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.

 

 

The Night Of The Living Pez

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

Tate and I had just begun day three of our proposed week long journey into psychedelic surrealism, wandering around a psilocybin paradise, carousing with alcoholic, fire breathing dragons, and the flying lizard mariachi band that performed in my living room three or four nights a week. We watched in wonder as the walls melted and dissolved into Irish Middle Earth, where drunken, angry leprechauns cascaded across the hills and dales singing  ‘Danny Boy’ in three part harmony, as they searched for their missing gold.  We drifted in and out of ‘The Completion Backwards Principle’, tackling deep philosophical dilemmas such as how do mermaids open their legs, and do vegans willingly participate in oral sex.

As the hallucinogenics kicked in big time something weirdly Rod Serling unfolded before our eyes. The Pez dispensers that had sat silently on a series of shelves in the spare room for years, began singing the soundtrack from ‘Bye Bye Birdie’. Sad, but true, the DC superheroes couldn’t carry a tune in a Three Stooges lunch box.  Those privileged, pretty boys in their colorful tights and flowing capes were thankfully saved by the Disney Princesses who seemed to be eyeing the apartment with the intent to redecorate it in that neo art deco shit that they seemed to like so much. Snow White nailed her solo in the title theme song and, after leaving her seven diminutive friends with hopes of jumping on that bulge in Superman’s tights, wandered off to see first hand if he really was the man of steel. Pez pandemonium broke out as Grumpy and Sneezy, in the name of retributive justice, attempted to set fire to the hero’s indestructible cape with the assistance of Iron Man, who was desperate for some friction on his own metal. The ensuing dispute ended only when the Chinese Food that neither Tate nor I remembered ordering arrived, “And that”, as Tate succinctly put it, “is the cause of the Dc vs Marvel rivalry.”

As we dug in to Moo Shu pork, Kung Po Chicken and Shanghai Noodles, the leprechauns were standing on the edge of the meadow, peering into the living room. “I suspect Scrooge McDuck is behind the great leprechaun gold heist.”, Tate blurted out. Several of the dwarfs concurred, professing that they had seen the miserly mallard up to his beak in gold coins. The Kung Po was not nearly spicy enough, and the Pezcapades had begun to wind down, with the entire cast preparing for the reprise of the opening theme song. Snow White returned to her place, front and centre, exuberant and energized, seemingly satisfied by what Superman had to offer her. When the music rolled in, there was a rousing cheer from the Hanna-Barbera group, as Snow White stepped up to the microphone. Once the song ended and the final note dissipated, leaving the room in silence, the Pez dispensers returned to their rightful places. “Well, that was weird.”, Tate stated.

“Not really.”, I replied. “You should be here last Wednesday night when they did ‘The Music Man. Now that was weird.”

“You mean this has happened before?”, Tate asked.

“Uh huh.”, I informed him. “Although the performance tonight was a little flat, much like the Kung Po, but it was nice to finally see Snow White smile.” As the drugs began to wear off and the dragons and lizards disappeared, as the leprechauns gathered up their gold and settled in for a good night’s sleep, Tate passed out on the couch, and I allowed my mind to wander back and consider just how a mermaid opens her legs, and whether or not vegans are willing participants in oral sex while I cleaned up the mess from the night’s edition of Pezcapades, and prepared for what I hoped would be a stellar performance of ‘West Side Story’, with the Universal classic monsters as the Jets, and the Hanna-Barbera gang as the Sharks. I had invited Tate back for this must see extravaganza, and me, well I’m rooting for the monsters because “When you’re a Jet, you’re a jet all the way.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Return Of The Mouse In My House

 

“He’s back.”, my wife informed me as soon as I walked in the door.

“Oh, hell.”, I said. “Which one of the boys have moved home?”

“NO, not one of the boys!”, she shouted, bordering on hysteria. “The mouse. The damned mouse is back.”

There was a time when I was greeted on my return from work with a hug, and a kiss. ” I doubt it’s the same mouse.”, I told her.

Oh, it’s the same one.”, she exclaimed. “I recognize the look in his eyes.”

I didn’t doubt, not for a moment, that my wife had seen a mouse. I had some reservations that she could tell one mouse from the next, by the look in its eyes. She has a gift for the paranormal, all things ghostly, and weirdly, but retinal recognition of rodent’s was not something I would be willing to believe she had mastered. I told her I would buy some traps to get rid of the rodent, but she only balked at the suggestion. I offered to call a pest control specialist, but that too did not bode well, and she rejected the use of poison, as she was afraid that she would find the mouse, laying on the floor, dead.

“What is it that you want?”, I asked. “Should I try to capture and rehabilitate it?”

“If you could.”, she said in all seriousness. “catch it and release it in the wild.  That would be best.”

“You understand, this mouse is not wild.”, I told her. “There are no field mice scampering  through the forests.”

She a bit disconcerted, but it was made clear that there is no mouse sanctuary. This was a city mouse.After much deliberation, we agreed that I would dispose of the mouse in any way I saw fit, but would never, ever, reveal what I had done to this rodent.

“Can’t we keep it as a pet?”, my daughter asked. “I’ll keep it in my room.” I looked at my wife, the explosion was imminent.

“There will be no mice, and no snakes, and no spiders or lizards in my house.”, she exclaimed.

“Have you seen a snake in here?”, I asked.

“Not yet.”, my wife replied, “but I’m sure that’s coming next.”

“Well”, I said, “if its any consolation, they are much easier to catch. They move very slowly.” It was no consolation.

The following morning, on my way to the kitchen to make coffee, I saw the little bastard on my kitchen floor, twitching his whiskers. He didn’t look like much of a threat. based on my wife’s reaction, I was anticipating a much bigger mouse. As I got closer, it ran off, scurrying under the oven, and vanishing into thin air. I said nothing to my wife. I left for work, leaving her alone with a desperado mouse, hiding out in our kitchen.

Several hours later, I received a call informing me that Mr.Tarkanian, had come over to catch the mouse, as it ran past her in the kitchen this morning. He was unsuccessful, but in his exuberance, had smashed one of my classic posters that had been on the wall in the living room. “What was he doing in the living room if the mouse was in the kitchen?”, I asked her.

“Well, the mouse ran out from behind the oven, across the kitchen floor. Mr. Tarkanian tried to get it with the broom, but the mouse was too fast, and ran out of the kitchen and into the living room.  And the rest, well, he just has very bad hand eye coordination. “. she explained. “Sorry.”

“Did he catch the mouse, at least?”, I asked.

“No.”, I was advised, “he got away. And just so you know, I’m not making dinner tonight.  I’m not putting one foot in the kitchen until that mouse is gone.”

On the way home I stopped at the hardware store and picked up some traps. “Don’t you think you should have got poison too?”, one of my daughters asked.

“I’m trying to catch a mouse.”, I told her, “I only need to kill it once.”

“You’re going to kill it?”, she asked.

“No.”, I told her, “I’m merely going to hold it hostage, and wait for his family to bring the ransom of cheese. Then I’ll let him go.”

“Not funny.”, she advised me. I never realized  before that my family had no sense of humor. None. I was certain that it was, indeed, funny.

The next morning I checked the traps. Nothing. For 3 days I baited and left them for the pest. For 3 days he eluded me. “I told you he was a smart mouse.”, my wife reminded me.

He was a smart mouse, alright. Shockingly elusive. “Well, what are you going to do now?”, my wife asked

“I don’t know”, I told her.

The next afternoon, she called me. “We got the mouse,”, she told me. I wasn’t sure what she meant, I mean we had had the mouse for about 5 days now.

“What?”, I asked.

My wife told me how my son had come over, and saw the mouse running across the kitchen floor. He jumped up and threw a book at the rodent, and as luck would have it, hit the mouse and stunned it long enough for my son to trap it in a box. He was going to take it over to the park behind the school, but the mouse died. It was tragic.

“Just out of curiosity, what book did he use?”, I asked.

“The Southern Cooking cook book.”, she said. “You know, the big one.”

After careful consideration, and a thoughtful pause, I let her know that I would not be home for dinner.