Allendale: A Shunned House Part 29

The rest is so terrible. There was no one on that soaked hill and no one I dared tell. I walked aimlessly down toward the river and then back up to Peach Valley Road and out to Route 109, just to see the passing cars and have the reassurance of the continued existence of the rest of the world. Then the gray dawn unfolded wetly from the east, silhouetting the archaic hill and the old house, and beckoning to the place where my terrible work was still unfinished. And in the end I went, wet, hatless, and dazed in the morning light, and entered that awful door to the basement of Allendale, which I had left open, and which still swung cryptically in the morning light.

The grease was gone and in front of the fireplace was no remaining hint of the giant doubled-up form. I looked at the cot, the chairs, the neglected equipment, and the yellow straw hat of my uncle. I was so dazed I could scarcely recall what was dream and what was reality. But then, it all came back to me. Sitting down, I tried to remember it all, in as minute a detail as possible, in order to gather some clue as to how I might, once and for all, end the horror. It didn’t seem to be real, not solid in form, but instead some kind of emanation, some vampirish vapor, a cemetery mist. Oh, this I felt was a clue, and again I looked at the floor in front of the fireplace, this time not for the oddly shaped mold, but for how the bricks had been arranged. In ten minutes, my mind was made up, and taking only my uncle’s hat, set now squarely on my head, I set out back to town, back home, where I bathed, ate, and gave an order by phone to the military surplus store for a pickaxe, a spade, a gas-mask, and six containers of sulfuric acid, all to be delivered the next morning at the basement door of Allendale. After that, I tried to sleep, and failing that I passed the hours reading and in the composition of inane verse to counteract my mood.

The Doctor Says

–My innards are innarding away as they should.

–My shoulder is fucked, by looks like it’s improving. Keep doing what I’m doing. What I’m doing mostly is bitching about it, but let’s not overlook the power of complaining.

–My knee is fucked, and the jury is out on how fucked. Apparently with this type of injury, it starts out kind of bad, gets really bad, and then improves (where we are now) and, if nothing’s torn, we see continued improvement. If something is torn, we’ll know it because we’ll have another bout of really bad here in a week or so. If that happens, then I have to see an orthopedist.

–I got a flu shot.

–And that is all.

The Handmaid’s Tale Thingy

We watched the movie and then we went down front and talked about it for a while. I invited everyone who feared a future like that in the movie to horde copies of Our Bodies, Ourseelves and teach women of all ages how our bodies work and that they are ours.

As I said on Facebook, I really feministed it up.

I’m still feeling a little way over stimulated from the past week/month. I want to sleep or sit in a quiet room by myself for like three days straight. But I have a doctor’s appointment today and a huge, stressful meeting tomorrow, and a thing downtown all day on Wednesday, then my parents arrive on Thursday, and on Friday I get to hear whether the ceiling adventure from this summer did any damage to my HVAC unit. And I’ve got a religious vigil to keep. Plus, something has to happen with my bathroom. Either it gets clean or we just start going outside, like wolves.

My goal is to just make it through this week. There will be a moment, late Friday afternoon, when I will be able to just not give a shit about anything, when I can become like a sentient carrot. My hope is that I can reclaim this feeling–the afterglow of two excellent readings–and bask in that while I think of nothing else.

Rolls Like a River to the Sea of Your Name

Perhaps you were sitting around wondering who is the spookiest sounding musical act of the current era. You’ve been wracking (or racking? Neither look right.) your brain about whether it’s Rob Zombie or some death metal band. I would like to nominate, as an outside, long-shot contender, the Del McCoury Band.

Tom Piazza likes to explain bluegrass as the jazz of country, the place where talented musicians go to stretch convention. There’s a lot about that comparison that I like. But I would say that bluegrass is also country’s creepy attic, where winds rattle the windows and get in through the eaves. You don’t, for instance, hear a lot of country artists still singing murder ballads. It’d be a little strange to go to a bluegrass concert and not have one song death.

The Del McCoury Band has a couple of straight up scary songs. If you want to sob for, like, seven days–and I’m not judging you. Maybe you have tear constipation or something–they do a great cover of 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, a song up there for me with Puff the Magic Dragon in its ability to rip my heart out fresh every damn time.

They also have the delicious It’s Just the Night, which is lovely with the mandolin and fiddle just creeping it right the fuck up.

But I think the song that kind of gets them at their creepiest is My Love Will Not Change.

It’s not that the song is inherently creepy. All creepiness is invoked solely by the instruments (counting their voices as an instrument). I posit that, even humming the song, it would be somewhat creepy. Maybe it’s the driving relentlessness of it. Maybe it’s Del’s old-school voice that sounds like you could hear it down in the holler when he was up on the ridge. I don’t know. I just know that, when I realized I was singing this morning, this is the song I was singing.