Cause I'm not feeling too good, I've lost a lot of blood.
and I should hope you that will tell my family -
that I want on my epitaph, "Here Lies A Man That Made Them Laugh"
and that's the best you could expect - a clown to be.
F. Alex Johnson
The clear sky looked so peaceful. It didn't appear that in less than four hours another blanket of snow was destined to cover Muskrat Flats. It was to be a heavy wet snow. The kind Gomer Eckstein did not want his father, Moe, to be shoveling.
Across town, Moe was in the warmth of the Odd Fellows hall, underneath a wooden frieze with an etching depicting three links of a chain, Friendship, Love and Truth, enjoying his morning coffee and a warm, buttery blueberry muffin.
Moe was doing much better physically. The most recent round of chemo had eradicated the tumors and he was feeling virile, healthy and become his old cantankerous self. Fortunately for Gomer's psyche his dad was directing most of his bitching at either Sid or the printed page.
The most recent piece Moe had published, in Mother Jones, was the funniest Gomer had ever read from his father. Gomer appreciated his father's command of the language. Just as long as his pointed and scathing sarcasm wasn't directed at him, Gomer was happy to see or hear anything Dad had to say. It was when Moe started his sentences out with the words,
"Soooo, Sonny Boy ..." That Gomer felt like he needed to run for cover.
Gomer was sitting at his computer. Trying to dissect his thoughts. Sveltie seemed to have no problem with the recent rekindling of their physical relationship. He was fearing that the old emotions, which were brewing away, were the embers of an unquenchable inferno. He was confused.
He wanted to tell Miranda about the encounters, but that might not fall in line with the principles of the 9th Step, which warn of making direct amends to people we may have harmed, if to do so may injure them. What was he going to do?
It is funny how the brain works sometimes. Sveltie was a willing participant and manipulated the situation to her advantage with Gomer, after all she had her needs, too. At the end of the day, she was hurt by her husband Jerry's sexcapades at the Organic Farming Conference. Sveltie spoke slowly and carefully trying not to get mad.
"How ... could you not even know her last name? Don't you guys wear name tags?"
"I was drunk, I'm sorry." He replied. "What did you and Gomer end up doing that night?"
Sveltie was silent. Maybe these rules they had established to define their extramarital cavortings needed to be revisted. As wild a time as she had with Gomer, she felt anger at her husband and guilt regarding her own actions.
She sat silently as her husband clutched a glass of her Pinot Grigio, the fourth he had consumed that night. He sat silently as well, with tears streaming down his face. He contemplated his situation as he looked down at the glass of wine and the half smoked joint in the ashtray. He knew a little bit more of both would take away the pain, at least until he woke up.
He remembered the days when he, Gomer and Sveltie would party, see the Grateful Dead and rave all night long. He missed those times.
He wanted his friend back - not the guy who he found in their bathroom with a needle sticking out of his arm, and certainly not the guy who stands in the corner smiling and laughing with his clean buddies, like he doesn't have a care in the world.
How could Gomer do what he does and not be high? He looks high when he is on stage. He gets that crazed look that he used to get when they would party. That is the guy Jerry wanted to hang out with, but the second he comes off the stage, he is the new guy, they guy who looks familiar, but the guy he doesn't really know. He is like a pod that has had Gomer's soul sucked out, a pod that Jerry was really beginning to resent.
He wanted what Gomer has, especially now that it seemed his estranged best friend may also have his wife.
Gomer sat in his office at the First Step Is A Doozy Jump School, located at the Muskrat Flats Municipal Airport. He looked out the window, the brilliant turquoise he had so admired earlier in the day had devolved into darkness. As far as he could see, the runway was dotted with equally stunning blue lights. On the desk next to him was the tattered diary, written in blood, left by Sheriff Hawthorne.
The bloody cursive reminded Gomer of a story his father had told him of a General Inquisitor for the Spaniards named Tomas de Torquemada, a brutal and hated man, who signed the fate of many unrepentant Spanish Jews and Muslims in their own blood. Gomer thought to himself, as tawdry and fantastic as this artifact - this hostorical document is, it sure is making the rounds.
Gomer peered at his computer and re-read the passage he had been working on for the Shiva Las Vegas script.
"Cut to a parking lot scene at a Phish show. A tour kid name Poppa K is rolling along with his dog "Ground Score" who is tethered with a hemp leash.
Poppa K hears a particularly good guitar lick come through the air and begins to groove wildly to the music. He is roused from his psychedelic bliss as a Hockey referee wearing a black and white striped shirt, with a orange arm band, black pants and a helmet, comes out of nowhere. He blows his whistle, with his opposite hand he chops his hand on his knee and follows through. He shouts at Poppa K,
"Two minutes for Tripping."
The next scene Poppa K is a hockey penalty box enclosed by 6 foot panels of safety glass. He is distraught and freaking out as Ground Score sits outside the box, incessantly barking.
Gomer chuckles to himself and says of himself,
"What a weirdo!"
His phone rang - It was Miranda, they had a date. Gomer had been telling her about the Sheriff's adventures with the vampires Astrid and Countess Isabella. They chatted for a few minutes. Gomer didn't bring up the subject of Sveltie. Miranda finally said,
"So are you going to read to me or what?"
"Okay, hold on." He put down his phone and tapped his blue tooth.
"Can you hear me?"
"Yep, go ahead," She said. Gomer peered down at the rust colored cursive and began.
I sat in my office. Looking out the window. The moonlight was shimmering through the trees of the mighty maple I had been swinging from just a few short years ago. Astrid was wearing a long white skirt, a blue silk bandanna strategically placed around her long neck from which hung was the oddly complex glass pendant Isabella had been wearing the night before.
I had tapered my alcohol consumption during the day as I needed to be relatively sober for this meeting. After all, I was the Sheriff. Astrid was peering at me seductively. Celeste was sitting to my left. I was still reeling from the debauchery from the night before. running my hand along Celeste's back and neck. She giggled as my fingers grazed some bite marks on her shoulders.
She was still delirious from the affect of the falling diamonds of light Isabella had conjured up. Celeste was slightly drunk from the having already had a few more than generous "clients" earlier, at the hotel bar.
I have to admit, I have never experienced such an exciting feeling of peace and solace as I did the previous night. I would think that the undead would be void of such feelings, if any feelings at all. But it appears that they feel just the same as their mortal counterparts.
Astrid was looking at Celeste seductively as she removed her vest, revealing that the dress she wore was backless, a daring fashion I had never seen.
We sat there waiting. As Celeste cooed over Astrid's attire, she sounded annoyingly like a school girl as she fawned and fussed, feeling the fabric and running her hands along Astrid's exposed flesh.
My heart leaped with anticipation as the door swung open and Isabella entered the room. I was beginning to wonder where these ladies found their clothes? The were so unlike the fashions to which we were accustomed in Muskrat Flats.
Isabella was wearing skin tight boots which covered much of her calf. Into these were tucked black form fitting pants, made of a material foreign to me, She wore a white silk blouse which was almost transparent. She wore a long black hooded cloak, within which her eyes glowed like those of a cat.
Her tight pants clearly outlined her sexy curves and valleys causing me to lust for a repeat of last night's events. How smooth her leg felt against my face. How excited it was to feel those fingernails, those menacing spikes, dig into my bald head so delicately, beckoning me and easing me closer to the oasis I so desired. Those nails eased me forward as if to indicate that any form of retreat would cause a painful and bloody episode.
I looked up into her eyes. They were made up with dark eyeliner, accenting her already exotic Oriental features..."
"Oriental?" Miranda asked incredulously.
"Hey this was written in the 19th century, don't forget."
"Yeah it just sounds weird."
Gomer got back to the text.
"I kept my eye contact with Isabella. I could hear Astrid and Celeste in the background. Occasionally Celeste would grunt when she was bitten only to sigh shortly afterward."
As I began to taste Isabella's nectar, my hands roamed feeling her flawless flesh. The diamonds began to fly out of hear head like a halo as she experienced the pleasure I was providing. One hand remained on my head as her other hand began to graze my chest. I felt one of her nails tickle around my nipple. I knew what was coming next. I knew the sacrifice I had to make to be so honored to be with this most alluring temptress. I saw white as I experienced the most intense pain I have ever felt including the time I was stabbed in the shoulder by a jealous husband. Isabella beckoned me up so she could taste the blood which was flowing from my chest.
As she suckled, my pain turned to ecstasy as those floating diamonds fell on me like raindrops and penetrated my flesh. I could live forever and not find the appropriate words to describe how I felt.
Before I knew it she was in my head again. Staring right at me smiling silently.
"Thinking about last night, Coleman?"
She shed her cloak and drew the curtains of my office window. Celeste returned to sit next to me as Isabella walked over to Astrid. She placed her hands on Astrid's shoulders and delicately kissed her neck. I marveled at how cruel yet delicate these creatures could be. Again Isabella looked right at me and answered my silent observation.
"Yes, Coleman, we are funny that way. We can be the most gentle and seductive of creatures ..."
As she said this, she began to trace a fingernail along Astrid's back. I noticed her nipples stiffen.
Isabella then increased the pressure carving a deep bloody trail in the white flesh, a trail which would heal as quickly as the flesh had been sliced. She bent down and licked. Celeste poked me to bring my attention to this phenomena, as if I could have missed it. Isabella continued speaking with an almost macho bravado.
"We can also be the most vicious killers. When I feed, unless I want you to know what is happening - to taunt you or to let you squirm before you receive the death you so deserve, it is quick and painless, your soul drifts off and you come around again as someone else."
I looked at Celeste and Astrid. I began to fear for Celeste's life. But then I tried to clear my head of all thoughts since they were being picked out of my skull like ripe apples.
"Do not fear for Celeste, she is with you, I will not harm her."
"Why am I so special?" I asked.
"For starters you are in charge."
"I honestly don't think authority matters to your kind." Isabella answered,
"We have to be careful, we just can't roam the country side killing indiscrimminately."
"Why Do I know about you, you exposed yourself to ME, remember? You seem like you are crafty enough to do what you have to do and make it look like an accident. If you leave a trail of dead bodies around, some one like ME HAS TO DEAL WITH IT!"
"I figured You would understand."
"But I really don't think I do ..."
"Besides, I had to monitor your interest in Astrid, I was very protective of her when she was mortal. That is why Caesar ended up having his "unfortunate" encounter with the Chupacabra.
I began to lose my composure as she walked around my office. She moved over to the Tombstone I had in the corner of my office. She ran her hand against the smooth polished black granite. She glanced over at me and smiled as she recited what she had just read.
"Samuel Coleman Hawthorne III Esq."
"Here Lies A Man That Made Them Laugh" Again I heard her silently.
"Nice tombstone Sherrif, are you going somewhere, again?"
"Jesus Fuck! What the fuck is a chupacabra?"
"It is the mythical creature that attacked and killed Ceasar. They need blood to live just as well as we do. Just ask any of the Mexicans about it, they will tell you."
Hawthorne mimiced them, "Chupacabras eets the chupacabra. Fuck that shit. I want to know why you killed him and left his body to be such a public spectacle. My residents are on the verge of hysteria."
I took a breath and calmed down. I pushed my luck, I knew I was being toyed with.
"I already figured that you killed Caesar. I want to know why. What I really need to know Is what role I play in all of this? Why me?"
Astrid cleared her throat. Isabella looked at her. Then answered.
"Yes you two can go back to the hotel." They left.
Isabella poured me a tall glass of bourbon and handed me one of her cigars. I leaned back in my chair and put my feet on my desk. She sat down and crossed her legs. I noted her dark nipples poking through the gauze seen through material of her blouse. She smiled at me.
"You never stop do you? And you wonder why I exposed myself to you? Do you want to play a little before I tell you my story?" Her sarcasm oozed like honey in November. " I think you deserve a little fun for all of the troubles I have caused you. " She got up and removed her blouse in a storm cloud of shimmering rain drops of light.
"Wow!" Miranda exclaimed.
Gomer stopped reading. He stretched and put the book down.
"So you read this book with Sveltie, huh?" Gomer flushed at the question. He quickly made a decision.
"Yes, yes I did read it with her."
"Hmmm. You will have to tell me the outcome of that story sometime. Uuhhh ... Look hun, it is getting late. I loved your last blog. Call me tomorrow, okay?"
"About, Sveltie ..."
"Gomer, you are a thousand miles away ... right now, I think I understand, look it's complicated."
"I really love you Miranda."
"I know, babe. I love you, too. Look I'm gonna see you in Vegas in five days. I can't wait. Goodnight."
She hung up the phone. Gomer rubbed his eyes. they were tearing up.
"I can't fuck this up." He told himself as he closed Hawthorne's diary.
Across town, Jerry and Sveltie lay in bed. He had stopped at four glasses of wine and began to sober up a little bit. Sveltie lay next to him, snuggling in and deeply inhaling his scent. He kissed her deeply and she reciprocated.
It has been an emotional week in Muskrat Flats as the residents grapple with who they really are, what they need, and what they desire. As was pointed out in the closing of the last installment, many questions have arisen for Gomer, Jerry, Sveltie and now Miranda. Oddly the catalyst for these question comes from a century old book written by the most notorious jokester ever to walk the streets of Muskrat Flats. If Gomer were to tell his father about Hawthorne's diary, Moe might cluck his tongue a few times, exhale dramatically and say,
"Sooo, Sonny Boy ...You what Ken Kesey used to say? "Never Trust a Prankster." That's what he used to say. Remember Sonny, Friendship, Love and Truth, three links in the chain which should never be broken."
Words of wisdom, which will never be heard if the the secret which is wreaking havoc amongst the friends, spouses and lovers caught up in the insanity, is never revealed.
I Can't think of a better time to be ...
Running Hard Out of Muskrat Flats.
Thanks to F. Alex Johnson of the Drunk Stuntmen . I know I took some liberties, buddy. But you write such compelling lyrics. Click down there to read Alex's even more compelling blog -
Fearless By Default