, kind of like the one you would
expect to see on a Victorian throne chair! It was a one of a kind, custom made door, crafted
in the late 1850's for my great-great grandfather by R.J. Horner & Co.



This image was also surrounded by a double roped border.


The inner border seemed to be glowing a vibrant, dark red,
while the outer ring appeared to be stable in composition
and quite impenetrable to the elements of time and heat.

As the door was pulled open an updraft was created, and we got an eyeful of dust
and fine insulation particles. It felt like we had just stepped into a musty wooden
sauna that was beginning to feel more like a crematorium with each tight swallow!


I was six years old at the time, when we crept in slowly. All I could hear and feel was the sound
of my own labored breathing and accelerated pulse that seemed to be making my carotid artery
dance.
“We have to be very quiet,” said my father in a low frightened voice, “cause the last thing
you wanna do, is wake up Captain Hook.” Dad was cool back then, and he talked like one of the
Bowery boys! Mom was attracted to him because he was somewhat of a rebel and nothing ever
really bothered him much. Nowadays, he is the epitome of ill-will. There is only so much blame
we can put forth on the human condition, before we have to start analyzing our own hearts.


The story of Captain Hook in the words of my father. . .

“He's got a patch over one eye that a big black spider lives in, and his face is so deformed with
long cuts and terrible scars, that his nose is only half there. Most of his hair is gone and his scalp
is riddled with infections! There are patches of oozing flesh where his ears used to be and his
bottom lip is completely gone. Torn off in a pirate fight! He'd love nothing more than to eat little
children in the closet. Eat 'em alive as they scream, while he's pullin' out their guts! First he rips
your eyes out and then your tongue! Then after that he eats your face! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!


                                                                            Pg 53
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Dad told the story as if he were narrating a sideshow in Coney Island, way before everything
became candy coated mush. . . His face all contorted in tale, made it great to see and hear!



“You gotta tell Steve that story dad, please!” Steve was my friend who lived next door to us in
the same duplex apartment, and he was four. “You're the only one who knows the story of Captain
Hook and besides, little Stevie tells his mother that story, and they'll be lookin' to put me in jail.”


Slowly, we proceed to enter in past the third door, and I could feel my heart beating out of my
chest. Inching forward, it felt like I was entering another dimension where I immediately froze!



Dad grabbed my arm, as he shined the flashlight towards the end of the closet. Slumped over in a
chair was none other than the notorious Captain Hook! His skull was torn open, and he actually
looked worse than my father had described!!! The worst thing my delicate young mind could ever
see or witness without cracking! He clutched my wrist and then pulled me in front of him! Face to
face was I now with the most frightening creature I had ever seen before in my life! I was paralyzed
with numbing terror as I stood trembling in the failing light. Far beyond anything my fragile little mind
could ever possibly imagine or manufacture on its own, and right now this monster was eye to eye
with me! Staring me down from less than two feet away! He twitched! I just saw him twitch!!!


“He's in a deep sleep now,” whispered my dad in a very low voice, “so don't even breathe,
because if he wakes up, he's gonna lunge for us and probably rip our throats out of our head.”


Suddenly, and without warning this thing springs up to its feet, and my heart exploded!!!
I thrashed like a rodeo bronco and left my father for dead, as I bolted from that closet taking
no prisoners! Running toward those vermicular stairs and falling down most of them, I swiftly
opened the narrow door that led to this sinister place and slammed it shut behind me, keeping
my back ever so tightly pressed against it! Just in case, after it finished eating my father, it
should happen to come look for me! All at once, a ghastly bellow is heard from behind that
door along with heavy pounding! I then released an ear piercing scream!!! I was white from
fear as my grandmother consoled me. As my father slowly came peering out from behind the
old attic door, he said in a grimacing tone, “What-sa-matter, don'tcha wanna meet Captain Hook!”
“You know Richard,” said my grandmother in a state of total duress, “you're really stupid!” “Look
at him!!! Can't you see, he's terrified?” After giving my father a piece of her mind for doing what
he did, she made him carry down the dummy to show me that it wasn't real. “Ya see,” he said,
“I pull the fishing line that's attached to his neck and Captain Hook jumps up like he's alive!”
“We gotta do that to Steve,” I bolstered with such enthusiasm! “Can we dad? Can we?
“Yeah-heah,” said my father, while laughing most heartily. “And then we'll have to move.”



                                                                                       The Virgin Sleep - Secret

                                                                            Pg 54
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Inkpop reviews for chapter 1
0


Evie J - I really enjoyed that! I had to finish reading it because I couldn't stop. It was very

interesting and different. I like it a lot! I'm definitely going to check out your other chapters.


Reviews for chapter 10 via email


William Davis -
If you made this into a movie you would win the academy award!


Charles Pendelton - If I made this into a movie, I would be going to jail.


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PG 47) Tuberculosis poster circa 1930's - http://tinyurl.com/leddovc

PG 47) 1904 Vintage Ad for Flexible Flyer Sled -
http://tinyurl.com/ldauwd9

PG 47) Slinky
Advertisement 1957 - http://tinyurl.com/nk55tks

PG 48) Vita Memoriae
by Vladimir Kush - http://vladimirkush.com/

PG 49) Star Trek
television series -
http://tinyurl.com/63h6fy

PG 49) Scholar meditating
by Rembrandt - http://www.rembrandtpainting.net/


PG 49) Kit Cat Klock  @ 
http://www.kit-cat.com/


PG 50) Pg 11
from The Gashleycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey - http://tinyurl.com/4mkotuv

PG 51) S. A. Byers Fine Boots and
Shoes - http://tinyurl.com/mxgmdw3

PG 51) The Forgotten Door
by Autumn Alchemy - http://tinyurl.com/mgxldpv

PG 52) Video killed the radio star
by Lauren Mortimer - http://tinyurl.com/k3mz3cz

PG 52) The Boogyman
by Michael Whelan - http://www.michaelwhelan.com/

PG 52) Night terrors by Natalia Urchina

PG 52) Monster under the bed
by zilla774 - http://zilla774.deviantart.com/

PG 53) R.J. Horner & Co. advertisement
circa 1887 - http://rjhorner.com/

PG 54) Illuminatus-R-Us
by Michael Pucciarelli - http://www.poochisland.com/

PG 54) The Word by Judson Huss - http://tinyurl.com/kn32xb5