Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 32 (1972) pt 4


My cousins were always fighting with one another. Sometimes when Harmony wasn't
around, I would go to their house and listen to them bicker. Even my youngest cousin
Roberta would throw in a few words every now and then to break balls! Things like
hiding the hair dryer under Gloria's bed when Patty needs it to dry her hair, and then
saying she saw Gloria hide it in the closet! You know, turn one against the other in an
attempt to have some fun; at which point my Aunt Paula, who was usually at her wit's
end would wind up having to jump in and separate them before it got too crazy.

“Good luck with that, and never be afraid to say what's on your mind. . . Got it?”

“Thanks Glor,” I said, as I strolled out of the house with a renewed sense of confidence!

Love was in the air, for even before I reached the last step, I could clearly see Mary
Haskell across the street gently caressing the shoulder of some strange boy. There were
no words spoken and there didn't have to be, because sometimes the use of body language
combined with intense facial expressions says it all. The world was dripping with love!

Immediately, I headed home and used a small portion of the allowance money I saved up
over the past several months. I then hurried into town to the stationary store and picked
out the most beautiful card I could possibly find. This took me almost an hour, because I
had to sift through over forty cards looking for one
with just the right degree of sentiment
Not only did it have to be classy, but sensuous as well. (Not that I truly understood
what sensuous meant at that time.) Being in third grade was tough, and trying to think like an
adult before you could master basic English was even more difficult! Nevertheless, I picked
out a
romantic birthday card that would have appealed to any adult female in love at the time.

                                                                The Savages - Roses are red my love

You should have seen the look I received from the cashier! Knowing I didn't have
to explain myself, I decided I would anyway. “My dad's working late tonight and
my mom's birthday is tomorrow; he always forgets.” On my way out I heard the
old lady say to herself, “what a sweet little boy.” I then said to a lady walking by
with a stroller, “that came from a woman who was born before there was music!”

She smiled strangely, and had absolutely no idea what the hell I was talking about!

As I turned and began to walk down the other side of the block, I paused to read
the messages spray painted on the glazed white brick wall. “Voice of the ghetto
“Join the Black Panthers” “It's time for a revolution” and “Our nation is uprising.”
These along with a slew of various names and obscenities scrawled high and low
upon the bricks surface in both black and red markers. The offenders were merely
expressing themselves in an age of which no internet nor online activity existed.

I loved reading graffiti on walls when it was an intended statement, and not a vile defamation
meant to insult man's integrity. Clearly, it was a sign of the times and we couldn't tell if it was
slowly getting better or slowly getting worse. Summer would arrive with a vengeance and fire
hydrants would be opened throughout the city. Where children less fortunate than myself could
cool their heels and try not to harbor so much animosity toward those who were born to better
households. The television always painted a slightly different picture of what life really was.

                                                          The Human Expression - Sweet child of nothingness

I carefully examined the birthday card, before becoming increasingly aware of the dangers
involved should anyone get wind of what I was doing. I did not write anything inside it until
the appropriate time called for me to do so. . . Earnestly, I searched for a good hiding spot.

This card I hid well by taping it to the underside of my bedroom chair!

Back then parents weren't worried about their children disappearing. Everyone knew each other,
and we all coexisted together in peace. Aside from that, the store which sold greeting cards was
right around the corner. I will admit, every time my mother strolled into my room unannounced, I
got this clenching feeling inside my chest that wouldn't quit. It wasn't butterflies, it was more along
the line of two bears fighting! She never caught on to it though, that I was hiding something big!!!

Soon it was Saturday, June 10th, and I was home with my parents. The high for today would only
reach 49 degrees, breaking an all time record for this day. I kept a small journal of weather related
facts and changes that occurred in the city from this year to that of my darkest hour, when nothing
would matter anymore. I was scouring through the yellow pages for a reputable florist and was in
the process of copying the name and number down when I heard someone making their ascent up
the stairs! "It's my father! Hide everything quick!!!" Back then we had a cute little thing called
telephone exchange names that were applied to each given district. This made it easier to remember
someone's phone number on the rotary dial phone, such as ELgin 1- o369, (or)
MUrray Hill 5-9975.

When he went back downstairs, I went into my parent's room again and inconspicuously dialed
the number. “Hello,” said the voice on the other line, “how may I help you?” “Yes, I was just
wondering how much a box of long stemmed rose's costs.” “You want a dozen?” “Uh-huh”
“You're in luck because they're on sale this month for twelve fifty. If you need them in a vase,
that'll be fourteen even.” “Thank you so much.” “Wow,” I thought, “roses are expensive!!!”

                                                                                                                     Pg 179

The time read 5:20 on my parent's bedroom alarm clock as I lay the bright red telephone
receiver back in its cradle. I then went downstairs and said I was going over to Timmy's
house. “Be careful and watch both ways,” shouted Mother from the dining room table
she was cleaning. “Yeah-yeah, I know!” As I exited my front door, gently closing the
screen door behind me, I turned my head and looked down to the end of the block,
opposite the apartment complex. There I could see all the reeds surrounding the swamp
where I sometimes walk when Harmony is not around. It gives me a chance to think.

Who knew that five years from now, the swamp would be gone, and in its
they would build a park, with a playground, and two baseball fields.

One day, Harmony decided to come with me and I showed her the old rowboat.
To get to it you had to walk through a rather long maze of trampled reeds, or
milkweeds as I often called them. She was quite astounded when she saw it,
and said that it had to have been there for at least sixty years! There wasn't
really much left to it, but somehow it remained. The bottom had pretty much
rotted away in that all muck, but its shape was still perfectly intact! Maybe it
was the murky swamp water that always appeared to be black and thick that
held it all together, and kept it from going anywhere; not that it had anywhere
to go! The old wooden dock which had decayed to a point where it could not
even be approached, seemed to be almost painted upon the landscape of the
earth! It was so wonderful to be standing in a place that reflected so many
memories, even my father told me he remembered seeing the old boat in his
youth. It was an inconceivable thought to imagine anyone ever harming it.

As I was closing the metal gate that separated the sidewalk from the walkway, I
was greeted by an old friend. It was Mugsy, a neighborhood dog who was even
older than me! He was always around like a good luck charm, and whenever he
strolled by, I played with him, and he licked my face. Mugsy was part Boxer and
part something else. "I wish I could take you in old boy, but I know you belong to
someone and I would hate for them to worry about you not coming home at night."

I knew he was being properly taken care of. How else would one be able to explain
what immaculate condition he was in? For some reason, he always looked well
groomed, as though he had just pranced out of a showroom, and his silky brown
and white coat always smelled clean, like fresh linens. I patted him gently on the
head and told him to come back tomorrow, if he wanted some food. He happily
pranced away before stopping and turning to look back at me. "I promise," I said
and that must have dispelled any suspicion the dog had of me telling him a fib!

As I got to the side door, I went to use my key but found the door was open.

It didn't look like anyone was home, so I entered quietly through the side door. As I found
my way into the living room, I saw Harmony sound asleep on the couch. How peaceful she
looked in her loose fitting slacks and matching shirt! She was in a faraway place, but not
as far as my parents house across the street! Her face, notably still wore an expression of
sadness that appeared to be shrouded in doubt. I curled up next to her and she instinctively
cradled me in her arms. It only took a matter of minutes before I fell asleep alongside her.

                                                                  Johnny and The Appolos - And it's with you

Like pages to an archaic novel that no one will ever read, for the wind has blown them
away, I give chase; trying to gather as many as I can before the hands of senility move
in to upheave me.
How it burns my eyes to remember those halcyon days of my youth.

She woke me at 7:30 by massaging my neck and shoulders. From there she went on to
work out all the kinks in my back. How I loved it when she did that! She then said that
dinner was ready and escorted me into the kitchen. “Your mom called while you were
sleeping. I told her you were upstairs playing.
” I walked over to the table where I sat
down and waited for Harmony. In a tired manner I yawned, holding my hand over my
mouth as to not be impolite. I was still half asleep and in somewhat of a dreamlike state.

“What is that?” I asked curiously, smelling the thick rich broth of a partially congealed
amalgamation. “Mulligatawny soup. Don't sit down, c'mere, I want you to tell me
what you think of it.
As I walked over to the stove, I didn't know what to make of
it, but it sure smelled good! She quickly plunked her finger into the mildly simmering
pot of thick, yellowy soup. “Ready?” “Yes.” She then put her finger into my mouth
and pulled it out slowly. “How is it?” “I'm not sure what I like better, the soup or the
finger!” “Hmmm, then I guess we'll have to try it again, won't we?” She was now
smiling so exuberantly that I could see only the top row of her sparkling white teeth!

She then dipped two fingers in and took them out as the condensed liquid ran down
her wrist. This time, however, I could see by the expression Harmony exhibited that
she had gotten stung by some of that goopy broth. As she put those hot sensuous
fingers into my mouth, I took hold of her hand and could not stop seducing them
with my tongue! “Easy, you're going into a frenzy!” she said, giggling loudly as I
twisted my serpent tongue around her index finger, like it was the rod of Asclepius!

“I can't help it,” I said in my ecstatic fervor, “everything tastes so good on you. . .”
She threw her head down hard and fast, and for a brief moment, her long black hair
covered my entire face. “That is by far, the strangest thing you have ever said to me!”

                                                                                                                     Pg 180

Before we sat down to eat, Harmony dimmed the lights and lit a candle that was situated
in the middle of the dining room table. Lifting my fork, I was ready! “Wait,” she stressed,
“give me your hands.” She told me to close my eyes, and together we gave thanks unto the
Lord for what we had. As we were indulging, Harmony spoke of all the places she wished
to visit in the world. “I can wait until I'm thirty to see them,” she said with eyes piercing; as
if to imply, “don't make me wait ten years, if you are going to have other plans then.

I realized I hadn't been saying anything for awhile and so I abruptly chimed in, “I would go
with you tonight if you took me.” “Let's say for argument's sake I did, then what?” “Then we
just go!” “We're just going to up and leave, like two animals without even saying goodbye?”

“Then what?” “I could call them in a week or two and let them know I'm okay.” “What about
school, or will you just stop going? Didn't think of that, did you?” “There's schools in every
state, I'm sure we could find one for me to go to.” “You're a miss-ing per-son!” “Then you
could teach me! I learn more with you than I do with those asshole teachers anyway!” “Watch
your mouth,” she said calmly while analyzing me at a respectable distance,
as if trying to
separate the man from the boy. “I'm sorry, I'd just rather be with you than them.” “That's not
the point!” The conversation was now becoming serious. “I don't care about them, I only care
about you! Why can't you see that?” “I do and it frightens me.” “Why?” “Because if I ever did
something like that - to your parents, I would deserve to go to jail for the rest of my life!”

                                                                       The Whigs - You're gonna lose her

She spoke as though I should have kept my mouth shut from the start.
There are some things that should never be spoken aloud, and this
was one of them, but I was stupid I guess for I kept riding it.

“Imagine if there was a place we could go to and everybody accepted us as we were. We
could be free there! We could kiss in public and there'd be other people like us there too!”

Elton John - Val-Hala

“There was a place like that once,” she said, looking down into her bowl of soup and getting
lost in it. “What happened?” She threw her eyes at me like a locked and loaded shotgun. . .

                                                               “God destroyed it!”

She then sprung up quickly, and walked over to the sink where she stood for some time.
So shocked was I at the way she reacted, I just sat there. I have to be very careful what
I say from now on, and I can no longer just say what I'm feeling. In my mind, I tried to
analyze what I did that could affect her so deeply. I came to the conclusion that women
were emotional creatures, and a man had to be able to think on their level. Of course that
is impossible for any man, let alone a mindless child! How is it that a couple of words
thrown in either too soon, or not soon enough can alter a whole relationship? It was
baffling for me to comprehend, and so I just sat there, disillusioned and equally as hurt.

                                                             His Majesty's Coachmen - Where are you bound

She was now either dwelling upon how dumb I was to be thinking like that, or wondering
how she got herself entwined in this mess in the first place. I thought about walking over
to her and putting my arms around her waist, but was afraid she would swing around and
strike me. “I'm sorry,” I said again, this time with all sincerity. There was no answer for a
while, and then she spoke to me indirectly through the window. . . “You should be.”

                                                                                                                     Pg 181

I decided to keep quiet for awhile, until she shook whatever it was she was going through.
Harmony then unveiled the main course, chicken tikka masala, along with some puri bread,
and a small vat of mango lassi which was kept in the fridge! The meal was served on a bed
of rice that I now assume was basmati, but who can really say? I'm going back a long time.

If I tried to explain just how delicious this meal was, I would surely fall short. The poultry
was so tender, that it practically melted in my mouth! “Everything you cook is fantastic,” I
shouted in my ebullience! “You're just saying that cause you love me.” She spoke the words
like she was putting on a dressing gown, while trying not to be overly seductive. For dessert,
Harmony brought out gulab jamuns, floating in a ceramic bowl of warm rosewater syrup.

I took one bite of those amazing pastries and fell in love all over again! “First the balloon
bread and now this! You make food exciting!” There wasn't a cannoli in the entire universe
that could make me turn around and leave voluntarily! “Some Indians feel the same way
about American food!” “Seriously?” She giggles playfully, “of course not. . . Bor-ing!

Sunday morning, June 11th, I awoke to my mother yelling, “rise and shine, I made pancakes!”
“Where's dad,” I asked? “Don't know, don't care.” Very few words were exchanged at the
breakfast table, where mother seemed to be overly preoccupied with my father's whereabouts.
When she got up and placed a 45 record on the turntable, it appeared to be more of a statement
she was making, and she wanted me to hear it too. Any other kid might never have noticed, but
I wasn't your average kid. I could read between the lines, better than most, and you didn't have
to be exceptionally bright to notice the marriage was deteriorating at an excedingly rapid pace.
As the heartbreaking song of despair played, I couldn't help but pity the female vocalist singing.
It was a song of love and pain that brought suffering to a new level, and I just listened quietly.

                                                         The Outcasts - I'll set you free

Afterwards, I announced I was going across the street to play with Timmy. “You better bundle
up because it's cold outside!” It turns out that today is even colder than yesterday with a high
of only 46 degrees! Now that's cold for June!!! Who could have possibly known that on this
exact same day next year, the entire city would be caught in the grip of a powerful heat wave?
The temperature for this day next year would hit 95 degrees! I knew this not only because I was
a weather buff, but because me and Harmony watched the four o'clock movie together in the
comfort of the central AC. We cuddled up together on that couch with very little clothes on
until it was time for dinner. How amorous and true was the veneration of our windswept love!

                                        Maywood - Since I met you

All the scribbled writings from that period of time have been
adjusted and recomposed for this book. How we used to dote
on each other hand and foot.
. . God,
how I adored her.

Mom preferred me being over there when the heat index, or the actual air temperature
topped out at over ninety degrees. She said I could stay there as long as I didn't wear
out my welcome and why should we all die from heat exhaustion if we don't have to?

“Thanks ma, you're the greatest!!!”

As I can barely make out on the next page, we broke a record the following day as well.
From what I could see here it was a Tuesday, June 12, 1973, and I was with Harmony
after school. We were celebrating her birthday together when her family arrived very
unexpectedly. “Oh my God, my family is here! Quick, you have to go! Out the side door
and wait until they're all inside before crossing.” At first, I thought she was fooling around,
but when I realized the joke was on me, I was hurt beyond words. I could not understand
why she was still so ashamed of me. So I was young, that doesn't make me a leper!

Any customary ritual or body purification I would gladly undergo, to be accepted
in the eyes of her parents and adored as their own, but nothing I could do or say,
or even think, could ever change they fact that I was different from her. . .

Why can't we all just live amongst one another in peace, if that is the way we are happy? Is
that not what God wants for us? Why should a country dictate how two human beings choose
to live their lives? Shouldn't it be their choice? Taking all things into consideration, I have
learned that it’s not about how many women a man chooses to love, it’s about finding
love. Even still, I will never understand why that of falling in love has to come with an age
requirement! One day perhaps I could understand this, but for the time being I was distraught.

                                                         The Lollipop Shoppe - It ain't how long

                                                                                                                     Pg 182

Obediently, I waited with my back pressed tightly against the sandy textured exterior of her
impressive home. (The one side that would forever remain unfinished.) I could now hear them
laughing inside while speaking so fluently in another tongue. Maybe if I was Spanish or spoke
Gujarati, they would embrace me. No, they would still scorn me. Not only because of my size
and lack of knowledge, but because of our age difference. And also because I haven't even
finished elementary school yet! I'm sure they wouldn't blink an eye if Harmony was dating a
nice college graduate who was both handsome and intellectual. One who made an enormous
sum of money and was insightful. But I'm just the little boy next door they wouldn't hesitate
to chase with a stick, if they had even the slightest idea something was forming between us.

As I listened to them, I could hear Harmony laughing and clapping, and from what I
could tell,
she sounded happier now than when I was with her. Slowly, I staggered away.
                                                                          The Midknights - Why

As I forced myself across the street that day, it felt like I had been lobotomized. I was wrestling with
the anguish that burned inside of me, while at the same time, I was trying desperately to hold back an
insatiable urge to just burst out in tears. I'll admit, my emotions were confused, but deep down I knew,
men aren't supposed to cry. A man must always hold it together; even if the world is coming apart.

                                                            The Zoo - I cry

As I entered in through the back door, I was met with a rush of hot air. It was stifling in there,
like I had walked into a gigantic oven. Since we lived in a rather small duplex apartment, that
whole side of the house had no windows and because of this, the air never circulated well. If
the big Westinghouse air conditioner wasn't on in the living room, you more or less suffered.
                                                            The Squires - I don't care

I walked through the kitchen to the bathroom which was located by the rear entrance and looked
at myself in the mirror like I was confronting a bully in the school cafeteria. I spoke in a very
calm and mildly assertive tone which among other children would have implied an immediate,
almost certain danger. "If I lose Harmony because of you. . . I swear to God I will kill you."

Elton John - It's me that you need

I then went up to my room where I waited in torment for four solid hours. Trying to be a man and
not cry was a lot harder than I thought, so I figured I might as well just let it out and be done with
it. No one would ever know, and so it really didn't matter much. Being up there, alone to myself
until my mother arrived at 6:30 was like being in a part of Hell that I never again wished to revisit.

                                                          The Romans - After you go

Not knowing that I would one day have to live in it forever.

By the time seven O'clock rolled around, I could see Harmony's relatives were still there, and
so I decided to stare at the alarm clock. I watched the dial so intensely, it began to feel like I
would have grey hair by the time they left. Then at seven thirty, which felt like seven hours
later, I thought of something so terrifying it made the sweat from my forehead enter my eyes
and it burned like fire. . . What if they don't leave, and I'm condemned to this room all night?

The Beloved Ones - My year is a day

At eight O'clock sharp her family left, and so I walked down the retro orange staircase to find
my mother watching a television program alone, as usual. She was startled to see me, and I
was sweating rather profusely. I said I had returned for some things, and mom looked at me
very confused. She knew I'd been in the house since she got home, and that something was
wrong. She also knew that “getting a few things” didn't mean leaving the house with nothing
in your possession! God, I am so fucking stupid!!! As I came out of my house, the outside air
provided no relief whatsoever. The Papillonis' were home, and I could hear Nina listening to
some really hip tunes by her bedroom window. She was bouncing around, and the music
was much sharper and clearer than it sounded through the dividing wall of our humble duplex.
It sickened me to see someone having such a wonderful time, while I churned with misery.

The Human Expression - I don't need nobody

As I hurried across the street, I could almost feel my mother's eyes burning a hole through my skin!
I don't know how or why, but I knew she was watching me from that living room window! She had
that look of utter suspicion etched on her face, and I couldn't erase that image from my mind! Now
she was thinking, and there is nothing worse than when a mother begins to think. Not that she was
a problem solver or anything so dire as that, thank God!!! I just didn't want her to concern herself
in matters that did not welcome her concern. I checked by looking in first, just to make sure no one
stayed behind, and saw Harmony alone washing dishes. Lucky for the recessed alcove, and the
streetlight that had blinked off as I was coming down the stairs or the problem would be even more
compounded. The door was unlocked so I entered. As I walked in, I closed the door so she heard it.
“Please forgive me for making you leave like that, but our love has to remain a secret.”  “It's okay,”
I said still feeling numb and slightly confused. She then hugged me as tight as she could for almost
five minutes. As she rubbed my back in a slow gentle motion, I didn't think I would be able to let go.

That night as we watched the news, the weatherman said we
hit 93
degrees in central park!!! That whole week I was allowed to sleep
over, and mom drove me up to the station as she did each morning. 

Not to worry, Harmony always made sure I was ready on time!

                                                                                                                     Pg 183

By the time Friday rolled along, it was time to go home. Harmony accompanied me across the
street to send me on my way, and to tell my parents what a wonderful time we both had in each
others company. The entire house was as dark as can be, but next door seemed to be swinging!
Wally Papilloni who worked as a public accountant in a swanky high-rise by day, had thrown
another one of his famous jazz parties! A social gathering of business acquaintances and
partners-in-crime that would come together for an evening of hors d'oeuvres and cocktails.

At the party, it was not unusual to hear Bossa Nova or Mambo music playing into the evening
hours, as well as the typical jazz albums of the 50's and 60's. It was unusual, however, if you
factor in that no one smoked or cursed, and almost everyone including Wally himself seemed
to resemble Clark Kent! I guess they would be considered "nerdy" by today's standards, but
in those days the fabric of a modern-day society was just being woven. Indeed, they were an
eclectic bunch of eager young men trying hard to make a honest living, and from what I could
gather, appeared courteous, well-mannered and in a sense, exceptionally bright. Yes, it was the
age of astronauts and rockets soaring high in the sky to the tune of an evening jazz record.

                                                                    Mambo for Cats  

The fanfare of a simpler time would far outweigh the extravagancies of a high tech world
that was yet to come; at least for memories sake, when I look back into the mirror of
time, to find that everything I could not fully appreciate then, I'd come to long for now.

How our minds filled with glee at the thought of Neil Armstrong taking his first step on
the moon, and an infinite solar system of immeasurable galaxies waiting to be chartered!
Life was too busy being enjoyed to possibly think of anything that could otherwise offset
the moment! There were no cell phones ringing, nor internet traffic pouring in; neither
were there any video cameras in pants pockets, or high definition televisions by the street
on the outside of subway stations. No, the age of electronic billboards was still buried in the
hearts of dreamers that if mentioned would be laughed at. . . Or at least given another drink.

Adaira, who was Mrs. Papilloni always made too much food, and so an excitable
knock on the door frequently sent mother into a tither, scrambling for her purse!

As I entered with harmony by my side, I could see my mother sitting alongside my father
on the sofa with a cigarette dangling from her lips. She appeared to be attentive and
coherent, so it would appear the effects of the alcohol had not yet made its way through
her bloodstream. Here we go, I thought. She's smoking in our neighbors house and they
don't smoke. It was more of an uncomfortable feeling than it was embarrassing, and
Harmony greeted them with a kiss. “I'm thinking of adopting your son, do you think that
would be a problem?” My parents laughed, while I inadvertently flared my nostrils. I had
being taken aback and couldn't close my mouth properly. This made Harmony laugh,
which in turn made everyone in the room laugh. Now I was worried. A room full of men
who didn't appear to be married were now charmed by the exquisitely beautiful woman
who had just made them laugh, and for a brief moment in time, I just kind of went deaf.

                                                                                                                     Pg 184

At least my father thought I did. “Are ya deaf, I'm talking to you.” “Oh, hi dad.” “I was
asking you, how's everything goin'?”  “Everything is great,” I said, in a state of complete
disillusionment, before smiling wholeheartedly! “Are ya stayin' at Harmony's tonight, or
are you comin' home?” I froze up and could not speak. “It's funny you should ask that,
because my sister stopped by this afternoon to visit Timmy; he hasn't been feeling well
these days, and since she rarely takes any time off from work, it wouldn't be a problem.
She's going to spend the weekend here, and Charlie is more than welcome to stay too!”
“Thank you, that's all I wanted to know. Why don't ya stay awhile. They're gonna be
bringin' the food out in a few minutes, so have a cocktail or two? Join the fun.” “That
is a really good idea, but I think I'll stick to a beverage that doesn't make me tipsy!”

Adaira came to us and asked us what we would like to drink. I said soda, and Harmony
requested soda as well. “You know where the fridge is, Said Mrs. Papilloni with a sly grin,
and a wink. Implying that I would be doing the honors of serving the beverages tonight!
“I'll be right back, I told Harmony and made my way into the kitchen to fetch us two sodas.

Yanking opening the door, I saw a soda in there I never tried before, and so I grabbed two
bottles and headed back out into the living room. Handing one to Harmony, I in turn opened
mine and took a nice big gulp. As soon as it went down, the only thing I could think of was
running into the bathroom and throwing up. “Stop,” I said to Harmony, “don't open it, it is
horrible,” and so I immediately returned hers for a Pepsi. Upon my second entrance into
the kitchen, I could have easily emptied it into the sink and grabbed two Pepsi's, but I wasn't
raised that way; and besides, soda isn't given away free at the store, someone had to buy it.
Needlessly to say, I eventually finished it, because as it got warmer it got worse! I will never
forget that despicable three letter word as long as I live. . . Talk About Bad!!!

And for the next two hours, I had to act the part of a child in the company of adults which
wasn't very difficult, because I knew I would be in the arms of my endearing angel when
the evening finally subsided. Nina came down to say hello, and then retreated back into
the comfort of her room, and was not seen again. After about an hour, Harmony asked
me if I wanted to leave. I wasn't sure how to reply, but rather than answer with a question,
I simply said no. Okay, she said happily, and I knew she didn't want to leave either.

Together we ate a ton of food, and listened to soothing jazz music in a true retro fifties
environment, where the metal and wood atomic ball clock hung adjacent to the curiously
odd looking boomerang barkcloth chairs! This house had to be the hippest in town, in
terms of being a stylishly modern throwback of 1959! Such magnificent decor, that was
both eye catching and appealing to the senses! As soon as you walked in, there was just
something about being there that made one feel as though they did not want to leave.

The tan abstract linoleum tiles neatly covering the kitchen floor truly accentuated the

brown wraparound wallpaper of atomic starburst patterns. How I loved to see that antique
white Philco refrigerator with the giant handle that had to be yanked downwards to open
it! Don't get me wrong, I liked our light blue Hotpoint refrigerator and matching stove
too, but this one was just unique! At nine o'clock, Harmony thanked Mrs. Papilloni for
being a gracious hostess, and for allowing her the privilege to attend such a wonderful
gathering. We then bid everyone farewell, and together we departed into the night.

                                                                                                                     Pg 185

I will never forget April 22nd, Easter Sunday. It was a comfortable afternoon with
the temperature peaking near or around the 80 degree mark. I was now finishing up
a lamb dinner cooked to perfection with my parents. My grandparents on both sides
were over talking about the days events and everyone was getting along just swell.
The mint jelly that had once graced the table in a fancy white ramekin was all but
gone as I lay my utensils down beside the plate.
I then finished my third and last
bottle of Coca-Cola before placing it gently down upon the dining room table.

I was stuffed to the gills, and if my maternal grandmother dared to put that
very last sweet potato on my plate, as she had been prone to do in the past,
as God is my witness, I would have hurled it straight at the fucking wall!

                                How I hated those things!!!

Whether it be yams or sweet potatoes, they always seemed to gravitate toward
side of the table! Why weren't they left in the ground where they belong?
Lucky for me, Harmony never took a liking to them! As my maternal grandfather
strikes a wooden match, and begins puffing on his pipe, my paternal grandmother
begins to talk to my mother about a new line of clothing at Macy's. With this,
my father begins talking to my grandfather about being the last of the Pinkerton
detectives, and how close he came to being gunned down in the late nineteen
sixties by the mafia. “I arrested so many of them, that I knew it was just a matter
of time before they got me! And so I said to myself, I better find a new career!”

Even though, it was only a few years ago, in those days everything seemed so
nostalgic. As the smell of Argosy Black pipe tobacco encircled the air, my mind
filled with thoughts so peaceful, I ceased to hear any more of the conversation.

Pipes were usually reserved for winter months, but it was not unusual
to see
grandfather puffing away during the summer. To forego the
Camel cigarettes,
in exchange for something much more pleasant. Indeed, that heavenly white cloud
moving around the light like an angry ghost, surely made a wonderful air freshener!

My paternal grandmother was now talking about my father as a child. . .

“In the winter months, before Richard went to school, I would have him go outside to
the chicken coup and bring me two eggs. I beat the eggs, poured in some vermouth
and let him drink it. Just to warm him up because he had to walk all the way to PS 41;
remember Richard?” “I certainly do, ma. If someone did that today, they'd be hitting
them with a heavy fine, or worse.” “Well back then, there was only what, twenty, thirty
houses in each borough? And before that when we came to live here, this place was like
being up in the country. You could buy a house with a huge piece of property for a few
thousand dollars. Now, you would have to pay at least twenty-five thousand dollars!

Just then the bell chimes and my maternal grandmother who is closest to the
door stands up and abruptly answers it. It's Harmony, and I'm overjoyed!

I had no intention of leaving the house, but how quick that all changed!

“I was just wondering if you'd like to ride with me,” shouted Harmony with an
enormous grin that melted my heart and made me feel ever so weak. “Would I
ever,” I shouted back, like some delighted kid from Brooklyn in the nineteen fifties!
“Well, you better get moving,” said my father, and I got the uncomfortable feeling
he knew exactly what we were up to. I jumped up from my chair and bolted toward
the door! “Don't you say goodbye to anyone?” asked my mother curiously, while my
grandfather disregarding her words shouted, “go have fun and don't worry about it!"

As I made my way to the tin shed and slid the doors open, I gently wheeled out
my Schwinn Manta Ray. It was bright orange like those yams I hated, but this bike
I absolutely adored! It had a wide orange banana seat that people of today would
call queer, and brakes that could only be activated by jamming down hard on the
pedal. With this iron monstrosity, I was ready to conquer the world! Harmony hopped
on her teak colored ten speed and I was ahead of her in no time flat. When she
got alongside me, I always remained next to her and would never excel further.

As we approached Ebbitts Street, we turned left, and continued along that route
until we reached the private community of summer bungalows which veered toward
the right. There the road became Cedar Grove, and so we turned left. How nice it
was when my parents were children growing up. The beach would attract visitors
from afar, and all the neighboring houses and streets were immaculately clean.

People took pride in their community, but I can see it all slowly slipping away.
Nowadays, everything is on a downward spiral because of drugs, kids rebelling,
the Vietnam war, the word “Freedom” being misused, and a whole lot-a-greed.

While we were passing Herman Street down New Dorp beach near the race track, a
dark grey car pulls up. Oh no I thought, it's the Torre brothers. Three guys who were
almost always getting wasted were now fueling up with Pabst blue ribbon beer. The
other two chuckleheads were just neighborhood punks who smoke and drank in the
vacant lot that would later become a park for hoodlums. Desecrated with spare tires,
kitchen appliances, old mattresses, and whatever could be vandalized with graffiti.

Hey baby, show us your stuff!” said Joey from behind the wheel of his 1969 light
green Chevrolet Biscayne. “Yeah come on baby, give us a little taste of Heaven!”

Harmony threw up her middle finger, and they sped in reverse to try to impress her.

Thankfully, a milkman using a Weissglass milk truck to run some miscellaneous
errands on this glorious Sunday came up the block, whereby thwarting their advances!
A vehicle that can only be described as something which resembled a Hornstra milk
truck though a bit more narrow in size. “Them dopes don't know the first thing about
love,” was my initial thought. “At night, they hang out on the sand like beach bums,
sucking face and groping each other like animals in the dark. . . They disgust me.”

As we sped down the road, you could hear that Biscayne screeching off into the distance,
and I thought to myself quietly, “we've certainly come a long way since the velocipede!

                                                                                                                     Pg 186

Finally, it was Monday and Harmony's birthday had arrived. Upon returning home
from school I made a telephone call to place the order. The flowers were delivered
a block over to room 4D in the apartment complex down the street, as not to arouse
any suspicion. Getting off the elevator I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible as
I waited by the narrow brown door where tenants disposed of their garbage.

Of course, I had to be seen by someone. That was an inevitable part of life, and so
I nodded to the old gent who nonchalantly carried his bag of trash to the incinerator
chute in a pair of outdated pajamas. “Can I help you with something?” he asked,
while closing the narrow door to that small closet-like room. “No thanks, I'm just
waiting for my girlfriend to come out.” “Can't have too many of them, now can
we,” he bolstered, before making the sign of the pistol and going click-click!

After almost thirty minutes of waiting, the deliveryman walked out of the elevator,
and I was right there to greet him. I paid for the flowers and gave him a small tip
before exiting the building. From there, I shuffled awkwardly over to the house
of my lover and placed the long, slender box upon the counter. By the kitchen
table I sat, waiting ever so patiently for Harmony to arrive.

Just as an added precaution, I walked around the entire block
slithering in through the back entrance gate where no eyes could see.

As Harmony entered, she was overwhelmed by my gift! More so, that I did it all on
my own. I felt proud, but most of all honored to be cared for by someone so lovely and
charming as she, that the very thought just seeing her made me tremble with joy! That
night, she bestowed me the nickname, “Little prince.” I knew it was going take years to
mold me into the kind of man her heart required, but once I put my mind to something,
consider it done. Even though time moves so slowly, it will not pass between us. . .

"I can do this baby; I just need some time to grow!" 

I told her I wanted to experience everything there was to know and understand about love,
but most of all, I wanted to make out with her in the lair of the shadow dwellers; as Harmony
called it. “Please,” I entreated, “take me with you when you go,” but she looked at me with
such conviction and told me I had to wait. “When you become of age you will see that world,
I promise. And in there, I will be the one to show you the meaning of true paradise.” However,
I did not want to wait. I wanted to experience it now, but she outright refused. “Aside from not
being mentally prepared, you are far too young to see that world, and I would be a monster if
anything were to go wrong! When you become a man, I promise to take you there and no
sooner. Agreed?” “Agreed.” As I looked into those beautiful eyes, her lips gently met mine.

                                                                                                                     Pg 187

In my mind, I think I just wanted to bond with her more than anything else. To become
that one union of love. That rare sacred joining, which defies all logic to mesmerize the
heart and keep one locked in its hypnotic spell. An inseparable banding together of two
human beings in the most precious of ways. Any mortal who could find even a blemish
of impurity in the love we shared, would have to be a sinner who has once committed
a heinous act, and is now looking for redemption in the eyes of Almighty God.
the sanctity of all we embraced, I wanted to create something so fantastic, so real
it might move even the most divine spirit, and fuse our very souls together forever.

Aside from this intense craving, that would only become more prevalent as time moved
on, I wanted to be able to please her for hours on end. I needed to become her right
hand man; her personal property so to speak. I wanted to belong to her, even if it meant
becoming a slave unto her, for I could no longer exist without seeing her. All for the one
hope, that in return she would not stray from me, but love me without end. I wanted the
very thought of me leaving to produce such inner fears and torments that she would not
be able to live without me. To yearn for me, as I have yearned for her for so long. To
panic when I am not there. When the very thought of me leaving becomes inconceivable.

But something went awry in the process.
An ingredient fell into the mix which changed the chemistry
of the whole equation. Now instead of creating a form of paradise,
a batch of pure madness would be concocted,
and heaven help the one who drinks from that cup.
That is the cup of anguish and bitter sorrows. . .

It was not meant for mortal man.

Something fell outside, it sounded like a rake.

What was once so pure and precious was now turning.
I could not see this however, for I was enveloped in passion.
As we kissed and hugged on the couch and on the rug, I found
two silver eyes peering in at us. So calculating in his approach
was he, ever watching
our every move in fine detail.

So warm and loving was she in the heat of passion I could have almost cried.
How could something this beautiful even happen? Indeed, I had been blessed
above all men to partake in the feast of kings! As I ran my tongue along the moist
folds of her love, she writhed like an exquisite doll. I loved loving her and had
absolutely no compunction of stopping until she was at peace with her emotions.

                                                                                                                     Pg 188

I parted the folds of her skin and put my lips to her soft puffy flesh as if it were
a more gentle, more loving mouth. I then gave it an adoring French kiss. Halfway
through this delightfully sensuous kiss, I could taste all of my honey's sweetness!
She screamed into her hand, and it sounded like she was being murdered. Suddenly,
she quivered and bucked as I brought her to fulfillment where my cup runneth over.

In truth, I drank from that cup and I never looked back. Therefore, I never
knew what had begun to take shape in the dark region known as despair.

An ill wind began brewing, and heaven help the soul left stranded by
the river's edge. It is so cold and lonely there, my eyes begin to water
at the mere thought of it. There in that wretched place of all forlornness,
the mighty angels who circle above will not circle above it.

Whereupon when all was quiet, I lifted my head from the most sacred of all human places
and placed it upon her belly. I couldn't really tell but the way her stomach was now quivering,
I thought she might very well be laughing. She cradled me in her arms and began to cry as she
talked to God in her native tongue. Why was my lover so sad and what have I done to upset her
so? I deviated from the plan. I changed something that should not have been changed. I had not
done it exactly the way she had anticipated it would be, and now I have ruined everything!

Why was I so stupid?
What the hell was wrong with me?
Never change the plan!!!

As I turned my head to look at Harmony, she was borderline hysterical. It was
the very first time I ever performed fellatio, so of course I wasn't expecting it to
be perfect, but I did somehow think she was overreacting. She is going to get rid
of me, I thought. I am a terrible lover and cannot please the only one on earth I
long to satisfy! I hate myself!!! I hate myself so much, and now I don't know
what to do. I felt this abominable pain in the pit of my stomach, and it seemed to
run straight into the bowels of my very soul. I couldn't hold my sadness in, and
so I began to tremble and broke down and cried as well. I was so hurt by her
disappointment, because I believed I did so well. *That figures* Anything that
comes that easy and feels more perfect than it should be is bound to be wrong.

I didn't know what else to do, I was only nine.

Upon seeing this, Harmony pulls me by my arms along her wet body, until we were
face to face with each other. “No, baby no, you don't understand. You were wonderful.
The best I ever had.” “Then why do you look so unhappy,” I said sniveling, “and why
are we crying?” “I'm crying because I'm happy. Because I love you so much, and I'm
not sure what I am going to do when you grow older and tire of me.” Now covering
her face and crying inconsolably. “Please don't cry! You're not going to lose me!”

                                                                                                                     Pg 189

I cried hysterically for almost ten minutes and Harmony wept for almost twenty,
but who was really counting? When at last Harmony regained her composure,
she said the cutest thing I ever heard her say. With a stuffed up nose and adorable
accent, she uttered the following words, “can you please get me a tissue?”

Just the way she looked at me as she relayed that sentence I could not even begin
to describe. When I came back with a newly opened box of Kleenex tissues, she
smiled. I pulled out several of them and extended my hand to her. So graciously
she gave me the saddest, most sincere smile I had ever seen, and I absorbed it like
a wet sponge. She then sat up crossing her legs Indian style. It was then I spoke.

“I just need you to know that this love, I feel for you. . .” “Go on,” she said in a
gentle voice while running her sensuous brown fingers through my boyish hair.
This love I have for you. . . It’s forever,” I exclaimed in an almost inaudible
tone while falling into those dreamy eyes of hers and submersing myself in that
blissful lake of undeniable enchantment. So endearing was she, so divine.

I see girls in the hallway every day, and I never think of kissing them.
I never think of holding
them or anything. You're the only person on
the planet I want to be with. If not for you, I'd feel

Rather than speak, she held my face in her warm seductive hands, and with her eyes,
seemed to be examining my heart.
If every man in this world had your little brain,
we women would live in paradise. Suddenly she let go of my face and erupted in
a fit of laughter. What's so funny? I asked, in a worried tone. Men have little
brains in little heads, but at least your little brain is in the right place!"

(((I didn't understand)))

Suddenly, everything in the world was perfect!
She would teach me and I would learn.
She would show me and I would do,
and in a few short years when I finally come of age
I will ask her a question and she will say yes!
After that we will wait a little longer to be
properly betrothed in a dwelling of the Lord.
As God is my witness, I promise to treasure and adore her forever!
Forever till the end of time!!!

I thought I heard the wind blowing outside and said to myself, there's a storm
brewing on the horizon.
Oh you poor child, thought the winter raven to the
as his white eyes flickered; that is no ordinary storm. . .

                                        That's Dark Monday. 

                                                Pink Floyd - If                                           

                                                                                                                     Pg 190

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PG 179) The strongman by John Newton Howitt -

PG 179) Love lights
, No arguments

PG 179) Unrest
by Amanda Sage -

PG 179) Vintage rotary dial

PG 180) Harvest of the union
by Jaga Karkoszka -

PG 180) Boat H
by Anatoliy Koncub -

PG 180) Alex's Boxer
by Kat Corrigan -

PG 180) L'apocalyse par le papier
by Claude Verlinde -

PG 180) Meta, the mystery of the two Aesculapians
by Diana Vandenberg

PG 181) Steps of Annwn by Shaun William Kerr -

PG 181) These parties disgust me
by Shepard Fairey -

PG 181) The tree, the cloud by Stanislav Plutenko -

PG 181) Santa Adela
by Raul Cruz -

PG 181) Mahakali poster

PG 182) Contes Erotiques
by Vladimir Kush -

PG 182) Stag Magazine cover of June 1968 by Mort Künstler

PG 183) Yasoda
by Unknown -

PG 183) Sikhiyan
by Gopal Khetanchi -

PG 183) The house that Hanuman built
by Michael Pucciarelli -

PG 183) Polar distress
by Leah Palmer Preiss -

PG 183) Blue nights by Piotr Paczkowski -

PG 183) Maskepi (Masque)
Thor Lindeneg -

PG 183) The Good Listener
by Josh Agle -

PG 184) Mambo for cats
- Artwork by Jim Flora (1955) -

PG 184) Funny face by Josh Agle

PG 184) Confidential information
Dragomir Minkov -

PG 185) Raiders of the Schlitzbox
- Jos. Schlitz Brewing Circa 1958

PG 185) Vintage TAB advertisement
Circa 1965

PG 185) Her second night in the city by Josh Agle

PG 186) Coca Cola advertisement,
Circa 1942 -

PG 186) Half and half tobacco ad Circa 1962

PG 186) RCA room air conditioner,
Circa 1953

PG 186) Boehm's Beach advertisement, Circa 1930's

PG 186) Burning desire
by Adrian Borda -

PG 186) I love you
by Annie Gryshchenko -

PG 186) The new velocipede
by T. Fane & Co.(circa 1887) -

PG 187) Stopped moment
by Vladimir Kush -

PG 188) Romeo and Juliet
by Sir Frank Dicksee -

PG 189) Venus with Cupid the honey thief
by Lucas Cranach the elder -

PG 189) Our lady of water
by Gyuri Lohmuller -

PG 190) Kiss me
by Edward D'Ancona -

PG 190) Cupid with the wheel of fortune
by Tiziano Vecellio -