Camptown Ladies

 

 

I spent the entire summer trying to get Marlene Gorman to leave me alone. She followed me everywhere, and I really had no interest in her whatsoever. She seemed nice enough, but there were the braces, glasses, the weird, chop shop haircut, and acne, all which seemed appropriate accessories for her scrawny, pasty skinned body, and I was, at 14 years old, an incredibly shallow kid. But Marlene was simply a pain in the ass, always buzzing around like a mosquito that you just seem to catch, but you know you want it gone.

I was spending my time with Suzie Pressman, the owner of long, dark hair, a tantalizing smile, and deep blue eyes. I suppose her insanely large breasts also had something to do with my burgeoning passion for her. We spent all of our time together, sneaking out of the camp and wandering off into the adjoining Government Fish Hatchery where we entertained ourselves with drugs, nudity, and a cruise to Muff Island. or to the nearby town.

Every evening, Suzie would come by my cabin, and wait for me to come out, pretending that we would be attending the camp;s programed social activity of the night. Suzie and I prefered to engage in activities of our own design, and would disappear into the night armed with just a joint, a blanket, and the dream of taking home a gold medal in the sexolympics. The trick, as always, was to elude the ever present stalking of Marlene Gorman.

The camp was packed on visitors’ day, with hundreds and hundreds of parents arriving to spend a few hours with the kids they sent away for the summer. My parents arrived in the first wave, and with Suzie busy with her family, Marlene took the opportunity to hover around me and my parents. My mother brought gifts of food, and as we sat down to eat, Marlene began pacing in a circle around us. “Do you think if we tossed a piece of chicken over there”, I asked, “she’d run to chase it?”

“It depends on how well trained she is.”, the old man answered. “But there’s always a chance that she’d just go get it and bring it right back.”

“Stop it!”,my mother demanded. “That’s a girl, not a dog. You two should be ashamed of yourselves.” To be honest, I felt absolutely no shame, and I doubted the old man did either.

“That girl”, I tried to explain, ” has been following me all over the place. Everywhere I go, she’s there. Its like having another shadow. It’s driving me crazy.”

“Its because she likes you.”, my mother replied. “There is never a reason for being mean or hurtful to her. Never.”

Dr. B., the camp director and well known sociopath announced that Visitors’ Day was over, and requested that all families depart from the camp grounds. I said goodbye to my parents, and as I turned to leave, the old man slipped $20 into my hands, “Do something nice with your girl.”, he said.

“What girl?”, I asked.

“The one over there under the tree.”, he said, using his head to gesture over at Suzie and her parents as they were saying goodbye.

“How do you know?”, I asked.

“She keeps looking over at you, and to be honest, that’s who I’d be chasing around here.”, he replied as he walked off to catch up to my mother and head home. I think that was the first and last time I ever truly felt close to the old man.

There was this small, but wonderfully seductive waterfall about a 20 minute walk out of the camp grounds which was forbidden for campers to attend. Everything was forbidden, as Dr. B. reminded us on a daily basis with his announcements over the P.A. system, but most of us at this camp, just didn’t give a shit. Suzie and I frequented the forbidden falls regularly, settling in the small pool of cascading water, undressing each other and then banging like bunnies. We headed there after visitors’ day had ended, and after smoking a joint, began the spiritual rite of waterfall sex. The sound of something stirring in the bushes behind us was of little concern at first as we writhed in passion to the sound of Blues Image’s ‘Ride Captain Ride’ playing on the portable radio we always took along. “Is there an animal there?”, Suzie asked.

“No.”, I told her. “Its probably just Marlene.”

:I’m gonna kill her.”, Suzie said, as she grabbed a rock from the side of the pool and threw it into the bushes.  I put my shorts on and walked over to where the noises had come from. I could see Marlene scurrying through the bushes away from us, like a rat in a maze. “Can’t that bitch find a guy of her own?”, Suzie asked. I didn’t want to say it, but I was almost certain that she couldn’t. Not with the braces, the acne, and the ‘Scout Finch’ haircut.

When the summer ended, I said goodbye to Suzie and, despite the fact that she lived 5 hours away from me, we promised to keep in touch. We really didn’t. There were a few letters and even fewer phone calls for a month or so, and then nothing. I suppose that’s just how it is. Time passes, memories fade, and life moves forward. Years later, when I was attending University, I went out to one of the on campus bars where I was introduced to an insanely beautiful woman. She was tall and incredibly hot. She introduced herself as Margot, and we sat around for hours talking. At some point in the night I asked her out. She said no. “You just don’t remember. do you?”, she asked.

“Remember what?”, I inquired.

“Me.”, she said. “You don’t remember me, do you?”

“Trust me, if we had met before, I’d remember you.”, I suggested.

“Oh, we’ve met before.”, she insisted. “Five years ago at Camp Ramah. I’m Marlene Gorman.”

“Oh hell.”, I blurted out. “You’re gorgeous.”

“I know.”, she replied as she stood. “And if you weren’t such an asshole to me, all of this could be yours right now.” I sat in silence as she walked away, realizing that my mother was right. Hell, I had been cruel and hurtful, and I was ashamed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lost With A Moral Compass

 

by Fielding Goodfellow

Following my expulsion from a private, religious school which my parents truly believed would set me on a clear and direct path to a cabana on a pristine beach in the after life, I entered high school as a free man, and left as one incredibly fucked up high school graduate. Over the course of four years, I am almost certain that I was wasted every day. As a result, most of my high school memories have dissipated, much like a fog bank settling over the shore line.

While the regular cast of thousands roamed the bleak, concrete hallways, engaging in self deprecating mating rituals with assorted cheerleaders in short skirts and knee high socks, who brushed them off with a flip of their hair and a turn of their head, I was  engaged in a psychedelic lunch break with draft dodger turned English teacher and drug dealer, Mr. N., or some bizarre sex ritual in the back of a Jeep Wrangler with Madame S., the French teacher who I am certain worked part time as a stripper at The Algonquin Tavern.

I suppose it was just my good fortune to have entered the corridor at the exact moment head cheerleader and dating expert Marilyn Garland, bent over and displayed her upper middle class, wonder bread ass to Fitzroy Simmons, a science nerds who had stopped to gawk. “You can keep looking.”, she said, “but you’re never gonna get this.” After a cursory glance, it occurred to me that nobody around wanted to get that.

“Don’t flatter yourself.”, I told her as I walked by. “No one wants that pasty white, bony ass. Put it away.” Fitzroy laughed. Marilyn stormed off with her band of mindless, professional virgins who I have been led to believe went on to find success as frigid wives of suburban accountants, and I was once again in the office of school Vice-Principal, Mr. Brackett.

It was the usual exchange of ideas, one that we seemed to continually rehearse. Mr. Brackett sat behind his desk, tapping his hand with a yard stick, pointing out that I was  disrespectful, immoral, and destined for a lifetime of failure. I disagreed, and expressed my concern that he was ignorant, belittling, and an asshole. I was suspended for three days, and the customary call to my parents was made. As I went to retrieve my belongings from my locker, I ran into Madame S., and I told her what had happened. “You’re just so adorable.”, she told me. “Let me give you a ride home.” I met her at the Jeep. “You drive.”, she said as she tossed me the keys. Now, if you have never had a blow job while driving a manual transmission Jeep with the top down, I suggest you try it at least once. It was wonderfully fulfilling.

My father’s only concern was that he had been called by the school. It didn’t matter to him what I had or had not done. He really didn’t care. He just did not want to be called. “I don’t understand why you keep getting caught.”, he said.

“I don’t get caught.”, I informed him. “I just choose not to run away.”

“Well”, he advised, “that’s getting caught.”

“Not really.”, I replied. “That’s surrendering. I am trying to make a point.”

“Which is?”, he asked.

“That I am right, and they are full of shit.”, I told him. We never understood each other. He neither shared my sense of justice or responsibility. The battle was fought over many years, with his frequent reminders that he just didn’t understand me. I let him know that it was alright, I wasn’t really looking for understanding, anyway. What I was really seeking was the freedom to think my own thoughts, and to live my own life. His only request was that I lived a moral life.

Many years later, following a night out, when the paranoid delusions invade the deepest recesses of my thoughts as I attempt to sleep, I realized that I had very matter of factly pissed away most of my life. Wallowing in the effects of years and years of uninhibited hallucinogenic consumption and random acts of various erotic mayhem, I realized that I was plagued with a sense of melancholy. I had discovered, much to my father’s chagrin that morality is a sham. Behind a facade of transparency, it has been driven into the shadows under a veil of secrecy and deceit. It manifests itself as the law of the land, but in reality it is merely the masturbatory fantasies of those who sit on the far right. I have participated in enough protests to have discovered that those liberal, left wing social democrats who take to the streets and gather in the squares to voice their disapproval, wind up being corralled like cattle and detained in the name of decency and public safety. I have come to understand that morality is a word used to dupe us into conformity. It is used to stifle self expression, and entice the masses to join in and march in the great military parades. Morality is insanely immoral.

We are, after all, human beings with the freedom of choice. So whose morality are we being asked to accept? Morality does not stop us from hurting others, but in fact encourages it, provided those we wish to harm are without morals. It is not morality that should prevade our existence, but responsibility. Responsibility to ourselves, and to our fellow man. We all have a responsibility to take care of each other, that is the essence of being human. Morality gives us the option to fuck up those who are less fortunate and marginalized, once we convince ourselves that they are immoral. The white shirt, suit and tie bufoons who reign supreme by virtue of their ability to make promises that they have no intention to keep, dictate what is moral as they shove the poor and destitute deeper into the holes that have been dug in an attempt to bury all of the unwanted refuse this society has created.

Where is the responsibility we have towards our fellow man? Where is the sense of duty to help those in need? These qualities, an integral part of what makes us human beings has been relegated to land fills across the planet in order that the rich and powerful may continue to be rich and powerful. I  don’t profess to have all of the answers, but I do know that I do not screw others because it is immoral, but rather because I have an obligation to help, not hinder, to enlighten, not confuse. I don’t want what others have, nor do I need it, but the constraints of morality force even the meekest of men to become sinners. The new found morality will not lead to happiness, or peace of mind. Happiness will be found in doing what you love, and being who you really are, without seeking acceptance from anyone other than yourself. Those who expound morality are immoral.

I regret nothing, although there are times when I wish I could have said something a little more appropriate than “Go to hell, you fucking whore.”, at the settlement hearing with my first wife, but it was said and done. I have tried to spend my life as a champion of the underdog, the guardian of those who are unable to help themselves. When no one wanted to hang out with Fitzroy Simmons, who was taunted, teased and bullied his entire academic life, I looked out for him, and offered my friendship. Madame S., well, she needed to feel love, and I desperately wanted to be the one to give it to her. My refusal to knuckle under to the intimidation tactics of Mr. Brackett served to demonstrate to others that authority exists only because we give it permission to.

I went on, after University, to work with children and adolescents with mental health and behavioral issues, guiding them to a life of self reliance and self acceptance. Not bad for a disrespectful, immoral, failure. Recognize your responsibility and your duty to give back, and stop listening to the moral right. They’re all just fucktards.

Fielding Goodfellow Speaks

 

This is an excerpt from an interview with Fielding Goodfellow published in ‘Psychedelic Psecrets’, in June 2016.

I met Fielding Goodfellow at a small Middle Eastern restaurant just north of the city. I had been advised by his publicist that he does not talk about politics or religion. I arrived a few minutes early, to find him already seated at a table, drinking Turkish coffee. The following has been transcribed from notes I took at this meeting.

MAG: You’ve written short stories, a few novels, and a screenplay. No one seems to know much about the screenplay. Where did that come from?

FG:  Oh, ya. ‘Free Swim In The Gene Pool’. My foray into film. It was, by the way, a resounding piece of crap.  I wrote it on a dare from a friend.

MAG: ‘Free Swim In The Gene Pool’? I’ve never heard of it.

FG: Well,  I’m not surprised. As I said, it was crap.

MAG: Did you always want to be a writer?

FG: No, I never thought about being a writer. I wanted to be a super hero. The writing thing I think was always there, laying patiently in wait. And then one day, it just all started to fall out.

MAG: There are numerous references to your days at University in most of your work. What was your major?

FG: Well, as I remember it, my University days were quite the Space Oddity, so I suppose there was Major Tom. Oh, and there were the majorettes.

MAG: Sex and drugs. Right?.

FG: Pretty much.

MAG:  Both seem to be recurrent themes in your work. What’s your take on the upcoming recreational marijuana laws?

FG:  I have no opinion, really. Drugs are simply a great way to travel to far off places without having to put my pants on.

MAG: You once said that the writing process and sex are pretty much the same. Care to elaborate?

FG: I probably did say that, but I have this weird ass writer friend in Detroit who said it first. But ya, I think its true. The only difference is that with writing, I never have to apologize for finishing early.

MAG: You don’t seem to take much seriously, do you?

FG: No, I don’t. Its pointless. Life isn’t a serious venture. Its a divine comedy. A burlesque revue at best.

MAG: And for those who can’t seem to find the humor?

FG: Get the fuck out of the house. Just live life. Here’s the problem. When I was 13, I was riding my bike around the streets, having incredible sex with the neighborhood housewives. At 15, I was listening to The 13th Floor Elevators, smoking a joint, while getting a blow job from Wendy Phillips. Today, I rarely see kids outside. They’re busy sitting in their rooms, alone, playstation powered up, engaged in some fantasy bullshit with 4 other virginal nerds from assorted parts of the planet. Life isn’t fantasy. It’s life. Go out and fucking live it. Travel. Experience shit. Its wonderfully funny out there.

MAG: Are there any other words of wisdom for our readers?

FG: Stop listening to people who don’t know anything. The world is filled with ignorant twats who are selling information on things they really know nothing about. Why would you trust someone who has never raised kids to teach you how to raise kids? And yet, they write their books, appear on TV talk shows, flogging their insights into child rearing, all with no experience raising kids. They’re full of shit. If you want to know about raising kids, talk to someone who has raised 5 or 6 of them. Stop believing the so called experts.

MAG: So, what’s next for Fielding Goodfellow?

FG: Well, I think I’m going to order the chicken shawarma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zaidie Joe & The Bubbie Monster

Its been a long, long time since my grandfather passed away. 40 years or so, but there are memories of him that remain as clear as if they had happened yesterday.

During the last year of his life, some of the family were believing that he was losing his mind. There was talk of zaidie3moving to a senior’s home, but when he got wind of it, he threatened to play chess with death, and lose on purpose.

My grandmother said that there were signs of his impending dementia. He would sit in the backyard all day and feed little carrots she had bought for soup to the squirrels. He would go into the basement, and stay there for hours at a time, refusing to eat meals. She was convinced that he no longer knew who she was, as he rarely spoke to her, unless it was to drone on and on about something that happened 50 years ago.  I had spent a great deal of time with this man, and I loved him. We would often go to United Bakers,. He would order tea, and rugelach, and proceed to dunk each into the tea before he ate it. He had been doing this for as long as I had known him. I kept telling my parents that he was fine, but no one believed me.

In the mid 1970’s, I went to Miami Beach for reading week during my 2nd year of University. My grandparents, coincidentally, were sent there by my parents for some rest at the same time. During the week I was there, my grandfather became ill, and was hospitalized. I went to visit him, in an attempt to keep his spirits up.

I went in the room and sat in a chair beside him. “How are you feeling?”, I asked.

“Come here”, he said, pointing to the bed. “Come closer. I have something to tell you”.

zaidie1I sat on the side of his bed, waiting for him to say something insightful  “What is it?”.

“Your Bubbie is driving me crazy!” he said, looking to see if anyone else was in the room. “And I think she’s trying to kill me.”.

“What are you talking about?”. I asked.

“Ok. Listen.” he said with all seriousness. “She has been putting those little carrots in my soup.You know, the ones I give to the squirrels. I hate those little carrots. She knows I hate them. And yet, she keeps putting them in my soup. Who would put little carrots in soup?”.

“I don’t think she’s trying to kill you with carrots.”, I told him.

“Really? What am I doing in here then?”

I had no idea what to say. Could it be that my Zaidie was losing his mind? “What do you want me to do?”, I asked him.

“Throw out those little carrots. Better yet, throw out your Bubbie”.

I laughed. He laughed. “I’m not sure we would get away with it”, I replied.

“They all think I’m crazy”, he added. “I know what they say. I hear them talking. They can think what they want to think. Only me and you know the truth”.

“Ok, Zaidie.”

zaidie2“She’s a monster!”. he said.  “I think I would like one of those Irish girls, you know, with the red hair. A young, ginger girl”.

“Well, you have to get better first. Then I will help you find you one”. I told him.

“You’re a good boy”, he said.

I flew back to school a few days later. My grandfather stayed in the hospital for another 2 weeks. He passed away the departure lounge of Mami International Airport. In his pocket was a picture postcard of Dublin. When I heard this, I smiled, and I chuckled.