Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 16

                   The land of dry tonics


No one bothered the deteriorating skeleton, but the hungry tree it resided in. The passing
of time had overshadowed the age before it, and its young builders were now old men,
dying or dead. The steps going up resembled broken bones that inverted outwards
where many of them were missing. A clear sign that they had fallen off and were left to
dissolve on the ground. Water could be heard gently rushing by as we departed from
this historic place, onward to the 4th gathering spot. Up around the bend and away from
Eagle's Creek we went, walking gingerly and telling stories of days long since passed.

We soon reached our place of solace where worries fade. This enclave was surrounded
by a dozen oak trees, one in particular had another tree growing out of it. So isolated
were we on this path that it truly felt like we were lost in a mighty forest! Cut off from
modern day civilization. I walked that advantageous trail, as if I were sleep walking in
a dream, while looking out from spiritual eyes that seemed to lead me. As I walked
dreamily on, I started to think about the native American tribes who once lived here.

Once our ancestors got a foothold, they managed to roust the Indians from their own
land leaving them with nothing. God I thought, we are so terrified of another country
coming in and doing that to us, but we didn’t seem to have a problem uprooting
another cultural society, if it was to our benefit. I then wondered if it was not beyond
the realm of fiction to actually find the remains of an old tepee or better still, a dome
shaped wigwam that we could hang out and party in! Hey, anything was possible! 



                                                  How awesome would that be?


As we approached the 4th gathering spot, those thoughts departed and did not return.
Here by the path's entrance was a cast iron horse head mounted to a red pole. The first
year we moved into the new house, the Calloway's put it out for garbage, so I brought
it here. I then used a post hole digger, before pouring half a bag of concrete mix in.
Carefully, I drew back while tamping the dirt firmly into place. No need to add water,
I just waited for it to rain. With a sinister face, that stallion looked menacing and the
steel ring in its mouth made him come alive! “Be careful,” I said to Peter, “he bites!”


Walking in, we saw the magnificent cluster of trees. On this huge American Beech
tree was a giant carving that read in swelled up letters MK L0vEs HT, surrounded
by fancy designs. I would have asked the old lady about this, had I known of it then.
The lettering was deformed and blotted and below the heart was the date 1919. For
it to still be here 63 years later it had to be carved pretty deep, and the assiduous task
probably took over a week to complete. What else did one have to do that was so
important in 1919? I am sure that in itself was very. I felt the letters and they were
smooth, like words on paper. In another few years sadly, it will be gone forever.




Back when I first moved here seven years ago, I took a collection of old bottles
from my room and filled this nondescript area with them. 26 bottles in all ranging
from 1870 to 1916 still ameliorate the land! All together it reflected the appearance
of a fashioned bottle mine that was truly wonderful to look at and reminisce over.


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“These bottles haven't been touched since you last put them here,” said Peter in an off-key voice.
“That is amazing.” He then picked up one of the bottles to better examine it. It was pale green
and cloudy in color, but its texture was anything but smooth. Almost as if it was buffed with fine
sandpaper. That was an old bottle I found on the shore while digging. He slowly read the name
aloud before running his fingers along the raised embossing that bore its name, “H. Rummel.”
It had a 'blob top' unlike anything sold today and the glass itself was much thicker. Carefully,
he placed it down before reaching for a much smaller bottle. This one was half the width, brown
and square. It read Dr. J Hostetter's stomach bitters. “It's like a little museum out here, said Peter
calmly. “If anybody ever stumbles upon this place, they're either gonna take em or break em.”


 
“That is why the recreants of our society have no business in our affairs.” *I spoke aristocratically.*

I then sparked up the doob and we took six hits each! I looked at the tree again, and it appeared to
be changing. Was it moving before my very eyes? Young laughter could almost be heard coming from
deep inside the very tree itself, like those boys were still somehow here! As I looked up into the bough
of branches, I thought to myself how verdant and lovely is this paradise of mine! As faint as a
whisper and as rapid as the wings of a June bug in mid July, did time begin to relax before unwinding
into the past. The writing on that tree seemed to be more pronounced than it was only ten minutes ago.




I soon began to dwell on the people living in Egypt, and endless miles of marijuana growing wild
in the desert sand. As I thought of bronze men cultivating and watering, it wasn't long before I
fell into a dream. From here, I drifted away like a lost airship! One with no wings; a dirigible!



Through the clear blue sky, I can see houses falling in Egypt. In their place men are building pyramids for they are impervious
to the winds of change.
The Great Pyramid Hotel which now stands before me is as majestic as the Pharaohs who once built it!



I could see there was but one entrance hole cut into the aeneous stone, and so I
sluggishly pulled myself across a sea of shifting sand
, blazing in the midday sun.

Deteriorating monuments stand faceless and gaunt, having all but turned to powder
from the constant swirling of windblown sand. Several large eggs can be seen on
the surface, from a time when Cleopatra was queen of the Nile. Whatever was inside
them has long since dried up within their salmon colored shells of terracotta.



On one of the disintegrating columns to the far right that appeared to be crafted of sand,
sat a black cat. The gorgeous feline which had no earthly business being there seemed to be
quite content roasting in the heat of his own oppression. How he got up there, I'll never know!



Around the hotel was a two foot wall made of hardened clay. Many people gathered by this
wall to either sell their wares or converse freely. Others were attending to the field of sweet
smelling marijuana which spread like wildfire through the desert, penetrating the heart of the
well established city. It was not unusual to see them growing around schools and nurseries.



As I finally reach the opening and walk through it, I am inside. How comfortable it is now!
The way one would feel turning on an air conditioner during a heat wave with the humidity
soaring. As the room begins to cool down that conflagrant inferno dissipates to become
once again, a habitable sanctuary of bliss. To roll the naked body around on those cool
bed sheets is actually more refreshing than an ice cold glass of water!


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It's almost like love in a way, when you can't get enough of your partner. In those moments
of heated passion tell me you wouldn't do anything to please that person you love. . .


Walking slowly, a beautiful lady steps forth from the shadows to greet me. I am Hathor,
feel free to exercise your mind and spirit as you proceed. I am sure you will find this place
most enchanting. “Won't you guide me?” I asked in a passive tone. “If I could I would, but
I cannot stray from the entrance block, or anything may happen to wander in. Go; explore.”



Continuing my observation, I find this pyramid to be the size of a small metropolis! Its base was
wider than the Isle of Staten and the pinnacle of its glory reached higher than anything else that
had ever been constructed by man. The entire structure extended upwards to a height of 60,001 ft.

As I walked ever forward, my eyes like telescopic lenses descried an image to the far wall
that I perceived to be a map, but came up short for it was merely erosion. In an odd kind
of way, it looked like a calico impression of a windstorm emblazoned on the stonewall.




Following the warm stray breeze that had found its way inside the cool enclosure,
there was a gentle sound of music playing somewhere off in the distance; the sound of
a gold pedal harp. There were several women standing alongside a fountain that had
stopped flowing, and before my very eyes the water dried up and the fountain cracked.



Eventually, I found a walkway chiseled into its polygonal structure. Next to this, inscribed
on the wall read, “Rest-au-rant, floor 23” in an ancient form of script. You have got to be
kidding me! I decided to take the wind elevator, because I was way too high to trudge up
twenty three floors, even if it is all just
a daydream in my unabandoned mind.

Pressing the elevator button, which was a rather large circle approximately half the size
of an overextended human skull,
I paused to examine the face within the lighted glass.



It was an animated representation of that freckle faced boy in the famous cartoon series from
the 1950's, “Paloma” created by B. Raines. You remember he was always trying to win her
affections, but would fail miserably because she was the town's beloved damsel, and
he was
just a boy.
Oops, due to a glitch in time, Jane Ellsworth never met Tom Raines at the checkout
counter in France, and so Bobby is never conceived. Damn, now it's President Breckenridge.

“People, please stop using the time machine in the main quadrant!!!”

As the elevator door rolled open, the giant slab slid gracefully into the wall without making a
sound. Wow I thought, not only is it quiet but efficient as well! Please, said the gentleman
inside the elevator, do step in! What is your name kind sir, if I might ask? Murray, pleased
to meet your acquaintance! Same here old chap! *I really do love saying old chap today!*

As the door closed, I shook hands with Murray before making my exit.
A firm handshake meant the man had character. Had he extended a fish
for me to shake, well, in that case, I would have been most displeased.




In a fanciful script above the ingress leading into the rest-au-rant read the following words,
The Egyptian Sands Restaurant.
“Why is there only one elevator per floor,” I asked
myself quietly? “Eases the confusion,” said the wine steward in a gruff tone. “How wide
is this restaurant dining area?” “It is comparatively larger than most with arranged seating
and adequate accommodations. Without striking a chord that would straighten Haydn's hair,
I must say this area is exactly 30.7 miles from one side. . . (sighs) . . . to the other.


“Man-a-schevitz on ice I declared loudly, arousing attention from nearby patrons!


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I simply could not get over how enormous it was! I then tried to envision how hot it must be in that
one room box on the 670th floor,
and it twisted my brain in a knot! The climb alone would kill you!
“Do you really wish to know, asked the wine steward, reading my mind again?” “By all means, I
said. “147 degrees, but it will reach 153 before day's end. If you're thinking about going there, don't.”



I wanted to see what was going on outside, but everyone knows a pyramid is devoid of windows!



As I passed under a long arch leading into the dining room area, I gazed down at my clothes
to find I was standing in a salt suit! However, as I came out from under this arch and into the
rest-au-rant itself, I was now dressed in a much better outfit! Off to the side of the dessert
tray stands two dogs were rending my garments to shreds! “They fight over it,” said a waiter.
“It is salty, you know!” Loppo the Maître d' assigned to the Egyptian Sands restaurant on the
23rd floor is most kind. “Would you be so sweet as to follow me to your table madam?”

He speaks with a heavy foreign accent as the women in front of him blush.
“Oh Loppo!”

Soon he has returned and greets me with a pleasant, “how are you this fine evening my good
sir?” “Very pleased to meet your acquaintance, Loppo.” “Please,” he says mildly, “this way,”
beckoning me forward, as I follow in tow. “By the window that is not there?” We all laugh!
“If you do not mind, this lovely lady looks very lonely.” “No, no, I don't mind at all. It would
be my pleasure.” As I gazed about the room, I saw jet black sheets of polished charcoal,
which seemed to resemble a form of obsidian glass adorning the ceiling. This hardened
stone, when reflected with the lighting created the perfect ambiance. Along the stone wall
were literally thousands of hieroglyphics, stencil patterns, and innumerable stone paintings.



Standing directly across from this exotic woman, I spoke with flair while bowing my head
ever so gracefully. “Ma-dam,” I said with an air of distinction, but dragged the second syllable
to sound like a third rate comic! She immediately giggled and patted the seat for me take it.


                                                              Cleverly amused perhaps!



*In the upper echelons of society, I believe I would fare quite well*

As I sank deep into the plush upholstery, I couldn't help but notice that she kept one white glove
on her left hand at all times. I wasn't quite sure if I should mention this to her. What if it was a
terrible burn or a scar or something? As she gently caressed the monogrammed table linen with
her free hand, she asked, “do you like wine?” She spoke as though she were afraid to stain the
air. “I love wine,” I said, pretending to be someone else. “Then you should try this one.” Slowly,
she pushed her glass toward me across the gaudy and heavily shellacked stone table. With genteel
manners, I took the glass and brought it to my nose. Ever so gently did I examine its color while
taking in its delicate bouquet. Mildly fragrant with a subtle hint of nuts in the balance. I then
took a small sip. “This wine is too watery,” I said before sliding the glass back to her.


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She looked at me with these sad puppy eyes before turning shy. “Would you
have been so honest with me, if I were someone else?” I pondered the question
but it made no sense. She then touched the wine with her fingertip, and it turned
to blood. “What is that supposed to mean?” “I think you know.” Gently, she
began rolling her index finger around the rim of the crystal wine glass which
acted as a signal for the violinists to start playing. As the classical sound of
violas, violins and cellos filled the air, I looked away and that upset her.

“I'm over here!”
“Okay then, why don't we just take a look at our menus and. . .”
“Stop, your ruining everything!”
“I'm sorry,” I replied stunned.
“So am I,” she said flustered, and in a tone that could only imply a deep sorrow.

With that she began to remove the white glove from her left hand, finger by
finger until it was finally off. I noticed a silver ring on her finger and moved
in closer to see what design it bore. “Oh no,” I thought as I looked back at her,
wounded and in shock. “I am so sorry,” she said in that hauntingly familiar
voice. When I saw who was looking back at me, I gasped. “Did you really
forget me baby?” she asked in a sad voice that went on to touch my heart,
mind, and spirit alike. Just to see those eyes and hear that voice again blew
my heart into a thousand pieces. A voice that was undeniably her own.

Suddenly, the world stopped and everything was sucked back into its shell,
which fell to the floor and cracked open.

It was almost as if the earth froze and all life became stock-still.




That quiet deadness of complete nothing and then I was back. Quickly, I felt a rush of emotion leave
my being and flow from my eyes and nose. This startled Pete who noticed something was wrong.
“You all right man?” “I'm not quite sure what just happened, excuse me.” I hastened away to an area
where I could be alone. It was there, I let myself go. Once it started, it had to run its course. “I never
thought I would see you today,” I said to the wind that rustled gently through the bushes as I wept,
unable to break those fettered chains that bound my heart. Removing her image from my mind was
like closing a door of dreams. Even though the memory brings intense emotional sorrow, you still
feel compelled to embrace it, knowing full well it will utterly destroy you in the end. I miss her so.


                                                                       The Clue - She's the reason



“Be there in a minute,” I yelled in a deep voice, trying to conceal my anguish by attempting
to make it sound normal. She then was gone as quickly as she had come to visit me.




Briefly, we sojourned at the comfort of this secluded resting spot before continuing
our excursion into the depths of the unknown. From there we made our ascension
through uncharted territory in a delusional state from the weed.


                                                                                 The Reasons Why - Night time, day time
                           
                                                                               Pg 83
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Reviews for chapter 1
6

Raisa Vatrenko  - I never tried drugs before. Is this how you form stories so well?



Chas. Pen  - Thank you Mr. Bao for pointing out the artist who painted, "The medicine teepee,"
                    and so, I will now make the change from unknown to Joseph Henry Sharp. . .

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PG 79) The medicine teepee by Joseph Henry Sharp - http://tinyurl.com/lc8fl2h

PG 79) Turn of the century tree carving - http://tinyurl.com/nythuvt

PG 80)
Vintage advertisement of Dr. Roback's Stomach bitters, circa 1866 - http://tinyurl.com/m47ghdh

PG 80)
Atlas of Wander by Vladimir Kush - http://vladimirkush.com/

PG 80)
Paris at 20th century by Gilles Roman - http://tinyurl.com/ljqu8y3

PG 80)
Call of souls by Ilene Meyer - http://www.ilenemeyer.com/

PG 80)
# 164 by Bjørn Richter - http://bjornrichter.no/

PG 80)
Black Cat by Ciruelo Cabral - http://www.dac-editions.com/

PG 80)
Egyptian flower girl by Frederick Goodall - http://tinyurl.com/n5q2x35

PG 81)
Egyptian princess by Boris Vallejo - http://vallejo.ural.net/

PG 81)
Warthogs by Ilene Meyer - http://www.ilenemeyer.com/

PG 81)
Egyptian woman
by Kinuko Y. Craft - http://tinyurl.com/qe6ua9j

PG 81)
Skull with its lyric appendage leaning on a bedside table which should
             have the exact temperature of a cardinal's nest
by Salvador Dalí - http://www.virtualdali.com/

PG 81)
Secret Place by Keith Spangle - http://tinyurl.com/lg359oz

Pg 82) Untitled by Tomasz Alen Kopera -
http://alenkopera.com/

PG 82)
Giza Portal by Michael Pucciarelli - http://www.poochisland.com/

PG 82) Whisper by Fattah Hallah Abdel - http://tinyurl.com/kg5lq44

PG 82)
Nude by Gyuri Lohmuller - http://tinyurl.com/jwlh955

PG 83)
A Break in Reality by Xetobyte - http://tinyurl.com/levdoqv

PG 83)
Awaken by the Angel by Samy Charnine - http://charnine.com/

PG 83)
When the memory returns remade by Gyuri Lohmuller - http://tinyurl.com/jwlh955