Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 32 (1972) pt 3

                                                                         1972


As 1971 rolled into 1972, I was busy dreaming of strange and unusual things.
On a far distant island where puncheons lined the shore, the wharves made
of sawn timber are gently caressed by the salty breeze.

A short distance away, a series of trees that have weathered many a storm held
their ground on this tiny yet impressive island. Several pelicans could be seen
nearby catching fish as they swooped down from the sky. Near the shore by a
rocky cove were two lovers. They were kissing and doing all the little things I
could only dream about. Things I couldn’t even imagine at the present time.



As his tongue entered her awaiting mouth, it soon found its way to other
places. Where the tips of his masculine fingers slowly began to dissolve
inside her quivering flesh. I watched them until I found I was somewhere
else. In the unstable world of dreams, you never know where you’re going
to end up, and the whole scene is quickly forgotten.


As I continued walking in the sun’s radiance, the serpent patterns
of the dunes on the glittering white sand were like wrinkles in time.
Stepping out onto the sandy coastline, the water almost seemed to
be imploring me. Why do I never have shoes on, I wondered?

I followed some footsteps in the sand until the shoreline changed.


On the larger Island, which lay beside it

I stumbled upon a treasure chest of gold.



At first, I thought it was a log the sand uncovered, but I soon realized it
was an intricately designed scrimshaw created by an unrefined boring
tool. The artwork depicted a sperm whale on a pile of coins continuing
to spout more. Leaning over it, I opened the huge, darkened ivory box
and began to examine each doubloon in that heavy crate. I thrust my
hands down to the xyloid mesh and pulled them out when suddenly,
there was a pirate ship on the horizon.
 

The scintillating ocean waves seemed to sparkle as the sun carried a
reflection of the decorated sky across the great expanse. Where seaweed
is pulled in to dry, and a prehistoric-looking horseshoe crab scampers
away in haste. The azure sky painted with remnants of benevolent clouds,
ever frozen to the naked eye appeared to grace the earth with such
boundless beauty that I almost lost track of time.


Am I going to lose this treasure; I wondered as the ship sailed into port?

Looking back down at the aurulent stash of disused currency, my
mind could
not seem to process the sheer magnitude of it all. It went far
beyond that of
life’s simple pleasures, and nothing could quite capture
the joy that radiated
in my heart. Once again, I threw my eyes to
the sea, only this time, the ship was
already docked. It almost appeared
as though they were exporting cargo from
the wharf’s platform, and the
ship had been there a dangerously long time.

“Why is time moving so fast,” I thought, like a fortuitous man
who sought refuge from the marauders in a murky swamp,
not realizing he had crawled into quicksand.

In haste, I tugged on
the box, but it felt as though it were cemented in.

            
*It was just too heavy*

In dreams, time is shifty, uncertain, and highly unpredictable.



I then grabbed a coin and scrambled. Upon doing so, I ran into Captain Bligh.

“What in bloody hell do you think you’re doing?”

“I am taking what’s mine,” I said.

“You’ll have to go through me sword first; now give it.”

But I refused to hand over the coin.

“You’ll have to pry it out a me cold dead hands,”
I yelled mockingly in an olde English brogue.

“He’s makin’ tafts at me,” he screamed out in a fit of complete rage.

He unsheathed his sword and swung it as hard as he
could in my direction. I barely felt it touch my neck.

That was all it did, and the scene continued where it left off with no one the wiser.


In reality, this would have completely removed my head from my shoulders,
but it cut
so clean that it did no harm. “Consider that a warning,” shouted
the captain as he slid his
sword back into its black holster. “Easy,” said the
old pirate, “he’s just a young squat; let
him be about,” he said agitatedly
as he jerked his head in the direction I should go.


                                            (((Then they saw the box)))

Now there is going to be a very serious problem.

“This is McGraffy’s treasure. So, this is where the bastard buried it.
We have to shoot this little boolif.”

(A word which I’ve never heard before and am sure does not exist)

“Never veseeth in a quarrel,” said the old man, spraying threads
of spittle into the air and looking up toward the sky.

Captain Bligh then fired his gun toward heaven and said, “Now give yur cent up.”

“Are you hard a hearin’ or are ya just ugly?” I said provokingly in the brogue I adopted.

“You little tarrafact,” he hollered as he once again withdrew
his pirate sword. He brought it down hard through the base
of my skull, and it exited through the pit of my loins.
 

It only hurt for a second. Then I woke up.

As I looked down, the impossible had happened. My hand was still wrapped
around the coin. It seemed to have gotten smaller and lighter as it went from
the land of dreams to the land of the living, but nevertheless, I had it.
 

No one was ever going to believe this
unless this, too, was a dream.
 
                                                                   Nocturnal Day Dream - Had a dream last night

                                                                                                                   Pg 173
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As I slowly opened my clenched fist, I could not wait to see what it was
I had come back with. It was a brown button. Carefully, I examined my
pajamas and saw where the missing button had been pulled from.

“Goddamn it,” I muttered, so disheartened in realizing
the impossible had (once again) not come true.

I put it on my nightstand before drifting away again. Within minutes,
I was driving a car made of solid gold on streets I knew like the back
of my hand. In reality, these streets only exist in dreams.



At first, I was maneuvering my way through a quiet mountainside.
Everywhere I turned, another road opened up, and so I followed it.
Driving was fun, and it was happening, so naturally, I was unimpressed with
the mechanics of it all. Soon I was on the main drag, going around in a zigzag
pattern until I came to a red barn situated at the edge of a barren forest.


It was a pleasant day, and I’m sure the sun was shining as I stepped out
of the car and began walking toward the facade. I went to walk
around it,
but the barn had been erected on a cliff. It was here where
the road ended.

Just looking down its steep precipice into the foreboding
echoes of all discarded hope made me tremble with fear.


Even though there was an ocean of water below, the sheer thought of being
so high up literally took my breath away. It was deathly quiet as I opened the
dry-rotted door and stepped inside. The farm building was long abandoned.
As I ambled
through, making my way to the window, I could now see the
road continuing
from where it left off under the house.

How is that even possible? I thought as I watched the road disappear into
a field of vibrant red spider lilies. The bucolic scene was one that emanated
in its own exquisiteness and brought the natural world to a level of such
intensity it would have truly made a wonderful painting. Gazing at the
landscape's calm
placidity, and the flowers' awe-inspiring beauty, I gently
pulled the window up. It was then I heard the crashing of the waves
and
knew if I had jumped down, I would have plummeted to my demise.


I was now facing a dilemma.

Considering there was now only one option, it seemed I would
have to go back the way I came. The last thing I wanted to do
was drive again, so I began to rationalize my decision.

Sitting down at one of the tables, I picked up a discolored menu
and attempted to open it. It was so old and frail that it cracked
in two, and I began to feel like I was falling asleep.




A mild chattering had begun in the kitchen, and I heard one of the patrons ask
his waitress for a glass of water. I don’t remember how many people were in
the place, but there weren’t many. It’s strange how the past and future collide
in dreams without you ever picking up on them. I was now wondering how long
it would take them to bring my meal. Since everyone else was eating, I just
assumed they would feed me as well. Hearing the strike of a wooden match
from afar, it wasn’t long before I began to smell that wretched smoke.

My mother was probably tucking me in with a cigarette dangling
loosely from her
lips, and I would not have been more certain of
that fact had I awoken in flames.


The voices then diminished, and the external noise became
the singing of insects in a country field toward midnight.


I then awoke to the sound of a car beeping and
realized I had fallen asleep at the wheel.

I continued to drive, only now I was driving a beat-up taxi. The roads were
immaculately covered in white linoleum, and the city could not accurately
be described. Harmony was chatting away with some long-haired hippy
in the back seat, and overall, they seemed to be quite happy conversing.

Even though he acted overly placid,
like someone who had ventured from a monastery.


As I watched her run her fingers along the contours of his face,
he
seemed to be oblivious to her advances and stared out the side
window. I asked them where they wanted to go, but they ignored me.

As if they couldn’t hear me, but there was no partition.
Am I invisible, I thought?

“I’m just going to keep driving until you tell me where you
want to go. It’s not fair what you’re doing to me.” I said,
feeling very hurt and confused. As I looked at Harmony
through the rear-view mirror, I confessed to her my heart.

                                                The Ivy League - Funny how love can be

“I don’t understand what’s going on. I’ve always been nice to you,
and you’ve always been nice back. If something’s wrong, we can fix it.”

They were now laughing at me like I was a clown while inside, I was dying.

Suddenly, the car was getting higher, like it was on some kind of lift,
and I began to panic. We were now miles off the ground, and I did
not know how to bring it back down. I had to hold the wheel steady
and hope we wouldn’t hit anything and topple.

                              The Zoofs - Not so near

“Harmony,” I said, terrified, but when I turned to look, she was gone.

They must have gotten out of the car when we were still on the ground.
I looked behind the seat to make sure they weren’t fooling around when
I saw something on the floor. It was shimmering, but there was no light
reflected from it. I reached over the seat to try to pick it up, but it was
too far down. I then hunched over and strained my arm to reach it,
when the floor gave out like a falling elevator.

Not a second too soon, I thought, with my fist tightly clenched while trying to
maintain my balance, which now hinged solely on my lower abdominal muscles.
As I managed to maneuver myself back into the driver’s seat, I began to closely
inspect the item, which had now become old and tarnished. It was Harmony’s
peace ring. You don’t remove something which is a part of you and leave it
behind unless you’re through with it.

Maybe she loves this guy, and the ‘little ring’ signifies the
‘little boy’ she left behind. That’s it; I’m being left behind.
Why would she do that to me if I did nothing wrong?

                                 Or did I?

                  The Others - Until I heard it from you


                                                                                                                   Pg 174
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Dreams are purely an extension of waking life. In life, everything has a direct meaning.
You press the button, and the garage door opens. You release something
from your hand,
and it succumbs to the laws of gravity. In life, normal things are
usually as they seem.



In dreams, however, things are not as they seem. The way I see it, the subconscious
mind is continually processing and reprocessing information. When we dream, this
information is supplied to us in an array of puzzles. Some are more obvious than others,
but still, you can never take them for face value. Even if they appear to be showing
you a direct meaning. Why? Because now you are dealing with emotions as well.

Emotions sprawled out on an inviting canvas as seen through an open door. All of which
comprise you. Anger, jealously, rage. (You get the picture) Since we only use about ten
percent of our brains, we cannot solve the mystery of these puzzles. But if we only could.


                                              
The Trade Winds - Little Susan's Dreamin'



I just needed to figure out what I did wrong, so I could fix it. But that would never
explain why she would do something like this to me. It had to be a warning. All of
a sudden, the wheels must have hit a curb, for the car jolted forward, and something
snapped. Something big. It sounded like a gigantic metal rod just broke. Then in
this slow-moving nightmare, the car began to tilt. I threw myself to the other side,
hoping to stabilize it, but it didn’t seem to do any good. The car was now coming
straight down into a parade full of people.

My God, I gasped, don’t do this to me. I’m only a kid.

As the impact of bone
collided with hardened asphalt, it felt like I was hit in the
mouth by a baseball bat.
With a bloody face and a broken tooth, I pulled myself
off the hardwood floor and
staggered into the bathroom. Blood ran out of my
mouth and nose, all over
my new cowboys and Indians pajamas. Tossing
violently, I must have swung
off the bed and landed right on my face.

Oh no, I thought, this isn’t happening. I was disfigured, and Harmony was going
to be repelled by the sight of me. I know she was. In my mind, I could hear her
say things like,
I don’t want him in my house looking like that. Poor kid. No girl
is ever going to
want him now. Let him go back to his toys. I’m sorry I wasted
my time with him.


I was frightened as I thought of what awaited me tomorrow.

After cleaning myself up the best I could, I would find I had no other choice but
to sleep in the nude. Gazing quietly at my own image in the mirror, I found I had
been woven into the tapestry of the moment. I couldn’t look at myself anymore.

Walking back to my bedroom, I closed the door. Looking up at my new light
blue electric flip clock, it read 3:20. I then crawled back into bed with
my
stomach churning and eventually managed to find some solace in sleep.


                                           The Zoo - Sometimes


Every night as I lay in bed, I would look at my wall and see lighted shadows of

automobiles passing by in the evening hours. If they came down the neighboring
street and happened to turn, I would see them; strange shadows that moved in a
sinister fashion across my darkened wall and ceiling.


How eerie were these nocturnal adumbrations?

They visit without ever stopping before
fading into obscurity and out. There was
a sense of mystery about them that made lying
in bed kind of interesting. Since my
bedroom was on the second floor, the vehicles would
have to turn right, or I would
only hear them. If they kept going straight, they would wind
up in our driveway
alongside the house. On weekends, I would make sure to stay up extra late,
contemplating the events of the day and waiting to see who happened to pass by.

My favorite was John Mortimer's 1938
Dodge pickup truck.




That terrible beast, with its failing hydraulics and engine sounded like it was always
half asleep. Somehow it seemed to manage to get itself around without puttering out.
I noticed that each vehicle had its own distinct sound, and I knew exactly when certain
vehicles were approaching. I also noticed most people couldn’t afford to buy a new car
or truck and were driving earlier models. They were slower and noisier but a lot more
interesting to me. It was 1972, and I didn’t have a clue what the new day would bring.


                                                      Tommy Roe - Melancholy mood

                                                                                                                   Pg 175
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Saturday morning, I awoke to the sound of banging and found
my lip pulsating. Mother put some peroxide on a cotton ball
and told me to hold it there. It fizzled and then it stung.

“You’re going out to see your friend today?” she asked.

“Maybe later,” I said and went up to do some studying.


From my room, I could still hear the repetitive tacking of the local
siding contractors. Harmony must have hired them to replace some
of the asbestos cement siding on her parent's house, for that was
where most of the noise was coming from. The rapid succession
of clacking to those white cementitious tiles were beginning to
grate
on my nerves. Wait a minute, it’s New Year’s Day.

                                    Nobody works on New Year's Day.



I stuck my head out the window to find the air temperature frosty
but not exceedingly cold. A man holding one of the square sheets
turns in my direction to pick up the hammer he put down. That’s
when it hit me. This guy is of Indian descent and must be either
a very good acquaintance or possibly a relative.

Now I was angry about the noise, this guy, and the dream. I thought
about slamming the window down with force so he heard it, but it may
have shattered, and I would have gotten the belt. It just wasn’t worth it.

                                The Baytowners - Goes to show just how wrong you can be



Upstairs, I played with the broken tooth until it fell out. No big deal; it
was loose anyway. Since today was New Year’s Day, my Grandparents
came over to celebrate. They brought the usual Stauffer’s star cookies
and an interesting assortment of pastries from the local sweet shoppe.

In no time, they were drinking, telling stories, and boasting of life’s
big events. My grandmother was rambling on about department store
values and
the sales going on at Bohack while Mother pleasantly
agreed, sipping her cocktail.




Her cocktail of that particular era was either a Tom Collins or a Manhattan.
I couldn’t say which because I wasn’t taking
notes of the event. I do remember,
however, my father, who
usually drank Scotch on the rocks (on special occasions),
had
whipped himself up something called a harvey wallbanger.

                                          *How strange*

I do not remember when the tacking of the asbestos siding had stopped,
because there was so much
commotion in the dining room; who could think?

I recall my dad talking about buying a dump truck for his new contracting
corporation while my maternal grandmother was talking to my paternal
grandmother about how to make the best-tasting chicken cacciatore.

My grandfather talked about his job as a milkman. How on Friday
morning before Christmas Eve, nearly half the people on his
route
put a shot of whiskey in the milk box instead of his usual tip.


“After the fifteenth shot, I was feeding the bushes.
You should have seen me driving home,” he hollered.

The conversation soon progressed into fishing and how wonderful the
music of Bing Crosby’s era was, while I couldn’t have cared any less.

                                                 Bing Crosby - White Christmas




I was so angry and upset by that dream I forfeited an entire Saturday
to isolate myself from the rest of the world. I could
think of nothing better
to do now than study. Study
while engorging myself with cup after cup
of that rich and creamy yellow bliss; Weissglass holiday eggnog
.

At around 2:00 on a Sunday afternoon,
I ventured from my house to traipse over there.

No one appeared to be home, but something didn’t feel right to me,
so I didn’t stay. I came back an hour later and then an hour after
that. She was home now because I could hear movement, so I
knocked and waited patiently for her to open the side door.


“What happened? Did you lose your key?”

“No,” I said in a very despondent tone, “I wasn’t sure if you had company.”

“I had company yesterday when my cousins came to do some repair work.”

“Wonderful,” I uttered in a tone of disgust.

“Do we have a problem here?”

“I don’t know, do we?”

I could not even look her in the eyes; I was so aggravated.
After trying to evaluate my condition, she asked if someone
had
hurt me. Realizing only now my upper lip was swollen.

“No,” I said, “but I’m not your ‘boyfriend,’ so why should you care?”

With that final insult, she became furious and pulled me by the wrist
into the living room, where she pushed me down hard on the couch.

“You have no idea what it is like to carry on a boyfriend / girlfriend relationship.”

I looked her straight in the eyes and, in ultimate defiance, said, “show me.”

She shook her head very slowly as she moved back. So shocked, so wounded,
but why? Was I that ugly? She always told me I was cute and handsome. Maybe
she lied. Harmony just stood there looking at me as if she were about to vomit.

“You want to know what it’s like?” she said in seething anger.
“Then I will show you what it’s like.”

Forcibly she grabbed the lower half of my jaw and brought her
mouth over to where mine was. From there, I was given the
most tender kiss a boy could ever hope to receive from a girl.

Instinctively, and for no reason, I could logically define, my eyes simply closed.

It was there that our mouths filled with passion.
Two hearts ensnared.

Surprisingly, it wasn't rough or angry. No, in fact, it was the complete opposite.

                                            The Thunders - Take me the way I am



The kiss lasted anywhere from two to three minutes, and I didn’t
make any attempt to shy away. When her lips pulled apart from
mine, I saw the look she was giving me and realized it was over.

A look so detestable, I thought she was going to recoil
and punch me in my mouth repeatedly until she broke it.

The mouth she kissed me on.

                                                                                                                   Pg 176
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Like hurting me in such a way would be the ‘only way’ things ever had any
chance of getting back to normal again. She hated me so much, but why?

Because of the lover’s kiss?
Why couldn’t she be attracted to me like I was to her?

As I looked into those burning, enraged eyes, my heart sank.
The fact that I had failed to win her over, and the fact that she
now despised me and looked as though she might even kill me,
took me to a place of such eloquent sorrow I was beside myself.

“Are you happy now? You can tell all your little friends at school
you got a big juicy kiss from the pretty woman across the street.
I’ll even wave to them if you want. . .

Now get the fuck out of my house.”

                                                    The Zephyrs - I just can't take it




As I stood up, two tears fell in unison, and she knew at that moment I was not
going to betray her. As I reached for her hand and took hold of it, I spoke from
the deepest region of my heart when I said to her in truth, “That was beautiful.
I love you so much, Harmony. Thank you.” As I stood there, gazing into the
mirror of her eyes, I spoke again. “I just want you to know how I feel for you
as a person. How I feel for you deep inside. Please don’t hate me for that.”

While tears poured out in separate streams, they converged into one at the
bottom of my chin. There they struggled to hold on before falling to the floor.
“If I was older, I would give you the world. I would never treat you bad, and
I’d protect you always. I would even give you my own soul.”

As I spoke, it was almost like she was blown away. Whatever demon was standing
in her place moments earlier was sent back to wherever it came from, and I
was
standing beside Harmony again, pouring out to her my feelings as though
they
were my life’s blood. Immediately, she embraced me and almost broke my ribs.


“I am so sorry I reacted that way to you. Please understand a long time ago, I had
a very bad experience with someone I once loved dearly. The
way you changed like
that reminded me of him. Why did you do that for?
Why did you turn on me like that?”

“I had a terrible dream the other night. You were with a man, and you were
ignoring me. Then you laughed at me when I was talking to you, and you left
me alone in a dangerous place. It felt like you wanted me to die, and I couldn’t
understand why.” Warm salty tears continued to pour from my eyes.

Placing her hand on my cheek, she spoke.

“Anytime you have those dreams, come to me. Talk to me, okay?”

“I feel so stupid blaming you for something that happened in a dream,
but if it wasn’t for that dream, you wouldn’t have kissed me.”


                                               “The kiss never happened.”



I gasped silently and moved back, hitting the wall. “It didn’t?” I uttered the words
so bewildered and in shock that I wasn’t really sure if we had actually kissed at
all. I felt like a deer paralyzed in the headlights, not realizing the barrel of the gun
was about to blow my heart into a million unrecognizable pieces. ((((((again))))))

“So you’re not my. . .”

I was going to say girlfriend, but I threw my hands up to my face and made
some kind of terrific noise that must have startled Harmony, for she held
me
tight and would not release me. I was trembling like I had contracted
the grippe
as Harmony whispered aloud, “I love you Charles, more than
you could know.
Yes, we kissed, and yes, I wanted to kiss you for some
time now but would
never have allowed myself to do it.”

“Does that mean you’re my girlfriend,” I exclaimed
while trying to catch my breath between words.


“I am, but can you promise me you will not breathe
a word of what happens between us to anyone?”

“I promise.”

“The day you do is the day I must say goodbye to you forever.
Do you realize how serious this is?”

“I do,” I said, like I would have said had we been
standing at the alter exchanging our vows together.

“Okay, our lives are now in each other’s hands.”

(And she smiled)

“Harmony?”

“Hmmm?”

“I love you more than anyone in this whole world.”

“As do I, you,” she replied, as a princess would
have in the most beautiful of fairy tales.





                                                                                                                   Pg 177
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The order of life had been irreversibly changed. Together we altered each other’s
destiny to seal our own fate. In a recondite chapter of a non-written book lies a story
that can never be told. My joy will be to live in the dream and partake of its glory,
and besides, no one really needs to know such intimacies. I would lose too much
time, and Harmony would never understand. In addition to every gentle thing
laced in secrecy, one should always keep in mind nothing lasts forever. There
is no time now for storytelling. I have a woman who needs me by her side,
and every waking moment that passes is undeniably hers.

That evening as I closed the door to my bedroom, I lay upon my bed
without making a sound. There in the solemn confines of my quiet
room shall I adorate and ponder all things said and done today.

I thought of how her kiss tasted like bubble gum and salad and
smiled to myself. You did it, buddy. You did it, and I am so proud
of you. I was beaming with joy and elated beyond words. I felt like
a kid who had just inherited a candy store or the man who had
just received his first wish from Aladdin's magic lamp.

If I had to describe how I felt the moment our lips touched and
our tongues first met before dancing together in an exquisite yet
silent sonata, I could not. What I can say, however, is that it was
without a doubt, the best experience in the entire solar system.

On this very day, I have done as a child what no other has professed
before.
Like a magician preparing to elude the masses, I have performed
the impossible.
Not only have I stepped through the eye of a needle, but
I would lead Harmony
through it as well. Hand in hand, we will face
life’s problems together. Never to be
alone again, for I have found a
stable dwelling within the heart of an exotic dream.


Just looking into those magical eyes of hers uplifts my soul and takes
me far away from this ordinary place. A place I once called home.




From that moment forward when we sat down on the couch, Harmony would put
her arm around me and hold me close. I loved the feel of her warm embrace. How
she touched and caressed my face and neck and held my hand so lovingly. It was
almost as if she had some kind of magic spell over me that made me subservient
to her every whim. I was intoxicated, not only by her outward appearance but by
this inner quality she had that molded her into what she was.

This aura of being flowed from her and made me never want to leave her side.

                                       
Sons of Adam - I told you once before

Her altruistic personality was merely a reflection of her gentle spirit, and the
love she would offer me would far surpass that of any gift given to impress.



In my mind, our love would not only brighten but enlighten an entire world.

A world whose concept of joy comes from arranged marriages that have been
handed down through generations like a death sentence. Or a world of genital
mutilation and genocide that carries the weak and the wounded from loving homes
to the outskirts of a land that is uninhabitable. In my mind, I really thought that
because I found peace, the entire world was now smiling with me as well.

What a fool I was to actually believe it.

All I am sure of is this, once in a great while, God will produce
in your lifetime
a miracle. The rest of the time He just sits back
and watches us from a distance.


Never forget that God has given his people free-will.
We can do whatever we want down here with little interference.

In the next life, however, we will be entirely at his mercy.


                                         The Fifth - Yesterdays today

My parents had no idea we had taken to each other so well.
Together we cleverly enacted a scheme that I suggested to
Harmony a few weeks earlier. She just improvised on it a bit.

“Your younger brother has come to live with you, and he’s
in a wheelchair; therefore, he cannot leave the house.”

It was a brilliant plan, and it worked like a charm. Now I could
even sleep over. My parents were too busy fighting to worry
about whether or not their little boy would be sleeping with
the beautiful young woman across the street, whose younger
brother we named Timmy just so happens to be crippled.


                       It was like we had committed the perfect crime.



                                Maywood - I'm in love for the very first time


When I first mentioned this to Harmony toward the middle of July, she thought
I had gone mad. That I
could not be serious. When she realized I was, in fact,
dead serious, she said,
“I just want to lay this out for you nice and easy. It is
on ‘your head’ should
something go wrong from this asinine stunt. Then I
will be forced to kidnap
you, and you will have ruined my life.”

It's true, the banality of love had been replaced by an unequivocal desire
to foster an endearing relationship with Harmony, and now that my dreams
were in the process of being fulfilled, I had to be especially careful in
everything I did or said as to not invoke disaster; but I was a daredevil,
willing to walk out on the wing of the plane as Harmony glared at me in
bewilderment from a short distance away with her mouth partially open.


Later that evening, she said to me, “I don't believe you understand the severity of
the situation. Do you even have an inkling of what could possibly go wrong here?
Answer me.”

“I understand what could go wrong, but it won’t. Don’t you trust me, babe?”

“If you are asking me if I trust your judgment, well that’s still undecided.”


We then went over some miscellaneous details that needed to be accounted for.


“How will Timmy go to school,” I asked? “Which school will he go to, and
won’t my parents or onlookers notice if he never gets on the school bus?”

“Since Timmy is crippled, no learning institution in the country will accept
him anyway, so in the meanwhile, all I can do is home-school him. Now, I
think I need to get myself a car. Just in case Timmy runs a fever or needs
to see a doctor late at night when all the neighbors are sleeping soundly.

She then threw me a wink with a countenance of such intensity I shuttered.
From a child’s point of view, it was perhaps the most serious expression a
woman could ever display. It was a look that would be stamped into my
brain like a footprint, and at that moment, I wasn’t entirely sure what
was going happen next.

Lucky for me, it was only a devious grin and a gentle caress of my cheek.

The day after that, Harmony informs me she has made a new rule.

It was called Plan “T.”

We only had to use it once the following year,
thank heavens.

It was during the transition of spring into summer, but the page
from the journal deteriorated, coming free from its bindings, and
it is not known as to where its precise location lies in the story.

The
only thing I know for certain is that it occurred in 1973.

Harmony and I were making out in the living room when there

was a sudden knock on the door. “Who’s there,” yelled Harmony.

“It’s Kathy.”

A look of desperation overtook her.

“It’s your mom. Plan “T” and get up there without making a sound.
I’m coming.”


“Hi, Harmony; sorry to bother you, but my phone is on the fritz.”

“That’s okay. Won’t you come in?”

“Sure.”

“I’d invite you into the living room, but the place is a disaster zone.”

“I could hear my son from here.”

“Kids will be kids, right?”

“I have trading cards too. You have Cleon Jones?
I have Willie Mays, Thurman Munson, and Roberto Clemente.
Yeah, I got a whole bag full of assorted trading cards.”

“Charlie, your mom is here!”

“Be right down, and don’t go anywhere, cause I’ll be right back.”


“Hi mom, what is it?”


“I just wanted to tell you; we’re having a barbecue in the backyard.
You’re welcome to take Harmony and Timmy if you want.”

“That would have been nice if we didn’t just eat,”
I blurted out as my stomach growled.

“Okay, that’s all. I’ll see you in two hours.”

“I’ll make sure he’s home on time.”

“Bye now.” (Mother exits)

“You really handled that like a pro,” replied Harmony,
looking rather impressed.

“I’m never gonna let you down, baby.
Come here; I think I deserve a kiss.”


Lucky for us, we never had to do that again.

                                                                                                                   Pg 178
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Rewinding the clock back to Tuesday, August 22, 1972.

Approximately three weeks after the inception of Timmy and
seven months since Harmony had demonstrated the lover's kiss.
I do not recall it being overly cool or too warm that day, so I will
have to estimate that it had to be somewhere around 80 degrees.

“You know what? Since you've taken it upon yourself to play God,
why don't we go the full nine yards? I want you to lift up your shirt.”

Upon removing my shirt, Harmony proceeded to give me a

hickey on the under part of my arm, which covered my armpit.

“As long as you keep your arm down, your parents will not see it.
If they do
happen to see it, just say you were wrestling, and they
will think it’s a bruise.”


“Whenever my cousins get a new boyfriend,
I see these marks. What do they mean?”

It means you’re mine. You belong to me.”

Only recently did Harmony make the decision to take
an indefinite leave from
her brother’s antique store.

Whereupon all time would be devoted to each other.


I wasn’t worried in the slightest about my parents
wanting to one day meet
Timmy, for they weren’t
interested in anyone or anything but themselves.


Aside from them being two workaholics who were never home,
when they finally got home, they were physically exhausted.

Nonetheless, they were never too tired to argue.
Apart from all this, they had more pressing issues to attend to.

Utility bills. The mortgage. Homeowner’s insurance. Car insurance.
Property tax. The car when it broke down, and it broke down a lot.
Food and clothing expenses, not to mention health insurance.

So, I didn’t think they would be breaking down
Harmony’s door to rush me home for TV dinner.



If they could save a dollar here and there, they would.

Besides,
those prefabricated meals were nothing
more than hospital food with a lot more flavor.


My mom and dad thanked Harmony on more than one occasion for taking
care of me and cooking for me, and she always marveled at them about
how well behaved I was. They even offered to pay her handsomely on
several occasions for the service, but she flatly refused.

These are all the scribbled notes I have collected from those years.
Pages, once part of a journal, kept in order by the recollection of
events. Now bear in mind the memories I have stored away from this
period of time are sketchy and faded. Sadly, they are held together
with only tears, and I am adding life to them as we go along.



I can vaguely remember the Friday of August 18th. I was at Jenny Chángs
house down the street, and she was trying to help me with simple math.
Her grandmother brought refreshments as we sat at the kitchen table, but
my mind was unable to focus. First, we went through the flashcards, and
she got most of them right. I, on the other hand, did the opposite. We then
tried it on paper, but math just didn’t make sense to me, and nothing, nor
no one could make me understand any part of it. Occasionally, she would
come to my house, and we’d talk about schoolwork, but aside from that,
there wasn’t much to consider. I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual.

Needless to say, our friendship lasted well into the following year
before dissolving away when she moved up north.

Around 4:30 in the afternoon, I arrived home. Harmony had
not called me all week, and all week I remained in a state of
limbo. Since she wasn’t working with her brother anymore,
I was growing very uncertain of our relationship.

If it could even be called that.

Having recently acquired a used car made her feel more independent,
and because of this, she was rarely home anymore. It certainly wasn’t
a car of this particular era, and so I took quite a shine to it. Oh, that
magnificent automobile had some engine. It was a faded turquoise 1954
Hudson Hornet four-door sedan that rolled around like it owned the
road. This vehicle had a rather expansive interior that seemed to open
up as you entered. A standard shift car with power steering and radio
that must have been finely tuned to pick up every station.

I do not remember it ever breaking down,
but I do recall the tires needing air every month or so.


                                               
The Basooties - You didn't try to call me

It was Sunday, January 16. Two weeks after our very first kiss,
the temperature had continued to fall.
Yesterday we had a high of
32 degrees, while today would reach a high
of only 12. As we sat
side by side on the couch, her arm wrapped around
me, holding
me tight; I was desperately trying to think of something to say.


I just couldn’t think of the right words to utter.

Just then, the wind blew, and the vent cover to the kitchen
wall fan started to make that familiar tapping sound.

For no apparent reason whatsoever, I took her left hand and began licking
the tips of her fingers, starting with the pinky and working my way down to
her delicate index finger. She sounded as if she was going into shock as
she said to me in a shaky and trembling voice.

“You have no idea - what you - are doing to me.”
 
All these gorgeous fingers, I thought, and it did something to my body that
had not yet been explained to me. I looked at the palm of her alluring hand
and began licking and kissing it. I then put her thumb in my mouth, and she
went crazy. Kissing my neck and lips as if she had the fever.

All sloppy and wet, and I loved it.


I embraced her, and we consummated our love.
This went on until December 1974.


A day in my life that tragically came to be known as “Dark Monday.”
I wrote it upon my wall as though I were possessed by demons. A day
so terrible it would change the course of my life forever. But in ‘72,
everything was calm and peaceful, for the storm that was yet to
come
was, as of this moment, not even a whisper.

As we got closer to one another, Harmony cooked for me regularly
and even helped with my homework. She asked what my favorite
foods were and what she should buy me from the store.

“Whatever you eat, I will eat too,” I said to her, and I always did.


                                                                                                                   Pg 179
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Even when she bought that awful okra and Brussels sprouts.
Oh, and lest we forget those revolting turnips, which made
my stomach churn with nausea beyond compare.

Turnips I would not have eaten for anyone. I did it as a labor of love
and would continue doing so. Even though she cooked them in spices
brimming with curry (which would become as addicting to me as
garam masala), it couldn’t mask the entire flavor of the vegetable.

As I grew accustomed to eating them, I also got used to the nauseating
discomfort they produced. The thought of having to eat them or risk
losing Harmony was the formation of my neurosis.

In my head, I was sure if you were to disassemble the female brain,

you would find the part that loves it when a man is agreeable and
does everything in accordance with her will.

Eventually, I would come to learn that nothing was further from the truth.

The same should apply to food put in front of him, I thought. If a man
eats everything on his plate with no complaints, how can he be criticized?
Most children complain about certain foods and gripe if the soda is warm,
but a man should consume everything he is served.

Even if the iced tea is too strong, made without
sugar, and tastes like a powerful analgesic.


Harmony often said that one day I was going to make some lucky
lady a wonderful husband, and I always thought she meant her.


Come to think of it, I do remember a few
things I told her to pick up from the store.


Doritos taco chips,
*when they were made from the original recipe*
Quisp cereal, with the pink Martian on the box (Only because I was
tired of Frosty O’s),
Weaver chicken roll, and those Beer Nuts.

I had to have them.



I knew about Beer Nuts since the sixties when my father frequented the
local gin mills in the afternoon hours of the day. He would order me a soda
on tap and I’d sit next to him on the bar stool, nibbling away on an unlimited
supply of those sweet and salty, sugar-coated peanuts. The bartender had
no problem filling it back up for me whenever he saw it was getting low
because the more I ate, the more my father drank.
 

“You got it,” she said, like a vixen who had just stolen my heart and
had no intention of ever giving it back. “I’ll make a mental note of it
for the next time I go. Is there anything else I can get for you?”

“No that’s all, thanks.”

Whenever I wanted them, Harmony made sure to personally hand-feed
me each one. Even when I wasn’t craving them, I’d find myself requesting
them anyway. How delicately she would bring each one to my lips and
watch so intensely as my tongue took the peanut from the tips of her
enticing fingers.

Harmony always made sure to roll the peanut around on her thumb
and forefinger so I had more to lick and savor. After this, she caressed
my neck and back. When she finished, I would be lured to her breasts.

She allowed me to feast on them and told me it was all a learning
experience. In return, I allowed her access to every part of my body.

She even touched me deep inside the forbidden region,
where hesitation brings delight to fulfillment.

                           Harrison - There's time

What an exquisite woman you are indeed, my love,
for whom no man could ever be worthy.


Harmony and I were always happy together, unlike my parents,
who
clearly appeared to be more content when they parted ways.
That was because, in the beginning, they must have felt equally
responsible for having me, and it seemed as though they had some
moral obligation to continue living alongside each other rather
than sort out their differences and move on with their lives.

“First one up the stairs gets to undress the other.”

With that, she ran
up the stairs, and I gave chase.
My heart was pounding with excitement
as I
narrowly found myself closing in on her.

“I win; you’re all mine.”


As my heart beat like a basketball bouncing in an empty
gymnasium, my mind would need a brief moment to focus.

I then looked around the room with excitable eyes in awe of what I saw.

Up until this moment, I was forbidden to enter Harmony’s room. I was
told only once and had to swear upon our friendship that I would not
enter. “Not until the time is right,” she replied firmly. I kept my promise
because a man must live by his word. If he cannot, then he is not a man.

In this particular room, which was painted royal peach, there was a fully
enclosed canopy bed. A bed so elaborately adorned it looked like a room
inside a room. Adjacent to the illustrious sleeping quarters was a slender
cheval mirror made of cherry wood and a beautifully crafted Elizabethan
chair. To the left hung a rather strange but very detailed Indian painting.



“Do you like my room,” she asked buoyantly?

I told her I loved it, and in all honesty, I did.

Like an elegantly poised actress from the roaring twenties, she
responded by saying with lips pursed and her head held high,
“I am merely a collector of wares.”


                                                                                                                   Pg 180
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Hastily, she ran her hands under my shirt before pulling it up and
over my head. Harmony then began to remove my clothing, and
it wasn’t long after this that we explored the boundaries of each
other. And who should care? It was my right to want and to need this
woman. To hold such a precious gift in my arms without wavering.

Hell, I didn’t falter in the slightest.

Just because I was young, didn’t mean I was dumb.
I just needed to learn.

It didn't mean I didn't deserve her.

Okay you’re right; maybe I didn’t deserve her, for I could never be
that worthy. And if ‘I’ was unworthy, how could any man even think
for one second that ‘he’ could be worthy? Just because one is older,
earns an income to support himself financially, and possesses a
vehicle to get himself around doesn’t necessarily mean he is worthy.

For some, it would be like laying claim to a magnificent trophy.



She was not an object but rather an angel in the form of a woman who came to bless
my world. That is how I saw it. I'm pretty sure that if God judges people based on the
love and respect they hold dear to one another, then it is safe to say that we would be
revered by the conscience of our own two hearts beating in a passionate and loving
embrace. Not as an act of sin but more so as a gift of purest love to one another.



Here in a timeless void of such intensity, we were endeared to each other as we adhered
to the promises we made, honoring the will to grant wishes in the form of all human
compassion. This was our will. Hers to love and care for me, and mine, that I may offer
myself unto her. To please her above all things and to honor and adore her without end.
My gift was pure, for deep down inside this young adolescent body was the consolation
of a lifetime promise. And who is the stranger in the shadows to condemn?

Do you know me that you seek to bring me pain? Who are you to say what is right and
what is wrong for me? Guide yourself in your own affairs, and surely you will find your own
faults, but most importantly, keep your distance, for your laws do not apply in our world.
“Never speak vile about love, my darling,” Harmony once told me. “Be a man without
being the animal man wishes to become.” In the end, love would become my life’s work.


                               The Charles Pendelton Orchestra - Happiness in Mourning

On occasion, she would dance for me like a harem doll to songs like
The march of the jingle jangle people by San Francisco Earthquake,
Artificial face by The Hobbits, or Catch the wind by Donovan.
Which just so happened to be her favorite. And whenever she danced,
I simply could not take my eyes off her.

Like an artist, she painted my world a color I had never before
seen.
A
color I could no longer live without.


                                                  
The Avant-Garde - Naturally stoned



Sometimes, when she listened to her Indian music, Harmony would dress
up for me in her adoring outfits. The multicolored saris,
the crepe salwar
kameez, or my favorite, the tangerine ghagra choli.

When it came to owning an exclusive collection of fancy dresses, Harmony was at

the top of her game. Not only did she have a dresser full of contemporary clothing
for everyday use, but she also had an abundance of raiment neatly hung in the
closet that went above and beyond that which could be deemed extravagant.

What really drove me wild was when she wore that gold forehead tikka.


How it delicately graced the parting of her hair to truly accentuate the

aura of her being. All the accoutrements of Indian fashion were not only
more elaborate than what American culture dictates, but they were also
more refined on a grander scale.

I then imagined my mother donning some form of Indian forehead jewelry
and could not contain myself.
Most of the time, Harmony would simply
apply a little red bindi dot
from sindoor powder and leave it at that.

It made her different from every other woman on the planet.


It was explained to me that in her particular culture, the little dot
tended to signify marriage which made me extremely happy.

However, when any of her relatives arrived, she would always hurry
to remove it before camouflaging the area with turmeric and rouge
to make everything appear normal again. This overwhelmed me
with such immense sorrow; it was beyond compare.

She would later apologize for doing it, and I would always forgive her.


During the day, she would wear either her chiffon kurta, the plain beige
churidar, or a traditional Western outfit any typical American young lady
would find fashionable. As time went on, I secretly took down the names
of all these outfits, and when I got home, I’d transcribe them to my journal.

Otherwise, I would never have been able to remember them. Even though
most of the names took weeks, if not months, to research because they
were
badly misspelled, and I didn’t have an Indian dictionary nor a
state-of-the-art
computer to aid in my advancement.

I couldn’t very well jot down notes in her presence. The last thing I needed was
for Harmony to know I was keeping a journal account of our lives together. She
would never understand I was doing it to preserve our love. Even if someone
did see it, the writing is a combination of fast script and print, very similar to a
doctor’s prescription only the doctor can read. So no, I wasn’t worried about it.

It was transcribing the journal and translating a long-forgotten language of
scribbled words into a meaningful context that caused me the most time and grief.



                                                                                                                   Pg 181
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The one thing that really fascinated me about Harmony was that she had never
become Americanized. This country had not changed her. She knew who she was
and wasn't afraid to show it. Yes, Harmony still adhered to the customs of her
people, and as for her parents, she had only the utmost praise and devotion.
Anything they asked of her would instantly be recognized, and if she gave her
word on something, you could rest assured it would be fulfilled.




When she was in a playful mood, she would put a record on
the turntable and direct the lyrics at me. Taunting and teasing,
she would point her finger at me as she winked and smiled,
so coquettishly seductive, luring me to become one with her.

I did not believe in being a slave unto society’s ways, and so
I did things my own way. The way they needed to be done.
If I felt like walking around in the middle of a blizzard eating
an ice cream bar, Harmony would not chastise me for it.

Instead, she would have one too.




Anyone who has a chance to fall in love should take the time and do so.
I, myself, could find no harm in it, for I was truly smitten. As a female,
she had no faults and was perfect in every aspect of her being. Every
woman,
it seems, has some denotable flaw. Harmony had none.

A woman that perfect should never have graced the earth,
but I was deemed worthy by some cosmic star.

Harmony often said in a perfect relationship, the man had to be intuitive
and hear the woman, or the relationship would fail. When she told me her
likes and dislikes, I remembered them (because I listened) and never had
to write them down. When she talked, I never interrupted her, and most
important of all, when a notable day comes around, like your sweetheart’s
birthday (((which is a given))) or your anniversary, it is imperative that you
observe and comply with due diligence. Tattoo it on your wrist if need be
because you absolutely cannot forget this day, or it hurts them beyond
repair, and a mild resentment is formed. Never let it come to this point.

If it starts early, it will most certainly end early, and even more
important than anything else, never be afraid to say, I love you.
It is the quintessential most important phrase on the planet.

“Don't say it if you don't mean it.

I was in an advanced class, so I caught on quickly. Everything I
did magically seemed to impress her, and the more points I scored,
the more affection I received in return. It was an utterly flawless
relationship, even though we had to hide our love away.

There is nothing wrong with following your own instincts
as long as you are not following something you can't control.



I will admit, in the beginning, I was prone to leaving the toilet seat up. I didn’t
think anything of it until one day, I came out of the bathroom just as Harmony
went in. A connection was made when she slammed the seat down with such
force it sounded like the porcelain sink crashing through the floor. From that
moment forward, I never left the seat up again. Even then, she came out smiling
as if she walked in on Monday and strolled out on Friday with the sun shining.

I guess she didn’t want to tell me.
Maybe she wanted me to figure it out on my own.


Knowing that Harmony’s birthday was coming up in
two weeks, I asked my cousin Gloria for some advice.

“When a man loves a woman, what should he buy
for her birthday that is guaranteed to please her?”

“Are you asking me this because you found a girlfriend?”

“No, this is not about me. A man and a woman.”

“Well, then that depends,” she said.

“On what?”

“On whether or not they had sex.”

In a flash, my cousin Patty flipped out.
“Gloria, are you an asshole? Don’t tell him that.”

I then replied, “after,” and she gave me one of those
mother / son looks before nervously uttering,
“Please
don’t tell me you dipped your wick at school.”


“I didn’t dip. . . What?”

“Never mind, I’m sorry. If this person is an adult, and if it
was after the fact, then he should, by all means, buy her a box
of long-stemmed roses. And if he can’t afford the roses, I have
something in my drawer that’s guaranteed to please her.”

“Glor-i-a.”

“It’s long, and it’s hard, and it buzzes.”

With that, Patty put on a devilish grin. “You have one of those?”

“Yeah, you wanna try it?”

“Try what,” I said innocently?

“Nothing,” said Patty and left the room swiftly.

“Why do you want to know so much about how to please a woman?”
said my cousin loudly, deliberately trying to instigate a response
from my cousin Patty. “Are you having sex with girls?”

“Glor-i-a, you’re fucked up, I’m telling mommy.”

“Thanks,” I said coolly and began to leave.
 
“The guy better remember to get her a nice card,
or he’s gonna be using his left hand for a while.”

“What the fuck are you stupid?” retorted Patty furiously.


Later on that day, Gloria caught up with me
and began annoying me with her questions.



      (((Why are women so curious?)))



“Just between you and me, what’s her name?”

“What?” I asked, so dumbfounded and shocked by the
question that my whole mind had just been erased.

“You heard me,” she said in an almost sweet kind of way.

I opened my mouth and uttered the only name I could
think of at the time. One that no one knew and one
she would probably never remember. “Penelope.”

                 Dave Christie - Penelope Breedlove

As Tuesday, June 6th arrived, I was with my classmate Jimmy. Jimmy
and I were in the same class together for the duration of the entire year, and
as a result, we were always horsing around. Today in gym class, Tommy Renna
hit Mikey Jenkins in the face with a medicine ball when the gym teacher had
his head turned, and Mikey landed square on his back. As he managed to
regain his footing Mikey screamed out in a heated rage, “you're a retard!”
Tommy then chimed in, “Your mother's a retard.” Then all hell broke loose.



Needless to say, by this time next year, Thomas
and Michael would become the best of friends.

This was simply the way it was in the early 1970s. Girls wore pigtails, and boys had
that Robert Hall look. A clothing store that catered to adults as well as children, and
in the process, created little prototypes that were captured in vintage photographs to be
hung proudly by parents and grandparents alike. How corny we looked as miniature
versions of our parents, who we unassumingly emulated without even knowing.

My pal Jimmy lived in the apartment complex alongside Mill Road, which was only
a five-minute walk from Isernia Avenue, where I resided. Since we had gotten off
the school bus together, I figured I would stay with him for a while. As we hurried along
the narrow concrete walkway and in through the freshly painted black steel door,
a most peculiar odor could be noted in the air. It was nothing new; the apartments
always smelled that way. As we waited for the elevator to come down from the fifth
floor, Jimmy forced a penny into one of the many square metal holes of the small
external face plate that acted like a shield, protecting the thick layer of glass
behind it. For commercial elevators, they were adequate at best.

The elevator soon arrived, and out stepped none other than ‘the beast of 3-B.’

“Get the hell away from me, you little devils.” She bolstered as she poisoned
the air with her wretched cigarette smoke. We darted out of the way because
she was prone to kick, and even though she was wearing slippers, no one
wanted to be punted in the ass by an old cootie, especially Mrs. Mabel. With
her blanched hair up in curlers, and snarling appearance, she looked like she
had spent the entire morning in bed and the remaining half looking for ways
of avoiding the human race. To me, she always looked like someone who was
either entering or exiting a laundromat, and even though she was in dire need
of an attitude adjustment, I never seemed to harbor any ill will toward her.

“She almost got me,” yelled Jimmy in an ecstatic frenzy.

“Let her go pound salt,” I responded, disregarding her existence.

“Yeah, go pound salt with your wrinkly face,” Jimmy replied to me, giggling.

“I hear you, you dick,” she hollered down the hallway as she
scrambled back toward us, her cigarette flopping around on
her lips like it was an extension of her brooding persona.

“Get in, hurry,” Jimmy vocalized with extreme urgency while incessantly tapping the
black plastic button that would take us to the 5th floor. The button that someone had
(at one point) held a lighter to, to see if it would melt. As the springy black cushion of
the door engaged with the full metal housing, we slowly ascended from the first floor.

“Run away in fear, you little bitches,” she hollered
as she repeatedly slapped the elevator door.

“Keep yelling, you old fart-bag,” bolstered Jimmy at the top of his lungs
before strumming the elevator with his hands to annoy her further.

“You better hope she doesn't come chugging up those steps and kick us in the balls.”

“Ha-ha, she can try that old bat!”

As the door opened up, we scampered away like two hooligans dodging enemy fire.

When Thursday, the 8th of June, came around, I went to visit my grandmother,
as I so often did. My uncle Bob was outside playing with his two schnauzers
while my grandmother sat comfortably in a web-strapped aluminum patio chair.
Sam, the bulldog, was tied to a tree and seemed to be contemplating that injustice.
Judging by the expression on his face that was etched in disgust, it looked like
he just wanted to shit in a bag and burn it. That thought made me laugh aloud.
Suddenly, Sam barked, and his eyes were wide as silver dollars. I moved back
quick because, for a split second, he didn't recognize me. Then without any
warning, the sky turned black as coal, and a swirling wind whipped around
the house and flipped the outdoor metal table over.

“Let's get inside,” my grandmother yelled in extreme duress as me, and my uncle ran
to our houses. With a dog under each arm, and the wind pulling him every which way
but up, I could almost envision him standing in the middle of the street holding what
would appear to be 'two barking kites.' The wind was thrashing violently against me
from all sides when I distinctly heard the eerie sound of tree limbs creaking and tree
trunks cracking. Wow, I said, feeling exhilarated as my uncle Bob began running
along the street in the opposite direction of his house. Those poor dogs were being
bombarded; they must be frightened silly. Making it up my front steps, I reached for
my keys when I heard the wind groaning. It was not a normal sound, and as I got
inside the house, I was covered in goosebumps. It sounded like a phantom spirit
from a distant realm saying, “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” 

Almost as though it was trying to send me some kind of message.

Indeed, the tide was turning;
the dowager was reclaiming her children.

                                                                                                                   Pg 182
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PG 173) Love on the beach by Julie Bell - http://tinyurl.com/kecfzhx

PG 173) Treasure Island
by John Palacios - http://tinyurl.com/mxm4j2r

PG 173) Mermaid
by Ken McCracken - http://tinyurl.com/ldf2fhd

PG 174) Contemplation
by Ilene Meyer - http://www.ilenemeyer.com/

PG 174) Café Martin restaurant (Circa 1903)
- http://tinyurl.com/kr72ouz

PG 175) Guard your secrets well
by Mike Davis - http://tinyurl.com/mrshc9d

PG 175) Learning to walk
by Gyuri Lohmuller - http://tinyurl.com/jwlh955

Pg 175) Vintage Packard advertisement (Circa 1948)

PG 176) Happy New Year
by Jenny Nystrom - http://tinyurl.com/msufqof

PG 176) Return to metaphysics
by
Alfio Presotto - http://tinyurl.com/m9ppaxh

PG 176) Bohack draft beer
(circa 1963) - http://tinyurl.com/m9zrw5f

PG 176) White Christmas
by Bing Crosby - http://tinyurl.com/veafu

PG 176) The first kiss
by Rezo Kaishauri - http://tinyurl.com/mm682aq

PG 177) Serpentine Seduction
by Patrick Jones - http://tinyurl.com/nvclm5e

PG 177) Elven Fortress
by Tim Hildebrandt - http://tinyurl.com/etjy2

PG 178) Eye of the needle by Vladimir Kush
- http://vladimirkush.com/

PG 178) Sacred gift by Vladimir Kush
- http://vladimirkush.com/

PG 179)
Pillow Book by Vladimir Kush - http://vladimirkush.com/

PG 180) Quisp cereal
by Quaker - http://tinyurl.com/6f2sle

PG 180) Gita solo
by Jared Nickerson - http://tinyurl.com/mmf7ske

PG 181) Untitled
by Alexei Tomin -
http://tinyurl.com/nyoqxt5

PG 181) New age
by Gyuri Lohmuller - http://tinyurl.com/jwlh955

PG 181) Court dancer
by Govind Bendne - http://tinyurl.com/l3nbg6g

PG 181) Ocean by Pawel Kuczynski - http://tinyurl.com/6vpw9do

PG 182)
The magic of music by Rajasthani - http://tinyurl.com/raja

PG 182) The Meat Magi
by Mark Ryden - http://www.markryden.com/

PG 182) Jasper Ridin' by Mark Ryden - http://www.markryden.com/

PG 182) Time Bullying Final
by Gerard DuBois - http://www.gerarddubois.com/