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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 Two

Gainfully So

Iris out onto a glowing summer dawn: grass glistening, birds chirping, etc., and in the distance, over the hill, the sound of an unsuspecting boy pedaling himself and forty-nine newspapers toward our sleeping hero.

For it is dear Arbunkle lying thus beneath the pink azaleas, legs extended and, in dream, forgotten. Snoring baby-soft and shifting occasionally from the bugs that, in dreamland, are merely the tickling fingertips of a naked lass who calls herself Bambi Ticklepuss.

Then over the hill comes our newsboy, whistling and finding that, despite his tender, unthinking age, he is strangely moved by the heavenly return of sunlight. Even in youth, splendor—true beauty—is occasionally noticed, and thus it is only in passing that he sees the protruding feet, and by then of course he has ridden over them and provoked the ire of their keeper: Arbunkle, shrieking phlegmatically, clawing his way upright as the newsboy, splendor forgotten and pants piss-soaked, leaps from his bike and scurries, slipping and gasping, back over the hill whence he came.


Much gasping and spewing from Arbunkle, of course, the weight of the unseen bike and its newspapers lying across his legs like a knife-poked corpse.

Framed! his mind shrieks. I've been framed!

In the distance, retreating, the shrieking newsboy, shouting murder.

And finally our hero, who is a slow riser, pulls himself from beneath the azaleas, frees his legs and, finding no body and seeing nothing else to do, opens one of the newspapers and begins reading.


Then, on E4, next to a photograph of a man sticking his head into a giraffe's boot-shaped mouth: Journalists Needed, in large, bold letters.


Quick cut to close-up of our hero, shaving himself in the squeaky-clean john of the Amoco Quickie Mart. Scraping with an old razor he'd found in the Dasher's glove compartment. Then the final rinse and face lifted for the tight shot: new man.

On the way out, falling into a distorted imitation of normal life, he orders two dozen dinner fries and a coffee to go and consumes them in the newspaper's lobby.


Meanwhile the Onions commute to the department in a bubble of silence; egg spermless with only ten hours respite before that final flushing. Traffic terrible, as always; circling a statue, Onion Charlie rides over the curb and flicks an angry, twisted finger at the car beside him.

—Slow down, his wife says, secretly naked and plotting beneath her knee-length coat. I may be pregnant.

Charlie (to himself in a hissing whisper, concealing the words behind a blast of the horn): Not you, you barren sow.

—We don't want a miscarriage on top of everything else, do we?

—Of course not, dear, he says, and they slide back into their bubble of silence as if it were a warm bath whose waters promised solitary immortality.


Scene: departmental office

Hoary Head of Formalists (orange juice container tilted over cup but nothing coming): Damn.

Candy Tabitha (looking up from mag): Sorry?

—Empty, says the HH of F. Didn't I ask you to refill this?

Candy Tabitha (head back in mag; nonchalant): I did.

HH of F: Where's it gone, then?

CT: Night fairies?

HH of F (under breath, head inside refrigerator): Hussy heathen.

Onion Charlie (appearing suddenly from the hallway; alone): Trouble?

Slipping the umbrella over his wrist, glancing at his empty mail slot and finally joining HH of F inside the refrigerator.

—I said, trouble?

—What? Eh?

Candy Tabitha: His orange juice has gone missing again.


CT: Every day this week like clockwork.

HH of F: Blast it all.

He lifts the container again, a drip that might feed a newt finding its way to the lip and making the lonely plunge into the HH of F's dry cup. Anguish, mouth and soul parched. Then, the memory of the committee fight still strong, the Hoary Head shuffle-struts down the hall to Mao's office to lodge a formal complaint. Immediately, Candy Tabitha is beside Onion Charlie.

—Where is he?


—You know who. Woody.

—Oh. I don't know. He's not staying with us anymore, you know.

—Well, I know that. But he hasn't called or anything.

—Maybe he's been arrested again.

—Ha ha.

The door opens and from the hall appears the childless Frau Onion, advancing with a fury.

Candy Tabitha (even as she speaks regretting it): Oh, Cindy, have you seen Woody?

Cindy (having already stormed past CT): I hope never to see that murderer again, dear. No time to chat now. I've got something to raise with the Chair. But (hand on Mao's knob) if you take my advice, you'll steer clear of that man. It's when they're out on bail that they get desperate. You may be next (this last bit said while gaining momentum; then she plunges into Mao's office, pulling the door shut behind her with her right hand while with her left she grips the lapels of her coat, under which she is naked and sweating; a moment's silence, then the rather strange sound of three disparate voices joining in a single, choked scream of shock and fear).


—Yes, Arbunkle sighs. It's true. I'm out on bail.

The Director of Personnel (whom, despite her being ten years older than him, our randy hero finds whoppingly appealing) frowns judge-like over her oversized designer frames: But of course you're innocent.

Ar (hands lifted): Of course.

The Director hesitates, glances at her notes, says: It doesn't pay much.

Arbunkle shrugs, little-boy look doing its best but not quite finishing her off.

—I really think we should see what the jury says first. It would look bad after all, if you were found guilty of murder, wouldn't it?

Ar (smile of an angel): But I won't be.

D of P: Quite. Well then. Welcome aboard. It might be wise, by the by, to write under a pseudonym until everything is cleared up. How about...oh, say: Marvin Hatpence?

To which Arb, smiling, says: Marvin Hatpence, c'est moi.

D of P: There it is, then. And may I recommend a good lawyer?

She takes the pen from her desk, sets it to a scrap of paper, and writes: Winston Crobe; Crobe and Crobe. And then, after checking the Rolodex, she writes two numbers, first the lawyer's and, beneath it, her own.

Hero Birth

Hard cut to Hero Arbunkle climbing tangled from bed sheets that seem to grip like the legs of a stubborn octo-; the Director of Personnel snoring quietly all the while. Vertigo from the sheet wrestle and then, when the floor returns to its proper, our hero steps naked and flaccid onto it. From the street, a mix of voices. Ar at the window. Peek: pigs. Dart back. Ice-veined. Peek again: pigs. Hero heart-throated.

Three patrol cars, three polyester pigs to match. Camped out in front of the D of P's. Waiting. Arb scrambles for clothes, coming up with the D of P's panties and, not finding his own, slipping them oversized and empty over his boy-sized hips. Then the pants, foot slide foot slide zip button, and finally the shirt, in the left sleeve of which he finds his underwear. He stuffs the Y-fronts in a pocket, checks the side window. Pigs still. A fourth car pulling up. Thoughts of the back fence occur, but of course the fourth car is now parked next to the Director's driveway, not ten feet from our hero's Dasher.

No escape. Dead End. Blind Alley.


Manfully, he draws himself up, opens the door, steps out. A moment on the steps—a proud man that, eh, Lieutenant? yes, proud but sadly guilty, snap on the cuffs, Sergeant—and then dear Arbunkle is crossing the lawn, unstopped. Next door, a housewife steps from her porch and likewise walks to her car.

Woody: Slam.

Housewife: Slam.

Arbunkle checks the rearview: cops laughing, coffee-swilling. Key in ignition. Woody vroom, housewife vroom. Arm over the seat for the driveway descent. Back out, back out, stop. Cars coming. Endless line, staggered out just enough to tease. Perched on the tip of the road, Ar watches the cops and finally spots the radar gun in the front car.

Speed trap. Lousy speed trap.

Whoo. Our hero free again.

Slam. It's the housewife, car idling and she now crossing the lawn.


—Officers, I'm having difficulty getting out of my driveway. Do you think one of you could stop traffic for just a moment?

Blank stares from the pigs and then coughing and scrambling to be the first.

—Of course.

—Please, let me.

—Be a gentleman, Bill, you—

—Damn it out of my way, can't you see she's...

And finally a pig waddles into the road, arms lifted. Screech, stop. Pitter patter housewife, slam. Then gone. Cops return to coffee, leaning against fenders. Our hero, blocked during the traffic stop by the pig named Bill, watches traffic.

—Excuse me, he calls out, not bothering to open the car door. Think you could stop traffic for me too?

Bill sets his coffee down. Sir?

Our hero repeats himself.

Bill comes up the driveway. Sir, he says, do you know what this uniform means?

Hero: Free coffee?

Bill: Step out of the car, please.

Hero: But I just—

Bill: Step out of the car, please.

Our hero glances over his shoulder: the other three are coming up the driveway now. He opens the door and steps out.

Tall cop: What's the problem, Bill?

Bill: Got a joker here.

Short cop: A joker, huh?

Bill: Doesn't understand what this uniform means.

Fat cop: How about that.

Bill: Let's see your ID, pal.

Our hero fishes through his pockets, pulls out the Y-fronts.

Bill: What the hell's that?

Hero (holding the Y-fronts out to Bill): My underwear.

Bill (knocking the Y-fronts deftly to the ground): And just who's underwear are you wearing?

Hero: No one's.

Fat cop: Mind if we look?

Hero: Don't I have some rights, guys?

Short cop: How about that ID?

More fishing, then Arb hands over the ID to Bill.

Bill (handing the ID to the short cop): Call it in.


An uncomfortable few minutes pass while the dispatcher runs Arbunkle down. Then up comes the short cop, grinning.

Out on bail, he says. Murder.

Bill: Holy shit. We hooked ourselves a live one this time, fellas.

Arb is then frisked by the fat cop, who peeks down the small of our hero's back to get an ID on his underwear. Fruitless.

Fat cop: Clean.

Bill (as if he hadn't heard the fat cop): Just what are you doing in this neighborhood, Mr. Arbuckly?

Hero: Arbunkle. Seeing a friend.

Bill: Name?

Hero: I'd rather not.

Bill: Uh huh. Got their underwear on?

Hero: Do I look like it?

Bill: That answer's almost as stupid as my question.

Hero: Look, guys. Do I need to call my lawyer?

Tall cop: You got a lawyer?

Hero: Yes.

Tall cop: What's his name?

Arbunkle fishes again, comes out with the card. Winston Crobe, he says, of Crobe and Crobe.

Tall cop: Never heard of him.

Fat cop: Sure you have. He's the guy with the secretary that—

Bill: Boys, why don't we let old Arbuckly here pull out of this driveway and then see where he goes?

Chuckle, then another struggle to see who gets to stop traffic. Sighing, our hero returns to his car and glances up in time to see the Director of Personnel pull back the shades and gape.


—I'm a dead man.

Onion Charlie pulls the phone from his ear, looks at it, sets it back. Hello?

—I'm a dead man, Arbunkle says. In a sped-up whisper. But I'm not crazy so listen up, he says. That Blisterkunst bastard is alive. Or something of him still is.

For you see, dear reader, while our hero drove randomly across town with an escort of four pigs, I had done the impossible: I crossed that line between your world and mine; I, dead, spoke to Arb, living. First went my brain, like a grotesque birth, gaping, reeling into an unexpected world and blinking. Then my heart followed, slipping like an afterbirth into daylight, with a message for my hounded beloved. Only brain-head and heart, hovering horrific over our hero, a horrid sight anywhere, but in front of a Dairy Queen downright incomprehensible, sense- and brain-denying. Yet, lipless, faceless, two hovering lumps merely, I managed to sputter-speak.

Arb: He said to meet him at this swamp where a train conductor was beheaded. He said if I don't, I'm a dead man. That Crobe's a snot—that's exactly what he said. Not worth a dime. None of them are. But Blisterkunst is going to help me. He's going to set me free.

Onion (unimpressed): So we're supposed to go to some swamp and help a ghost find his head?

Ar: Something like that. But it has to be all of us. You, me, Candy Tabitha, Cindy. Game?

For a moment Onion Charlie muses, sizes up his life. What the hell, he says.

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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