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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 Four

Duty Calls

Such dreams I've come to have, dear reader, since learning to skirt the ether that separates our two worlds: dreams of the great migrations—white, brown, yellow peoples, their own puny faiths supplanted by me, the only man to cross the line of death with ease—rushing like mendicants to touch the hem of my fashionable brown trousers and purchase the mass-produced replicas of my Resurrected Form that will keep your humble in tall cotton—or corn, I suppose one might say—for eons to come. But all for naught. Sputtering, light-dazed heart-brain grotesquerie, that farcical business with the nose and ear, and now back here: home again, home again. Over and over like a prisoner in a black cell moving my hands along the damp walls, looking for the groove that, gripped tightly on its right corner, opens again into the lit world. All the time wondering how I will appear if I ever make it back, what I will be and how far I will be reduced: Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell: as Uncle Milty said.

And yet the time for my Return is so ripe! Back in the lit, I've become somewhat fashionable, academic elder murdered bizarrely in a field of corn, hints of my homosexuality peeping through the local news coverage and somehow keeping me from becoming one of the Tuesday night profiled cases designed to aid the police, generate communal togetherness and raise ratings to boot. They play me for luridness, I'm afraid. Imagine their faces, when I tower over them like some great fleshless grinning god!

Yet I am none (nor, I sometimes fear, shall I be). So many once-glad thoughts come here: Spring's new greens; Fall's smoky smell of decay; the taste of sipped wine; even the pinprickly sensation of a sleeping arm or foot. Then, in the darkness, your humble cries quietly, as men sometimes do when they have only walls before them.


Weeping, wondering, wiping, and more weeping: am I alone here or do others weep and wipe and wonder beyond the four wet walls that contain and conceal me as a mouth does its tongue? And if there are others: Do we stretch out into an infinite dimension of hell-purgatory? Do others watch over us, awaiting the redeeming thought? (Oh let it come soon.) Or is it merely a cosmic computer glitch that keeps me here? A divine bug that pins me thus in etherland, light-years from Paradise and forgotten?


But back to our story, in which our hero prowls likewise forgotten. Up and down the streets, heedless and headless, from one gear to the next, looking not for a place to shit, but merely to sleep. And then, as if the Dasher were a trusty sidekick looking out for his fallen, suffering hero, it leads him across town and deposits him in the driveway of...

The Director of Personnel, who at this late hour, covered in night cream and sleep wrinkles, does not appeal as much as she once did.


—I um, our hero begins, haltingly, gawkingly, I wondered if I could sleep here tonight.

Scowls beneath the night cream, one hand on knob and the other held defensively above it, to add push to the shove if it comes to that.

—On the couch, I mean, adds Ar.

—What was that business with the police yesterday? The neighbors are still talking.

—Mistaken identity, Ar says. I just want to sleep.

And then, with his hands held out in supplication, our hero returns to the angelic and, finding her mothering instinct again, the D of P sighs, opens the door and, as the phone begins ringing shrilly, she asks if he'd like to join her in a bath. Before our hero can consider, though, weighing night cream against memories of unexpected passion, the D of P has answered the phone and returned scowling because:

—A Detective Duty is trying to locate you. You're wanted for interrogation. And when it's done I think you should look elsewhere for a bed. I've got a reputation to maintain, after all.

Ar, sighing, descending steps: Of course.


Scene: Interrogation Room

Detective Duty (slipping the gold foil wrapper off a butterscotch candy and staring at it for a moment, allowing saliva to build, then: pop! Grinning to himself only, for this is no cop routine, he truly loves the things; they are, in fact, his first love): So.

Arbunkle (sickened by Duty's moist lips): Yes?

Duty: Let's go (slurp, sigh) over it again.

Silence while Duty twirls the wrapper, thoughts on the next one already.

Duty: Where were you when the fag or rather uh ar um uh...professor died?

Cringe. But already, before our hero has finished the first sentence—a sentence which reveals, yes, dear reader, brace yourself: a three-hour gap in his alibi, enough to drive halfway to Charlottesville and murder your humble—even before he can unwrap his second butterscotch candy, our diabetic detective has slipped into a sugar-buzzed memory of his second true love, his greatest case, the one that ensures his own immortality:


The Ferris Wheel Murder

At first they think the dripping is a joke: the group in front of them had been so strange.

Boy #1: Knock it off.

Drip drip drip. Nasty. Squeezing up against each other on the seat's dry side.

Boy #2: Cut it out!

Attendant gawking up at them snuggling as they rotate back up; thinking: little faggots.

Car rising above them: drip drip drip. Boy #1, dunking an index digit, lifts it to the floodlight at the top of the wheel.

Screaming: Blood!

Boy #2 clutching and staring.

Shrieking: Stop the ride! Stop the ride!

Dripdripdripping steady stream now. The metal seat sounding like a bucket catching rain from a leaky roof.

This time around, heeding the boys' screams: the attendant leans hard on the brake; struggles to line the boys' car up with the unloading platform.

Boy #1 (stammering): Somebody's bleeding in the car above.

Whirl, squeak, whirl, as the suspicious car is lowered at a crawl. Whirl, squeak, hiss, rock to and fro, and then, swinging into the light to reveal...

A single dead man, his throat cut from ear to ear and a blood-stained Swiss Army knife in his lap.

Boy #1 fainting while, without ceremony, Boy #2 vomits into the dead man's cupped hands.


Officer Braunschweig (whose name comes from the picturesque German college town in which his father once strangled three Jews) is the first cop on the scene.

—We've got a stiff on the wheel, he tells his radio. Send in homicide and a forensics unit.

Crowds of eager tourists form gawking clots around the dead man. Braunschweig struggles impotently to keep them back. Minutes of gasping and elbowing and then, over a woman's shoulder, Braunschweig sees Duty pull up on the other side of the fence.

—Over here, waving.

—Right, right. Duty unwraps a butterscotch, stares at the crowd. Christ. This way?

He points toward the main gate; Braunschweig nods. The forensics truck pulls into the lot, circles once and then Chester Bracken, two years away from retirement, steps out with a large suitcase in his right hand and follows Duty through the gate.


Around and around the Ferris wheel goes Duty. Eight years in homicide and nothing like this ever. His first instinct murder, of course—but how to cut a man's throat while he's sitting alone on a thing going around and around?

Duty (to Boy #2): And you're sure you saw him get on by himself?


Duty: Did he look all right?

Boy #2: They were all—weird. You know?

Duty (nodding, glancing over at the line of lunatics detained along the fence): Right. Officer? Get this boy's address so that we can contact him and his friend if it proves necessary.

Braunschweig nods and pulls the kid aside. Duty steps toward the lunatics and then, thinking again, he leans over Bracken, who is snap-flash-snapping the body: What do you think?

—Strange wound. See the cut? Bracken holds the tip of his glasses against the dead man's neck. Very fine cut. No rough spots. This knife—pointing at the knife still lying in the man's lap—is sharp, but I just can't for the life of me see how a guy could cut his own throat like that. Just can't see it.


—Who knows? Scratches head, lifts camera: snap. I mean, it's not my department to worry about these things, but just how would you kill a man on a thing like this? (Hroooo goes a coal train, below the park.) Used to run one of those things, Bracken says. Thirty years ago.

Duty: When can we move the body?

Bracken (setting camera in suitcase, closing lid): I'm finished. He's all yours.

Duty: Any ID?

—Haven't checked. I'm going home. I'm off, you know. Eight o'clock.


Duty watches the old man weave through the crowd while a lieutenant, dressed in a white shirt and crisp blue trousers and smelling strongly of lime cologne, weaves a parallel path toward Duty.

Lieutenant: What's up?

Duty: Possible suicide.

—You've got to be kidding me.

—We just don't know yet, sir.

—Well, get somebody in here to ID the guy, talk to everyone who was on the ride, etc.

—I'm doing that, sir.


Duty watches the Lieutenant retreat and then, sighing, works his way toward the lunatics.


—I'd be disappointed but not surprised, the psychiatrist says, to discover poor Reggie (yes, the same as your humble; horrid, isn't it?) had killed himself thus.

Duty: Thus? (Notebook out, glancing up:) Were you on the ride with him?

Of course, the shrink says. Just a car away. I was supervising this rather unfortunate outing, Detective.

—I see, Duty says. Halfway through the group and already he's tired. Hear anything?

—Looking back, I do remember hearing something like gasping noises, but the mind plays tricks.

Duty: Right. How long had the ride been going on before you heard the noises?

Shrink: Just a minute or two. I thought it might be the machine, you see. I thought it was just wheezing. I hate to think I could have helped, if I'd only—

Duty: I don't think you could have done anything. Really.

A cop appears, mumbles in Duty's ear.

—Sure, Duty says to the cop, who in turn signals the EMS people to lift the body onto the stretcher. You're free to leave, Doctor. We will be able to reach you at the hospital, won't we?

—Of course. Is there—

No, no, Duty says, stuffing the pad into his pocket to show the doctor: no problem. Just in case, you know, he says. If any of the patients mention anything, though, please give us a call.

The doctor nods, starts to walk toward the lunatics lined along the fence.

—Oh doctor, Duty calls out. What was the deceased hospitalized for?

—Suicidal tendencies.


Cut to close-up of Duty in office, sucking on a butterscotch with the phone crooked between his ear and shoulder, while in that tinny effect Hollywood uses to signify a phone-trapped voice, we hear the coroner speaking: Yes yes, the wound may have been self-inflicted, but not with the knife found in the man's lap.

Duty: Have you ever seen a suicide cut his own throat?

Coroner: Heard about once. But it wasn't this neat. A banker wanted to let his family cash in on his life insurance before the cops stumbled onto his embezzling. So he staged his own murder.

Duty (shifting candy from right to left jowl): How did they break the case?

Coroner: They didn't. The guy survived and finally confessed.



Duty hangs up, considers the facts. The dead man apparently had the motive, but he didn't have the means. If the knife the cops found in his lap didn't match up to the wound, then it was obviously a plant meant to misguide the police. But Duty himself had seen the blood on the blade—

He calls the coroner back.

—Sorry to bother you again; quick question.


—Did the blood on the knife check out?

—Uh huh. Sound of shuffling papers then: Covered with the fresh blood of the deceased.

Duty: How the hell is that possible?

Coroner: You're the detective.


Fitful sleep that night, tossing and turning and feeling, as it always does during the first few nights of a new case, as if the bed were lazily spin-drifting over the ocean, the foot rising over the crest of a cold gray wave and the rest following it in a slick, smooth slide, then twisting in the basin north south north east under the wave-gray sky and up and over again and finally: respite, sleep and even, miraculously, for it will solve the case: a dream with...

A spinning bed that, turned on its edge, becomes a rectangular Ferris wheel; two mice sprinting the wheel's perimeter, the one behind trying to lasso the one in front; a vial of blood; and finally, an obese wife who, though married to the lassoing, psychiatrist-mouse, is actually sleeping with the pursued, crazy mouse.


Next morning back to the amusement park, which in the daylight looks smaller and, without the neon, less impressive. Once around and then Duty stops at the Ferris wheel. The blood has been cleaned off the seats and ground, but the yellow police line is still up.

—Could I help you?

Duty turns, flashes his badge at the security guard.

—Thought I recognized you.

Just looking around, Duty says. Have you ever run this thing before?


Duty smiles and then, taking a length of piano wire and a butterscotch candy from his pocket, he utters the most significant line of his career: Find somebody in the park to ride in the car under me.


And then with a sigh our detective is again sitting before our hero, an hour of interrogation slipped away and his newest dream—that a two-headed Arbunkle had murdered me from a wooden plane—sadly unconfirmed, though not, as you and I, dear reader, know, unfathomable.

Free to go, grunts Duty, out of butterscotches and already reaching for the door.

Ar: That's it? You pull me in here in the middle of the night, ask a bunch of nonsensical questions and then it's Free to Go?

—ArUmYeUhAh, Duty mutters, giving his pockets another once-over and coming up candyless. The psychiatrist could tell him what the dream meant; perhaps he should visit him in the morning and ask. They'd become such good friends after the arrest.

Ar (shouting down hall): Where am I supposed to go now?


To Candy Tabitha's, of course. The ever-willing bearer of the rock-hards that never sleep: ah, ar, thank God she says, in the skimpiest of nighties. I've been worried sick. And so after the nightcap and the shower, having seen our hero to safe abode if not sleep, I see nothing for us but to use that most hackneyed device, the slow dissolve.


No such luck for poor Onion Charlie, who lies double-visioned and bloated with seed beside the menstruating Onion Cindy. Seen thus in sleep, mouth askew but happily not snoring, the Onion wife is not actually, in her own way, wholly awful, but Charlie is too dizzily distraught to notice or even think: perhaps in sleep, without the gaping, smothering mouth and the grunting twists she might actually...for Charlie, when for the first time he slipped his hand between a girl's legs was, despite photographic preparation, so shocked by the brush-stiff tuft's cocky effrontery that he felt, dimly in the twilit churchyard, as if the slippery cavity should have had its own name, since it seemed to have its own head of hair. The memory seems to have attached itself to his fingertips; he shudders secretly at the thought of having to touch one yet again and silently thanks his wife for denying him the conjugal yet again, bone-hard or not.


But Onion does not pass the night alone. Through the dim corridors of sleep, past the dreams of Candy Tabitha and the Mexican donkey act, flits the mystery fairy, who, through bizarre, grotesque, and inexplicable means, manages to make the Dream Candy and the Dream Donkey urge Charlie to:

Riffle the office papers of your humble.


But was it I, you ask, who appeared thus for Charlie? I, a dead fairy, become a mystery fairy? I blush to admit it, but yes...it was I. Far easier to slip into private dreams, it seems, than into the shared lit, though I can't be blamed for that bungled job with Duty, the wooden plane and the two-headed monster, that was someone even less skilled, yet, when you consider it, no less concerned for your humble, perhaps? Is there, then, someone watching over us after all?


However that may be, up with a bang leaps our Onion, dawn-hard and brow so furrowed with purpose that he is again single-visioned: first, a forceful, forbidden boinking of the menstruating wife (who offers merely a stifled deep-sleep yawn) and then a manly jog-trot into the office, where, senses flushed, our ransacking New Man finds himself sudden-frighted. But the building is silent—no fear; it's empty, he tells himself, not fully fathoming, of course, the Hoary Head of Formalists' stubborn will to see the Orange Juice Thief unmasked. And so, like a thief, poor Onion closes the door feather-soft and slips like a shadow down the long hall, past the Hoary Head's hidden, purring camcorder, to your humble's office door, which is strangely unlocked and inviting. All the while thinking: it's a trap, you fool, you raped your wife and now you're breaking into a dead man's—

But already he is inside and searching.


And finding nothing. Nada. Twenty-year-old lecture notes, a few scraps of doodling paper and a single issue of Boys Talk Dirty. Finding and lifting the last to the dawn-lit window, Onion gasps and wonders whether gloves might have been wise. Too late now, of course, the distinctive Onion swirls smearing the ink over the Greek boy's proffered buttocks (sigh). Was it this your humble desired, sending poor Onion on a hapless task, knowing full well as I must that all the relevant clues lie not here but at home, all for nothing but the lurid desire to see Onion thus unexpectedly aroused? For so he is, dawn-hard again, poor chap, and flipping madly despite himself. But enough: already like an ether-blown Puck flits your Humble from Onion to Arbunkle, whispering into his sated ear:

Riffle the home of your humble.


And back again, flit, back to Onion:

Riffle the home of your humble.

So that like two zombies Ar and Onion (in whose back pocket is concealed Boys Talk Dirty) gather in the shrubs beneath your humble's back window and scale wordlessly to the strangely open sill, where for a moment like scuba divers they sit and breathe and then, with a gulp, they slip inside and drop like twin stones into the fish tank beneath.

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.


Graphic Design by D.A. Frostick 
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