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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"


Pluto Wars
Charlie Onion & Reginald Blisterkunst, Ph.D.

Editor's Note: This is a sequel to Reginald Blisterkunst's Among the Remembered Saints: My Life and Subsequent Death, which was originally serialized in WAG. Readers who prefer to begin at the beginning may read the first book by clicking here.

Part Ten

Peter Calls and the World Ends

The knocking wakes me up at eight the next morning. At first, it's just a little pecking, easily ignored, like a bird scratching at seeds; then it turns into a great cacophonous drum roll that ends, quite abruptly, with the panel popping out of the door and slamming to the floor with a great slapping crease. A moment's silence and then a voice from below bellows:

—Onion? I say, Onion. It's Lieutenant Duty of the Homicide Division. Are you in there? I have some news about the er...bones.

From my position under the pillow I pounce pantwards and, zipping, descend. Duty is waiting for me on the porch, in a halo of butterscotch scent.

—I say, he says, through the empty door frame. Sorry about the door, old man.

—No problem at all, I say. I'll just have Ronnie fix it again.

He looks at me closely as I open what remains of the door and wave him inside.

—Ronnie Pompadour?

—Yes, I say, startled. With the large...all puffy...Look, is that really his name?

—That's what we called him at the station, Duty says. I'd keep an eye on him, if I were you. Tricky little devil.

—Thanks for the tip, I say.

I catch Duty eyeing my crotch and discover my fly is open with a twirl of shirt sticking out and weaving gently in the breeze like a long beckoning finger. Christ. Zip: shut.

—Yes, well, he says. Yes. About those bones, as I was saying: they're not human remains, which is a relief, of course. But that's not why I came by, frankly.

He unwraps a fresh butterscotch and shoots it cracking loudly against his teeth once or twice before saying:

—Have you seen this stuff about Captain Blister?

—Last night, actually, I say. Yes.

—Strange stuff, Onion. Strange stuff.

I nod my head, agreeing.

—You know, he says, I must confess: I have a metaphysical side. And I...this guy gives me the willies. If he thinks he can take over the world to get back at—

—I'm sure it's a prank, Lieutenant.

He sends the butterscotch on a few clacking laps and eyes me.

—Maybe. Maybe. But keep an eye on it, he says. And call me if you see anything strange. Anything. In the meantime, I'll watch the dreams.

—The what?

—Dreams. You know—nocturnal movies. Where I get my messages.

—Of course, I say. Dreams.

I close the door and we shake hands through the empty panel. Then, after he's pulled away from the curb, I walk over to Woody's house and let myself in. They've already cleared out, so I make myself some coffee and call the landlady to complain about the door. She promises to send Ronnie over pronto pronto. I hang up and drink the coffee and decide I don't want to hang around for Pompadour's abuse. So I snatch the Dick Watch from under the Ghost of Eddie's Father and drive across town to the WAG offices.

This time, I don't get lost.

WAG's door is thick steel, and I whale on it mercilessly for several minutes before a tall, chinless man opens it.

—Is McKratchitt in? I say. I'm Charlie Onion. I have copy for him and—

—Come on in, the man says. McKratchitt's out, but he should be back soon. I'm Justice Periwinkle. Reports from the Edge. Glad to meet you.

We shake hands and then I follow him down the corridor to a back room where a sullen, dark-haired man seems to be concentrating intently on his right kneecap.

—Stinky, this is Charlie Onion. New Dick Watch guy. Charlie, meet Stinky the Clown.

I make a show of shaking Stinky's hand but he doesn't look up. Periwinkle shrugs his shoulders and nods at the door. I follow him back into the hall.

—Sorry about that, he says. He has...social problems, I guess you'd say. You can just drop the column on McKratchitt's desk, if you want.

I follow him to the room where I had first met McKratchitt and he gestures to the desk.

—He'll find it there eventually, he says. Well, I'm off to horsewhip a psychic named June Twenty-Three.

—Of course.

—Good to meet you.

We shake hands again and after I hear the front door close, I walk up to McKratchitt's desk and peruse the stacks of paper. On the top of one pile is a letter asking a Sioux Indian tribe to


rush me a free brochure about your Portable Sweat Lodge—I am greatly interested.


Beside it, I find an angry letter from a UFO nutcase threatening a lawsuit for an article in which Periwinkle had claimed she'd eaten her own dog after it said her name three times straight while drinking a dry martini. And then, on the bottom of a stack of articles, I find this:


McKratchitt Institute for the Study of the Other Side
Mc = can, may, must, shall, will

Adler Cantaloupe
2323 Spaceship Drive
Suite 23
New York, NY 10175

Dear Dr. Cantaloupe:

Astounded by your work. Amazing insights into the human condition and the society that we live in. Brilliant. And pithy. I've followed your career avidly for some time now, and I agree: this is truly your best work yet.

While our rule is never to consider unsolicited manuscripts, obviously you are an exception we will be delighted to make.

Frankly, Dr. Cantaloupe, we are seriously considering publication of Creative Transformations from Above. Please send us the full manuscript at your earliest convenience, along with author's proposed contractual terms. If you are currently in negotiations with another publisher, we feel we can match or beat their terms and offer "fringe benefits" that will make all the difference.

Hope to hear from you soon!


Bob McKratchitt, Ph.D.


Adler Cantaloupe. Editor-at-large of There They Are! Magazine. Quoted by none other than the Great Armando just yesterday. A coincidence? Before I can decide, the phone on McKratchitt's desk rings. And rings. And rings. Apparently, Stinky and I are alone in the building, and he's too caught up with his kneecap to answer the phone. So after letting my heart settle back into my chest cavity, I pick up the phone and say hello.

—McKratchett? a man says on the other end.

—No, I'm sorry, I say. He's not in right now.

—Oh. No. Hmmm. Is this...Charlie Onion?

—Yes, I say. That's remarkable. How did you—

—Okay, the man says. McKratchitt said you were coming on board, so I guess you're okay then. So you can call me...Peter.

—All right, Peter.

—That's not my real name, he says. My parents are prominent in this state, and I don't want them embarrassed by my connections to the underground. So you'll simply call me Peter. Understand?

—Yes, I say, sitting down in McKratchitt's chair.


—I've got a couple stories for McKratchitt. One's with a militia group that only does interviews with white racists. I don't know if McKratchitt has anybody who can—

—I'll leave him a message, I say.

—You don't think you'd like to—

—No, I say, trying to sound cheerful. Plate's full and all that nonsense.

—Here's one you don't want to pass on, he says. Cattle mutilations.

—Oh. I see.

—I've got a guy down in Marseilles, Texas, who can give you clippings on every article that—

—All right, I say, just to shut the man up.

—What's your address?

—It's...just send them to the office here, with my name on it.

—Wise move, Onion. Keep everything hidden. You don't know me, I don't know you. I like that. So how about sexual abuse by aliens? I've got somebody in Baltimore who would agree to talk, but only under strict anonymity.

—Um, no, I think I'll pass on that right now.

—Let me know if you change your mind. She can also help you on stories about secret Army training sessions being conducted in the woods behind her house.

—Oh really.

—Oh yes. There's an army base nearby, and they spend half the night mocking up nuclear holocausts.

—How dreadful.

—It is. And what with the alien abuse and all, she's one sick puppy.

—I can imagine.

—But you didn't hear it from me.

—Of course not.

—She's got a friend in Colorado Springs with the same problem.

—What? The abuse or the army?

—Both. We believe they may be connected.

—Imagine that.

Eventually, I fake a bad connection and hang up. I walk down the hall and glance in at Stinky: still kneecap-locked. I wait around for McKratchitt for a few more minutes, then drive out to Aunt Sarah's for breakfast and afterwards loop around the park a few times and watch a dead duck float up and down on the tepid waves. Then lunch at a burger barn and thoughts of alternate-Charlie. Somehow, the sun manages to cross the sky and I make my way slowly home, where I find my door fixed but also painted blood-red. As I gawk, the door opens beside me and Eddie steps out.

—Hey, I say.


He starts down the stairs but I stop him.

—Did you see Ronnie today?

—Uh huh.

—Did he paint my door red?

—Uh huh.


—I don't know. Hey—want to go drinking?


—Shoot some pool?

—No, I say. Look, I want to know why my door's blood-red.

—Guess he didn't want people to knock on it too hard. He says the whole house might come down next time.

I suppress an urge to leap over the porch rail and throttle the half-wit. Instead, I merely scowl at the sky as a single, small disk describes an arc high above us and disappears.

—That's them again, Eddie says. The world's going to end soon. You can feel it, can't you?

—Yes, I say. I can.

—Tell Papa I love him, he calls up from the street.

—I will, I say.

I open the door and step into the darkness.

—Hello, a sultry voice says.

I step back, startled, as a figure in a red dress leaps from the shadows and knocks me to the ground.

—Long live Blister, the figure shouts over its shoulder, as it disappears through the door.


It takes me a minute to recover my senses—I'm seeing stars for a moment as the staircase does a short waltz over me and then, woozy, I rise and look streetwards. A single redneck ducks into the Bare-Ass Rooster, an errant pit bull click-clicks down the sidewalk on untrimmed claws and afterwards the street is silent. No Mystery Woman. To be on the safe side, I lock the door.

Down the hall for a drink of brown water in the kitchen; glance out the back window and see the garden still-moated and undisturbed. Another glass of water and then back down the hall and, after peeking out at the street, I stumble next door to Woody's.

Duty's out but I leave a message saying that, for what it's worth, the Mystery Woman has just fled my house. Then I leave Woody's number as mine and hang up. I find an English muffin in the refrigerator and eat it cold while drinking coffee. Then I call McKratchitt. He picks up after two rings.

—Sorry I missed you this morning, I say. I dropped a Dick Watch off and just wanted to make sure—

—Great piece, he says. Loved it. Guy really has great hair. Keep that tone and we'll be fine. So how's everything on your end?

—Well, um, actually, I was just attacked by the Mystery Woman.

—You're kidding. My God. That's great. I can't believe it. You know how hot that story is right now? Give me a thousand words by tomorrow morning—but don't do any embellishing because I'll fax it out to the TV tabloids, and they can smell embellishing like it's a rotting horse.

—I'll do my best, I say. A guy named Peter called while I was in the office, incidentally.

A moment's silence.

—He did, eh?


—What did he say?

—He said something about having a racist militia story for the right guy, I say. And I agreed to look over some cattle mutilation material.

—Good. Good. Peter's my best contact. CIA, NSA—you name it. He's got connections. So if you talk to him again, just agree with everything he says.

—All right, I say.

I hang up and Duty calls.

—Tell me what she was wearing, he says.

—Hard to say, actually. Red, I think.

—A dress?


—Say anything?

Long live Blister, I believe.

—Did she seem...disoriented?

—All things considered, it would be hard to say.

—I understand, Duty says. And there was nothing in the face that would make you think—

—It was too dark too see much, I say. And I was rather surprised by it all. But thinking about it now, I almost see a mustache.

—Come again?

—I can't say for sure, I say, as the front door opens, but I think she might have needed a shave.

—Interesting, he says. Most, most interesting.

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



About the Authors

The late Reginald Blisterkunst was a college professor whose areas of expertise were Milton and the Metaphysical Poets. Among the Remembered Saints, his first novel, was also serialized on the WAG Web site.

Charlie Onion is a frequent WAG contributor.


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