the Remembered Saints: My Life and Subsequent Death
Execution of the Sun"
Among the Jellyfish"
of the Manfestation"
Cake and Double Talk"
the Remembered Saints:
My Life & Subsequent Death
or Two Tight Spots
hour later and still pensive, our man Charlie strolls
quietly into the departmental building and is met on the
threshold by the feverish-looking Hoary Head of Formalists.
—I know what you're up to.
Christ! thinks O, ice-veined and sweat
popping up like needle-pricks on his face.
HH of F, no fool despite the early-onset
who-are-you-again and is-this-Coke-can-my-daughter, watches
the guilt flash over O's face like heat lightning.
—Yes, that's right, says the Hoary
Head, grinning sadistically. I saw you come into the building
the other night. I've got a camera right here, dear boy
(here he taps on the potted plant and for the first time,
Onion sees the winking of the camera's red eye), and you're
on tape as clear as ice. So you'd better come clean, if
you know what's good for you.
O [sweating]: I've no idea what you're
H: Fancy a spot of juice?
H: You heard me, you limp-wristed multiculturalist.
O: Limp-wristed what?
H: You heard me. Stealing an old man's
juice—what the hell's that? A gesture for the Party?
A sign of solidarity with the Dykes for Austen? Just what
the hell's your game, Onion?
O (sputtering, backing off): You're,
you're crazy, you old bastard.
H: I'll see this comes to the attention
of Mao, etc.
O: No need. I'm going to discuss it
with him now.
And thus manfully strides dear Charlie,
affronted by hoary fascist spying, down the lengthy hall
to Mao's shut door. Knock knock and, without waiting,
he's in the office and gawking at Chairman Mao crouching
behind his desk with a plastic grocery bag pulled tight
over his head and his what-nots hanging out of his trousers
and busily being thrust about.
Herr O: Good Lord.
Mad dash then, a blur of things being
folded and shoved away and zipped up, and momentarily
Mao is merely sitting and nodding his head benignly, if
—Just having a spot of lunch,
Onion. Um. Do go on.
—Yes, well, sputters our O, look
here, Herr Chairman, there's this little problem of the
HH of F spying on our fellow faculty comrades, you see,
and well, gosh all, I'm just wondering if you couldn't—
Blank, uncomprehending stare on the
Mao's visage and then, like a fire catching hold, his
face lights up. He is, Charlie notices, rather obviously
studying Herr O's snugly zipped fly.
—Ah yes, says Mao. The juice thievery.
So it's you then, is it?
—What? No, of course not. You've
got it all wrong. I just—
Mao waves him off and winks lasciviously.
—There there. We can work this
out, just the two of us, don't you think, dear Onion?
Perhaps we can forget the old man altogether, no?
O: I'm sorry?
Mao: Maybe we could come to some agreement,
just between the two of us?
O gawks, speechless, as Mao rises slowly,
as if he were trying to look like a sword rising from
a lake, and then he slinks around to O's side of the desk
and lets one fish-cold hand settle onto O's left shoulder.
I'm not a demanding man, Mao pouts.
You could keep your wife too.
O sizes up the man from Nehru collar
to Mr. Lee slippers and shakes his head.
I—I...I don't need her, O says.
A smile splits Lee's face in two as
he lets his arms circle Herr O like twin snakes. Then
the right hand goes wandering, sliding down the shoulder
and across the chest of poor frozen O, the hand feigning
indifference, like an innocent sheep gallivanting across
the meadow, and then comes the fly—-zzziiiiiiiiiipppp—and
the fish-cold hand slips inside, and O, in a flash of
lightning, belts out a womanly shriek and knocks Mao to
the carpet. Then, as if he had rehearsed it, Charlie deftly
hurdles over the Chairman (who looks up with a we'll-meet-again
look on his face) and springs through the door.
—I say, old man, the HH of F shouts
after him, as O sprints the length of the hall and disappears
through the front door. Zip up, what? It's turned frigid
Nothing. The door slams.
HH of F turns to Candy Tabitha: He's
stealing my orange juice, you know.
CT: I'm not at all surprised.
toward a Brownstone
no greater events than these in the Longbourn family,
and otherwise diversified by little beyond the walks to
Meryton, sometimes dirty and sometimes cold, did January
and February pass away.
Actually, it was September and October
that did pass away, but that will do quite nicely, Jane.
Transitions are so tiresome, aren't they, when they span
so much dramatically idle time? Cindy still childless,
Herr O still porn-mad-Mao-shy, Arb and Candy T still doe-eyed,
Duty still diving deep, etc., but none of them putting
it all together, damn them. And so from August through
Austen to November and on to—dare we say it? Yes,
damn it, the end, and after it, nothing but the darkness
for your old humble. But no more talk of the burnt-out
end of our humble's torrid tale—for one morning,
with the winter sunlight glowing golden and the birds
chirping about snow, our dear Arb discovers the Humpback
slouch-strutting streetward not two blocks from Herr O's
departmental building and, true sleuth that he is, he
follows her until she enters a dark building with a slip
of paper under her arm and returns moments later without
it. But then, just as Arb thinks it safe to trace her
steps into the building, he spies her watching him from
across the street and beats a hasty retreat to Charlie's
office, where our poor O is just then considering how
to take out a subscription to Boys Talk Dirty without
W (bursting in and breathless): I found
—Eh? What? You where?
WA: I followed her to a building two
blocks from here. A big—pant pant—brownstone
on the corner. I think it belongs to the university, but
I couldn't get close enough to read the sign.
C: Brownstone? On the corner? Hmmm.
(miracle of miracles: the bastard's forgotten inky buggering
for the mo) That's the music building.
WA: Well then. That explains the trombone
and the warbling, I suppose.
Nods all around, musing.
Arb to Charlie: I'm going in tonight
to find that paper if I have to check every room. Game?
To which Charlie, briefly weighing all
aspects of the present, perverted form his life has taken,
shrugs and says simply: What the hell.
und dann: Bingo
forward then through six rather dull hours to the moment
when, like twin shadows set loose from the solid, our
heroic two slip wraithlike through the music building's
strangely unlocked front door. Down a long corridor, then
a blind turn to the right and the dim prospects of another
darkened corridor and then, like a blazing lantern, on
the distant wall shines a scrap of paper, beckoning. And
so creep creep they slip into the dark passage. Demonic,
affectless stillness like unto a frozen Hell lake for
a bit, and then they are inside a sudden patch of light
cast from a high window, and as he reaches for the posted
paper and tears it from the wall, Arb glances wraithward
Hey, look at me! I've got a humpbacked
Huh? Cripes! For verily the Arb's shadow
is humpbacked but even as they watch the wraiths
flicker, the hump cracks free from dear Arb's shadow-shoulders
and flicker-snaps itself into a familiar form, and then
our two heroes are snap-whipping double-takes at the frozen
Hell Lake, for there she stands in the flesh, the Apparition
herself, no more than arm's reach and coming like—yes—like
a thresher, clump clump, with her two eyes—due to
some trick of the high window—glowing like twin
lime-green hell-fire lanterns.
Mad scrambling then, wraith shadows
becoming frantic mating spiders, and: shuffle; scuffle;
boom; free and running, back across the Frozen Lake and
then for a moment the shadows large again and then around
the corner and through the door and out, our heroes' heels
clicking and clacking carward, while behind them trails
nothing but a sustained note of our Humpback's Wagnerian
Miles seem to pass with the cackle pursuing
them unflagging, and not until he has run three red lights
does Arb draw curbward and lift the paper into the light,
where he and comrade Charlie read:
HUMPBACK TO PLAY KAZOO FOR SKIERS THIS
Bingo, Woody says, like a boy catching
a fly. Got you.
a Bit, Brother
here we go: Heinie's saying the Double was cuckolding
him, and that it was the Double, see, who—
Oh, shut up.
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late Reginald Blisterkunst was a college professor whose
areas of expertise were Milton and the Metaphysical Poets.
Among the Remembered Saints was his first novel.
He also co-wrote Pluto Wars with Charlie Onion,
a frequent WAG contributor.