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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 Twelve


Flash forward, then, for sadly our Herr O makes it safely through the darkness and now stands rather raggedly next to our dear Arb, while before them the lodge fire cracks and hisses.

—Things have taken a surprising turn, says Arb, sipping his hot toddy and nodding at the fire.

—What?, says O, lost in thought. Oh. CT. Womb-walled. Quite.

Arb glances at CT, sitting on a leather couch on the far wall and glowing beatific in the firelight.

All the best laid plans, Arb mutters. Shaking his head ruefully.

O: About ready?

Arb glances at his watch, shrugs.

What the hell, he says.


The lodge's auditorium is long and narrow, and it does much to dampen the Polartec-laden yuppies (boisterous and downright flushed-gushing from the toddies) until they see the bar that runs down its length. The stage is dark, with a single mic stand catching the meager light and throwing its shape back to the crowd. Our four settle into seats near the front, silent and—DOLLY up there, Karl, and TRACK down the row, will you—brooding like windowless monads. Then the lights dim, the stage is lit, and the Humpback Apparition and an old man limp from the wings.

Heads bowing grimly for a moment while the crowd adjusts to the Humpback, and then the old man tilts the microphone and produces a blue and gold kazoo from his shirt pocket. Glances at the Humpback, who nods slightly, and then he lifts the kazoo to his lips.


It is like nothing the crowd has ever heard, the kazoo weeping, laughing, crying out indignantly and swaying coquettishly over them like Onion's Cosmic Whore. Toddies forgotten, they gawk as the old man steps from the mic, seems to offer the Humpback her turn and then waves her off. Frozen moment then, as if the world has stopped on its end, and then the old man swaggers to the mic and tilts the silver-fluted kazoo heavenwards and bleats a single, sustained note that surges upwards in a rush and takes with it in its afterburn the whole audience in a swooning swoop, sudden-frighted and holding onto his heels and climbing, breathless, for all they're worth. Beside him: tap tap tap goes the Apparition, her claws keeping time against the bony, summer-cottoned thigh. Then, even as the kazoo climbs and shreds and climbs and sheds the last ounce of earthly weight and bursts forth into a place of pure golden light, the old man steps back, diminished, and the Apparition sways, places a clawed hand around the mic and...

sings a single, high-pitched note, more a sustained scream, really, the cry of a spurned lover alone on the heath, a single sustained flash of anguish that raises the hair of our heroic foursome and even makes dear Onion think he's wet himself but no: such is the delusion one feels in the presence of otherworldliness.

For seeming minutes floats the note, dipping rising, swooping, crying dying, over the audience and then, of a sudden: silence. And the Apparition stumbles back into the old man's arms and together, as our four wipe the warm tears from their cheeks and blink light-startled, the Kazoo Twins shuffle off the stage and vanish.


—Right then, from the Arb. Shall we?

Onion [looking about]: I've got to pee first.

Sighs and impatient glances among the others, and then he is crossing the room with its crackling fire and its wooled-up, ad-prepped yuppies to the Gents and with little more than a creak, he slips ghostlike into the stall. He closes his eyes briefly while the briefs open their cottonmouth and then, eyes slitted downward, he spies—in a nondescript twist of newsprint and cheap magazine colors arranged like a nest next to the porcelain—a torn page from, yes, that's right:


Boys Talk Dirty #69


and, cringing, he can't keep himself from picking it up and reading:


I'm gonna do you, Señorita, like...


With much gravity and a sense of sweeping, white-water-frothy fate, he turns the sheet over and views the torn photo, the legs spread to reveal the pink, puckered orifice that, like a newborn, seems foreign and sun-frighted, and then, with a listless, lifeless, twitching release, he lets the page drift in a draft of toilet-cooled air and, after it sets down baby-soft onto the eau de toilet, he sinks it deep into the bowl with a great stream of gold-shimmery, fate-denying piss.

And then, with a stall-slapping exeunt, he strides somewhat forcefully among the living.


—Right, says Arb. I suppose we should—

—Yes, agrees Mme. Onion, I definitely think we might—

—Let's go, says M. Onion, ironed-jawed. Move 'em out.

The others follow: stride stride goes the suddenly, vigorously manly Onion, Duke-like and willing, seemingly, to strike down an opponent's horse with his bare fists, and, in a clump behind him: shuffle shuffle glance about shuffle shuffle sheepish grin.

Bar empty at this hour, of course, lights dim and the chairs looking fake-chrome cheap. Momentary confusion and then a voice from afar bellows:

Can I help you?

Cringing at the sudden, hidden baritone; then again:

Can I, etc.

This time the notes are traced back to the bar, where a burly man with rolled-up sleeves and a handlebar mustache that looks sturdy enough to perform pull-ups on stands ready for a fight.

Arb: Ha. Um. We were actually—

Looking for the Humpback, Charlie says, in a previously unheard baritone.

The man's face clears and he smiles cloudless with recognition: Backstage. Use the side door over there.

Out goes a hairy, thick-wristed arm, pointing, and past it struts Charlie, with a swagger worthy of a ten-gallon chapeau. And behind him follow the Shuffle Club.


A maze of hallways with ribs of gas pipes overhead and then they all end at a single, rather unassuming door. A moment with an ear pressed woodward and then, nothing spied, Onion raps precipitously. A sound of shuffled feet working unhurriedly toward them and then, unexpected drama, the door throws itself open and the Apparition stands before them, menacing.

—Excuse me, says Onion, deflated by the sight. Wrong room. I—

Arb: We'd like a word with you.

A grimace from the Apparition, who is, as always, wearing lime-green socks, and then, with a shrug, she steps into the hallway and croaks: Yeah?

Arb: yes. We would like to discuss with you the murder of a man named—

Reginald Blisterkunst, mumbles Onion Cindy, mesmerized by the Apparition's humpback.

Never heard of him, she says and turns back into the room.

—How about Heinrich Müller? It's Cindy again, wakeful now and pushing.

The Apparition stops, arrested, as something hidden in the room begins shuffling its way toward her.

—Who is it, says a voice.

No one, the Apparition croaks.

More shuffling and then her kazoo partner appears in the doorway behind her. He's wearing a sweat-stained sleeveless t-shirt and khakis, and he squints at our heroes with a cataract-induced befuddlement.

Another summary from Arb: We'd like to discuss, etc.

Can't help you, the man says, turning back into the room.

—Mum? Dad? says yet another voice from within the room.

Momentarily, a gleaming nipple ring appears from the darkness, and Zoma steps into the light.

—Zoma! exclaim Charlie and Arb. But you—

—This, croaks the Humpback, is our son.

—But that's—

—Impossible! You can't—

—be their—

—What ho, I say. You're—

—their son.

To which the Wild Boy merely shrugs and stares, scratching restlessly at the brass ring.

Look, says Charlie, finally, we're not interested in seeing somebody killed over this, you know. We just want my friend here to get the charges dropped against him. So if you could just tell us enough to do that, we'll leave you alone and never tell anyone we met.

The Humpback starts to swing the door shut, but Cindy—give her her due—steps up speedily and thrusts a foot doorwards. Raw furor flashes over the Humpback, then she steps away, shrugging.

—We have nothing to prove, she says.

—Maybe I did give that guy a little something, says the old man, returning to the doorway and rubbing his bare arms absently. I'm not saying I did. And I'm not saying I didn't.

Arb: But why would you—

—I didn't say I did, the man says.

Arb: Yes, but—

—I knew Müller, you might say. Yes, the man says, rubbing his eyes. In fact, I worked in his place, occasionally. You know, his stand-in.

—But that would make you...

Wry grin from yes, dammit, you've guessed: the Double.

—Oh my God!

A full thirty seconds of gaping all around, here: one-thousand one, one-thousand two...then:

—But why—

—If you were—

—That means—

—But what were you going to—

—We were in love, the Humpback says from inside the shadows. Heinie didn't understand, the damn Kraut.

—Yes, but you killed Blister—

—I never said I killed anyone, says the old man. Maybe he shouldn't have been in that library so much. Too much dust, you know? Could poison a man if he's not careful.

The old man swells to his full height and spreads his chest. Arb steps back against Candy T with an arm over her belly, protective, and Onion Charlie steps back fearfully behind Frau O.

Arb (grudgingly): Well, we said we wouldn't press charges...

—But I didn't, says a hooded figure, stepping out of the shadow of the hallway.

All eyes roll as one in their orb-beds to stare ice-veined at the new figure, who stands for a moment silent and then reaches to pull back his hood.

—The cameraman! exclaims Onion Charlie.

Detective Duty, the figure says, mildly correcting. And I'm also placing this man and woman under arrest for the 1944 murder of the big band leader, Heinrich Müller.


You are, I assume (he says, continuing), the Siren?

The Humpback Apparition lets her head drop against her chest in a gesture that signals both her defeat and the seeming growth of her hump, which rises a good three inches with the effort.

It is I, she says.

All eyes on her, of course, and then a rustle of cellophane draws the eyes back to Duty, who stares for a moment blank-eyed.

Butterscotch, he finally says. Anyone care for one?

The End of Everything

There. The hurly-burly's done. Just a few odds and ends to track down and then: exeunt. And so let us transport ourselves to where we all, dear reader, shall end: a graveyard. For among the odds and ends yet to track down is the chemical state of your humble's sadly deteriorated bloodstream. Yes, there's a few sharp ones among you. That's right. For the slower ones, suffice it to say that this requires the authorities to—dare I say it?—unseal the hushed casket of my soul and exhume your humble's frozen corpse.


Scene: A graveyard

A snow is falling, blanketing noises and like cemetery dirt over the dead giving only a dim echo-image of what lies beneath.

Violins, please.

A surprisingly large crowd of faces is packed graveside, so let's pan wide, shall we, Karl, to take it all in:

First, of course—for truly if these transmissions have recorded a tragedy, it is theirs and not mine—come the Onions on opposite sides and appearing intent on exchanging gunshots before the coffin lid's split open like a dry log; then the camera pans to Candy Tabitha (a glowing Madonna now; just look at how the light is caught spellbound in the draped hair; a thousand men must die, verily, when such maidens, etc.) and beside her our hero, all charges dropped and trying his best to look paternal and yet, even now, boy-hipped and, yes, damn it, we'll say it, spunky as a horny terrier. And then, among the sea of cops and dirty-nailed gravediggers, stands our steadfast detective, Herr Duty, diligent as ever and looking for all the world as if he's at the prow of a ship and bracing for it to smack against a new continent.

What ho, Herr Duty.

And finally, last of all, there hovers your humble, in ectoplasmic spirit, at least, peering, eager as the rest, over the cops' doughnut-padded shoulders and waiting breathless for that final tug, that juicy, fat-part-of-the-bat crack of the crowbar under the coffin lid as I am hauled moaning and groaning from the hole in which I was last, as myself intact, seen.

Unlike Brother Homobowles—who once to another said: I couldn't care less about what's in that grave or all those conventions—I find myself, against my will, eager to view nature at is finest, the butterfly, as it were, becoming a caterpillar.

And so: creak creak tug go the ropes, and together we lean graveward....


I will make a beautiful corpse. Of this I am sadly sure. These lines and creases will dissolve and I will become a beacon of hope for this hated world, a symbol of the transformed soul.

—You see, they will say, admiring me, even he has found peace.

This torments me. But I can do nothing to change it. Each of them will carry away the memory of an angel. So I will live on in this fractured way, no doubt, like glass slivers stolen from a stained glass window, and suffer a new life among the remembered saints.

And yet, even now, breath bated, I notice something unsettling: I'm beginning to feel more and more as if I'm less and less. A flashlight losing voltage and growing wan and orange, as others think less and less often of me. Even now, for example, Herr Onion's thoughts are drifting to more sunny climes, and he scarcely has time for thoughts of me, even when the gravedigger with a dark mole beside his nose touches him on the shoulder and asks him to step back please, you're blocking the coffin's way, you know. And for Candy Tabitha: already, the nurturing has begun, and the world has shrunk itself to nothing more than a squirming, pitiable zygote. So it is, around the circle: fewer and fewer synapses spark for your humble, while all the while he breams full of such recollections, such regrets.

Whitehead wrote of concrescences, moments of shared, universal being. Such pinpoint perspectives should surely come at one's exhumation, and yet, even now, breath bated, I am dissolving, finally, resolutely, from the minds of those who should have cared, and it seems impossible, considering the matter graveside, that I will ever manage to resurrect another such concrescence. Such, surely, must be the final death.

[Pianissimo, then fade]


Good riddance. All right. So now that it's all over, Heinie's saying he wants to go out on something upbeat, you know, maybe Artie Shaw doing Besume Mucho or something, anything to get the taste of that damn fruit out of our mouths, because he just wants everyone to forget everything they just read but no Siren songs right now, he's still a little torn up over it all and, oh yeah, one last thing: if anyone knows what happened to Cookie, I'd just like to say—


Not so fast, there. No going gently here, damn you. Forget old Blister, will you, now that his tale's told? Come all this way, have you, only to bump old Blister off the path once it's grown too narrow for two? I say: let's take a pinch of snuff together now that it's over, what? for I must agree: it has gone rather well. Rather.

I'll have none of that, let me tell you.

I'd rather send out a few ectoplasmic flying monkeys to gather up the seething Dark One—fired only yesterday as a juice thief and even now striding into Mao's office and swearing, in a fiendish howl, to destroy the world—and make a few sparks ignite the sky rather than let you so deftly cast me into the darkness forever while some damn Latin number swirls you all back into happy denial of this grim realm I've so selflessly tolerated while knitting this rather torrid tale.

Look at them all, though. Trampling—nay, skipping—away from graveside, nary a backwards glance, and your humble carted off unceremoniously in the opposite direction to a coroner like so much filthy dirt. Not a thought more than that, I suppose: a bit of an odor, what? Old Blister's a stinker even now? Ha ha. Hop skip jump and away with him.

And there we have it. A few car doors bang shut, never to open in unison for old Blister, live as long as they like. Oh sure, a few jokes around the departmental coffee pot, once the results come back (poison: arsenic, in a hurried scrawl), maybe a comment or two from Herr O when he opens the door to receive my ashes (for such he shall request, in a rare sympathetic moment)—


—What? Oh. Blister. Quite.


—but little more and, in time, not even that.

No room at the crowded conference table for the old spurned blister, it seems, or anywhere else. So go on. Play your damn music. You were all in bed against me from the beginning anyway, weren't you? Oh yes: I saw the looks on your faces when that Heathen Intruder first interrupted me: oh thank God, you all said, someone else. Go on, then. Who was it told you the tale, though, who was it kept you up at night, searching so artfully for Heinrich's Siren? Fickle crowd, that before a dead man smiles: go on. Enjoy your summers all. But watch yourselves, I say: the world itself is too cramped for what's inside me.

Hellfire: rain.

Souls: melt.

Ah, yes. I see you are startled by this sudden turn. But of course: how could it not be: for surely you knew all along that:


But consider: does not the Dark One before the sudden-lost Blister bootless kneel? A spurned spawn hopping mad with newfound fire, what? And could we not, shall we say, topple a world between us? Mark a better's words: it will come, not in a rain-cloud, but under a dry black veil, which no ray of sunshine shall pierce. In advance of the mayhem, my deepest sympathies and those of my ward, the Dark One.

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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