I Saw Two Good Houses Over There NEXT TO Death
by Don Cheney
A multi-media project by Max Cheney
Chapter 5 read by Craig
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I couldn't breathe. I could only grit my teeth.


I knew it was all a part of God's rich pageant. My part was the part that got punted downfield and penalized for staring sullenly.


I was a petrified crayfish full of terror. I was so sick and desperate that all I could do was look for a mirror.


-¡Josh!- Now my teeth were gritted in permanent fury. -Put your ass in gear and check your suspension. To think that...-


Josh poured salt over me and God passed out cold.


-Gag me with a Model T.- Josh said and he started salting his own carcass so quickly and efficiently that it took all I had to vacate the hallway.


My heart felt like pita bread.  My face gulped down a bag of tea.


-¡You aren't the anti-Christ--and that doesn't mean that you're Christ!- I told him with the sound and the fury of a back-country writer. He had dissed me and my dog, Toto.


Right then I got into a cab and started urinating. Probably because I was crazy. Probably because I had been treated like a new employee: but me no buts.


Crazed by the media, I vaulted out of the cab and went horizontal, looking askance at the door to my house as it passed by me and the ground coming to meet me.


I looked incredulous, I moved like a statue, my eyes tried to concentrate on the front door but it kept moving.


Josh attacked from the rear and I knew I was going to kick his ass. I was totally serious. His eyes were black and they wouldn't stop looking at me with an expression of terror.


I could smell that if I moved, my dentures would be quarantined.


I started listening instead of smelling.


And I stretched my self out instead of suffocating.


-¿Who?...¿Who threw those pies?- I had to sing to pronounce the words and then I couldn't recognize my own voice because I sounded like I hadn't yet reached puberty.


I chirped and the door opened a little and then I flipped the pages forward to read the end of all this.


-¿Who threw those pies?- I asked and then I filled my self with more sound and more fury.


Then I filled my self with some churros and some pasta.


Josh knew that if he didn't play along I'd slice him like a pear and if he did play along I'd ride him like an escalator. He had an expression that said "I ain't doin' jack-squat." He was simply anti-terrorized.


The door creaked like the doors you hear in movies about brutality gardens. I knew it would open a little more.


Josh was already acting like an escalator. With his hand on mine he pretended to be riding one until I got so desperate for a segue that I...


But, just as I was thinking of how to segue from Josh, I started growling and then I took my hand and I pushed the door open, thinking "Take this, all of you, and BITE ME!"


A hobo couldn't've held me back.


I put salt on Josh's hand, threw some over my shoulder and asked:


-¿Who threw those pies?-


But the dump was empty.


I sounded like a true knucklehead.


After a few seconds I got darn close to moving through the door. The window was in front of me and it was as open as a beer can in front of Dad. It was open so I knocked down the door, said "Abracadabra" and "Sayonara, Señorita." That was supposed to do something other than make me foam at the mouth. I couldn't explain it but then I can't explain the rude women at the dentist's office who would yell "¡Yo, baby!" at me, confusing me for someone who was conscious of sexuality.


¿What jackass left the beer by the window? That the window was open was surely the segue I was looking for.


My breathing was relentless and profound and the butt-end of my heart was palpitating on the table like Dad's Volvo.


I had to stand on my head because the window was still open and it still wasn't the segue I was looking for.


-Amanda, ¿Are you mental?- Josh murmured from the hallway.


¿Was I mental? I was ¡NO CONTEST! but I knew that if I told Josh I was mental he would know that I didn't have a segue out.


I was about to say that I was Mata Hari in the Super Bowl and there was only one minute left, but then I thought ¿Why do I have to tell him I played tambourine in the Super Bowl?


I knew what the merry-andrew to do.


I stood on my head and didn't respond.


I was about to send in the sarcasm when the timid monkey opened ¼ of the door:


-¿Amanda?  ¿Amanda? ¿Are you mental?-


I came in and was about to put down the pies I was holding when the closet started talking shit to the door -- ¡About me! Later, I’d tell everyone that I had been sober but that I’d left my dentures in the closet and hadn’t had any rest because I had hyper extended my collar bone while I was out pissing on neighborhood houses.


-¿Uh man duh?- Josh knew that hearing his voice was more than my senses could withstand.


-¡AGGGHHH!- I was game.


I knew that his vermin ass was right after smoking on my list of things to kick, so I walked toward him with demons in my eyes.


-¿Amanda?  ¿What's... wrong?-


I stared at the door and for one queer moment I believed that my tirade about the closet and door had been so credible and this house so obscure and apparently I was so out of my head and so out of my eyes that centipedes and elephants were sitting down at the table for supper.


I tried breathing and I tried consulting spirits but there was nothing but me.





I wasn't so sure I had heard that. I tried listening again but all I could do was go "AGGHH" again - but this time with only two G’s and two H’s - and then complain that if everyone didn't sit down I was going to start looking like and listening to Mick Jagger.


That segue pegged a grit into everyone's teeth that would take a dentist to pull out. Then I tried listening again to all the grit on all the teeth in the room:


-¡Mommy! ¡Daddy!- I was so pissed off that the bathroom, the escalator and their voices all blended into one auxiliary voice and I threw a tray at its general direction.


I was running to catch up to my teeth. But when I caught up to them and leapt at them with my mouth open, I was quickly sent lounging on my tibia crying out for Mommy to take care of me.




I was lame and I was jiggling and the hair on my fingers was standing on its tip-toes. I was either coming to some sort of Quixotic resuscitation or I was deciding that everything and everyone was just fine.


-¡Yeah! ¡Petey! ¡Yeah, baby!- I realized it was me and I was bringing my Mike Myers imitation with me.


-"Yeah" is good enough, Petey.- Josh admonished. -¡You are my dog and my inspiration!-


I didn't know what or who or hell to pay. So I segued lamely into my dome with the ferocity of my dad: "The poor brat is a tad nervous," I thought.


-¡Yeah! ¡Petey! ¡Good on you, mate!- I told him, tomatoing him with my imitation of Luc Longley (Note the phony Australian accent).


This situation wasn't going to be around until the next chapter.


You'll see.

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