Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 39

                    The horseless carriage




John looked at me like a disciple of academic knowledge as a car slowed down
and pulled into the driveway. It seems he too, had been counting cards in the
great void. John’s father Armand was now home and turns off the engine to
the light brown 1970 Pontiac Catalina Convertible before stumbling from the
vehicle. Motioning up the front steps, he swiftly pulls open the front door.




“Go ahead,” he said, and Spade bolts out to go wandering around in old man
Barton’s yard with the prospect of him doing his business and returning. Armand
then proceeds to enter the house. As we follow the black lab across the street,
John says to me, “When he stops sniffing, that's usually when
he goes.” All at
once, the dog stops sniffing and walks around in a circle.
From there, he gets
into this awkward squat, and voila, he begins shitting.


“Check it out, I say to john, he looks like he's sitting on a mini-toilet bowl.”

“It does,” he screamed out wildly, and together we fell into a fit of uncontained laughter.


The dog quickly looked over at us with a gesture of disapproval before prancing
further into old man Barton's yard before disappearing altogether.
Behind a group
of shadowy trees, the dog simply vanished.
There was a loud sound, like a golf
club cutting through a pile of leaves, and I immediately became concerned.

“I think he fell in a hole John... Oh my God.”

“Don't fuck around.” said
John, displaying signs of panic.

“I'm serious, I think he went into a hole.”

“Oh shit,” he
said, while running toward a black area.

“Be careful,” I said, but to my words, he would pay
no heed. Sometimes,
things that return from the darkness are no longer things that we know.




“Spade,” John bellowed, and the dog trotted happily out of the old Southerner's
yard,
content in his own right. The way that dog looked at me in that exact moment
made my entire face crinkle. “You strange-looking
magnanimous beast,” I said
to my four-legged friend, the way I would have said it to that prairie dog had
I been with Lewis and Clark on their expedition of 1804. 


From less than an ells length, he looked like he had taken form from a charcoal
briquette. Under the streetlight, however, he bore a faint
glimmer of grey, for the
lab was now in his golden years.


As our eyes locked, Spade began to display his emotions in such a gregarious
manner I feared he might stand on his own two hind
legs and give a speech.

As I began petting him, he winked at me as if to say, “I gave him a good scare back
there, didn't I?”
I winked back at the old boy, in recognition of the fact that we
understood each
other completely, as we were now on the same wavelength.


“Did you ever get in that?” I asked John, pertaining to the old relic Mr. Barton
had situated in a far corner of his yard. “No,” he replied, “and don't even think
about going near it. That was Barton's fathers.” An authentic original,
never
restored, and never repaired top-of-the-line horseless carriage.


                                A Duryea, circa 1894.



Needless to say, in its present condition was only worth about 27¢
to scrap. “I think I have to get in it.”

“Listen Charles and listen good, if he
hears you, he's gonna call the cops, and if
the cops are called and we get caught, my old man
will beat the shit outta me.


                                                                               Pg 265
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“Trust me,” I said, “when have I ever done anything that has gotten
us in trouble with
the law?”

“All right, just be careful.”

“You're not coming?”

“Pain in my ass,” he muttered, as we crept slowly across
old man Barton's lawn.


The dog wanting absolutely nothing to do with this madness abandoned
us immediately.
The way he moved hastily toward the house, rather than
following
at our heels, should have been an indicator for us to stop dead
in our
tracks and follow him. The one with four legs apparently had more
common sense than the both of us combined.


“He should take better care of his stuff,” I replied upon looking at all the
old buckets and barrels filled with rusting steel rebar and chopped-up
angle irons. Pails of orange water that were too heavy to move lie
abandoned to decorate the unsightly yard. Propped up against the
carriage were rows of air supply plenums just rusting away.


Most were positioned around the yard like tin soldiers,
just waiting
for a lightning strike. “He was a sheet metal worker,
back in the day;
now he’s just a hoarder.” John then grabs my shoulder
and says,
“This is a fucking disaster waiting to happen. Just look
at how
unstable it is.”

John must have seen it as it actually was, while
I saw it as
almost rideable.
For whatever reason, I just kept staring
at it. “Hop in, if you're gonna do it,
but do it carefully.”

I braced myself, swung in and swiftly sat down. But as I did this, the
two
passenger side wheels shattered under my weight, and the carriage
immediately
flipped over. I landed on my head to the sound of what
appeared to be tin falling from the sky, and in the stillness of the night,
the noise echoed around us like a jet taking off. In rapid succession,
they came crashing to the ground like a series of metal dominoes.


John bolted from the yard, taking no prisoners, and wound up running
faster than
his own two feet could carry him. One by one, the lights
went on in every house
on the block, and it was almost like I awoke
the dead. My heart was now racing
with adrenaline, and I was so
pumped up that I almost couldn’t remove myself from
the contraption.
Wriggling my arms and shoulders, I managed to break free.



I could hear old man Barton screaming and running toward me half-naked.
I just couldn’t understand him, for he sounded like a scratchy
throat mongoloid.
I sprung to my feet with eyes well-adjusted to the
darkness and made it out of
there in seconds flat. So fast that I don't even think
he saw me. Surprisingly,
I felt strangely elated by the whole thing.


Running into John's backyard, I quickly closed the door behind me.

“Get in here,” John vocalized in a loud whisper. I scurried up the wooden
stairs and into the house, where we waited near the back door. John's shirt
was torn apart, and
his chest was bleeding. “I should punch the living shit
out of you right
now,” he responded with a flushed face.


“What happened to you?”
I asked, perplexed.

“When the sheet metal fell, I booked.
I must have got caught on a root
or something at the edge of the yard
, and I flew across the street on my
stomach. It burns like a bitch. . . Thanks a lot, dick.”
 

Now, if a car happened to be speeding down the road at that
exact moment in time, then that would have been the hour
that had been written in the book of life from the beginning.


Within minutes, we were peering through the living room blinds, listening to
John's mom, hurling expletives from her bedroom window. Armand had gone
outside and was talking to a group of angry neighbors who had come together
to survey the disaster. They were walking around in a mindless fashion while
some held their heads as if they were walking through the smoke and rubble
of a downed passenger aircraft. When John’s mom began walking down
the
stairs, we quickly hastened into the kitchen. As Barbara enters the kitchen,
looking noticeably distressed, she asks a most unnerving question. “What's
going on outside?” She immediately observed John's shirt in tatters and
became
even more bewildered. “What in God's name happened to you?”

“It's a long story.”


Listen to me and listen good,” she said, trying to remain calm. “I was just
awoken out of a
very sound sleep. It sounded like a fucking bomb went off,
so just tell me the
truth; what in the hell is going on?” No sooner does she
get the words off her
tongue, did Armand entered in through the front door.

They're going to lynch
somebody tonight,” he said in a worried tone
as he wandered into the living
room, dazed and completely disoriented.
“Mark Reissens got a pitchfork... I don't think this is going to end well.”


                                                                               Pg 266
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And I was now the town pariah, hiding out like a fugitive.

According to
Armand's statement, somebody said they saw a figure
run into the
backyard. As he rifled through the closet by the front
door, he could
find nothing to go into the backyard with. “Can
you believe this?”
voiced Armand in frustration.

I can believe anything tonight,
stated Barbara, while darting her
eyes and waving her hands erratically, thus alerting us
to the fact that
a group of young hoodlums, who were possibly armed and dangerous,
were now brooding in the backyard. I covered my mouth and snickered

while John sat there, angrily contemplating the stupidity of it all.

“Shut the light off; they can see you in there.” Shouted Armand in a voice that
could barely be heard in the kitchen as he continued to rummage through the
closet. I'm sure, in his mind, he must have been reenacting scenes of Death Wish
and could hardly wait to burst through the backyard screen door and frighten those
intruders off for good. But in the movies, you never see a Molotov cocktail flying
in through the window and setting the cast and crew ablaze.


As Armand shuffled about in a state of duress, trying to ascertain
the severity of the situation, he scrambles in panic to find something
to protect himself and his family with. Grabbing the only thing he
could find, he runs hastily into the kitchen.


Between the expression on his face and the weapon he was prepared to use to
defend himself against a possibly armed killer was perhaps the funniest
thing
I had ever seen in my entire life, and I could no longer compose myself.

Barbara threw Armand a look of such utter astonishment that I wasn't sure if she
was going to be able to speak. In the same way Alice would have confronted Ralph
in the Kramden household, she delicately stepped off of her chair and approached him.
“What are you gonna do with that,” she questioned sarcastically, “dent his pride?”
It was like watching a skit from The Honeymooners, only this was in living color.
“I don't know babe, maybe you should have walked in with a Polish joke!”

She then brought her fingers to her lips and released an uncontrollable burst
of shrieking laughter. That was all it took. I immediately started to cough and
laugh at the same
time and could not stop. “What the hell is wrong with you guys?”
muttered Armand. “We have a situation here and you three have no concern.”


“Just take a deep breath; everything is going to be all right,” said Barbara
in a reassuring tone as Armand shook his head slowly. She then started to
giggle. “You could have at least taken the mace from the wall, instead of
running in here like Pee-wee Herman…” We were all laughing and could
not stop, while Armand just stood there with an exasperated look on his
face like he was getting ready to explode.

Nonchalantly, Barbara stood up from her chair.

“And, do you want to know the best part about this whole thing?
I still don't have even a clue as to what's going on around here.”

“It's vandals, Barbara. Vandals who destroyed our neighbor's property.


“What the hell did they destroy?

“The old relic in Earnest Barton's yard.

“That's what everyone's upset about? That pile of fucking trash
that's been an eyesore since the day we got married? They should
have doused it with gasoline and burned it a long time ago.”


“We should have,” I blurted out like a complete fool.

All of a sudden, it must have lit up in Armand's mind that
his own son, and an accomplice, had just vandalized the house
next door, and destroyed a piece of history in the process.




With that, Armand dropped the purple hairbrush,
and gave John a slap across the side
of his head.

“What the fuck,” John protested?

“You want another one, start talking.”
shouted Armand in an aggressive state.

“Charlie did it.”

“Give me a break,” said
Barbara, “you look like you've been fighting a wild boar.”

“Tell them man,
before I start breakin' things.”

I thought about what I was going to say and
wound up saying in an animated tone,
“re-member the alma-mater; stitches get
snitches. I mean, s-stitches get. . .”

John shock his head in disbelief while
Barbara tried earnestly not to laugh.
As for Armand, he just stood there like
a cartoon character frozen in time,
looking like he was slowly becoming erased.


I guess by this time, they knew we were on drugs, even though we never really tried to
hide it. In theory, we rode the apex of a tsunami straight into a towering high-rise, and now
it was the end of the line for these two jokesters.
Just as I was ready to throw John under
the bus, or push him in front of the train, or whatever you wish to call it,
four police cars
pulled up outside with those red and
blue lights turning. For the time being I was saved.



“You know what,” said Armand, “I don't wanna know who did it.” “You're
both fucked up and tomorrow, we're all gonna have a nice long talk about
this. So keep quiet, stay put and don't even think of going near that window.”

“Happy now,” said Barbara to me and John. “Are you happy? You two fucks.”
As she ascended the stairs leading back up to her room, her final words were,
and I quote, “Why don't you two go out in the middle of the street and pretend
you have guns? I'll get my camera. . .”  (((SLAM))
)

                                         The Equals - Police on my back


                                                                               Pg 267
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Reviews for chapter 39

Freida Galst - FUNNY-OMG this is soooooooo funny!

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                                                      This review was posted on May/12/23
                                                                Reviewed by aamnaaaa

aa


i

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                                                              This review was posted on May/31/23
                                
                                                                       kanchanninawe's review

                     The Embryo Man
and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 39 - The horseless carriage



                                                                  Reader's Report by kanchan

kc

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                                                             This review was posted on Jun/5/23                                                                   
                                                                     Reviewed by yashodha_95

yd


I

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                                                            This review was posted on Jun/30/23
                                                                          Hajranoor's review

hn


WW
WW
WW
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                                                             This review was posted on Jul/31/23
                                                                          Reviewed by tawhida

tw


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                                            This review was posted on Aug/3/23

                                                     iqrabashir871 's review
           
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 39 - The Horseless Carriage

                                                    Reader's Report by Iqra

QB




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                                                           This review was posted on Aug/7/23

LR


WWiWW

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                                                    This review was posted on Oct/7/23
                                                                       Reviewed by labia_1903       
LA

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                                                             This review was posted on Oct/23/23
                                                                     Reviewed by suma303755

SM


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                                                             This review was posted on Oct/30/23
                                                                         Reviewed by alits29's

AL


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                                                         This review was posted on Jan/6/24
                                                                      Reviewed by pazkou

PK

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                                                                       This review was posted on Feb/22/24                                                                                     
                                                                                  Reviewed by hinaspatel

HP


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                                                            This review was posted on May/27/23
                                                              Reviewed by mariya

MR




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PG 265) Magica Lesson II by Michael Cheval - http://www.chevalfineart.com/

PG 265) Parasites of necessity by Chris Mars -
http://www.chrismarspublishing.com/

PG 265) Duryea Runabout with Charles Duryea - (circa 1894)


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