Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 37

                   The ominous Mr. Wong

I then began to examine my friend's house and to my astonishment
it was covered
in arabesque writing! Like a grand qasida with 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 radiated with life,
to look as it would if it were deep under an ocean swell!

I soon began to wonder if, in fact, 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. Everything that ever
happened in that house had been clearly documented. Every step taken and every word said
aloud had been cleverly concealed within the confines of the abode. All the love and anger
and every word and deed that ever came forth in that domicile was now seeping through. It
was all there for my eyes to see, but I could not decipher the code to this puzzle of madness.

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

I began to laugh at the sheer asininity of it, 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 more.

                                   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 I had my whole life ahead of me, and there was so much I could do
with it, but in truth, that road I fear I must travel is clouded with much doubt and uncertainty.

Subsequently, time has shown me that I am not a dandelion, nor am I a wishing well;
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 perish, 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 250

            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 like Aztec or a form of Hieroglyphics.
            A paleographer's dream, I muttered bemused. I could 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.
A Cantonese speaking observer of truth in a valley of uninteristing 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. . .                                                                                       


It seemed as though he was completely detached from the world as if in a state of
pure 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 narrow
oblong head of his must have been irreparably damaged by something, I thought,
for no one dreams that deeply while awake. Nevertheless, I need him to prevail.

If only for awhile, to make the evening more profound, shall I require his presence.
But if by some small chance the spectre should depart, I then believe I will become
sad. How intrigued was I to be studying him, and it was imperative that he remain!

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 almost close to retirement.

From what I have seen through the window, 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 getting away from it!

                                                                               Pg 251

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 genuinly 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, in a voice that could have come from a wealthy butler. “They're night owls,”
replied John, stargazing. I immediately thought of cigars 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 did not 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 explode! 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 was going on here? Could she have talked
him into 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 as though I should just go inside and call the funeral parlor,
because at this rate, he's going to be dead within a few minutes. Oh no, I think he just died!

No, his face moved, he's alive. Another stretch of time passed and
when I turned to look, he was no longer there. It seemed to me, the
man from China had suddenly vanished, 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 252


Reviews for chapter 37

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

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