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Reginald Blisterkunst, Ph.D.
Among the Remembered Saints: My Life and Subsequent Death
Pluto Wars

Greg Chandler
"Bee's Tree"
"Local Folk"
"Roland's Feast"
"Pond Story "

Doug Childers
"The Baptism"

Gene Cox
The Sunset Lounge

Clarke Crutchfield
"The Break-In"
"The Canceled Party"
"The Imaginary Bullet"

Jason DeBoer
"The Execution of the Sun"

Deanna Francis Mason
"The Daguerreian Marvel"

Dennis Must

Charlie Onion
"Love Among the Jellyfish"
Pluto Wars
"Feast of the Manfestation"

Chris Orlet
"Romantic Comedy"

Daniel Rosenblum
"A Full Donkey"

Deanna Frances Mason
"The Daguerreian Marvel"

Andrew L. Wilson
"Fat Cake and Double Talk"


Among the Remembered Saints:
My Life & Subsequent Death

Reginald Blisterkunst, Ph.D.

Part One


So there we were, the five of us, stumbling drunk and shuffling single-file down the road, pink-lit by those horrid street lamps, with Candy Tabitha Lewis, bearer of the Hard-Candy Nipples, leading us all through the corridor of pink-tinged darkness like half-hearted mendicants.

An odd night out, you'll say, early spring morning in a nice suburban neighborhood and nothing amiss and suddenly here they come like lost marauders—or was it mendicants? Christ. You'll have to read that last bit back—but no, let's keep moving or we'll never get through—so of course, loping after Candy Tabitha's wagging tail like a horny dog comes the dreadful, soul-denying Woody Arbunkle—he who had secretly named CT's nipples such after dinner, when the desire for a hard-candy mint had somehow entwined itself with his effort to peek—no, stare—down Candy Tabitha's top. At some distance back, then, stumbled the Onions, Charlie and Cindy, bickering. Myself, as always, in the rear, studying asses, though slightly cranky from red wine. Red is so bad for the head.

Cindy (in a spitting whisper): Where is this godforsaken place?

Charlie: Shut up.

Cindy: You.

Candy turning, Onions waving.

Ha ha, Cindy calls out. Lead on, dear girl, lead on.

Granted, that last bit's not Cindy's, it's mine, but I was drunk, and who am I, a man now dead, to remember speeches among drunks?


Later, on the fairway or some such, two hills coming together and the five of us perched in the cleavage like sea birds wandering over beached whales. Staring up, of course, staring up and all of us wondering why, naming constellations never noticed before, a man buggering his dog's bitch, a woman beating the man later, next frame over. Constellation cartoons. Sitting, I'm goosed by a ball; I toss it over my shoulder and settle in.

Candy Tabitha is the first to spot one, which surprises us all because for an hour we've spun looking without finding, losing north and then finding it and arguing tonelessly over how high twenty degrees would take the eye over the horizon, and then, when we've flipped the universe over our heads like a pancake, Candy Tabitha is shrieking and pointing at nothing.

Where, where, where? we all say, children again.

Candy Tabitha: There, pointing.

Onion (to wife): See. Told you so. Right where I said from the beginning.

Woody, over the hill, near where a nipple might rest: So what. Shooting star. Big fucking deal.


We call out to him, all but Candy Tabitha, who is supine and concentrating.

Please, we say, reconciling, you'll like it.

Why? A chunk of cinder catching fire? What's that? I've farted worse, he says.

Spurned by love.

We settle back, eyes returned to the heavens, horny bastard atheist forgotten. If there's anyone more likely to have poisoned me, let me know.


Yet I'm so likable. At dinner, say, when he first arrived, who was it that slipped Benny Goodman into the Sony? Your humble. And who was it turned it up for the bastard Onion had said loved jazz? Again: your humble.

More Than You Know, Arbunkle had said. Adding, as a tossed-off afterthought: 1939. Helen Ward. Snapping his fingers at me like he'd won a contest.

Blisterkunst, I'd said back (smiling; extending the hand). English Department. Milton.

Not even a nod. Over my shoulder, Candy Tabitha had appeared from the Corbusier-crazed kitchen, and Benny and his magic clarinet were forgotten.


Not to complain but a tepid curry chicken with wilted wild rice? And cheap red wine? And afterwards a mass of cheesecake and this nonsense of falling stars? If it hadn't been for Candy Tabitha, with her unexpected enthusiasm for stargazing, we'd all have been snugly tucked and dreaming dyspeptic. But instead it's this pair of heaving breasts beneath us and a handful of shiny dots over our heads.

Yet magic: the Onions lie closer now, hands touching. Candy Tabitha and the atheist have together slid over the far breast.

Onion ( drunk from a stashed flask): Arbunkle where.

I swing my arm over the hill.

Tell them careful, he says. Guards.

No fear, I say. Father's a member in good standing.

He: Your father's been dead fifty years if a day.

Member for eternity, I say, as a brilliant ball of white blips out of the air above me and begins an accelerating arc toward my forehead.


Onion (rising): My God.

Me (lifting the golf ball): Blurbop.

Rubbing the knot, reptile-minded.


Laughter over the hill. Then the atheist monster appearing, as from a burning lake.

He: Seeing stars, Blisterkunst?


Surely you agree: the man who killed me, the man who sent me questing into a cornfield, who flew a parachuted pill via model plane over my head and dropped me dead next to its note (eat me), surely this man is Arbunkle and no other?

Yet I must admit: from this lofty if featureless height, gazing down Zeus-like on my modern, murderous Ganymede, I'm now strangely sudden-smit with the boy's vigorous youth and, shall we say...horny spunk? Really, he reminds me of Gerrod that time in Greece, when he stripped naked and danced with the Greek boys with the beach fire rippling copper over his bare chest.

But of course that's another story and even the thought of that starstruck knot has made me too upset to go on.

Brief Meditation, Then Death

Have you ever found occasion to cross a field of young corn? Green stalks head-high, golden kernels as hard still in this early season as Candy Tabitha's reputed nipples? It depresses one. There is about the place such a sense of youth, of raw unthinking hope, that it chills one's very soul. One feels with each step that one might part stalks to find Shropshire lads lying flat against the corn, pressing chest to chest. Lads who, upon discovery, will not reach up the inviting hand but rather cover themselves and flee. It is then, at that awful moment, that one sees oneself truly, as others do.

I had entered this youthful, forbidding field hopeful, it is true, with each step expecting not love but knowledge, yet before I had crossed the first leg it was the Yawning Chasm that I faced, unknowing. My yellow suit doing nothing to repulse the sun that conspired against me, an old man doing nothing so wrong, after all, that he deserved death.

It was in the field's center, after I had lost all thought of lads in love, that I heard the plane: a droning, prehistoric bug. Spinning in the field, compass points lost, time and history as never, as none. Confusion, of course, then that bubbling chuckle one hears in the movies when the treasure is finally found. For it was Müller's plane, you see, a perfectly replicated Liberator, tiny and bug-voiced, yes, but his nonetheless. Dipping its wings at me, circling, dragging with it time and history and my renewed expectation of unspoken knowledge.

Then like a dream the parachute slips from its fuselage; plummets then catches itself in its unexpected apron and floats hither and thither over the field while I madly hop, heedless, headless: until together we meet the two of us; hands outstretched, cupping my God-sent message.

A simple strip of white paper containing two monosyllabic words and one tiny white pill.


eat me


Giggling, triumphant, immortality at hand: I slip the pill into my eager wet mouth, feel it fizz malevolently and then, with one throat-twisting gulp: I swallow. Moments later, as the corn behind me parts and a sneering shadow emerges, I fall to my knees, crying, gasping, dying.

Second Suspect?

Flash forward into a sun-splashed room, to the committee meeting concerning my replacement. Candy Tabitha in cut-offs of course, for it is late July and her legs glow caramel with summer sun; handing out prospectives' cirriculae vitae. Onion Charlie near the door, transfixed by Candy Tabitha (slipping now into a chair, her legs spread just enough to make the slender top muscles of her thighs flex and pant rave pant rave protrude). Onion Cindy at the chairman's side, wearing a new dress with a star-patterned collar and secretly desiring a private session with our slender, pedantic chairman, but for reasons yet to be discussed, worried about the outcome.

Chairman Mao, I used to call him. Proclivity for Nehru collars and laceless shoes you might see on Bruce Lee.

—We are here, of course, to replace our fallen comrade Blisterkunst, he intones. Slipping a paper clip over his CV stack, glancing around the table for effect.

Collective sigh; uncomfortable shuffling from the formalists' side.

—A fallen brother, he adds, struck down in his critical prime.

Lying, of course, lying and for his benefit, not mine. Except for my secret scribblings on poor dead Müller, I've ridden wordlessly through life on impregnable tenure.

More shuffling while each of the nearsighted buffoons—the Marxists, the semioticians, the feminists, the gasping, hoary remnants of the formalists—wishes secretly for another of their own.

I suggest we look only among gender studies, one of them suggests.

Hoary Head of Formalists: Never.

—And why not?

The Hoary Head guffaws, exasperated. Looks to fogy comrades for support but finds them jaded, unwilling to fight.

Twist of the doorknob, heads turn; enter Second Suspect, dressed in black and limping. Yes limping. Late and limping because of a twisted ankle that won't mend, an ankle twisted on that afternoon when I died ignominiously among the corn stalks. (And where were you, Second Suspect, covetous of poor dead B's chair, where were you when he wept his last? Don't write off young lad Arbunkle yet, I've been thinking just now.)

Chairman Mao: We're replacing Reginald, dear boy, get your CVs from Candy Tabitha and please join.

Second Suspect: Oh lord not him again. Let the dead remain so.

Limp limp, hand out, head nod, limp limp sit.

Mao: Quite. Fallen comrade, etc. Discussion, anyone?

Ensuing battle, outcome uncertain but the Hoary Head of Formalists staging a remarkable underdog fight, like an asthmatic terrier, wheezy but spunky. Under the table, Cindy's leg brushes against Mao's slender ankle; Mao distracted, unnoticing; again, brush brush, insistent; Mao turning, neck hair scraping Nehru: scowl. And then—gasp!—Mao thrashes out, catches Cindy on the shin with a tip of Mr. Lee. Cindy stiffens, then faces resolutely forward.

The meeting ends; nothing resolved, though it never is. CVs under wing, they flee, fresh air now and talk of the dead over, thank God, we never liked him much anyway.

Onion Cindy to Onion Charlie, at the door in a terse whisper: I want a baby.


Second suspect!?! What in God's name happened to the first?!? Patience, dear reader, patience and sleep easily: those pigs in blue have already arrested that poor Arbunkle lad, tackled and dragged him from that horrid Pizza Hut Delivery on the North Side, where he, no journalist slots in sight, has been forced to make his way through this brief life.


—Lawyer! My lawyer! poor Arbunkle cries, handcuffed and kicking over a vat of the Thin 'n' Crispy sauce.

Cops unmoved, pudgy in polyester. Pizza foremost in their proletarian pig minds as the smell of garlic and oregano wafts up heavenly from the floor.

Cop #1 (to acned worker): I'd get a mop for that, son. And I'll take a large pepperoni with extra cheese to go.

Cop #2 (leading our hero, now sobbing quietly, a broken dog): Make mine jalepeño.

Cop #1: Jalepeño?

—Why, why? from poor Arbunkle.

Cop #2: Because I've got a cold and the spices clear my nose.

Arb.: No, I mean...oh never mind.


Here, in this wretched darkness I call my high seat, here, finding in death a quenchless, unexpected love for you, dear boy, I can do nothing to help. Freeing you now would be like shutting off the sun: it simply can't be done, I'm afraid. That's what death is like, among other things. Epiphenomenalism, the philosophers call it, only here the world at large is my eternally out-of-reach body, and all that's left of me is this feeble old-man's mind.

Yes, dear reader, dead but smitten.


But who is this Second Suspect?

Dead Man's Response: He who wears the black gloves; he, perhaps, who kills?

But it's facts you want, isn't it? A fellow Milton scholar, then, younger and more ambitious than I. Frederick Huston Eager shall we call him? For his real name is too cheap for this, my final tale.

EAGER!?!? Oh please.

Very well then. Dispense with mere mortal monikers forthright and call the devil by his proper.

The Dark One, I shall call him. For such he is.

In the meantime, while you and I quibble thus over names, sadly fallen to this, yes, dear Arbunkle lies forsaken in a cell.


But perhaps this is all a lie. Perhaps I, not dead and gone, sit merrily at my desk, sherry at hand, red robe wrapped snug around my freshly powdered neck. Having one over you then, sip scribble sip, ha ha, what ho, I say: they are fooled, what? rather, etc.

But I do not lie, nor shall I: dead I am; in joy take that. Stuck in this ageless, lightless box with no sustenance but these words and their memory of lit worlds.

Yes, I, like Arbunkle, the sweet prince, in prison lie.


Scene: Prison.

Arbunkle (after three grueling hours with Detective Wayne Duty—he who, because of his seniority and his fame for having cracked the Ferris Wheel Murder case, has been assigned the task of finding the bastard who put your humble in this horrid black hole): Onion? Onion? Is that—is that you, Onion?

Onion (at arm's length, brushing off Arbunkle's efforts to hug): Of course it's me. You owe me a thousand bucks and don't tell Cindy. And by the way, you're a free man.

Arbunkle: Free?

For the moment, says Onion.

Thank God, says Arbunkle (dropping to his knees). Oh thank God. I'm a changed man, Onion, changed.

Onion: Innocent. Innocent, not changed, you idiot. Talk like that around here and they'll hand you a bible and throw out the key.

Arbunkle (rising, dusting his knees): Right. Of course. I didn't kill that faggot, you know that.

Onion (handing the guard a bond receipt): Of course.


Stiff upper lip, Blister, stiff upper. Perhaps if I'd remained topside, walking among the lit, I might have persuaded dear Ar to try the world my way; taught him to enjoy the backwards glance. But no more of this talk of faggots, it goes through the bones like dull knives. Imagine rather the two of us as Shropshires, chest to chest: imagine that it is we two who lie discovered in the field, and that it's the dreaded Dark One, not I, that crosses the field to his death. Much joy in that scene, yes, almost as much as if I were merely lifting the sherry, pausing the pen for brief meditations between these sentences. Such pleasant thoughts.

Only after the road has ended do the Frost thoughts come; the roads not taken and so on. One discovers, from the final hill, that there were so many.


There is, of course, the matter of the shirt, that plain white shirt tucked beneath pizza polyester and adorned with what the cops gloatingly knew meant guilt and the rope: eat me. Poor Arbunkle, staring down uncomprehending at his Shropshire chest, while the cops wonder why a white rabbit should spew such porno filth.

Lord, Lord: Free At Last

I shall not linger long in this room, where the shades are drawn and the Onions grunt with such unappealing effort. Merely note in passing: afterwards, while Charlie washes himself obsessively, the Cindy creature (so repulsive now without her clothes; cover your eyes, lest ye see nay more) lies with a pillow beneath her, legs lifted, the Charlie spunk drip-ooze-sliding into her wellspring of life and finding itself alone and eggless.


Meanwhile above them our hero and his intended, she of the hard etc.: two-back-beasting it with fervor and sweating, though silent. Grunt wince grunt wince grunt wince ah. Rinse and repeat. Afterwards our hero unrolls the two lime-green Trojans to their ends and drapes them over the toilet as if they were laundry in a cheap tenement. A child's leggings, perhaps. And it is there that they are forgotten until the next morning when Onion Cindy, sadly childless, pierces the empty air with a savage bellow.


But how came our beloved to dwell (and screw) under the Onion roof?

A single line, in answer to a simple question.

Charlie (in prison parking lot): Where will you go?

Hero (shrugging): Drive around, I suppose, look for a place to shit.

A line that warmed Onion's shriveled insides, re-animated friendships long dormant and somehow even made him remember the smell of falling leaves in autumn.


—I want him gone! a phone-trapped voice now shrieks, so loudly that Charlie, clutching the office phone to his ear, hears only I won and thinks for a brief moment that his wife has won the lottery. Problem solved, enough of the greens to buy a brat if it comes to that, no more of this insanity with the pillows and thermometers and lifted legs like fallen bugs. I'm free, he shouts to his soul, his withered cellmate, I'm free at last.

—Now, she adds. Do you understand?


She repeats herself, low enough to understand.

Drop a stone over the Grand Canyon and it will fall no further or faster than did Onion Charlie's heart at those words.

In a sigh: What has he done?

—It's that bitch-in-heat, defiled our domicile, etc.

These things are so tiresome. Watching them, I no longer miss life. But we've all been there, haven't we? Fill in the blanks, then. I know I'm skipping a lot in this transmission but it's all so boring, suddenly. I'm beginning rather to like it here, and frankly I find your interest tiresome.

To summarize: He-Onion home lickety-split, forking Trojans into the toilet, arms-length, she-Onion presiding while, unbeknownst and neglected, this month's egg slides into place with a microscopic thud.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12



About the Author

The late Reginald Blisterkunst was a college professor whose areas of expertise were Milton and the Metaphysical Poets. Among the Remembered Saints was his first novel. He also co-wrote Pluto Wars with Charlie Onion, a frequent WAG contributor.


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