Pendel the Great and Terrible Finds Gainful Employment

One of the more bizarre ironies of living in a culture built on fear is how surprised you find yourself when the worst of those fears is realized. Seems fucking nutty. Either we never truly expected our fears to scuttle out from the dark corners left dusty and cold when we turned our backs to them, or we never really believed in our fears in the first place; rather we thrived on the thrill of being completely amped and strung-out on distant possibilities, our runny noses sniffing madly in pursuit of blessed distraction. Craving simply to fill the minutes, hours, and days until they toss dirt upon our lips and eyes, we scrape at the wall, never expecting a hole to crumble forth, never realizing just how weak the wall is until it starts to fall.

Lousy contractor. We entrusted this dick with our LIVES, and he with his shoddy workmanship doomed us all to the crushing weight of reality. And to see the other side of that hole in the wall—well holy hell. Who knew?

But we can’t talk about all that yet. First, the Move Out: It was pretty simple. I packed a box and a suitcase and threw that shit in Sugarbear’s dirty Volkswagen trunk. Easy as freaking PIE, fellow motherfuckers. When in doubt, travel light. You’re really not going to need any of the shit you’ve collected while whiling away the hours pondering the greater good, so leave it; cut it loose and let it find its next big hero.

The hard part being over, Sugarbear accompanied me back into the house where I USED to live for one last dose of disparity as my family members congregated to wish me well.

I shouldn’t be so flip. The look in Clare’s eyes tore at my heart. I asked her what the hell her problem was in far more of an irritated tone then I meant, and she flinched—which of course made me feel like even more of an asshole. I was like, hey man, I am sorry, but you are making me feel like a complete and total fuck-face. She was all like, “How can you leave me here with these weirdoes?”—meaning my mom and dad, of course—and I could tell she was seriously stricken by the thought, but I found that to be incredibly unfair. I pleaded with Clare. I was like, hey man, come on, lest we all forget, THEY kicked MY ass out. This was not my idea. “Pendel, you didn’t even ask them to reconsider. They don’t know you the way I do. They don’t know that you could get hurt.”

Sugarbear snorted and smacked my shoulder, skyrocketing my level of irritation. “You hear that, you pussy? The real world’s gonna chew you up.” I scowled deeply at both of them—why must I be underestimated at every goddamned turn? I said to Clare, look here, sister: I am made of fucking steel, get it? I cannot be broken. She just shook her head. “I know you,” she said. What the hell is that supposed to mean? I wouldn’t get the chance to find out—down the hall came the clumsy love of my mother and father. Clare clammed up and simply continued to scowl in my general direction until I left home forever.

“So this is it, yes?” asked my dad. He patted my shoulder in a very ‘now-you’re-a-man’ kind of way, and I felt absolutely no remorse whatsoever seep from a single one of his pores. My mother, on the other hand, was beside herself. Her hands bothered themselves with incessant wringing, and her eyebrows were a study in sorrow. “Oh Pendel, I think this is all wrong,” she bemoaned. Please. After everything—after she more than any other member of our sad kin made me feel like a bother and a hindrance to her happiness—she has the balls to tell me it’s wrong that I should leave. In my mind I was smashing everything dear to her into tiny bits, but outwardly I chose to be as tall as the redwoods, and I simply gave her a hug. My dad tipped me a knowing wink (though he knows very little) and comforted my mother, “This is the way of things. There’s no other way for him to become a man.” Dear lord. Really? That’s what you’re going to say? Of course he’s wrong, I could maybe get fucking LAID for once. That would help a hell of a lot more than starving to death in the back of Sugar’s shithole.

My mother took my hands, “Come over for dinner as often as you want, OK? Please? Help me not to worry.” I said fine. Realistically, coming over for dinner might be the only time I eat. “Sugar, keep him out of trouble. Keep him INSIDE.”

Sugarbear gave me a nudge. “No worries, Mrs. Haight. I got bars on the windows.”

“Oh Lord. OK. Oh boy,” worried my mother, and she turned and hugged Clare, because Clare was far more receptive to such things than any of the men around her.

My dad walked Sugar and me outside, cause that’s just the kind of fucking stand-up guy he is. “OK, ladies,” he joked. “Look, Pendel. I know you’re gonna take a couple of days to get the feel of all of this new-found independence, but after that, come by, OK?” I said fine. Then he took me by the shoulders and looked me square in the face. “I will be right here, son.” I got the distinct impression that he was not only giving me reassurances, but also warning me of his continued vigilance—which is a complete joke. Although my parents did much in the way of keeping me alive in regards to caloric intake and clothing, when it came to guidance and structure…but this is horseshit. They tried, I resisted, and the world spun restlessly on and on.

So basically, my leaving home was a complete non-event.

That night I celebrated liberation with Bear, Benji, and Hugh—Hugh being the name we gave to the wizard-shaped ceramic bong belonging to Benji. As I have said before, Bear’s old man is letting us crash cheaply at a property he owns near the corner of Rubsam and Race. Kind of a shit-hole, but I’m not really complaining. The gray paint is slowly giving up, the lawn is the color of hopelessness, and the cracked driveway speaks of a world long after the death of the last man as nature once again claims the spots we had worn thin. Nevertheless, the bedroom I have on the ground floor near the kitchen is my own, the living room has a television and cable and the promise of a life free from lectures and suspicion, and my roommates seem to genuinely enjoy my company (for the most part). The jabbing tip of springs as they force their heads out from nearly every cushion of every ass-related surface is barely noticeable when you spend as much time rocking the skull of Hugh as we do.

How do I afford such luxury, you ask? It’s a great question. I do have work, but the work is tricky to talk about, if you get my meaning. Basically, I work for Sugarbear. Benji and I both do, really. We single-handedly run the sales and delivery department of Sug’s fantastically lucrative plastic cube business. Suffice to say there’s a certain amount of glamour involved. The client makes a call to my man Sugarbear, who places the order in the hands of the raggedly loyal Benji or myself, and off we go on our various modes of transport with a generous supply of cubes, each one full of it’s own special brand of magic.

With sincere purpose I pedal into the night (or day, I guess…whichever), nervous but free from it all, and I visit all parts of town, delivering Sugar’s flawless product. I climb sagging steps and cross gated paths unhindered; I am welcomed warmly into hovels of sand and gilded halls; I am given Mountain Dew and I am offered red wine and everywhere around me there are smiles which are unique purely in their genuineness. I leave strewn behind me a trail of happy people. Hell, if I could only get the crabby bitches in the old folk’s home to feel the same way, I would have been tempted to think I’m entering into an honest-to-god period of renewal.

And to think I dreaded the working world.

Yes, times seemed to be quite high, but of course awakening must soon break a dream realized. After just a couple of weeks of living with a smile, I began to see the dark sedan parked innocently in front of our house, and thought nothing of it. Hindsight is a useless appendage.

The Way-Fucked Circle of Life

It’s fucking crazy to think that sending a guy like ME to an old folks’ home is going to do ANYBODY any good at ALL.

My court appearance went off without a hitch. Processed like meat, cleansed of disease, stamped with assurances—I am made anew, and shall never stray from the path of direct righteousness again. They said to me, “Pendel, you have done wrong by us…why did you wander into the dark? Tell us what you saw while you were there.” And I said please give me a chance to explain, oh devisors of the faith, oh commanders of the wallow, oh brandishers of the law and sickle—my time in shadow was wasted…wasted…and now I’ve returned to the light and my sight is restored. Take pity. Have mercy. Show me the same clemency you would reserve for yourself. Are we not brothers? Has your life been a simple traipse from one patch of verdant truth to the next? Or did you struggle? Was there a climb over rock and stone with bleeding palms and cracked fingers and the thinning air shortening your breath as the sand trickled into your eyes? Did you stumble over cracks in the twilight? Was there never a moment of fear and doubt when, roused for a moment from your daydreams, you looked around to find the streets were strange and the windows cracked and boarded? Are you a fucking prodigy? Have you never soiled a finger while wiping your ass? Do you ever even shit AT ALL? Or are you magically immaculate, with every tender bite of veal dissolving like a drop of dew in the morning sunlight; no need for the crude stomach, the vile intestine?

“Are you quite through?” asked the judge, an old, dry fuck by the name of Parrott.

“Would you just shut up already?” pleaded Uncle Ben—whom you all know by now.

But I could not stop throwing myself upon the mercy of the court: Let me tell you a dream I once had, your honor (I begged). I was only a boy at the time—which in reality for me was not so long ago—and the summer was upon us and it was fucking HOT. I mean, you live here, you know how it gets. It’s brutal, your honor. The humidity is a living thing that fills your lungs; a sloth with hot breath sitting upon your shoulder, holding you down while the algae in its coat slowly creep down your neck and chest. I fucking HATE IT and I always have, and I complain viciously until all around me pray for a coma to take me until milder days arrive.

Evening falls, and the asshole sun finally finds it in its boiling heart to sink behind the hills, but still the bloated air presses its sweaty hand over your nose and mouth, suffocating you. Such barometric oppression is twice as distracting to a child as he tries to sleep, and to ME, ever the super fucking SENSITVE one, it is three times so. But my mother and father—too cheap to turn on the freaking battered window unit that could have saved us all from perdition and YEARS of mild spite—resolved the issue as inexpensively as they possibly could by letting us all sleep in the living room that night in front of one crappy, tore up box fan (as opposed to procuring a fan for each one of us, which would have broke the goddamned BANK, no doubt). Kids love this kind of shit, however, and the break from routine was welcome. We giggled and farted our way down the hall that night, our pillows under our arms—Pendel, Clare, and Matty—happy then because we knew no better; happy because to us, shelter was all there was, a roof over your head and a shirt on your back and the smile on the face of your father or your mother—never to see the worried creases in their foreheads when they turned to the window as the world wore away at their will—simple reassurances that sufficed so well at the time, but later would leave a residue of vague regret on your ribs as you think of all the nasty shocks in store.

Tee hee hee.

As hot as it was in the house, the breeze and noise from the fan was an extraordinarily comforting thing, and the very act of waiting for sleep was like a hug; the movement of air over my head seemed exotic, hypnotic. All five of us lay in a row in the living room that night, and I couldn’t have felt safer. Gradually, the murmurs and mirth faded as the shadows grew. Soon, all was dark and quiet, but something tugged at my mind telling me the peacefulness was a façade, and though I knew the loved ones near me were all asleep, a squiggling worm of fear in my gut told me that I was not the only thing awake in the vicinity—so I wasn’t entirely surprised when the door to my parents’ room slowly and silently cracked open…

The malevolent specter of my dream didn’t emerge from the room immediately. It first let the fact of the door sink in for a few seconds. As my guts slowly turned to ice, I watched the crack of blackness upon blackness slowly widen. The ice inside me froze my lips, froze my lungs, froze my limbs, and I could not speak, breath, or move when finally the dark figure—hooded and thin and uniquely evil—lurched slowly and ohhhh so silently towards us—towards ME, really, I KNEW he was coming for me, this evil piece of shit—and I remember feeling as helpless as I ever had in my LIFE, your honor. Because you see, I knew this presence inching its way slowly nearer wanted to kill me, yes, but he also wanted to get me out of the room as quietly as possible, because when I died he wanted me to be alone. Do you understand? He wanted my death to be worse than painful, more calloused than premature, greater than the terror of violence.

He wanted me to be lonely when I died, your honor.

There are many shades of black I discovered as I watched this mysterious cutter. The room I was in was very dark, but the hallway before me leading to the bedrooms was even darker. The crevasse left by the yawning door to my parents’ room was plain black. But the cloaked figure advancing on me like the staggered frames of a movie with missing cells was even BLACKER, and the hole in the hood where the face should be…well, that was a fucking abyss, plain and simple. When you rise uncontrollably (after the unannounced exit of gravity) above the trees and into the sky, straight up through the clouds—and the air is stripped from your lungs, and the atmosphere loses its color as you flail your arms hopelessly—soaring up to outer space, and then there is the blackness of the universe before you coupled with the unimaginable distances between things; but you do not stop, you only keep flying in a direction that can only still be described as upwards (though there is no “up” now), until, to your horror, you find yourself passing into a realm unknown, the mythical NOTHING that we always feared existed but could not prove, could not even bring ourselves to theorize, and yet here it is and its SWALLOWING you, gulping you in, sucking you out of the inkiness of space and hauling you into a blackness that you could have never in a million years supposed existed…the BLACK of NOTHING which you never imagined because who could ever truly imagine nothing? This was the black of the encroaching figure’s face. And now its frigid hand was around my ankle and pulling me, and the night no longer seemed hot, it no longer seemed close, it no longer seemed ANYTHING for I was quickly leaving the world of day and night and morning and evening and ANYTHING; I was being pulled away from safety to die alone. And I finally found my voice and I cried out for my mother to help me because the harbinger had me—the blackness was closing around my eyes as I saw my people all start suddenly from the floor at the sound of my voice and immediately begin to shout after me with their hands reaching out—but in their eyes was hopelessness. They did not gain their feet to chase after me. They knew there was nothing they could do. I was fucking GONE, your honor. I clawed furiously at the carpeting and the walls as I was pulled down the hallway towards the great nothing to die alone, but there was no purchase to stay me. Everything faded.

I awoke in my father’s arms, sobbing, crying out, my little kid PJ’s soaked in sweat. Like a goddamned baby.

“Where are you going with all of this?” judge Parrott demanded.

“Your Honor, my client is simply very sorry about everything that’s happened and the people’s time he’s wasted today,” pleaded Uncle Ben.

I cried out BULLSHIT. The whole point of the fucking story is that I’m INNOCENT, your honor. This fucking rice making fool doesn’t represent me. Not ME. He might THINK he’s representing some little asshole he “knows” as his nephew—some miserable little prick with a penchant for nasty anger and acting out against the cloned pigs feigning superiority—but that person is not ME. I am separate from all of that fucking jazz, your honor. I am not even in this fucking ROOM, your honor. I am a million miles beyond space and dying ALONE your honor. Or weren’t you even listening?

“Oh shut up,” said the judge. “This is nonsense. It doesn’t matter whether you committed a crime or not, Mr. Haight. The fact of the matter is that you ARE a miserable little prick, whether you believe it or not, and I think it would do you some good to spend some time watching the very specter you fear taking others into the blackness.”

I told the judge that I must freaking disagree most fucking strongly, but he sentenced me to community service in the local old folks’ home anyway. Which is fine. No, really. It is. The Eternal Camile’s great grandfather is there, for one—which means there’s a chance to get laid inside an old folks’ home, which would be fucking cool beyond BELIEF. I think Benji has a great Aunt or something locked up inside, too, but I’m not sure.

Three months. I can do that standing on my fucking HEAD, bubba. Make book on it.  It’s kind of exciting, when you think about it. To stare into the eyes of a soul so near death and to ask them if they want to play some cards…if you can’t take something away from that, then you’re definitely beyond help.

I can’t wait to tell them how lucky they are to be so close to having it all over with.

Dormant Past, Vegetable Future

I spoke with my Uncle Ben yesterday. He was so stiff with me that I had to hold a mirror under his nose to see if he was breathing. Whatever. Zero love lost. It all boils down to this: I have my windshield court date in two weeks. I’m cool with it, I have no fears. I will do my time on the community service chain gang and become a real man of the people. Next thing you know, I’m Harry Truman, baby, making the highway a reality. The deception of Uncle Ben shall activate the course of his own destruction as he is crushed under the weight of my political machine.

I’ve had so many conversations with responsible elders regarding the new chapter of my action-packed life that it makes my head spin. The problem with many of these dependable people is that their lives are so void of risk, it’s a wonder they get laid at all. I don’t want that. I don’t want a sexless existence void of passion. My dry mother wants me to take on a mailroom position at my uncle’s law firm. Yeah, like THAT’S gonna fucking happen. I’ll take my own life before I submit to Uncle Ben’s plan to “whip that punk into shape”. My dad has a harebrain scheme concocted where I become an air traffic controller. Brilliant. He mentioned it to me and I said wha…? I turned to Google and typed it in, and was immediately presented with numerous lists of the most stressful jobs in the country, all with air traffic controller in the top ten. One site put it right behind ‘miner’. Fucking perfect. My dad threw his hands in the air, exasperated. “Well, you’re not just gonna get your life handed to you, Pendel! You’re gonna have to work someday, damnit!” I said fine, I’ll jump right in and defuse BOMBS for a freaking living. Would that make you happy? “I’m sure whatever idea you come up with will be better,” he said, in dickishly sarcastic overtones. Of course Mr. Hanson and Dr. Duchenheimer are still laboring under the delusions that college is still within my reach, if only I would reach out my sullied hand and grasp the cleansing light of knowledge…wrap it desperately in a lover’s embrace…

It’s simply not going to happen. Two years of Clark State Community College rubbing elbows with even bigger assholes than the freaks in my summer school classes; working the night shift at some pestilential hole-in-the-ground; another couple of years (or more) studying my pretty fingers to the bone at some rock-bottom, no-name little college until I earn that coveted BA. And then what? The rest of my life offered up for sacrifice at the alter of shady capitalism, my blood spilling into the coffers of nameless giants; giants with torsos thick with muscle rent from solid granite and kept strong with dreams wringed cruelly from the hearts of lesser men; featureless faces towering above me in the clouds, blanketed in mist, anonymous forever as they casually roar and shake the ground with thoughtless steps as heavy as mountains. I won’t fucking have it. I’d never last anyway. I doubt very highly that many in middle management—heavily scarred from merciless battles in the daily pit—would tolerate being told to go fuck themselves on a daily basis. Besides, none of those little college bitches are ready for a dick like mine. Pendel ‘The Hammer’ Haight.

Dear old dad stopped by the room the other day to say that he spoke with Benny the Hun’s father “man-to-man.” My old man is painfully archaic at times, but he is growing on me. For whatever reason, he stays in my corner, slitting open my blind eyes whenever they swell too shut to see. So anywho’s, he tells Benny’s dad that he’s terribly sorry for the pain I’ve caused everyone in their household, and he knows how horribly embarrassing it must have been for them to have to have such violence target their family in their own church parking lot. It’s so bizarre to me how everyone links church and embarrassment. Seems to me there is very little shelter to be found in this house of cards we call God—but I’m not gonna digress. Dad also tells the guy exactly WHY I did what I did, what Benny said to Clare and the insults endured by both of his children at the hands of Henderson. My dad tells the guy that if charges are pressed, he’s gonna be forced to talk about that, and he also tells the guy that Clare just hasn’t been the same after such insidious slander (Clare is WAAAAAY past it), and he’d love to avoid pressing charges for verbal assault (is there even such a thing?), but that Mr. Henderson was gonna have to meet him halfway. Amazingly, this flimsy dam of reasoning is holding for the moment. If I pay for the hospital bills arising from the broken nose (YES!) and cover the loss of the crappy sandal ($85!), the Henderson’s will most likely not press charges. Also, they apologized to Clare, and Benny the Hun’s got to attend a few weekdays of pew cleaning to make up for his sins.

I would, of course, have rather gotten off scott-free, but I guess this will do.

In other news, Sugarbear seems dead-set on living with me and Benji as soon as I get out of my summer classes. His dad has a house we can rent on the cheap in the shadier section of town, and Sugarbear has promised infinite fun in the form of weed and acid until we all mature or the house burns down, whatever comes first. This news, at least, pleased my father. I didn’t tell him about the drugs—I’ll probably keep that to myself. Sugarbear’s gonna stick close and attend Wittenberg University. Not a bad place to go for such a fuckup, really. Bear’s dad is an alumnus, and so Bear didn’t have to break his back getting in. Whatever. Take what you can, burn the rest.

More to come soon. Any suggestions on what an anti-social and overly-aggressive young man can do for a living would be most welcome at this point. I don’t know why I never thought about such matters before. I think I’m so pessimistic about anything that the future has in store that I’d rather lower the blast shields and keep my head down, barreling through the world without much thought, claiming to be ignorant of any trampled in my wake. But I felt them under my feet, and I stomped harder as they passed under.

Maybe landscaping?

Dad’s Gone Over

You think you know a person…

After the Benny Beat Down, I slunk home under the cover of nothing to find my house in utter disarray. My mom was screaming from behind the safety of her tears at my sister Clare, who was crying on the living room sofa and hugging the pillow like a teen-aged mother. My father was pacing the rug off the floor, exclaiming how a man works hard for nothing (which in fact makes perfect sense and is right on the money) to absolutely no one at all. Many of my father’s exclamations, which in the long run turn out to be 95% true if not 100% wise, fall on deaf ears. The human mind’s ability to reject the truth is at its strongest when the source of truth is flowing from the mouth of a friend.

For myself, I was fucking hungry. I marched languidly into the kitchen as all conversation came to a halt, and I took advantage of the silence to pick out a slice of cold pizza and eat the fucking thing. I turned to return the stares I was being given, paused in the middle of chewing, held out my right hand and said that my knuckles really hurt. “Well…of COURSE they do,” said my dad, and then stopped short of saying more, a confused look on his face.

“Why did you DO that, Pendel?!” wailed my mother. “How could you hit that boy like that? How could you embarrass me this way? How could my son be such an ANIMAL? You’re just a rabid animal, Pendel!” Blah blah blah. Clare stared at me blankly. I looked my mom square in the eye and said to her that the miserable little prick got what was coming to him, and that maybe now he’ll think twice before saying shit about how Clare likes to fuck her flunky brother. HEY NOW. Those sure were the magic words, and my, how they shut my dear mummy’s mouth. My dad leveled a finger at me. “We know all about what that punk said, Pendel, but you don’t just go pummeling people in the middle of the church parking lot! For Christ’s SAKE, Pendel! What were you THINKING!?” I said I was thinking about kicking some ass and taking some goddamned names, and then I excused myself to my bedroom. I then promptly turned back and stuck my head out and yelled for Clare. “What?” I hollered for her to bring me some ice, and to come alone.

A few minutes later she was there with cubes wrapped up in an old dishtowel. It had a fish on it as well as many random stains. I took it from her hands and thanked her. “You shouldn’t have done it.” she said. I shrugged and said so fucking what. It’s done. Whether or not I should have is moot now. She sighed. “You’re just begging for more quality time with Uncle Ben, you know.” So be it. She turned to leave, but looked back at the last second and said, “He’s coming.”

And immediately, my father was in the doorway. He looked at me blankly. With barely a glance to Clare, he said, “Leave us.” Formal. Humorous. Dreadful. My dad makes me like him sometimes, and at the strangest moments.

Clare left and my dad sat down on the edge of my bed while I iced my knuckles at my desk. “Does it hurt a lot?” he asked. Well, sure. “Good. It should. I don’t want you to forget what it feels like to hit another man.” I said nothing, because I couldn’t read into his words. His face was enigmatic. “Pendel, what you did today…son, you just picked the wrong time and place to make your stand. It’s one of your main problems.” That kind of took the breath out of me. It had the indisputable ring of truth. It made me angry and so sad. Everyone’s always telling me what my problems are, they’re always right, and the list keeps growing; an impossible punch list and I have no skills. I stared at my hand. I had nowhere else to look. The skin was pulled tight and was shiny, it looked like the skin of an irreparably fat person, a person who had taken on too much weight and was helpless to turn the tide and throw it off. Because he is a weak person. A person with very little self control or respect. Maybe it is in fact me; maybe I am simply fat inside…my soul needs a diet.

My dad then turned the rare trick of reaching out and placing his hand on my shoulder. “You made the wrong choice today, but I don’t know. I’m just as confused as you, I guess…but I’m proud of you, though, I think. I’m not sure.”

WTF. I was floored. PROUD?!? That certainly WAS NOT a turn I expected this lecture to take. “Pendel, that fool said something very toxic, I know. Your mother is embarrassed to her core, but I’m not.” Why not? “Hell Pendel, I don’t know. I DO know, however, that there’s some hope for you. There’s a brother down in there somewhere. That’s more than I believed yesterday, I can tell you that.”

So hey, I can only take so much love, and truly, I DID NOT earn all the mush that was oozing forth. I told him I did it more for me than for Clare, and he says, “Maybe, maybe not. I’m holding on to what I think, though.” Neat.

He stood up and said he would go because he knows how little I care for love-ins. True, but the whole display had left my head to spin. But then on his way out, he says, “There’s going to be trouble from this. I know the Henderson’s. They’re combative pricks. I’ll help you, but there’s gonna be trouble, Pendel.” I said hey, whatever. He then drops another bomb: “I’m going to make sure you graduate this summer, Pendel.” I said yeah, yeah. “Then I think you should probably move out, son. If it’s not college, then you just need to be out. You’re killing your mom, and I just don’t think you’re interested in learning any more from me. So when the summer’s done…” I said nothing. I had nothing to say. Was this the best or worst news possible? “I’ll help you find a place. I’ll help you get settled. You need to look for a job, son.”

And so he left my room.

It was by far one of the strangest conversations I had had in years. Once again, a person in my life has done and said the very last thing I would have expected. And once again it has left me feeling completely bereft of worldly comprehension.

My Love for Clare vs My Desire to Destroy Benny the Hun, Part 2, Suckers

First off, I would like to apologize to Clare. I think she’s completely right. My desire to jump on Benny the Hun’s head was completely for my own fulfillment, and seeing as she feels worse about things now than she ever did before I KICKED BEN’S WRETCHED ASS from one side of the fucking WORLD to another…well, sorry Clare. Some things in life you simply cannot change. I feel to the very depths of my tepid soul that I was meant to pound Ben Henderson into the ground, and then, as soon as he regains his tiny feet, beat him right back down again.

Benny the Hun has yet to get back up. I will be there when he does. I have cold inside that threatens to drown me, and so I must let it swallow Ben so that I may live on another day. Even you, Clare, would agree that I deserve more time on this lonesome earth than he.

Most of you know how this saga started. If you don’t, click here. Anyway, it continues along these lines: I ended up going to church again for the first time since I fingered that sad pie-hole Camile in the back pews several months ago—check that pointless day out here. It was one of the best freaking moves I have ever made in my life; since that glorious Sunday morning, I have never been asked to accompany my ridiculatory parents back to that heinous pit of hell-spawned ninnies again. Fucking loser jerk-wad tit fucking assholes. Every last one of them. They could all receive better guidance from an Ikea instruction manual, yet they choose to follow the word of an imaginary, celestial tick. BAH! Best of luck to them all as they spiral uncontrollably towards the sun. I had one reason and one reason ONLY to go back, and it wasn’t because my spirit needed a colonic. It was the only place I knew I could find Ben.

You see, my parents not only make me and my sister go to a school where we are not wanted, they themselves go to a CHURCH where THEY are not recognized. Yes, the church they attend (that I USED to attend) is in the same northern neighborhood as the fucking high school. The Church of the Slightly Affluent. The ceilings are gabled, the pews are padded, the ministers are young (so handsome!), and the collection plate has a felt bottom. Fancy fancy. Opulence on a budget, electroplated in Christ. Anyone looking can find the Hun’s family there, knee deep in worship, on every day of rest.

You could have knocked my mom over with a feather when I walked out of my room on Sunday morning and announced my intentions to accompany the family to church. I said, hey man, don’t question shit, or I’m back in my room like a flash. My mom was beaming with elation (am I an asshole or what?), and was like, “I’m not saying a word, I’m just going to enjoy this.” My dad looked at me like I was a used car salesman, but said nothing. Clare GLARED at me. When I passed by her to go outside she grabbed my arm and asked, “What are you doing, Pendel?” I told her I was on my way to say hey to the Lord and to get off my fucking back about it, because I was self-conscious about my beliefs anyway, and she was just making it worse. She fretted; she’s smart.

So let me go on record right now by saying that I am in no way some great fighter. I’ve only been in a few in my whole life. I don’t know if I can say I won these conflicts, but trust me when I say I left my mark. And I planned on leaving one FUCK of a mark on Benny the Hun that morning. I had in my pocket a roll of quarters that I had exchanged from a ten spot the day before on the way back from Dr. Douchenheimer (who had interestingly useless things to say about the whole Clare/Benny run-in, but more on THAT later), and I planned on introducing Benny’s nose to it in just a few minutes.

As the Dorkmobile steadily edged down the street towards destiny, my whole body sang with voltage. I honestly had no clue if I would win or lose, but I wanted to get my shot in. I had to let him know I heard him; I wanted him to know I had an answer. My dad drives like old people fuck, and it was making my scalp itch. I was getting so hot that my eyes felt like liquid-filled balls of fancy soap, the electrolytes were building in my armpits like Mayans. We had only gotten half-way there and I was ready to jump out the window and run the rest of the way. I imagined a long line of insanely enraged drivers pulling up beside us, horns blaring and fists shaking, spittle and curses spewing from their lips like chewed tumors as they told my dad what a fucking pussy he is. I wanted these daydreams to soothe me, but they did not. I wanted Ben Henderson. I wanted to see his lip split. I wanted to see his eye swell. I wanted to watch as he lurched crookedly away from my fury, arms wrapped around his cracked ribs. Man, I wanted to see this fucker cry like a goddamned baby. How DARE he fuck with me? How DARE he fucking SPEAK my NAME when I am MILES AWAY and shrouded in darkness?

Hell hath no fury like a Pendel scorned.

We reached the parking lot. My mom hooted merrily: “Here we are!” I was already out of the car and scanning the parking lot. My dad was like, “Pendel, for God’s sake, let me get the damn car stopped!” Fuck that. Blood.

I saw him. Halfway between me and the church. I was off like a shot, running to meet him before he was able to get through the big oak doors. Clare screamed my name—she had seen Ben too—and heads craned to see what the fuck. Benny the Hun heard it too, and he turned to look just as I was 50 paces from him. He saw me coming, and I swear to fucking god, the surprise on his face alone was almost worth the price of admission. I mean, here it was, the DAY AFTER he says shit about me, and already here I come. Clint-fucking-Eastwood, mother fucker. A falling hammer. A swinging chain. A thrown brick. Then the glass of his shock shattered, and he turned to get the hell out of my way, but baby I was already there. He was almost to the steps of the church when I connected with him. BAM. I used my shoulder to slam into his body (my collar bone still fucking kills), and just as my body stopped freaking cold, his shot forward, and he was off his feet and flying into the bushes planted under the windows of the church foyer. I was jarred to the bone, my head already aching from violent contact, but I knew there was no time at all to think about what I’d done or the consequences. He could still really mess me up deeply if I didn’t take advantage of the situation.

I grabbed him by his smug ankle, noticing—crazily—his shoe; an expensive and maturely square-looking sandal, so on a whim I took it off his foot and threw it into the nearby trees. I then drug him by the foot out into the parking lot and quickly sat on his chest. I slapped him once meatilty with my left hand as I searched out the roll of quarters with my right.

Shouts now, some calling my name, some Ben’s, others asking what in the name of hell did I think I was doing. I could hear Clare above it all, or at least I imagined I did, but then before I knew it, the roll of quarters was sitting squarely in my right fist and I brought down the whole fucking farm right there on his nose. It splatted. That’s the best way I can explain it. Finally I looked into his eyes, and they were fucking HUGE and PANICKED, and for a brief moment there was cool relief to flood my tired mind.

And then the hands clamped onto my shoulders and drug me off. Mystery hands. I still don’t know who did it, but as they did it, I lashed a foot out and connected with Ben’s knee, and he cried out. Sweet ear candy. I screamed out and wrenched free of the hands that held me, and without looking back, ran for the trees and the alleyways between the lawns of the surrounding neighborhoods. The cries were at my back, “Are you crazy?” “Come back here!” Probably some woman cried out little Benny boy’s name, but I was past hearing distinctly. The blood thundered in my head as I jumped this fence and that until I was able to climb a heavily shaded tree, and I sat there like a child who is scared senseless of the neighborhood German Sheppard, loose from the yard again, and sniffing me out.

Two hours or so later, I climbed down from the tree, stopped in at a Kwik Shop for a hunk of jerky and a Mountain Dew, and wandered home. I noticed my knuckles were swollen to about twice their normal size, and I smiled to myself.