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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 Two

As Fate Would Have It

Eight o'clock and I'm sitting in my room, waiting for Candy Tabitha to leave. She takes her time, waddling around, but finally I hear the door shut and I wander down for breakfast. Not much to choose from, though. So I make some instant coffee and watch the sun cast rippling shadows on the tabletop. Then a cloud dampens it all and I make myself another cup, stronger this time.

—I've got great news, Woody says, bounding in, as I sit down again.


—The house next door is going up for rent.

—I thought it was abandoned, I say, wary.

—Momentarily vacant, Woody says, correcting. I talked to the landlady this morning and she's ready to show the place to you. Here's her number. She's a lesbian, by the by, if that helps any. Poli-Sci professor. You might have met her.

I accept the slip of paper—on the back, I notice, is written a single word: WAG—and stuff it into my shirt pocket.

—I don't have any money, you know.

—I'll talk to McKratchett, he says. Maybe he could put you on the staff.

—And what, exactly, would I write?

He shrugs.

—Book reviews?

—Tabitha wants me to leave, I say, presciently.

—No no no no, old man, Woody says, laughing heartily. Just trying to help you out real-estate-wise.

We share the last of a box of Cheerios Woody finds behind the stove and then he leaves to turn in an article on a local psychic who says she's getting messages from a spirit named Casper. After washing the cereal bowls, I call the landlady's number.

—Poli-Sci Department, a man says. May I help you?

—I glance at the number again and ask for the woman. A moment later, she picks up the line.

—I'm interested in looking at a house you'd like to rent, I say.

—I'll meet you in five minutes, she says, ecstatic.


We meet on the house's rotting porch, which groans warningly under our combined weight. She's wearing a gray suit, black tie and penny loafers, but aside from the outfit and the obligatory butch haircut, she looks like any other normal, rather heavyset academic who wants to dump inherited real estate onto an unsuspecting ex-colleague.

—Let's go in, shall we? she says, after the briefest of introductions.

She inserts the key, turns the knob, pushes grandly, and...

the top panel falls out of the door with a dust-raising though depressingly quiet snap.

—Oops, she says, blushing. Don't worry. I'll have Ronnie fix that. He's my local handyman, you know. Fixes everything in a jiff. Worked for my father too, you know.

We step over the panel and survey the house.

A long hall extends around the stairs and down the length of the house, ending with a glimpse of a canary-yellow kitchen. Beside us, a door leads into what could charitably be called a front parlor, and beyond it, another door leads into what I presume would make a nice dining room for an impoverished coal miner's family. There's certainly enough soot on the windows to make you think of coal.

—Would you like to see the upstairs?

I eye the stairs, make a few quick engineering calculations, decide they'll probably hold our weight if we run up them quickly and lightly, and nod.

I follow her up at a distance and try to look anywhere besides the woman's ponderous, swaying haunches. On the landing, which slopes precipitously back down toward the stairs (rule out bowling up here, chaps), we're presented with a bathroom. There are three other rooms, but given the landing's shallow depth, the bathroom seems to be thrusting itself at us. Obligingly, we take two giant steps and crowd ourselves between the sink and the tub.

—That's a porcelain tub, she says, admiringly. You don't see them up on club feet like that anymore.

I agree, nodding.

—And look at these gas fittings, she says, stroking a tube that sticks out over the sink at eye level.

As if she were reading my mind, she quickly acknowledges that the medicine cabinet is thrown off-center by the gas fitting.

—But, she says, opening the cabinet, you could always move it, if you wanted to.

Inside, we find a single tube of toothpaste, empty, and what appears to be the top plate of a set of dentures. Startled, she slaps the cabinet door shut and it responds by disappearing in the wall cavity. For a moment, we listen as it ricochets off old two by fours and the odd nail, and then it finishes its plummet two floors below with a muted crack.

—Ronnie, she says brightly, after another moment of gawking. First thing tomorrow I'll send him under the house to retrieve it. You'll never know it was gone.

I trudge behind her obediently from one room to another, nodding and smiling, and then I ask her how the house is heated.

—Gas, she says.

—Radiators? I say, looking and not seeing.

—Gas stoves in each room, she says. The house doesn't have them right now, but I could get you a couple wood stoves if it gets too cold, to tide you over until spring.

I follow her back downstairs, through the kitchen (again: slanting floors and cabinetry and that seems poised to tip back into the walls and disappear like scuba divers dropping backwards over the sides of a boat) and into the small, fenced-in backyard where, to my delight, I find the first sign of life for the house: a small garden, neglected, it's true, but a garden none the less. As fate would have it, the sun is just now shining through the trees and casting a wonderful golden glow over the garden's early-flowering weeds, and as I stand among them, with my back to the house, I feel suddenly, in a word, at-home.

—I'll take it, I say.

—It's a year's lease, she says, warning.

—Fine, I say. I'll plant a garden for next year.

She beams and grips my hand.

—You won't regret it, she says.

We walk back through the house, now growing dim and somber in the dying light, and in the hallway, emboldened by my taking the house, she lowers her voice and says:

—I heard about you, you know. And I just want to say, I and my fellow Lesbians for Outed Professors support your decision one hundred percent.

—Yes, well, I mumble. Quite.

On the porch, she hands me the house's keys and comes close to hugging me out of solidarity, I suppose, but then she thinks better of it and merely tells me that rent is due no later than the second week of every month. I stand on the porch, waving at her as she drives off, and then I turn back to face the house, which is now, I notice, pitch-dark and silent.


After Woody comes back, we carry the boxes down from the guest room and he hands them to me across the porch railing. Books and papers, mostly, plus a few extra pairs of pants and my computer.

—Did Candy Tabitha tell you about Cindy? he asks, passing over a box of Milton studies.

I shake my head, bracing.

—She's pregnant, he says.

—I'd dreamed as much.


—Nothing, I say.

—Everyone's saying it's Mao's.

I grunt and climb over the railing to get the computer. There's a group of men gathered around the Bare-Ass Rooster Bar & Grill across the street, watching us work.

Six, maybe seven of them, all looking identical, like test-tube rednecks: greasy black strands of hair falling on the dirty collars of their flannel shirts, sweat-stained T-shirts beneath swelling over their middle-aged, beer-nursed paunches, jeans legs pulled down tight over the tops of scuffed-up construction boots. Good old boys, leering at the pair of us.

On the way back for the monitor and printer, I notice they're pulling long deer rifles from the trunk of a thirty-year-old beige Dart, and as Woody and I struggle over the railing, the tallest of the rednecks points his rifle at me and sights down its barrel, trigger-finger in place.

—Jesus, I whisper. They're going to shoot us.

—Don't mind them, Woody says, glancing riflewards. They're harmless.

We set the computer up in the front room on a table I borrowed from Woody. Afterwards, I pull the door closed on the room and watch it swing open again, ghostlike.

—I'd lock that door, Woody says, in this neighborhood.

—There is no lock.

Woody shrugs.

—Get a padlock, man. Welcome to the neighborhood.

Chupa pronto pronto

—Right, listen, I need a chupa pronto pronto, my good man, understand? Chu-pa. C-H-U-P-A. Cccchhhuuppa. That's right. The little thing with the burning light. Christ. Well, the natives are restless tonight, and a little of the zip-bang-stench might quiet them. Not that it's any of your business, by the by. Who's top dog in this quadrant, after all? There we go. You know which side of the bread's buttered—or rather...

Look, forget all that, right? I say chupa pronto pronto, and that's it. Don't give me—all right. Fine. But it had better be before midnight. I want to catch the city editions. Well, just buzz the military outposts if you have to. That'll get their attention.

Yes yes. Good day to you as well. Ta ta, snotty Cheez-Its and all that.

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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