June 13, 2008
Sometimes I am proud of my writing. Other times I cringe when I post something, unsure of how it will be received. This time out, however, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that all of you will be appalled at what I offer here. This is a short story I wrote circa 1985, back in my very early twenties. This is the point in most writers’ lives when they are so confident that they believe that anything they produce in the form of the written word is simply wonderful and cannot be criticized. I remember working on this piece and thinking I was clever.
Two days ago, I found this story in an old notebook, read it again, and had the same reaction one has when they find a dead rat in their garbage can. With all of that said, I feel I have enough equity built up with my audience that even if I toss a stink bomb at them every once in a while some of them might actually return after the smoke clears and I hang out a few air fresheners in the form of decent posts. So now, without any further ado, here’s the dead rat I created back when I was a mere lad of just past legal drinking age.
The Concrete That Binds
Or: Tip-Toe through the Rip-Tide
(Copyright 1985 M.J. Kannengieser)
Alger’s murder was, of course, inevitable, and yet sickening to the many who knew him. There are some who did celebrate; but, most accepted the idea that it wasn’t his fault. Oh, Alger presented himself as a pillar of the community having finished a mail order course to become a fully certified Notary Public (though the authority vested in him made him drunk with power).
Never the less, nobody questioned why a sixteen year old high-schooler would have met with such a gruesome end.
Some would have guessed that he was shot. Former parents of his (Alger was passed from foster family to foster family, until he was ultimately taken into the care of a family of ferrets), were hell bent on seeking vengeance on him and would storm into Alger’s room at night and riddle the place with gun fire.
All of this started when Alger was small, perhaps two years old, and as a result he never learned to walk as he was constantly pressing his body against the floor and scurrying about to dodge the bullets (hence, how he met the ferrets).
Alger’s many parents were not overreacting, though they completely misunderstood poor Alger. You see, he was never given proper religious instruction; and, he merely saw murder and extortion as a means of getting close to those he loved, and not as mortal sin. Quite frankly, he thought they should simply drop the matter and get over it already.
Fortunately, Alger was never charged with any homicide, thanks to his high school principal (a closet pedophile), who graciously took the rap for him in exchange for Alger’s Polaroid’s (Oh, how Alger loved to spy!).
They way Alger died was officially a mystery until the medical examiner was able to chisel his way through to his body.
Alger had been scampering along the sidewalk one day (about ankle high) along with the ferrets when he plunged into a plot of wet cement. This particular concrete was the quick drying variety and he was became stuck right away. Certainly, the ferrets were unable to drag him out, so the plopped a straw into his mouth (the only visible part of his body) and continued to feed him Cool Whip and pistachio nuts (Alger’s favorite).
Eventually, Alger’s tremendous weight gain required a larger cement block. A local, shady contractor obliged the ferret’s appeal for help; but the ferrets, being nasty little rodents, had no money. When the contractor, eyeing Mrs. Ferret, suggested that there were “other ways” they could “pay” him, they flew into a rage, attacked the contractor, and gnawed his heels out. Fearing for his life, the contractor fled, tippy-toed, back to his office. There he enlisted the aid of his very large sons to exact his revenge on the ferrets by hurling Alger into the ocean.
Later that evening when the tide went out, the ferrets ran to the shore and found Alger in the shallow water blowing S.O.S. bubbles through his straw. As the ferrets struggled futilely to drag Alger out of the surf, Alger gave up, and he offered his last breath by whistling “Shave and a Haircut”.
The ferrets called the police who immediately tossed them into a sack and took them to the dog pound. There, they were placed into a cage with a large, German Shepard and eaten.
Eventually, Alger’s body was discovered again after several bathers at the beach dived into the surf and then floated lifelessly to the surface. This caused a spectacular news event and a police investigation.
A local contractor won the bid to haul out the concrete block which was killing off beach goers. In front of scores of news cameras, he hobbled directly to the spot near underwater slab of cement. A reporter became suspicious.
“But how did you know to look there?” he asked. All the contractor could do was stammer aloud and teeter-totter back and forth on his tip-toes.
At the police station, the contractor admitted to dumping the cement there after cops threatened to prosecute him under the a sub-section of federal RICO statutes, which, in a nutshell states “Anyone in the construction industry has be guilty of something” The contractor turned state’s evidence against his sons and then entered the Federal Witness Protection Program, where he was fitted with artificial heels so he wouldn’t stick out in a crowd when he walked.
The Medical Examiner was allowed to chisel into the cement block after paying $100 to Local 306 Jack Hammer Operators Union, for a temporary union card that gave him permission to do so without fear of having his knee caps broken.
They found Alger at the center of the slab, clutching what at first glimpse, they thought was a suicide note. A specialist (actually a janitor at the morgue, the Medical Examiner forgot his glasses) determined it was in fact a Polaroid of the contractor and Mrs. Ferret in bed together the night before his heels were chewed off. Go figure.
For Alger, an epitaph:
For Ferrets of Love
And contractors of doom
To whom insoles mean embarrassing gloom
For him, Alger never did walk
Entombed in sidewalk, the world did gawk
At the bottom of the sea,
Among raw sewage and waste
With a few final bubbles, the end did haste
Okay Readers, I won't blame you if you run away and don't come back. But, please, please don't go! I'll make it up to you. I promise!