Book Awards E-MAIL US

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 Six

ArUmYeUhAh (and whatnot)

But let's leave the Onions to their dirty work, shall we? For after a night of note-sleuthing, our hero-journalist Arb is finally given an assignment, small though it be, and after a final cup of coffee and perusal of your humble's slanty penmanship, he steps into the dawn-lit dew-wet Dasher and is away—and surely you agree: following Arb even into hick hell is preferable to lingering over the limp Herr Onion and his travails, no?


Not that it's much of a story; a summer-long, grass-crinkling drought combining with a few spotty soakers to destroy this year's crop of Hanover tomatoes—or whatever's in season in mid-August. Let's say, oh, soybeans, shall we? Knee-high lumps of dry-crackly greenery and nothing to do but hump back and forth over them like a heat-stroked deer?

Suffice it to say: no Spring corn, no Shropshire lads (no more of your humble either, come to that; rotting away beneath the desert-dry sod, what? my oh my); just dear Arb and a hick in a plaid shirt stretched button-bursting taut over what appears to be a belly heavy with cubs.


Back to the office, then; still sweating and typing out the miserable piece: ring ring.

Arbunkle: Marvin Hatpence speaking.


Ar: Excuse me?

—Ah ee um Duty here...That you, Arbuckly?

Ar: Arbunkle. Yes.

—Mr. Arbuckly I've got a question for you. Do you know a woman who calls herself a siphon or maybe a siren?

Ar: What?

—Or a two-headed man who plays the trombone?

Ar: Of course not.

Duty: Um. Having these dreams, see. Either thing make any sense?

Ar (considering, despite himself): Two-headed trombonist, huh?

—Yeah. Wearing little granny glasses.

Chills down the Arb spine for, in a flash: image of love-child Müller, granny glasses, trombone and all.

Duty: Arbuckly? You there?

Yes, he says. But I don't know what you're talking about, Lieutenant.

Duty: Um yea uh. Just checking. Keep dreaming about it, you know? And oh, Arbuckly?


I almost forgot, says Herr Duty. (Pause while a butterscotch finds its way into the moist eager mouth and then:) Expect a call from the DA's office. Need to give you a new court date and (slurp suck smack) all that.


Our sudden-electric hero rips the story from its typewriter sleeve (for being a purist he refuses the monitors that sit in square-faced judgment on the other desks), sprints the length of the hall, deposits the story on his editor's desk, and, shouting a goodbye over his shoulder, makes for the elevator, where, doors closing and time for nothing but a valiant leap, he bumps briefly but jarringly into the Director of Personnel. But no time for her, of course, scorned though she be, for it's back to the Dasher and the piles of whispering notes, for surely, you must be thinking it yourself: might they mention a, shall we say, siren?

Missing Links

Through them like a sniffing hound, then, from one end of the table to the etc., for siren-scenting Woody sees the whispering piles in a different way now, as anyone would who is told the house he's wandered into conceals not merely spiders but a beautiful woman as well. Sniff sniff up and down, clue-mad, yet turning up nothing but a giant how-could-he-have-missed-it...



Plain as the nose on my—or rather, your—face. Look at the page numbers: one two scribble scribble three then hmmm missing one two...must be—dare we say it—fifty-one pages missing here?


Dear Arb, of course, thunderstruck at the loss, for all men, be they meat-lovers or no, love the hunt. Thus supine among the scrambled notes he is found, half-dead merely at the thought of missing a siren's song.

What happened? says Candy Tabitha, surveying. No response for almost a minute, and then it all comes out in a dry sob: Duty, the dream, the two-headed trombonist and finally the siren, all so crazy-sounding that Candy T sees nothing for it but to call in Onion Charlie, who surely among the world's disparate peoples can touch some forgotten chord of sanity in the poor blubbering Arbunkle.


Minutes pass, during which Candy T treats Ar as a shock victim—stabilize environment and wait for assistance—and finally the Onion arrives, himself looking rather wan, yellow and even feverish.


There is—but need I tell you, who are yourself so empty-eyed?—such a soul-emptiness about porn obsession; how many have I seen walk thus into a room as does our Onion now, thoughts no longer and all the urges sucked dry and yet the pages still pulling? True loneliness coming, of course, when even the soul has left, when only the shapes on the page seem to move, speak or have names. Just so, after reaching the first Boys Talk Dirty on the final stack tucked beneath the sink in the guest bathroom, has Onion's soul slipped from him; and in the empty Tantalus stare he casts over the anguishing Arbunkle is the recognition of both his lost soul and the need for yet more of the dirty mags that are themselves soulless and unquenched.

—It's not worth it, he finally says, from the bottom of a soulless well, after our hero has recovered the energy to repeat his story. It's not worth it, he repeats, then rises and, without the slightest noise, is gone.


Happily, the mere presence of a non-presence is enough to cure our Hero's ills and, manfully restored after days of cerebral wandering, he rises from his bed of notes and retires blissfully to the boudoir with the Bearer, who is herself no mean siren, what? But there is one thing Woody left out of his oft-repeated Duty story—i.e., his court date with destiny. Plain slipped his mind, if it ever registered, until he reaches into his crumbled pants pocket and finds not the third condom he'd expected but a small white business card on which is written, above the Director of P's number, the name and number of Crobe and Crobe, Attorneys at Law. And before the third condom is found and put to use, a call is placed to the Crobe's 24-hour hotline and an emergency appointment arranged for our hero the very next afternoon, if you please.

Crobe Speaks; Shadows Fall; the Siren Calls

Let's see, Mr. Arbuckly—Arbunkle—of course, let's see...ah hah. Here we are. Yes. Murder first degree. Interesting case. Remember reading about it now. So that was you, huh? Oh no no, excuse me, I didn't mean to imply you'd actually popped the Blister—exactly. Well well. Knew the deceased, did you? I see. Care for a butterscotch candy? Can't live without them myself. Just a minute while I—ah. There we go. Better than cigarettes. How did you hear about us anyway? Mimi! Good God! Mimi? How is she? Haven't seen her since she moved to the newspaper. We dated in college. Good old Mimi. You're not—no, of course not. Well let's see. Did my secretary get all the information about—here we go. A real looker isn't she? My secretary, I mean. Really turns heads. That's her in the commercials, if you've seen them. Just between you and me, she's had a wild past, if you know what I mean. Might as well tell you right now so you don't hear it somewhere else and wonder why I'm keeping it secret: she used to be a porn star. Had an act with a donkey. Got her big-time attention and brought her up from south of the border. Oh she's California, all right, but Mexico's the breeding ground for all your porn industry. Oh yes, little-known but true. All those Greek beaches you see? Right down there in Mexico. Check them out with a magnifying glass, sometime. Plain as can be, once you know how to look at them. Look for the sombreros in the bushes. The locals love to watch. And they want to change the trial date, huh? Man, I'm tired. Been working overtime for weeks now. I've got mono, you know. Had it for two years now. My doctor says it's like AIDS, a lifetime condition. Who've we got on the...Duty, huh? A know-nothing. Broke some damn-fool Ferris wheel throat-cutting a few years back and thinks he's Sherlock. Don't worry about him. And I'll have a word with the prosecutor about your case. Went to college with me and Mimi. Always trying to put his hands on her ass. Met him yet? Fat-assed and bald. Even back then. Yep. Yep yep. Damn—piece of wrapper on that last butterscotch. Look at that, will you? Probably foreign-made. Well, I tell you what. From what I read here, Mr. Arbuckly, our only problem is this alibi. Now let's just go over it real quick once-over, shall we? But before we do, let me just recommend that you not wear that shirt in court—little white rabbits going around saying eat me is all fine in Mexico, I suppose, but on the stand it looks a little bad-assed perverse, if you catch the drift. Now how about that alibi?



Heart not in it but...stroke. Crinkle page turn. Wan. Stroke. Only in the eyes the cry for help while with the hands...stroke. Cindy of course who knows where, what with all this talk of the mesmeric Mao. Almost a longing for her, now that she seems lost. Or rather, now that he seems so. Near sobbing, then, Onion Charlie sets Boys Talk Dirty vol. 51 aside and picks up vol. 52, the last issue your humble ever received and the last one awaiting Onion's perusal. Heart not in it but...stroke. Sigh. Looks a little Mexican, that one does. Hmmm. Oh well. What's the use, he thinks. Getting an inkling of how absurd he is, sitting thus on a toilet and staring at two men in leather tank tops scoop-cut to show pink-tinged ring-pierced nipples.

I'm gonna do you, señorita, like that donkey did that beetch.

Not that again. Nearly a groan, this time. Sick of it by now, really, and thus tossing the whole damn thing aside but then...

What are those pages all over the damn-fool floor?


Ring ring. Onion here. I've found those missing notes. Don't ask where. If you want them I'll meet you at school.


Too little time to think of the voice that seemed to come from the bottom of the well, off goes Woody, still reeling from the wandering Crobe and not even leaving poor Candy T a note to tell her the good news, and a long time she'll have to wait, because trouble lurks yet again for our hero, this time in the form of a crow bar, silhouetted and cocked in the dusk-drawn shadows below.


Meanwhile, the sun nearly gone and the building almost empty,


—Honestly, sir, if I'd known he was a faggot I wouldn't have—


Not to be vulgar, but to quote bespectacled Benny: What the fuck was that?

Is someone using a leaky cell phone in the next cell? Odd to use that vulgar word "faggot" though. Mere coincidence? No intended slight for your humble? Who the hell knows; in this dank basement of forgotten hell, anything's possible, I suppose. Let's let it slip like water from a duck's etc., and move on. (Watch your backs, though; we may not be alone, what?)

To continue:

Meanwhile, the sun nearly gone and the building almost empty, Lieutenant Duty pulls the blanket and pillow from his office closet and prepares himself a bed beneath the window. Nothing unusual here, believe it or not, for our poor, lonely Lieutenant, widowed some fifteen years now, has spent the last two months thus, sealed alone in his office's shiny-tiled silence, awaiting sleep and the dreams of the beautiful siren who sits on the sea walls of his dreams and sings of the splendid worlds beyond the waves, where all shall frolic and none shall die. But tonight she sings of more than he expects, and by the time he lifts his head in tomorrow's light, we shall all be a little the wiser, what?

Duty Dreams Sweet Melodies

The audience of servicemen and their dates falls silent as the Siren steps up to the microphone and begins singing. The way she moves her hips is reminiscent of that sensual sensation, Helen Ward, but because of her being so damn skinny, really-just-bones-only, not quite causing the crowd to swoon, yet, somehow—the voice's sincerity? the woman's distant staring?—the crowd is despite itself drawn into the swaying figure's web and, collectively and breathlessly, thoughtlessly and simultaneously, as bees or ants must, they see in the woman all that Beauty could dream of expressing in front of a sixteen-piece brass band.

To the soldiers in the front, she seems no more than a child, really, the boy-thin hips swaying like a barely noticed breeze under the straight, canary-yellow dress that catches the light and seems to swell out like a wind-catching sail. The men themselves weightless and—grasping at her hems like bone-hard schoolboys—drifting high over the deep blue sea; no shape, neither wave nor land, can diminish the purity of their ascent. In the back rows, of course, a different story, for here it is only the voice that floats, hemless, like a great finger that extends and retracts at slow-dance pace, beckoning, beckoning and beckoning.

The two-headed trombonist-leader, setting the trombone against his right head's mouth, begins leading the solo while with his left head he turns to the audience and nods recognition.

As the Siren sways, so sway the men. All as one, a single flame tipped by a single flicker, the movement ripples down from the stage: dancing, ducking, swerving, hovering, worshipping and being worshipped in one single gesture. At various moments, the Siren seems a sister; a spurned lover; a soothing, caressing mother. Mourning, seducing: the men sway, and the Siren sways. And from the Siren's throat comes the honeyed notes, from the Siren's throat comes the honeyed whispers and the honeyed non-words that fill the air with, in brief, crotch-tingling, soul-tied yearning.

Why can't I let you know, the Siren, a wilted, lost flower, wails, the song I long to siiiinnnnnng? The beautiful rhapsody of love and youth and spring. The music is sweet, the words are true: the song is yoooooouuuuuu.

With that final, sustained note, many of the men break free from the Siren's spell and begin crying. Suddenly, unexpectedly alone: like lost children, they cry.

Behind the microphone, the Siren appears for a moment lost in her own private reverie. Then the band folds its wings around her and settles swanlike among the fallen world of broken, unfinished notes. The Siren steps away, smiles hesitantly into the blinding lights and is soon ushered away by the band leader, his right head courting her while his left works the crowd, his trombone, like his glasses, gleaming strips of cold metal fire.

And then, from the shadows of the wings, steps a man who is the spitting image of the trombonist's right head, if not exactly his left (something subtle in the eyes, we suspect).


—Holy bejesus, Duty shouts. The office is empty, dark. Holy bejesus. For a moment, a night-sweats stare at the gleaming tiles and then, with the big-lunged flourish of a pearl diver, he plunges into the pillow and chases his Siren back to the ocean floor.

Nothing but a voice now, in the darkness: We're just happy to be over here, sir.

Then silence. And such is the darkness and such the silence that even your word-filled though worldless narrator begins to wonder if he shouldn't—


Look, buddy, you need to help me because...you see...I don't think that Blister guy is going to be able to—Yeah. That's right. Write him out altogether. You and me both, pal. You see those stripes? I didn't get them buggering—yeah. That's right. OK, look. Here's what I need. If you could reach this number right here, let's see, Christ, without a light, how can I, no wait I remember, it's—

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 
Contents and Graphic Design Copyright 1999-2005
riverrun enterprises, inc.