Wining & Dining Grandpa Morris

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

My wife says that everything has gotten a lot weirder since we were kids, but I thought that it had always been like this. She says its not the usual kind of weird, but some other worldly kind of weird that seems to be following us around like Sam Spade chasing after the Maltese Falcon. She may be right, I mean its pretty fucking weird, but back then I was so busy trying to stop the flying lizards from singing ‘Waterloo’ on the living room ceiling that I just can’t be sure. According to her though, there was an eerie feeling on the streets that she just couldn’t put into words, and for the past few days it had been making her uneasy and I suppose, a little more Spanish-Moroccan than usual. “What happened this morning?” she asked.

“Well, you yelled at me in your sleep.” I said.

“Really?” she asked. ” What did I say?”

“You told me to stop going through your grandfather’s pockets.”

“Well, that’s weird.” she said.

“I know.” I said. “He’s been dead for over twenty years, and when he was alive he didn’t have a nickel to his name.”

“Ya, but he always had butter rum lifesavers in his pocket. Well, I’m sorry for yelling at you.”

“Its okay,” I said. “It happens so often, I just think of it as foreplay.”

“Do you feel that?” she asked as we walked past the panhandlers in front of The Holiday Inn as they tried to shakedown the tourists for spare change and cigarettes. “Someone’s here.” she continued. “I just got a cold chill. Someone is definitely here with us.”

“Well, if its any of your relatives let them know we’re not buying them lunch.” I said

“Do you have to make a joke out of everything?”

“I think I do.” I said.

“Not everything is funny.” she said.

“It is if you look close enough.”

“I don’t think its funny at all.”

“Ya, but you’ve got your faith in post humanity and your cheery disposition to keep you amused.”

“That’s true.” she said.

I suppose I joke a lot about her involvement with the other side because it freaks me out, but I know that if she feels that someone is with us, then someone is with us. Its her gift. She can feel when the spirits are around. I’m more like a proctologist, I mean I see assholes everywhere.

She was certain that her grandfather was with us as we wandered through the city streets. She was sure that she could smell butter rum lifesavers. She said that if a spirit wants her to know that its there, it will arrive with the aroma most associated with it. She said that he was with us while we ate lunch.

“I don’t know the protocols, but are we supposed to order him something?” I asked.

“I don’t know if he’s hungry.” she said. “But he always did love fish and chips.”

“Do spirits eat?”

“I’m not sure.” she said. “But we should at least offer. It would be the right thing to do,  and besides, we could really freak the server out.” She knew exactly how to get me interested, and right then, man was I interested. We sat on the patio at Fran’s on Front Street, just the two of us, with a table set for three. There was Philly Cheese Steak for my wife, steak and eggs for me, and an order of fish and chips for the spirit who liked to keep butter rum lifesavers in his pocket. Over the course of our meal, she kept removing little bits of fish and the occasional French fry from the plate and it looked as if someone had been eating from it. I’m not sure if the server was freaked out or not, but he was certainly questioning if not his, then our sanity. When we were done eating, she asked for the fish and chips to go, claiming that the invisible diner had eaten enough for now.

As we made our way home,  my wife could feel her grandfather continue to follow us, It was probably the aroma of the fish and chips, I mean by the time we arrived there were about a dozen feral cats behind us as well. She put the container of fish and chips in the fridge, and we went to bed. When I woke in the morning, the container was in the garbage with the remnants of what I can only surmise was some pretty decent fish and chips. I had assumed that sometime during the night either my wife or one of my daughters woke and ate Grandpa Morris’ fish and chips. It was the only logical explanation I could think of, but everyone of them denied touching the container. “I knew he was here.” my wife exclaimed.

“If it wasn’t one of you, it was probably one of the mice.” I said. “The spirit of your grandfather did not eat the fish and chips.”

“I thought we solved the mouse problem?”

“We did.” I said, “But its the only other explanation I can live with. Either that or the alley cats who followed us home broke in, ate the fish, and cleaned up before they left.”

“Now that’s a little far fetched, don’t you think? What is it going to take for you to believe that anything is possible in the spirit world?” I knew it was far fetched, but no more so than a spirit heating up dinner and cleaning up his mess afterward, and I had no idea what would make me believe that her grandfather had been in our kitchen last night. It didn’t really matter though, I mean this kind of shit had been going on for years. “Do you smell that?” she asked. “It’s a stale, sweet aroma that wasn’t there five minutes earlier.”

“I’m not sure,” I said. “but suddenly I feel like eating butterscotch.”

Art For Artie’s Sake

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

In an ironic twist of fate we discovered that on the journey to find ourselves we had somehow become lost in the sounds and colors of the frequent hallucinations and flashbacks that had followed us around the galaxies. I suppose that’s how we ended up at The Molly Malone, the only pub on Dexter’s Planet where you could drink something other than the watered down piss that was being passed off as alcohol.  From where we sat we were sure that we could see the universe unfolding as it should, as we attempted to seduce the members of the Young Women’s Socialist League at the table beside us with idle chatter on the struggles of the proletariat. They ate that kind of crap up, I mean they were already tripping and looking for something to warm their hearts and stimulate their minds, and they were willing to pay handsomely for it. Somewhere between the Absinthe and peyote, as the walls began to melt into vibrant purples, blues, and reds, Artie Payne had an epiphany, or it could have been a seizure. It was impossible to tell. “Due to some bizarre accident” he said, “or as a result of some catastrophic error in judgment, we put our fate in the hands of lawyers and accountants instead of philosophers and poets.” Artie knew even less about philosophy and poetry than he did about women, and he knew absolutely nothing about women.  But the young socialists were convinced that he was able to gaze into the distance and see the secrets of the cosmos.

Artie had a hard time understanding most things, including socialist ideologies. It was difficult really when your only struggle was trying to get laid.  It wasn’t for lack of trying though, I mean he just didn’t relate to human beings but he had this way about him that drew people to him when he spoke. It didn’t really matter that he had no fucking idea what was talking about, they still listened. He had been that way for as long as I had known him. He could have been a guru or, at the very least, the leader of some aberrant cult involved in a standoff with the FBI on an abandoned farm outside of Enid, Oklahoma, but he had chosen to spend his time instead completing his doctorate in astrophysics. We were almost certain that he would be better able to relate, and more than likely to be a welcome addition to whatever extraterrestrial life was out there. We were also pretty sure that an alien life form was the only chance he had of getting his dick wet.

Kyra was an aspiring artist of precarious talent and personality, who was a regular at The Molly Malone, and was in the middle of her third term as president of the Young Women’s Socialist League. She had  dark hair and legs so long that a small ladder was required to scale them, and despite being way out of his league, Artie had a permanent hard on for her. She was wearing a tee shirt emblazoned with a photo of Dick Dale and the caption ‘I love Dick’, and most of us at the bar had, at one time or another, the opportunity to discover first hand that it was true. She was explaining the rise and fall of the socialist revolution to me, as Artie continued to impress the group of starry eyed young women who now sat at his feet, with all of the meaningless drivel he could muster. “The only way out of this cesspool” he continued, “is to ignore it. Its all just capitalist lies. You need to find a small piece of the universe to call your own and simply be. That’s all there is. Just be, wherever it may take you.”

“Your friend is wonderfully astute.” Kyra said.

“Not really.” I said “He’s pretty high and socially inept, but that’s about it.” Even Farberman, who spent six years in the physics department with him, thought he was as thick as molasses, and almost as slow. They had worked together on experiments that Farberman said would enable three dimensional beings to live within a two dimensional world. It was all very science fiction and everything, but in essence, a three dimensional being could live within a two dimensional world.  He got the idea from a Woody Allen story ‘The Kugelmass Episode’, and was certain that a person could live out their lives within a painting. In any event, the entire physics department was mesmerized by the theory that was being referred to as the ‘Farberman Principle’.

“I would like to meet him.” she said.

“Artie?” I asked.

“Yes.” she said. No one had ever asked to meet Artie before, I mean his presence was usually thrust upon others without their consent.  I called him over, introduced him to Kyra and left them alone at the bar. They talked into the early morning, and we watched them leave The Molly Malone with a bottle of Absinthe in hand, heading towards The Portlands.

“Good God, man” Tate blurted out, “Artie’s finally getting laid.”

I have no idea if Tate was right or not, but days passed and there was no sign of Artie or Kyra. Tate and I returned to The Molly Malone, and no one there had seen them either. The Police were notified and The Portlands were searched, and while there was no trace of the missing couple, an empty bottle of Absinthe was found on a small table in what appeared to be an old laboratory that seemed to have recently been used. None of it made any sense, unless of course Farberman’s theory worked. We found Farberman at the University but he didn’t want to say much of anything. There was a new picture on his office wall, a framed movie poster of ‘The Time Machine’, the one directed by George Pal with Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux. It was weird really, I mean, I was almost sure that I saw Artie and Kyra mingled in among the Eloi. Farberman refused to discuss it, claiming that the government had put him under a gag order. “Wherever they are, I’m sure they’re happy.” He said as he handed me an envelope. “Don’t ask any questions.” he continued. “The less you know the better off you’ll be.”

Inside was a note from Artie. It offered no explanation, but I was pretty sure what had happened. “We have found our small piece of the universe, and now we can just be. Neither of us has any real desire to do anything else. We just want to be, wherever it takes us. And so, we just are.” I put the letter in my pocket and stood gazing at the poster. It was definitely them. I suppose I was happy for them and everything, but I couldn’t help but wonder how the hell they were going to be able to protect themselves from the Morlocks.

Another Family Fun Fest

 

by Fielding Goodfellow

“They need to start figuring things out on their own.” my wife said. “I can’t be dealing with all of their shit, all of the time.” It had felt like that for both of us for almost six months and there didn’t seem to be any end in sight. “Why can’t they figure it out on their own?  We did.” she continued. It was really starting to get to her I mean, she had been dealing the brunt of it. The only calls that came my way were the pleas for money, or the two in the morning medical emergencies. My wife dealt with the rest and it was driving her precariously close to the point of no return. I had only seen her there once before, and the carnage was indescribable.  The story is legendary, recounted year after year in suburban family rooms and around campfires every summer.

As the plans for the rapidly approaching holiday family fiesta got under way, I couldn’t figure out why she bothered, I mean if history had taught us anything it was that nothing good had ever come out of having all five of our kids together at the same time. There was always an inordinate amount of crap to deal with, and we were always the ones left to clean it up when they all went home. “Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked.

“Not really” she said, “but they’re still our kids. We’ll just do what we have to do and have a nice evening.” I thought that she was being a bit too optimistic, but that was just the way she was.

The kids arrived with the reckless abandon usually reserved for frat parties or English football games, chanting out their resentment of the traffic snarls and parking issues they faced on their journey downtown, each one sharing their indignation with the others. “Hang up your coats.” my wife said as they began tossing them haphazardly across the furniture.

One of my daughter’s arrived with her new boyfriend,  a nice enough guy I suppose, but he seemed very out of place as she dragged him around and introduced him to the family. I was informed that they were living together, and to be honest, I was a little surprised. “What happened to the little guy?” I asked my wife.

“That ended almost a year ago.” she said. “Where have you been?” More often than not I felt like I needed a scorecard to keep track of all of the comings and goings within my family, I mean I’m generally out of the loop. My wife has told me that its my own doing. She thinks that I should take more of an interest in my kids’ lives but to be honest, I’m just too busy surfing the waves of my own discontentment with humanity to pay attention to their piddly ass, little lives.

Somewhere between the soup and the brisket all hell broke loose. “I quit my job.” one of my sons said. There was a moment of silence as my wife looked at me. Her eyes were dark and she had stopped blinking. “The chef is a prick and I’m tired of him always giving me shit.”

“What are you going to do?” one of the kids asked.

“I don’t know.” My son said. “It’ll work itself out.”

“When are you going to grow up?” my wife asked. “You have bills to pay.”

“Its not a big deal.” my son said. “Worst case scenario, I’ll just move home until I sort it all out.” I swear I saw steam coming out of my wife’s ears, and I put my hand on her thigh, gently squeezing it to let her know that I was there to support her. It turned out to be just a cake burning in the oven, but the boy had certainly pissed his mother right off.

“Just so you understand” she said, “if you really need to move home, you’d better figure out how you’re going to pay for it. If you have no money, you’re going to have to pay your way by working around here. There is no free ride any longer. Not for any of you.” A hush fell over the room that seemed to last forever. No one seemed to know what to say or do next. I wanted someone to pass the eggplant, but it just didn’t seem like the right time.

“I suppose you feel the same way?” my son asked me.

“Not at all.” I said. “I think your mother and I should just move away and leave you kids to sort out your own damn lives.”

“Well that’s a little irresponsible.” one of my daughters said. “You’re our parents. If you weren’t prepared to be a parent, you shouldn’t have had kids.”  I could feel the muscles in my wife’s thigh tighten and I realized that the point of no return had been crossed. I just hoped that it would be quick and merciful.

“I’m okay.” My wife said to me as she squeezed my hand that was still on her thigh. “I’m okay.” She leaned back in her chair, and took an incredibly deep breath. “You are, without a doubt, the most self-centered and ungrateful people I have ever known. We have spent our lives teaching you, taking care of you, protecting you and fighting for you even if we didn’t like the choices you made. If you don’t like how we parent, feel free to make the choice to get out of my house. All of you need to grow up and learn how to take care of yourselves and maybe spend some time in your incredibly busy unemployed days to make sure that we’re okay. I don’t remember the last time any of you has ever bothered to find out if we need anything. And now, you can sit here and finish eating or take whatever you want with you, but your father and I are going to leave. We’re going to our room now as the old man has had his hand on my thigh for the last fifteen minutes, and I think its excited the hell out him.” We stood up and headed into the bedroom, leaving the murmuring of the kids and their partners behind.

“Well that was brilliant.” I said.

“Do you think I was a too rough on them?” she asked.

“Not at all” I said, “but then I like it rough, and they’ll get over it. What about you?”

“I’m already over it.”

“So, what now?” I asked.

“Well I notice you’ve got your hand on my thigh again.” she said. “I’ve never lied to the kids, so I suppose we could get a little rough, if you’re interested.”

I Know A Little

 

by Fielding Goodfellow

I don’t know how she didn’t wind up with whiplash, I mean she turned her head so fast that I was sure it was going to sail across the room into the fish tank, settling at the bottom where it would forever stare at me with suspicion. “Did you do something you weren’t supposed to?” she asked. Hell, I had been doing things I wasn’t supposed to, sometimes two or three times every day of my life, I mean, that’s just the way I am. My mother used to worry that she’d get a call some dark and stormy night that I was laying in a ditch somewhere in rural Dufferin Country, and the old man, well he was certain that I’d wind up in prison. To everyone’s surprise, I managed to evaded both. I tried to think of what I had done that day, but nothing came to mind.  My wife however had her voodoo thing going on. She got these waves of energy and she knew.  She said that she could always sense when something was amiss, and to tell the truth, she usually could.

It had been going on for decades really, although it took me nearly twenty years of marriage to figure it out. It was never a big deal, I mean it was always some trivial thing, like an unpaid parking ticket or a bill for driving on toll highways.  It was always about money. Its not that I ever tried to hide anything from her, I mean it all seemed so meaningless in the general scheme of things that I just simply forgot to mention it. But we played this game often, round after round of some Spanish-Moroccan version of ‘I know what you did’, that always seemed to leave me feeling like Mr. K. in The Trial. “More than likely.” I said, recognizing that really was the was the only move. In all likelihood I had. It didn’t really matter what it was anymore I mean, once she was sure that I was involved, a confession was the only way to end the entire proceeding and possibly save a life.  Pleading innocence was suicide, but that innocuous confession would save me from the customary two or three days of her not speaking, followed by a review of the incident that would raise its ugly head semi regularly for the rest of my life.

“I just wish you’d tell me.” she said. “I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”.  She was right, but it could very well have been too much to ask, I mean we just didn’t see it the same way. I know it was important to her, but it meant nothing to me, I mean there was a truckload of  stuff that was important to me that she didn’t give a shit about. That’s just how it was. And yet when I raised a concern, we never seemed to resolve it, I mean there was no confession or even a concession on her part.

“You know” I said, “you win every argument.”

“That’s not true.” she said. “Remember when I moved the furniture around you said you wanted it moved back.”

“It was never moved back.”

“Well, as I recall you got very distracted and we never really got to finish the discussion.”

“Right.” I said. “You took your shirt off and showed me your tits. What did you think was gonna happen?” And there it was. I had always thought that I was a relatively bright man, I mean I’m not claiming to be a genius or anything, but I get it. I generally understand what’s going on around me. That being said, I had absolutely no idea why I hadn’t realized this before. She played me. She used her body to distract me whenever there was an issue she didn’t want to deal with. It was no wonder that I never got to ask the questions. Anytime she wanted to avoid the confrontation, she simply showed me her tits.

“You manipulate me.” I said. “What if I did that to you?”

“You’re kidding.” she said.

“No. I’m dead serious. What if every time you got upset, I whipped my junk out?”

“You’d stand a fair chance of losing it.”

“What?”

“If I am upset” she said, “I’m upset. That’s it. But every time you see a pair of tits its like your twelve years old and you’re seeing them for the very first time. You have no idea what the hell you were doing once I take my shirt off.”  Well, she was right. Hell, that pissed me off, but she was right, I mean that really is all it takes to distract me. A pair of tits or a thigh, it didn’t really matter. All she had to do was take her clothes off and whatever else was going on vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

“Well that’s gonna change.” I said.

“Okay.” she said. “But you can’t help yourself.”

I knew she was right, I mean she knew me better than I knew myself. I had no idea why I even said it, but if I could have done it, I would have. Not four hours later, after she informed one of my sons that he could move back home if he wanted to and before I had a chance to express my displeasure with the possibility, she said that she was hot and pulled her shirt up over her head. “Come on” she said,  tapping her hand on the mattress, “come to bed.”

On The Roof

 

by Fielding Goodfellow

The family that moved in directly across the street from us when I was growing up were pretty fucking strange. Not in a creepy sort of way or anything, but they were weird. Everyone thought so. They weren’t really friends with anyone on the street, I mean there were the obligatory hellos and other familiar pleasantries, but no one ever really hung out with the Klingmans or anything. We called them the Klingons, simply because we were sure that they had come from some other planet, and if not then they were most likely the product of inbreeding. Either way, they were definitely messed up.  In the two years since they had moved in, I had barely said anything to any of them. In the summer of 1970, that all changed.

In that summer I began spending a lot of time on the roof of my parent’s house. It was quiet and peaceful, and the world seemed so different from up there. And there was Bonnie Klingman, who at eighteen years old had become the object of many of my wet dreams, had been mounting the ladder that bore the tv antennae and carefully placing a foot on each rung, made her way to the roof of her parents house. And there, in the heat of the midday sun, she took off her clothes and lay naked on the bath towel she had spread out on the hot shingles. I Knew that I probably should have turned away, but I didn’t, I mean I couldn’t. I stayed right where I was, spellbound as I watched her breasts heave with each breath, and followed the curves of her body with my eyes. Hell, she was beautiful.

One evening, as I was practicing my slap shot against the garage door, Bonnie came across the street. “I know you’ve been watching me up on the roof.” she said. I tried my best to deny it, but I suppose that my embarrassment or perhaps it was my guilt that gave me away. “Its okay.” she said. ” I’m not gonna tell.  I kind of like it.”

“Me too.” I said.

“You know you’d get a much better look if you came up to the roof with me.”

“I suppose I would.”

“Well, you’re welcome any time.” she said, as she walked away, just like that.

I had trouble sleeping that night, I mean there was this movie that just kept playing over and over again in my head, and no matter how many times I rehearsed every moment and contemplated every possible scenario in order to leave nothing to chance, it always had the same ending, with me falling off of the roof and being discovered naked in the bushes beside to Klingman’s house. I suppose that I should have seen it as an omen, but at thirteen years old my dick was making most of my decisions.

I watched from my roof as Bonnie came out of her house in the morning and began her long, sultry climb up the rungs of the antennae base. Once at the top, she began a slow, purposeful strip tease allowing me an opportunity to see her as God intended. She stood, proudly displaying her nakedness, lit up a cigarette and smiled at me as she seductively caressed her breasts before sitting down on the bath towel. With nervous excitement I scurried down the antennae at my house, raced across the road, and flew up the stairway to heaven. I have no idea where she learned to do the things she did to me, but it confirmed my suspicion that she was indeed not from this planet. The rooftop rendezvous went on for most of the summer. It always played out the same. For a couple of days Bonnie would perform for me from her roof, dancing naked and touching herself, teasing me to no end while I sat across the road and watched. On the third day I climbed the ladder at the side of her house and made my way to her body where we spent most of the afternoon banging our brains out. I suppose it was kind of cheap and sleazy, and I suppose it cost me some of my self respect, but hell it was worth it every bit of it. The old man had started worrying about the amount of time I had been spending alone on his roof and pointed out that it could be very lonely at the top, but as far as I knew, the old man had never been with Bonnie Klingman.

Ghost In The Bedroom

 

It was only nine o’clock in the morning and it was already forty degrees, and my wife had an urge to visit the cemetery. I guess it was more of a pull than an urge. Sometimes she felt like she was supposed to be there, although neither one of us could understand why. Sometimes she was sure that someone wanted her to go, and when we got there she would always find the right headstone. Man, it freaked me out.

“You know its forty degrees out there.” I said. ” Aren’t there any spirits you can visit that have air conditioning?”

“You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.” she said. I had been on this ride once before. Only once. She said it was okay for me to go fishing with some friends and not attend my daughter’s recital.  She said it, and I don’t know how she did it, but her eyes said something completely different than her mouth.  It would have been nice if that was really an option, but it wasn’t, I mean I was always a little apprehensive around all of the ghosts and ghouls that he become a part of my rather terrestrial existence, but she didn’t really mean it. And despite my reluctance to participate in the her otherworldly social circle, I always accompanied her to the local cemetery. It was really the only thing I could do.

Her cemetery of choice is The Necropolis and it happens to be the oldest burial grounds in the city. Its a little worrisome though that are many residents there that had been relocated to their current graves in 1850 when ‘Potter’s Field’ was redeveloped to accommodate the ever expanding city, I mean I had seen enough horror movies to know that no good can ever come out of doing something like that. There was a slight breeze that barely rustled the leaves of the maple trees that dotted the grounds as we entered.  We wandered along until my wife arrived at a particular grave. She looked intently at the headstone while I moved on slightly ahead, posting myself as a sentry in order to protect and defend her. “I wish you wouldn’t walk away like that.” she shouted. “Something really weird just happened.”

“Doesn’t it always?”

“Not like this.” she said. “I was standing there reading the inscription and I felt this wave of overwhelming sadness. Then I felt someone or something caress my face.”

“It was probably just the leaves from the tree.”  I said.

“It didn’t feel like leaves. It felt like a hand.”

“Well that’s creepy.”

“Not at all. It was actually warm and tender.” she said. “Like someone was trying to comfort me and let me know that everything would be alright.” It didn’t matter what she thought, it was still creepy. She wanted to talk about it when we stopped for raspberry ice at the cafe across from the park, and she wanted to talk about it as we walked through the tree lined streets of Old Cabbagetown. And despite my uneasiness we carefully considered the possibility that she had she had made contact with the other side.

It was hotter that night than it had been earlier in the day and I felt completely burnt out, I mean I had spent every ounce of strength I could gather pretending that the whole thing hadn’t given me the willies.  “I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep.” she said as we stood on the terrace smoking. “There’s so much going on in my head right now.”

“Don’t you two ever wear pants?” my daughter asked coming out to join us.

“Its too hot for pants.” my wife said.

“The two of you are so strange” my daughter added.  “You’re like a couple of weirded out old hippies.”

“You don’t know the half of it.” I said. “But if I had my way, the old lady wouldn’t wearing a thing.”

“That’s true.” my wife said. “He’s always trying to get my clothes off.”

“I can’t talk to you when you’re like this.” my daughter said as she went back inside. “You’re both crazy.”

“Well” I said, “we’ve finally achieved crazy.. And I think we’ve traumatized our kid enough for one day.”

“I think so.” my wife said. “We’re such good parents.”

As we settled into bed for the night, the heat was becoming unbearable, I mean I swear I could feel my eyeballs sweating.

“Did you open the window?” I asked.

“Ya.” she said.

“It just lets the hot air in. I’m going to have to close it.”

“Don’t close it.”

“Its like Death Valley in here. Nobody can sleep like this.”

“It has to stay open.” she said. “I’m supposed to leave it open.”

“For what?”

“So the spirits can come in.”

“Pardon me?”

“There’s nothing to worry about.” she said. “They wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

“Then why are they coming here?”

“I’m not sure, but I just feel like I’m supposed to leave the window open.”

“Well, I’m not putting pants on.”

“That’s okay” she said. “I don’t think they care.”

Aragon Nixx-Sci-Fi Private Eye

 

by Solomon Tate

Aragon Nixx sat at a table by the window at Fran’s, nursing a cup of coffee for almost twenty minutes without taking a drink. He just sat there, stirring the spoon around and around, and every time he completed the circle, there was a clink as the spoon hit the edge of the cup. Dressed in a gray trench coat and fedora, he looked like he just stepped out of a Dashiell Hammett story. He said he was a sci-fi private eye, following clues that had led him across galaxies, as he searched for missing science fiction writers. He claimed to be the best although his reputation was solely based on his locating Agatha Christie so long ago.

By the end of the twenty fifth century, when fiction became fact, and everything that had once been mere fantasy had become the new reality, demand was placed on writers of science fiction to produce new worlds that could be abused and conquered. In this world it was not uncommon for science fiction writers to go missing. He was now in the midst of another case which involved the disappearance of the award winning writer, Kasper Kyro. Kyro was no ordinary writer. He had single handedly been responsible for individual time and space travel by simply manipulating thoughts. Nixx’s appearance at Fran’s that night was proof that it was possible to traverse space and time just by willing it.

“I’ve never heard of him.” I said.

“Well, that’s because he hasn’t been born yet. But in three or four hundred years, everyone will have heard of Kasper Kyro.”

Nixx said that it all began on Weaver’s Planet, a barren hunk of crap hurtling through space, where he had been forced to reside following a rather indiscreet transgression that involved the wife and daughter of the Governor of Stasis 6.  Kyro’s girl walked in to his office above The Parallax Bar and Grill, dressed in a black, leather body suit that left nothing to the imagination. He would have taken her right there on the desk if he could only have figured out how to get that damn body suit off.  She was concerned that he had not come home for almost a week, and had been to the police, but they didn’t take her seriously. One thing Nixx said he knew for sure was that no man would ever leave a woman like that alone for a week. At least not willingly. The clues Nixx had followed through time and space for the past three months had led him right to Fran’s.

And now I wait.” he said. “Sooner or later, he’ll walk in the door, and I’ll have him.”

“And then what?” I asked.

“Nothing.” Nixx said.. The job is only to find him. That’s it, really. Then I report my finding to the despondent girl friend, and pray that I can figure out how that damn body suit comes off.”

A tall man with a long, white beard wandered in to Fran’s clutching a small, leather brief case to his chest. He seemed anxious as hell, and sat at a table near the back of the restaurant. Nixx tried not to be seen.  “That’s Farberman.” Nixx said. “Dr. Martin Farberman, the physicist. About ten years ago he was working at some top secret government brain trust and then he disappeared. Rumor has it that he had inserted himself into a painting. Some friend of his blew up the lab and all of Farberman’s notes. No one has ever heard from him again. Things are certainly beginning to get interesting.” Kyro entered a few minutes later and sat down beside Farberman. Nixx watched and waited patiently, as he lit a cigarette.

“You can’t smoke in here.” I said.

“What?”

“Its the law. You can’t smoke in here.”

“What kind of hell is this?” he asked as he put the cigarette out in his cup of coffee.

“The worst kind.” I said.

Farberman handed Kyro the brief case which he attempted to hide under his jacket. Nixx was already halfway to their table before the writer even noticed him. “Call the police, please.” he said to the server as he passed by her. “I’m a private detective.”

“Kasper Kyro.” he said as he arrived at the table. “Please don’t get up. Your girl is worried about you.”

“She’s not my girl.” Kyro said. “She works for The Agency. She’s a spy.” The police arrived rather quietly and headed directly to the back of the restaurant.

“Mr. Nixx.” one of the officers said. “What do you have for us this time?”

“Constable Frayer” Nixx replied, “its good to see you again.”

“Its Detective Frayer.”

“How nice for you.” Nixx said. “I’m not sure what we have here, but I was hired to find Mr. Kyro, and well, here he is. I’m not sure what the story is with this other gentleman, but I suspect someone is looking for him as well.”

“Alright then.” the dectective said. “Well let’s go down to the station and you can give me a full report. The officers will take care of these two.”

“My friend there can corroborate everything.” Nixx said pointing at me.

“Anything you can add?” the detective asked me.

“Not really.” I said. “What’s going to happen to those two?”

“Nothing.” the detective said.

“And what about Nixx?”

“Well Mr. Nixx will be returned to his bed on the seventeenth floor of St. Michael’s Hospital. You’re free to visit him whenever you want to listen to his crazy ramblings.”

The detective left with Farberman and Kyro still seated at their table. They smiled, as Kyro reached into the brief case and removed what looked like a television remote control. “Tell Nixx we’ll see him again, sometime.” he said, and with the push of a button, the two of them vanished into thin air right before my eyes.

The Crazy Train

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

Drug induced psychosis is what the doctor said. Hell, we didn’t even know that was a thing. Drug induced psychosis. The more we heard those words, the more ominous it seemed. But I guess it was a big deal, I mean the doctor said he’d never really be the same. All they could do now was give him some pills that would mess around with his brain and settle him down and everything, which we found insanely ironic, I mean but that was exactly what got him into this mess. I guess life can be like that, sometimes. As we watched him in his bed sedated and strapped to his bed on the seventeenth floor, it was obvious that  Pauly Herman was pretty well fucked. I suppose it was bound to happen to at least one of us, I mean we were pretty messed up most of the time, riding the ebb and flow of the peyote express. Pauly was always up for the ride. We all were. We’d hang out for what seemed like days at a time, listening to ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans’ over and over again, as it carried us across deserts and oceans of mind blowing melodies catapulting us to the top of the mountain from where we were pretty sure that we could see the future. It was just what we did then. We’d invite Mindy Kessler and take turns with her in the bathroom.. She wasn’t very pretty, but there was little she wouldn’t do at the drop of a pair of pants.

Things got pretty weird sometime after side ‘A’. We were used to the flying monkeys and the singing grapes and everything, but this was a completely different kind of weird. Pauly met God, or so he said, right there in the kitchen. He didn’t stay long, but he told Pauly that there were only two truths. First, there are aliens living among us, and second, Paul McCartney was, in fact dead. I was already pretty sure that beings from another planet were living in my neighborhood, but the McCartney thing, well that was a pretty big deal. I can’t verify it or anything I mean, I didn’t hear God say a word.  By the time the sun came up we had all come down from the mountain top, although Pauly was still up there, convinced that we needed to sacrifice a virgin, even though not one of us knew of any. We thought he was just stuck in some kind of bad trip or something, but Mindy was sure that he had lost his fucking mind. We had to believe her I mean, she was a psych major and everything.

Pauly had always been a fairly normal guy, despite having only one testicle which, I was assured by a nurse, had absolutely nothing to do with his mental breakdown. I wasn’t as certain though, I mean I think anyone would be a little fucked up if they was missing a testicle. He didn’t lose it or anything, I mean it was just never there. It seems that it was stuck somewhere inside, although I have no idea what use it was to him there. From his stretcher in the E.R., Pauly reiterated all of the clues that existed in Beatles lyric and album covers that clearly noted the death of the famed musician. We had been over this before and the truth was none of us really cared. They were still The Beatles, and to be honest, we didn’t really think that McCartney had written anything of substance since well, forever. Pauly saw it as a great conspiracy, the grand cover-up that scammed a planet. He became loud and animated and was eventually subdued by two rather large security guards and a syringe in his ass. He was moved to the locked unit on the seventeenth floor, where he remained for twenty-three days. We visited him a few times during his stay and he was pretty much out of it most of the time. Whatever pills they were giving him seemed to have turned off his mind completely, but I suppose that was the point. I don’t think he knew we were even there. We took Mindy with us once in the hopes of cheering the poor bastard up I mean, who wasn’t happy getting a blow job, but Pauly wanted nothing to do with it. He pushed Mindy away every time she tried to touch him. After a while we just stopped visiting, I mean there seemed to be no point to it, really.

While he continued to have his mind reprogrammed, we were just hanging out for what seemed like days at a time, listening to ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ over and over again, fucked up on peyote, watching the flying monkeys devour the singing grapes. Mindy was on her knees, honing the skills that had made her a legend when we got the news. Pauly had died. They said it was sudden and inexplicable, but we all  knew that they were full of shit. Pauly just gave up, I mean there was still enough of him left to know that he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life uninterested in blowjobs. With no desire to live, he simply slipped into oblivion and found his way back to the deserts and oceans of mind blowing melodies that carried him to the top of the mountain from where he would be able relive the past.

 

Something’s Different

by Solomon Tate

 

It was an auspicious event, filled with the kind of tension that lives in the pages of a Raymond Chandler novel. It was the christening of my son’s new gas grill and while I was pretty excited about it I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. Well, not wrong really, but different. Something had definitely changed, and for days I just couldn’t figure out what it was. We headed into the desolate wilderness of the suburbs, maneuvering our way through men in cargo shorts tinkering with lawn mowers and lawn sprinklers, and their wives who gathered on driveways in yoga pants to watch. “What the hell are we doing here?” I asked.

“Making your son happy.” my wife said. “Its important to him so please try to behave yourself.”

“I always do.” I said. I really didn’t, I mean sometimes it was just fun to rattle their brains about a little, and other times I suppose that I just didn’t give a shit. This time though, I had all intentions of trying my very best.

Despite the phone calls and inter family memos, one of my sons and his wife arrived fifteen minutes late. My son’s girlfriend had this five minute window either way, and anything else was early or late. Neither was acceptable to her, and both result in a significant brow beating that addresses common courtesy and respect. She slipped into one of her emotional convulsions and the show that accompanied every family dinner since she moved in with my son began. “What time did I tell you to come?” she asked.

“Four o’clock.” he said.

“What time is it now?”

“I don’t know.” he said. “I guess a little after four.”

“Fifteen minutes after four.” she said. “Five minutes is a little past. Fifteen minutes is late.”

“Do you think she’s gonna say it?” I asked my wife.

“Be quiet.” she said. “I don’t want to miss it if she does.”

“I just don’t understand why you think its okay to be so self-centered and disrespectful.” she continued.“Its just common courtesy to be on time. You may as well have not bothered to come at all.” And there it was. Common courtesy. We had all heard it from her a million times and she always seemed to place the emphasis on the word common, and not courtesy. To be honest, we all found it a little strange.

“Why do you talk like that?” my daughter in law asked.

“Are you questioning me?” she said. “I am a teacher.”

“You’re a Phys. Ed. teacher.” one of my daughter’s stated. “That really doesn’t count.”

“Well that was weird.” my daughter-in-law whispered to me.

“Not really.” I said. “That’s actually pretty normal for her. She’s fucking insane.”

That nagging feeling that something was amiss kept hovering over me. It was my wife. There was something different about her. Something had changed and I knew that my not knowing was somehow going to bite me in the ass.

“Something’s different” I said to my wife..

“With what?” she asked.

“I’m not sure, but I feel like something’s changed.”

“I don’t feel anything.” she said. “Maybe you’re just old and losing your mind.”

“It could be.” I said. “It would explain a lot of shit. Did you cut your hair?”

“Does it look shorter?” she replied.

“I don’t know.” I said, “but you did something different.”

“I didn’t do anything. I stopped coloring my hair months ago. I can’t believe you’re just noticing now.”

“Well, to be fair” I said, “I’m generally too busy looking at your eyes. They’re actually quite beautiful. Sometimes I just get lost in there. But now that you’ve pointed it out, your hair looks good. I like it”  She didn’t say a wood. For the first time since this theme park ride with her began she had absolutely nothing to say and  I was pretty sure that I stood a very good chance of getting laid  that night.

“He’s very good.” my daughter-in-law said.

“Ya, but she’s no slouch, herself.” my son told her.

“Well ” my wife said to the kids, “we’re gonna say goodbye now as I’d like to be alone with your father.”

The Beezer

 

By Fielding Goodfellow

 

We were pretty high during that reading week in Ft. Lauderdale. I couldn’t tell you what we were on, but we had been seeing some pretty weird shit. There was me and Tate, and Farberman and George Beezer. None of us really liked Beezer, I mean he was an ass, but Farberman’s mother insisted that we take him along. He was, after all,  dating Farberman’s sister, the same sister that I had been banging quite regularly at the Pinecrest Motel. We really had no choice, I mean Mrs. Farberman could be quite insistent.  The four of us went down there that February, but only three of us came back.

Sitting by the hotel pool, Farberman set his sights on the big boobed lifeguard in the skimpy bikini who he believed had been smiling at him while Beezer was bombarding us with the random thoughts that desperately seemed to want to get out of his head.  He was an opinionated little shit with views on everything which seemed quite ironic considering he knew absolutely nothing about anything. It didn’t take long for us to devise a plan to hold his head under water just to shut him the fuck up. “He may drown.” Tate pointed out.

“That’s a risk I’m willing to take.” I said. “As long as he stops talking”  We didn’t really do it, but man, we came damn close.

Farberman had finally got up the nerve to talk to the pair of tits in the bikini. As we waited for him to strike out yet again, Beezer informed us that he had not laid a hand on Farberman’s sister. Ever. In fact he had never seen her naked, or copped a feel through her clothes. She had managed to convince him that she wasn’t ready, and the poor bastard believed her. He should have asked me, I mean, the girl was at The Pinecrest Motel so often that room number five was suggestively referred to as Rikki Farberman’s hole. Beezer told us that he was still a virgin. “We need to get you laid.” I said.

“It’ll probably lighten you up a little.” Tate said. And so we had a mission. We were going get Beezer laid. And get high. We were definitely going to have to get high if we were to succeed in our mission. We didn’t say anything to Farberman. He wouldn’t have handled it well, I mean the guy was dating Rikki. Farberman had no idea that most of his friends had at one time or another banged his sister but then Farberman usually had his head buried so deep in his science stuff that he rarely knew what the hell was going on.  While he was busy chatting up the lifeguard, we headed off with the reluctant Beezer in search of a woman who was both willing and able to set him free.

We found her in the hotel lobby, one of the many prostitutes who had wandered off of Federal Highway in search of anyone who was willing to pay for an hour long game of ‘I know where you hid the salami’.

“He kind of looks like a pelican.” she said.

“Yeah, but he’s a virgin.” Tate informed her. “I don’t think it will take very long.”

“It’ll be $50.”  It seemed like a bargain to me and Tate, so we agreed. She was right though, I mean I had never noticed it before but The Beezer did kind of look like a pelican. We left him there in the bar and returned to the pool  only to find that Farberman talking to a snack vending machine.

“Did the lifeguard always look like that?” Tate asked. “Or are we really tripping?” We had been doing mushrooms all day, and I suppose anything was possible, but Farberman was getting all bent out of shape with a vending machine.

“Let’s just hope he gets some chocolate, or pretzels.” I said.

We must have fallen asleep on the deck chairs, and wound up spending the night at pool side. We woke in the morning to find Beezer and his prostitute eating breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Farberman was nowhere to be found and we assumed that he had probably got his hand, or worse stuck in the vending machine he had been feeling up the night before. When we left Florida Beezer stayed behind with his prostitute. He said that there was nothing for him back home. It was the last time any of us heard from him. Farberman caught the flight and never spoke about that week in Ft. Lauderdale again despite the persistent urging of Tate and myself. Its too bad really, I mean it would be good to know if he wound up with pretzels or chocolate.