Thursday, December 2, 2010

Johnny's House and Grandpa Pabst


 I really did think I was going to die.  Just like Christine died. All of a sudden it would rush me.  Johnny was my friend now and I didn't care if I was shot dead because someone finally understood me.  I never had anything like him before.  Johnny invited me to his house that weekend and it became the sole goal of surviving my first week of this abuse.  I knew the finish line would be Johnny's house.  He gave me the address and described its appearance, it was easy to detect.

    Johnny's house was abandoned from hope.  The yard was filled with the relics of the old world: broken down cars, bits of broken electronics, and old chunks of transistor radios that echoed the sounds of the 1950s.  There were overgrown plants that didn't belong to them any more; their previous owners had long since passed away and the brush could now move without constraint to pillage their kingdom.   The only objects in the yard that looked deliberate in their placement were three wagon wheels that lay against the the porch wall.  How queer they lay as if antiquities of the wild west placed as decor amongst the battlefield of a New England squat.  The front door hung like a wanted man from one hinge.  Barely a door, it was more a screen in a door frame.  It was a gateway to a dilapidated ranch house far from the caring hands of a sane adult.  Broken plates,  half-finished dinosaur sculptured parts, three-legged kitchen chairs, and memorabilia of an insane disjointed past filled the house.  The rooms breathed a history of neglect.  The whole habitat had a stench of bowel movements and kitty litter.  They didn't own a cat.       

    Almost as stagnant as the dwelling was Johnny's grandfather who sat on the front porch.  He sat in his chair every day watching the cars go by suckling from a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.  His brand never changed.  It was a matter of pride, "I've drank the same beer for 47 years there's no changing me!"  Grandpa Pabst was senile, I think.  He was an old sculptor who had a grant back in 1932  with The Museum of Natural History.  Apparently when the budget was cut the grant fell through.  Grandpa Pabst would ramble on about the dinosaurs that he thought to be living in the jungle of his front lawn.  "Cold front coming through. The pterodactyls have all gone and left this area."  The dinosaur exhibit must have been the last exhibit he was working on.

    Grandpa Pabst's wife passed away 10 years prior to our introduction, but he was convinced she was still alive.  Her name was Sherry.  On a small side table which sat next to Grandpa Pabst was a tiny woman, a mammy doll that he addressed and believed was Sherry.  Johnny told me He would talk to her/it every day.  In the summer he would even serve the doll lemonade.  She gave up drinking in 1945, he told me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Johnny

When Christine died Charlotte put all her clothes in my closet and told me I had a brand new wardrobe. I wanted new clothes, but I hated wearing the rags of my dead sister. I could smell her. No matter how many times I hand washed those garments, Christine was still there. She was there in stench: sweaters reeking of hairspray, cherry chap-stick and dollar store rose perfume. That year was my entrance to junior high. My uniform was Christine. I remember the agony.

Junior high is a prison designed to confine the ideals of hormone-infested youths yearning for revolt--a birthplace for the human invention of fear and anxiety. It was my second day in this deranged institution and it was gym day. We were told we could buy a new gym uniform for ten dollars and fifty cents or use a hand-me-down. I, of course, had to use Christine's old one. It was awful. She had stretched out the neck so that the collar fell over one of my shoulders. Welcome to Junior high, you are now the biggest faggot to enter these legendary halls, I thought.

A nightmare. Running and running. The beast at my heels was the intense ignorance of my peers. The unyielding fervor of Coach Pierce's booming commands made me jump and sprint all the while trying to pull up my lady collar. I was in the middle of the second lap around the school yard when Joshua Wellman knocked me down. "Fucking faggot I saw you staring at my prick in the locker room!" It was true I was looking at it, a kind of puny thing, but I denied the claim. "Why'd you get the girl uniform?"

Timothy Johns and Frankie Roseglass backed him up with "You fucking lady boy!" Timothy Johns pushed me down and kicked me in the face and I started bleeding everywhere and crying. Where were the guards, the teachers, some sane security to this madness? The blood was pouring from my mouth. In a state so pathetic, I was twitching, crying, bleeding. The boys' laughter must have echoed to the neighboring town it had such a roar. Then they heard an approaching stranger. Fearing it was an adult, they ran.

My Savior was a scrappy boy with a lazy eye named Johnny. He saw the blood. He picked me up and we snuck out to the woods near the school. I just cried till we got to a big rock overlooking that putrid place. I stopped crying and looked at him. There was a deafening romantic silence and he said "Fuck everything." I was in love.

Dear Diary,


I found beauty today. I know you understand. Maybe Junior High won't be so bad. I like him and I think he likes me too. I can finally die happy.

Love,

Sam


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christine part 3

 A screech from Mom, from Dionne, me, and a very unlucky raccoon who was nibbling through discarded Wendy's kids meals.  " My Moms upset.  We're looking for my sister." I peeped. Dionne's face calmed, she lower her gun, and walked to the bushes to discover the corpse.  "Damn" she whispered and teared up. She turn to us "Now what the hell is going on?  I just shot a goddamn raccoon!"

Dionne calmed and wiped the sweat and finely curled bangs from her brow.  "I'm sorry Miss...?" Mom stumbled not knowing her name. "Dionne, Officer Dionne." with a grunt "My child has run away, I was in a panic," mom continued "all this came to a head tonight.  Oh god she vanishes all the time.  And me I'm to blame."  Mom sobered with these words, perhaps she realized it was her fault.  Her face skewed and broke at the final word blame.  

"Alright lets go find her (sigh)."  Officer Dionne said with  a flip of the wrist, a kind of giddy up.  Mom went to start to start the car, it growled and then coughed.  That old buick flopped over and died that very night in an empty parking lot of Wendy's.  How appropriate I thought.

We got in Dionne's car.  I got to ride shot gun and she let me eat her cookies.  She had a thermos of what she called sweet tea and I called ice tea.  Dionne could tell I was scared so she made me feel comfortable.  Mom passed out behind the grated mesh in the back seat as we searched through the night. 

I had wished Dionne was my mother.  There was something physical about her that made me want her embrace.  Perhaps it was her gigantic bosom or her child birthing figure.  She was maternal in every way, opposite my own mother.  Dionne cared.  "Are you okay Sam?" she rubbed my back a little and I nodded. 

Mom's snore grew louder as we pulled into the lot of our last DQ. Just like the others it was closed and no sign of Christine.  I was in the front searching the bushes for some significant trace of evidence as to my sisters where abouts when I heard a commotion.  I ran to the back to see Officer Dionne yelling "Christine your coming home!"  It was some older girl clutching a portly biker guy with a gray beard.  "Fuck off lady!" said this unknown girl.  Dionne pulled out the gun.  I tugged on her sleeve screaming that it wasn't my sister.  Just then from the restroom door behind the couple a mascara smeared christine exited.  

Again,

tears, street lights,

a cop,

and an abortion,

later we were fine.

      

    So here we are two years later and she's dead, Officer Dionne helped us find Christine that night.  She was also the first Officer to arrive at the house the night of Christine's passing.  Officer Dionne was sporting hot pink nails that night and a giant tacky "gold" ring carved in the depiction of the baby Jesus.  That night baby Jesus was swaddled in the black lady tears of Dionne.  

Mom came back from the bar the next day.  "She's dead Mom!  Christine is dead!"  My mother whaled and moaned.  Her baby was dead and she blamed her self.  I blamed her too. "Mom?" That was the last time I referred to my mother as Mom.  Thru her tears she said "I'm not Mom.  I've never acted like a mom to you Sam.  You can just call me Charlotte."      

The doctor said the sudden heart failure was probably from all the drugs she did.  There was no precise reason.  Diagnosis: Tragedy. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Memory of Christine Part 2

Back in the Buick,

Tears, street lights,

and a cop.

There were, what seemed like, thirteen Dairy Queen's surrounding my town.  We checked the six closest to us.  Mom looked insane, half drunk and hungry.  We pulled into a Wendy's parking lot and Mom had a break down.  "Just like me a slut!  A little girl turned to a whore by this cruel world."  Tears filled that crusty brown Buick.  The big kind of tears.  Was Mom sober, or was she acting, drunk acting to me?  "I did this Sam!  I did this cause I didn't care.  She's probably dead!  Hunted down by some late night stalking pervert!  The always love the pregnant ones!"  She was drunk.

She was drunk and she was acting. "I've seen this on Dateline!  Stone Phillips did a whole special on the white slave trade,  and They always go after the pregnant ones!  Oh god Hank where are you... Death do us part... Bullshit!"  Mom created a lot of commotion in that empty lot.  Enough that a police car cruised up next to us.  "Everything all right Lady?".  Came a voice out of a dimly lit cruiser.  Before Mom could speak I screamed "Help!"

A giant black woman named Officer Dionne exited the car with a gun raised in the air.  "Freeze lady!  Don't move I've got a gun! Don't be a fool!"  Mom screamed and froze in her seat and thru her hands in the air.

Dionne moved closer, her ass raised in the air like a cat in heat.  Her eye's showed all the madness of a rookie cop handed a 1911 Smith and Wesson.  Mom's pupils dilated as she stuttered "What in God's name?"

The large scuttle in the brush next to the buick and Dionne shot!  A screech fell over our quite town.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A memory of Christine part 1



I was 11 years old.  It was a rainy friday, Christine had been missing for days.  Two weeks to be exact, more then her usual stint.   We hadn't heard from her and I could tell mom was getting nervous when her white wine intake doubled. All the ash trays were beyond full, creating an unbearable stench.  I could hear the same VHS tape of "I Love Lucy" on loop late into the night.  Something was off, Christine had runaway before, but this was different.  Usually I'd be in shotgun of the brown Buick driving around town with mom at four am looking for her. 

It was as if this time mom did not care.  Mom wasn't a mom then.  Mom was a vegetable.  I think she just snapped, she couldn't care.  I could tell she was in a dark place.  This time she had to wait for Christine to come back by her self.  I would feed Mom, fix her hair, change her garments, cleaned her ashtrays.

Mom would talk to my father, not on the phone, but in her dreams.  In her drunken passed out state she would ramble.  I would listen.  Monologues trail in and out to her run away lover.  

"Why did you go away Hank.... Were you ever here Hank?... Hank... Hank... can you mail this?.... Hank the garbage goes out on Tuesdays... and you were gone Hank... Were all good little soldiers Hank.... Love? Love, dare you speak the word..... you stick to what you know Hank.  The good old boys down at the bar and the women you stick it to." 

The closest I got to knowing why Hank left was in listening to those late night monologues.  I would sit by her as long as possible trying to suck up every bit of evidence.  All I learned was that my father was a bus driver and my father was a drunk.    In an odd way this was the time I cherished most with my mother at the time.  Other kids enjoyed pizza night, or a weekly trip to the mall with their mom.  mine was listening to my mother mumble out the stories of old while in a wine coma every night from seven to ten.

Bottles of White Zinfandel Wine lay encompassing the lazy boy chair in which she slept.  seven o'clock would roll round and she was out.  It usually took about two bottles and If it took more than two she would be awake all night in a slurring awful mood.  

I wondered where Christine had gone.  What would it be this time, navy boy, heroin, some strange prostitution sex escapade?  More importantly how she would return, dead, imprisoned, infested with scabies and STDs, an amputee?

I'd just tucked mom into her chair.  I was picking up the trash that lay 'round her; empty cigarette boxes and half eaten bags of 25 cent potato chips.  The phone rang.  I thought it would be one of Mom's creditors calling about an over due bill.  I picked up and heard a bunch of white noise and some sniffles.  "Hello?" I asked "Sam...." a voice mumbled and then I noted what I thought sounded like someone suckling the last drop of soda out of a Big Gulp.  "Who is this?"  asked a squeaky prepubescent  eleven year old.  "Sam (another sip) it's Christine,  I'm pregnant is mom there?"  Mom was there, but she wasn't.  Mom seamed to snore louder as if responding to her name being called.  "Hey Christine, Mom's asleep I'll wake her.  Where are you?"  It took her a while to respond,  I could hear her cover the phone and yell at her friends to quiet down.  "Where are you Christine?"  I repeated.  "I'm at Dairy Queen (sip)!  Jesus Christ Sam (I could hear her whimper) you've got to help me!"  I turned to Mom and the phone went dead.   

I tried to wake her, but there she lay a cold dead fish.  A dirty wine stained Hanes white tee and beige under wear clothed her. "Mom!  Mom Christine is pregnant at the DQ!" She didn't move.  I dumped half a glass of white zinfandel on her lap.  "A GOD DAMN HORSE!"  She screamed when waking. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christine's Dead


  "It was cold out.  I remember that.  He grabbed me... and shook me like a man shakes a woman in those old movies.  He just kept screaming and that's what I wanted.  I wanted him to scream, I wanted him to strike me and when I asked why he would say "because I'm damn mad at you!"  When you grow up Sam you will understand that that is passion."  I was stunned almost moved by the performance my sister created in my head.  I wanted to stand and applaud the presentation, but I just nodded and she smoked, her maverick cigarette nearly burning her hand.  My sister had a sugared glaze in her eyes starring in thought.  

"Isn't life a trip Sam?"  I didn't answer her.  I couldn't get this episode out of my head.  All I asked her was if I could have some of her cheesy balls and she gave me a chapter from a smut novel.  Christine was obsessed with her new boyfriend Ted, he was thirty six and dating a teenager.  Any sort of question addressed to my sister would trigger a mound of Ted filled verbal diarrhea.  I never liked Ted.  I think it was his name.  TED, where is the romance,  I wanted a man named Blaine or Christian. My life would be forever filled with boring names.  After her story I retreated to my room.  My quarters was decorated in true adolescent fag motif.  Trinkets to captivate the eye, shells, glittery trolls, a million bedazzled horses of varying breed ,and young adult novels about lust filled youths adorn my shelves.  Out of mothers old dish rags, like some fucked up Fräulein Maria, I patched together curtains and dyed them my favorite color of the time periwinkle. The curtains went quite well with my aubergine comforter; it was a grape blanket.    

     It was there I reenacted Christine's story with my dolls.  I just kept shaking Barbie.  "Fuck you Christine!  Fuck you!  I'm goin' to fuck you!"  Shaking the doll imagining the rapture, agony, sex, my sister experienced.  Barbie was dull, stiff, and blank.  She could never flail the way my sister did.  What a cheap imitation I had created.  I grew bored, chucked the doll and when to get some more intelligence on the situation.  My preteen mind needed more ammunition for my fantasy.  Like a teenager looking thru a panty catalogue, I needed some raw materials.  

My head peaked around the door way to our mud-room.  Christine was dead.  Some say her heart just stopped working.   She went out with grace.  Face down in a bowl of cheese balls.  I hope to go that way my self when the time comes.  She was in the living room in Mom's recliner watching her prerecorded day time television.  She passed without a sound, not a peep!  I was 12 and I found her.  A look of ecstasy smeared her face.  

Christine  was my sister and she's dead now.  I miss her... I guess.  But I don't know what life would be like with her.