Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 29

                      The Mystery Man and the Clown!



Approaching the steps leading up to the front door of my father’s house, I blew a thick
cloud of cigar smoke from my lips that gently ascended upward to encircle the streetlight
above. I then lobbed it into the bushes. Pushing down on the brass thumb rest, I found
it was locked. “That’s odd,” I thought, using my key to unlock the mechanism.
         
Here they come, ladies and gentlemen, the mystery man and the clown!


As I ambled down the hallway, I felt like I was walking down an aisle into the heart
of some strange bazaar where anything goes, and all the people I once knew and
loved would soon present themselves to me in a very unfashionable way. I was
just hoping ‘the detectives’ would not detect anything out of the ordinary.




Unable to deter this odd feeling that encaptivated me, I decided to embrace it
before strolling past the dining room, which separated
itself from the kitchen.
I could now hear a roaring crowd behind
the pastel curtain somewhere
between the kitchen and the park.


The redundant sounds of life echoed a stillness in my heart for those standing in
impecunious shadows. Within an illustrious setting, memories of yesteryear that would
unfurl for me this eve shall rise up to grace the foreboding skyline of my mind.


As we entered the kitchen, I thought, here we go, but there was nothing; no children
running out of the woodwork to greet me. No dad with his questionnaire form and stern
appearance; nor Gerry, lost in endless piles of laundry to wash and fold as she chased
after kids going to-and-fro, like a dog running after its own tail on a flea bender.




The house appeared to be devoid of all life, but that simply could not be.


On the kitchen table were three assorted manila folders containing my father’s
business information. A half-a-cup of morning coffee that Gerry had sipped
while wearing her seductive shade of red lipstick, and a half-a-dozen crushed
Virginia Slim cigarettes in the Caesars Palace ashtray she stole from Las Vegas
when my father took her there for the first and last time in the summer of ’76.

As we proceeded up the stairs, we were greeted by my Aunt Gloria.

“Here he is,” she said in a rather calm voice, “The mystery man.”

The incandescent woes reflected from
the ceiling light emanated
in sorrow to the likes of which I’d never seen l
ike my body was
gone, and I was standing there only in spirit.

“I haven’t
seen you in over a month,” she said. “How are you?”
“Well. . .” was all I could seem to utter before she focused her
attention on
my friend Richie and said, with an exasperated sigh,
“I live right next door to him, but I never see him.”


(After tonight, I thought, she'll probably never want to see me again)

“That’s because my nephew is so elusive and so mysterious; no one
ever knows what he’s up to. He doesn’t attend family functions. He
operates like a CIA agent, and most of the time, he disappears for
days on end, coming home only when it suits him.



So now. . .”

I cleared my throat loudly to prevent her from going any
further with her
rhetorical comments, but it didn’t work.

“So now, when one of his relatives asks about
him, I have to
tell them he’s among the missing. What else can I say, right?”


Rich was oblivious and just smiled.

“Where’s Pete the Lizard?” she asked.

“I’m surprised he’s not with you two.”

“I looked for him earlier, but he was nowhere to be found,” I replied.



Pete got that nickname from my father because of the way he acted around people.
Like a lizard hiding behind a warm rock or the tortoise afraid to stick his neck out for
fear that the axe may fall. He never had anything to say around my parents or anyone's
parents for that matter, and it always appeared that he was hiding something when in
reality, he was just being himself. Around us, though, he was quite the comedian.

My dad once said to me, “If someone can't look you in the eye,
beware because they're up to no good.” In the end, Peter would
rectify himself only after years of hard struggle.


                                                                               Pg 141
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My aunt didn’t seem to recognize my condition and told me the baby had a fever and
was taken to the hospital. The baby was my youngest sister, Carolyn. She was a fussy
baby that mostly cried and did her damnedest to attract as much attention as possible.




The house was now hauntingly somber even though it resonated with many lights.

Everything seemed more disturbing in the light, as if the truth would reveal itself in the
next word spoken. My aunt appeared sad in a way, and as she continued to speak, most
of her words became lost in translation. It’s not that I didn’t understand what she was
saying. I just couldn’t comprehend her words put into any type of order. Like reading a
novel and trying to remember passages when you didn’t want to read the book in the
first place, I put on an acting show to convey my emotion but felt only panic and shame.




If she knew, would she tell the others?
Would I be persecuted for my role in this play?
Was I wrong for exercising my right to uphold our freedom?


It wasn’t like I was using intravenous drugs and then going out and robbing
convenience stores. Everything I did was well within the boundaries of what
my peers might deem acceptable. I was merely experimenting with the effect
drugs have on the mind and then documenting it afterward.

I would write extensively on the subject before revising it at a later date.

I only did it because I knew, within the fiber of my being, that I was the only person
on the planet who could understand the way it had to be deciphered and perfected.

Since I wasn't hurting anyone and being that it was solely to aid in my research
studies, I felt confident enough to experiment on my own, unlike many I knew at
the time, who were fearful of opening that door. To them, it was the equivalent of
ingesting a poison that would take them to a place of unfamiliar surroundings
filled with phantasms and nightmarish shadows. In a way, they were correct.
 

The key was to not make a habit of it.



In fact, there were only a handful of days that would be allocated toward
building a world around trying to solve the impossible equation. Attempting
to understand how the drug can make a user perceive that his external world
of inorganic contrivances had been awoken and were now reaching out to him.

For this, I shall forever be labeled a blunderer,
a dreamer... A wisher... A fool.
A family failure who never amounted to anything
more than an explorer who was ultimately lost at sea.
 

One day, I can only hope to prove that I was right. 

In time, perhaps they will see all my experimentations were

worth documenting. Then maybe, they will understand why
I was so compelled to explore. If nothing more than for the
sake of my own curiosity and my own unique writing style,
shall I be vindicated.




If I ever decide to write a book, I am sure it will be an interesting read, but without
proper guidance
in the art of writing, I'm sure my work won't receive much acclaim.


In truth, we can do nothing more than try our hardest and either fail or come
out 
ahead of the game. Any way you look at it, I'm going down swinging, for
I will 
not be crushed by my progenitors and the restrictions they place on me.

In other words, if I am to walk in these shoes, then I must lead the way.



Why is it that we must answer for every single thing we do in this life?

Secure a career, or nothing you do is relevant.
Is there never an end to it?
Does it ever get better?


Only time could know for sure, but I'd be damned if I was going to let
anything interfere with me carrying out and completing this mission.


In this state of complete oblivion, I noticed my world was changing.



Instead of the earth revolving around the sun, it seemed the world
was now revolving around my aunt. As I stood there flummoxed,
I felt at any given moment, I could begin growing an appendage.

Rich was looking at the wall as though he were reading a scroll,
and I honestly thought at that point I was busted. Instead, my aunt
just rambled on while I listened to fragments of broken sentences.
Never let her see your eyes, I thought. Once they lock, you’ll open
a vault of lectures, and I would rather die than be preached to in
this state. Just remain calm and appear to enjoy the conversation.

Though inside, I was churning and yearning for escape.

It was all I could do, for I was trapped in that purgatory, stuck in a
nebulochaotic realm of utter madness with no way out while Rich
stood behind her, counting flowers on the wall. I simply had to bide
my time. After what seemed like an eternity, my aunt left the house.
 


                                                                               Pg 142
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was now that time began to move in a very peculiar way.
I flicked the light switch and watched my room illuminate.
On my wall, the little brown men were working feverishly in
the field, gathering what they may for the Spanish harvest.

They were sweaty and tired but somehow
frozen in time, for they were not moving.

In a small village across the way, the wives and townspeople were
out shopping and buying gifts. There was a cacophony of laughter
in the air and a magic wind swirling my imagination to the hilt. 


There is no better design for a room than exquisitely rare vintage wallpaper.
My grandmother kept several rolls hidden in the basement of her old home.
Preserved from the ominous hands of time, it now covers my bedroom wall.

Peter Sellers appeared to be quite content, surveying the room in seemingly
cool e'Lectric sunglasses on a totally
far-out poster I bought several years
ago. That classic comedy of 1968 entitled, “
I Love You, Alice B. Toklas,”
was one of my all-time favorites, and I smiled as I cast my eyes upon it.


“I sure have one groovy-looking poster.”

It is the story of an uptight businessman who can never really seem to unwind. As
the story goes, he allows a young woman to spend the night at his place. As a debt
of gratitude, she uses Alice B. Toklas' special recipe to whip up some brownies. Only
the brownies are infused with a large dose of marijuana, and you can only imagine
the outcome! When his parents drop by for a surprise visit, they inadvertently become
the recipients of the special recipe as well... A movie that will leave you in hysterics.

                                                            Harpers Bizarre - I love you, Alice B. Toklas




There was a very peaceful aura about this room that made it comfortable to be
in. Everything in just the right order with nothing out of place can certainly help.
After scrutinizing the rows of lacquered wooden steps, which led up into my room
and down into my baby sister's room (which was also a room for my sister Dawn,
as it was quite large), I found the ceiling lights to be too bright and turned them off.

Here in this sinister room, I found myself to be the modern-day version of a
deranged mad scientist. Ever looming in his quest to create and alter things
that should never be touched, let alone examined. Always looking for a friend
or accomplice, an acquaintance or a subject who would voluntarily agree to
dabble in places that cannot be found on any physical map, nor by means of
radar, and it only goes without saying to even try and attempt to explain it.

Areas within boundaries become exposed.
Borders without barriers become prisons.

And it was only during this particular moment in time
that I fully understood myself completely. I knew the
evil I was doing and the unholy mess I was creating.
And in my head, I uttered the phrase that defined me:

Life is nothing more than a series of ongoing experiments.



As my stomach began to rumble, I excused myself and hastily made my way
to the bathroom, telling Richie I would return momentarily and to not get lost
in the crawlspace. As I entered the jade-green bathroom, I could feel the warm
night air coursing through the house from all the windows left open.

Closing the bathroom door, I turned on the light, and the room was magnificent.

The exquisitely textured three-piece bath rug set and the lavishly tiled walls and
ceiling created an aura of opulence that made me feel almost out of place in the
room. The bathtub, encased in layers of both emerald and jade, was dazzling to the
eye, as were the sparkling chrome fixtures that looked like freshly poured mercury.

Sitting down on the ivory throne, I was prepared to release whatever was inside me
when suddenly the sound of a kazoo could be heard echoing from the bathroom. I
jumped up quickly because it tickled me, and I just couldn't stop laughing. Why is
the sound of one's own flatulence so damn funny, and why does it feel so strange when
it comes out? After the entertainment was over, I wiped my eyes and proceeded to
reenter my room. Richie was sitting on my bed like that French sculpture, The Thinker.

Is everything peachy keen? I found myself saying before wondering why I said it.

I should have just asked him if everything was peachy. Come to think of it, my
mother grew up with someone named Peachy; maybe she was Peachy Keen.

Who knows? Let's just forget it.
I then went around my bed to where the long walk-in closet was.

The worrisome expression on the three-pronged outlet was so intense
that it could have been cleverly inserted into a Gumby cartoon. A dire
look only an adolescent Gary Taxali could have painted with authenticity.
Indeed, it seemed to be pining for its missing plug, and in that moment of
undecaying truth, it was so surreal I almost began to feel sorry for it.

As
I turned the elongated gold knob on the dusty relic, the acrylic glow of
three
chunky Lucite rock-candy swag lights produced a fascinating effect.

Three spheres strung together by two long brass poles that, when lighted,
created an appearance of lava. Sandy grain in texture with thick plastic
squares held in place that strangely resembled colorful pasta or even
glass from Mars. They appeared
wet and translucent in color and
seemed to be contracting and retracting
in the same space.

Alien matter, I thought as I watched them breathe. 



So grossly deformed were these characters,
as if extracted from the mind of Hieronymus Bosch.


So unfeasible to me, was how they have evolved to become pets.


Almost as if these quiescent objects had been dormant
since time began and only now decided to awaken.


I did not need to pack bags, yet I was on vacation.
No one was performing, yet I was being entertained.


It was a splendid show to watch these new life forms dance
and sway for me while they swelled and oozed beneath their
own skin as if they were alive or from another planet.

Touching its exoteric membrane, I found it to be, in fact,
quite cool. Nevertheless, it was unquestionably alive.

Whatever I had taken for granted before was no longer boring at all.

A lamp, an end table, the hardwood floor,
they were brilliant.

These things I could no longer ignore. Each one had to be
examined thoroughly, for they now had meaning unsurpassed. 




Everything was a mystery to behold.
A box waiting to be opened.

The carnival was lively and livid
in the circus of wonderland,
and nothing was to be taken without notice.

            Hurry, hurry, step right up.
Get your acid trip for only three dollars!




                                                 Tides In - Trip with me


As I stared at the freeway of lights in my room, I was in imminent danger of getting
lost in it all. There seemed to be too much input and not enough time to absorb it.

I was becoming more and more confused as the iridescent shades
of lights and colors transferred themselves to the contour of my
world, bringing me ever closer to the edge of astonishment.


A symphony of illuminated perplexities had formed, turning an ordinary setting
into an area now overflowing with life. Like a jungle thriving in its own serenity,
my habitat was equally as ambiguous. Aside from that, I was beginning to lose
all sense of time, wit, motion, perception, depth, and reality.

From a mental standpoint, there was no difference between being lost here in
this quiet room and being lost in traffic in the middle of a wild intersection.

In this state, where relative matter seemed to be rearranging
itself all
around me quite harmlessly, I began to wonder
if, indeed, it wouldn't begin to start
rearranging ‘me.




                                                                               Pg 143
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Similar to a stereogram that tricks the eye into portraying an illusion,
there was no throwing the eyes out of focus or concentrating intently
to see the imagery and creative perception within the veil of induction.

All that is hidden shall be revealed.
That which is cloaked shall be unmasked.

And be not alarmed when you discover the figurine on the
nightstand knows your full intentions. He is merely watching
you observe him. Take it with a grain of salt, for the very
things that possess no life shall become animated.

Just because his little eyes can follow you around the room
doesn't give him the ability to conspire. And even though
you feel he has the ability to judge you, always remember
that your emotions control his actions, so make him a defender
of justice. Allow he who now has life to join in the voyage.

Without exaggeration, it was all a big eye show... Candy
for the brain.



I was being inundated with new ideas faster than I could process them, and
all the weight from these new ideas was starting to weigh heavy on my mind,
and the bag was beginning to break. The ‘stop and go’ effect it produced in
my head was kind of amusing until my behavior became erratic. In a world
where walls shift and simple properties expand to become more complex, one
could say that in all due reasoning, it should have been left to the cartoonist.

                                              *I should not be here*



I soon found at the bottom of a dry wishing well that the very essence of peace
and love was nothing more than a vile joke. Only a monster, I thought, could be
soul-searching in this part of town where every breath is saturated in intangible
doubt, and the winds that blow in off the coast are merely ghosts of seasons past
existing within the limbus of their own predilections. 




Moving fluently and without hesitation, you flitter in light-absorbed shadows,
but I cannot touch you, for I know not where you are. I can only deduce that
you are beside me now, trying to quell my anguish. In this world of ever-growing
disconsolation, I feel I am but a stepping-stone of man’s hypocrisy.
Love and
longing have become impalpable in this ever-expansive void of my own undoing.



 
Where exiguous thoughts become a whirlwind, the cavern of man's creativity is now
a place for the solemn to dwell. In a room where my emotions have
been shredded,
I sit. Like a donkey on a footstool or a dunce cap in the
corner that cannot think,
I have allowed myself to be consumed.
Until all that is left is the grim realization
that everything in the entire world is nothing more than a reflection of emptiness.



A necessary arrangement for the saints and the sinners, and the gods and
the demons and the powers that be to acquire, where terrible places give
birth unto loathfulness, it is the beginning of the requiem of sorrow.

If, before the sun sets, I should fall, cover me with earth and hasten.
Dance, sing, drink and stumble, but never cry, for I shall be at
peace. To soar amongst the ethereal beings in a place called Heaven.


Who the hell was I kidding?
With the luck I've been having, I'll probably burn.




The angst within my very spirit has overtaken my mood, and I could not concentrate
on a solitary thing. My mind had been willingly abducted and reprogrammed to a
point where I feared that I would soon begin to lose my grip on reality. The man who
once owned the world is now nothing more than a living train wreck. He is accursed
for the sins of his past, but the sins of his past are not really sins at all unless love is
an expletive.

How can feeling love for someone be wrong if it is a mutual bond between two
consenting people?
Sometimes, even things that appear to have God's approval
have their own unique way of becoming poisoned by the blood of society.


The brooding despair slowly subsided into a feeling of calm serenity
as I gently caressed the asperities
of an ill-begotten truth.

Here in a room with a clown, will I sit and ponder my own demise.



She was mine.
She would always be mine.
There will never be another
love like ours.

A savory lip from the candid smile that washed away brought tears
by the busload to saw through my heart. Never to be felt again, we
weep in the quiet shadows of our own self-pity. Never to be seen
or heard from again you cremate and scatter all that is mine, until
nothing remains but a vast barrenness torn from the human spirit.

There is no closure.


Before the windswept ashes, came a promise of hope, and along
with that hope, a chance to start a glorious new life together.



Indeed, I had entered a surreal world that would not stop, and to tell
you the truth, I didn’t want it to stop. I needed to understand it for my
own reasons. I needed to remember everything that happened in those
years, and I needed to brand those memories into my own flesh.
 

Rich was now perched in a corner of the room. Like a science experiment
gone wrong, he was reduced to a series of chortles and giggles. There is no
fixing him now, I thought, as I ran my hand through my dark brown hair.


He has not stopped laughing since my aunt departed, and that was forty
minutes ago. Or was it ten? All that was missing were the cap and bells
upon his head and poulaine shoes upon his feet. . . He would laugh at
anything
and everything, so I dubbed him: The Clown of New Dorp.




                                                  Status Quo - The clown
                                                                               Pg 144
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Reviews for chapter 29

Phyllis Macintosh - Your poetic style has influenced a reaction in my right ventricle! Does that sound good?
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                                                          alits29's review


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                                                 This review was posted on Mar/13/23

                                                           iqrabashir871 's review
           
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 29 - The Mystery Man and The Clown!

                                                          Reader's Report by Iqra

SS


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                                                           This review was posted on Mar/16/23
                                
                                                                    kanchanninawe's review

                The Embryo Man
and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 29 - The Mystery Man and The Clown



                                                                Reader's Report by kanchan

CHAN
KAN



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                                                   Hajranoor's review

 

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                                            nehanegi1905 's review
           
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 29 - The Mystery Man and the Clown!


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                                                   Reader's Report by Tayyaba

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                        Saleha Zainab - Dec 29 - Chapter 29
SZ

• The narrative weaves through memories of the past, emphasizing the protagonist's
attempts to make sense of his experiences. Nostalgia is juxtaposed with a sense of
loss and confusion, creating a complex emotional landscape.  


• The mysterious atmosphere is established from the beginning, with the locked
front door and the anticipation of encountering the "mystery man and the clown."
The surreal experiences intensify as the protagonist moves through the house,
encountering oddities and unexpected turns.  


• The protagonist's relationship with his family is portrayed as distant and elusive.
The aunt's description of him as elusive like a CIA agent highlights a sense of
estrangement. The absence of familiar faces and the emptiness of the house
contribute to a feeling of disconnectedness.  


• Themes of isolation, familial expectations, self-exploration, and the pursuit
of understanding through unconventional means are evident. The protagonist
grapples with societal norms, familial obligations, and his own desire for freedom,
often at odds with one another.  


• Moreover, the chapter navigates the protagonist's conflicted emotions regarding
love, loss, and the bitter realization of the complexities of relationships. There's a
sense of longing, regret, and a yearning for understanding that permeates the narrative.


The tone shifts between mystery, introspection, and moments of humor, particularly
in the bathroom scene. These shifts contribute to the complexity of the narrative,
engaging the reader on multiple emotional levels.

The chapter 29 concludes with a sense of anticipation and curiosity.

The protagonist expresses a desire for the surreal journey not to end, emphasizing the need
to understand and remember these experiences. This open-ended conclusion leaves room for
further exploration and suggests that the protagonist's introspective journey is far from over.

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PG 141) Raconteur
by Ilene Meyer - http://www.ilenemeyer.com/ 

PG 141) Flea Circus
by Leah Palmer Preiss - http://www.leahpalmerpreiss.com/

PG 141) Figment by Bill Melvin - http://tinyurl.com/nxbbkay

PG 141) Tired Hero
by Julien Chaves - http://julienchaves1.free.fr/

PG 142) Twilight in the nursery by Jacek Yerka - http://www.yerkaland.com/

PG 142) The primordial inception of life at daybreak by Justin Michael Jenkins - http://www.justinjenkins.com/

PG 142) Childhood's end by Dennis Konstantin - http://www.denniskonstantin.com/

PG 142) The absent poet by Joachim Lehrer - http://www.joachimlehrer.com/

PG 142) Executives shadows bridge by Guy Billout - http://www.guybillout.com/

PG 142) Dead end
by Jacek Yerka - http://www.yerkaland.com/

PG 143) I love you Alice B. Toklas,
theatrical poster - http://tinyurl.com/ycocuh6

PG 143) Collage of art - Surrealism - http://tinyurl.com/surrealism

PG 143) Movable immovables
by Gennady Privedentsev -
http://tinyurl.com/jw5824q

PG 143) Visit Wonderland by Jazzberry Blue

PG 143) The Way
by David Ho - http://www.davidho.com/

PG 144) Butterfly (a stereogram) -
http://tinyurl.com/ma6jvsc

PG 144) Schwarmerei
by
Alessandro Fantini - http://afantini.deviantart.com/ 

PG 144) Filaments of Destiny
by Wojtek Siudmak - http://tinyurl.com/m5669a6

PG 144) Equestrian statue puzzle
by Wojtek Siudmak -
http://tinyurl.com/m5669a6

PG 144) After the flood (No.1)
by Marcin Kolpanowicz - http://www.kolpanowicz.art.pl/

PG 144) Night time sorcerer's
by Jaroslaw Jasnikowski -
http://tinyurl.com/mvoea8j

PG 144) War and Folly
by Michael Pucciarelli - http://www.poochisland.com/

PG 144) Philautia by Alessandro Fantini - http://afantini.deviantart.com/ 

PG 144) A jester
by Philippe Mercier - http://tinyurl.com/lms3vtq