Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 30

              The incredible expedition

I was beginning to feel puzzled, and this was troubling me.
I knew it was going to be a rough ride the minute I realized
I was losing control of the situation. Not knowing what else
to do, I stripped down to my briefs and crawled into bed.

Rich began to laugh while sputtering lines of inaudible nonsense.
His hands were covering his head, and from what I could distinguish,
his face looked like a whoopee cushion about to explode. Unsteadily,
he attempted to raise himself to his feet but could not muster the energy.
He then slumped back against the wall and slid down until he was resting
comfortably on both heels. I gave a quizzical look to this strange fellow
who was nowhere in his right mind and tried to understand what part
of the drug was causing such infuriating laughter.

I then wondered to myself, verbally in my head, the consequence
of what would arise should this drug decide to attack the pain section
of his brain. What will I do if he starts running around the house
screaming like someone threw scalding water on him?

                             Then we are going to be in a pickle, indeed.

My friend was now punching the floor in excitement.

“What are you doing?” Richie exclaimed in a loud tone with bulging
eyes so pronounced, I feared they would pop from their sockets.

While his incessant laughter produced no tears, the mockery
of life in its unjustified setting would eventually result in the
flapping lips of a babbling fool who was lost between worlds.

“I’m going to bed,” I replied. This only incited more laughter.
Going to bed? I then thought, how can I go somewhere I already
am? Shouldn’t I have said, I’m going to sleep? Actually, I am not
going anywhere if I’m laying my head down in one spot. . .

                                          What the fuck am I doing?

The more I continued to dwell on this, the more distant everything became
until I was in the middle of a cosmic storm waiting for my head to spin-off.

                       “How perplexing is this maddening void,” I colicked.

                              Opening my mouth to speak, I said nothing,
                        and we laughed unrestrained like buffoons on fire.

                                                                                       Pg 145

Carefully, I began the process of examining my underwear.

Why are they white, and what is the purpose of wearing them?
Slowly, I got up and walked over to my dresser. “Fruit of the loom,”
I uttered in a barely audible tone to myself while looking at the
wall for a mirror that was not there. 

I then I came to the conclusion that these garments served no purpose at all. 

“Starting tomorrow, I will never-wear under-wear a-gain,”
I blurted out like an overzealous stock trader on Wall Street.

“Why?” Richie managed to say sharply.
“Why you ask? Because they're. . . Fruity.”

*But the words just didn't come out right*

For the first time, there was no laughter when I thought there would be.
There was nothing but a frozen frame. An empty room of hollow heads.
We looked at each other expressionless, and I felt the onset of panic arise.
A flash of discomfort that defines fucking oneself or having been fucked.

                             This is bad. . . This is so fucking bad.

What the hell did I do?
How did I just destroy everything I was living for?
As hard as I was trying to grasp it, I was losing it.

“I gotta. . . Please. . .”

It was almost as if all universal time had somehow stopped, locking
us together forever in a room for what just might be the rest of eternity.
The only energy that seemed to exist now came solely from external
objects. Here I observed myself silently decaying.

As my mouth began to open slowly, I released a high-pitched squeak
that knocked the world right back on its ass again. Richie went crazy.
Screaming like dogs were chewing his balls off, and the normalcy of
being completely insane had once again been restored.

“Thank you, thank you, and thank you.”

I rejoiced as if someone had just bought me a house. 
God, that was close. I will never ever do that again.

Come to think of it, what the fuck did I do anyway?
                                                                                       Pg 146

Ever so quickly, did I put on my pants and insisted we go outside for a stroll.

“We'll get lost out there,” said my friend, still unable to catch his breath.

I then realized it was an absurd thought, for we could be easily
gobbled up by the night. As I walked over to look out my sister's
window, I barely recognized the avenue I grew up on.

So mysterious now were the tree demons, ever watching us from across
the street. By the Calabrese house, those surrealistic Staghorn sumacs
stood poised and ready. Vigilantly they surveyed the block for any signs
of unusual activity. They appeared to be more like giant animals now
than trees, and I toyed with the notion of growing one in my room.

Indeed, they had become the guardians of the night, standing watch over the ill-fated
domain, while we had become the knights of the misconstrued. With a glimmering
eye that can only foretell madness, I yearned for them to embower the entire island.

How wicked that old house looked in the wind, rain, and snow, but now there was
fire and brimstone in its hearth. An organ playing haunting melodies.

Placing a cassette in my Sanyo tape player, we listened to a clever array of John
Lennon songs. As we got down to ‘Watching The Wheels’ it became quite apparent
to me that it was indeed a psychedelic song John wrote while on an acid trip.

                                                              John Lennon - Watching the wheels

If he were here with us in this room, he may very well have written,
“I'm just sitting here watching the world go round and round; I have
a story to be told.”My interpretation was that upon evaluating his life,
he was watching the wheels as they went round and round through the
cassette window. The whole entire song was one big hidden message.

“It's a cryptic improverb, Rich. Do you have any idea what this means?”
I snarled in my delirium
like a possessed soul, before bellowing. . .

                                        “I've opened the sarcophagus!!!”

For me, it felt like I had just unlocked the secret of the entire universe.
It was all I ever needed to know. Everything else was meaningless.

It was me!
I found it!
I did it!!!

Should I tell Richie about this?
Could he possibly understand?


Only a fool gives away top-secret information, and besides, it was an astonishing
fact that only I, in my moment of glory would come to realize. I would play it again
and again, to the tune of rapturous laughter and pounding of fists on the floor.

                                                                                                                            Pg 147


After a while, the song had begun to wear-thin in its repetitiveness, and so
the old tape was carefully removed, where a new one could now be inserted.

As I examined the brown film that would produce instantaneous sound when
popped into my cassette player, a pseudo-hallucination of small emotionless
faces, as small as ladybugs, were noted. They moved in silent frames, like
a spool of gleaming celluloid that had suddenly begun to unravel.

I reveled in the thought of being chosen for such an elite task and thanked
God personally for giving me a chance to partake in such a delicate mission.
Looking at Rich, partially obscured by the light, I could almost see how the
music was beginning to change him.

I then attempted to think of a joke to tell my friend, who was only half there.

“Hey Rich, what do you say to the queen of England after she drops a tab of acid?”

“I don't know,” said Rich, straining to keep his voice steady and his face straight.

“Hello, your HIGH-ness!”

Rich then flips over onto his back, knocking over my plastic hamper. It came crashing
to the floor, spilling its contents into the crawl space that separated my room from
an adjoining walkway leading into the attic. Without end, his abderian laughter filled
every cavity of my room and poured out through the vent shafts leading down into my
grandmother’s apartment, which (according to the building plans) were aligned directly
below the crawl space. Like a narcotic, I thought, it should be hitting them about now.

The distorted confusion had risen to new heights, leaving me mystified and in awe.

Even though I was familiar with the experience, and even though I'd been here before,
the gradual increase of each stage was now becoming alarmingly concerning.

Considering, my thoughts were overrun with diverse complexities that could have
potentially merged with illusory human matter, it was safe to assume that under
the present conditions, the chemical structure of the elements ingested could
very well have begun to produce within me, almost certain insanity.

I'm pretty sure life would be rather simple if we didn't have to think
because most of the time, thinking equates to solving a problem, and
considering that nothing could be solved by thinking at this point,
I was sure it was best to just observe my surroundings and gloat.

I then started to think of this bond of friendship we have in life and came
to the conclusion that most of my friends are like looters. At the first sign
of trouble, they run, leaving you holding the bag. But when you're in the
realm of the shadow dwellers, it's best to know who your friends are.

We leave the general camp as one troop, and we watch each other's back.
Here there can be no deserters.

Taking life to the next level is only half the battle.

Surviving on the field and coming home intact is all that can be reckoned for.
If one goes down, we all go down, and Poor Richie the Clown was not going
down on my watch. When the drug wears off, he can go about his merry way,
but for the time being, I alone am solely responsible for his safety and well-being,
whether he likes it or not. I got him into this mess, so it is my duty and obligation
as a friend to see him safely through it, lest I be judged for my remissness.

We listened to the curious songs of Pink Floyd in a room where the universal
of life had been lifted, and the interparental conflicts which once arose
like the morning
sunrise were no more. Strange songs like
Scream thy last scream
with Alvin and the Chipmunks on acid, entertaining Mr. Mason on vocals as well,
along with,
Point me at the sky were now being received by an airwave far greater
than anything the FCC could have possibly imagined.

They were being received by the cosmos.

                     Vegetable manCandy and a currant bunApples and oranges

                         Arnold Layne    -    Remember a day    -    See Emily play             

We also listened to various songs from the trippy and far-out Madcap Laughs LP.
Songs like “Terrapin” “Octopus” “Long Gone” and, “She Took a Long Cold Look.”

              I really wanted to hear Procol Harum's Shine on Brightly
                        but was reluctant to transfer it to cassette tape.

         After this, we went downstairs to see how life had changed in the cellar.

Upon entry into the garage, I found it to be in shambles and there were papers
strewn everywhere. We walked down the desecrated concrete staircase and opened
the steel door to a dimly lit basement. My father's new house now sat in place of
my grandmother's old house, where the concrete therein had been dishonored by
innumerable solvents. We then walked past the ancient tools that hung on display.
Tools my father had used and collected throughout the years.  

Many of them were sharp and abiding, so we merely observed them
in passing as we made our way over to the next point of interest.

Rich pointed to the dead squirrel, disfigured in death,
dangling beside a sickle.

“What's that doing here?” he asks most timidly.
“Just hangin’” I said, not knowing I had just come
out with the most inventive one-liner of all time.
Death, I thought. To know you're going to die within mere minutes. . .

What a bleak end.

                                                                                       Pg 148

 “Just think, old chap,” I said in a low devil-may-care voice. “If dear old dad decided
to toss off into the spinning bowl rather than plan on making you that fateful evening,
you might very well be a fish right now, floating around in the Gowanus Canal.”

unable to
catch his breath once more. Why did I even speak? Shortly after
brief episode, he calmed down but still appeared rather dazed. 

I then began to tell Richie the story of the Rosemary Theater, where I once worked
with my father and crazy Antinouche. We were fifteen years old, and life was just
beginning, but in the winter of '78, with a northwest wind coming in off the ocean,
it was far beyond that what should be deemed brutal. No heaters in the newly
erected structure meant no heat, and no heat meant no warmth. How we didn't
freeze to death, I'll never know. Some days it was so cold your lips, nose, and
face were completely numb. Back then, my father would balk at the weather as
we braved to stand by the areas where windows would one day be set in place.

There was nothing but a massive housing of solid concrete and steel surrounded
by an ocean of bone-numbing agony. So terrible was it; it could have been used
a form of torture. Underneath two pairs of heavy-duty insulated gloves were
ten waxy fingers feeling like they were beginning to crack. If they did, I'm
sure the blood would have immediately froze before hitting the ground.

“Jesus Christ,” said my father in an animated voice that sounded like an award-
winning actor at the peak of his career, “this is worse than being in Hell.”

The old man probably thought that exposing us to the harsh elements of life,
it would inevitably lead us to become more fruitful in our studies upon our
return, but as usual, he couldn't have been more wrong in his assumption.

In the middle of the main floor was a blackened fifty-gallon drum, that
was originally the color of light blue. It was now filled to capacity with
excess pieces of wood that could no longer be used. Anything that flared
and kindled, with the exception of plywood or pressure treated, was tossed
in to emit some form of heat into the arctic air. My father would often tend
to the burning barrel, and used it as a grand excuse to keep from working.

We would then form a huddle as the fire blasted embers many stories up
into the hollow housing. That fire roared like Satan's fury in a bare cathedral,
leaving the remnants to settle in the air like sparkling pixie dust.

Occasionally, it would get so cold in there that the fire would go out.

The burning sensation I experienced while attempting to revive my numb
extremities was far worse than the pain I felt as they began to freeze. Like
every fingertip had been smashed with a ball peen hammer. That incessant
throbbing cannot rightfully be given words.

The small fire that was confined to the old cylindrical drum did its best
to keep the chill at bay. Standing around the barrel really didn't help that
much, but it was all we had in those days, and so we made use of it.

When lunchtime rolled around, Antinouche and I would either explore the city
or have two sixteen-ounce beers with an assortment of Chinese food before
returning to work. At fifteen, he looked like he was nearly twenty-five, and so
we never got proofed. Aside from that, he was almost six-feet tall, and with a
rather well-groomed beard, it was unlikely that we would ever get proofed.

Not that the Asians ever went out of their way to throw a wrench into our plans.
They followed a different set of rules, and that I always found to be honorable.

No one bothered us on the construction site because we acted accordingly and did
what was expected of us. My father was part of the crew, and we simply helped out
whenever we were needed. Take this and that to the room down the hall, and then
bring me a box of six penny nails. I was only reprimanded once, and that was by
a worker who went by the name of Joe. He said to me, as I was carrying eight
two-by-fours on my shoulder, that I should carry only one at a time because
the quicker the job ended, the faster we were all out of work.

I took heed of what he said and did as I was told because, on this particular
job there was no room for slackers, and you had to keep your pace.

Everyone there called it bulldog work because it was back-breaking labor.

Seven months into the high school year, my father came up with a plan,
though he had a hard time convincing my mom and stepfather to agree.

Considering his son and the son of his best friend were doing so poorly
in school, he figured why not just take them to work for two weeks. After
the first week, my mother would call the school to let them know I had
contracted the flu and would remain at home for yet another week.

Antinouche's mother did the same, and it was okay because even
though we went to the same school, we were not in the same class.

The plan my father enacted was merely to subject us to intense manual
labor. If we knew how hard it was on the outside to earn a dollar, then
maybe when we went back to school, we would do exceedingly well
on the inside. The only downside to my father’s brilliant theory was
that we loved it. Though it was only two weeks, we often boasted to
other kids in the neighborhood that it was much longer.

                                                                                       Pg 149

Located alongside the Manhattan Bridge was the soon-to-be newly renovated
Rosemary Theater. Where the Bowery meets Chinatown and the intersection of
Canal Street runs east to west. Whether it be street vendors hawking second- rate
goods or the three-card monte tables erected from old cardboard boxes, specifically
designed to attract and ensnare an innocent passerby or an unsuspecting tourist,
the area was not only a busy thoroughfare but a major transportation hub.
We seldom walked down the Bowery, for it was a slum and, as far as we knew,
would always be a haven for wayward bums, derelicts, and drug addicts.

Adjacent to us was Chrystie Street, home of the ten-dollar whore. These city cats
would flounce pompously down the wayside, looking for a john to spend the next
half hour with. Overly eager to spread some love for a few lines of crystalline powder
and an overpriced bottle of Dom Pérignon. Some of them could be seen wearing fur
coats from the early seventies that looked as though they had never been cleaned,
and judging by their personal appearance, half of them struck me as being utterly
repulsive. Like dykes on steroids or patients with anorexia that had just stumbled
out of a coal mine. Coked up, strung out, and staggering, they would strut their
wares proudly up and down the street. Cars pulled up, they got in, they left.

Mercedes and Jaguars stopped there, too, for a taste of the Bowery's finest.

Anyone wishing to partake of such immorality with a meretricious fiend,
so vile and self-loathing, would be considered by our standards a lost cause.

“Filthy bitches,” Mike would utter as we passed them. When
he was really revved up and boiling over with acrimony,
then they were cunting whores. . .
  *(Pronounced who-a's)*

I will not go as far as to say he was a misogynist,
he just hated people who lacked self-respect.

We would stay clear of that area and usually ended up walking down Canal
Street or strolling into Chinatown for a quick lunch. My all-time favorite
dish was the Singapore-style chow mei fun at the Mayflower Tea Parlor.

What a great place it was. I am sorry to inform you that it is now long gone.

Another victim of the ever-changing times.

For me going home was always a festive soiree. If you weren’t loaded on the job,
then you would most certainly be loaded coming home. With a carload of people
jabbering away, one talking shop and the other talking shit, I would just listen and
rarely, if ever, say a word. Every day we would take an old concrete mortar pan, fill
it with ice, stuff it full of Miller nips and then slide it into the back of Nicky the worms
old ‘75 imperial wagon. The one with the 8-track player he seldom used. After you
finished five or six of those little seven-ounce beers, you were pretty lit and ready
for the evening to commence.

By the time I got home, I was barely able to stand.

“Wow,” said my bewildered friend, wobbling under the ossified remains of a dead
squirrel. It seems he was trying earnestly to secure himself so that he didn’t fall to
the floor like a lopsided tripod. Whether he actually heard anything I said, I could
never know. As I continued to speak, it all came back to me with such clarity.

Of course, what I told Rich is only a mixed-up version of what I have written in detail.

During the first week, I started working with my father; there was a company by
the name of Red Ball contracted to perform the demolition. I would have to say
there had to be anywhere from ten to twelve men on that particular crew. They
were all very thin, very old, under five foot four, not to mention they all looked
like they had just sailed into New York harbor on a Gondola.

During break, most of them could be found reading that newspaper, Il Progresso.

They supplied their own forty cubic yard dumpsters, and most of them appeared
to be brand new. They were each painted bright yellow with a big red ball in the
middle that bore the company’s name. As they were gutting out the building while
breaking through the ancient plaster and lath, one of the workers found it.

Yes, it was the grim remains of a fossilized squirrel that had been frozen in time.

                                                                                       Pg 150

He proudly handed it to his friend Giovanni, who had much less interest
in the thing, and threw it off to the side. I then picked it up and showed
it to my father, who in turn quoted Marcus Aurelius in his own words.

“How fleeting and paltry, the estate of man.
Today an embryo. Tomorrow an ash.”

After showing it to everyone on the job site, he took it home. The following
Saturday, he made a hangman’s noose out of an old clothesline, and it’s been
hanging there ever since. When they were first erecting the structure in the
1800s, he must have found his way down from the roof to become ensnared
in a portion of the wall itself. That is why he looks so contorted and grieved.

So now we are able to see its face of anguish in that final moment. It kind
of makes you think of how precious time really is, and besides, how many
squirrels do you see today running up and down Canal Street?

All because of the automobile.
All because of technological advancements, pushing us forward
into a world of uncertainty. Into an age that is willing to replace us.

As I stared at the decrepit fossil looming hideously above my head,
a thought entered my mind. A thought so revealing, I stepped back.

Today’s babies shall be tomorrow’s monsters.

It then occurred to me that I would one day be murdered by
someone who, as of this very moment, had not yet even been born.

 What ghastly thoughts enter the minds of men.

“Come on,” I said as I yanked the pull chain. We then climbed a small ladder
situated near the foot of the crawl space. Since the ceiling was only three
feet high, we had to walk on all fours until we reached its end. If we were to
break through the wall, we would come out under the stairs alongside the
bathroom. As we sat down, I pulled apart two old brown shopping bags.

When I unveiled its contents, my friend drew his neck back fast, like he
had just made eye contact with a boa constrictor. Even though his face
bore a look of utter astonishment, he could not remove his eyes from the
large bong, which in a subtle way, was now imploring me to smoke.

Deep in the pocket of my newly purchased jet-black Sweet-Orr pants,
I removed one of the four large bags and emptied the whole thing into
the top of the Turkish water pipe, with its long arm extended for more
toking pleasure. On this magical voyage into a land of uncertainty,
I was yearning for the company of others to engage in the feast of
being. Not knowing, the experience would take me over the edge
into a mystical realm of the human psyche.

“I’ll bet you didn't know I bought this in the mall last year
with Paulie, Bea, and Machiavellian's meerschaum briar?”

Rich looked at me, like I was a garden gnome that had suddenly
come alive and was now running through a field of singing daffodils. 

“We had gone to the Tinder Box to buy some Lamplighter when I saw it.”

(Back in the early 1980s, I would go there to buy some loose pipe tobacco, and
whenever I did, I’d open the glass jars and breath in that heavenly fragrance.)

“You’re welcome to smoke,” I said calmly. He immediately refused, and so I pulled open an
old A&P shopping bag and removed a steel pull tab can of pink Champale that had to be
from the early 1970s. I popped it open and poured it into the belly of the beast as slowly as
I possibly could. I then pulled out two fist-size bags of weed from inside those deep pockets
and emptied them into the massive bowl before cramming it in with the heel of my hand. I
smoked until everything was but a reflection of time passing. There is no way of knowing
how many tokes I took nor how long I was there, but I smoked the entire thing alone.

I guess it's safe to say I smoked non-stop for a half-hour. I'm sure it
was longer because a tiny bit burned for a long while, and it went
on for what seemed like an eternity until I knew not who I was.

Along the way, I reached the threshold of conscious awareness.
I was fading fast and had to keep reminding myself why I was here.

This wasn't a game. It was a very serious mission I needed to fulfill for my own
well-being. If all went well, it would be a major achievement, and if it didn't, then
hopefully, all that would be lost would be time and nothing more. For now, my job was
to enjoy the movie inside my head without allowing the movie to control the viewer.

In this Alice of Wonderland
contraption, the seeds made a strange hissing sound.

I soon began to envision a myriad of serpents coming forth from the smoke
to greet me. As they evaluated the situation, they seemed to be inspecting
me for something I had or didn’t have. Ever so cautiously, did they encircle
my being to make sure I had the qualities to be their leader. It was very
reminiscent of that Jefferson Airplane album titled Spitfire.

It’s interesting how an illusion can make something so simple come
alive with shape and form. There was no doubt about it; the smoke
was very much alive and as real as you or me in the present tense.

I smoked until I was no longer human.
No longer conscious. No longer sane.

As the herb was reduced to mere ashes,
I found myself in a totally different world.

I knew there was no turning back, but I also realized, to my dismay, that
I had no guide either. If I had to calculate, I would have to say I took at
least eighty enormous hits before spiraling into a hole in my brain. At this
very moment in time, I was beyond damaged. . . I was legally insane.

By the time I had finished smoking, I saw a billion lights in the temple of Narawah,
reflecting only inner peace, tranquility, and love. I could no longer see my friend,
for all the lights had gone out, and I was engulfed in an opaque gloom which had
encompassed my entire being. I was strangely calm in the obscurity that may
have brought another man to madness.

It was darker than a coffin in this room of 8x12 with no windows, light, or air.
All time was lost in that dark place, and I had no idea when I would be returning.

                                             If I'd be returning.

I rode on a rainbow-colored butterfly to the land of flowers and spoke to the king
bee before the great twilight. I climbed inside a pericarp, (so warm and sweet) and
waited for that bird to arrive. Paisley patterns of purple and gold were transformed
into glittering birds, fluttering around the existential dome with scale-like wings roughly
the size of a thimble. They were not hummingbirds for they had teeth, though they were
incredibly tiny. Insignificant were their fangs which seemed to resemble ivory. As they
dispersed, exiting through a funnel, all their pearly white teeth dissolved from their
jawbone and proceeded to fall from the sky like milky grains of rice.

Mountainous piles of teeth would accrue to account for the boatload of beggars.
Though the ships would blow steam, and the smoke could be seen around the city,
nothing would stop the steel armadillos from rolling into cannonballs and chasing
the porcupines around. When the smoke settled, the newly evolved giant millipedes
opened up. As they scurried about by the thousands, each one would connect to
create a maze for me to walk through; while the quilled rodents became an off-
shoot of the prickly durian fruit, dangling helplessly from faraway trees.

So many images filtered into my mind as I rode that cosmic roller coaster through
a radiant solar system that encircled Pluto. Phosphorus waves made it feel like we
were on a magic carpet as Richie narrated a phrase. My tour guide was a madman
in a trench coat made of long cloth, and from where he stood on that electric hill,
the tapestry he wore hung down like an ever-present shadow of time.

I gracefully ascended the illuminated galaxy through his shadow that covered
the far east corner of Nepal, bypassing every known law of modern physics.
I was shot into the vein of humanity and exited to the left of infinity.

I soon found myself confused.

There were unusual things growing on the shell I was residing in, which I
could not logically describe, and I was becoming increasingly concerned.

Unbeknownst to me, the head of Candor was there.

That beast attached himself to my shoulder and paralyzed my mind. All the
while hollering in tongues of the insane and chewing half his own face off.

Kaleidoscopic colors bursting everywhere only seemed to agitate the creature.

                                                                   The Aquarian Age - 10,000 words in a cardboard box

As this monster began to rot, I was up to my neck in pure white
crawling maggots, and that screaming head would not quiet.

“Shut up, you ungodly blatteroon,” I yelled, in fury at The Scarlet Orb.
Her defenses had been breached by an intensification of vocal resonation.

As my skin peeled away like withered parchment, one could say that it
seemed to resemble the inside of a deserted sanitorium. While outside the
illustrious city, its citizens were now crying out for help. As the screaming
head continued its assault on the great city of Parnika, the maggots froze.

My body rumbled as they assembled in force,
and in a frenzied rage, they attacked him.

                                                                                       Pg 151

They burrowed in through his moist and weepy eyes, filling the throat cavity,
and then came out his ears. Teeming over that decaying flesh, they would,
until he produced a gurgle of agony unheard of since The Dark Ages.

After they finished crippling the head of Candor, they poured over my
wounds and ate with their tiny little teeth every ulcerated abscess.

Soon after this, they left me
(((to find oil))) and that rotting head
became as meat and dropped off. So calm is he now apart from me,
floating down a lane of scurrying snails. With no mouth to speak
and no limbs to stand on, he will be forever exalted.  

A floorboard begins to flop like a fish, and I try to catch it.

Too late, it just became a window,
one that overlooks Hell.

I won't look out that window. . . I will never look out that window!

There was rancour in the heart of bedlam where the dangling flesh burns
and the charred remains of a once flourishing hamlet now causes the earth
to tremble. As the bells toll in the pavilion across from where the clay walkway
ends, the stained-glass ceiling in the Oratory Convent turns to stone. A turbulent
wind follows an outcry of shrieking dogs, whose tails are ablaze, into a festering
lake of algae, while in the dark chambers of the disconsolate, those woebegone
souls were eating the dirt floor and babbling to one another in a mindless
repetition that would be considered most appalling.

Below there's a disaster in the street as a terrible virus is spreading.
The umbilical cord leading up to the pod will be compromised.

As the bacterium exacts vengeance upon life’s tender flesh, it shrivels and
slowly begins to disintegrate. The pod has become exceedingly transparent.
In this frightening moment of truth, I find myself detached from my own soul.

A child am I now, so lost in this ever-increasing despair.
Sitting naked from high upon the earth.

(So cold)

So alone in this life.

A catastrophic human error, irreversible by the elements
of nature will most certainly be allotted the ultimate prize.

I was resting on a glorious mushroom that had infused itself with the solar system.

There were lights, channels, and tube-like veins propelling me through trenches and
causeways, showing me pictures of a life I never knew. Children I would never have.
I felt like I needed to cry and yet still, I was being punished. But what was my crime?

My little boy and girl were never born, and perhaps it was the mighty hand
of God imploring me to live again that I was fighting an endless battle with.

The mushroom is tainted.
I have been deceived.

The darkness of time and space would cultivate a black mold forming,
and I am now contaminated. Internally, I am infected with disease.

As the black mold spores begin to rapidly multiply,
I watch my lower torso become an evening shadow.

The length of my body is now infinite, for I am planetary in size. And even
though I have always been fearful of heights, the feeling within me is more
along the lines of exhilarating, or one who possesses immense power.

Indeed, I am the ruler of the galaxy. The driving force of time
in its habitual motion.
But what is my job, I wondered? Indeed,
I have been handed the keys to the great kingdom,
where I alone
would possess the power over men and their worldly domain,
and yet still, a tear escapes my eye, for I am alone.

Someone is digging earth for what looks like a burial.

The black mold has resurfaced and spread throughout the town and
I am no longer God at my own request, for I have renounced
the position. Neither will I be emperor, ruler, or king.
My only wish is
to be at the foot of man. In life, I shall possess nothing, because
is nothing I yearn to acquire. Leave me as a beggar in the street and
flee, for there is nothing I want nor need.

As sure as I live, even more so will I die.
So, allow me the dignity to pass and move onward.

Eventually, I am laid to rest in a time capsule that has been
fashioned to look like a primitive sepulcher. Descending to the
mayhem below, I land successfully in the growing infection.

The Palpebrates march in and seize the city; I must run.

Through the fields and the brambles, over hills and through rivers, do I trod
and wade. Forever releasing the reins of a dystopian world like a child who
let go of a balloon, only to watch it disappear into the heliosphere of space.

I am no longer the gatekeeper. I am merely smoke from the ashes
of a long-dead society. Watching the world turn on its axis is like
eyeing a coin that is forever rolling around a vortex into infinity.

As a tree, I have grown from a seed into a stationary object. Like a
mountainous ridge, I am forever frozen across the landscape of time.

Children are playing in the mud, eagerly willing for nothing more than
to hear each other's laughter. A laughter that soon becomes a gurgling
before silence. The women affected begin to nictitate in an overtly
sexual manner, inciting a row of brainwashed men to flog themselves.

Queen Genteel offers to save the city if I can do her a small favor.

“Give the card of Troy to the banker on the corner
of Leeds and Barrow at five o’clock on Thursday.”

Okay, I said as I gently shook the tail of this interesting creature
and her antehumeral stripes began to glow. “Thank you,” said the
Queen, who was really an azure damselfly. With stick-like arms,
she reached into my shirt pocket and carefully removed it. “You
have done well.” As a beautiful ray of light emanated from her
thorax, it coated the city in its warmth, and everyone was cured.

“You have saved your people. Now you can go home.”
“I can never go home,” I said, crying terribly, as I thought
of a song I composed for Harmony many years ago.

I saw you fall down in the street
just the other day.
I tried to help you,
but you said that you were okay.
It's now Saturday.

I think about you all the time,
but you're never there.
Don't wanna end up all alone
in a world gone mad. . .
You're so far away.

How sudden the lines just don't connect?
I've been trying to cope in the heart of unrest.
I'm losing my mind,
for I know I'll never see you again.

I can't imagine getting lost
in the stream of time.
I'm disillusioned by it all,
should I break down and cry?
You're so far away.

I don't know how long I can wait
for you to appear.
I feel so lonely,
oh, how I wish that you were here. . .
It's now Saturday.

She opened her chest, and I crawled inside where it was warm.
There I curled up in a fetal position and wept for forty-eight days.
I must have stayed too long, for I found myself to be trapped.

I wait for something, but nothing happens.
I call out to someone, but no one appears.
I am lost without moving. Captured and shackled.
I'm blind, yet can still somehow see.

Why can’t anyone hear me?
Why won’t they help me?
Oh God, what have I done?

How many days have I been in this place?
I want to tell my parents I love them, but I'm lost.
I screwed up, and now everything's come undone.
I need to undo this so I can go back.

But I, of all people, should know you can't undo time.
Once you lose it, it's gone, and once it's gone, it's gone forever.
I've been here so long; I fear I'm almost getting used to it.

The sound of eternity wrapped in a shell of complete isolation.

Just then, I thought I heard something.
A scratching sound. There it is again.

After a year in the honey fig, I heard the cachinnator through the
pitch-black darkness. I then leaped out and clung to it, for that was
the rope I needed to pull myself out of the depths of the ominous pit.

        The Amboy Dukes - Journey to the center of the mind

                                                                                       Pg 152

Reviews for chapter 30

Maggie Scottero -
Totally Gonzo!!!

Jan Derise - We love you Charles Pendelton!

Mark Wah - Did you actually experience all this?

Ingrid Wells - I read this chapter last month and this month it
is different. Are you adding shit? Not that im complaining but
its just that you kinda messed up the page order for the whole
rest of the book. I mean i had certain pages i like going back to.
Never mind, i love that you still write! Even if its only this.




                                                          This review was posted on Feb/7/23




                                            This review was posted on Mar/17/23

                                                             alits29's review




                                                           This review was posted on Mar/28/23
                                                                    kanchanninawe's review

                The Embryo Man
and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 30 - The Incredible Expedition

                                                                Reader's Report by kanchan






                                                 This review was posted on Mar/29/23

                                                           iqrabashir871 's review
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 30 - The Incredible Expedition

                                                          Reader's Report by Iqra





                                                               This review was posted on Apr/9/23

                                                                          Hajranoor's review



                                                             This review was posted on Apr/14/23

                                                                    Reviewed by yashodha_95



                                             This review was posted on May/1/23
                                              Reviewed by aamnaaaa



                                                This review was posted on May/23/23

                                            nehanegi1905 's review
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 30 - The Incredible Expedition

                                              Reader's Report by nehanegi1905



                                                               This review was posted on Jul/8/23
                                                                           Reviewed by tawhida



                                                             This review was posted on Jul/13/23
                                                                         Reviewed by labia_1903


                                                           This review was posted on Aug/1/23
                                                                       Reviewed by pazkou




                                                        This review was posted on Aug/9/23



                                                             This review was posted on Aug/16/23 (Morning)
                                                                                   Reviewed by rupalrao



                                                           This review was posted on Aug/18/23
                                                                     Reviewed by suma303775



                                                             This review was posted on Aug/25/23
                                                                      Reviewed by suma303755







                                           This review was posted on Sep/19/23
                                                       Tayyaba17's review
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 30 - The Incredible Expedition
                                               Reader's Report by Tayyaba




                                                            This review was posted on Sep/28/23
                                                                 Reviewed by sampriktaada813



                                                               This review was posted on Nov/2/23
                                                                         Reviewed by hinaspatel



                                                               This review was posted on Nov/10/23
                                                                        Reviewed by


                                                          This review was posted on Dec/28/23
                                                                     Reviewed by sarah1409



                        Saleha Zainab - Jan 8 - Chapter 30

The chapter is a highly complex and vividly descriptive account of an intense
experience involving drug use and its subsequent effects on the narrator and
his friend, Richie. It's divided into several segments, each delving into the
narrator's thoughts, observations, and experiences during this period.

The main conflict in the chapter revolves around the narrator's internal struggle
with the disorienting and overwhelming effects of drug use. The narrator grapples
with losing control over their thoughts, perceptions, and actions due to the drug's
influence. This loss of control creates a sense of disorientation and confusion,
leading to a struggle to make sense of reality.

Is this the main conflict of the novel the reason why Mr. Charles quit drugs.
Or we have some more interesting events to unveil in coming chapters?

The narrative includes moments where the narrator questions his own actions,
words, and decisions in the altered state. This inner conflict reflects a struggle
to maintain a sense of self amidst the overwhelming effects of the drug. This is
something which the narrator is trying to figure out from very start of his day.

The chapter leaves much open to interpretation. The ambiguity of the events and
symbolism invites readers to derive their own meanings, creating a personalized
and subjective reading experience. Elements like the spreading virus, the decay of
the town, and the brainwashed individuals may suggest a critique of societal issues.

The narrative hints at the vulnerability of civilization and the potential consequences
of neglecting fundamental aspects of humanity. In essence, the chapter provides a
complex and layered exploration of altered consciousness, existential questioning,
and the surreal interplay of reality and fantasy.

The chapter presents a highly subjective experience, open to various interpretations.
It captures the disorienting and distressing nature of an intense drug-induced trip while
delving into profound existential contemplation and emotional distress. The vivid, chaotic
imagery paints a picture of a psychedelic trip, laden with surreal and often disturbing visuals.

The narrator experiences a complete disintegration of reality,
transitioning through various bizarre and unsettling scenarios.

Amidst the chaos, the narrator expresses a deep sense of responsibility towards Richie,
feeling accountable for his well-being in their shared experience.  The narrative includes
reflections on past events, memories, and encounters, often juxtaposed with the present
situation, creating a sense of dissonance and nostalgia. The language is rich, descriptive,
and highly metaphorical. It vividly portrays the narrator's inner turmoil, utilizing a mix of
literary devices, such as similes, metaphors, and allusions.

The tone shifts from contemplative to chaotic, mirroring the fluctuating mental state of the
narrator. The protagonist undergoes a profound internal transformation, oscillating between
god-like power and vulnerability. This transformation is marked by surreal occurrences, such
as the encounter with the head of Candor, the cosmic journey, and the relinquishment of power.  
The tone shifts between awe, fear, despair, and introspection.

These shifts contribute to the emotional depth of the narrative, emphasizing
the roller coaster of feelings associated with the narrator's journey.

                                                           This review was posted on Mar/10/23
                                                            Reviewed by mariya




                                                      This review was posted on Mar/27/23
                                                             Reviewed by nusratjahan603



                                                      This review was posted on Apr/21/24
                                                             Reviewed by sababaloch292



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