483. The Telltale Singlet

Related imageA lovely time was had by all at yet another dinner party with the same lovely people we have come to know well over the past five years or so. If you recall my earlier post called The Dinner Party, that action took place at Suzanne and Gary’s abode on the hill two years ago. Oh, my!! Time has sprinted away from me. It ended in deep space as I saved the human race by exiting the exploding star ship, or something like that. Anyhow, this meeting of the Great 8 took place at Sue and Mark’s lovely home. The women- Suzanne, Sue, Susan and Sara- meet for a weekly prayer group during the school year. The men- Gary, Mark, Dan and I- just hang around looking for meaning. Haven’t found any yet.

Image result for cher picturesLast night after a wonderful display of Hors d’Oeuvres and white wine, the women retreated to the front parlor, closing the french doors behind them. For the next forty minutes they operated under Cher law, which is a secret to all outsiders except Madonna and Lady Gaga. Leaving the four of us unsupervised. Which would have been okay except for Gary. He loves to talk about wrestling and singlets and the male body’s definition. Since it was Mark’s home, I appealed to him. “Are there any ordinances about home burials in this neighborhood?”Related image

“No, I mean, no you can’t bury someone in your yard. Why do you ask?”

“It’s for Gary. With all this rain the ground must be soft. It would not take the three of us long to dig a shallow grave and clean up. We’d be back before dinner was served.”

Gary, “I’d like it if you could bury me in my Westchester singlet. It might be a little tight on me nowadays. But no matter. Did you know in ancient times they wrestled naked.”Image result for sumo wrestler images

“Gary, you don’t understand: we are serious. Our wives are discussing Cheriah law in the next room and you are drooling about wrestling naked with us. This is clearly a case of justifiable homicide.”

Dan, “In Quincy it’s legal to shoot a guest in your living room if he so much as quotes CNN or votes Democrat. And you are way past that standard of indecency. Plus, you have zero remorse.”

Image result for gene wilder pictures as nutty professorGary, “I will have you know, gentlemen, that in Latin, morse meant to bite or gnaw. Thus, remorse conjures the sense of being gnawed at again in one’s conscience for misdeeds he/she remembers. So, it is true: I have no remorse because I have not had any morse… How can a guy have remorse if he doesn’t have any morse? Um, yum, these bacon wrapped scallops are fabulous.  So I take it you don’t want to see my yearbook wrestling pictures? I sent them to NASA to enhance my physique’s definitions. I might put them on Facebook if I like the results.”

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I re-appealed to Mark, “What if we dug under the shed out there? No one would see the ground had been disturbed. It’s far enough from the house that you could deny knowledge or involvement. It might as well be Ukraine out there. We could dump the dirt in the woods and cover Gary’s grave with concrete to match the existing foundation. We would swear a sacred oath and then kill Dan just to shrink the odds in our favor.”

Dan, “But, but, why not find an empty cistern in P-P- Pond B-B- Bank and put him in there with a b-b- bottle of bl-bl-bleach? No muss, no fuss. You don’t have to k-k- kill m-m-me.”

Mark, “It’s sounding more acceptable as things deteriorate, but my conscience is wrestling with the morality of it. I don’t want to kill Dan, but I hate the smell of chlorine.”

“I don’t like chlorine either. Perhaps we could get scented bleach, but it might have to be done to cover up the Gary incident. That’s how these things work, Mark. Don’t you ever watch Dateline?”

“But why do we have to kill Dan?”Image result for questioning male faces

“He’s a witness with a conscience and a moral compass. You can’t trust a guy like that. Plus, there is room under the shed for up to three bodies. Think of efficiency and expediency. Try not to get all hung up on the moral issues at hand or resale values. It has to be done for the good of the Nation.”

Mark, “I don’t know. I get a queasy feeling when I think about Gary not leaving, haunting us indefinitely. It’s creepy beyond creepy….”

Gary, “You do love me!  I’m gonna get you a helium balloon that says, ‘I love singlets’. You guys, I knew in your hearts you were fellow wrestlers.”Image result for elmer fudd pictures

Mark, “Okay. I am green lighting this. But I don’t want my fingerprints on anything. I’ll stand guard while you and Dan do the deed. Make it quick.”

Just then the french doors opened and out came the ladies. The murderous moment had passed, but we eyed one another suspiciously thereafter. Every word was analyzed. Every glance evaluated for hidden meanings as we broke bread together.Related image

During dinner the rolls were passed clockwise with Susan’s homemade blackberry jam just behind them, as succulent ham was handed around counterclockwise. Cheesy hash browns and winter veggies were passed directly across and then moved in a Z pattern with Marine color guard precision. The entire food passage was choreographed magically above bowls of candy corn and around a single smokeless red candle. Beauty and agility vied with each other and wound up in a draw.  Mark’s Sirius radio blend floated across the white oak floor, completing the rich ambience. If not for the previous plotting, it would easily pass as a warm, loving meal shared among friends.Image result for edgar allen poe portraits

Edgar Allen Poe himself would not have written such macabre Gothic material as The Telltale Singlet. And yet, there it was with all the classic elements of terror– Cheriah law, perversion, betrayal, violence, murder, and dessert, all wrapped into one dish.

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1. Prequellus

When I started writing this blog four years ago, I intuitively began with #2. I had a hunch that I’d want to come back and begin again, so I left a slot, headspace to expand if you will allow for the analogy. Now I’m editing and tweeking the occasional post, updating with pictures that I did not have originally.  I’m not sure if I can wedge this in the original place. I guess I’ll find out when I publish it. That’s as much of a plan as I had when I started the autobiographical blather I call eccentric self absorption. Currently I’m at post #344. At about three hours per post, I’ve racked up over a thousand hours blogging. Seems impossible, maybe shocking to my faithful three readers who often wonder if I simply typed a post while I slept or showered. I have not done that yet, but I appreciate a good challenge.

Sue B. asked me if I wrote under the influence. Well, how can I answer that?  I do not write or drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, though you may not be able to tell by simple observation. I do write under the influence of eccentric urgency to spew out an anecdote or two. Why?  Maybe because I need to balance the overwhelming input I get from listening to clients all day. My brain’s inbox gets too full and I need to drain off some balderdash and baloney.  Here is some educated help…

“Bologna refers to a type of sausage made of finely ground meat that has been cooked and smoked. Baloney is nonsense. It is an early 20th-century American coinage derived from bologna. It may also be influenced by blarney, which in one of its definitions means nonsense or deceptive talk.”

So, for me, the highly emotional verbiage from others is psychological bologna input that I relieve by rendering it into baloney. The same analogy holds true for coffee and beer, but that output would be rude to exclaim. So there it is! I am guilty as charged:  baloney monger in the first degree. “Off with his head!”

Prequels are background stories made up after a certain story becomes popular. After The Godfather 1 & 2, someone figured out that making a pre- Godfather 1 might earn a boatload of money simply by brand association. Usually these obvious money grabs don’t hold up to scrutiny because they are contrived and must not contradict what is already known to the thinking audience. I, however, have no fear of contradiction or obvious contrivance. It’s what I do. My problem is not the prequel; it’s the fact that the rest of what I write has no marketable appeal beyond the inpatient mental health population. Again, Sue B. told me that hubby Mark has trouble following my bunny trails. No duh. I have trouble following my own bunny trails. As George Costanza said, “It’s not you; it’s me.”  It was his famous break up line that was used against him during one break up gone wrong. “I invented the ‘it’s not you; it’s me’ line,” he emphatically insisted. I would reiterate here but I’m already guilty of redundancy.

Shocking: An enormous python (pictured) descended from the ceiling into a family in Guangdong, ChinaYeah, that’s a python coming out of the ceiling.

 

“For the love of God, say something substantial!!” I want to yell at myself as I muddle around, cleaning my literary navel. Some days are like this– without beginning, middle, or end– and so we just muddle about wondering about time and gravitational pull; tides and whether pythons can live above dropped ceilings. If one did drop out of the ceiling, I’m sure it would be in order to feed on a warm mammal after crushing it/him/her. I mention this because the ceiling at the coffee shop is collapsing ever so slightly. I pointed this out to Andrea in my most proprietary manner. She dutifully took a picture of it with her phone and texted it to higher management. Meanwhile I am watching for monster snakes to slither out and around sleeping customers, slowly compacting their ribcage with each shorter breath.

“Dustin, wake up! A twelve foot python is crushing you to death.”

“Oh, I thought I was dreaming… I was in my ’88 Toyota Corolla and being compacted at the junkyard. Whew! That was really scary. I couldn’t move my arms or legs. It was horrible.”

“Uh, news flash, Buddy. This is not a fire hose wrapped around you. It’s a freakin’ python, snake, leviathan, soul less reptile.”

“Okay. No problem. I know how to deal with these critters.”

“Really.”

“Yeah. My girlfriend says I have dragon breath, so I’m just gonna breathe right in his face. He’ll lose his appetite. Just watch.”

The slimy beast just tightens up and Dustin’s complexion reddens.

“I’m watching. Nothing, man. They are descended from dragons, Dustin. It’s like mom’s home cooking when you breathe on it. Maybe I should call 911.”

“No, I’ll be dead by the time they show up. And there will be all that negative news coverage, you know. ‘Monster Snake devours local Saint’. We don’t want that kind of media hype in our coffee shop.”

“Okay. So what’s Plan B?”

“Try singing Cher songs. One time in the Amazon I was being crushed by an Anaconda, and all I could think of in my last moments were Cher songs. So I sang them and unbelievably the snake went limp and died.”

“Okay, Dustin. Tell me, I’m blank with fear. Name a Cher song.”

“Uh, what did I sing to that Anaconda?  Oh yeah, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.”

In a husky alto…

“Gypsys, tramps, and thieves
We’d hear it from the people of the town
They’d call us Gypsys, tramps, and thieves
But every night all the men would come around
And lay their money down”

“It’s working. He’s going slack. Hurry, sing ‘I got you, Babe.

“Sure,

‘They say we’re young and we don’t know
We won’t find out until we grow
Well I don’t know if all that’s true
‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you
Babe
I got you babe
I got you babe’
“Oh, look at that. The coward is slithering right back into the ceiling. Couldn’t stand a little Cher. huh? Some dragon descendant you are. You’re a disgrace to your race!”
‘They say our love won’t pay the rent
Before it’s earned, our money’s all been spent
I guess that’s so, we don’t have a plot
But at least I’m sure of all the things we got
Babe
I got you babe
I got you babe’
“Okay, he’s gone now. You can stop.”
 “Not till I finish the bridge. It’s my favorite part.”
‘I got flowers in the spring
I got you to wear my ring
And when I’m sad, you’re a clown
And if I get scared, you’re always around’
“Seriously, we’re good. Stop it!!”
“What’s the big hurry? You were almost dead a minute ago and now you’re Mr. Crankypants.”
‘Don’t let them say your hair’s too long
‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong
Then put your little hand in mine
There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb’
“Enough!! I appreciate your singing snake intervention, but a thinking man can only stand so much and no more. I will strangle you if you utter another Cher syllable.”
‘Babe’
“That’s it!! Argghhh.” Thrash. Wrestle. Strangle. “Oh, no. What have I done? I’ve choked out my only friend, my rescuer…. my. Oh, he’s coming back, say something, Buddy.”
‘I got you babe
I got you babe’
“No. Die you fiend!! I’ll plead self defense and insanity. Joel will understand.”
‘ I…….got…..you.”