I Saw Two Good Houses Over There NEXT TO Death
by Don Cheney
A multi-media project by Max Cheney
Chapter 7 read by Casey
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-I'm going to see right through to you using this window. It has what I need: a grating and a glass.- Dad said. We were eating and Dad was engulfing an Otter Flambé topped with eggs and jam.


-But, Dad... ¡You are so strange!- I said through a medium. My spinal cord was moving the messages but they were coming out crazy. ¡And that goddamn window was still blue!


-¡It's not my fault that I'm a vidiot!- Dad's rage suggested.


-¡And it's not Amanda's fault that she's a dork!- Josh said. That boy hasn’t an original chisel in his body.


-Now, come on, say nice things with your sister.- Mom wasn't the sharpest veg-o-matic in the kitchen. Her sentences looked like the mess that's left after breakfast -- a seven-course breakfast. Her black pullover, normally subject to atrocities, was totally disheveled and glad to be. I knew Mom was tired when she cordoned-off the bathroom with a strip of yellow plastic with the words "BITE ME" in black repeated all over it.


-Tonight, while I'm sleeping I'll be nice with Amanda.- Josh said.


-¡You Tampax!- I admit it, I had been surprised by his wit. But I recovered. -You're lucky I don't push a pencil through your left ventricle. Now go back to being a pinhead and the boy least likely to.-


-Amanda, ease up on the ocean-view ideas.- Mom said and jammed endive in my ear. -Boys are in your head. Hell, they're in mine, even. You need to think about what makes you so nervous and then accuse it of betraying you to your alternate self.-


-But Mom...- I started whining.


-You're so sure that your dreams can be traced down your spinal column...- Josh said looking like a mole standing on two legs. He lifted his hands up and fantasized he was a magician named Rico and that he could levitate


-¡Stop it!- Mom yelled and pushed her hand toward Josh. -¿Why don't you saw me in half or convince me that I'm an otter?-


-Well, I'm not going to sit here doing nothing while my wife is sawed in half, I’ll tell you that.- Dad said. -¿Isn't it possible, Amanda, that your spinal cord and your spinal cord are one and the same? And aren't you always dissing me because you're closer to being a pencil-neck than I am?-


The horrible pencil-neck returned to looking like a horrible pencil neck, like Darth Vader in a Mentos commercial. I returned to looking for dickheads leaning out of houses. I could smell the cold freon.


-When I sit like this it's very humiliating.- Mom said.


-Yeah.- Dad responded. -But if I poked you with my scabbard I know I could scare you.-


Instinctively, I looked for a window.


The ceiling had been converted into a solid mass of warm grease. The trees had been trimmed until you couldn't differentiate them from the obscurity of our security guard.


-¿Where's Petey?- I asked.


-God took him.- Mom responded, meaning: go ahead: try to bring that freaky, little dog back from my blue heaven. -Don't worry. It's not so desperately hot. Not up there. And they'll serve him soup every day. And then they'll stomp on his neck as fast as a sailor to a tattoo shop.-


-¿What are we going to do today?- Josh asked. My brother wasn't always paying attention to the program and today he wasn't bothering with the details. I've seen actual gnats who were brighter.


-Your father and I get along like two kids with a box of candy.- Mom said. I could've sworn I saw the echo bounce down the hall, but I also thought I could live without breathing. -Why don't you and Amanda go to the vet and see if she knows where Petey is. Every time I go there it costs me money. And while you're out look to see if there are any other kids out looking for their pets and their dads.-


-In other words- I said. -you want us to dance with the devil.-


Mom and Dad knew I was so right.


-Amanda, you're more wrong than a side order of snails.- Dad said.


-But I want to take apart a car with my feet.- Josh objected. I knew he also wanted to be a man but that wasn't happening according to plan, unless that plan included masquerading.


-Look. I want you to look both ways and then close your eyes and run down the street waving your arms. ¡And forget Petey! ¿Understand? Close your eyes, walk into the street and don't pass the escalator.-


-¿And what about our bick cleckers? ¿Why don't I know how to pronounce "bicycle"?- Josh asked and asked again.


-For the same reason that you think a mile-long line of cars is called a "giraffe fondue."- Dad said. -Impossible sarcasm. You know I've taught you better, now ¡pinch me and pass the hot sauce!-


-If I can't pronounce bick cleckers then my credo can’t be "¡Come Here!"- Josh insisted, cruising for a dozen bruisings.



Mom and Dad treated Josh as if they could somehow hasten his comprehension of reason. That and log onto his lunch. But, in the end, my brother accepts that he is "one pass-key short of a home."


I stopped feeling dizzy long enough to think about Kathy and my other friends and the ghosts in that house. I started asking my self a series of questions about the so-called kids of Dark Falls. Like: ¿Why are the ghosts so contrary here? And: ¿Are my ghosts real?


I offered my self a Lava Soap Lozenge and started feeling dizzy, like Mom and Dad when they're working on their fifteenth highball. Water makes me tipsy so I wash my hands using torn pages from the encyclopedia and I wash the dishes by breaking them. I rarely get asked to wash my hands but I love being asked to do the dishes.


In front of me, in another part of the house, I could hear Josh getting cute with Dad. I listened to their penises mangling words until I started choking on the zero proof water that I wasn't permitted to listen to or to buy.


-You peeled out like a basketball shot in the valve stem.- Dad decided and Josh loogied in his general direction. Then Dad replied -:¿What do you know about Omar Vizquel?- Josh loogied again in his general direction and Dad said -:No. I don't have the time or the paraquat to play “dodge the big loogie”. And if you don't believe that then you can peel your rummy ass out of here right now.-


Dad had broken the ultimate plate against the head of reason. Later he would look like a tortilla with a severed arm and no hands. But right now he looked like a Contra tail-gunner with sugar on top and an AMC Pacer to drive. I kept my hands where I couldn't see them, put my bat back in the rack and dredged my self to the escalator.


-I'm going to stare at your vest for five minutes.- That was Josh, who is known for cutting paper into his salad.


Later, we'd all be cutting paper into our salads.


I started to get on the escalator but the devil took hold of me. I ran and Allah ran with me but by the second pass I had become the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria and, with the help of my dad, I was also becoming the black sheep of the familiar. I was about to sunrise but the only sun rising was my animosity. Without the sunrise I was colder and more territorial than if I had been just visiting this life.

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