Categoryfalse memories

familycide

f

my sister, the only one of six, not sisters but siblings, my sister, the bottom sibling, has scars on her arms, the kind you’re supposed to hide, or at least you used to have to did, they are suicide scars, more properly referred to as unsuccessful suicide scars, or maybe they are a sign of success since she’s still here, somewhere, i think she once blamed them on our father, in a letter she wrote, to me, that I didn’t save, I don’t save things, the scars weren’t from our father, they were inspired by him, I get that, but they’re not something we talk about, we don’t talk about anything, we don’t talk, that’s mostly on me, not my fault, just a choice I made, I make

my brother, doug is how I call him, has scars all over his body, tattoos are a kind of scar, not a kind of, literally scars, even, especially, on his throat, (we all have tattoos, except Prince Valiant, which, who, I’ll get to later, but not on the throat), I’m afraid to write this, afraid he might read it, someday, however unlikely, and feel bad, I have no intention of making him feel bad, had no intention, he might have already suicided, as far as I know, but I don’t think so, I think I would have heard, but he seems to have taken it the hardest, well, no, that’s not fair, the actual dead brother almost certainly took it the hardest, of the living, doug has had the most difficulties, the most obvious difficulties, because you can’t compare, which we inevitably do, but you can’t, but you do, I do

this is my space, I’m saving it for later

Prince Valiant was the white sheep of the family, is the white sheep, is not actually a sheep, at all, more like a wolf, a big bad wolf, so to speak, not actually that big or bad but the worst kind, the prevalent kind, the kind who takes pleasure in the damage he causes, who flaunts it, who paints a portrait of it and hangs it so it’s the first thing you see when you walk into his house, life size portrait, predator portrait, trophy portrait, is the least likely to suicide, is the most likely to be already dead, inside, to me, I’m sorry, not sorry, I just am

frnkie was the first to display a physical scar, a tiny tattoo of a flower bunch on his forearm, is the one that actually did it, suicided, successfully, not successfully because he’s dead, successfully because he blamed himself, it makes sense the one to blame is the one that has to die but he also killed his, our, mother, at the same time, not literally killed, killed inside, she was always dead but with a chance of revival, he took that away from her, suicided in a brilliant way, and if I could get the notes from my sister, who won’t give them up, hoards them, hides them, I would prove it, by letting you see them, the notes bring you into the room, make you a witness, a brilliant literary technique, one that I’d like to show you, to recreate, to copy, to emulate, to illustrate, I would

max, the one least likely to suicide, if he decided to do it it, his method would be admired, framed, displayed, it would make frnkie’s brilliant method look crude, sinister compared to max’s creative design and application, which would be both analog and digital, software and hardware, literary and mechanical, it would incorporate found objects, searched for objects, objects salvaged from a post-WWI, or is it WWII, junkyard, it would have tubes and it would have led, it would be written about, written about by him, written about by his fan club, it would be written

Empty

E

If these stories and memories seem empty it’s because they’re empty. This is the fog of my previous life. I drown in the effort to reveal to myself what I have experienced.

The mother was a tamed shrew. Woodcock was a randy sailor boy. Their spawn are my competitors for the air of the divine.

All I ever wanted for christmas was my two blunt feet but what I got was a handlebar in my face. Salty, bloody ice-cold stainless steel.

The coolest thing Woodcock ever did, that I know of, was ride a motorcycle. I remember his friends popping wheelies up Partridge Street. TJ says they all made fun of Woodcock at the shop but I thought the shop was sacred space. Later, when Woodcock was trying to pretend that he was my father, he put me in his sidecar and popped me up in the air over an empty box.

Ethel never did a cool thing in her life or if she did I wouldn’t tell you about it.

Don’t blame me, I’m from Massachusetts.

Fire and Not So Much Fury

F

We funded our cigarette smoking by stealing money from Ethel’s purse. She always had a lot of quarters in there and cigs were only thirty-five cents a pack. Candy bars and dill pickles were a nickel. This was down at Art’s corner store. We went in there a lot. We also got some money from collecting bottles — five cents a piece. Art offered to pay us twenty-five cents a head for killing black water moccasins from the pond behind the store but the first time we brought him one he didn’t pay up so fuck that.

If we didn’t have money then we just stole what we wanted. We were excellent at sticking shit down our pants when no-one was looking and we hardly ever got caught. At Art’s we could only steal candy bars because it was a small store and they kept the cigarettes behind the counter. Two better stores to steal from were the Fernandes grocery store and Bradlees over in Medway.

Fernandes was best for cigarettes, cigars, pipes, tobacco, matches, lighters and lighter fluid. Bradlees was best for fishing supplies and highway flares. At Fernandes we would go in with a large empty paper bag and carry it as if it were full. Then we would fill it up on the cigarette aisle and walk out with our ‘already full’ bag. Bradlees was wise to that trick, though, and they wouldn’t let us in if we had a bag so it was down the pants all the way. Highway flares were tricky and you had to walk super careful or the spike would scratch your leg. If you’re wondering why we stole highway flares then I’ll assume you never held a burning one in your hand before.

Also, basically, if we weren’t supposed to do it, we had to do it. Ergo ipso facto. We tried chewing tobacco and snuff but those were gross.

A Tale from the Crypt

A

We found a jaw bone. Well, ‘found’ is a stretch. We actually dug it up. In a crypt. Along with some spine bones. There was this lone crypt standing all by itself in the middle of the woods near the Mill. The door was ajar so how could we not go in? The ground inside was covered with leaves and loose packed dirt so we naturally started digging to see if we could find a coffin. We did but it was so rotten we dug right through the top of it and sicovered the bones. The jaw had a bunch of teeth in it and one of them was gold-filled. We took it home but never figured out what to do with the gold. Eventually Ethel found it and made us put it back.

playing (with fire)

p

stories about my childhood
that I know to be true
but don’t believe–
memory isn’t mine

killing black snakes from a boat
in the pond behind Art’s
corner store
dill pickles
thirty three cent smokes
a mars bar under my belt
he caught me the first time
wouldn’t be the last

tell the stories
anything that could burn
went into the bag
highway flares in my underpants
pouring lighter fluid
on the chair in the woods
lighting my arm on fire
the smell of burnt hair
and grass
from that time
we blackened the baseball field

jc penny and that two-way mirror
the smug old bastard
waiting for my parents
who fucking cares
I’ll jump the train

heads rolled
one from a rolling car
the other on the railroad tracks
who fucking cares
the older kid with tin foil
wrapped around his head
this was 1970 mind you
I didn’t know aliens existed back then
but it was perfect because we woulda
made them up if not–

tell the stories

that time my best friend
got the best of me in a fight
pinned me down
“if you don’t get off of me
I’ll kill you” it worked
I beat his ass because they
told me to
feel bad about it
later in the penny candy store
across the street from the movie
theatre where I saw To Sir
with the Mark of the Devil
Love

stealing candles from the altar
since we couldn’t find the wine
why should I tell the priest my sins
ok I lied so fucking what

code word: pencils
two quarters was all it took
for a pack of pencils
but why not take four
they stack so neatly

that time we burned down the barn
don’t worry the horses
weren’t in it
but if you put a fireplace in a tack room
under a loft full of hay
someone has to light the fire
we never made that kind of hay
but my first paper tits
were behind that barn

cherry tipped cigars
a corn cob pipe
hell we even smoked
palm leaves on easter sunday
banana skins any other saturday
seven kinds of licker
in a peanut butter jar
sugar in the gas tank
run like hell

what about the marks
on the labels
just make a new one ya dope

don’t ask how we got that firecracker
in the frogs mouth
blam!
cut the snakes head off with
a folding knife
frog egg fights
just good old fashioned
fun with flaming plastic cars
down the driveway

talking to fred flintstone
from a nickel bag laced with dirt
just plain dirt
then it was all smiley button
and steak knife
by the pool

they ended up finding the cat
‘s body in the storage room
under a pile of garbage

smoke bombs down the aisle
here kid, wanna drag
ducks ass for you
a plastic baggie of
various pills of varying shapes
in sizes and colors
oops, busted again
so fucking what

I didn’t even flinch
when he punched the locker
right next to my head
he got a frog’s eye
in a candy wrapper for that one

another use for pencils
broken just right
scratch her name into my arm
bloody “Linda”
we made out but got in trouble
for not doing more than that

the smoke bombs were store bought
but the cannon and the
stink bombs were homemade
a bunch of match heads
a bobby pin rubber band
pen cap and a copper
tube

I heard you can get extra high
if you kiss the skin of a toad

Heads Will Roll

H

Ethel and I were driving home from someplace. We passed an accident on the other side of the road. She said, “Don’t look! Don’t look!” I looked. I saw a head rolling down the street.

We used to jump the train for kicks. Well, I did it once. But it sounds better in the first sentence. When I did it the train was barely moving. And I didn’t actually get on the train. I just jumped up on the railing, held on for about thirty or forty feet and then jumped back off. It was fun. Not exactly daredevil fun but at least I could say I hopped a train.

The train ran right through the center of town under a bridge. Some older kid jumped the train and fell and got his head chopped off.

The chief of police was arrested for shooting somebody with a shotgun.

The chief of police had his head blown off with a shotgun.

Doug Bostwick hung himself by the head.

Randy was retarded because he opened the closet door and found his father hanging in there by his head, dead.

I was riding my bike fast down Partridge St in front of the house. My front tire turned sideways and I went flying over the handlebars. I landed on the pavement head first. Later that day I went back and looked at a patch of my head skin on the asphalt.

This lady with huge tits rode a horse up the street. Her tits went boing boing boing, up and down. Clop clop clop.

Introducing: Sex!

I

Ethel found out that I had played doctor with Cheryl from across the street. We had this nice old hollow tree trunk that was big enough to hang out in so I know she didn’t see us. Cheryl must have told her mother who must have told mine. I didn’t get the brush this time but man, did she scream at me. She went on and on about how sex was dirty and sex was evil and if I did sex again I was gonna go to hell for a long time. It sounded like nothing but, “sex! sex! sex!,” like it was an advertisement. The thing is, it wasn’t even sex, it was just poking at each other with sticks pretending we were doctors doing examinations.

I wasn’t even jerking off at the time. I was masturbating but I didn’t know it because my sex education consisted of nothing. I only did it at night in bed and this is how it worked: I’d lay on my stomach with my hands down there and just squirm around on the bed until this intense feeling happened. I really had no idea what was happening but I knew enough not to let anybody catch me. I would only do it when I knew Karl was asleep.

But after the lecture about sex, sex, sex, I decided it was worth trying for real. Cheryl wouldn’t do it again which confirmed that she must have told and got in trouble so I asked an older girl who lived up the street named Dianne if she would try it with me. She said yes so this is how it went:

We took off all our clothes. Dianne laid down on the ground. I laid down on top of her. When my dick wouldn’t go in her by itself we tried using our hands to shove it in but it wouldn’t go. It was too limp so we gave up and smoked a cigarette instead. We talked about whether or not we were still virgins but weren’t sure. Then we put our clothes on and went home.

The next year I had an actual girlfriend but we only kissed. It didn’t seem important to do any more than that. I got teased for it, though. There was this time we had a little party in my basement and everybody paired up and made out. Linda and I were laying on a couch making out underneath a blanket. Someone turned off the lights and my parents never came down so I guess I could have had sex but I didn’t try. A few days later a couple of the other kids that were there came up to me at the school dance and said that they heard I was in bed with Linda and all we did was kiss. Then they laughed at me. They couldn’t believe I didn’t at least get to second or third base. I was ashamed of myself. I also thought, what was it with girls and always telling? I didn’t get mad at Linda, though, because I was in love with her. I was so in love with her that I carved her name in my arm with a broken pencil. That made me feel a little better.

Old Mrs. Mac

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Old Mrs. MacNamara died in 1966. I remember the year because they gave out these little cards at her funeral that had the date on them. I didn’t save the card, if that’s what you’re thinking. But I can still see it in my mind. In gray ink at the top it said 1966. Under that was a picture of her face. Some words underneath that. On the other side was a picture of a saint and some more words. It was like a catholic playing card.

I have a photographic memory but that doesn’t mean what you probably think it does. People think it means I can remember everything but it doesn’t. It just means my memories look like photographs. Movies, too, but not really. The movies are more like a flip book. You know, a lot of pictures that you flip through really fast. That’s kind of how my memories work. It’s not as good as it sounds. The photos and flip books fade over time. When I was an actor the way I remembered my lines was to study the script long enough that then I could just read it when on stage.

Old Mrs. Mac was my first funeral but I wasn’t sad. I barely knew her and I didn’t like her so I didn’t care that she was dead. I do not know what she died of. Nor care.

Like Marjorie and Thomas, Old Mrs. Mac was in a wheelchair. They were English and she was Irish but I wonder if both their family crests could have been wheelchairs? Her hands were permanently fixed all curled in on themselves as if she were squeezing a golf ball but she wasn’t. She held them up a few inches above the knitted blanket covering her lap and said the following sentence, “These are my sins!” She was speaking to anyone who was within listening distance.

I guess the funeral was somber. Everybody looked super serious and hardly talked. Most of the talk was whispering. It was boring as hell. At one point Ethel look at me while we were sitting in the pews. She smiled. I thought, what the fuck are you smiling about? Your mother is dead. Aren’t you supposed to be sad? I guess I wasn’t the only one.