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.”

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.

Lori’s New Tits

 

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

Lori Finch returned from her yearlong study abroad program in France with a new pair of tits. They weren’t exactly new, but they were definitely not the same ones I played around with in the back of a Chevy Malibu during our sophomore year in high school. As for the year in France, well nobody really believed that story. We all knew that she got pregnant, and was shipped off by her parents to relatives who would keep and raise the baby. That’s just how it was done back then. That night, at the Algonquin, as we drifted through galaxies as yet undiscovered, she was once again the center of attention. And that’s how Lori liked it. She always did.

Two grease balls standing near the pool table kept staring at her despite the fact that they were with two exceptionally attractive women of their own who were so agitated at their dates and Lori’s tits, that they felt compelled to do something about it. Glances were being cast by eyes that darted back and forth across the pub, all focused on Lori’s new tits and protruding nipples. As the two women neared  our table. Lori stood and pulled her tee shirt up, exposing her tits to all who cared to catch a glimpse. The women froze in their tracks, caught between their embarrassment and their desire while the two grease balls, now with their dicks standing at attention tried to get a closer look. “Sorry boys” Lori said, “these are for the ladies.” The two women didn’t move, transfixed and intrigued by Lori’s exposed tits and by what seemed like an invitation, trying to decide if they really could take Lori up on her offer. Once Lori pulled her top back down, they turned and raced out of the bar, leaving the two grease balls to chase after them in the hope that they might provide some relief for the raging hardons they would rather not have to  deal with on their own.

Lori liked to say that she was a hedonist, but the truth was she was just another horny little shit who was more interested in getting her rocks off than anything else, just like the rest of us. She craved any kind of attention really, and often times she would feed into it just so she could feed off of it. It was all very convoluted. I understood I mean, though we never really dated and  spent most of our time getting high and rustling around the back seat of her mother’s yellow, convertible Chevy Malibu, we became close. Sometime during that sophomore year, she confided in me that she was bisexual. I wasn’t surprised. She had more balls than most of the guys I knew, and I was pretty sure that given half a chance, Lori could have turned pro and become a full time lesbian. Back then though, I was pretty fucking happy that she didn’t.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing those again.” our petite server said as she delivered the next round. She had been hovering around our table for most of the night, and we thought that she was interested in Tate. It turned out that she was really only hot for Lori “They’re pretty impressive.” she added. She was right though, they were, at the very least impressive. Someone in France had done a fantastic job.

The Algonquin was generally a peaceful place, but on Friday nights the rednecks would come down from the hills of Oak Ridges, or Victoria Square in their Ford F100s for a night in the big city. They were rowdy, and ignorant, and dumb as fucking door knobs, and they usually be counted on to start at least one good bar room brawl every time they showed up. Three or four of them arrived just as Lori and her new friend had escalated their flirting to a more hands on approach. As the server walked by, Lori would cup her ass. On the return trip, the server would intentionally brush her hand across Lori’s shoulder or boob. It was quickly becoming a lesbian liaison. The rednecks noticed too. It was hard to believe that people so fucking stupid could notice anything, but I suppose they noticed Lori’s tits right away, and everything else was just sort of there, right before their vacuous eyes. There was the customary name calling followed by graphic descriptions of how they needed to fuck the lesbian out of Lori and the server. It began to turn ugly as they moved towards us, so a few of us stood between them and Lori. In seconds, tables were being tossed over and fists were flying. People we didn’t know joined in and quite a beating was laid on the hill people. It ended quickly with them crawling out of the bar, tails between their legs, promising to return to kick our asses. Somewhere in the fracas I managed to crack a couple of ribs, and as I sat on a chair holding my side, Lori sat beside me.

“Thanks for helping.” she said. “But what the hell were you thinking? We both know you’re not a fighter.”

“Somebody needed to shut those fuckers up.” I said. “And its really not that bad. I got in some good licks and I think I enjoyed delivering the pounding.”

“Why does everything you say always sound like you’re talking about sex?” she asked.

“Well” I said, “I guess that’s just what you do to me.”

“You still want me, don’t you?” she asked. “You want my new tits.”

“I wouldn’t say no to spending an afternoon with them.” I said.

She leaned over and kissed me and then stood up, and lifted  her tee shirt to show me her tits in an obvious attempt to tease. There really was no reason for that, I mean, I already wanted her. “”How about tomorrow?” she asked. “We still have the Malibu.”

Lori left that night with the server, while I got checked out at the hospital. Three cracked ribs with instructions to take it easy and rest. It didn’t matter really. The following afternoon I was in the back seat of that yellow, convertible Chevy Malibu with Lori and her new tits.

All You Need Is Love

by Fielding Goodfellow

There was nothing we could have done about it. Even if there was, I’m not sure that any of it would have turned out differently. The truth has always been indifferent,  a purely subjective interpretation of  what we believed was going on around us. We were all just living a lie, really. Floating in a cesspool filled with symbols and slogans, and horrors and heroes created to convince us that we were sliding down a rainbow into the proverbial pot of gold. It all seemed a bit psychotic, really, but I don’t suppose there was ever any other choice. It didn’t matter what we believed. It never really did. We had been held captive for so long by a history that kept repeating itself over and over again, that no one noticed someone had left a window open.

It was a time when the White Anglo Saxon Protestant scourge choked the very life out of the city. When the violations of basic human rights perpetrated in the name of morality and God went unpunished.  It was a time of raids on bath houses and gay clubs, and gay bashing, which seemed to be an almost daily occurrence was usually ignored or dismissed. George Wohlinski was gay.  Not that I minded really, but he was the first gay guy I was ever friends with. He was surprisingly brave, openly reveling in his sexuality  when being gay was not only sinful and shameful, but also illegal.  George and I managed record stores for a small national chain, and we became friends. He introduced me to Husker Du, Japan, and The Cocteau Twins, while I offered him The Tubes, Sparks, and The Psychedelic Furs. Several times a week we would hang out at the place he shared with his partner, Paul in The Junction, listening to music and getting totally fucked up on one kind of hallucinogen or another. Paul was all right. but I suspect that he would have been much happier as an accountant. He was quiet, somewhat aloof, and eccentrically anxious.

We weathered the storm of the Madonna ‘True Blue’ release, when hoards of acne riddled, semi pubescent, pseudo adolescent mutant Madonista’s anxiously waited in line for hours, overwhelmed by the promise of getting their grubby little hands on a copy of the overplayed “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Live To Tell”. We sold out that day, and after closing, we met at The Imperial for beer and food, and then made our way to George and Paul’s place for peyote and a listen or two of the new Eurythmics album.

Along for the ride was George’s friend, Andrew, who was a little boisterous and exuberant in his presentation. He was what was referred to back then as a flamer. He was over the top with a need for constant attention,  but he was harmless really, posing a danger only to himself. We were pretty messed up, when Paul became concerned over the impending giant pigeon attack that was evolving on the balcony. Andrew was dressed to kill in a pleated, silk little black dress with translucent cap sleeves that made him look exactly like Grace Kelly in ‘Rear Window’. “He’s a transvestite.” George said. “I guess I should have mentioned it before.”

“That’s okay.” I said. “But hell, he looks like Grace Kelly.”

“I know.” George agreed. “They could be sisters.”

“How do I look?” Andrew asked as he twirled around the living room.

“Sensational.”, Paul said. He was right. The guy in drag was beautiful. Andrew left as Andrea, heading out into the city streets in the hopes of meeting someone who would make him feel pretty while Paul, George and I continued to get wasted and turned our attention to Echo And The Bunnymen, As the peyote began to take hold, we all drifted into different worlds, sailing across dimensions and landing back on the couch in George and Paul’s living room to the sound of the telephone ringing. It was George who answered the phone, making his way past the gargoyles and the plant people who had invaded the apartment when we weren’t looking. Andrew had been hurt. He had been attacked on the sidewalk in front of The Selby Hotel, brutally beaten by a bunch of men who discovered that Andrea was really an Andrew. No one bothered to help him. He suffered serious injuries and needed emergency surgery.  We took off like rockets to Toronto General and were greeted by several Police Officers who informed us that despite the small crowd that had been waiting in front of the Selby, there were no witnesses and there had no suspects. “It figures.” George said. “You have to get a license to hunt deer, but  its open season on gays in this city.” George was right.

Andrew spent a few weeks in hospital and a stint in rehab but seemed to recover from his injuries although he had lost the sight in his left eye and now walked with a limp. He was scared a lot of the time, and felt uneasy going out unless one of his friends accompanied him. George became active in the Gay Rights movement and suffered his fair share of beatings. He was determined to continue the fight, and with the help of his family, he returned to school and obtained a law degree. He ran for office and acted as a City Councilman for several years while taking the battle through the courts and exacting many of the changes that enabled the gay community to live in peace and safety.

We remained friends for many, many years, and he continued to teach me tolerance, acceptance and compassion until he passed away from AIDS in 1994. Paul remained at his side until the end, and then moved to Key West a few years later and opened a small restaurant. Andrew spent several years in psychotherapy, and  still works as a counselor at the Gay Men’s Resource Center that George helped to established. And me, well, I now live just blocks away from the gay village and have spent most of my adult life providing treatment and counseling to adolescents who have been the victims of abuse. I walk past the Resource Center several times a week, and each time I swear I can hear George’s voice reminding me that there is no greater sin than to deny a man the right to be loved.

The Seven Dimensions

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Blow For Democracy

by Fielding Goodfellow

In an arena filled with corruption and deceit, cum soaked cigars and semen stained dresses, Arthur C. Pollard, famed producer of the classic low budget sci-fi porn films ‘Belinda’s Big Bang’, ‘Plutonian Poontang’ and ‘Nubian Nymphos Of Nimbus 9’, was in way over his head. With his mind submerged in a sea of nicotine, caffeine and a handful of Benzedrine, the political theatre of the absurd danced around him so quickly that he was lost in the shadows. This was nothing new for Artie, although this sensation usually found him after taking some shitty acid he scored from a sketchy street hustler in Parkdale, leaving him so dazed and confused that he often couldn’t find his clothes when it was time to go home. And now, as he found himself standing naked at a Taco Bell Drive Thru attempting to order two double stuffed tacos and entice several young women to join him in the colonization of other worlds on behalf of the purely fictional Ministry Of Intergalactic Propogation, realizing that he had no idea how he got there from the yacht party he had been attending for the past five days, he understood that he needed help.

There were many times Artie questioned his stability, if not his sanity, but he had chalked those up to drug induced mind splintering, a term he used to soften the blow of what was really drug induced schizophrenia like psychosis. He didn’t mind it really, but it scared the hell out of him when it was over and he just couldn’t put the fucking pieces back together again. Its one thing to lose your mind, but its an entirely different problem to know it happened and to be helpless to do anything to stop it from happening again.

Artimus C. Pollard had promise, hell we all did at one time or another, but those days were long gone. Politics seemed like a game he had a chance to win. As far as he was concerned, politicians were all out of their fucking minds. Artie had announced his candidacy by stating “There are so many self serving, delusional deviants currently in public office, it seems unlikely that proctologists will ever find the time to remove their  pointy, little heads from their asses. I will have to run for office.” No one who knew him, not one of us believed for a minute that he could win. But the allure of the drugged out maker of pornography was just too tempting for the depraved housewives who had, for years, secretly been rubbing their buttons to his alien sex scenes to resist. Artimus C. Pollard won by a landslide.

“I don’t think I should stay in politics.”, he told me during my visit to the Institution. “I think its all just too much right now. I’m going to resign.”

“Well, there’s a blow for democracy.”, I remarked.

“That’s good.”, Artie said as he laughed out loud. “I’m gonna have to steal that one.”

“Its all yours.”, I told him.

“We need to go to that coffee shop we used to hang out in years ago.”, he said. “What was it called?”

“Espress O”Reily’s.”, I informed him. “As soon as they let you out of here.”

“Espress O’Reily’s.”, he repeated and laughed. “Right. The Irish Coffee House. That’s good.” Artie spent five weeks inside the bleak, grey, concrete walls of what he called The Home For The Ambiguous And The Absurd, with nothing to do but talk. That’s all they wanted him to do, all day long. Talk. Talk about how he was feeling now and how he felt then. Talk about his fears and his hopes and his dreams. Talk about everything. And Artie loved to talk. I suspect that they discharged him early when they realized that he just wouldn’t shut the fuck up.

Artie never felt comfortable inside The Home. The nights were the hardest, with everything quiet and still. Everything except his mind. It was hard to sleep, even with the Lorazepam. He just couldn’t stop reliving every moment of every day over and over again, until he passed out from sheer exhaustion. I went to see him twice a week, and he always looked worn out, but I suppose the drugs they were pumping into him had something to do with it. “They’re gonna let me out by the end of the week.”, he told me one day during his final week inside. “I have to tell you, I’m scared to go back out there.”

“I know you are.”, I said as we walked down the hallways.

“I’m working on a new script.”, he told me as we arrived at his room. There was an attractive, young woman inside waiting for him. “This is Gina.”, he introduced me as he climbed up onto his bed. “She’s one of the therapy assistants here. And now”, he continued, “if you’ll excuse me, this young lady is about to deliver another blow for democracy.”

After Artie was released we returned to Espress O’Reily’s, one last time. All of us were there, Farberman, Tate, Hill, Artie and me. I tried to keep in touch with him for a while, but he moved  to the coast. Every now and then I get a call letting me know that he’s okay, even though he continues to splinter. His made his final film shortly after his release from The Home and began teaching a film course at a local Community College. He seems better, or at least happier, and I suppose that’s all that really matters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Summer Of Crazy Eddie Appleton

Of all of the summers I have seen, the summer of 1969 remains entrenched in my memory, and I remember it with a fondness that, at times, seems a bit overwhelming. For me it was not the summer of Woodstock, or the summer of  the ‘giant leap for mankind’. It was the summer of Crazy Eddie Appleton.

That summer my family went to the cottage at Jackson’s Point. I spent my days with my summer friends Danny, Rosie, and Misha. From the moment I first met her, I was attracted to Misha. She was an insanely pretty girl, with a tight t shirt, and a pack of Du Maurier stuffed into the back pocket of her cut off denim shorts, with an attitude as contrary and sarcastic as my own. We spent our time at the beach, the arcade, and hanging out behind the old marina where I learnt how to smoke.

Across the road from Rosie’s cottage lived the Appleton’s. We knew nothing about them, but none of us were permitted to go near the place. According to everyone’s mother, Eddie Appleton was a crazy and possibly dangerous man. Other people in the Point seemed to share the same concerns, walking on the other side of the road as they passed by, looking at it as if to catch a glimpse of the crazy and possibly dangerous man in the front window. Crazy Eddie Appleton had become the Boo Radley of Jackson’s Point.

He would usually come out at night, roaming the small, summer town talking to himself, dirty and unkempt, shouting at no one in particular, dressed in an overcoat, hat and gloves despite the sweltering summer heat and an orange florescent vest that could be seen from miles away as if to warn everyone that he was on the loose. One evening, as we sat behind the marina smoking, we saw Crazy Eddie on the beach burying something in the sand. “Probably body parts of some kid he killed.”, Danny reported.

“Maybe its his mother.”, Rosie speculated.

“Why don’t we just call him over and ask him what he’s doing.”, Misha suggested.

“Oh my God. No, don’t!”, Rosie pleaded.

“Well then, why don’t we just wait until he leaves and then go dig up whatever he buried.”, Misha proposed.

“Good plan, Einstein.”, I told her. “I knew I was hanging around you for a reason.” Misha smiled at me,  lit another cigarette and gently placed it in my mouth.  “But we’ll have to come back tomorrow morning.”, I continued. “We’ll meet back here at seven.” On the way home I kept thinking about the way Misha put that cigarette in my mouth, and I was almost certain that her hand brushed my lips. I laid awake all night, wondering, wishing and hoping that she liked me too.

We all met behind the marina as planned. Danny and Rosie brought shovels, and Misha arrived carrying a large thermos which was filled with coffee that she had taken from home. None of us had ever had coffee before, but this seemed like as good a time as any to start. We sat down behind the Marina and smoked a cigarette as we took turns drinking coffee from the little cup that so conveniently came with the thermos. There were a few fisherman milling around, and an old man was roaming the beach with a metal detector. “We need to go now.”, Misha said. “Before it gets too busy.”

Once on the beach we tried to remember exactly where Crazy Eddie had buried the body parts. We dug and dug, but came up with nothing.  The old  man with the metal detector shouted “Hot damn. I found something.” We all ran over, and there in his hand, was a gold ring. “What is it?”, I asked.

“A lady’s wedding ring, I would think.”, the old man said.

“I told you he buried his mother.”, Rosie reminded us. Misha grabbed Rosie’s shovel and she began digging like a dog trying to retrieve the bone it had buried. We took turns with the shovels and dug and dug, but we found nothing except some sand crabs, fish skeletons, and some small turtles. The pier at the beach began filling up with boaters and fishermen getting ready to start another day on the water.

“We should go.”, Misha said. “We’ll have to figure something else out.” Dejected, we headed back to the marina, where we shared a cigarette. We sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity, and I suppose each one of us was trying to come up with some way we could find out what Crazy Eddie had buried on the beach that night. “Come with me.”, Misha said as she took my hand and led me to the other side the marina, behind an old Maple tree. The touch of her hand sent shivers through my body, and I knew that I probably would have followed her anywhere, just to stay near her. “You’re the smartest one of us.”, she told me. “What do you think we should do?”

“Well”, I answered. “Digging up the beach isn’t going to do anything. I think we should follow Crazy Eddie. Maybe we can catch him red handed.”

“That makes sense.”, Misha said, as she leaned in and gave me a kiss on my lips. That brief kiss made me feel indestructible and I kissed her again. We must have been there for about five minutes with our lips pressed together behind that Maple tree. When we started to walk back to our friends, we held hands. “I guess I’m your girlfriend now.”, Misha stated with some certainty as she squeezed my hand.

“I suppose so.”, I answered.  I had never really had a girlfriend before, so I couldn’t be sure.  But either way, I liked it.

Danny and Rosie were too scared to join us in our mission that night, so Misha and I decided that we would do it alone. Just the two of us. Like Jonathan Steed and Emma Peel from The Avengers. We left the marina to plan our mission, but found ourselves making out in the lane way behind the Red and White Grocery Store. It was at that moment that I realized that I really didn’t give a rat’s ass about Crazy Eddie or what he buried at the beach. All I wanted was to keep doing whatever the hell I was doing with Misha. I hoped that she was feeling the same, but I was too damned scared to ask.

That night, we waited in the bushes across the road from Crazy Eddie’s place. I told my parents that I was staying at Danny’s overnight, while Misha told her family that she would be spending the night at Rosie’s. We had a plan, and now we just had to wait for the villain to take the bait.  Eddie Appleton finally came out of his cottage, and headed off towards town. He was carrying a small black bag, and a small shovel, the kind you would use in a flower garden. Visions of Lars Thorwald began playing in my head. Maybe, just maybe Rosie was right. Maybe Crazy Eddie was burying his mother in various places around Jackson’s Point. Misha and I followed him as he rummaged through every garbage can and dumpster he could find. Every now and then he would open the small, black bag and place something in it, or take something out. We couldn’t be sure. We followed him through his journey and to the beach. We watched him dig a small hole, and bury something in the sand. He dug five holes that night, and we memorized the location of each one. When he left, Misha and I went behind the marina and smoked a cigarette. “Well stay here until it gets light. Then we can dig up the holes and see what Crazy Eddie’s been up to.”, I said.

“Okay.”, Misha replied, as she put her head on my shoulder and closed her eyes.

I woke her as soon as it was light, and we walked onto the beach and started digging exactly where Eddie Appleton had dug the night before. We dug up all five of the holes and each one contained the same thing. Fish bones. Numerous, assorted bones from numerous assorted fish. “This is crazy.”, Misha said.

“They don’t call him Crazy Eddie for the hell of it.”, I told her.

“I just don’t get it.”, she continued.

“Maybe you have to be crazy to get it.”, I replied. It was crazy, and I didn’t get it either. It made no sense. The early morning boaters and fishermen started arriving so Misha and I went back behind the marina. “Well”, I said, “the mystery is solved.”

“What a let down.”, Misha replied. “I thought we were onto something big.” I did too, and I was just as disappointed as she was.

That afternoon I saw Crazy Eddie and his mother on my way to Rosie’s. She said hello, and I crossed the road to talk with them. I said hi to Eddie and he merely shrugged. Mrs. Appleton apologized for him, informing me that Eddie had been out very late burying fish skeletons at the beach. I asked her why. She told me that Eddie was trying to give the fish a proper burial and he felt they should be laid to rest near the water. After all, that is where their friends and family were.

I continued to hang out with Misha that summer, hiding behind the marina smoking cigarettes and making out. When it ended we parted ways, writing the customary letters for a while and then, we just lost touch with each other. I haven’t seen Rosie since that summer, and Danny and I connected a couple of times when we were attending the same University. We had grown apart, blazing different trails for our lives. I spent some time with Eddie that summer and I learned that he was not dangerous. He was certainly fucked up,but he was completely harmless, a good soul who I suppose was totally misunderstood. He taught me how to look at the world with hope and patience and I was always amazed at his innocence and kindness. Eddie died many years ago. He was hit by a drunk driver while wandering the streets of a much busier Jackson’s Point wearing his orange fluorescent vest.  Truth be told, I enjoyed every minute we spent together.

 

 

 

Feeding The Baby

 

 

My wife was always an exceptional mother. I would watch in amazement as she exercised her maternal prowess. With 5 kids, there was always changings, and feedings, and trips to doctors, and a host of car pool events for the older ones.I helped as much as she would allow, relegated me to the chores and tasks she felt didn’t require a mother’s touch. I changed diapers, and gave kids bottles when they were done nursing. The responsibility for the nursing of the children was entirely hers. Except for that one evening in 1996.

The baby was crying, my wife was exhausted, and it was 2 in the morning. “I’ll go get her and bring her in here.”, I said.

I picked the baby up from her crib, and cradling her in my arms began the walk back to my wife. Suddenly I felt a sharp pain, and looked down to see the baby firmly attached to my nipple. Now I don’t know what the protocols are in a situation like this, but I began tugging, and pulling, and tugging some more, but she just wouldn’t let go. I screamed. Really, I screamed. My wife came running to find me sitting on the floor, trying to pry this monster off my nipple. “You have to break the seal.”, she said, laughingly.

“Get this thing off of me.”, I shouted, as the baby began sucking harder and harder. My wife inserted one of her fingers into the side of the baby’s mouth and I don’t know what happened, but the baby fell off. I was free. I passed the baby to my wife, and went into the bathroom to examine the damage. It was sore, and red, and I think I saw my life flash before me. “I think its swollen.”, I told my wife. “Do you think I should see the doctor?”

“You’ll be fine.”, she said.

“What the hell is wrong with that kid?”, I asked, still massaging my swollen, painful nipple.

“There’s nothing wrong with her.”, I was informed. “She was just hungry.”

It took a few days, but things got back to normal, as the swelling went down, and the pain subsided. Following that fateful night, I have never picked up a baby without wearing a shirt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had always gone out of my wife to help my wife take care of the kids when they were younger. I clothed them, fed them, changed them, took them for walks, took them to the park, took them everywhere really, and just always tried to be involved. So when my youngest was a baby, and in her crib crying, I decided that I would go get her and bring her down to my wife. I lifted her out of her crib, and cuddled her against my chest, and began the treacherous walk down two flights of stairs to where my wife was waiting.

 

 

sima latching o to y nipple…

Bubbie Has A Boyfriend

 

There was quite a furor in my house. The kids were upset, my wife was uncharacteristically quiet, and once again I found myself in the role of therapist for this band of brooding, yet quite lovable barbarians. As innocent as it appeared to me, there was much anxiety over the news that my 80 year old mother-in-law had a boyfriend.

“Who is this man?”, one of my daughters asked.

“What does Bubbie need a boyfriend for?”, another one shouted out.

“We need to check this guy out.”, a son chimed in. “What if he’s after her money or something?” I sat listening to this diatribe, wondering what he hell had happened to what I thought was a reasonably sensible family.

“I don’t know who he is.”, my wife said. “Except that he’s younger than her, and he’s French.”

“He’s a gigolo.”, another son entered the fray.

“Are they, like dating?”, a daughter asked.

“It appears that way.”, my wife responded. “He just moved into her building.”

“Oh my God!”, a daughter quipped. “Are they living together?”

“No.”, my wife said. “He has his own apartment. A few floors above hers.”

“Well, that’s convenient.”, I said. Its probably not even furnished..”

“What is that supposed to mean?”, my wife asked, with arms folded.

“It means they are probably living together.”, a son replied. “He just rented his own apartment to make it look good.”

“They are not living together.”, my wife stated. “And please”, she added as she looked directly at me, “If you’re not going to help, then just say nothing.”

“I just don’t think there’s anything to get so upset about.”, I said. “The woman has been a widow for almost 40 years. She spent all of that time alone. I think its good for her to meet someone and try to be happy.”

“Well, it’s not your mother, is it?”, my wife reminded me. And true enough, it wasn’t.

“We need to meet this guy.”, a son said. “We need to check him out and make sure he’s okay for Bubbie.”

“We should just put him in the trunk of his car and leave him in the parking lot at the Airport.”, someone said.

“This isn’t a Mafia hit.”, I interjected.

“What if they’re having sex?”, a daughter asked.

“They’re not having sex.”, my wife answered.

“How do you know?”, I asked.

“Because they’re not.”, she said. “You’re still not helping.”, she said to me.

“Well”, I offered.”Why don’t we ask your mother and her friend to join us for lunch. We’ll all go. We can meet him, and see what’s going on. Maybe then you can all stop talking about it.” There are times when I have wonderfully brilliant solutions to all of my families troubles, but not one of them will ever let me know. This was one of those times.

“Okay.”, my wife said. “I call my mother and make arrangements for this weekend.”

“I’m going to grill him.”, a daughter said. “No one messes with my Bubbie.”

“We could take him outside and threaten him.”, a son said. “You know, scare the crap out of him.”

“Who are you?”, I asked him. “We’re not the Sopranos!”

“We will all behave.”, my wife said. “It will be a nice getting to know you, and welcome to the family lunch.”

“He’s not in my family.”, a daughter said.

“Does he even speak English?”, a daughter asked.

“He speaks English.”, I assured her. “But like a Frenchman. Just mumble, close your eyes and move your head around a bit when you speak to him. He’ll understand perfectly.”

As the day of the luncheon rolled around, everyone was working on their own agendas. There were those who had plans to batter the man with incessant questioning, while others were planning on intimidating and threatening. My wife wasn’t sure how she would react. She hoped that she would like him, for her mother’s sake, but she already had issue with him. Me, well, it made no difference to me whatsoever. I was pretty far removed from the emotional turbulence that had overwhelmed my family. If he was alright, then I was alright. All of the kids and their significant others met at the restaurant about 20 minutes before we arranged for them to come. We were an intimidating site for a newcomer, all 10 of us, seated at the table, some with a scornful demeanor, and visible uneasiness. “Please make sure your children behave.”, my wife whispered to me.

“Why are they suddenly mine?”, I asked.

“Because you taught them to be rude and disrespectful.”, she said.

“Okay.”, I said to my kids. “You really need to tone it down, and behave yourselves. Be nice. Be polite. We’re hear for your grandmother. Let’s try to make her happy.”

When they arrived, we all sat there talking, introducing ourselves, and trying to get to know the Frenchman. I’m sure he knew the scrutiny he was under. I’m sure my mother-in-law warned him about our family. But he was alright. He held his own. One of my daughters kept giving him the ‘stink eye’, and I had to glare at her to get her to stop. It turned out that the Frenchman had a crap load of money, owned several properties across Canada, including a beach house in Nova Scotia, and a Condo in Vancouver. I could see my daughter’s eyes light up,  with dollar signs floating around her face. My mother-in-law seemed happy, the happiest I had seen her in many, many years. My wife, struggling a little to let go of the ghost of her father, also saw her mother’s happiness. We finished lunch, and said our goodbyes, as they had a long drive back to Windsor. As the rest of us walked towards our cars, there was much chatter about the Frenchman.

“He seems okay.”, a son said.

“I still don’t like him.”, a daughter said.

“Do you think I could get him to pay off my student loan?”, another daughter asked.

“I hate the French.”, someone stated.

In the car, heading home, my wife asked me what I thought of him. “I don’t know.”, I told her. “He seems nice enough, and your mother is very happy.”

“I don’t want her to get hurt.”, she said.

“Ah, honey.”, I said. “They’re 80 years old. He can’t get her money because we have signing authority. What’s left for him to take? Her virtue? That ship sailed a long, long time ago. Let her have fun. We will take care of her, but she needs to live.”

“I know.”, she said. “I just worry that he’ll leave or something, and then she’ll have nothing.”

“She’ll have us.”, I reminded her.

“Thank you for looking out for my mother.”, she told me.

“And besides”, I stated. “If he hurts her, we can always have him stuffed into the trunk of a car parked at the airport. Your gangster son would gladly do the job.”

“Oh, so now he’s my son.”, she exclaimed.

“Yes.”, I explained. “The crazy shit they get from you. The kids and I refer to it as ‘getting Moroccan’.”

“Well”, she said, “We have some time without any kids. Interested in some crazy Moroccan sex?”

“It so happens that’s my favorite kind.”, I told her. Man, I love this woman..