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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 Three

Getting in by cheating death

I spend the better part of the day procuring and attaching a padlock to the front room and taping the top panel back onto the front door, and afterwards I drive a few blocks to a safer neighborhood with a clean restaurant for dinner. (The only eatery my new neighborhood offers is the Bare-Ass Rooster; enough said.) I return after the sun is down, and the house from the street—yawning fully two curtainless, unlit floors into the air above the sidewalk—looks depressingly empty.

Home sweet home, I mutter, fumbling for the house key.

I'm walking up the steps when the door on the house next to mine sweeps open and a thin man dressed redneck test-tube steps out with his right sleeve rolled up to reveal a withered arm. Two fingers and a thumb appear where an elbow should, looking chapped and red, like a bird's foot in a harsh winter.

—Hey, the man says.

—Hello, I say, slipping the key into the door.

—You're new, right?

—Yes. I smile perfunctorily, trying to keep my momentum moving inside.

—I'm Eddie, he says, before I can get inside.

—I'm Charlie Onion, I say. I decide it's better not to extend my hand, for fear that I might be forced to shake the withered arm's three-fingered offering.

—Funny name.

—Yes. Isn't it.

We stare at each other for a moment, him sizing me up and me trying to smile politely through it all.

—You're friends with that weirdo next door?

—Who? Woody? Haha, I say, trying to laugh it off nobly. Yes, I suppose I am.

The man grunts and with a surprisingly deft move, reaches with his withered arm into his back pocket and brings out a flask, which he uncaps with his good hand before casually tilting it mouthwards.

—Want some? he says, proffering the flask.

—No, thank you, I say. I have work to do.

—What are you? A writer or something?

—Yes, I say, surprised. How did you know?

—You and your buddy next door look like a couple of bitches, that's how.

Prim-lipped, I clutch the knob and prepare to disappear with an angry slam.



—I see you put a padlock on your front room.


—Are you scared it's going to get out?

I stare at the man, angry but intrigued.

—Scared what's going to get out? I say.

—My daddy's ghost, the man says, leering.

He takes a swaggering hit off the flask and grins at me, wet-lipped.

—He was killed in there, you know, the man says. New Year's Eve. My momma was sitting on his lap all big-bellied with me and they was shooting off their guns in the street, you know. Celebrating. And this guy walks in and says to my papa, Happy New Year. And then he pops my dad right there, you know, in your front room, because my daddy was screwing around with the guy's wife or something, and he bleeds to death before anybody can even get him out of the room. And now you've got it all locked up to keep him inside.

—No, I say. Actually, I've got a lot of computer equipment in there, and for security, I've just—

—Everybody does that, he says, as if I hadn't spoken. The woman that lived there before you used to come and go by the back door, just to avoid walking by my daddy's ghost. You sure you don't want a drink?

I stare at the man and wonder if what he's saying is true.

—What the hell, I say, taking the flask.


With the first drink, it feels like the skin's being peeled off my throat with a sharpened paint scraper, but after that, it goes down with only a slight burn and minimal loss of flesh.

—Have you ever seen your father's ghost? I say, once we're settled in on the porch steps.

He shakes his head.

—Not yet, he says. Daddy must be feeling a little awkward with me, you know? I mean, jeez: he died before I was born. He probably feels like he don't even know me.

—So you think he's just waiting for the right moment?


I nod, wipe the bottle's mouth and take a perfunctory sip. If only Cindy could see me now...

—What's with the lady across the street? I ask.

—Which one?

—Over there, I say, pointing. The gray house.

—That's my grandma. She makes real good whiskey.

I blanch.


—Hell yes.

—We're not drinking it now, are we?

—This stuff? He laughs. You'd know if you was drinking my grandma's stuff. Fella once went blind drinking it.

—She's always shooting at something in the air. What is that thing, anyway?

Eddie shrugs, sips at the flask.

—Government I suppose, he says. Or Martians, maybe. If you was a girl, I'd kiss you.

He turns to me and lifts his shirt tail with the withered arm. I leap up, unsteady, and throw the door open.

—See that? he calls out, as if I'm still sitting next to him. That's where they shot me. They'll do it to you too, if you want to be let in. It's what they call an initiation, see? Getting in by cheating death. Like swimming under a wall, you know?

—The government did that?

—Huh? He drops the flask and laughs. Hell no. That's the Bare-Ass Rooster did that. I can get you in too, if you want. Look at it over there. Like a sleeping giant. Just waiting for us. You want to shoot some pool?

—No, I say. Sleepy. Dead tired. Must lie down. Thanks for the fire water.

I lock the door behind me and rush past the padlocked front room, expecting, with every step, to feel the cold touch of a dead drunk on my back.

What, I wonder, is the mind's capacity, if it is destroyed while drunk? Are you forever a stumbling ghost?

Below me, Eddie bangs loudly on the door.

—Hey, he calls out. Hey. If you see Papa, tell I love him, and Mom does too, even if she is remarried to a half-man.

Morning Report

—Yes sir, Lieutenant. Like the others, exactly. It came in at maybe thirty degrees, with a little buzzing sound and its light on, and seemed to be searching the trees. There were four deer hunters in the area—in the treetops, yes sir—and one of them cried out when he saw the object. This apparently drew its attention. Yes sir. The beam swept the trees, found one of the hunters and locked on him. The man immediately screamed and fell from the tree. The others hid until the object left and then they climbed down and inspected the man. No sir. By the time we picked up the object on our screens and flew a camera out there, it was gone. Yes sir. The same as the others. Burnt into the victim's chest: Long live Captain Blister.

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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