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Reginald Blisterkunst, Ph.D.
Among the Remembered Saints: My Life and Subsequent Death
Pluto Wars

Greg Chandler
"Bee's Tree"
"Local Folk"
"Roland's Feast"
"Pond Story "

Doug Childers
"The Baptism"

Gene Cox
The Sunset Lounge

Clarke Crutchfield
"The Break-In"
"The Canceled Party"
"The Imaginary Bullet"

Jason DeBoer
"The Execution of the Sun"

Deanna Francis Mason
"The Daguerreian Marvel"

Dennis Must

Charlie Onion
"Love Among the Jellyfish"
Pluto Wars
"Feast of the Manfestation"

Chris Orlet
"Romantic Comedy"

Daniel Rosenblum
"A Full Donkey"

Deanna Frances Mason
"The Daguerreian Marvel"

Andrew L. Wilson
"Fat Cake and Double Talk"


Among the Remembered Saints:
My Life & Subsequent Death

Reginald Blisterkunst, Ph.D.

Part Eleven

The Going Under of the Twilight World

Scene: Lake Cloven-Heart Ski Resort, named such because the twin valley-bound lakes seemingly miles below the lodge look as if a giant, heart-hoofed pig had stepped over the mountains and driven a single foot deep into the valley mud—a fact which only becomes apparent to our foursome when the Dasher has climbed up up up the mountain side, gasping and roaring, and the angle of the frozen lakes shifts and—my God, it looks like a cloven heart, etc. all around—and then: screeeeeeeech says the Dasher, sliding to a stop, summit-edged.

—Christ, says Onion, slipping on the parking lot pavement and feeling, in a flushed flash, that it's all come to this, a Dasher gasping its way up a pseudo-Andean slope so that he can lickety-split slip-leap his way down in one heart-knotted gulp and splat himself flat on a frozen lake. Without thinking, he throws himself prone onto the scraped and salted asphalt.


There's our man,
Charlie Onion's his name.
Give him a hand up, will you,
We think he's gone lame.


Around them and ignoring them, yuppies in lime-green ski-suits grimace under the weight of gleaming skis and lancing poles, like-hued toddlers in tow. Moving faster: the spandexed teenaged girls and the baggy-clothed ski-boarding boys, and in the middle of the swirl, inside the whirl of ski lift gears and gleeful, plummeting shouts, three-quarters of our foursome waits awkwardly while Charlie O, trembling, rises above the frozen lake.

Arb [wrist turned facewards]: we've got four hours to go before the show. So what do we do? Ski?

Shrugs from the Onions—never been, says Charlie, trying not to look lakewards, but I'm willing to try; new philosophy, that, what?—but only a dodge from Candy Tabitha.

Arb: How about it?

CT: I think I'll just stay here in the lodge. Don't mind me.

Ah, come on, etc., from the three, jostling and prodding.

I'm pregnant, Candy T finally says, ducking her head and smiling at the asphalt modestly.

Gasps all around, of course, and then, in a staccato blurt, up jumps the Onion Charlie and shouts:

I'm going to Greece.

Stares all around, open-mouthed.

—Alone, he adds, having given it much thought on the ride up.


—Pregnant, hrumphs Cindy, now in the rentals shed and shuffling an inch at a time toward the ski-and-boots counter. Arb has remained in the lodge to discuss his paternal future with Candy T, and it is only poor Charlie who shuffles disconsolately beside his much-maligned and bitter wife.

—And what's all this nonsense about Greece?

—I'm going to Greece, he says, in a dampened voice.

—Oh, grow up.

No, he says. I mean it. I'm leaving the university for good.

—Right right right. But don't plan on coming back and finding a bunch of open doors. Mao won't have it, and neither will I.

—Of course, dear, he says.

He shuffles up to the counter and nods quietly at the strangely familiar youth who, along with the fitted skis, offers him an odd Masonic grin. Pierced nipple type, that, what?

But that's knowledge yet to come, for old Herr O. So what does he manage, that erudite teacher of peerless prose?

Herr O: Thanks.

A bit of a nervous grin, a head nod and then glancing backwards: what lump was that under the boy-man's shirt? (What did I tell you: nipple-pierce type. A subcategorized specialty of mine but that's neither here nor there now, I suppose.) Then stares the Onion, perplexed, and suddenly like the dawn it comes:

Zoma. The Wild Boy.

Yep, the nipple-piercer is none other than our dear Enfant Savage, and with a tentative quality in his voice, Onion sends the name out across the crowded counter:


Shrug from the youth, and Onion opens the oral to ask whether Zoma will grace the freak stage with the humpback but already like a Chinese dragon snakes the hapless line of ski-toters, twisting and roaring their way toward the double doors, and with them float the Onions, Cindy and poor backwards-glancing Charlie, conga-lining their way in mindless, bumper-car-like fashion and then: boom. Outside and the snow like a melting paradise.

—That was Zoma back there, says Herr O.


—The Wild Boy. Woody did a story about—

—Oh never mind. Just put your skis on.


—Put your skis on.

—Oh. I see. Like this?

—They're not slippers, you idiot.

—Well, I've never—


Like a mother then swoops the Cindy, jerking poor Herr's feet about manfully and doing everything but spitting in her hand and smoothing his hair down. Then up goes die Sonne as the world slips mercilessly without friction, but somehow he keeps from falling, even when the wife gives him a shove in the back that might have dislodged prosthetic devices in poor Herr, if he'd had any.

—Ski to the lift, says the Frau, stroking her way past Charlie with a distinct, East-German power.

—Right then.

Shuffle slide tilt shuffle tilt tilt slide. Up hill then, puff puff then down a bit towards a line waiting for the lift and picking up speed now, good God, they're like rockets, these skis are, and Charlie weaves back and forth over them like a stoned surfer and then, as the line looms and the red-jacketed back of a young girl proffers itself to Charlie's extended ski poles (for truly, he seems to think jousting is a part of the course), he is suddenly, magnetically pulled toward a parked snow plow, into whose scoop he glides full-tilt with surprisingly little sound.

—Oh my God, from the line.

—Are you all—

—What the hell did he—

—Fine, fine, says Herr O, using the ski poles to draw himself erect. A grin for the crowds and then he pushes off the snow plow and yes, finally, he drifts down to the red-jacketed woman and manages to spear her neatly between the shoulder blades.

Pop! goes the jacket, with a puff of down feathers.

—Ouch! goes the girl, lurching forward, and then, turning to see poor O, saying nothing more and offering nothing to him but her feather-bleeding target-red back. Cindy, to the side, merely scowls.


It's a long line, this, with little to do but stamp your feet and admire a few spandex-clad asses, if the mood beckons—which it doesn't for the Onions, and so they merely stamp at the ground and snort. It's hard not to make them eat shrubbery, I must admit; they're so damned deerlike. But no, there's only the line and the snow and a few coughs and finally the crawl into the wooden shed with the lift and then around like a thresher it comes, with viscous speed, and then bump smack against the knees, and the Onions are lifted with a groan, and the skis tip away from the snow, and they are out into the gray air again, bobbing and swaying in jerky slow-motion.

Silence, of course, while Onion's gaze rises from the snow beneath him up up up to what looks like the foothills of the Himalayas, and then, with a dramatic flourish, the granite-sharp peak of the mountain unveils itself and Charlie is crushed silent.

—That's, he finally manages, where we're going?

Cindy glances up and then back down at the skiers below them: yep.

—But I might die, Herr O protests.

Cindy shrugs.

Charlie glances back up at the mountain peak, which now looks like a mangled bird's claw, and contemplates slipping under the lift chair's bar and taking his chances on the snow beneath. But just then, at the very moment Onion Charlie tugs tentatively at the bar, the line of chairs comes to an abrupt, pendulum-swinging halt.


At first, no one gives it much thought, the fact that the lift is no longer moving. After all, it's not unusual to be stopped while some rich toddler is helped up from the lift ramp above you. So they sit there for five minutes, and nothing moves but the lift chairs, swaying in the wind. Then Cindy turns around, to look back down the hill, and notices that other skiers are being turned away from the lift.

Look at that, she says.

They are the first words she's spoken since the damn thing stopped, and for a moment, caught in a dream of hot Mediterranean sand, Charlie is hard-put to locate the voice.


Finally, he twists around and watches whole droves of skiers approach the lift attendant and then drift slowly back down the hill to the lodge, the last one—that one there, slipping from the side door of the lift shed, turning to look back up the hill and seeming, even from this distance, to cackle—I say, she looks damn like...but no, that couldn't be—but Christ, it certainly—with those lime-green socks and that lump under the jacket shoulder—

—What the hell's going on?

Shake of the head from Herr O; the lift's lazy swaying has suddenly become vertiginous, and the recently contemplated escape under the bar is now unthinkable.

—Stop shaking the chair, he sputters, and grabs the side bar.

Of course, this can only provoke Cindy to commence swinging the chair in wide arcs, and without aural foreplay, Charlie abruptly screams.


Like a glinting ice pick, the sharp falsetto cracks through the icy forest below.


—Shut up, you baby! says Cindy, in a hiss.

Damp, spine-chilled silence, then, while the others fore and aft wonder if there might be wolves howling in the dark forest beneath them.

—Mommy, says a child behind the Onions, they won't eat us, will they?

Before the mother can respond, there comes from behind them a chugging sound, like a toy motorboat, and presently everyone turns to see Zoma making his way precipitously up the hill on a three-wheeled mini-bike. As they watch, he stops at every few lift seats and yells up in a booming cockney voice.

—We're 'aving problems with the lift. It's going to be a coppola minutes.

Groans all around of course, but still Zoma inches forward a few seats and shouts his message, again and again.

—Everyone all right then, guvner? he shouts.

—I need to pee, a teenaged wit calls out.

—Whip it out, quips another, to which everyone but the Onions laugh.

As the others watch from above, Zoma works his way up the hill, shouting his message like a towncrier in a town of deaf-mutes, until he is finally out of sight, and only his voice is heard coming from the encroaching darkness beneath them. Then there is the sound of an engine revving, and Zoma again comes into view, the bike now facing down hill and gathering bumpy speed with the sometime Wild Child bouncing around on its seat and then, as he brakes, the bike suddenly slides sideways on the ice and charges at a large rock. At the last minute, just as the bike begins to tip over, Zoma jumps an athletic dozen feet from the bike and lands on his stomach.

From a few lift chairs comes a smattering of applause.

Then Zoma leaps erect, rubs his nipples for a moment and tries to rock the bike away from the rock, but to no avail.

—Put the bike in reverse, someone yells down.

Zoma tries a few buttons and shouts up: Eh? How?

—That green button next to the key, replies a voice behind the Onions.

Prod prod push: rev goes the bike, chewing its way backwards up the hill, then Zoma gets the gears straight and limps homeward, all the while waving fond farewell to our stranded heroes.

Sixty-five minutes pass, with Charlie watching the sun set melodramatically behind the mountain peak. From a bird's claw, it seems to morph into the right index nail of the Apparition, beckoning Charlie to his gruesome, thresher-induced death, and he stares transfixed with a death-grip expression. Finally, he manages to break the trance and direct his glance back down the mountain, but like the Cosmic Whore herself, the peak's throbbing presence can be felt even on the exposed flesh of his neck.

—They studied him at Duke, you know, he says, trying to forget the sight.

—Shut up, says Cindy.

And with that, they slip once again into conjugal silence, while the wind whistles and the lift rocks.


Days seem to pass as the Onions swing disconsolately, their lives having collapsed in the interim, and then a new mini-bike appears below them, with a generator in tow. From the swaying lift chairs, it's too far to see if it is Zoma who swings his leg over the seat and turns to greet the man from the lift shed, but it really doesn't matter to Charlie anyway, does it, the poor man after all, shall we say, a broken arrow tossed from everyman's quiver? But hark: proto-Zoma and Lift-Man have somehow wired the generator up to the broken lift and after a handful of dramatic gray puffs of smoke, the lift jerks forward, sways precipitously backwards and then jerks forward again. And then: presto-churno: the lift, she moves.

Snail's pace, I'll grant you, and even far up the mountain, suspended just below the paths of satellites, our Onions smell the burnt oil of the wheezing generator, but no complaints now as they all lean forward, hoping to cross the bridge before the Nazis strafe them from the air. Chug-chug, sigh, smoke-puff, chug-chug, chug-spit, chug-spit, and finally it's the Onions' turn at the crest. Up goes the rail, and then, leaning forward, skis angled in anticipation, out leap the pair, their legs sudden-awaked.

For a moment, they navigate the turn left and follow a narrow trail descending through rather meager evergreens. It's a steep trail, though, often plunging downhill precipitously with, on the left, a sheer dropoff shielded only by the occasional boulder, and Charlie, still not ski-worthy, struggles mightily to hug the uphill side of the trail. In the shadow of the evergreens, the married Onions (no surprise, here, what?) do not speak.

Another turn and then a clearing (Natty Bumppo would have seen it coming, but not our Onions) and then a turn into a sheer plunge. Charlie gasps and tries to ski backwards, as rowers do on the lips of waterfalls, but his effort is interrupted by the sudden port-side appearance of the red-jacketed girl. As she bolts past him with a sneer, Charlie's right ski pole hooks the girl's left ski and twists her around in front of him like a jackknifed truck.

For a single, frozen moment, she spins gracefully across the trail in a cloud of feathers and then, with little more fanfare than a suppressed gasp, she strikes a boulder full-on and tilts skis-over-snout off the side of the hill. Drifting hopelessly toward the final plunge, Charlie hears the girl breaking through the foliage and then, as he slides silently past a group of skiers who have stopped to peer curiously into the chasm (Onion Cindy among them), he drops over the edge.


It is like riding a waterfall, this descent is, and Charlie rides it as he must: screaming. For a ways, his skis sniff for a smooth trail between the ravines, and then, momentum gathering, they merely bump and grind their way south. More than once, Herr Onion tries simply to sit, but the plunge will have nothing of it, and finally, inevitably, he gives himself over to the void, falling silently forward into its great, ice-toothed mouth.

It is over in moments.

His coat is torn and something above his mouth seems to be bleeding, but somehow he finds himself at the bottom, upright and gliding. From above, a collective gasp and then a smattering of applause.

Charlie stands upright now, gliding without trying and just thankful to be alive, thank God. Soon, the trail levels off again slightly, and knots of skiers begin to pass him.

Cindy (drifting silently up in his blind spot): You looked like a fool back there.

Onion Charlie: What's that? Oh. Lucky I'm still breathing. I just (rounding a corner in the trail, navigating it with little thought)...I'm still not sure how to stop. I thought I could—Good God.

The sides of the trail peel back and, as the world itself seems to fall at the Onions' feet, breath, time, heart and head stop. From here, it seems, one could step onto the moon with a single stride or fall endlessly into an ice-covered pit—and only after stepping out would you know which fate the universe had dealt.

Don't embarrass me again, hisses Cindy, as her skis tip themselves into the final, dark decline. Moments later, she is nothing more than a crouching speck far below.


Lock-kneed, Herr Onion weaves his way stiffly downhill in great, hill-wide curves, all the while dodging and darting his way between the other, more experienced skiers, who plummet like bullets around him. Soon, long before the bottom is reached, Onion is alone.

In places, the sun has burnt holes through the snow, and as Charlie descends, patches of Virginia red clay suddenly appear before him, like bloody mirages at first and then looming real and, with a scrape of sand and pebbles, catch the skis and stick as surely and securely as great magnetic traps—but only for a moment, for soon, just before the Charlie-head's downhill momentum snaps at its leash, the feet urge the skis over the clay so that, as Charlie plunge-freeze-grinds, plunge freeze-grinds his way down the slope, he can't help feeling as though he is nothing more than a tiny, porcelain figure on a maniacally manipulated calliope.

But it is not I, Herr Onion, who jerk you about so (though I must confess myself guilty of such in earlier transmissions). Nor is it I who has placed that solitary figure on the trail that you spy now, at the same moment the dreaded ski lift drifts into view. Weaving your way down to the man, you notice, in the dying light, that he is crouching skiless in the snow and that he is aiming a black-bodied camera up the hill toward you and the setting sun.

You smile, thinking your picture might be snapped, but no, Herr Kamera is merely snapping the sun, the snow and the evergreens. Or so, in your paranoid state, it seems. As you slow to greet him (smiling halfway, working your poles toward the man), Herr Kamera—startled—slips and slides on his back a yard or two and then snags on a patch of clay, around which he spins slowly before again sliding in a frictionless creep downhill.

In the process, he loses his camera, which follows the curve of a subtle ravine and comes to rest, like the lost snowmobile, beyond human reach. Nonetheless, you, Herr Onion, studiously polite, begin poling your way toward the camera.

—Don't touch it! our cameraman shouts.

Herr Onion hesitates, looks up. From here, below the dramatically backlit cameraman, with the last of the sun pouring pink salmon hues over the glistening snow, Onion dimly remembers a photograph of a dying Indian, his head wrapped like a toothache and his arms strangely, painfully akimbo in a pile of snow, and he briefly wonders whether he should use the man's camera to take his picture.

—I'll get it myself, Herr K manages to puff, arms and legs wriggling buglike for a grip.

Herr O glances first at the man and then at the camera, and then, as someone or another once said, under a green sky, at the hour when everything surrenders to poetry, he finally turns his skis downhill again, toward the unseen lodge.

—Right then, he says, pushing off and gathering speed in the darkling twilight. Right, he says to himself, in the face of the valley's darkness.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12



About the Author

The 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.


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