Getting ready for the big day, one of the elves comes to me, he has his hat in his hand. And I haven't ever seen an elf with his hat off, so this can't be good. He says they can't find the list. I'm so goddamn busy I'm ready to shit bricks and mail them to Timbuktu. What list? I ask. THE LIST. Says the elf. Jesus Jumping Christ in Red Plaid! I exclaim. Did you ask Mrs. Clause? Yes! says the elf. So after that, we tear up the workshops, warehouses, storage & lofts, we rifle through the stables, look under every tree, present, box, trunk, hay pile & bail, turn over every wreath, look in every nook and cupboard, to no effect. Cookies and Cockeyed Crumpets, we're F--d! No List. Who had the List, last? They name the elf, Fonterloughighoblo, and he's not here, so we all go to his house. And lo, there he is, passed out dead drunk, and the list is in shambles, all over the place. I can't make head or tail of it, the pages all mottled, crumpled and smudged. I see he used some of it to start a fire. So there it is, with no list we had to improvise. Because of Fonterloughighoblo, 2006 was the year everyone got a crate of Spam.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
(Selected excerpts from a Journal, transcribed exactly as it was written, circa 2001.* The pages were found in the junk raked out of a partially burned house on Elm Street, in San Carlos, CA, in 2006.)
....Just finished moving into Bellingville, TN.**
Just my luck -- whose kid has the two-stroke scooter? Who lets thir fucking kid ride the goddamn scooter up & down the road at 2 in the morning?
Of course, nobody knows who the kid is. Then, later, when I go to the police they let slip that it is, apparently, one of their kids. The police chiefs’ kid.. Can I speak with him? Who, what?
I go to Martin Blackwell's house. Our absent chief of police. A faded note on the door all words blurred except: florida
There it goes again -- I get out there with a maglight. Under the dark moon, I hear the scooter shrieking along -- and my light shines all the way up the windblown road, leaves flying and it shines on nothing. Cliché blast of icy wind, the sensation of being brushed by something -- what?
I instinctually begin to back up. I shine the light where I hear footsteps, up the drive. Just blowing, twirling leaves. I turn and when i start to climb the stairs i'm bengmuffled by something - prssing on my arms tripping me panicking I get back inside, drenched in sweat, trembling, I realize what it felt like -- a hand. No bike. No person.
A word a name whispered in my ear. Who, I promptly forgot. A girls.
There is a shadow in my yard, at twilight. My imagination may be getting out of hand. but after seeing it hang around at dusk, flitting around the yard in my peripheral vision, I imagine me saying to a shadow in my yard.
What do you want?
Fun. Says the shadow. I want to have fun.
What does that mean? Who are you?
Nobody. Says the shadow. Nobody now.
Tan Martin Blackwell points a .44 magnum at my chest and says his son is dead. He was killed by the first gulf war.
If I come around again, he will kill me. If I ask around about his son, around town, he will kill me. If I tell stories about scooters he will kill me. I don't know if I hate him, if I feel pity for him, I just say goodbye.
He watches me close the fence to the drive, tears in his eyes.
Carl sits on my porch. Carl rides his scooter at 10 at night. Carl's girlfriend used to live here, back in the 1980s.
At the library, I look up his obituary. Carl died after his discharge. The librarian tells me he walked into the woods with a rifle and blew his brains out. Who else sees me? The phone rings in the middle of the night. The voice sounds faint, slurry. I'm warning you. Stay out of it.
Via the internet, I try to find the family that lived here. I stay away from the library,
Dictating from St. Johns Hospital
On Wednesday, October 10 a police car pulled away from my house when I come home. I find Blackwell in my kitchen.
I woke up one side of my face warm, the other cold. Blackwell in firelight. In the woods. My hands tied.
I can remember what he said, almost word for word.
I want to tell you about my Son. My Son. He was the first in this family to ever go to college – football scholarship to the state school here – no big deal but it was something for us. He was so proud of himself, you should have seen him on graduation – poly sci. I didn’t even know what the hell that was. Then he joined up, because he said some day he was going to run for President, he had it all mapped out on note cards, I still have them. And he needed to serve so he joined up and he was decorated – he was a goddamn war hero. Saved his squad from an entrenched position, something like that, but he came back changed. Had no fire in him anymore, was good for nothing, we tried to help him but his mother, she got killed by a drunk driver. And he rode that goddamn 2 stroke scooter after that. Was fucking a 17 year old girl who was running away from home all the time. What a fucking mess. So she runs away again and my pal sees her in Memphis, loitering, on drugs, so he calls and I have them do a special job for me -- a bag on her head to bring her back, because she’s pregnant. They hog tie the bitch and she strangles accidentally on the way back.
Blackwell puts more wood n the fire, takes a piss. Pushes back his hat.
Then my son, he kills himself when she doesn’t call or come back. I never meant to kill her. I never meant to kill anybody. I see her face on milk cartons now and again. She’s buried right over there. Under the tree. So you get up writer. Here’s the conclusion of your story, ain’t you happy, Mr. Writer? You’re gonna get up, go over there, and find her, and her baby. Get up you son of a bitch.
Nosy son of a bitch, poking your nose in where it wasn’t wanted. Fucking with things that don’t concern you.
He propelled me forward, over the fire, and into the tree, and I fell, scattering bones, A skull with fine straight white teeth stared up at me, with a few strands of faded blonde hair. And by that skull, there was a smaller egg like thing, with two holes.
I could see his silhouette, the gun coming up. The first bullet grazed my skull. My eyes were full of blood. As I started to move, another bullet broke my left arm.
I ran and ran, pitch black woods, down a cliff, then into a stream and over rocks and he followed for awhile shooting but then he couldn’t go on.
I think I heard him arguing with...and then they found him face down in the stream with two handprints on his shoulders.
* There is a Wednesday, October 10 in 1984, and in 2001
** There is no Bellingville, TN. There is a Billingsville, MO.