Tragic Janet & The Manic Muse

by Fielding Goodfellow

Janet Bolan always seemed to be one hallucination away from a padded room, but somewhere in the dark, melancholia that danced around her head like Fred and Ginger lived her muse. Or so she said.  At the time I had no idea what the hell she was talking about but it didn’t really matter, I mean I was pretty fucked up back then. She said that she was a poet, carving images of  human suffering out of the words and phrases she found hiding in her thoughts. She would sit cross legged on a table in the common room, dressed in cut off jeans and a sleeveless tee shirt, and seduce me with a reading, but all I was thinking about was how to get her clothes off. She had this way about her, a serene confidence that seemed to make her ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude tolerable. And while she may have been a little out there, I’m not so sure that it was such a bad place to be, I mean there was a lot of crazy shit going on right here back then.

Woodstock had come and gone and the promise of a better world seemed to have dissipated like the cloud of smoke that was left over upstate New York that weekend.  It was a very confusing time, filled with anti communist rhetoric and the banning of books and music that questioned the establishment. After putting a man on the moon and tripping across the Isle of Wight, we were forced into hiding in campus coffee houses in order to continue our journey across space and time. Janet joined the Feminists for Freedom and published her politically charged ‘I Didn’t Burn My Bra Just To Show You My Tits’, which catapulted her into pseudo celebrity status. The truth is, we were so messed up back then feeding our heads with peyote and psilocybin, that we hardly even noticed when the mania set in. She said it wasn’t her, I mean she claimed it was her muse, but whatever it was, Janet said that she could see the truth like that.

The fact was that she just couldn’t be satisfied with just the truth. She was always looking for something better than that, and I don’t think that she was ever able to find it. It didn’t really matter though, I mean the truth is always completely subjective. Her truth though was born out of the same anxiety and fear that drove her to write about life rather than experience it. She had no choice really, I mean she was not only afraid to die, but she was also too scared to live. It was tragic really, and she probably should have been in some kind of therapy or something, but when her muse went manic, Janet simply disappeared. She spent days in  hallucinogenic seclusion, giving life to her truth, usually reappearing three or four days later with some brilliantly executed, though completely misguided slice of humanity that she hoped would rival Ginsburg and Ferlinghetti,

Sometime in the early 1980s, after a particularly lengthy exodus from the here and now, Janet simply ran out of things to say. She said that her muse had simply packed up and moved out, leaving her dressed in cut off jeans and a sleeveless tee shirt, sitting cross legged on a bed on the third floor of Our Mother Of The Blessed Emptiness Center For The Recently Disillusioned. I was still thinking about how to get her clothes off when I visited her. but she was different,  I mean she was completely lost in whatever had decided to hover over her head. Without her muse, she seemed empty. There was nothing left really, I mean the truth is only the truth for so long. We keep changing and every now and again we shed what no longer keeps us balanced and grounded. The truth is like that though, I mean sometimes it mutates and just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Janet knew that and I suppose that’s why she couldn’t find anything else to write about, I mean without the truth there’s really nothing left. I didn’t see her much after that, but a few years ago Tate ran into her at a downtown Taco Bell where she claimed to be staving off another alien invasion. As crazy as it sounded though, I knew it was true.

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.

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.

 

A Night At The Roxy

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

Every Friday night the Roxy Theater screened a double feature, and every Friday night we were there. It was a ritual. It was always packed with the usual cast of suburban rebels and renegades who crammed into the theatre and quickly disappeared into the clouds of burning weed that billowed up to the rafters. We preferred to sit in the back, feeding our heads mushroom after mushroom, until we were no longer able to tell if it was art imitating life, or life imitating art. It didn’t take long for the weird shit to begin as the Oompa Loompas started singing and dancing their way across the silver screen, and the Canada Goose ushers wandered the aisles trying to sell their used AMC Gremlin. Somewhere between ‘Dirty Little Billy’ and ‘Fearless Vampire Killers’, I came face to face with God himself, working at the concession counter .

“Well, we haven’t spoken in a long time.” he said.

“Ya.” I answered. “I’ve had a lot going on.”

“I get it.” he said. “There always seems to be something that has to be dealt with.”

“You too?” I asked. “But you’re God.”

“That’s true.” he said, “Nevertheless, shit happens.”

“I guess it does.” I said. “So, do you work here?”

“No, no.” he said. “I just came here to see you. There’s something I’d like you to do.”

“You need me?”, I asked. “What can I do?”

“Well” he said, ” I need you to stop being such an ass. I need you to be  considerate and kind to people.”

“But they piss me off so much.” I said.

“I know. Me too.” he replied. “But you’re life will change one day soon, and if you aren’t ready for it, it will all just pass you by.”

“How can I change who I am?” I asked.

“That’s not who you are.” he said. “Its what you’ve chosen to be. Get high and let who you are come out. That’s when the real you can actually see. Just be patient and compassionate towards people all of the time. Trust me on this.” He handed me a large bag of popcorn. “Now go back and watch the movie. You’re gonna love ‘Fearless Vampire Killers’.

“That’s it?” I asked.

“Did you want something more?” he replied.

“Well some butter on the popcorn would be nice.” I said.

“I don’t think so.” he said. “I’ll tell you something. Stay the hell away from butter. And red meat. And fried foods. Definitely stay away from fried foods. One day down the road you’ll thank me for  this too. Now go and enjoy yourself.”

I left him at the counter and returned to watch the movie. He was right, ‘Fearless Vampire Killers’ was one hell of a movie. On the way out, I stopped by the concession counter, but he was gone. There was a pimply faced teenage girl working there who had never seen a man working there that evening, so I just chalked it all up to another drug induced hallucination. Either way it didn’t matter. Whatever did or didn’t happen that night at The Roxy Theatre has stuck with me, and has driven me to be a better person. There have been times though, when I wish that I would have at least asked him for the winning lottery numbers.

 

 

The Finger Of God

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

When the blonde woman from The Weather Network who looked a lot like Connie Stevens announced the impending storm of all storms, my wife was quite excited. She had always been that way. I however, was somewhat indifferent. She was ecstatic, dancing around the house with the joyful exuberance of a school girl, waiting with gleeful anticipation of the impending downpour. She said that thunderstorms stirred up the spirit world and set the forces of the other side n motion. She said it was destined to be one scary night. The storm arrived late in the evening. She stood by the open window watching the lightening illuminate the night sky like fireworks on Canada Day, and listening to the thunder claps that shook her nerves and rattled her brain. The gale force winds howled, causing her to close her eyes every now and again as it blew the cool spring rain onto her face. She said she couldn’t sleep, not with Mother Nature being so exquisite, so I went to bed, leaving her to revel in the euphoria of nature’s unyielding power. Sometime during the deluge  I awoke to find her sitting on the edge of the bed nudging me. “You’re not going to believe this.” she said. “Someone was just in here.”

“Ah, hell.” I said. “There’s always someone in here.”

“I’m talking about someone from the other side.” she replied.

“I know.” I said. “They’re the only ones you ever let in.”

She said that the experience was weird, even by her standards, and she needed to talk about it.  I hated those conversations and did my best to avoid them at all costs. She was well aware of my feelings, but just couldn’t seem to stop herself from dragging me into her other worldly world. I had seen a lot of weird things over the years. With the assistance of an inordinate amount of hallucinogens and pharmaceuticals that I had religiously introduced to my brain, I have seen flying lizards, talking dragons, and miniature Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles performing ‘Dancing Queen’ in my kitchen sink, but to be honest, the whole spirit, and ghost thing just simply freaked me out. To my wife however, it was commonplace. It had become a recurring part of her life. This time though,she said it was different.

“It was really weird.” she said. “I was just standing at the window, smoking, and someone just came up beside me and stuck a finger in my ear.”

“You mean like a wet Willie?” I asked.

“Ya.” She said. “ But it wasn’t wet.”

“Of course not.” I said. “I don’t suppose spirits would have saliva. Maybe it was just the wind.”

“Are you listening to me?” she asked. “It was a finger.” She leaned over and inserted one of her fingers in my ear. “That’s what it felt like, a finger.”

“It doesn’t always have to be from the other side.” I said.  “Maybe it was from another universe. Maybe it was an alien probe. According to the Enquirer, they’re really quite common.”

“Do they usually probe your ear?” she questioned.

“I don’t think so.” I said. “But its possible you got a trainee.”

She thought that I was trying to be funny, and wanted me to take it far more seriously than I apparently was. I swear I was trying. She was spinning her wheels, stuck in trying to understand what the hell had just happened to  her. I struggled to help, trying to find some sort of reasonable explanation but sadly, I arrived at none. We carefully considered the possibility of her having been dreaming, but she was adamant that she was wide awake, standing at the window and smoking. Everyone else at home was sound asleep, and she claims to have not been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, although I have encouraged her to give it a try on several occasions,

“I suppose it could have been the finger of God.” I said.

“The finger of God?” she questioned.

“The finger of God.” I repeated.  “The same finger that brought the plagues to Egypt and etched the commandments into the tablets Moses brought down from Sinai.”

“What would God want with me?” she asked.

“I don’t know.” I answered. “But I’m sure you’re not the first one to ask that. I’m sure that everyone God has reached out to has asked ‘why me’? I don’t suppose it really matters though, I mean its God.”

“That’s a little nerve racking.” she said. “God has never visited me before.”

“Then I guess you’re due.” I said.

I sat beside her on the edge of the bed and I rubbed her back. The joy of the storm of all storms was gone.

“Just come to bed.” I said. “Its getting late.”

“How can I sleep?” she asked. “This is just so weird.”

“I’ll protect you.” I told her.

“Really? What are you gonna do?” she asked. I was surprised that I had to reminded her that I had spoken to God on more than one occasion, and that sometime in the mid 1970s I had firsthand experience with alien probing while completely messed up on a small bag full of peyote.

“Why don’t you just lay down and relax” I said, “and leave everything to me.”

“What are you thinking of doing?” she asked.

“Nothing, really.” I replied. “Just trying to help. I thought that if we recreated an alien probe, you might be able to tell if that’s what happened to you.”

“In my ear?” she questioned.

“No” I said. “I think we need to go the more traditional route. I think its worth a try.”

“Of course you do.” she said. “But I suppose we’ve really got nothing to lose.”

“Nothing at all. And after the probing” I added, “we can try to rule out the finger of God.”

“How do we do that?” she asked.

“Just leave it to me.” I said.

ELEANOR

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

I would like to believe that this actually happened although my friend, Solomon Tate believes that its just another one of my peyote induced hallucinations. I’m not sure Tate is right, I mean, this story involves neither flying lizards or dinosaurs. Nevertheless, there was an old man with a long, white beard sitting on a bench in Riverdale Park feeding girl guide cookies to the scurry of squirrels that had congregated at his feet. He had a scar that ran the length of his right forearm to his hand which seemed to make throwing the cookies somewhat difficult. I stopped to watch them when a small, gray squirrel ran out of the cemetery, climbed up on the bench and perched on his left shoulder. It sat there for a moment, and rubbed its face up against the old man’s ear. The old man didn’t seem surprised at all, and he presented the small, gray squirrel with a cookie. While this was certainly  the strangest thing I had seen all day, it seemed that this was quite common place for him and the squirrel.

“That’s one hell of a trick.”, I said.

“Its not a trick.”, he replied.

“Well, its not everyday a squirrel will jump up on your shoulder and sit there.”, I stated. “How do you manage to get him to do that? ”

“You wouldn’t believe it.”, he said.

“You’d be amazed at what I believe.”, I replied. The old man took a long, hard look at me, and began his story.

He had been married for fifty seven years when his wife, Eleanor passed away three years ago. She had cancer, but it was discovered too late. She died within weeks of the diagnosis. It was a wonderful love affair that lasted right up until she passed. Every morning, for fifty seven years, Eleanor would come up behind him, lean over his left shoulder and kiss him on the ear, as she playfully snatched a piece of food off of his plate.. Every morning for fifty seven  years he pretended not to notice. Just before she passed, she told him that she would always be there with him, and that she would never leave him alone. She was sick and delirious when she died, and he never really understood exactly what she was trying to tell him.

When she died, she was interred in the Toronto Necropolis, as she had requested. Every Saturday the old man would visit the cemetery and leave a few girl guide cookies on Eleanor’s grave. “They were always her favorites.”, he said. After the visits, as he sat across the street on a bench in Riverdale Park, he noticed that squirrels would race to her site and run off with the cookies. After a while, the squirrels seemed to understand that the old man was an integral part of their food delivery system, and they began to follow him around the cemetery and the park. The old man set up shop in the park in an attempt to keep the squirrels off of Eleanor’s grave, and away from the cookies he left for her.

“She was quite fond of them, actually.”, he informed me.

One Saturday, some weather related issue had kept the Necropolis closed, so the old man, with nothing much else to do, sat in the park and fed the squirrels the girl guide cookies he had brought for his wife. Across the street, he could see a small, gray squirrel race out of the cemetery and head towards him. He thought nothing of it. It was just another squirrel looking for the cookies he had always left for Eleanor, he thought, until it jumped up on the bench and crawled up to his left shoulder. It sat there for a moment, and then leaned over to his ear and attempting to kiss his ear, tried to sneak a cookie out of his hand. “Eleanor?”, he asked. There was no answer, but the small, gray squirrel brushed its face against his ear again. The old man gave the squirrel a cookie, which it ate perched on his left shoulder. He said that he had given his wife a gold locket on their fiftieth anniversary and there, on the chest of this small gray squirrel was a patch of white fur in the shape of a heart.  He was certain that this squirrel was in fact his wife and that she had made good on her promise not to leave him alone and, as crazy as it sounded, I was beginning to think that he was right.

That was three years ago, and since then, he came to the park every Saturday to spend time with her. He began calling the small, gray squirrel Eleanor, and he had started talking to her. He was certain that she understood. The fact of the matter was, he did not feel alone. They would often sit there for hours, long after the supply of cookies and the other squirrels had gone. While he never actually heard her speak, he believed that she was able to communicate with him, just as they did when she was alive. I left the old man with the long, white beard on the park bench, talking with Eleanor who was still perched on his shoulder. I had been back to Riverdale Park many times, and on Saturdays, he could always be found on that bench with a scurry of squirrels at his feet, and the small, gray squirrel with a heart shaped patch of white fur on its chest sitting on his left shoulder. He seemed happy, and I suppose that’s what was really important.

I returned to the park just over a month ago, and there was no sign of the old man with the long, white beard anywhere. There was no scurry of squirrels congregating in front of the bench which was deserted, except for a small, gray squirrel with a heart shaped patch of white fur on its chest looking over the left shoulder of a larger squirrel with a scar down its right front leg leading to its paw, nuzzling on its left ear.

Don’t Say A Word

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

My first marriage didn’t fare very well. I didn’t think it was anybody’s fault really, but like candles on a birthday cake, it just sort of burnt out and died. I entered into it with the best of intentions, but in retrospect, I’m pretty sure that its demise rests solely on my shoulders. I don’t know how it happened, but one day I found myself being suffocated by the dull, beige hue of boredom, and suddenly I was rolling around in the hay of much brighter and  greener pastures. Her name was Lori, and she was considerably younger, and profoundly sexually adventurous. While I tried to convince myself that it was love, it was really nothing more than a perverse diversion that rivaled 9 1/2 weeks, and lasted just over a year. After the proverbial shit hit the fan and I confessed my sins and took the verbal beating I suppose she felt I deserved, my ex wife wanted to know how I managed to carry on this sleazy affair right in front of her eyes. I never told her, but it wasn’t difficult, really, I mean there was always a plan. Lori would wake up early, unlock her door and go back to bed. I would arrive at a prescribed time, let myself in and bang her to Brazil and back. She was insatiable, and it was exhausting, but at no time did I ever think of lodging a complaint, although  she did like to talk. Sometimes it was all you could do not to reach over and shove a cannoli in her mouth. She talked a lot. The only time she wasn’t talking was when she was down on her knees. She was all blue jeans and leather jackets, and always seemed to be up for an afternoon of peyote and ‘The Wizard of Oz’, despite being freaked out by the flying monkeys and believing that the cowardly lion was, in fact, her spirit animal.

I met Lori at some seedy dive in Whitby where she worked as a stripper. I saw her performing there one  Saturday afternoon and as she removed what little clothing she had on amid the hoots and hollers of six or seven drunken wankers with hands entrenched down the front of their pants, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She was insanely beautiful. We talked for hours well, she talked for hours while I sat there thinking about the things I wanted to do to her body. The voice in my head that kept reminding me that I was married was becoming annoying, but it was quickly silenced when Lori leaned over and kissed me. I kissed her back, all the while remembering what she looked like naked.

Surprisingly, I felt no guilt. I thought I would, I mean even though it was just a kiss I really thought that I should have felt something. When I got home, life went on just as it did before. There were the usual events with family and friends, although I began making up excuses to avoid them in order to spend time with Lori. It was usually a double shift or some other crisis at work that I had to attend to, but any excuse would have done just as well. A simple phone call home from work allowed me hours and hours of some of the most incredible sex I had ever had. There was a time during all of this madness that I wished that I had that with my wife, but I just don’t think that it was in her. Or maybe I just didn’t feel that way about her, I mean I had pretty much lost all interest in having sex with her. I don’t know. It was like that through most of the affair though well, at least until I got caught.

About three or four months or so into the dalliance it occurred to me that I was being brutally unfair. I felt that I needed to let my wife know. I felt like I owed her the truth. The trouble was I had no idea how to tell her and there was no one I could turn to for advice. I had been living a secret life and lying about so much for so long, that I felt as if I need a program to figure out which players were on which team. And, I suppose that with all of the deceit, I couldn’t really be sure what the truth was anymore.

By this time Lori and I had become very close. We were buying each other gifts, and she had taken to writing me notes that described in sordid detail what she wanted me to do to her. We were spending all of our free time together, taking road trips out of town, checking into hotels and living as if we were a couple. It was all becoming too much to deal with and something had to give. I was not prepared to stop seeing Lori, so the only viable option then was to end the marriage. I convinced myself that it was the honorable thing to do. One Saturday evening when my wife returned home from work, she confronted me with some notes from Lori she had found in my briefcase. She was irate, and set out on a journey of name calling, threats and finally the news that I needed to pack up my shit and be out within the hour. I thought that I would have felt the relief that I had been so certain would come once the truth was told, but it wasn’t there. At no time did I ever imagine that I could have hurt her so much, but then at no time did I ever think about anyone other than myself. I moved in with a friend, and shortly after secured an apartment close to work, and Lori.

My divorce was quick and while not painless, I mean she got everything except the tv and stereo which were mine to begin with, at least it was over.  Everything seemed to be working out. Lori was always coming over and the sexcapades were as excitingly prolific as ever. For the first time in a long time I felt free and unencumbered, and perhaps even a little contented. A few months later, Lori informed me that she didn’t think we should see each other anymore. While she was attracted to me and cared for me, the fact that I was married, forbidden fruit so to speak, had made it all so damn exciting for her. She enjoyed the rush of being the other woman, the mistress, and now that she had been relegated to the position of girlfriend, the whole thing just seemed monotonous and tame. We parted ways and with cursory let’s still be friends crap. I didn’t see her again for almost 20 years, when she showed up at a meeting I was attending. We only spoke for a few minutes, the standard how are you and the like, and that was the end of that.

My ex wife moved to California at some point, married and seemed to enjoy her new life. I suppose that there was just too much water still rising up over the bridge for us to even be able to talk, which is okay, I mean, I don’t really have much to say to her anymore. I screwed up. I cheated on my wife with Lori, who couldn’t see me anymore because we divorced due to my infidelity with her. It was sad really, I mean I never set out to hurt anyone, but that’s just the way these things always seem to work out. I stayed on my own for a while, trying to sort through all of the drama and I realized that Its all really cosmically karmic. Eliot was right when he wrote ‘This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper’.

Leave It To The Beaver

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

It was one of those ‘Dances With Wolves’ moments, when men stood naked in the middle of the woods, messed up on Ayahuasca, pounding their chests and howling at the moon in an attempt to come face to face with absolute happiness, as if there were such a thing. Axil Woodman sat on a Balsam Fir stump watching the event unfold. He didn’t understand it. Not at all. He had seen a lot of dumb shit in his forest, but this was quite possibly the dumbest. Axil Woodman was a logger. He was also a drummer in the Oregon State University Marching Polka Band, at least he used to be.  One Saturday afternoon, many years ago, with Utah punishing the mighty Beavers, a skirmish erupted on the sidelines between Utah fans, and Benny The Beaver. Axil was flung  into the melee, and in the ensuing mayhem, sustained a bite to his leg courtesy of the large, deranged Oregon State mascot. Emergency Medical Services were able to stop the bleeding, and he took his place in the band formation and completed the halftime show. No one, not even Woodman thought any more about the incident.

That spring stories began to spread through the logger camps, about a strange and mysterious creature that had been seen roaming through the forest, single handedly taking down massive trees in seconds. There was talk of large bite marks being found on stumps spread across hundreds of miles of forest.  Dr. Monty D’Botcheree, head of the prestigious Institute Of Extraordinary Intraterrestrial Occurrences, and the infamous Sasquatch search party that lasted five days at Gordon Lightfoot’s  home, was called in to investigate. D’Botheree spent months travelling from camp to camp, tracking the creature, completing interviews and collecting samples and was convinced that this was more than likely the transmutation of a man into an animal. “In layman’s terms”, D’Botcheree explained, “someone was turning into a beaver.”

Woodman listened intently as D’Botcheree spoke. He had been feeling like hell for weeks, not really sick, but uneasy and weird. He was troubled by his new found strength, and his sudden compulsion to keep busy made him wonder if maybe he was the Beaver. As the peyote began to kick in, Eddie Haskell and Lumpy Rutherford  two of the dumbest bastards to ever put on plaid, seemed to think so. “Hey Beaver.”, they chanted, “Where’s Wall-E?”

“Its pronounced Wally.”, Larry Mondello shouted back at them. “You’re probably the dumbest guy in Mayfield, Lumpy.”

“This part beaver, part man”, D’Botcheree continued, “would become a single entity, possessing the best qualities of both a beaver, and a man. He would be a Super Beaver, and quite possibly a super hero.” Woodman had no desire in being a super hero. It seemed like a hell of a lot of responsibility. He wasn’t thrilled about becoming a super beaver either, but he had a feeling D’Botcheree was right. There were periods of time when he just couldn’t remember where he had been, but he would often find muddy foot prints across the floor in his cabin, and small bits of lumber strewn across the table. His eyesight was waning, and it seemed to be getting worse every day, but he could hear and smell everything, as if those senses were working overtime.

When the camp awoke the next morning all of the felled trees had been moved to the river, cut into logs, and were floating their way to the mill. Not one of the loggers spoke as they walked away from the river’s edge back to the camp, and none of them ever spoke again about the events that occurred in the forest that Spring. Debocheree had had always had suspicions about Axil Woodman, but both Woodman and the beaver man had disappeared without a trace, although there stories have been told about a mascot at MIT, about six feet and three inches tall, known as Tim The Beaver. Like all great mysteries though, we may never really know for sure.

Truckin’

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

I met Ana at a campus screening of ‘Metropolis’, and shared a small bag of peyote which she claimed was surprisingly easy to obtain, and completely necessary to really understand a Fritz Lang film. She had studied piano with the great Klaus Von Klaus, or something like that, for fifteen years but following her junior year as a music major at The University of Political Weariness and Social Degeneration, she joined the myriad of Dead Heads who appeared in assorted incarnations still hallucinating from a trip they began in 1970, floating freely through space and time, searching for the aurgasm that could only be achieved in the psychedelic sunshine of The Grateful Dead..

We spent the night spinning vinyl on an old Garrard turntable, and headed off to Exhibition Stadium the next afternoon with Ana dressed to thrill in an ‘American Beauty’ t shirt and short shorts.  She had a body that I was sure had cost men their souls, or their minds, or more than likely, both. I’m not certain how we got there, but we were sitting in second row floor seats for The Band and The Dead beside some bleary eyed and tie dyed trippers who appeared to be engaged in battle with giant boll weevils, and a topless teenager who was looking for someone to blow air into her rather unremarkable tits. Ana achieved what she later described as the ultimate spiritual release, but I swear that somewhere between  ‘Ripple’ and ‘Sugar Magnolia’, she simply had an orgasm.

Halfway ‘Up On Cripple Creek’, as some of the trippers succumbed to the onslaught of the giant boll weevils, and pandemonium and paranoia began to set in, Ana wanted to leave. We walked toward the gates that led to freedom, laughing like a couple of grade school kids, as Ana grabbed onto my hand in an effort to keep up with me as I navigated the crowds attending the fair grounds. Once we made it through the gates, we sat down under a Maple tree in a nearby park as Ana tried to catch her breath. Her face was flushed, her breathing heavy, and her chest heaved with every breath, and fuck, she was beautiful. As the effects of the peyote were beginning to wane, Ana advised me that she still had half a button left, so we shared it and spent the night right there under the Maple tree, watching the dragons eyes open and close with her head on my chest, and my arms tightly wrapped around her.

I never really knew much about her in those days of peace, and love, and sex and drugs, but I saw her several years later at a screening of Fritz Lang’s “The Testament of Dr. Mabuse’ at a small, repertory theater in The Annex. She was still as beautiful as I remembered, and I hung on to every word she said. We watched the film with our minds inundated with assorted pharmaceuticals which Ana claimed were surprisingly easy to obtain and completely necessary to really understand a Fritz Lang film. We talked all night, reminiscing and wondering what might have been, and when dawn broke we said our goodbyes. We spoke often after that chance encounter and, not surprisingly, I married that woman. The giant boll weevils agreed that there was really nothing else I could do.

 

 

 

 

Philosophy And Frostbite Falls

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

One again I was flying, it was sometime in my junior year, and with the help of hallucinogens, I was soaring up melting stairways that brought me face to face with a flying squirrel and a talking moose. That same year I met Amber Wayne, the head of The Founder’s College Association For The Advancement of Existential Women or some other inane group who could do things with her mouth that I was sure would land her a position with The Disney Princess Whores. For a couple of Benzedrine she would drop, pop and swallow with vacuum like precision and deliver a blow job other men could only dream of. To be fair, it wasn’t just the blow jobs that kept me around. We had made some kind of weird connection and there were times, although few and far between, when all either of us wanted to do was talk. I suppose I liked her.

I first saw the moose and squirrel in Frostbite Falls during one of my early trips up the melting staircase while still in high school.  It was a nice enough town,  filled with foreign  spies and gangsters, but too cold for me to ever stay very long.

“Do you know anything about Existentialism?”,  Amber asked me one evening.

“Everything I need to know about it”, I informed her, “I learnt from Woody Allen.”

“I didn’t know Woody Allen was an Existentialist.”, she stated.

“One of the best.”, I assured her. ”

“Really?”, she asked.

“Really.”, I replied. “The essence of it can be summed up in one Woody Allen quote. ‘I took a test in Existentialism. I left all the answers blank and got 100.’ Now that’s Existentialism.” We both laughed, and then she hugged me. We had never hugged before and while it felt odd, it seemed appropriate.

Once again I found myself in Frostbite Falls, sitting in the stands watching the football game between Wossamotta U. and The Mud City Manglers who, surprisingly appeared to be girls. The squirrel and moose played brilliantly, and despite the trickery of the Manglers coach, at the end of the frantic game, Wossamotta U. had won on the final play. The crowd was ecstatic,  and burst into a rousing chant of the school’s fight song, “Our praise for you will never cease. All hail magenta and cerise”.

One morning, much to the dismay of the paranoid, bible thumping zealots who resided on her dorm room floor, and were usually prattling around tennis courts in their starched, pasty white personalities, The Association of Sexually Submissive Existential Sadists held a parade to celebrate their annual Slime, Grime and Punishment retreat. I suppose it was more of a procession, I mean there were no floats, no clowns, and no marching bands. Hell, there wasn’t even a group of short skirted college freshman twirling batons. We could see them from the window, walking around in circles, chanting existential fodder as they marched around the endless loop that circumnavigated the campus. “Life is Meaningless”, and “Man is only what he makes of himself.”, they shouted.

“Now there’s a crock of meaningless drivel.”, I blurted out.

“You think so?”, Amber asked.

“Not now.”, I told her. “I can’t handle any more extra curricular existentialism.” I took a couple of bennies out of my pocket and handed them to her. “Take these.”, I said, as I dropped my pants and waited for the drug to take effect.

I stopped seeing Amber shortly after that procession of the depressed, aging, philandering philosophers who seemed capable of being aroused only by being a pain in someone’s ass. I have nothing against existentialism, I mean, its just that I had heard enough. It seemed to have become nothing more than a series of thoughts that only served to confuse.. There was some talk about man not wanting truth as the truth will destroy our illusions. I want the truth. The fact of the matter was however, that Amber did not. We just sort of drifted apart, but there was the occasional drop, pop and swallow whenever we saw each other. After a while we stopped running into each other, and that was the end of that. After graduation, I heard that she began a career in the adult film industry, which I suppose was bound to happen, I mean what else was she going to do with an undergraduate degree in Philosophy. I continue to soar up the melting stairway,although I can’t predict when it will occur, and encounter the moose and squirrel, through whom I have had dealings with two of the foreign spies, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. I have been asked to play on the Wossamotta U. football team, and am seriously considering trying out for next season. ‘Our praise for you will never cease. All hail magenta and cerise’.