The House On Walmer Road

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

I first met Zippy Pressman in my freshman year at college and we became sort of drug brothers, joined at the trip so to speak. He was a weird little guy who was given his peculiar name for the way he scurried around like a lab rat lost in a maze. I always thought it was due to the drugs we had all been religiously abusing back then, but he claimed that he was just wired that way. He was born a hyperactive, histrionic pain in the ass, but he was also the guy most likely to test the improbable, and attempt the impossible. I suppose that’s what I liked about him.

During that autumn weekend of day tripping and midnight toking the world seemed to come alive in glorious hues of red and orange and yellow, stretching out as far as the eye could see. Zippy  began to tell the tale of the old, haunted house on Walmer Road. Everyone who knew about it said it was evil, filled with the malice manufactured by the tortured souls who had been trapped inside its decaying walls for decades. The story, as Zippy ad libed,, was that old man Newton, a crazy mother fucker if ever there was one,, came home following a night of titty bar drinking, and found his wife and her lumberjack lover engaged in the horizontal rumba. In his drunken rage, the old sot killed them both, slitting their throats from ear to ear, and then strung the bodies hanging upside down from a cross beam hanging over the adulterated, matrimonial bed. “We should really go check it out.”, Tate squealed like a Bay City Roller bimbo. There was a great deal of discussion and debate, but no plan really, and before I knew it, we were taking our expanded minds on a trip to the old house on Walmer Road, confident that we would be kept safe by the flying lizards and talking dragon that had been stalking us for  days.

,As we made our way through the overgrown fields, crickets chirped and a coyote howled, and Zippy chirped and howled back as he zig-zaged his way through the waist high weeds while Tate and I followed closely behind. It seemed that the promise of madness, murder and the paranormal, all designed to keep us away,, was pulling us in. It could have been the drugs, it almost always was, but from the top of the ridge, the old, abandoned house seemed alive, with broad shoulders reaching up to the sky. One of its eyes was closed, boarded up when the glass shattered during last winter’s ice storm, and I’m almost certain it was smirking, daring us to continue in through its mouth. “Are we good to go?”, Zippy asked as he pressed his shoulder against the door.

About thirty years before we set out on our journey of enlightening the spirits we believed were roaming around the house, Emily Newton failed to show up at sister’s home for their regular Sunday brunch and bible barn burner. They say that when Emily’s sister went to the house on Walmer Road and discovered the bodies, the shriek could be heard for miles. Henry Newton sat on the front porch the entire time, staring into space, seemingly unaware or unconcerned by the situation he was now in up to his eyeballs. When the police arrived he was still there, not moving a muscle. The man didn’t even blink.  The scene in the bedroom was described as gruesome, and horrific, and the double homicide quickly became front page fodder as it always did in those circumstances.  Henry was portrayed as a drunken monster, and Emily as his meek, abused, yet dutiful wife, who had suffered quietly with her anguish for years. The trial was expedient and judicious, and Henry Newton was convicted and sent to the gallows where he was hanged, until dead, by the neck. It was beautifully ironic  And just like that, the legend of the haunted house on Walmer Road was born.

It was wonderfully psychedelic inside, as the light streaming in cast a spectrum of color that sparkled through the dust and cobwebs, coaxing the shadows to dance across the floor and up and down the walls. “Did you hear that?”, Tate asked anxiously, as we moved across the creaking floor towards the staircase that led to the scene of the grizzly crime. We stood painfully still, but heard nothing.

“Its was probably just the floorboards.”, Zippy told him. “Old houses make noise.” We made our way up the stairs, stepping over the rotted boards and missing steps, and at some point I thought I heard Steve Miller belting out a rousing rendition of ‘Space Cowboy’ that seemed to drift down from the heavens. Tate reminded me that Steve Miller was still alive, so I popped another mushroom and stepped aside to let the dragon walk in front of me. We stood on the landing at the top of the stairs, looking down the hallway that offered a myriad of doors to choose from. Zippy was as animated as ever, excitement coursing through his veins, making it impossible for him to stand still. Tate and I stood behind the dragon, pushing him along the narrow passageway ahead of us.

On his second attempt, Zippy found the murder room. The bedroom that was once shared by Mr. and Mrs. Newton, and the occasional young lumberjack, was weirdly creepy. The air was rank with the odor of death, and there were scratches on the floor which Zippy was certain were left by the murder bed. There was a heaviness in the room, and an uneasiness seemed to settle upon us. I suppose Zippy was too wired to notice, but Tate and I were scared shitless. “I think we should get the hell out of here.”, Tate whispered.

The flying lizards, dragon and I agreed but Zippy wanted to continue the search for the ghosts of Emily Newton and her lumberjack lover. “Go on home and sit with the other women.” he shouted at us as we turned to leave.

The other women, including Zippy’s psychovaginal friend, Evelyn, and Maya,  the Guatemalan I was currently banging, were safely back on campus in the Winter’s College dorm room of Tate’s girlfriend, Ramona, and by the time Zippy realized we had left, we were already on our way to join them, stopping only for Tate and one of the lizards to urinate in the field. I’m not sure how long Zippy stayed at the old, abandoned house on Walmer Road but at the time, I really didn’t give a shit. I don’t suppose Tate did either. As we made our way across the field and back into the land of the living, we finished off the mushrooms I had brought along singing ‘Space Cowboy’, although Tate and the dragon struggled to stay in key.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

. scored us second row floor seats for The Steve Miller Band.

 

 

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Sons & Mothers

 

Not only are my kids moving out, but those who are on their own, are now considering moving away. I waited for years to get them the hell out of my house, but I am having mixed feelings about their relocating to different cities.

My wife informed me that my eldest son and his new wife are moving to Hamilton, on June 1. While it is not that far away, a mere 45 minutes down the QEW, I have reservations about this decision.

“Are you kidding me?”, I asked her.

“No.”, she answered. “They’re going to Hamilton. Houses are much cheaper there.”

“Well of course they are”, I advised. “Its freakin’ Hamilton.” This was very disturbing to me. “Hamilton?”, I asked again, hoping that I had misunderstood. Just hearing myself say it, sent shivers down my spine.

I called my son. “What the hell are you doing moving to Hamilton?”, I demanded an explanation.

“Ya.”, he said, “We just can’t afford to live here anymore. Its killing us. We have to find somewhere that’s more affordable.”

“There’s nothing in Hamilton.”, I inform him.

“I have friends there.”, he said. “There’s a bunch of stuff to do, if you live downtown. So we’re going to see some places this weekend that are right downtown. Near the clubs, and stuff.”

“And don’t forget the drug dealers, crack addicts, prostitutes, homeless, and runaways”, I told him.

“We’ll be alright.”, he told me.

“Hamilton?”, I questioned again. “Its like Canada’s version Buffalo & Pittsburgh, only worse!”

And now, my other son is planning on moving to Belleville. That’s right, Belleville, Ontario. population 50,000. Situated in the beautiful middle of nowhere, halfway between Where The Hell Is That?, & Can You Even Get There By Car?. “Houses are really cheap in Belleville.”, he advises me.

“I’m sure.”, I agree. “They’re even cheaper in Iroquois Falls, but I wouldn’t recommend that you live there either.”

He informs me that his live in girlfriend is having a difficult time securing a position as a teacher, and has applied to The Hastings & Prince Edward District School Board. I ask him where he plans on working, and he begins his ADHD laden dissertation.

“Well”, he said, “I could find work cooking in a golf club, but I don’t want to turn 50 years old and still be on my feet all day, cooking. I’m going to get a job at a gym, and take a training course to become a personal trainer. The course is short, so I can start working on building up a clientele right away.”

“How many gyms are there in a town of 50,000 people?”, I ask.

“I don’t know.”, he tells me.

“How many personal trainers are there in Belleville?”, I continue to probe.

“I don’t know.”, he responds.

“Well”, I said, “Sounds like you’ve thought this through.”

“I don’t know why I even tell you things.”, he states.

“Because I’m the only one who tells you what you need to hear. There’s no reason for you to move to Belleville to buy a house. You don’t need a house. And you certainly don’t need to follow Cruella Deville around the province while she looks for a job. Let her go to Belleville. Tell her to send you a postcard. Go visit on weekends. I don’t give a shit. But I think its time you took your balls back from her, and made a decision that works for you.”

My wife had been standing in the doorway, listening in, as usual, to my conversation with the boy. “I think that you’re being a little hard on him.”, she said as she walked into the room.

“You told me to talk to him.”, I reminded her.

“Yes, I did.”, she replied, “but I didn’t want you to yell at him.”

“I wasn’t yelling.”, I corrected her.

“I heard you.”, she said as she rubbed the boys back.

“You realize that he’s 32 years old, right?”, I asked.

“Yes.”, she replied. “What does that have to do with anything? What do you want to do?”, she asks him.

“Go to Belleville.”, he tells her.

“Listen to your mother.”, she begins. “That girl doesn’t know what’s best for you. If you move to Belleville you’ll be too far away. We’ll never see you.You need to stay here. If you need help, we can help you out.”

“Do you understand what your mother is telling you?”, I asked the boy.

“Ya.”, he said, somewhat dejectedly.

“Well.”, I tell him. “My advice is to go and pack. I’ll drive you to Belleville myself.”

Later that evening, when we were alone, my wife reminded me that I have 3 daughters who, one day, may decide to move away.

“Its okay.”, I tell her. “I may finally have a chance to use a bathroom around here.”

“You an joke about it all you want,’, she stated, “but it will drive you crazy.”

“That’s okay.”, I said, “I’ve had an enormous amount of practice living with you. I’m pretty sure I’ll get through it.”

“Keep it up”, she advised me, “and you might not make it through the night.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s A Mouse In My House

They told me there was a mouse. They told me this was not an ordinary mouse. It was a mouse of which nightmares are made. They told me there was a mouse in my house.  And this mouse in my house held my wife and daughters hostage for the better part of a day.

slowpokeThere was panic in her voice when she called to inform me about the mouse. Apparently, she saw it, out of the corner of her eye, run across the room. It was hiding somewhere and , from her vantage point, high atop the bed, she had lost track of it. There was a free range mouse in my house. She said it was a big mouse. A big, brown mouse. “What am I supposed to do?”, she asked.

“You have to find it and catch it.”, I said.

” I don’t want to find it.”, she replied.

“Well, I’m not sure if it will come to you, but you can wait and see.”, I advise.

“You should have stayed home from work today.”

“Well, I didn’t. Go next door and ask the neighbor’s sons to come over and catch the mouse.”, I told her.

When the phone rang 30 minutes later, she was hysterical. ” The boys weren’t home, so the father came. He started banging on the furniture, and the mouse ran out from under the bookcase, and now we can’t find it. It’s in here somewhere, and we don’t know where it went.”

“Where are you now?”, I asked.

“On the bed.”

“Where are the girls?”

“On the bed.”

“And the neighbor?”

“He went home. He said he can’t catch a mouse that he can’t find.”

“Ok.”, I told her. ” I will be home as soon as I can.”

It took about 15 minutes for her to call back. She had seen a second mouse, a small, grey mouse, perched on a ledge behind the sofa. She went next door and got Mr. Tarkanian again, He found it, and he whacked it. Ding dong the mouse is dead. Which old mouse? The small, grey mouse.

“Well, that’s good.”, I said. “The problem is solved.”

“There is still the big, brown one. It’s hiding in here. It knows we are trying to find it. This is one smart mouse.”

“Have you looked for it?”

“Are you kidding?”, She shreiked, “I’m not getting off this bed until it’s out of here.”

“You know, it’s more afraid of you, than you are of it.”, I said.

“I doubt it.”, she stated.

When I got home, my daughters had gone out, and one of them was not sure she was ever coming back. “Well, that was easy.”, I told my wife. “We should have got a mouse in here a long time ago.”

“She’s been traumatised”, I was informed. “Mr. Tarkanian caught the little one, and beat it’s head in with a metal rod. There was blood all over the floor. Right in front of her!”

“Ya, if only it was possible to capture and rehabilitate them.  Any idea where this mouse could be? Where did you last see it?”

I followed her lead, and wandered around poking at things, looking under beds, furniture, and behind appliances. We checked closets, and the laundry hampers. No mouse. “It’s in here.”, my wife explained. ‘Its in here, hiding, watching us, just waiting for me to get up and start movingimages-3 around, just so it can freak me out again.”

“Uh huh.”, I said, trying  hard not to sound sarcastic. ” That’s one mighty mouse. Maybe he’s just here to save the day.”

“You’re an asshole”, she said. Clearly my attempts at not being sarcastic had failed.

“Well”, I advised, “we can either call an exterminator, or go the hardware store and take care of this ourselves.”

“I want it gone now.”, she replied.

So, off we went to the local Hardware Store. Apparently there is no humane way to get rid of mice. You have sticky traps,clap traps, and mousetrapgame2poison. I had asked my wife about her possibly doing to the mouse what she had done to the Beta fish. “Can’t you just beat the thing to death?” She declined.

We purchased the poison, and following the clerk’s instructions, strategically placed cubes of poison all around the house. It seems, the rodent(s) will eat it, and within hours, they will die. The downside is, we are likely to find dead mice around the place, which have to be picked up, and disposed of.

“I’m not doing that!”, my wife asserted.

I never thought, not even for a moment that she would. It will be my job to locate and dispose of any and all mice we find. I have undertaker_1476945become the rodent search and recovery professional.

In the meantime, my wife remains frantic. Only a corpse will relieve her anguish. She says there is still a mouse. She has never seen it leave. She says this is not an ordinary mouse. It is a mouse that lies in wait, stalking, waiting and then frightening her. She says there is still a mouse in my house. And I now search the closets, the furniture, and  behind the appliances, looking for the dead mouse that is terrorizing my family.