Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 20

            Where Eagle Creek divides


The 8th and final resting spot was met with a sigh of relief. “It certainly is great to be here,”
said Peter like a monotone announcer from the early seventies. He appeared to be mimicking
the voice of Roger Kelting from,“The Prisoner of Second Avenue,” but I couldn't tell for sure.

He then began looking around and seemed to be in a very comfortable state of mind.
Listening to the birds singing, it sounded as though we were a thousand miles away.
As we watched two squirrels play, happily chasing each other around a tree as they
went up, I couldn't help but feel at peace with my surroundings. It was almost as
a deer could come wandering past and then disappear into the ripple of time.

I wondered what the animals were thought as we came forth to take pleasure in this day.
Their communication was as profound to us as ours was to them, and I couldn't help but ponder
if they felt passion when
exercising love or is it just an act of procreation brought about by an
intense will to save one's
species from extinction? Obviously, they can solve numerous problems
and build their own shelters
with whatever is readily available, but do they dream? I was once
told that all living things dream, but
that little bit of wisdom came from a friend of a friends
friend who was very drunk at the time.

This magical place now appeared to be a small utopia for all the little creatures of
the day and evening alike. For us, it was a haven. A place of refuge from the world.
Just a temporary respite from the inexcusable contention that has been brewing.

“Hey, check this out,” said Peter, pointing to a bird's nest that could be seen high up.
“They're all over the place, these nests.” I then walked over to the large, weeping willow
tree that stood like a timeless symbol of prosperity in a town so overpopulated by
houses and businesses; it was alarming. The towering mass, with its long silk branches
dangling down, was the point that separated Eagle's creek. Here water flowed, filtering
around its roots in the stone-lined trench before separating into two smaller streams.

The water then changed course by traveling through the woods in opposite directions,
only to end up in faraway culverts on distant streets. I gently placed a small green leaf
into one of the streams and watched it sail away. I then took out a lone Garcia y Vega
Java Tip and lit up.

“Do you know that I've been stoned the entire year?”

“Me too,” said Peter before singing “Life's been good” by Joe Walsh of The Eagles,
and anyone who has never heard it should seriously hang their head in shame.

                                                        Joe Walsh - Life's been good

Slowly, he proceeded to remove a withered pack of “Spanish Tips” from his back pocket.

Immediately Pete noticed that one of the cigars is cracked and the other is broken.
First, he became despondent, and then he became irate. “Ain't that somethin'. I have
three cigars, two of which are broken. What the hell am I supposed to do with these
now? Doing all this climbing around like an idiot. God damnit, son-of-a-fucking bitch!”

Not knowing what else to do, Peter hurled the cigar at a tree like an angry knife thrower.
He then held the other cigar gently in his hand, like he would a dying mouse that he needed
to say goodbye to. He then tightened his fist, and all I would remember was a blood-red face,
bulging veins and a lot of clenched teeth. Overwrought with grief and terrified by the notion
that he may have actually
lost two twenty-five cent cigars, he reaches deep down into his
pocket and pulls out
the white handkerchief once more before shaking it open.

                                                                               Pg 95

From there he wipes away the formation of sweat particles before stuffing the
white hanky back into his pocket. Calmly, he proceeds to unwrap the good cigar
and light it, but not before stuffing the crumpled pack back into his rear pocket.

You're keeping the empty cigar pack?” I asked inquisitively.

What am I supposed to do with it? Are you the cigar police now?”

“No, I just don’t think you should keep it.”

“What?” said Peter, shaking his head in disbelief.

“Do I have to spell it out for you. . . It's - - emp-ty.”

“Yeah, and just what the fuck does that mean?”

“It means that I just think you should throw it away.”

Unable to contain myself, I begin laughing.

Peter then gently removes the empty cigar pack from his
back pocket and, in a calm voice, begins speaking to it.

“You know, I'm really not sure if I’m supposed to laugh right now.”

At this point, my laughter could not be controlled.

“And guess what,” said Peter with a devilish grin,
“I’m still not throwing it away. As a matter of fact,
I might even sleep with it tonight. . .”

I was now in stitches, doubled over.

As Peter pondered things I could never understand, I puffed away
on a spicy brown-tipped cigar. In my mind, I was thinking to myself
quietly about how wonderful it was to be here.

I pulled out John's old brass ram bowl from my pocket and was surprised to see it.

How is it that I do not remember putting this pipe into my pocket? I'm really beginning
to forget a lot of things lately, and that has me concerned. I looked at it strangely before
shaking my head. I then packed it full of Neptali Sable. Two years ago, John bought a
series of hand pipes for smoking weed. He would fiddle around with them, unscrewing
the parts and then changing their initial design. Eventually, he had a very unique pipe
that everyone wanted. After a while, he got tired of it and made a much better one
with the head of a unicorn. The ram bowl he gave to me. I sparked the Egyptian herb,
inhaled it, and passed it on to Peter. He toked and passed, and we joked and laughed
till I started to float off the ground.

My legs wavering like they had become liquid
, and I literally forgot how to walk.
Meanwhile, all around the huge tree, sunlight covered the earth like spilled paint.

                                                The Non Pareils - Willow tree

Do I dare leave the comfort of the tree's shadow to trifle in the burning sun?

The mere thought of stepping out of this shelter and into the harshness of the
exposed light made me feel uneasy. As if I had suddenly and without warning
been cast into a statue of pure white chocolate. Even within the serene
of the shade, the humidity made me feel like I was starting to melt.

As my mind set sail across the great horizon, I left this place to disappear in a dream.

I was now too tired to lift even my own arm. How torpid was I in this lethargic
state where I sat totally incapacitated and growing weaker by the moment. Here,
I listened to the slow and gentle movement of the water as it trickled by, and my
mind became fixated on it. Through closed eyes, I felt like I was under a Great
Banyan tree that seemed to go on forever. Sheltered from the sun, I perceived
myself to be on a tiny island, only to find that island was slowly moving.

It felt so surreal, as if I had been somehow typecast into this
gorgeous postcard that people were reading and admiring
from afar, and so I let that image carry me away. . .

I then thought of a painting by Salvador Dali. It was “The Persistence of Memory,”
and as the picturesque scene began to dissolve all around me, a daguerreotype image
of yet another setting had been successfully captured in an imposing still frame.
Immediately, it turned into a classic Norman Rockwell painting that would one day
grace the front page of the Saturday Evening Post, but only in thought.

                                                                               Pg 96

The city appeared to be at peace with itself from what I could see. Standing upon the rooftop
of a rundown tenement complex, I could only imagine looking out over an entire civilization
of people scampering around and getting lost in the melee. I gazed up at the old wooden
water towers that adorned the horizon from the tops of roofs and examined them.

The stout ones appeared to be fairly clean with a marginal amount of discoloration
that looked more like a runoff of mascara than any kind of actual defiling from soot.
However, those real narrow ones that looked like they were erected during a cold
war were jet black as if sprayed with coal dust. So peaceful and tranquil were they
in reflecting the past that I found it hard to turn away.

Looking at the building's facade, I could see the steel shutters on each of its windows were
opened out. As my eyes extended past rows of haberdashery shops and small delis in the street,
there seemed to be some kind of development unfolding. As to what it was, I could not
for the panoramic view was a blur. Upon struggling to regain focus, I saw that it was a parade.

A corner parade, for there was now a happening scene on every street corner.

Down on the 1st corner, an authentic-looking organ grinder stands before the crowd set to dazzle.
He is playing a hand-operated organ, which is draped across his shoulders on a strap. With a little
capuchin monkey at his side dressed up as an infant bellhop, the gentleman performed C'est la vie.
During which time, the little monkey does a well-orchestrated dance atop the organ grinder's head.

The adults thought it was cute and amusing, but the children absolutely adored it. Aside
from everything else going on in the street below, it was like stepping back in time a hundred
years. The hot dog vendors were selling endless amounts of frankfurters, while on every other
block, the sausage and pepper carts stood firm. Only old Italian men occupied these wagons.

On the 2nd corner, a big burly man wearing a black and white striped tank top begins
tweaking his handlebar moustache. The entertainer will be attempting to lift what appears
to be a four-thousand-pound barbell. I know you, I said, elated; you're the strongman.”

He smiled politely before throwing some talcum powder on his hands. Then with great effort,
he lifted the one-piece barbell and hoisted it high above his head. With arms quivering and
knees wobbling, he quickly released it before jumping back onto the sidewalk. It landed
with an emphatic boom, taking the entire street down into the awaiting subway station.

All the smoke and debris soon gave way to the incessant sound of hands clapping. When this
happened, the bootblack, who had been shining shoes in the same spot for the last sixty-five
years, sprung to his feet and shouted, Play it again, Sam! You got the whole world movin!

                                                                               Pg 97

As I got a visual of the 3rd corner, I saw a barbershop quartet
performing an ‘a cappella’
rendition of Sweet Marguerite.

Oh, lady in blossoming flowered apparel,
bring all your
sorrows to me.
How dare he treat you unkind? He's a swine.
Let go of your manners, retreat.

On this street, the beer and tea flow endlessly.

Just then, I happened to notice all the women
were wearing floral hats, and every man
had in his mouth a long cigar. Several women dressed
as Victorian dolls were chatting
away by a shop. Pleasantly sipping their tea out of fine china
while giggling about
who saw who doing what in the back of the open-air carriage.

There were red and white hand-painted letters in a majority of the windows, surrounded by
of gray silk and lace. When you saw them from afar, the whole thing came to read,

“Welcome to the exhibition of 1890.
Come if you dare and be astounded!

On the Avenue of 4th, witness the spectacle of a freak sideshow with many different attractions.

See Yenera, the world's thinnest woman weighing in at only 12 pounds.
Watch Le Gran Haut, the world's fattest man, eat from sunup to sundown.
Observe him eating where he sits; the more he eats, the more he shits.

See the three-legged Persian man sidestep for the woman born with four arms.

They're all here.

Watch in awe as these human oddities show you how unpleasant
life can really be.
So disturbing that you'll leave feeling good about yourself.

Along the entire 5th block, amazing magicians are performing magic tricks unlike the world
has ever seen. Don't be afraid, as men in top hats escort your mentally ill to the Turn-Castle.

Watch in amazement as they come out of it and are returned to you symptom-free. Wave goodbye
to the demons of mental retardation, for they are now completely devoid of affliction.

                                               Oh, the betterment of wonder!

Pay a visit to world-renown fortune teller, Madame Toussant.
As she looks into your eyes, not only will she foretell the
future, but she will allow you to see it in her crystal ball.

Cover your face when Marchon Von Lutenburg dives
from the water tower on 5th & Lexington
through a
manhole cover down below and climbs out unscathed.

Many different attractions to shock and confound.

To the left, a young man spins cotton candy, while
to the right, an old man yells,
get yur funnel cake.

Hovering above the intersection on the 6th corner, I can
see clowns and jugglers performing
their acts in the street.

Stand clear. If he drops one of the bowling balls, you're in trouble.

                                                         Dave Davies - Death of a clown

Ventriloquists, with the help of horrifyingly real dummies, entertain the youngsters on
the sidewalk as they pass by
staring. It's the children, though, who know the
puppets are real. They are the ones who
should know they have nothing to worry
about. They are the ones who believe in things that
cannot be explained. But as
every parent will surely attest, they are the ones who worry the most.

                                                                               Pg 98

As young Jennie Kaster reached into her mother's pocket for a Mary Jane, (an ancient
old folks say has been around since the time of Christ), little Johnny Kaster reached
into his
own pocket for a R-ant. I'm sure you've heard of them. They were only made for
three years,
and if memory serves me correctly, the years were 1889 - 1891. After eight
months, the
name was changed to Red-Ants. The company used an extract of pure
that was imported from somewhere in Persia, where no one knows exactly.

All I can tell you is that the candy came in the shape of an ant, but the extract was only
found in a minute portion of the ant's body (or) abdomen. Meaning that it could easily be
broken off and thrown away since the rest of it supposedly tasted like sugar water. This was
told to me long ago by my great-uncle Vic, whose exact words were, and I quote, many
were already off in the box when you bought them. If you put five or six of them in your
mouth, it hurt like someone pulled a rubber band back all the way and let it snap.

They were just made too hot, and if you ate too many, you could
have a very serious problem, as in the case of young Johnny Bryan.

He collected a whole box worth and, on a dare from his friends, attempted
to eat them all at once. (((The end result))) His face turned red, his throat
swelled up, and he died.  Rest in peace, Johnny, wherever you are, kid. 

*Stay clear of doing stupid things*

Perraguine candy factory, if my memory serves me correctly,
was based out of Wyoming, I think.

Careful there, Johnny boy, said the ventriloquist who had witnessed the boy reaching for one
of those horrible candies. You don't want to burn your fin-gers, now do you? The boy started
crying and threw them in the street. Hmmm, thought the boy's father, how does he know my
son's name? As the ventriloquist turned away, his puppet gave the young boy a sharp wink.

Hurry up,” said an old man popping corn.
While the popcorn is popping, and the butter is hot.

Between the sixth and seventh corner, a man by the name of
Joe Martinson has set up shop in a sturdy wooden pushcart.

“Come on, if ya want a boost, it's better than chocolate.
Why it's the next best thing. The Java bean, the coffee bean,
get your cup o' Joe.

For only a nickel, see what I'm crazy about.
I'll make it bitter, I'll make it sweet, a little milk makes it complete.
Try my cup o' Joe.

A woman passing by mutters, your product will never replace tea.

In a caravan on the 7th corner, a traveling medicine show has set up, and their main
attraction is that of nitrous oxide. For a small fee, one can sit in a king's chair to inhale
a single breath of the anaesthetic. A king's chair was an elaborately adorned chair
enormous size and proportion that almost seemed to ridicule whoever sat in it.

“Make it snappy, folks; we only have one more hour to go,
before we pack up and ride outta here.”

“You'll lose your hat. You'll blow your cool.
Watch your neighbor as his tongue ties in truth.
His world, in a nutshell, is a nutshell.”

                                                                               Pg 99

I'll try that, said a distinguished gentleman in his mid-twenties, hopping
up in the chair. Twelve cents, please, said the man administering the drug.
Of course, said the man politely. Now when I say goose egg, inhale all
you can and go. The valve was turned on, and the man inhaled deeply.

As the numb tingling sensation invaded his brain like tiny feathers, the man in the chair
was thrown into a fit of boisterous hilarity, which caused him to convulse with roaring
laughter. He tried earnestly to listen to the voices around him, but they were so distorted
due to the loud swishing noise in his head; that seemed to tickle every fibre of his being.
body became so relaxed in the chair that he slumped back and began melting down it.

So ardently did he wish to say, the laughter the gas is doing, but instead ended
up only saying, Laughing. . . Gas. And so, at that moment, the term was coined.

When Peter began talking to me, all the little pieces in this montage of a movie
got stuck. Like an old motion-picture projector without a heating filter, the footage
started to bubble and
was destroyed. Thanks a lot, I said to myself, you made me
lose the rest of it.

I tell you, Charles, I'm so happy we don't have to go back the same way.
Just thinking about having to go through that tunnel
again gives me the willies.
For me, all the excitement
was gone because we had already experienced it once today.

I looked at my watch and saw it was almost four o'clock.

Pete insisted we go to his house to avoid any complications which may arise from
going back to my house. I knew if we stayed here, I would get pinned out for sure.
And so, we began the short walk into Eltingville. It took fifteen minutes to reach
Peter's house, and by that time, we decided to see what John was up to. John lived
on the same block. Three houses down from Pete and two houses up from Paul.

We knocked on the door, but there was no answer, so we went around through the
back gate. There stood John, looking like the master of ceremonies at a prestigious
garden party. Hey, how'd you two know to come by? You're right on time; I was
just gonna start the grill. I noticed the radio was tuned to CBS FM, and Orpheus
was singing Lesley's world. John told us to sit down and feel free to help ourselves
to some beer that was cleverly in ice at the bottom of concealed in the family cooler.

                                                                    Orpheus - Lesley's world

Pete said he had some things to do and that he would return in the evening.
When John asked me if he should spark up the grill, I said, sure.” He then
shuffled inside through the back door.
After a couple of minutes, he comes
down the stairs with a package of interconnected hot dogs.

He then brought down the rest of the condiments to accompany the meal so I
helped myself to a beer and cleaned the grill. When the food was finally ready,
ate and talked about vintage cars, sixties music, and the upcoming keg party. 

John liked Mustangs, corvettes, and GTOs from the nineteen seventies, while
I, on the other hand, preferred anything before 1960. As we drank and laughed,
the idea of taking mescaline arose. John said he had not taken it since last year.
We then looked at each other vaguely and replied in unity, the night of the loon.

An infamous night that would forever remain etched in our memory
like an indelible footprint.

                                        The Fairytale - Guess I was dreaming

                                                                               Pg 100


Reviews for chapter 20

Rupert Thompson - A very enjoyable tale of tomfoolery!

Stephen Marcus - I could not tell you the last time I got high. I think it was in school. (High) school lol



                                                 This review was posted on Oct/2/22

                                           Lameez' review

  Beta-Read Report for 'The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe - Chapter 20'

                                    Beta Reader: Lameez Rushin (Lameezisreal)

Overall Impression

It felt wholesome to know the final resting place is denotes rest,
after their travels it felt like a really nice place to end a journey.

Chapter Notes

From the way we move through the final resting place to the city, it's all minutely
described, down to the smallest details and I love it. It's wholly immersive.

Character Notes

Peter comes across as a little silly, the teasing about the empty cigar pack and
his general response. But again, this is banter you'd expect between friends as
close as they are. The Main Protagonist comes across as a watcher of sorts.

Thoughts After Finishing The Chapter

The serenity described in this chapter is almost unparalled. Imagining
the scene was effortless because you’ve described it perfectly.

Thank you so much and I’m excited to see your next chapter!


                                      This review was posted on Nov/6/22

                                   nehanegi1905 's review
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 20 -
Where Eagle Creek divides

                                    Reader's Report by nehanegi1905




                                       This review was posted on Nov/18/22

                                               iqrabashir871 's review
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 20 -
Where Eagle Creek divides

                                              Reader's Report by Iqra



                                          This review was posted on Nov/24/22

                                                          alits29's review

             The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 20 - Reader Report

                               Beta Reader's Report by Alitha Igloria (alits29)



                                       This review was posted on Dec/7/22

                                                   Hajranoor's review

The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 20 - Where Eagle Creek divides

                                            Reader's Report by Hajra



                                     This review was posted on Dec/31/22
                                               kanchanninawe's review

The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 20 - Where Eagle Creek divides

                                           Reader's Report by kanchan





                                                            This review was posted on Mar/6/23

                                                                   Reviewed by yashodha_95



                                    This review was posted on Mar/13/22

                                                  Alysorrow's review
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 20 - Where Eagle Creek Divides

                                        Reader's Report by Aly Sorrow


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PG 95) The prisoner of Second Avenue -

PG 95) Ghosts
by Ilene Meyer -

PG 95) A naked mole rat dreams of turnips
by Ursula Vernon -

PG 95) Joe Walsh
LP entitled "But seriously, folks" - 

PG 96) Newborn
by Petra Valouchova -

PG 96) The toaster
by Pawel Kuczynski -

PG 96) Welcome to Elmville by Norman Rockwell

PG 97) Brooklyn travel poster by
Steve Thomas -

PG 97) Organ grinder with monkey, circa 1892
by L. C. Overpeck -

PG 97) The strongman by
Jon Krause -

PG 98)
Spring by Édouard manet -

PG 98) The peerless prodigies poster
presented by The Barnum and Bailey circus -

PG 98) Thurston the Great poster circa 1900 -

Pg 98) Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey poster, The children's favorite clown -

PG 99) Ventriloquist Paul Winchell with Jerry Mahoney, his smoking dummy -

PG 99) Martinson's coffee newspaper advertisement circa 1950 -

PG 99) Nitrous Oxide gas entertainment (circa 1846) Museum of the city of New York

PG 100) Nitrous Oxide traveling sideshow

PG 100) Prison of Hallucination
by Szalai László -

PG 100) Life clishee
Raceanu Mihai Adrian -

PG 100) Greetings from Coney Island
- (circa 1907) -