Generations

by Solomon Tate

 

They said that I was starting to lose my mind. They had been talking about it among themselves, and had come to the conclusion that I should not be left alone. Their case was rather flimsy, filled with speculation and circumstantial evidence. I admit that I have, on occasion, roamed the house with no apparent purpose and have often wandered into rooms without knowing why but, as I have assured them, I am fine.

One of my daughters reminds me far too often that while putting away groceries, I placed a cucumber in a kitchen drawer that is reserved for parchment paper, lunch bags, and aluminum foil. In my defense, there is no reason to believe that the cucumber could not be placed in that drawer, nor do I believe that the lunch bags, parchment paper or aluminum foil have any legal claim to the drawer in question. “But there’s more.”, my daughter offers in support of their case.

It is suggested that  I have forgotten food in the oven so many times that my wife has found it necessary to purchase a timer which I refuse to use as the resulting sound is so inaudible, that unless I am in the kitchen when it goes off, it can’t be heard. It seems that I have left my mobile phone in various places around the house, and I have poured liquid egg white into my coffee thinking it was milk. As a point of explanation I would like to point out that it was two in the morning, and the cartons look very much alike. I have, on more than one occasion they advise me, gone to the store to purchase bagels and returned with toilet paper. Interestingly enough, no one ever complains when one of my daughters shouts “We’re out of toilet paper.”, and my wife reminds her that there are three jumbo packs in the closet. I should have returned all of it and let them wipe their asses with the damn bagels. In their haste to have me declared feeble minded, they have started buying me cardigan sweaters and saying things like “Aw, Daddy”.

To be fair, I rather like the cardigans, as I do seem to feel cold most of the time, but there is no need for the condescension I hear every time they speak to me. “Do you need some help with the buttons?”, someone asks as they get up and walk towards me.

“Don’t you come over here!”, I bark.

I am reminded that I have been getting angry lately which, as my daughter who studied Geriatrics professes, is common in dementia patients. In my defense, if they stopped pissing me off, I would have nothing to be angry about. “When the hell are they gonna move out?”, I ask my wife.

“We can’t leave you two alone.”, someone says. “You can’t take care of yourselves.”

“We’re fine.”, my wife replies. “We take care of each other.”

“You’re worse than he is.”, another child offers. “Someone has to be here to make sure you don’t kill yourselves. I don’t what kind of damage you did with all of those drugs you old hippies were taking, but I’m surprised you’ve managed to survive this long.”

“For your information”, I informed them, “it’s been the flashbacks from the drug use that have enabled use to survive.”

“That and the sex.”, my wife added.

“You two probably don’t even remember how.”, someone added.

“Maybe not.”, I answered. “But we watch a lot of porn and that seems to be quite helpful.”

“You two are so weird.”, the middle one said. “You need to start taking this seriously.”

“I worry about you too.”, I told her. “Maybe its best if you just take things a little less seriously. You’re so wound up all of the time.”

“Why wouldn’t I be.”, she asked. “You’re so difficult. Will you at least go and see a doctor?”

“I was there last month.”, I reassured her.

“And what did he say.”, she asked.

“Drop your pants, and bend over.”, I replied.

“We’re out of here.”, she said. “You’re so frustrating.”

“It’s about time.”, I informed her. “I think our kids need to be medicated.”, I told my wife once they had all gone out.

“They’re alright.”, she said walking towards the bedroom. “But we’re alone now, so why not put on some porn and if we can figure out what to do we can have some wild sex.”

“I’m right behind you.”, I said.

“Well”, she told me. “I’m looking forward to it.”

 

 

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The Seven Dimensions

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

Shortly after Dr. Henrich Mueller took over as head of the newly formed Toon Research and Development Department, weird things started happening at Disney. While The Muppets successfully launched Pigs In Space, who would boldly go where no porcine had gone before, Disney struggled to find a new direction for its stale catalogue. Mueller, with post graduate degrees in physics and bio-engineering was charged with creating a world that would fuck with the minds of its customers.

Prior to his arrival at the Wonderful World, Mueller had developed a theory that human beings were nothing more than the sum of their emotions, each having its own distinct personality within the physical being. He identified six specific adjectives to describe these essential personal traits, with one central personality maintaining the balance. After decades of painstaking research, he believed that he was ready demonstrate his creation.

Ned Beetleman, a low level groundskeeper was summoned into Mueller’s lab. He offered no resistance, happy just to get in from the cold, damp weather, and sat in a recliner with a helmet placed on his head. The lights flashed, and the drone of the machines grew louder, and when the smoke cleared, Ned sat motionless, but on the far side of the room stood seven little people.  “Gentlemen”, Mueller stated with pride, “I give you the seven dimensions.”

“Isn’t there already a Fifth DImension.”, someone called out.

“I think so.”, someone else replied. “They had a Stoned Soul Picnic.”

“They look kind of small.”, the first one added. “Like Dwarves.”

“Alright them”, Mueller continued, “I give you the Seven Dwarves, each representing one part of Mr. Bettleman’s psyche.”

Production, Marketing and even Walt himself came down to see what Mueller had created. They watched the Dwarfs from behind a two way mirror as they marched along the perimeter of the room whistling and singing some inane song about going to work. “Just one question.”, Walt stated. “Why is that one always giving me the finger?”

“Oh, that’s Grumpy.”, Mueller answered. “He’s kind of an asshole.”

“Well”, Walt continued, “you let that pint size asshole know that if I see that damn finger one more time, he’ll never work in this town again.”

“What do we do about Beetleman?”, someone asked.There was silence as no one seemed to know exactly what to do with the shell that lay dormant in the recliner.

“Now round up Mickey, and the Disney Princess Whores.”, Walt commanded. “We have a film to write.”

The body of Ned Beetleman was eventually incorporated into Disney On Ice, and used in several scenes of 1993’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, although he never received credit for his appearance in the film.The Seven Dwarfs went on to fame and fortune working with Snow White despite the fact that they never received the star billing they were promised. They never made another film for Disney, but were seen in other films, specifically, The Terror of Tiny Town, and The Wizard of Oz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Wonderland

by Fielding Goodfellow

It was a winter that lasted through the spring, filled with dark and dreary days of sub zero temperatures that bit through the four layers of thermal and fleece lined layers, and I was sure could easily make me hypothermic just by looking out of the window for too long. But the old man was pretty fussy about his driveway, so we were out there every time it snowed, leaving him a perfectly manicured runway on which to land his Buick LeSabre, while my mom stood at the screen door waving at us, occasionally opening it to poke her head out and  remind us to “take your brother’s head out of that snow bank”.

The old man would come home, crawling down the snow covered street, swerving left and right, until he hit the driveway and made the perfect landing he longed for as the Buick caressed the asphalt and slid ever so gracefully up the driveway and into the garage. “Nice job on the driveway, gentlemen.”, he said as he stood in the foyer trying to remove the scarf he had managed to knot around his neck. My mother was always standing there, waiting for the moment when he simply gave up trying, so she could release him from bondage. She could untie anything, scarves, fishing line, shoelaces, it didn’t matter. She had never met a knot that she couldn’t defeat. We would stand around awestruck, watching as she manipulated the tangled item in her hands, and, after successfully resolving the dilemma, always handed it back with a smile.

“How did you manage this.”, she asked as she set him free.

“Damned if I know.”, he replied, winking at us. “I have a surprise for you guys”, he said as he removed the last few items of winter. We sat around the table waiting for the old man to finish eating. Consumed by the excitement of his pronouncement, we were unable to eat a thing, and took turns guessing what he had in store for us.

We suited up and followed him out to the garage and helped carry wood from the back of the Buick to the backyard. The old man marked off an area, and instructed us where to hold each piece as he pounded it into the ground with a sledge hammer and then joined them together with clamps. “It’s a hockey rink.”, one of my brother’s shouted with delight.

“Not yet.”, the old man informed us as he picked up the garden hose. “We need ice.” He began spraying water over the backyard. Long after my mother called us in, he stayed out there, freezing his old man nuts off, and continued flooding the yard, one layer at a time, until he was satisfied with the result. He must have been out there all night, and by morning, it was five layers deep. “It’s time.”, he said as he woke us, and we bolted out of bed just to look at it through the family room window.

The old man didn’t skate., I suppose he never learned how, but man did he love hockey. He stood out there with us for hours, coaching us, shouting “Pass the puck”, or “Shoot”, until Billy and Kenny Bellwood showed up. The old man and the Bellwoods had not seen eye to eye since the dog incident of 1966. It seemed that the Bellwoods once had a dog, a mixed breed of terrier and hell hound that, much like their kids, was allowed to roam freely throughout the neighborhood.  One day the dog bit one of my brothers in the ass. The old man pulled the hound off and the little shit bit his hand. The dog was carried back to the Bellwoods with a stern warning that if it returned to the old man’s property, it would meet an untimely demise. About a week later, the dog was found dead on the Bellwood’s front lawn. Mr. Bellwood was certain that my old man was responsible. There were idle threats made, and words were spoken that would never be forgotten. The old man was sure that the Bellwoods were stupid fucks, and he regularly referred to them as the Peckerwoods.. We didn’t like them much either, although I’m not sure why, and out there on the ice, we took every opportunity to knock them on their asses as we glided around the backyard rink.

“Hey”, Kenny shouted as he lay on the ice, “you tripped me.”

“It’s not my fault if you can’t skate.”, one of my brothers shouted back as Kenny swung his stick into my brother’s leg. And then all hell broke loose. A hockey brawl ensued on our little, back yard rink with sticks and gloves dropped, and punches being thrown in every direction. It didn’t last very long, but when it was over, there was blood pouring out of Kenny’s nose and mouth, pooling all over the ice. It wasn’t a big deal to us really, or to Billy or Kenny, but Mrs. Bellwood showed up at the old man’s front door about ten minutes after the fight ended, dragging Kenny and Billy behind her.

I have no idea what transpired at the meeting between Mrs. Bellwood and the old man, but my mother made us go over and apologize, trying to teach us about owning our mistakes. There were several more fights over the years in which Kenny and Billy were left with bloodied noses, and the occasional cracked rib or missing tooth, but the old man never made another hockey rink in the backyard. Our game was played forever more with a tennis ball on the snow covered street in front of the house, amid the endless chants of ‘CAR’. The old man would stand on the front porch, bundled up for the sub zero temperatures, shouting “Shoot”, or “Pass the ball”, or “Knock him on his ass”, in an attempt to lead us to victory.

It was a winter of slap shoots, wrist shots, and penalty shots. It was us against the Bellwoods, and no one was safe. Billy Bellwood was running down the road, carrying the ball on his stick, with his head down. Someone stepped into him, with elbows raised, and sent Billy flying over the street headfirst into a snow bank. Billy didn’t move. “I think you killed him.”, someone said. It certainly seemed so. Someone went to get Billy’s mother, and as she rolled him over in the snow, he groaned and started to cry.

“Someone needs to call the police on you little, bastard hooligans.”, she screeched. It was then that I figured out my mother. She was always so calm, so quiet, and so polite. But she came down from the porch, with just winter boots and a cardigan to keep her warm, and looked Mrs. Bellwoods in the eyes.

“If you ever refer to my children like that again”, she warned her, “I’ll be shoving your face in the snow for as long as it takes to shut you the up.” When we got inside, my mother refused to acknowledge what had just transpired, and we were told that we were never to speak of this incident again. I never did. Until today. But that winter helped me to understand that the love and devotion both of my parents had for us, although it was often shown in some weird fucking ways . I’m sure frustrated and disappointed them, more often that I care to remember, but I know that their love for me never waned. I am who I am because of them. My mother gave me creativity, a love for the arts, and a passion for music and literature. She also gave me hope and a willingness to help others. The old man, well, he gave me perseverance and integrity. He taught me to stand for what I believe is right, to question everything in the search for the truth, and that East Side Mario’s is not an Italian restaurant. Over the years I have discovered that I have turned into the old man, becoming more like him everyday. And while I swore that it would never happen, I am actually quite relieved, I mean it could have been a whole lot worse. I could have been a Peckerwood.

 

 

 

Last Call

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

The Algonquin Hotel hadn’t really been a hotel since it served as an oasis for travelers journeying up Yonge Street from Toronto to Richmond Hill, and points beyond, in the early nineteen hundreds. It had simply become a  nondescript local pub until the nineteen seventies when it was reborn as a nudie bar, rising from the ashes with watered down drinks and a wagon load of Eastern European tits and ass that were displayed and offered, for a handful of rubles, to easily excited working men who seemed to be in no hurry to go home.

Every work day. after spending eight hours behind a desk adding numbers and calculating risk for The Great North Life And Casualty Company, Arnold Perlmutter pulled into the parking lot of The Algonquin Hotel.  At precisely five twenty-five, he walked in, sat at his usual seat at the bar and ordered a beer. It was always beer. He was tired of his job, but it was more than just being an actuary. Arnold Perlmutter had grown tired of his life. . “I had dreams.”, he announced to the man sitting next to him. “Big dreams. It never occurred to me that my life would turn out like this.”  Life for Arnold had become so tediously predictable, that he was uncertain just how much longer he would be able to endure it.

Despite his malaise, he had never sampled even a little taste of Kiev. He came for the peace he found in the anonymity that the bar offered him. It was just a place to go where he didn’t have to feel like Arnold Perlmutter. Without fail, every evening at six thirty, he could be found at the kitchen table of the three bedroom bungalow he had shared with his wife, Connie, for the past thirty years or so, and joined her for dinner. It was one of the few things still brought him joy. He believed that there had been two great ideas, two completely spontaneous thoughts that had changed his life. He had tried acid, and he married Connie. Both, not coincidentally, occurred on the same weekend at a summer cottage party in Sundridge, Ontario. He loved her. He knew he did, and he was reasonably sure that he had always loved her.  He just didn’t care anymore. One morning he woke up and just didn’t seem to give a shit about life

He was on his second beer when Suzie Swallows shimmied across the stage to chants of “shake those tits” from reputed Irish mobsters Liam and Sean Halloran as ‘Brother Louie’ played through the amazingly inadequate sound system. Arnold kept checking his watch, well aware that Connie would start worrying at six thirty-three if he wasn’t home. “Looks like you’ve got somewhere you’re supposed to be.”, the man sitting next to him remarked.

“Not really?”, Arnold replied.

“Well.”, the man continued,  “you’ve got the look.”

“What look?”, Arnold asked..

“Like a bird in a cage.”, the man said. “I’ve seen it before. Its in the eyes. My name is Farberman, and I just might be able to help you. If your interested.”

Arnold listened as Farberman explained his work in cellular reconfiguration. According to him, it was possible for three dimensional life forms to exist in a two dimensional world. It was simply a matter of converting the life form into pure energy and then re-configuring it into living matter within another dimension. “I’ve done it myself.”, Farberman informed him. “I’ve spent almost ten years living inside a French painting. Anywhere you want to be”, he continued, “you just bring me a picture, and in go. That’s all there is to it, really. There’s one catch though. You have to go alone.” Arnold was taking it all in. He was indeed, interested, but he was also pretty sure that this guy sitting next to him at The Algonquin Hotel was out of his fucking mind.

Arnold was quieter than usual that night at dinner. As Connie talked about rising hydro rates and the opening of a Supercentre not far from home, he couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of a new life. He kept staring at his wife, trying to come up with a reason to leave her, and despite the thirty years of listening to her incessant chatter about discounted shoes and her sister’s diabetes, he just couldn’t seem to find one. As Connie slept that night, Arnold made the third great decision of his life.

It was ten-forty-five in the morning when Arnold Perlmutter pulled into the parking lot of the Algonquin Hotel. He sat in his car waiting for the bar to open.  He felt different today. The universe felt different today. It seemed that a celebration was in order. Earlier that morning he had gone into the office of the Branch Manager of The Great North Life & Casualty Company handed in his ID card and office keys, and quit his job. It was as if a dark cloud that had been over him had vanished. For the first time in years, Arnold could feel the sun beating down on him. At eleven o’clock, he walked into the hotel and, taking his usual seat at the bar, ordered a beer. Pinky Beavers took to the stage, gyrating to ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ as she disrobed, seductively tossing her clothing towards two old men seated at a table near the stage. She was incredibly pretty, and Arnold noticed, for the first time, how amazingly perfect her tits were. He was transfixed by her every move, and he felt himself getting hard as she bent over and exposed herself to the patrons.

Connie was pleasantly surprised when Arnold raced in the front door and took her upstairs. “I’ve made some decisions.”, he told her as they lay together in their bed. They talked for a long time. They talked about everything, and when they were done, Connie and Arnold agreed to put the house up for sale, purchase an RV, and get the hell out of there. Neither of them were sure where they would go, but it didn’t matter. Arnold just wanted to go where there was sunshine and a beach. He was tired of living his life like a bird in a cage, as the crazy bastard at The Algonquin Hotel had called it. He had missed so much over the years, and he just didn’t want to miss any more.

Not surprisingly, and almost instinctively, Arnold Perlmutter and his wife, Connie, found themselves sitting on lawn chairs outside of their RV in a park in Sundridge, Ontario. The sun was setting, painting the lake with patches of orange and red, as it gently rolled into the shore.  “This is perfect.”, Connie said.

“Almost.”, Arnold replied. “All we need now is to find some acid.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cant take wife. must go alone.. wife can come after but no guarantee your coordinates will be the same. could wind up in a different stage of the paintings completion. or frame of reference. Art is subjective.