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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 Five

An Important Clue from our Boys in Blue

The fish (into whose tank our heroes have tumbled) being of course long dead and floating—though before the last went, the black one with whiskers and the flaky skin problem, he managed to gorge himself on three guppies and the right arm of my plastic diver—our heroes have merely to deal with the explosion of broken glass and the instant forty-nine-gallon pond into which they fall like flopping fish themselves. Spared the flip-flip appeal of water-starved fishes (where to put them? the toilet? but then there'd be the matter of retrieving them, or at least returning to feed them periodically—thank God they're already dead and gone to meet their Aquatic Creator in happier waters), Onion and Arbunkle have merely to dry themselves, sputtering, and wait for the sirens that never come. Five minutes, ten, and finally, no longer dripping, they rise and then, in a gesture borne more of instinct than boldness, Onion reaches over and clicks on a lamp.


Only having once glimpsed the humble's abode and over a shielding shoulder at that, Onion C is intrigued by its ornate clutter, its hint of the Orient and the suggestion—tasteful not lurid—of the profane. Thus the New Man turned Wide-Eyed Naïf in the New World: standing, squashing flat the unnoticed fish, and reaching, again through instinct rather than etc., for African fertility fetishes, photos of past lovers grinning naked under Mediterranean suns, the odd porn mag left opened on the shelf by a lifetime subscriber sudden gone. While—yes, sadly, for there seems no hope any more for that final moist meeting, does there, except with that oaf Onion—in the meantime our hero Arb chooses merely to retract his scrotum and consider vomiting into his cupped hands like Boy #2.

But this is only the sitting room, intended merely as mood-setter; for clues they must pass through it, into the dining room, around the table with its bowl of mold-spore bananas and pears, through the kitchen to the back room with its linty furnace—where, after an hour of fruitless findings, our keen-witted couple, Hardy Frank and Hardy Joe shall we call them, finally find what they have been sent to find.


A desk merely—the very one, indeed, at which I supposedly sit while whiling away the sherry-sodden night with these wandering tales. Rather sad, really, now that before it like sheepish bullies stand our two; its top pitted and no more than an arms-length in any direction and above it no moon to inspire. Yet beneath it, stack after stack of pretty-boy porn, enough to whet poor Onion's appetite yet again: stooping (and thus creasing the stashed office copy of Boys Talk Dirty); riffling through the stacks while Arbunkle, like the pigs who'd searched the house at Duty's request, turns away in disgust.

Saying: fucking faggots.

Mmmmm, agrees Onion. And then, when the Arb's back is turned, he stuffs porn into his shirt and pants for all he's worth.


Fast forward to Charlie's office; doors locked, shades drawn, splashes of shiny raw youth splayed over desk, table, floor. Stroke stroke stroke—I say, what's this? For as our Onion turns a page out slips the note—like a messenger grown weary with waiting and nearly, now that after all these months its moment is near, forgetting its message, but there it is, finding itself lifted by the Onion's hand and tilted up to the light, where it pants out:


If for any reason I don't survive the making of this book, I hope that someone shall find these notes, someone who sides with me, and finish it for me before the others get to them first; for if they do, all is lost.


And on the back, in clearly printed block letters, is the number of the University of Virginia library study carrel containing the long-anticipated clues that will, yes, quite possibly, crack the case. For you see, dear reader, your humble suspected the end might be near, and thus penned the note thus lifted, thus read. And did he also, you think, send dear old Onion into the office to whet his appetite for the blue boys—playing, as it were, the liberator?

A Bit of the Gothic

And so over the river and through the woods zoom vroom zoom Herr Dasher goes, carrying our Hardys howling like feral dogs now that the scent of the hunt is refreshed. Your humble's note like a treasure map between them, of course, though it took some explaining and hero Arb is still, in the back of his pretty head, not sure how it came to be in sweating Onion's spit-shiny hand. Parking as always atrocious; finally settling for a shady cul-de-sac a mile's hike from Mistuh Jeffuhson's Univuhsity, a long walk during which poor Onion, give him his due, holds up better under interrogation than did our hero Arb when questioned about the pesky lack of alibi that would lift Herr Commandant Duty's worrisome charge of murthering your humble.


But like Arb I must likewise squirm shift squirm my way past that sticky pesky lack; bear with me and all shall be in the end clear. For already, can it be true? Our twosome already crossing the Lawn, passing the statues and sad summer students and, gasp! climbing the steps of the library once so fondly visited by your humble? Then, paper out, carrel number checked with student behind checkout desk and: whisk! through the swinging doors and into the stacks go our heroes!


Years of course since either has worked the stacks, so naturally there's a little confusion. Left? Right? Straight ahead, dear chaps, straight ahead and...down the stairs they go.

But my! what odd stairs they are: the landings no more than narrow hospital-green closets and the tunnel-walled steps linking them iron-and-cement and steep. Indeed, winding down into the bowels, punchy with vertigo, our heroes can't shake the feeling that it is their heads that lead, leaning three steps beyond their stumbling feet, feeling alternately like mountain-savvy rams and acid-crazed hound dogs and then whoosh! through another swinging door that opens onto another shaft of green, another descent, and yet another. Until, hearts and memories and even names lost, our heroes emerge dizzy but grinning on the dim-lit basement floor. In the distance, a lone grad student, paler than the palest bottom-of-the-sea fish, lifts his head over the lip of his carrel and then, forlorn, sinks again into its unseen depths.


A few moments wasted matching carrel numbers to the treasure map and then, in the back corner: bingo.

But of course it's a mess. How could it not be after all these years? Hundreds of coffee-stained pages of notes stacked helter-skelter like mating snakes, and on top, bottom, likewise everywhere, book after book about...lift the spines to the meager light, please, dear Arb:

Nazi Germany, swing jazz and, on the spine of a thin, obscure monograph, the name of the little-known trombonist and band leader...

Heinrich Müller.


So there. It's finally out, burped up like a slick dark seed: yes, my secret love child is none other than the Great Forgotten Heinrich, who lived under the shadow of the Great Immortal Glenn, touring the country with a band of tough guys who could swing almost as well as Miller's front men; almost on the verge of widespread success, and then came the war with the Nazis and the problem of promoting a band whose leader answered to a Kraut name. With an umlaut, no less.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, for already, voices raised, the thrill of the successful hunt turning your humble's humble carrel into an everywhere, our heroes are the intendeds of the grad student's offended hrumphs and, enthusiasm quelled, they see nothing for it but to scoop the mess wholesale into cupped arms and bear-hug-waltz their way across the room and...


Up the winding stairs go our Brothers Hardy, up up up and finally back through the swinging doors and into the lobby, where, startled by sunlight and feeling slightly agoraphobic now that the world has expanded again beyond the narrows of a library carrel, they don't see the Humpback Apparition hovering like a fanged phantom next to the circulation desk's rubber plant and dressed thus: lime-green sweater, purple skirt, white knee socks, and well-worn slippers that one might see on...yes, damn it, on our old friend Mr. Lee. Only after checking out the books do they hesitate, collect their wits and realize—oh my God—they've left the treasure map in the carrel for anyone to find.

So back down goes Onion, pursued by Humpback Apparition. Yes, yes, she's still two floors above poor quivering Onion, who hears merely the clump-shuffle-clump of what must be steel shoes, coming after him down the winding stairs like a rusty thresher, but your humble knows the sound and I'll say no more for poor Onion, nearly pee-wet with fear of the over-the-shoulder-pincer-grab-twist-shriek, is now run-flying downwards, leap leap smash, leap leap smash, while from behind comes the relentless clump shuffle clump shuffle clump.


Meanwhile Arb, notes under arm and thoughts on the alibi and what he must conceal (more on that by and by), crosses the Lawn only to be scared witless by a trio of gas-powered leaf blowers coming up over a ridge like they riding an escalator from hell itself.


But back to Onion, leaping now into the basement floor and startling hell out of our death-white grad student, who in the turmoil drops three volumes of Whitman studies on his left foot and will limp for months because of it. Onion, startled into normalcy by Brother Walt's tumble, crosses the room with an affected stride that does much to recover his sense of manhood, until he looks over his shoulder and sees in the doorway...the Humpback Apparition, herself motionless, and grimacing a grimace that says to stone-salt-sand-cement-still Charlie: you ain't a-going nowhere. Death silence from the stacks and then, one two three, the Humpback Apparition leans against the stairwell door and, with an ungodly whishing sound, is gone.

All Afloat

But who the humpback? No names yet, please. I've begun to enjoy myself. But I shall admit: the shock of tomboy brown belies her age, which must be, oh, let's see, say, sixty-seven? And not to change the subject, but aren't you wondering what Cindy Onion might have to say about flashing Chairman Mao?


She: I don't know what you're talking about.

Not looking away from the TV, on which three babies in diapers prance about like fat deer.

So fuck off, she says.

Ah, sweet Cindy, girl of our dreams, linger a little longer, won't you, for here, yes, headlights sweep the walls and momentarily your breathless husband shall arrive, ready to burst the seeds of your guilt, if not your womb.


And where Hardy Arby, now that Onion like a thief slips porn-laden into the house? To Candy Tabitha's, of course; though the Director of P sits all night naked under her robe, it's to the Bearer of Hards that he drives, for let's come to it, she's the only one he can trust, isn't she?


Cindy: What are you sneaking around for?


I said, what are you—

Oh. Yes. (Smile from Herr Onion.) Tired, dear.

I don't trust you, says Onion Frau.

(Sweat breaks out noticeably across Onion's brow.)

You're up to something, she says, but before he can respond she has leapt from the couch like a pregnant sea lion and blubbered out a confession: that she'd been attracted to Mao from the beginning, that she couldn't help herself, it was the way he was so forceful in committee meetings and...so caught up is she in her own bellyache soul-washing that she doesn't notice the paper-crackle her husband's torso emits under her tearful hugs. Several grim seconds pass thus, and finally Herr Onion is released and allowed to climb the stairs to the guest bathroom, where, in place of Arb's condom stockings, he spreads out his porn-horde and, unbuttoning his trousers, forgets it all: the carrel, the Humpback Apparition, and even, after a few moments of naked swimming with the Greeked Boy of the Month, that horrid confession of a love for...who (stroke) was (stroke) it (stroke) again?


Meanwhile Arb and the Bearer pass the night playing connect-the-dots with your humble's last, fitful efforts on that woeful planet you so snidely call home and find, yes, as you might have expected, the deep end of the pool is just a little deeper than they thought.

Coming Clear

Not that it makes sense quite yet. Days pass, in fact. Like spring squirrels delightedly digging up winter nuts, they root through the ankle-deep carpet of books and notes and make several little piles on the kitchen table—piles which, on the fifteenth reading, begin to speak rather fluently among themselves. These several little piles each in turn becoming several more little piles whose vocabularies are small but almost scientific in their precision. A picture emerges, or begins to, but even now, this early, they are too...frightened? uncertain? newly, unexpectedly small in a large, dark-cornered world?...to discuss it even between themselves, when, late at night, they finally roll into bed and—groping and grunting a thing of the past, like yesterday's rosebud—stare separate and speechless into the darkness around them.

Yet how beautiful they have each become, passing from blinded spring-lust to your humble's freezing-sharp winter knowledge. If we were to click-click time-lapse our two, would it not be rather like a flower, a swelling red tulip, growing erect and proudly full before our very in the midst of winter?


But of course the world beyond doesn't stop. Each morning Candy Tabitha must leave her blindingly beloved Arb (for truly love rests in companionship, doesn't it, rather than in the sex? sad to realize this here, of course, beyond the grasp of all and any, but one must deal bravely with adversity, what?) for the short bike pedal into the department where, after brewing coffee, she is the unwilling witness to the unending saga to replace your humble.

But what of Hoary Head of Formalists? Still juiceless?


Surely by now you could guess: Hoary Head has been, is now, and will for some time yet remain...


Bottoms up, HH of F.

But why the grin when, for the forty-ninth time, no drop there comes?

Could it be because he has viewed the tape that caught Herr Doktor Onion slipping like a thief down the long hall, past the Hoary Head's hidden, purring camcorder, to your humble's office door, which was, you might recall, strangely unlocked and inviting?


But damn it I've failed to mention what must be most important at this, a turning point in our story—for surely you've noticed we've nearly reached the treeless halfway hill, where all becomes visible if not exactly focused, and surely, after a bit of a breather and a sip of wine, something must happen here, old Blisterkunst'll come through, what?—namely, that on the morning when, for the fiftieth time Hoary Head lifts the juice cup and is gratified to feel merely the sand-desert-drop slip across his tongue and to his tastebuds whisper:

Onion, Onion, so dry, Herr Onion, damn the Onion

—at that moment, Onion himself enters the department and, thoughts elsewhere (hint: stroke stroke), trips over the rug and—

Extreme close-up of Onion's grimace; then, as his eye wanders from rug to the door, focus-pull over his shoulder to reveal...

The Humpback Apparition, limping across the sidewalk and glaring through the glass door at our startled oaf Onion.


While much might be made of our having finally surpassed that omnipresent forty-nine (but you really must wonder if it is only to be replaced by an omnipotent fifty, or in the end, a modest fifty-one, like Fortinbras come to rescue fallen Denmark), perhaps we should note this:

The Humpback Apparition is no such, nor merely fanged phantom, for such hallucinations are never shared except among Victorian heroines, and surely, you would never say that our Onion and Hoary Head, who stand together gaping and trembling, qualify as such?


No merciful vanishing with an ungodly whishing sound this time, I'm afraid, gentlemen. You'll just have to meet her in the flesh like men, because clump limp clump limp up the stairs she comes, rusty thresher egads, so terribly terrifying in fact that poor flinching HH of F cracks a crown and, sucking in air, must suffer the added pain of an exposed dental nerve. But truly the sight is too much for our two, who after a frozen moment, fall over themselves to vacate the hall, leaving it for the Humpback who, unseen now, merely stops at the door and glares.


Tumble tumble down the hall they go, hysterical and clawing clothing and hair and skin; then, rounding the corner at Candy Tabitha's desk, they fall full-tilt into, dare we say it, yes, the Dark One himself, who is only too happy to cover them both with his freshly poured black coffee. But nothing much lost, really; it sobers the lot and, after all, with the cracked crown, Hoary Head couldn't have made the speech anyway (did I mention that today's the final debate on your humble's replacement? my, how I'm gibbering today; must be the darkness working on me) and Onion (whose sap has not sunk, despite the scare) is more than happy to return home for a fresh suit and a little stroke-stroke before lunchtime, for truly, the man's become a beast about it all.


Leave it to Cindy, then, to witness and report on the Dark One's finest hour, the moment when he rises to his feet and, facing the Dykes for Austen, the Faggots for Forster and the Marxists for the Party, he reaches into his bag and produces a list of fifty students' signatures, each petitioning that the Dark One ascend to the seat left vacant by your humble's sudden leaving.

Forty-nine are forgeries, of course, but that final signature, number fifty, is legit and comes from the small, pale student whom the Dark One ushers into the room before Chairman Mao can do more than heft the petitions and marvel at their weight.

Onion Charlie (sated, over his chicken curry): What did she say?

Onion Cindy: It's hard to recall. Each time she spoke, she closed her eyes and fluttered them like a bat's wings. It distracted us all. He's sleeping with her, of course, and action may be taken (that last said ominously, as the action would be taken by the man who remains her dream-interloper, Chairman Mao). By the way, I'm ovulating.

From the Onion man, nothing but a small sigh-whimper.

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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