Darrell Vickers – FtN – Chapter Thirteen

Gedornk!

The night was warm and still and the sky was a Christmas tree of lights.  Polo and Artie were leaning against the limo and indulging in that age-old nighttime-under-the-stars activity, contemplating existence.  It’s not hard to feel small or lost or reflective when gazing up into the randomness and infinity of space and time.  I did it in college, once.  I lay in the grass, stoned on peyote, but the stars all kind of mushed together into a big drippy, lightie blob.  It wasn’t nearly as attractive or profound as I had hoped.  And then some asshole ran over my chest with his bike.  Fuck, that hurt.

Artie took a puff off his cigar and sighed.  “Sure is a pretty night.”

“It certainly is.  ‘Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels’.”  Polo puffed on his own cigar and also sighed.

The girls were sighing earlier.  It was just one of those evenings where everybody was sighing all over the place.  Except me.  I pretty much stuck to gurgling and the odd snore.

Polo continued, “The kind of night that makes you glad to be alive.”

Artie dusted some lint from his uniform, or maybe it was cigar ash.  “I didn’t always want to drive a limo for a living and whore out my wife, you know.”

“I didn’t always want to kill people who owed me money.  Sometimes things just work out that way.  I’d like to believe it’s all for a reason.”

Artie sighed again. “It’s just…I’ve been so sad lately.”

“That’s too bad, my man.  Have you thought of talking to Zack about it?”

Before Polo could explore Artie’s ennui or malaise any further, I burst out of the house, tripped on a marble lion and fell into the hedge.

“Artie!”  I screamed from the shrubbery.  “Start the car.  We’re going to Sloatsburg.”

So there we sat in the back of the limo drinking even more champagne.  Izzy and Rebecca soooo wanted to be somewhere else; with someone else.  Probably with each other.  Luckily, I was far too Tattingered to notice.

Unlike my feminine companions, Polo was more than happy to take a little ride.  And pour.

Although I had initially brought Polo into my employ to prevent him from slitting my throat in some lonely dark alley where no one could hear my blood-soaked piteous cries, I had to admit that things had worked out pretty well.  He had become the best rent-a-friend a man could desire.  Polo was always up for anything I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do it and he was unswervingly loyal and supportive (If only I could’ve afforded him when I was a teenager.).  Even my regrettable and erratic behavior of late had not changed his mood.  Although Polo was potentially savage and even lethal when given the right provocation, he was also a man of deep, if not skewed, honor and integrity.  When you borrowed money from him, he expected you to honor that contract…or fucking else.  When he was the employee, he held himself up to the same high standard of conduct.  Thus, this drunken ride to nowhere.

And the indisputable nowhere in question was Sloatsburg.

My dear hometown was originally called Pothat.  I think I used to own one of those in high school.  Apparently, Sloatsburg got its present moniker from a guy named Jocob Sloat in the 1700s.  I think he’s dead now.  He made a fortune doing something with cotton and apparently, that’s all you had to do back then to get a whole town named after you.  I grew up in this sleepy little village (or should I call it a burg) of about 3,000 people.  As towns go, it was better than growing up in Beirut.  Lots of nice scenery to look at.  Most of the population was all right.  Except for my immediate relations, of course.  But, as Steve Wright once posited, “You can’t have everything.”

My parents lived in a very nice house on an exceedingly picturesque street.  It’s like Norman Rockwell had painted the fucking place.  This is where chocolate Easter Eggs were nibbled and brightly wrapped Birthday presents were opened and other holidays were celebrated in a completely joy-free atmosphere.  We had moved to this present Colonial abode when I was about five.

Apparently, my father needed a lot more space in which to disapprove of my every action and breath (I know a breath is sort of an action but it’s not much of one.).  My mother, although she still lived there, left my father many years ago for alcohol.  Not that I have anything against the occasional tipple.

The limo pulled up and I fell out onto the well-kept lawn and barfed.  It just seemed like the thing to do.

Meanwhile across town, Punjab was in sci-fi heaven.  Well, literally he was at the Essex House Restaurant but figuratively, he was definitely floating on holy clouds.  For across the multi-forked table from him was none other than Angela Cartwright.  Yes, the Angela Cartwright from Lost in Space.  I’m not kidding you; this guy was absolutely, tongue-eating-nutso obsessed with that show.  Unlike Punjab, Angela was nowhere near the throne-room of God at that particular moment.  She was understandably, a little wary of the weird, smiling Indian guy gazing at her like a brain-damaged ogle monkey.

She flipped around a piece of the truffled chicken with her fork and took a sip of champagne.  It was time to get down to brass tacks.

“Well Mr. Mahajan, you’ve paid to fly me out here and put me up at the Four Seasons.  So, what is this all about?”

Punjab tried not to explode with interplanetary joy as he slowly laid out his plan.

“Please.  Be calling me Punjab!  Notice that I have even inveigled the piano player to perform the Lost in Space theme song for your enjoyment?  Oh, the memories of Will and the Robot this must be bringing back to you.”

Angela had not been in show business for half a century without having to deal with just about every type of clown and pervert.  Time to set the ground rules.  “Listen Punjab, if you’re some kind of rich kid who’s got an ‘I want to fuck Penny Robinson’ obsession, you’re going to be very disappointed.”

The smile dropped from his face like it was a WKRP Thanksgiving turkey.  “I am shocked and exceedingly saddened that you should be thinking of me in such sordid terms.  I have only the most respectful and proper intentions for yourself.”

“Look, you seem like a nice guy, and the $500 per diem is more than generous, but I’ve got a store to run back in Toluca Lake…”

Punjab leaned forward across the table.  Angela leaned back away from the table.

“What I am proposing is really quite simple but also inestimably beautiful.  It is my humble opinion, that yours was the finest science fiction series that this world has ever known and I wish to resurrect it so that new generations will be able appreciate its genius.  With you and the incomparable Billy Mumy as its stars.  Nay, its superstars!”

Angela took a deep trying-to-be-patient breath, “Listen Pungie….”

“It is Punjab, but if you wish to be calling me this Pungie, I would be honored.  Call me whatever is in your brilliantly nuanced acting heart.”

“The movie bombed.  And it had stars people had actually heard of in it.  Plus, even that was a decade ago!  No one’s interested.  Even if they were, it would cost a couple of hundred grand just to buy the rights.”

Punjab excitedly pulled out a leather bound check book from his briefcase.  “That would be more than acceptable.  Plus, I will plop in an additional hundred thousand for what you, in the Hollywood community, would be calling ‘Seed Money’?”

There was a moment of silence.  Perhaps two.  Angela had several critical factors and variables to weigh and consider:  Is this psycho for real?  Is he dangerous?  Is that check worth the paper it’s written on?  Even if this psycho is for real, is he still some rich kid with a “Fuck Penny Robinson” obsession?

Pujab (or Pungie, if you’d like to call him that) tore out the check with considerable verve and handed it to the bewildered Angela.

She stared at it for a full 30 seconds.  Eventually, all she could think to say was, “Wow!”

“Wow! Yes, Wow indeed!  So we are in business, no?  You and I?  The Jupiter 2.  It shall fly again, by jiminy!”

Angela was still staring at all those zeroes and wondering whether she should secretly change suites as soon as she got back to the hotel.

“And also, as a further display of my seriousness, you should be informed that I have already acquired the original Robot and Tybo the Carrot.”

So there I was.  Face to face with my parents.  I hadn’t seen them since Christmas.  No, that’s not right; I didn’t come home for Christmas.  Well, whenever that was, I was seeing them again now.  They did not look as pleased to see me as I had envisioned in my champagne-soaked imagination.

To be fair, this was probably not the optimum circumstance to get reacquainted with the family unit.  My ability to stand hinged totally upon being physically held upright by Izzy and Rebecca.  There was a smidgen of vomit on my shirt and I was having a hard time focusing.  Plus, I had Polo standing beside me.  Black people didn’t visit the old family homestead very often.  Especially, not at night.

I’m sure this all spelled “Drug Kingpin” to my father as he stood there staring venomously at me in his sweats and Harvard T-shirt.  I’m not sure my mother was able to think anything at all.  She was barely able to keep her head up as she slurped liberally from her highball glass.

Finally Bob, my dear old pater, spoke. “Is this what I spent all that money for?  For you to show up in the middle of the night, like some drunken idiot?”

I may have been tipsy, but I was not idiot.  I showed up in a limo.  How many idiots have limos?  Well, maybe a few.  Plus, I brought a box of his favorite chocolates.  Fuck, I forgot to give him the candy.

“I bought you these assorted mintssss.”  Oh my God, I was turning into Dudley Moore from “Arthur”.

 

I unsteadily held the large box out but Bob did not respond so I handed them to Polo.

“I shall leave these on this very attractive vestibule table for you,” offered Polo.  Bob snorted.  Finally it was dear old Momsy’s turn to add to the discourse.

“My womb!”

Shit, please tell me she wasn’t going to start talking about her womb again.  She would often throw it into the conversation when she’d had a snootful.  Why she would think that craggy, poisonous pit would be of interest to anyone, I have no idea.  Mandy continued on with her uterine theme. “I gave up my womb for 9 months for that little bastard.”

I tried to steer the dialogue in a slightly more tasteful direction.  “The reason for my visit, dearest of parents is, I thought you might like to meet some people who don’t actually despise me.”

But alas, Mandy was not to be driven off her female-reproductive course. “When his head popped out of my vagina, I should have bitten it off and spat it in the doctor’s face.”

Now it was Polo’s turn to try and lighten the mood.  “Mr. and Mrs. Bramble, we sincerely apologize for disturbing you at this late hour, but Zackary has been wanting to introduce us to his parents for quite some time.”

“Well, it’s very nice to meet you all.  Now, get the hell out!” my father thanked him.

Mandy was taking huge gulps from her glass, which wasn’t easy to do the way her head was lolling around on her neck.

“I had to wipe his ass more times than I’ve wiped my own.  I wanted to strangle him to death every time he put his poisonous lips on my tit.“

“You’ll have to excuse my wife.  She’s got a migraine headache.”

“Has she considered trying “Head On”?  They advertise it on television non-stop.  If the testimonials are anywhere near accurate, it just might clear that up for her.”

I decided it was time to speak some drunken truths.  To lay down the inebriated gauntlet.  To let it all hang out. “I’m making way, way more money than you are, ever did, you old tired fuck.”

He did not seem to be impressed by my claim or my grammar.  I guess anyone can come into someone else’s house in the middle of the night with two women and a black guy and claim to be pulling down an impressive weekly check, but where’s the proof?  I needed something more immediate and indisputable.  A thought!

“And I’m sleeping with these two beautiful women.”  I grabbed a hold of Izzy’s left breast and gave it a good but gentle going-over.

“Then they must be prostitutes!”

“Aha!”  This is where I had him. “Only one of them is a prostitute.  And she’s only charging me half price.”

Rebecca nodded in agreement.  I rested my case.  And then gave her right breast a little jiggle.

My mother’s head stopped lolling long enough for her to wittily interject. “I used to hide in his closet and watch him jack-off as a teenager.  I used to hope his cum would turn to sulfuric acid and eat right through his stomach flesh.”

The girls’ mouths dropped open.  And why not?  Polo, bless him, retained his cool.

“Ah memories.”

You can see now, I hope, why my childhood occasionally fell a few microns short of the “Leave It to Beaver” ideal.  Spending the first 18 years of your existence with these two ratfucks would affect any sane person adversely.  Wouldn’t it?  Am I being too easy on myself?

I used to bring girlfriends home when I wanted to break up with them.  True, that was only the one time and she was a complete jibbering nutball who wouldn’t even give me a handjob.  I could have put up with all her really nasty, disturbing behavior if only I could have had the occasional squirt into her palm but no…

Her name was Ashley.  In fact, half the girls in my high school were named Ashley.  The rest of them had those modern names like Sunshine and Goatee.  Shit like that.  Alchemy would have fit in perfectly with that crowd.

Ashley once threw my sandwich on the ground and jumped up and down on it, screaming incantations, because she thought the devil had turned the bread black.  Apparently, she’d never heard of pumpernickel.  I was really hungry that day, too.

She also made me watch Flipper with her (but on the opposite side of the couch).  Ashley was convinced that if she could learn to talk dolphin, those noble aquatic beasts would reveal to her the location of Atlantis.  Miss Looney Drawers would replay sections of that fucking fish babbling away over and over and over, trying to pick out verbs and adjectives.  Even this overweight mental patient, I didn’t have the heart to break up with.  That’s when I invited her home to meet the folks.  I believe our relationship lasted another three-and-a-half minutes.

Polo attempted to steer my family gathering to a more pleasant and tranquil place.

“Could we perhaps take this opportunity to invite you and your lovely wife to a fete Zackery is hosting to celebrate his new job and residence, two weeks from this Friday?”

“Your mother can’t come,” my father said between “Fri” and “day”.

I threw up again.  Man, I have got to stop doing that.  We all took a moment to stare at the bilious hillock I had created on the vestibule tile.  I detected a certain amount of awkwardness in the room.

Luckily my mother jumped to the rescue. “Here, let me offer your Negro and his friends a drink.”

Momsy then dropped her licked-dry tumbler onto the floor, opened up her legs and let loose a mighty, cascading stream of urine like a withered, drunken Staten Island Fireboat.  Daddy dear just stood there and pretended not to notice but Polo plucked the phone from his breast pocket and hit send. “Artie, could you please send Carlo in here with a mop, a bucket and a large whisky sour, no-ice?”

And that, pretty well, was my family reunion.

=DV=

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DBAWIS_ButtonDarrell Vickers started out as one half of Toronto area band, Nobby Clegg.  CFNY fans may remember the cheery song “Me Dad” which still gets airplay.  From there, he valiantly ventured to L.A. and eventually became head writer for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Since then, he’s created numerous sitcoms and animation shows in Canada and the U.S.  He still writes music and has an internet band called Death of the Author Brigade (members in Croatia, Canada and the U.S.)   Mr. Vickers also had a private music mailing-list where he features new and pre-loved music.  Anyone who would like to be added to his daily mailing list, just write him at Radiovickers1@gmail.com

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