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 film, “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.
We listened to birds singing and 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 if a
deer could come wandering through, and then disappear into the unseen ripple of time.

I wondered what they were thinking; the animals who have come to take pleasure in this day.
Their communication was as profound to us as ours is to them. Do they feel love when making
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 everything dreams, 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 it out,” said Peter pointing to a bird's nest that could be seen very 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 far away 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.”
Peter then begins singing, “Life's been good to me so far.”  Joe Walsh - Life's been good

Slowly, he proceeds to remove a withered pack of Spanish Tips from his pocket.
He immediately notices that one of the cigars is cracked and the other is broken. First
he became despondent, and then he became irate! “Ain't that something. 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 a mentally ill fool. . . God damnit, son of a fucking
bitch!!!” Not knowing what else to do, Peter hurls the cigars into the air like an angry
knife thrower! 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 again, before carefully 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, litter? As Peter pondered
things I could never know, I puffed away on a spicy brown tipped cigar. In my mind, I
was thinking to myself quietly, about the wonderful day God has bestowed upon us.

I pulled out John's old brass ram bowl from my pocket and was shocked 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 this has me concerned. I looked at it strangely before shaking my head.
I then packed it full of Neptali. 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 the most awesome pipe money could buy, that everyone
wanted! After awhile 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 and passed it on to Peter.
He toked and passed and we smoked and laughed, till I started to float off the ground!

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 extremely uneasy; as if I had suddenly and without
warning been cast into a statue of pure white chocolate. Even within the serene
borders 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 dream.
I was now too tired to lift up, even my own arm. How torpid was I in this lethargic
state where I sat totally incapacitated and growing weaker by the second. 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 tiny island carry me away. . .

I then thought of a painting by Salvador Dali, 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.

                                                                               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 imagined 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 its horizon from 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 discoloration 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, I found it hard to turn away.

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

A corner parade for there was now a happening scene on every single 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 monkey does a well orchestrated little dance atop the organ grinder's head!

The adults thought it was cute and amusing, but the little children absolutely adored it! Aside
from everything else going on in the street below, it was like stepping back a hundred years in
time! 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 across the way, a big burly man wearing a black and white stripped tank
top, begins tweaking his handlebar moustache. The entertainer is going to attempt to lift,
what appears to be a four thousand pound barbell. I know you, I said, you're the strongman!
He smiled politely, before throwing some talcum powder on his hands. Then with much effort
he lifted the one piece barbell and hoisted it high above his head! With arms quivering, and
knees wobbling, he quickly releases it and he jumped back onto the sidewalk, and 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 thirty 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 see 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 unfair, 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 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 many of the windows, surrounded by
borders of gray silk and lace, and when you read 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 sun up 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 hands coming out of her belly! They're all here! Watch in awe as these human oddities show
you how unpleasant life can really be! So disturbing, you'll leave feeling good about yourself!

Along the entire 5th block, those amazing magicians perform their magic tricks unlike the world
has ever seen! Here a man pulls helium balloons from thin air and gives them to the happy children.

Watch in horror as a grown woman turns into a slimy jellyfish and begins extruding pink,
edible gelatin from her nose! 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 horrifyingly real dummies entertain the children on the sidewalk as they pass by
staring! It's the young children though, who know that the puppets are real. They are the ones who
should know they have nothing to worry about. They are the ones who believe in those 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 candy
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 two years,
and if memory serves me correctly, the years were 1889 - 1891. After eight months, the
name was changed to Red-Ants. The company, (how foolish) used an extract of peppers
that were imported from somewhere in either Persia or India. 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 a long ago by my great-uncle Vic, whose exact words were as follows, many
were already off in the box when you bought them. But they were 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 little Johnny, wherever you are kid. 

*Stay clear of doing stupid things*

Perraguine candy factory, if I seem to remember correctly was based out of Wyoming, I think.

Careful there Johnny boy, said the ventriloquist who had witnessed the boy reaching for those
horrible candies. You don't want to burn your fingers, now do you? The boy started crying
and threw them at 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, let's go!!!

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.

By 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 anesthetic. (A king's chair was an elaborately adorned chair of
enormous size and proportion which almost seemed to ridicule whomever 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 that loud swishing noise in his head, which tickled every fibre of his being! His
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!

Peter began talking to me when suddenly, all the little pieces in this montage of a
movie got stuck. Like a projector on still frame, the footage started bubbling and
was destroyed. Thanks a lot, I said to myself, you made me lose the end 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. I know what you mean, and besides,
all the excitement's gone cause we came through there already.

I looked at my watch and found it to be nearing four.

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'd get pinned out for sure, and
so we began the short walk into Eltingville. It took us less than a half hour to reach
Peter's block, 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
had come on to sing, Lesley's world. John told us to sit down and feel free to
help ourselves to some beer that was cleverly concealed in the family cooler! 

                                                                                                            Orpheus - Lesley's world

Pete said he had some things to do and would return later in the evening. John then
asked me if he should spark up the grill, and I said, why not?” He then shuffled
inside before coming down the stairs with a package of interconnected hot dogs!

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

John liked Mustangs, corvettes and GTO's from the nineteen seventies, while I,
on the other hand, preferred anything before 1960. As we ate, 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.

                                                         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

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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)