Archive for May, 2012

Duane and Aldo

When I was growing up in Fields Landing, of the raft of older boys, mostly loners, mostly high school drops outs, Duane and Aldo hung together, but only when getting laid seemed in the offing. Aldo, whose given name was actually Gesualdo, was half car nerd and half hood; Duane, whose given name was Duane Bob, was half redneck and half thug and half voyeur. They made strange bedfellows. Between them they hadn’t enough brains to rub together, if that’s how the expression goes. And Aldo wore hefty, coke bottle bottom specs, which were forever sliding down his nose, making him lean his head back when he talked to anyone, rendering him slack-jawed, with his upper lip sliding up and over his crooked and tobacco stained front teeth; a right doofus he looked and was. When it wasn’t in his shop being customized, Aldo cruised the gravel paved streets of our town in an old Ford Crestliner trying to hit on the local females as they walked home after high school.

Aldo had the mad, passionate hots for my sister Olive, but then a lot of the boys did, for she strongly resembled the National Velvet vintage Elizabeth Taylor, and how humiliated Olive was by his attention. The school bus ‘d drop her off on the shoulder of US101, and she’d walk the long block to home every day after high school let out. And Aldo took to accompanying her whilst ensconced in the front seat of the Crestliner. There were almost no sidewalks in this town; everybody just used the streets, and the same right of way rules applied then as apply now—logging trucks always have the right of way. And he’d be slouched down in the seat, elbow out the window, driving it down the wrong side of the street, its pipes rumbling and rapping, whipping up a smallish could of dust off its stern, trying to chat up Olive as she walked home. And of course all her friends saw this happening, and she was so embarrassed and irritated, because he was so geeky. But Aldo couldn’t take a hint. Nothing she said put a dent in his ardor. I’m trying to think did she actually go out with him once. It seems to me she did once, one time. She must’ve felt sorry for him or something.

Duane was a fledgling sexual deviant, and his dad—an established one—was an old scam artist who’d con the cancer ridden out of their life savings by, for a fee, shining sunlight passed through a variety of colored panes of glass, mounted into a metal frame that last saw duty holding sheet music for someone taking lap steel lessons, onto the afflicted spots.

His mom was a Miles Nervine addict.

Duane and his parents rented our upstairs apartment back in the early 50s. And my nubile sisters complained that just about every school day morning, as they left their bedrooms upon dressing for school, they’d encounter creepy Duane and/or his even creepier dad loitering in the hallway just outside their door. My mama asked the county sheriff if there wasn’t something she could do to deter this pastime of theirs. He said that since she was operating an apartment house out of her home (just the one apartment), the stairs leading up to this apartment and all the interconnecting hallways were public. “But if you do decide to shoot one of them,” the sheriff counseled, “be sure you’ve dragged their dead body into one of the girl’s bedrooms before you call me.” Yep, that’s what Fields Landing was like.

The Stihls lived across the street from us and a person could keep track of everything that went on over there from the vantage point of my sister Wilma’s upstairs bedroom window, which was situated directly opposite their ancient and rickety garage with a sagging, rotting, wood shingled roof and old fashioned double doors which were almost never opened, both doors not blessed with more than three  hinges between them. The Stihls were both drunks, and just about every weekend, starting Friday night, drunk finally, they’d get into a horrendous fight, with lots of screaming punctuated with lots of threats. These fights would last the entire weekend, and on Saturday or Sunday morning we’d sometimes awake to find all of his clothes, including his underwear, scattered all over their front yard and out into the street, and there they’d remain until retrieved by the two of them late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Well, this one Saturday night, around midnight, things were eerily quite over at the Stihl’s, but Wilma knew they were home, because the light was on in the garage, which was standing with one of its two doors partially open, hanging precariously from a single hinge, supported in the main by the dirt driveway. Just as I was about to call it a day and climb into bed, there was a sudden scurrying of bare feet just outside my bedroom door. Someone knocked cautiously and quietly. I opened it. There stood Wilma flanked by Janice, our younger sister. They seemed really excited. “Mr. Stihl has murdered his wife,” Janice whispered, “and has hung her up naked in the garage,” Wilma continued. The hair stood up on my neck. We ran to look out Wilma’s bedroom window and down into Stihl’s garage, its doors partially open on one side. The lone interior light consisted of a bare 60 watt bulb hanging down from the rafters by a long cord. It was swaying, causing shadows to dance about in the half light, and there, hanging from the rafters a few feet from the light cord was Mrs. Stihl’s headless, naked body, and there was lots of blood.

We crouched there watching and listening. Mr Stihl was holding a long knife, bloody. We didn’t know what to do. I about fouled my jammies. He was obviously drunk. This time he’d gone too far and was finally making good on his often voiced threat to do her in. And then the strangest thing happened. We could hear Mrs. Stihl’s muffled voice grousing at him, from the ‘wings’ as it were, and then suddenly her head appeared, center stage, peering around the partially open door, in the doorway leading from the garage towards the house. “You’re an asshole,” she yelled drunkenly, “only as asshole would dress out a deer in the dead of night; when are you coming to bed?” “Oh go to hell,” he screamed back at her, his favorite epithet where she was concerned. With that her head disappeared and we heard no more from her for the rest of that weekend.

I chided my sisters for not being able to tell the difference between the skinned body of a large deer and that of a scrawny, alcoholic female human, naked and missing its head, and went back to bed. It took me an hour or so to calm down enough to go to sleep. Of course, the next morning, just to underscore our hysteria of the previous night, Stihl’s clothes decorated the hedges in his front yard and were being run over by the traffic in the adjoining, dusty street.

They had one son, Gary, a gangly lad, and though he was near me in age and lived just across the street we didn’t hang together. He was a loner, and would idle away an idle moment throwing rocks. With arms of Simian proportions, he could throw a rock farther than anybody I’ve ever seen, before or since. He was a nice enough guy, and along with  Ronnie and me, regarded Duane and Aldo as ominous and possibly dangerous miscreants.

Epilogue

Poor Duane. It seems he was carrying on with Judy Boise (pr. BOYZ), one of Ronnie’s 4 sisters, the second oldest and just behind Celina in age, and the promiscuous one. Though both Aldo and Duane had tried their hands at regularly chatting her up on her way home from school, Duane being considerably less geeky than his buddy got the nod. And right off they got pregnant and had to get married. Duane moved out of our upstairs apartment, and he and Judy moved into a converted garage down the street from us. What happened next is all kind of murky, but sometime during their child’s first months of life, Judy had an affair, and Duane became so distraught at being thrown over, that one afternoon, in the presence of his estranged wife and child, he blew his brains out with an ancient Luger P.08 that had once belonged to his dad who had given it to him as a sort of wedding present, because he had so coveted the piece ever since it was brought home from the War as a trophy, and because it made sense to his father that he should have it, for he was a father now and had a family to protect. Judy and her child moved back in with her mother, 3 sisters and 3 brothers, and shortly after that the whole Boise clan left Fields Landing. They had to; Duane’s suicide left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and the whole town held the bride’s entire family indirectly, if not directly, responsible.

I had gotten to know Duane a little bit during the time his family lived upstairs in our house. He was taking a mail order course in electronics, and once he found out that I was a science major in high school, he’d come to me for help with his homework. I just remember that he was trying so hard to make headway with this course, with his life. It was all so sad. If all that was required for a successful career in electronics was will and desire, he would’ve ended up a latter day Thomas Edison. But alas, Duane’s brain wouldn’t cooperate, it couldn’t, and so after a few months of struggle and the investment of many hundreds of dollars in course materials and electronic equipment, he left off studying electronics, part time, and fell, as near as I could tell, to brooding, full time. It was during this period of brooding and his hiatus from his studies that Judy Boise entered his picture. She must’ve seemed like a ray of hope, for he got a job in one of the local saw mills once it was clear they had to get married and that he would be their sole support. He was a hard worker and put in lots of hours of overtime that summer what with the mills operating 24/7, and this left his new bride alone for much of every day. It wasn’t long before she got pregnant again, only this time the father didn’t work out to be Duane Bob.

Did Aldo ever get laid? Yes, and more. He moved in with the town manic depressive, Lola Wiltz, who lived with her grandmother kitty corner across the street from us and next to the Stihls. Lola, who cycled in and out of Agnews State Mental Hospital, was by all accounts deranged; she was violent and promiscuous as hell. To a man, woman and child, the entire town feared her. As far as she was concerned, we were all fair game of one sort or another, especially my sisters because they lived just across the street, rode the same bus to school, and were her contemporaries. Aldo and Lola were later married, and this set the town’s tongues to wagging and speculating about what kind of children they’d produce. Would they be doofuses or over-sexed bullies, or, God forbid, both? They needn’t have concerned themselves so much, for Lola had been but one of the thousands of Californians who were legally and mandatorily sterilized by the State’s mental facilities, at the behest of the State Lunacy Commission, a number that would eventually swell to more than 20,000 before the practice was abandoned.

 

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Rollin’ Biscuit Blues

I got the mad, scrambled prinks this morning, something to do with Maria telling me to stay away tomorrow, her birthday. Sentimental old fool that I am, I bought her two boxes of Sees candy this morning, one, dark chocolate covered marzipan, her favorite, plus a way big box of mixed chocolates, for her to share with our son and friends. But when I rang her door bell, no one answered. She was home; her car was in the driveway. I waited. Nothing. Left them at her door. I think she’s telling me it’s over, that she’s done with me. So I guess she really isn’t my glimmering girl after all. Undeterred, I’ll keep lookin’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEztjhzBoYo&feature=related

I feel, and deeply so, that when one has the blues, one must honor them, and I can think of no better way to do that than to compose my very own blues song. So here it is, and I call this here blues song, “The Rollin’ Biscuit Blues,” a veritable chart buster:

I was standin’ on the corner,  heart tied up in a knot
I was standin’ on the corner, my heart tied in a knot
I was searchin’ for my baby
Wonderin’ where she’s got

I was standin’ on the corner, my biscuit roller gone
I was standin on the corner, my biscuit roller gone
I must be tired of livin’
I keep singin’ this sorry song

I woke up this mornin’, my heart all up inside
I woke up this mornin’, my heart all up inside
No one to roll my biscuit
Tears messin’ with my pride

Well, I’m standin’ at the crossroads, tryin’ to find my way
Yes, I’m standin’ at the crossroads, tryin’ to find my way
Soul madness to be my lot,
Sorrow, my destiny.

Well, the sun’s going down, boys, darkness catch me here
Yes, the sun’s going down and darkness catch me here
I’m so fuckin’ tired of livin’
Yet it’s darkness that I fear.

All I need’s my little sweet rider just to pass the time away
All I need’s my little sweet rider, and I’ll pass the time away
Someone to roll my biscuits
Who will never run away

Oh them golden apples, and silver apples too
Oh them golden apples, yes the silver ones too
To pluck ’till time and times are done
And never stray from you

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Rachel Maddow and the Hitler taint.

Conversation overheard at bipolar.about.com:

“Hey, MLE, did you hear that Abraham Lincoln was bipolar?”
“No!!!”
“Yes, he was.”
“How wonderful!”
“Yes, isn’t it? We’re the same as old honest Abe.”

I guess I need to leave off chatting up various members of my family with my elitist palaver, “Did you know that (famous person) was/is bipolar?” Lest I leave myself open to the obvious come-back and put-down, “Yeah, and so was Adolph Hitler.” Jesus. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in this. I used to think we manic depressives were special. In fact, I rather liked to think that. But I never meant it to be in the way that Hitler was special. I can’t cope with that. This is a tragedy of gargantuan proportions, no?

So I have to run this past my therapist the next time we meet (I’ll try not to cry!) I can’t help but feel we need to dump this in Rachel Maddow’s lap. She’s my hero. She’s the most popular TV pundit on the left these days, and she’s bipolar, though so far all she’ll own up to is “subject to recurrent depressions” but when she isn’t depressed she’s so blatantly hyperthymic—witty, uber-chatty, funny, friendly, and enthusiastic and curious about just everything. She’s at least bipolar-2. Only her psychiatrist knows for sure if she’s bipolar-1. But she doesn’t have a psychiatrist! She doesn’t believe in meds, she says, which probably means she doesn’t believe in psychiatrists either.

Anyway, our first task in our campaign to rid our midst of Hitler’s presence is to get her to own up to her manic depression. And once that’s in place, since she’s forever championing one cause or another, and quite effectively I might add, she’d be ideally situated to take on the Hitler taint in behalf of manic depressives the world over. Don’t you think? Ms Maddow is bound to succeed in this, for she’s a beautiful, intelligent, progressive and gay manic depressive. It doesn’t get any better than this.

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Krasznahorkai on the short sentence

Korin, the hero of “War and War” in talking about the sixth chapter of the manuscript: “There is an order in the sentences: words, punctuation, periods, commas all in place, said Korin, and yet, and he began swiveling his head again, the events that follow in the last chapter may be simply characterized as a series of collapses—collapse, collapse and collapse—for the sentences seemed to have lost their reason, not just growing ever longer and longer but galloping desperately onward in a harum-scarum scramble—crazy rush, said Korin—not that he was one of those ur_Magyar fast-speaking types, said he, pointing to himself, he was certainly not one of them, though no doubt he had his own problems with gabbling and babbling, trying to say everything at once in a single sentence, in one enormous last deep breath, that he knew all too well, but what the sixth chapter did was something altogether different, for here language simply rebels and refuses to serve, will not do what it was created to do, for once a sentence begins it doesn’t want to stop, not because—let’s put it this way—because it is about to fall off the edge of the world, not in other words as a result of incompetence, but because it is driven by some crazy form of rigor, as if its antithesis—the short sentence—led straight to hell as indeed it had tended to do with him, but not with the manuscript, for that was a matter of discipline, Korin explained to the woman, meaning that this enormous sentence comes along and starts to egg itself seeking ever more precision, ever more sensitivity, and in so doing it sets out a complete catalogue of the capabilities of language, all that language can do and all it can’t, and the words begin to fill the sentences, leaping over each other, piling up, but not as in some common road accident to be catapulted all over the place, but in a kind of jigsaw puzzle whose completion is of paramount importance, dense, concentrated, enclosed, a suffocating airless throng of pieces, that’s how they are, that’s right, Korin nodded, it was as if all the sentences—each sentence was of vital importance, a matter of life and death, the whole developing and moving at a dizzy rate, and that which it relates, that which it constructs and supports and conjures is so complicated that, quite honestly, it becomes perfectly incomprehensible, Korin declared, and it’s better that it should be so, and in saying this he had revealed the most important thing about it, for the sixth chapter, set in Rome, was inhuman in its complexity, and that was the point, he said, for once this inhuman complexity sets in the manuscript becomes genuinely unreadable—unreadable and, at the same time, unrivalled in its beauty…”

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Torment

I’m a wee, tad mad today—easily over stimulated and all of that. And touched a bit, but not with fire as Kay Jamison has opined, but more with a surge of enthusiasm, a gruesome surge of enthusiasm, in the manner of Robert Lowell. These surges are indeed gruesome affairs, laden as they are with dysphoria and excitement at the same time. My psychiatrist defines dysphoria as a general shitty feeling, euphoria and dysphoria being antonyms of each other. Antonyms yes, yet here they are now commingling in me in a single moment, for such is the nature of Bipolar I, Mixed, my diagnosis. These surges can come on rather abruptly and with no apparent trigger. You can be right as rain one second, and a second later, actively looking for all the sharp knives in the house. Knives? Yes, to cut with. I can’t tell you why, in such moments as these, that cutting seems like the right thing to do, it just does, for it simultaneously resolves sorrow and vents excitement. And if you once give into the urge, it can quickly become habitual, the thing you turn to most often when you’re in torment. Torment?, you ask. “But hey, aren’t you being overly dramatic here?” you suggest to me next. I don’t think so. Torment seems an apt word in such moments, for to simultaneously experience joy and sorrow, enthusiasm and depression, excitement and dejection is, I maintain, to be tormented, and that, thoroughly so. Cutting seems to be an antidote, albeit an all too brief one, for torment.

The last time I cut, I made a deal, a pact with myself, that in exchange for giving it up, I’d treat myself to a proper scarification, rendered by no less a personage than Dave Gilstrap himself—a Celtic knot, about the size of a half dollar, incised in my under forearm. So, though I’m often in torment, I don’t cut now, because to do so would mess up the real estate I’ve set aside for my knot. Alas it’s only in moments of sheer torment that I’d have the courage to pay old Dave a visit, so I’m at a bit of an impasse here. Yet I swear that I will one day have my knot, my badge, an insignia of my madness, and let all who will, look and marvel how a man can seem so sane and yet be so friggin’ crazy. Yes, seemingly sane, yet mad just the same, i.e., bipolar. And once I have my knot, I promise you I will feel good.

05/10/12—The madness continues from yesterday, was it? I feel undone and unfocused, though I’m plenty focused, now, on my interior turmoil. “What’s up?” I wonder. Or is it that I’m easily distracted by interior matters? I was reading the lyrics to Katie Cruel (http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858731803/      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ri_KNa0lMDw), and with each stanza could feel my mind drifting away-a-way-a-way-a-way-a-way—ricochet, enter Ulysses, “Mouth to her mouth’s kiss. His lips lipped and mouthed fleshless lips of air; mouth to her moomb, oomb, all-wombing tomb. His mouth molded issuing breath unspeeched: oooo-eee-ahhhh: roar of cataractic planets, globed,  blazing, roaring way-a-way-a-way-a-way-a-way.” And now suddenly moved to tears, shutting my office door lest someone should come by and find me weeping. Why tears? “She trusts me, her hand gentle, the long lashed eyes. Touch me. Soft eyes. Soft, soft, soft hand. I am lonely here. O, touch me soon,now. I am quiet here alone. Sad too. Touch, touch me.” And so it is and weep more; I ping pong twixt the lyrics of Katie Cruel and the prose of Ulysses to banjo accompaniment, but a banjo like one seldom heard—haunting, haltingly plucked a single string at a time. And how I now revel in my being mad, how it restores me and makes whole my life, but with a wholeness that keeps me apart from all others. “Even the virgin at Hodges Figgis’ window?” I wonder. Even her? Am I to be held apart even from her, “a lady of letters,” even though “she wears those curse of God stays suspenders and yellow stockings, darned with lumpy  wool.” And it’s just as well that my meds have rendered me impotent and therefore immobilized me, taken me out of play, as it were, for I would indeed be a menace to women everywhere, breaking all their hearts like troding on so much shattered glass, not able to help it or myself, for my need is great. “What need?” you wonder. I need to be set free again. That need. “Oh, that need,” you think. “And can the virgin at Hodges Figgis window set you free?” you continue.  “Yes,” I sigh, “If only for a moment.” There is something in sexual consummation that hearkens to the release felt by the manic depressive as mania sets in. It is exhilarating in a way that nothing else is or can be. God whispering in your ear that you could not die wouldn’t raise more ecstasy in one than this. So, how I long for such moments, and oh how I rail against the meds that constantly keep them at bay. “Why not give in, and quit your meds?” you suggest. Well, babies, you see it’s like this. My mania has a dark, dark side—rage. And so it is for the sake of all who love me, and the sake of my dog, and my sake too, that I eschew madness and continue on with my meds. How many innocent lives must he harm, how many faithful dogs beat, before I reign in the beast? So, now that the monster is shackled and can roam no more, love is safe, and I am consumed with longing—I am not free.

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Mobile format

5/6/12—My developer is going to give me a quote on how expensive it will be to implement. After that, I’ll decide whether I can swing it or not.

5/8/12—The quote from my developer (ESPIS of Berkeley, CA) is quite reasonable, so I gave them the go-ahead.

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RSS Feed

5/6/12—I’m having my developer, ESPIS of Berkeley, look into this problem

5/8/12—I tried it out using Firefox and Safari on my Mac; I had no problems whatsoever.

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Savvis Faye—a memoir

As a youth in that town, that rural slum situated at the southern end of Humboldt Bay, when I wasn’t getting into mischief flinging balls of sticky, red mud into the traffic on 101 or doing my psyche irreparable harm by trapping hapless gulls, I’d while away a morning, Saturday usually, listening to my favorite radio shows, on KNX, beamed to us all the way up from LA—Grand Central Station, The Shadow, The Fat Man, The Count of Monte Cristo and The FBI in Peace and War. At the end of each episode of The FBI, John Shuttlesworth, the program’s host, would review the rap sheet of the FBI’s most wanted fugitive for that week and promise $500 to any listener who’d come forth with any information leading to his capture. Little did I realize that one day soon I’d get my chance to apprehend someone I, and later Ronnie Boese, perceived to be a genuine fugitive, Savvis Faye Waxwroth.

I can’t say exactly when he came to town. It’s just that late one night he was suddenly there, walking the darkened streets preaching loudly and carrying a lighted pitch torch, there being no street lights in town. At first we thought he was just another drunk who’d blown his week’s pay at the Buoy Club up on 101, but it became rapidly apparent that that wasn’t the case, because he’d show up just about every evening, if the weather was good, a-wanderin’ and a-preachin’, and most drunks didn’t have that kind of money.

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. And it is I, God’s most humble servant, who have stumbled into Satan’s snare through sin,” and then holding the torch high directly over his head, “but I can never be saved for the fires of hell now reside in my soul. God give me the grace and the wisdom to renounce my sin, once and for all, here on these streets that I might be saved.”

And so it went, night after night, weekends included. Savvis could easily, and often did, canvass the entire town in a single outing, for it wasn’t more than 5 blocks across, six if you counted the distance from the railroad tracks to the whaling station as a block, albeit one lined with vacant lots overgrown with weeds featuring the rusted out hulks of ancient automobiles and cast off tires, some still on their wheels. You wouldn’t come to a ‘house’ along that block until you reached the lots directly across the street from the whaling station itself. These were unpainted, wooden shanties, vertically sheathed in quarter-sawn redwood 1x12s, and not really houses at all. They were built long ago and owned by the Corrlis Corporation, and rented to the men who worked at the whaling station across the street, also owned by Corrliss. These men were at the bottom of the ‘food chain’ so to speak, drunks or worse, and slaughtered whales to support their habits. The stench in that part of town had to be experienced to be believed and could make your basic slaughter house smell in comparison as fragrant as a nosegay of Spring flowers. The malignant odor would readily stain your clothes, your skin and your brain. No amount of laundering or showering could expunge the taint. There was no hope for it but to buy new clothes and grow new skin and pray to forget.

One of my high school chums was Robbie Casebeer, a bright, bookish lad, soft spoken and distinctively photogenic to the point of effeminateness who exuded all the charm and confidence that only truly beautiful people possess; his father was the manager of the whaling station, and it was painfully obvious that Robbie hadn’t inherited his looks from his father who resembled Don Rickles more than he didn’t. He and Robbie lived alone in one of these shanties, the nicest one. His father drove a brand new Oldsmobile Rocket 88, 2-door Holiday hardtop for which he had no earthly use living as he did right across the narrow, unpaved street from where he worked. Robbie was a year ahead of me in high school, and so we didn’t hang together partly because of that and partly because I thought he was too gay, or maybe I was just jealous. Friendly to a fault, he would on occasion offer me rides to school in his father’s Olds, and it was during one of these that he told me what Savvis’s name was, for his dad had hired him as the bookkeeper/secretary solely on the basis of his typing skills and because he spoke fluent Spanish. Robbie said he was a strange man, as strange as his name, and a loner, something which he obviously thought was significant but wouldn’t elaborate upon. Savvis, he said, lived in one of the really dilapidated, windowless shanties two rows in from the street.

During whaling season, dead whales would often be brought in faster than they could be butchered, and when that happened, the water adjoining the whaling station would be littered with their bloated and decomposing corpses. The stench of rotting whale was formidable, palpable even. The place ran 3 shifts a day, 6 days a week with only two shifts on Sunday. It was after his shift got off, the swing shift, that Savvis would haunt the streets of my town, seeking salvation, and this, loudly and sometimes frantically: “Oh Lord, help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! I have sinned most grievously and my very soul is filthy with the vile soot of burning sin. Only you, Lord, can cleanse my heart. Oh let your righteous rain fall into my heart and extinguish the hell fire that burns there. In Jesus’ name, please, please, please. Oh Jesus, please.” It was most pitiful and more than a little alarming—what had he done, everyone wondered.

“Craig Lindsay is wanted for mutilating and then setting fire to his mother and father, his wife and his 3 small children as they slept, in a ritual killing spree on August 13, 1949. All died at the scene except for one small child (sex unrecognizable) who died in a hospital burn unit six days later with 3d degree burns over most of his/her body. Lindsay is 46 years old, unusually handsome, unusually tall and slender, and almost gaunt. He has deep set blue eyes and receding graying blond hair which he may have died black. He speaks fluent Spanish and may seek employment as a typist or bookkeeper, and was last seen in the Los Angeles area. He is criminally insane and given to bouts of frenzied religiosity. DO NOT APPROACH LINDSAY; he may be armed and is considered dangerous. If you know of Lindsay’s whereabouts or have any information, contact John Shuttlesworth at this station. Five hundred dollars will be paid for any information leading to his arrest.” I couldn’t believe my ears. Sure as hell Shuttlesworth was describing Savvis Faye Waxwroth, or rather the man we knew as Savvis Faye Waxwroth. Not knowing exactly what I should do, I did the next best thing and told my best friend, Ronnie, all about it. He was easy to convince. But between us we still didn’t know what to do. I was 13, Ronnie, 11, and neither one of us was used to confiding in any adult much less one associated with the FBI. If I told my mother, undoubtedly she’d smile patronizingly and say, “That’s nice.” And then chuckling, go on and on about how we sure could use $500, but in the end would do nothing. And if I told my father, which would be a feat in itself given how deaf he was, from experience I knew he’d just get angry with me and like as not, red faced and frothing at the mouth, clearly on the verge of apoplexy, and with much swearing, he’d set me to some chore or other, for it was clear to him that I had too much idle time on my hands if this was the kind of nonsense I was getting into.  He, too, would do nothing. We decided that the best course of action was to tell no one, and to take it on ourselves to drive the evil Savvis Faye out of our town.

As luck would have it, school had just let out for the summer. Ronnie and I took to dogging Savvis’s every nightly trip through our neighborhood, i.e., in the dark, we would walk the street, one block removed from the one he was on and would parallel his every move. And as we walked along, we could catch glimpses between the intervening houses of the flickering circle of torch light that surrounded him, and could hear him preaching away into the darkness in the next street over. Using our slingshots we’d launch stone after stone high into the night vaulting them over the intervening houses so that they’d come plummeting straight down on him, two at a time, like a sign from God.  Did we ever hit him? I don’t know, but I did notice that once in a while a volley seemed to interrupt his sermonizing.

After several weeks of nightly, non-stop bombardment, Savvis disappeared just as abruptly as he had shown up. It wasn’t until later and school had resumed that I found out from Robbie, seated next to him in the luxurious, cream colored leather front seat of the Rocket 88, that Savvis had been let go, but he was real tight lipped about why, something to do with him having temporarily lost the use of one eye, to the point where he could no longer reliably decipher handwritten numerals.

Epilogue. Still later, with summer coming to a close, the whaling station burned to the ground, the flames amply fueled by the ancient, oil and blood soaked teak deck at its very heart, the deck upon which, for the better part of a century, the rotting leviathans had been routinely hacked to pieces, the ultimate source of the stench of the place. The town’s volunteer fire fighters were no match for the inferno, and that they were understandably reluctant to breath the oily, stench-laden and undoubtedly lethal smoke served only to guarantee total ruin. The conflagration breached the intervening street and consumed not only the wooden boardwalks that abutted the shanties, but also the shanties themselves, all of them, and also, sadly to relate, Casebeer’s turquoise and cream, hardtop Rocket 88 parked in front. Indeed, so intense were the flames that the very street itself would have been burnt up had it been paved with anything other than gravel. Uninsured against fire, it was never rebuilt. Robbie dropped out of high school, and he and his dad moved on in their brand new, turquoise and cream, Buick Roadmaster Riviera hardtop with cream colored leather interior. Arson was suspected, but never proved—rumor had it that someone had been seen by some other someone—a drunk perhaps, staggering home from the Buoy Club to his shanty—in the wee hours that Monday morning, hurling a blazing fir-pitch torch over the row of boilers that lined the deck and out onto the deck itself.

 
 

 

 

 

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