Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 37

                   The ominous Mr. Wong


Looking around for something new to build my creativity upon, I began to examine
my friend's house. To my astonishment
it was covered in a form of arabesque writing!
Like a grand qasida that appeared to have no end,
it went on and on. Who can
interpret these polymeric
symbols that
looked like they were printed on ethereal soffit?



Similar to a psychedelic
watermark that radiates with life,
to look as it would, if it were deep under an ocean swell!


I soon began to wonder if the dwelling itself was simply a conveyor of information.

In the same way a solar panel reflects heat, words and emotions were translated into codes
that were laid out in text from the opposing side. As unreadable as they were, they were not
opaque in the moon's light, but yet rather only their meaning, muddled. Every breath taken,
and every enunciation I found had been cleverly concealed within the confines of the abode!
Like textbook writing for the insane, it was all clearly documented! Quietly, all the repressed
ideas and hermetic thoughts that ever arose in that domicile were now seeping through.

It was sprawled out there for my eyes to see, but I could not decipher the code to this puzzle
of madness. That grand delusion which fed the fire of boredom, to my amusement.




              Maybe that's how Santa knows who's been naughty or nice!

I began to laugh at the pure derangement of it all, before focusing on my own life in general. . . 


Gazing up into nothingness, past the trees lined with rows of houses, I tried
to imagine a grandiose
mountain in the background! Just then a needle was gently placed upon a record in an old victrola.




The scratches and pops faded to the sound of a lone violin playing softly, off in the distance.
At the very top of that perilous mountain stood none other than Ed Norton, who appeared to
be singing a tune to Ralph, who it seems had gotten himself into another bind once again.


                                    When you try to make fact out of fiction,
                                    and the answer is nowhere to be found.
                                       Look up to the sky and don't worry,
                                        for soon you'll be coming around.



I smiled aptly, for I knew my whole life lay ahead of me. However, that
road I fear I must travel is clouded with much doubt and uncertainty.



Subsequently, time has shown me that I am not a mannequin in the corner, neither
am I a wishing well for people to cast coins into and make wishes that won't come true;

I am only a man.

A man who must forego his dreams because he learned a very long time ago that if you
put all your hope into something, and it should happen to vanish, then what have you?
What are you?

Just a man who has found he solely exists; for no one.

Maybe life isn't supposed to be enjoyed. . .
Maybe we're only here to work all day and sleep all night.
Slaves of the big machine going from borough to borough. 




If that's all you can achieve with your college degree,
then maybe there is no other way.

As for me, the only degree I had was in outer space.




I guess we're all doomed to follow in the path we choose to walk.




                                                                               Pg 259
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             As thoughts kindled, and my mind opened up to curiosity, I began to
             observe the Wong's house next door, where the writing appeared to be
             noticeably different. It was more along the lines of Aztec writing or a
             form of Hieroglyphics.
A paleographer's dream, I muttered bemused.

                       I could now hear them in the
kitchen, chattering away
                               in their native tongue and conversing freely.




                     The night now had a very peaceful aura to it,
                                 as if it were somehow blessed.


Deeply, I inhaled a breath of warm night air mixed in with the essence of some
far away flowers and sighed. Mr. Wong then caught a glimpse of me and John
hanging out in the backyard and decided to stand by the kitchen window. How
absorbed was he in our presence that he began to stare. A stare so uninspiringly
dull, I began to think that maybe he was contemplating suicide.

No, he was just an evening spy.
An observer of truth, in a valley of uninteresting inhabitants.




Motionless he loomed like a surreal picture in a picture frame, till I thought his
brain would unravel. Never blinking an eye this grave fellow stood solemnly,
as if in a hypnotic trance. *Over medicated was one guess* Watching John
sunbathe in the light of the moon like a deranged vampire he would, before
staring bleakly into the margins of my Perimeter. I soon realized he was not
looking at us at all, but rather through us, into the very corners of that dry
fence. Nothing to worry about, so I felt no contention. He was merely
meditating on things that occurred within the time frame of his busy day.

I could almost see a fossilized Mr. Wong shuffling about in the afternoon
hours with his briefcase in hand, giving everyone he meets a graceful bow.


A bow to the left and a bow to the right.
A bow to the North and a bow to the South. . .
Get your Mr. Wong compass, complete with pivot!    
Now his life's in a hole; buy a rice bowl and
he'll point you to the Hong Kong market!  

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program. . .                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                         


Completely detached from the world was he, as if in a state of perpetual shell shock.
After awhile, I came to appreciate the emotionless figure gloating in the window, while
his wife and son babbled on. Whatever was inside that oblong head of his must have
long since been erased. Irreparably damaged by someone or something, I thought.

Originally from the Liwan district in Guangzhou, China, Mr. Wong has slowly become
a permanent fixture in the neighborhood. Adhering to the social life, as would an
introvert in a totalitarian regime, he hastens home to his wife and son,
Jimmy.
But for now he stands by the double hung window, as if he were frozen in time.

Never to leave, I shout in silence, but to forever inherit that haunting space,
which behooves me. When at last, the grim farewell is echoed by the well-to-do
in dreamscapes of the night, I will uncover the last ponderance; that final adieu.


They have a different set of values and beliefs than we do, that they still hold dear.

While their son has become quite the American they've grown to be proud of, they
continue to remain steadfast in their own culture and practice what they've learned
for better living. It is what keeps them truly happy! They are honest people who have
effortlessly retained their dignity through
hard work, kind deeds and general upkeep.

The Wong's
are getting up there in years, and are nearing retirement.

From what I have seen through the window, on occasion, is that they are still quite
loving, but
public displays of affection apart from the home were rarely, if ever, seen.



A few dishes clanked together near the sink where his wife's voice grew exceedingly
louder. "Something must have snapped in her brain," I told myself, as I sat on the old
wooden bench. A rise in vocal pitch meant Mrs. Wong was starting to get serious!

Upon delving deeply into analysis, one would find that through a moral evaluation
of the ethical character she portrayed in life, that didn't hardly seem possible!
What was the urgency to vociferate?

Surely it meant only one thing. . .


Henry Wong was wrong no matter what he did,
and there would be no walking away from it!


                                                                               Pg 260
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As I continued to eavesdrop, her polyglot words made
it sound like she was overacting in a Chinese theater,
and I just wanted to approach the window and yell cut!


Her son Jimmy soon gets up and walks into the living room. Such a pleasant fellow
was he! Always helping his mom and dad with anything they asked of him and never
does he bother anyone. He gets up, goes to work, comes home, eats, watches TV,
and then goes back to sleep and repeats the same process every morning. How robotic
are these Asian people, I thought with a chuckle before realizing that my parents along
with everyone else on the planet do exactly the same thing! The only notable difference
between us and them is that they accept their chore of duty with nobility and honor,
while we continually gripe and complain about things we cannot change.


Sometimes in the evening hours when I'm hanging out
with John, Jimmy's friends will stop by to greet him.

“Ay there Jimbo!” they'll say, or “How ya' doin' pal?”

They always shake hands when they meet,
and usually seem genuinely happy just to exist.



Unlike us characters who only exist to get wasted because we
have either no self confidence, or we just don't care anymore.


I could see the static reflection bouncing around on the living room
window and wondered, what show it could be he was watching?
“How strange, that they should be banqueting at this hour.” I said,
to John, in a voice that could have come from a wealthy butler.
“They're night owls,” he replied, stargazing. I immediately
thought of White Owls and proceeded to light up a Muriel.


I thought of that silly nine O'clock curfew, as I watched
the window like a detective from the nineteen fifties.

“What was up with that?” I blurted out by accident, before having
the extreme misfortune of contending with John asking me questions.

“Up with what?”
“The curfew.”
“What curfew?”
“The one that was imposed; never mind, it's not important.”



As her voice became more prominent, it sounded like she was angry with her husband over
something he did or didn't do, though this was pure speculation on my part. Mr. Wong now
looked like a ghost had taken over his body and judging by the look on his face, it seemed
that very soon that fragile shell of a head of his was simply going to crack. Every word
she gibbered fell on deaf ears, and it didn't take long before his face started to contort and
his jaw began to open wider! (((Wider))) What the hell is going on here? Could she have
given him a lobotomy with her circuitous voice that was beginning to sound like a record
stuck on 78 rpm's? That would explain the inanimate look in his eyes. He's going to have
that same look, I thought, when they lower him into the ground. The way she was attacking
him with verbal assaults, I felt I had a moral obligation to go inside and call the funeral parlor,
because at this rate, he's going to be dead within minutes. Oh no, I think he just died!

No, his face just moved, he's alive. Another stretch of time passes,
and
when I turned to look, he was no longer there. The spectre had
departed into the night without warning, and I now felt increasingly

abandoned. Left alone to ponder my own thoughts brewing despair.

I stared into the emptiness of a dark kitchen and saw nothing;
'cept one solitary candle burning.




                                                                               Pg 261
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Reviews for chapter 37

Felix Kassel - Would you mind telling me where that plane is going?

Bruce Mahony - Stumbled upon this site by accident. Great site!

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