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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weekend At Willies Ch Twelve Arrival


Patrick Sweany.  Them Shoes.

The rain weakened as we crept along the slick dirt road on the northern off-skirts of Fuckno.  The young man in the passenger seat began to cringe smaller and smaller into the cold vinyl, like he was becoming the size of a small boy.  He pulled his knees up and placed his clawed fingers over his eyes.  He was in terrible shape.

As the rain turned to droplets, I saw the place where his home had once stood, in the headlight from our vehicle.

His stately ranch had been leveled by explosions and fire.

I pulled to the side of the muddy road and put the iron hearse into park.

I turned off the headlamps but left the engine running, for the heater.  The rain stopped, but the wind blew in through the smashed out rear window.   All I could hear above the rumble of the engine was Tellesco, who whimpered in his tight cocoon of arms and fear.

He was all naked and shit, and he could catch a chill if I shut down the engine to the hearse.

No need for that.

At least I wasn’t a total asshole to him at that point. 

He should have thanked me, but he didn’t.

Inconsiderate bastard.

I climbed out of the old, iron vehicle and slammed the door shut.  The clouds above raced away like they were being chased by demons.  I saw the hint of purple light glow over the tops of the valley mountains, and this afforded me a view of the path ahead.

I zipped up my leather jacket to close out the cold wind.  My leather was damp from the night’s activities, but it held my body heat inside.  Always mind your leather, and it will be there for you when you need it.  Never doubt.

Well, the house was gone, and all that remained in its place was an odd artwork made out of black shards of wooden joists and studs that pointed in different directions.  Each one  appeared to be pointing to its own star above. These were disappearing from view as the sky grew brighter.

The whole area smelled like a doused campfire.  The smell of the lye that water and ash creates stung my nose.  The wind helped, but not much.

Yellow strips of police tape flickered in the strong breeze here and there.  I slogged through the shallow mud in my Docs towards the cement driveway and the pad where the garage had once stood.

In my head, I could still hear the echoes of the punk band playing on the rear deck, facing the pool many yards further on, and the huge field beyond that.

It had been one hell of a three day party, with his parents away on a cruise.

I stepped around and through the jumble of burnt timbers to get to the footing.  From where the garage door had once led into the pantry of the kitchen part of the house, I could figure out where the rest of the house was once laid out.

Off to the right, that was where the huge kitchen table once sat, commanding the attention of all visitors.  If you weren’t careful, that table could smack you in the balls, or fly you to heights of drug-fueled space exploration, or even bust your arms, depending on what your intentions might be.

From where I stood, I could make out where the wine cellar had been dug out of the desert hard pan.   That was now a tomb.

Down the hallway from there, I knew there was a place that once had hidden an awful book of photos, and it had become a crematorium.  All of the recorded ugliness of a bad father's actions upon his only son had finally been laid to rest.  The smoke from combustion is a prayer to the heavens, in all manner that there may be.

Tahoo, Amen.

I looked over, far beyond, to the swimming pool in the back yard, where folks had sought escape from the huge explosions, and the water had become sour from their charred clothing and skin.

And then I saw the guest house, way further off to the left of the pool, hiding behind a small grove of errant fig trees.   That might be our temporary haven, if I could get the young, frightened man to exit the hearse. He’d have to cross by the destruction of his once-lovingly-adorned house.  That would take some work.  Dude was out for the count, in his head.

I figured I should make certain that the guest cottage was passable as a place to find some sleep.  Then I would need to figure out how to hide the huge hearse.  No need to alert anyone to our visit when the sun awoke.

I was exhausted physically, but it was the mental exhaustion that mattered more.  Your body needs only a couple of hours to rejuvenate, but your brain requires REM sleep, and that takes a good four to five hours.  By now you know that I truly enjoy my pillow time, and this means at least six to possibly eleventy hours. 

I wondered if there were pillows, and if they smelled like smoke?  Would there be anything left at all?  Certainly, the windows had been blown out from the blast.  Perhaps there were glass shards all over the floor inside the cottage.

Looters probably had made off with everything, including a possible pillow I hoped to find.

But one always has hope, right?.

Perhaps you will forgive an old bastard for indulging in the music of the eighties. 
That era is from where this tale is written.  
Before there was a television show involving cops who wore pastel dinner jackets, 
this song was held by many to be quite cool, due to its own inherent gravitas.  
I’m taking it back here.  
Fuck those who disparage this artist. 
He tells a great tale here, in powerful execution.
Crank it up.

Phil Collins. In The Air.

I looked back at the black hearse that rumbled near the cement driveway before I went forth.   The frightened young man was warm for the moment, I reassured myself.

So I went on to the cottage.

In the backyard were the remnants of teen partyers.  Tennis shoes, plastic beer cups, charred jackets, and anything else not collected by crime-scene investigators.

The cottage hid behind its cover of  fig trees.  I looked over to the swimming pool on the right as I passed it but I couldn't see anything floating.  That was a good thing.  I was all creeped out, and if anything could be seen bobbing on the surface of the water, I would have fucking bailed, my friend. 

I did not know that nobody much at all had come to this place, other than police, crime-scene detectives, and the fire marshall, as well as the news reporters.

Kids might visit a scene of disaster out of morbid curiosity, but it would take some effort to travel up to the off-skirts of Fuckno to this place, and the neighbors would have noticed folks driving along on the lone dirt road, passing by.

It was a good thing that we had come here just before day-break, if there was anything good about it at all.

The neighbors were sleeping.

I didn't know it at the time, but this place now had a reputation of being haunted; it kept almost everyone away. Except for a certain sort of individual.

That would be a goth punk, or someone of that ilk.

As I neared the cottage in the purple light, I saw that the windows were indeed gone.  The cottage loomed out of the night like a hollow-eyed skull, and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

The smell of burnt flesh and the echoes of screams blew towards me in the wind.

It was all in my head.

I stopped, wanting to just get the fuck out, game over, but we needed to rest, in peace.

I resisted the urge to look back at the hearse way off behind me, because I would again see the blackened fingers pointing at the sky.  The house seemed to be calling to the heavens, “why have you forsaken me” or something like that.

The wind moaned through the eaves of the little cottage, and it made me shiver.  It was not helping at all.

I growled under my breath.  I was creeped out, and I needed to get my strength back.  Anger could help.  I was just too exhausted to get any blood roiling inside me, so my effort felt hollow.

I trudged on.  “Rrrrrgh…”

It seemed silly, growling in fake anger.  But it was all I had.

The doorknob would not turn, so I went over to the window on the right and against all instinct, I leaned in.

A black claw grabbed my face and pulled me in and I died.  The end.

Yeah, right.

I could barely make out the walls, but I could see that they had been spray-painted.   Of course they were, huh. I could not quite make out the artwork of the tagger, but it was not elaborate; just words and designs in a rudimentary style.

There were no curtains, no flowers in vases on tables, no doilies.  But there was something else.  It was a door that remained closed.

I walked around to the rear of the cottage and saw that some of the windows were not busted out.

Perhaps there had not been looting.  Would there be anything to help us out? Tellesco needed clothing, and it would be nice to have a blanket, maybe a pillow or two.  If there was a single pillow, I considered that I might offer it to Tellesco.

Of course I would, promise you.

Well, shit.  I had to make sure of what was in there.  It wouldn’t be fair to Tellesco to make him come out to the cottage in the cold wind and then find a wooden floor and nothing else.

I had to explore the interior.  Back home, in Maine, the place would have been a hotel for bats, raccoons, and those mean, tiny red squirrels that sit outside in the early morning on their tree branches and wake everyone in the area up with their incessant chirping and squeals, those bastards.

I expected to be greeted by such visitors when I climbed in through one of the busted-out windows.   And you know, even though that would jumped the hell out of me, I actually would have preferred that to what I feared would greet me.

Angry ghosts of those who died might be awaiting me.

I had contributed to their demise.

I pulled my leather jacket arm sleeves down across my palms and pushed away at the shards sticking up on the sill.

Then I climbed in.   I awaited a chorus of surprised, angry screeches, but the silence comforted me.  Its weight and breadth made me wait for a trick, a jump, like in them cheap horror flicks.

There were none.

I went to the closed door, with my muddy boots crackling on glass shards, and I felt them collect under-sole.  My boots now had glass shards stuck to their soles.

The doorknob would not budge.  I twisted it with all of my might in my exhausted state, but it did not move.

I didn't want to bust the door down, even if I’d had the strength to do that, because I’d done enough damage to Tellesco’s home.  I was the one who had shown the rest of the bastard teenagers the door to the wine cellar, the tomb.

Yeah, I carried some weight on my shoulders.  But I felt like it was my burden alone.

In my tired mind, I considered that there might be a key hidden somewhere for this door.  It is often said that if you can hide a key, then a thief, a burglar will find it. 

I held out hope and felt above the door, and found a key sticking up between the trim and the wall.  Evidently, those who had vandalized the cottage with their spray paint and midnight offerings were not burglars.They had been there for something else.

I tried the key in the doorknob, and it worked.

Tahoo, Amen.

Spoon.  The Way We Get By.

I pushed the door open, expecting raccoons to leap out and bite my legs, but instead, the scent of stale air greeted me.  It was better than the smell of charred wood from the outside air.

My eyes had become used to the dark of the interior, so when I opened the door I saw the pale, purple light of morning coming through the panes of glass.

There was a bed, and it had blankets.

There were even pillows, thank goodness.  I could have wept.

Now I would have to figure out how to hide the hearse.

I had an idea about that.

I wondered how deep the swimming pool was.

I wondered if it might accommodate a stolen hearse.

Son of a bitch could use a good baptism.

We could not drive it anywhere else, ever again.

The police would be looking for it.

Tomorrow was creeping up over the tops of the mountains in the east, but tomorrow was another day.

We could figure everything out after we got some rest.

Now, I simply needed to get Tellesco to cross the graveyard of his burned home, over the backyard where kids had died, and then I would have to baptize a hearse in his pool, and drown it, before I could grab some pillow time.

This would have to be soon.

The angry sun was about to peek over the mountain peaks with his accusing eye.


Couldn't catch a break, my friend.

God Help You.

God Help Us All.

----willies out.

Antidote, in memoriam of a certain hearse.

Soggy Bottom Boys. Man Of Constant Sorrow.



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