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! She was a
mischievous child who found pleasure in tormenting others; as did most children of
this particular time period when boredom struck. She would do little things like hide
the hair dryer under Gloria's bed when Patty needed it to blow dry her hair, and then
say 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 by now, would wind up having to rush in and separate them before it got too crazy.

The following day, I was there again, only this time Patti and Roberta weren't home.
“Good luck with that, and never be afraid to say what's on your mind. . . Got it?”

“Thanks Glor,” I said, strolling 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 young
Mary Haskell across the street 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 distinct facial expressions says it all.
The world was dripping with love!

, I headed home using a small portion of the allowance money I saved
over the past several months. I then hurried to the stationary store and picked out the
most beautiful card I could find. This took close to an hour, because I had to sift through
over forty cards looking for one with just the right degree of sentiment inscribed.

I wanted it to be classy, but sensuous as well. (Not that I understood the true
definition of what the word 'sensuous' meant at the time.) Being in third grade
was tough, and trying to think like an adult before you could even master basic
English skills was more difficult. Nevertheless, I picked out a romantic birthday
card that would have appealed to any 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 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 black markers and spray paint. 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 of character designed to insult one's integrity. 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.

Somehow the television always painted a different
picture of what life in the slums was really like.

                                                          The Human Expression - Sweet child of nothingness

Somehow the television always painted a different
picture of what life in the slums was really like.

Scurrying into the house via the rear entrance, I hastened up the staircase until I
reached the quiet comfort of my secluded room. Carefully examining the birthday
card, I became increasingly aware of the dangers involved should anyone get
wind of what I was doing. Because of this, I did not write anything inside till 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!
Of course, I had
a plan all mapped out just in case, that would be
put into effect should anything happen to go wrong!

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 that
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
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
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 telephone
number on the rotary dial phone, such as ELgin 1-5844, (or)
MUrray Hill 5-9275.

When he went back downstairs, I went into my parent's room again. Inconspicuously, I dialed
the number. “Hello,” said the voice on the other line, “how may I assist you?” “Yes, I was just
wondering how much a box of long-stemmed roses cost?” “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 183

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 the front door, 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 in five years from now the swamp would be gone, and in its
would be built 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 lengthy maze of trampled reeds, or
milkweeds as I often referred to them. She was quite astounded when she saw
it, and said it had to have been there for at least sixty years! There wasn't much
left to see, but somehow it remained.
The bottom had pretty much rotted away
in all that muck, but somehow its shape was still perfectly intact! Maybe it was
the murky swamp water, so 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 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 closed the newly installed metal gate separating 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 one-part Boxer; two parts mutt.

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 tonight.

I knew he was being cared for. How else could one explain the immaculate condition
he was in?
Yes, he always looked well groomed, as though he had just pranced out
of a showroom, and his handsome brindle coat always smelled clean like fresh linens.
I patted him on the head and told him to come back tomorrow if he wanted some food.

Apprehensively, he motioned 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 approached the side door, I went to use my key but found the door was unlocked.

It didn't look like anyone was home, so I entered discreetly. 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, dreaming of us
growing older together in another time. 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 no one will ever read for the wind has blown them away,
I rush onward; 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.

Harmony 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 announced
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 not to 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! Harmony plunked her finger into the 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 again, won't we?” Harmony was now smiling
so exuberantly, I could see only the top row of her sparkling white teeth!

In an accelerated motion she dipped two fingers in and 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 slid 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!” Harmony 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 184

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 was very good at listening when Harmony spoke, but considering I had
not voiced my opinion on anything, it was beginning to feel more like a
one-way conversation.
This was making me feel uneasy, for I honestly
had nothing to interject that could in any way enhance the topic.

Regardless, I decided it was time to speak.

“I would go with you tonight if you took me.”
*She gave me a long cold look before speaking*

“Let's say for argument's sake I did, then what?”
“Then it's just me and you, free to do what we wanna do!”
“We're just going to up and leave, like two animals
in the night without even saying goodbye? Then what?”

“Then we call them in a week to let them know I'm okay.” “What about school, or do you just
stop going? Didn't think of that, did you?” “They have schools in every state. What are you so
worried about?” “You're a miss-ing per-son! How could I enroll you in school if you're not
even my own child?”
“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.”


“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 not be spoken aloud, and this was
one of them; but I was foolish I guess for I kept riding it.

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

                                                             Elton John - Val-Hala

“There was a place like that once,” said Harmony, while
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!”

Springing to her feet quickly, Harmony 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 child
struggling to understand the fundamentals of life. 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
the entire aspect of what was happening, 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 185

I decided to keep quiet for a while, 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 I now assume was basmati, but who can really say? I'm going back a long time.

If I tried to explain how delicious this meal was, I would surely fall short. The poultry was
so tender
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!

If you went to India and saw for yourself how many different types of food we have, and how
many intriguing combinations there were. . . Let me tell you that India has over 700 dialects,
and for every-one spoken, comes a more diverse food culture! Meaning, it would probably take
you a lifetime to try everything! One day I will take you there; and then you’ll understand.”

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.Few words were exchanged at the
breakfast table, where mother seemed to be preoccupied with her husband’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 not 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 intellectual in any way to notice the marriage was deteriorating at an exceedingly 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 solemnly.

                                                         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 weather 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 tender 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. . .
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 of heat exhaustion if we don't have to?

“Thanks ma, you're the greatest!!!”

As I can barely make out in the third journal, 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
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. Just to see her scrambling
for a paper towel, licking it, and then scrubbing her forehead like she was polishing chrome.
All to get that little red dot off so no one could ask questions nearly tore my heart in two.

I could not understand why she was still so ashamed of me. So I was young, it didn't make me
a leper!
Maybe if Harmony communicated to her parents a little more, all this could have been
avoided. Maybe if she told them she was watching me because my parents were having marital
problems, and I had nowhere else to go. Then perhaps they may have found a shred of pity
within themselves; whereby allowing me the dignity to love them and care for their only daughter.

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 the fact that I was different from her. . .

Why can't we all 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
it is not about two people coming together for an evening of illicit sex; it is about finding true love
in the eyes of one another whom they cannot exist without. Am I being unreasonable?

Even so, I could not understand why falling in love had to come with an age requirement.
One day perhaps, I would be able to comprehend this, but for the time being I was distraught.

                                                         The Lollipop Shoppe - It ain't how long

                                                                                                                     Pg 186

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
in 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 it wouldn't raise much concern if Harmony happened
to be dating a nice college graduate who was both handsome and intelligent. One who earned
a large 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 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.

Painfully, 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

Entering 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 home, 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 
accept it. No one would ever know, so it didn't really matter. Being up there alone to myself
until my mother arrived at 6:30 was like being in a part of hell I never again wished to revisit.

                                                          The Romans - After you go

Not knowing, 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 numbers 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,
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?

I was panicking and thought I might even cry again.
Not knowing what to do I did absolutely nothing, but wait. . .

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, standing
there sweating rather profusely, like I had just stepped out of a pool to put on clothes. 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
didn't mean leaving the house with nothing in your possession!

God, why am I so stupid?

As I exited 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.

Ah sugar, (Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba)
Ah honey honey (Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba)
You are my candy, girl. . .
And you've got me wanting you!

It sickened me to see someone having such a wonderful time, while I
churned with misery. Even the song reflected my emotions, causing me
to pause and wonder, the mighty estate of an almost certain higher power.

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 our living room window.
She had a look of utter suspicion etched on her face, and I couldn't erase that image from my
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 listening
just to make sure no one stayed behind and heard Harmony alone washing dishes.
Lucky for the streetlight that had blinked off as I was approaching her door,
or the problem
may have been even more compounded. The door was unlocked so I entered. Walking in,
I closed the door so she heard it. Passing through the recessed alcove, I found my way
into the kitchen. “Please forgive me for making you leave like that, but our love has
to remain a secret.”
“It's okay,” I said, feeling rather disoriented, as if I were being
slowly colored back into reality.
Harmony 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 187

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
other's company. The entire house was as dark as could 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 50s and 60s. It was unusual, however, if you
factored in that no one smoked or cursed, and almost everyone including Wally himself seemed
to resemble Clark Kent, and (or) wore glasses! 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 an 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 extravagances 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 think of anything that could otherwise offset the moment!
There were no cell phones ringing, nor internet traffic pouring in; neither were there video
cameras in pants pockets, or high definition televisions by the street corner 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!

Before we approached the steps, Harmony grabbed my arm. “I can't go in there!”
“Why not?” I replied, in an almost innocent voice. “Have you seriously forgotten?”
She threw me a horrified, piercing look that sent shivers down my spine. “Timmy,” 
she uttered in a loud whisper, before slapping the side of my head really hard!

Pulling me close, she said in a dark threatening manner,
“do not ever do that again.

Five minutes, then I leave. Are you listening to what I’m saying?” “Yeah hon,

I hear you.” “I knew that’s what you said that day.” “What day?” “Never mind.”

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 neighbor's 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
been taken aback by the inappropriate comment and could not close my mouth. This
made Harmony laugh, which in turn made everyone in the room laugh. Now I had another
problem that filled my head with thoughts of unease and despair. A room full of men who
didn't appear to be married were now charmed by the exquisitely beautiful woman
had just made them laugh, and for a brief moment in time, I kind of went deaf.

                                                                                                                     Pg 188

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 good idea, but I think I'll stick to a beverage that doesn't make me tipsy!”

Adaira came over and asked us what we would like to drink. I told her I would have
a soda and Harmony requested soda as well. “I believe you know where the refrigerator
is,” said Mrs. Papilloni with a devil-may-care grin and a wink. Thus implying, 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.” She then took a sip of mine and agreed! So, I instantly 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 that kind of person. I opened it voluntarily, and so I'd drink
it willingly. Needless 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 clamor of the evening finally subsided into a feeling of calm serenity. Nina came
down to say hello, and then retreated back into the comfort of her embellished 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 joyfully, and I knew she didn't want to leave either.

Together we ate a lot 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 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 189

   *Returning once again to the year of nineteen hundred and seventy-two*

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 finishing up a
lamb dinner cooked to perfection with my parents. My grandparents on both sides
were over, talking about the day's 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 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 dining room 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 early 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 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; now 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?" questioned my mother, while my grandfather
disregarding her words shouted, "go have fun and don't worry!"

Making my way to the tin shed, I slid the rusty doors open before wheeling out my
Schwinn Manta Ray. It was a tangerine color like those yams I hated, but this bike I adored!
It had a wide orange banana seat, 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 moved up alongside me, I always remained
close to her and would never excel further. Though I could have easily taken the lead!

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 gradually see it all slipping away.
Nowadays everything is on a downward spiral because of kids rebelling; drugs;
the Vietnam war; the word Freedom being misused; and a whole lot-a-greed.

As we were passing Herman Street down New Dorp beach along Cedar Grove Avenue,
a dark grey car pulls up. Oh no, I thought, it's the Torre brothers. Three guys who
were almost always wasted were now fueling up on 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.

“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's body parts like animals in a zoo; they disgust me.

As we made a detour down one of the narrow one-way side streets, they slammed
on the brakes. Thankfully, a milkman using a Weissglass company milk truck to run
some miscellaneous errands on this glorious Sunday followed behind us, whereby
thwarting their advances! A true Divco milk truck in every sense of the word!
“My grandfather has one alongside the house, come on Harmony, I'll show you!"
I said, feeling exhilarated! We could now hear them burning rubber down the street
as they sped away in haste. As we casually rounded the block in a U-turn fashion
to ride down the other one-way street, we turned left at the corner while continuing
onward down the road until we reached my Maternal grandparents' driveway. . .

"Oh no," I said in exasperation. "I think someone stole the milk truck!" "That was
your grand..." was all Harmony could utter. "Let's go, we have to tell them!" And off
we rode as fast as we could, back to the house to completely destroy Easter Sunday.

As we cycled past Miller Field down New Dorp lane, I could hear a car screeching away in
the distance and thought to myself quietly, “we've come a long way since the velocipede.

I was really hoping to hear that it broke down and was in the shop, or anything along those
lines, but as fate would have it,
that was my grandfather's milk truck. The one he kept parked
in the driveway! In those days, he would park it at the house and in the morning, he would
drive to the Staten Island dairy plant and load the truck, before going happily about his way.

Holy Cow was my grandfather pissed about that one! "Oh, them sons-a-bitches! I wish I
could have caught them, because I would've broken their goddamn necks!" he responded,
in the empty driveway. "No, you wouldn't have daddy," replied my mom, sounding like
she was rehearsing a scene for "Leave it to Beaver." "Don't tell me what I wouldn't
do, god-damnit!"
hollered my grandfather, enraged and uncontrollable.

He was even more upset when he realized he forgot the keys in it!

As it turns out some neighborhood kids, obviously looking for kicks decided to take it
for a spin! There was no harm done to it and Tommy Breen, who was my grandfather's
fishing buddy found it by the side of the road, with the keys still in the ignition!

                                                                                                                     Pg 190

Finally, it was Monday and Harmony's birthday had arrived. Upon returning home
from school, I made a telephone call to Colonial Florist and placed the order. The
flowers were delivered a block away to room 4D in the apartment complex down
the street, as not to arouse any suspicion from curious neighbors. After summoning
the elevator and taking it to the fourth floor, 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 in the blue beauty.

Just as an added precaution, I made sure to walk around the block before slithering
in through the back-entrance gate, where the threat of vying eyes was almost nil.

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 of just seeing her made me
tremble with joy!
That night she bestowed upon 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 doing something, consider it done.

Even though time moves at a snail's pace, it will not pass between us. . .

I can do this baby; I just need 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 she so
often 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. I'll show you all the wonders you never dreamed existed, but not a moment
sooner. Agreed?” “Agreed.” As I looked into those innocent eyes, her lips gently met mine.

                                                                                                                     Pg 191

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 once committed a
heinous act
and is now looking for redemption in the eyes of Almighty God. Within
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
worry 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.

In a pleasant atmosphere, with a soothing ambiance Harmony prepared to
show me the finer points of love. Using the tip of her instructive finger,
and in an overly delicate manner she directed me. What was where and
how the art of loving her should be performed. Considering how technical
it all looked down there, I would never have known such pleasure could
arise from something so incredibly tiny; her little love bump.

As I parted the warm sensuous petals of her flowery love, I felt a tinge of
panic. “Is this real?” “Am I supposed to be doing this?” “Shut up,” I said
to myself, “this is your woman; the most beautiful woman in the universe and
you're going to make her the happiest; or you can always go back to playing
with G.I. Joe.” Her scent was making me dizzy, and my heart couldn't keep
quiet as I slipped my tongue inside her moistened groove. Gently lapping her
labia, while attempting to suck on the hood of her glistening clitoris. Her being
was emanating with love, and the compelling taste was making my senses reel.

I felt like I had been injected with a very powerful drug that was beginning
to alter my own body chemistry. I was feverish with lust, and could not
rightfully obey what Harmony had carefully instructed me to do for her.

I'm sorry Harmony,
I said to myself, “but I can't stop!
Her taste was just too delectable.

Why is it so terrible, I thought.
Loving and being loved; why is it such a sin?

Of this, I could not understand.
The human body is beautiful, and I would
fight to the death to defend it. At least Harmony's honor I would anyway.
((((((((((((The rest
of the world I have no interest in knowing))))))))))))

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 192

While Harmony used two hands to keep her glorious orifice open, I continued
swathing about until my jaw began aching, and she released, throwing her arms back.

Parting the hair, I 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 angel'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 oral pleasure, 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 woman 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 through the bowels of my very soul. I could not 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 just goes to show you,
anything that feels more perfect than it ought to 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 made me climax.
You took me all the way home!” “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.”

Harmony was now covering her face and crying inconsolably.
“Please don't cry! You're not going to lose me!”

                               The Charles Pendelton Orchestra - Evening Shade

                                                                                                                     Pg 193

I cried for almost ten minutes and Harmony wept for almost twenty, but who was
really counting?
When at last she regained her composure, Harmony said the cutest
thing to me. With a stuffed-up nose and adorable accent, she uttered the following
“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 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 have inside for you. . .” “Go on,” she said
in a gentle voice while running her sensuous brown fingers through my boyish hair.
This love I feel for you inside is real; and that'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 talking to them.
I never think of kissing or holding
them. You're the only person on the planet
I want to be with. To spend my life 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 very serious 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 moon
as his white eyes flickered;
that is no ordinary storm. . .

                                        That's Dark Monday. 

                                              Pink Floyd - If                                           

                                                                                                                     Pg 194

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PG 183) The strongman by John Newton Howitt -

PG 183) Love lights
, No arguments

PG 183) Unrest
by Amanda Sage -

PG 183) Vintage rotary dial

PG 184) Harvest of the union
by Jaga Karkoszka -

PG 184) Boat H
by Anatoliy Koncub -

PG 184) Alex's Boxer
by Kat Corrigan -

PG 184) L'apocalyse par le papier
by Claude Verlinde -

PG 184) Meta, the mystery of the two Aesculapians
by Diana Vandenberg

PG 185) Steps of Annwn by Shaun William Kerr -

PG 185) These parties disgust me
by Shepard Fairey -

PG 185) The tree, the cloud by Stanislav Plutenko -

PG 185) Santa Adela
by Raul Cruz -

PG 185) Mahakali poster

PG 186) Contes Erotiques
by Vladimir Kush -

PG 186) Stag Magazine cover of June 1968 by Mort Künstler

PG 187) Yasoda
by Unknown -

PG 187) Sikhiyan
by Gopal Khetanchi -

PG 187) The house that Hanuman built
by Michael Pucciarelli -

PG 187) Polar distress
by Leah Palmer Preiss -

PG 187) Blue nights by Piotr Paczkowski -

PG 187) Maskepi (Masque)
Thor Lindeneg -

PG 187) The Good Listener
by Josh Agle -

PG 188) Mambo for cats
- Artwork by Jim Flora (1955) -

PG 188) Funny face by Josh Agle

PG 188) Confidential information
Dragomir Minkov -

PG 189) Raiders of the Schlitzbox
- Jos. Schlitz Brewing Circa 1958

PG 189) Vintage TAB advertisement
Circa 1965

PG 189) Her second night in the city by Josh Agle

PG 190) Coca Cola advertisement,
Circa 1942 -

PG 190) Half and half tobacco ad Circa 1962

PG 190) RCA room air conditioner,
Circa 1953

PG 190) Boehm's Beach advertisement, Circa 1930's

PG 190) Burning desire
by Adrian Borda -

PG 190) I love you
by Annie Gryshchenko -

PG 190) The new velocipede
by T. Fane & Co.(circa 1887) -

PG 191) Stopped moment
by Vladimir Kush -

PG 192) Romeo and Juliet
by Sir Frank Dicksee -

PG 193) Venus with Cupid the honey thief
by Lucas Cranach the elder -

PG 193) Our lady of water
by Gyuri Lohmuller -

PG 194) Kiss me
by Edward D'Ancona -

PG 194) Cupid with the wheel of fortune
by Tiziano Vecellio -