I Saw Two Good Houses Over There NEXT TO Death
by Don Cheney
A multi-media project by Max Cheney
Chapter 13 read by Nate
If you don't see the Media player above then click here to play in a separate window (or right-click and download)





I felt like I was about to pass a tree frog. My feet knew that they hurt from lugging my wide load around the cemetery. That and they were sending out an air similar to Pepé le Pew. Well, at least I couldn’t hear them. And now they wouldn’t hear me.


They were dead.


“I’m dying like a rat”, I thought.


Really, I was just congealing from sitting still which stopped my breathing and made me feel the tiniest bit blah-ey and blah-eyness tumbled all around me with a grotesque somberity that made me ask: “¿What now? ¿What about my plans to retire by age 80?”


-¿Ray?- All of that work, laboring to pronounce his name finally paid off. My voice sounded like a gerbil, except lamer. -Ray, ¿is it true that you’re dead?-


-¡Perish the thought! I’m no more dead than you’re able to pronounce my name. It’s just that your voice does seem to be floating to me as if it knew what I was thinking in this suffocating night air...-


-But, ¿how? ¡No!... ¡I don’t believe it! For the first time, I find a boy, a boy I sure like and his light shines as blank as Josh’s crayon. Speaking of Josh, ¿where is his large ass? I feel like spitting. That or find me Petey again.-




I’m so sure. The minute I find me a boy whose voice isn’t instant linguini he goes and is dead. ¡This is horizontalable!


-Dogs are always smart-asses.- Ray explained without a Marcelo Mostrianni of emotion. -Dogs also always know the living dead when they see ‘em. That’s why I killed the little pipsqueak. That and all that yelping he did…-


-¿What did you say? PeteyPetey… is… dead…-


I could see the words in red on his forehead. They were HUGE.


Ray nodded his head and the words fell off.


Great, I was going to Vampire Can Mating Oven with a dog killer.



-¡No!- I gritted my teeth and pumped up the volume. -¡NO! I’m going back to yesterday, take a large breath and blow out something close to normal or at least close to marsupial. Call me a salty sister.-


-I wouldn’t call you a salty sister if you gave me a cellular phone.- Ray said. -I may be some dead guy with no emotion and black eyes and an expression that would stop a tombstone, but you, you think you’re so superior with your Denture-Of-The-Month Clubs and your vigilante mentality. I can tear off my ears and still hear more than you ever would now or at the hour of your death.-


Someone said “Amen,” but Ray’s eyes were on fire and burned red and that was disconcerting enough.


-¿You calling me a vigilante? ¡You poor man’s Dan Tanna!- I said, gritting my teeth even more.

-¿Wasn’t it you who set my house on fire?-


He nodded his head like Uncle Fester.


-I live in that house that looks like it should be wearing a fez.- I said. -And goddamn it if I’m going to feel obligated to dress like a marmot fried in snake sauce. ¡I’ll be a vigilante first!-


It would have taken an enormous amount of influenza to make my head tell my eyes to tell my head to set my eyes on fire. Once, I decided that I wanted a guitar and then I decided that my brother was the reason that I didn’t get one. Poor Josh, his legs have never been the same. I crushed them like a Petri dish under my microscope of terror.


-¿Anyone want a Fresca?- Ray asked.


-¿What?- I griped.


-You people can’t solve math equations without Fresca. None of you even knows what a sub-integer is. Well, pretty soon you’re going to find out all right when I invite you up to the house… ¡The house over there next to DEATH!


I could see by my watch that Ray was one cocoanut short of a cocoanut cream pie. Josh was close, very close - but no Redi-Whip.


“¡Goddamn it, Josh!” I remember saying through my dentures-of-the-month. “¡God damn you to hell in a hand basket! ¡I’m coming unglued! ¿To whom do I make out the check?”


I couldn’t’ve put two words together if they had been “mama” and “mia.” I wasn’t even capable of pronouncing “hasta Las Vegas.”


Ray’s eyes had a certain intensity meant only for Brillo pads. I didn’t have one in front of me, so my expression was dufy and cold. It didn’t move and it didn’t muscle in on my sullenness.



-¿Ray?- I sent my piranhas into the cool of the tuber roses.


-You made a mistake.- He said. -I’m the vigilante. I’m Perry Farrell.-


-Ray, ¿you’re Jerry Falwell?-


His eyes were the color of Ruby Tuesday.


-I… want… you… to… sit… down… and… die…-


Fortunately, I knew that I was above my impulse to just start pissing all over my self and the floor.


At least I hoped I was above that. Nothing breathed me and nothing moved me. I said “abracadabra” but no guitar appeared and no sound came out of the absent instrument.


¿Where was that bastard Josh?


I looked to the hills and I looked to the valleys but the little puke was nowhere in sight.


Ray floated by (so he it seemed was above all of this). I could’ve clobbered him with my hat. I could’ve kissed him with my lips. I could’ve choked the life out of him with my hands.


“So this is my death”, I thought. “My, my…”


Now I wanted to be death.

    on to chapter 14 read by Greg     OR     back to Two Good Houses Main page