the Remembered Saints: My Life and Subsequent Death
Execution of the Sun"
Among the Jellyfish"
of the Manfestation"
Cake and Double Talk"
Onion & Reginald Blisterkunst, Ph.D.
is a sequel to Reginald Blisterkunst's Among the Remembered
Saints: My Life and Subsequent Death, which was originally
serialized in WAG.
Readers who prefer to begin at the beginning may read
the first book by clicking here.
Mournful, Empty-Bedded Cry
For an hour, the garden is filled with cops. Lieutenants,
homicide detectives, patrolmen looking for a break in
the monotony. Then the sun begins to set and the crowd
dissipates. The Cindy cop makes a point of shaking my
hand and saying she'd enjoyed herself and then I'm left
alone in the twilit garden.
As I climb the steps,
a large truck pulls up around front and I look down the
side of the house. A sizeable portion of the Bare-Ass
Rooster Secret Society is staring back at me from the
street. Over their heads, I read the truck's gleaming
letters: Crime Investigation Unit.
Momentarily, a skeletal
man appears in a gray tweed coat that matches what little
hair he has left. In his left hand, he carries a large
black suitcase which seems to be bending him over with
its weight. But as he sets the suitcase down on the freshly
turned soil and advances toward me with his hand out,
I notice he remains stooped, and in the light coming from
the kitchen window, I discover he is sporting a small
humpback on the left side of his back.
he says, smiling grimly. Crimes Investigation Unit. Sorry
I took so long. Nasty multiple shooting on the North Side.
to hear that, I say.
We shake hands and
then he opens the suitcase and begins laying out a series
of objects in neat rows. Plastic bags, a tape measure,
bright yellow flags shaped like triangles, a Polaroid
camera and a pack of film.
—Must be pretty
grim work, I say, to fill the void.
—You have no
idea, he says, mournfully. Used to work B&E years
ago, but the pay is better here. Hardship pay, I suppose
you'd call it. So where, he says, standing up, where is
I lead him to the
bones, which he studies for a moment, motionless.
—Not as bad
as most of them, he says. Some of them, I tell you...what
with all the little bits of flesh still clinging to the
bone and all...you've no idea. But these, these look almost
—I did wash
them, actually (thinking, of course, that I'd found a
—Well, he says,
sticking a few yellow flags around the bones, that's better
than most people.
He pulls a foot of
tape from the tape measure and sets it under the bones.
Then, as he loads film into the camera, the mournful cry
of a coal train going empty-bedded back into the mountains
drifts up the hill below us.
Used to run one of
those things, the man says, stopping to listen. Thirty
line right there. Used to pass this spot over and over
again. East west, east west. You can't imagine the freedom
and tranquillity it brought. Paradise itself.
Sighing softly with
the retreating train's cry, he crouches over the bones
and lifts the camera.
For an instant, the
garden is illuminated in a brilliant flash of light, and
the bones and the turned-up soil and the yellow markers
leap up at us like feral dogs, and then, in a pink afterhaze,
it is all gone and the night seems impossibly endless.
Then the sounds of the street and the C&O / B&E
guy stripping the snapshot from the camera and blowing
on it and finally the garden itself, gray-tinged in the
dim light like fairy dust: it all comes back around me
like a warm bath and I laugh at the foolishness about
the empty darkness, forget the steep, jungle-thick plummet
to the train tracks below.
the bones now, he says, after he has run out of film.
I say, bending to help.
—No, I'd better
do this myself, sir.
I watch him gather
them up and seal in individual plastic bags, which he
then packs into a large black box that the suitcase had
—We never regain
paradise, he says, shaking my hand. No matter what they
—Quite, I manage.
I stand on the porch
and listen to the darkness below me. Then I go inside
and lock the door.
fiery Deluge, fed
Jorge Macienté, Private 1st Class, crouches in
the Jeep and waits for the light show to end. It's tapering
off now, with just a few flickers to be seen above the
canopy of trees—like grenades tossed over the
shoulders of a retreating army, he tells himself—and
then, after a moment of darkness, they get the signal
and he and the other soldiers leap from the various vehicles
and plunge into the forest. Shouting and shaking their
flashlights at the sky, most of them, if only to stoke
They'd gotten most
of it on tape, for what it was worth. Usually, it was
reported back damaged—unusable was the official
word—though he had a hard time believing that. You'd
think they'd replace the cameras after a while, if their
claims were true. Instead, they'd simply replace the men
and tell the newcomers to keep quiet and make sure the
tape was rolling.
But they'd gotten
the works tonight. A whole arsenal of chupas and the sparkly
things the peasants call world-enders. Plus the
little gray things with the big heads and the fingers
that look like half-eaten, microwaved strips of goat meat.
Floating wordless between the trees and damn near making
the whole platoon wet itself when they'd dart, sightless,
at individual gunners, daring them to shoot the undead.
It was, in the end,
nothing short of a living nightmare, with the jungle turned
into a devil's stage, and as he plunges through the pliant
undergrowth and wades through its spines and speary leaves
and cold, retracting things, Jorge tells himself:
This is it.
And that's when he
finds the first victim, a hunter as always, mumbling nonsense
and pointing up at his hammock and then the sky. Jorge
radios the victim's location and pushes on through the
jungle. Another soldier radios in another victim's location,
and then a third and a fourth come in, from the distant
edges of the site.
In all, they find
twelve victims lying on the wet ground beneath their swaying
hammocks. But thirteen chupa attacks had been recorded
from the control center, so the soldiers push on with
the search. And then, at the uppermost edge of the site,
Jorge stumbles over the last victim.
the last one, he gasps into his radio. Right under the
tree, yes sir. Like the others.
anythi[hiss]ng been written on—
Yes, Jorge says. Yes, there has.
He plays the flashlight
beam over the man's narrow, hairless chest.
—It says [scratch
wheer hiss] it says...Gone North.
1 | Part
2 | Part 3
| Part 4
5 | Part
6 | Part 7
| Part 8 |
9 | Part
late Reginald Blisterkunst was a college professor whose
areas of expertise were Milton and the Metaphysical Poets.
Among the Remembered Saints, his first novel,
was also serialized on the WAG Web site.
Onion is a frequent WAG contributor.