Sunday, March 18, 2007

plaid chameleon cucumber party!

......Continued from yesterdays' thrilling tales of yesteryear....

Life in the abandoned house on Harrison Hill was pleasant. Nobody bothered me, I had construction projects to keep me busy and, as I've pointed out previously, there was a marked absence of crying drug addicts.
The house was in a beautiful neighborhood, surrounded with old-fashioned bourbon roses. The minute the dew began to fall in the evening the roses would release clouds of the most incredible fragrance, a fragrance which instantly filled the entire house. Mainly because there were no windows.

In the backyard was an overgrown pillar rosebush about ten feet across at the top. It produced a nondescript blossom, but one which released fragrance so heavily you could literally taste it. You could smell the heavy, luxurious scent even over the cut grass while you mowed the lawn. I took blossoms and put them in next to my bed, and even in the cold of the morning my room smelled of them when I woke up.

Then I'd throw on a jacket and walk down to the sideshow.

On a typical morning I'd open the back door and be met with the sound of Kelvin thrashing and screaming in his sleep. I'd go into the bathroom, check all the surfaces for unpleasant bodily souvenirs, make it quick, then hit the kitchen. Mr. Meadows would be there by then. I'd have to sidle around him like a hypochondriac at a leper rave, since he was one of those guys who liked to 'pretend' to bump into you and turn it into a full-body grind as you went by.

Once everyone was awake we would all pour a screwdriver and Mr.Meadows would start in on his latest grandiose remodelling project for the day, which we ignored. This would lapse into a story about the prostitute he'd been banging the night before, vivid descriptions of how she smelled, how he had to threaten her in order to cop a shower so he wouldn't come home with dried pussy all over his dick, then segue into his speech about raising useless lazy children who never lifted a finger and had to be supervised and blah blah blah. Which we ignored.

I am proud to say that I initiated the trick of sneaking extra booze into his drink so that he'd get too shitfaced to stay awake, and so shut the fuck up and go to bed. It worked beautifully. One day he even stopped midsentance, toppled foreward and fell asleep on the table. Splat. We left him there. Comparing notes on the way to the hardware store we realized that each one of us had been tipping the bottle into his glass, which probably dissolved...just like his liver. One hopes.

We had a credit account at the hardware store. This was one of those fantastic old bare-wood places that smell of hay bedding, malt feed, gasoline and zinc... full of amazing crap that you hardly ever see anymore. Choker hooks, peaveys. Team rigging. Kerosene lamps. I loved that place. Because Elder son was too friendly and Kelvin was too timid, dealing with the staff fell to me. I learned how to order, fill out account information, deal with suppliers and salespeople, all kinds of things. It was great.

We'd go back to the house, unload the days' supplies, and start working. Meaning me and Brother the Eldest worked; Kelvin wandered around and usually ended up hiding in the basement, which is where I had to go fetch him from every evening.
Brother the eldest refused to go into the basement; he claimed it was a lesser gateway to the Underworld. And inasmuch as the Gollumesque Kelvin was usually lurking down there in the dark, flogging his first mate, he had a point.

You think I am kidding.

As we worked, Eldest Brother would ramble on happily for hours about Christ knows what...the Navy, being able to see auras, a book called 'Etidorpha' which he claimed held the true secrets of science.* Carlos Castenada was also a favorite subject. As I reapplied trim, taped off details and glued sheets of panelling he'd fill me in on the god of the San Pedro cactus and Mescaline and peyolotl and teleportation, how to cap up dried cactus pulp...when I got sick of that I'd switch him off on the paint stripper detail and he'd straighten up for an hour or so.

Then he'd come sidling back over and getting in the way, and I'd swap him back, and in no time he'd have his head right back over the can, a wavering figure through the rising chemical fumes, tripping on about the true appearance of God and pranic breathing and how he had developed the ability to fly.

Once again, you are thinking 'Nations, you lie like an eggsuck dog'.
Would that I were.

As I puttered around it was hard not to notice a trail of cleaner swaths on the floor, like a strange, looping design. They didn't seem to follow any logical traffic pattern from room to room, but it was clear that they were trails worn by foot passage. The rest of the floor was a uniform, shiny dull black...crusted thick with filth that came up in flakes, where it came up at all.

As the days passed and the laquer stripper held out, I began finding out more and more about the last resident of the house we were working on.

Apparently Mr. Meadows' sister had been the previous tenant.
As she'd advanced into senility she'd filled the house up to the ceiling with piles of mail and newspapers, boxes of old clothes and magazines tied with string, arranged in a mazelike pattern, something she claimed would foil robbers. She'd also taped entire Sunday editions of the newspaper over her windows until they bulged out into the room.
Her sole companion had been a small dog, who, noting that Mom was rapidly sliding into a condition where she didn't give a hoot in hell anymore, promptly stopped going outside to crap and pee.
At the very end she had lived entirely within the confines of the house, sucking water out of the kitchen tap, eating sugar out of the bag in handfuls and sharing a dish of raw hamburger at the table with her dog.

Eldest Brother also claimed that she'd been in possession of advanced psionic abilities; that once in his boyhood he'd come into the kitchen to find her suspended in midair, pedalling away on a cosmic wheel made of blue light. I don't know what eating raw hamburger had to do with this phenomena, if anything.

Even though there was a perfectly good hole in the floor in the bathroom, whenever one of the guys had to get rid of some beer, being guys, they went outside. Unlike most guys over the age of six, however, this was usually accompanied by lots of smirking and giggles. Visiting the great outdoors was referred to as 'watering an oddie', snork, fnar.
I ignored this. Acting like dill-holes is what they did.
But when other male acquaintances of theirs did the same thing when there and did it nowhere else BUT there, I figured some kind of private joke was going on.
I'd mowed the back yard. It was overgrown, but aside from the human population of the property at any given time there wasn't anything out there that looked like 'an oddie' to me.

One day I was outside, enjoying the weather, mowing, pausing to take the occasional smoke-and-asthma inhalation break. One of the guys looked out the window and shouted at me "Be careful! Don't hit an oddie!"

A few minutes later Eldest Brother came out onto the back stoop, grinned and called "Be careful! don't run over an oddie!" and went to whiz in the roses.

This happened a few more times that day. Even Mr. Meadows made a point of saying it to me that evening while I was pouring gas into the mower. "Didja run into an oddie under the rosebush?"

I gave in and asked Eldest Brother what the 'oddie' bullshit was all about,
fully expecting to hear a story about lawn gnomes that came to life at night and robbed graves or something.

What I heard was something entirely different.

It wasn't 'an oddie'.

What they were all saying was 'Aunt Audrey'.

Don't hit Aunt Audrey.

Under the rose bush.

"You named the rosebush Aunt Audrey?" I asked. Considering the source this was a perfectly reasonable question.

"No no no. Aunt Audrey is under the rose bush," explained Eldest Brother, enunciating.

I waited. In the Meadows-zone, you learned not to take any statements of fact that came out of their mouths at face value, because what was clear and apparent to a Meadows was often the product of Zippy the Pinhead reasoning processes.

Turns out, Aunt Audrey had been cremated.

Her cremains had been scattered under the rosebush.

Where her nephews, their friends, and her brother had been going out of their way to urinate for years.

I went in the bedroom and threw the roses out the window.

Goodness yes, this shit be continued. What'd you think?

*etidorpha (which is 'aphrodite' backwards! oo!) is about faceless underground mushroom people who can prove that water doesn't always seek it's own level and who will explain the process at the drop of a hat, at excruciating length, with diagrams.
no, really.
you're sitting in front of a computer; look it up.


  1. Kristy9:01 PM

    You have led a full and rich life. I look forward to the next installment!

  2. again... you need to write a book. Augusten Burroughs, as da nator has pointed out, has nothing on you... write... a... book... I'll buy it I will.

  3. hendrix2:09 AM

    I'll buy the book too! This is brilliant.
    PS. I would almost have thought you were making it up but then you went and mentioned Castenada and it all started to make sense...

  4. i'll buy two copies at least. i'm enraptured. this is a glimpse into a world that i didn't know existed. like the lakes under antactica, only wierder and with people.

  5. kristy: parts of it i wish had happened to someone else, though..
    kindness: and alert these people to my continued existence? HAIL no! but thanks!
    hendrix: my darling, every single word is true. this really happened. just like this. there are many good reasons i don't live in oregon anymore. you've just read about some.
    cb: hey, i grew up with profound dysfunction and i was still unprepared for this crap.

  6. Write the book, write the book, write the book. This will get boring so please, just write the book.

  7. . . . and screenplay by David Lynch.

    enjoying this, truth being stranger than fiction n'all

  8. Ok I admit it I googled etidorpha and now know more than I wanted about Mr Lloyd. Now please WRITE THE BOOK!

  9. woooh.
    at least it wasn't a whole corpse. I think if it were Aunt Audrey's rotting bag of bones, there would have been much vomitting.

    but Ew, none the less.

    btw - the Eldest's name wasn't Nathan, was it? Cause i swear i know that guy. An' i wish i didn't...

  10. realdoc: i tried googling them yesterday but not a trace did i find.still, i don;'t know if the world really needs a book about this kind of illness.
    frobi: it gets wierder. and yeah, david lynch...there's parts of Wild at Heart that are pure Meadows. gaaaaaah.
    ziggi: *googles* well I'll be, it's online in simalcrum! now you don't have to purchase the thing in order to go "Wha...?"
    claire: wow, I'm sorry. no, it was James. Actually a hell of a nice guy. just completely, completely out of touch with reality.

  11. Anonymous12:42 PM

    It makes perfect sensetome, I read every word Ms FN - hats off - best post of the year so far - my made up nonsense pales into insignificance.

  12. Bugger, I won't have time to read this for a couple of days. I hope I rememeber to come back.

  13. On a positive note, we now all know that junkie piss and cremains are good for roses.


  14. muttley: your stuff is the best, funniest, wildest place going. even the comments you get are fantastic. don't START. and thank you my darling!
    tick: oh for heavens sakes, would someone go sober him up? muttley? give him a twirlie or something.
    danator: i was wondering when someone would make that connection! its true; think about it. all the potassium and trace elements? all the nitrogen and extra water? it reminds me of my grandma telling me how they'd get a hydrangea to change colors in the old days...they'd empty the whiz out of the kids' chamber pots underneath it every morning. turns it pink!

  15. booooooooookbookbook
    It's funny to hear others tell you what YB & I have for years, innit?

  16. wow...found you via therockmother...damn, write the book is right! and yeah, i was thinking david lynch in the back o'mah mind, too...

  17. I thought I'd had some weird neighbours, but your crew takes the biscuit.You're a tonic, FN.
    When's the book coming out?

  18. Excellent, keep it cuming.

  19. My God, and I thought my family was weird.

  20. Anonymous7:07 AM

    wow! what a story! now, the only thing that is missing are your tales of visiting all the bloggers you read - visiting them in person. that way you can really make some money.

  21. I've just downloaded iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers on my desktop.