Sunday, April 29, 2007

THE MASTER--Exurban Canadian Gothic

The countryside was hilly and in bloom. It was spring in Riverdrive Park where a neat white cottage was almost hiddent behind a screen of Australian pines. The house number, in its brass calligraphy, read 410. Same as a shotgun.
The Australian pines almost obscured a huge Williamsburg picture window, but you could not see inside, some kind of tinting through which you could see out, but outsiders could not see in.

Inside, a beautiful woman was preparing breakfast for somebody, certainly not her husband. She was especially beautiful because she had made herself up for the stranger. She was very fair, roundfaced, lots of blue on her eyelids, the look of a woman who wanted out, who was attracting somebody, anybody who would rescue her out of her trap.
Trapped indeed she had been, with her Dracula of a husband, lab worker, in fact, who had a penchant for making her drink her own tears and his bestiality in what may be called bed. Then too, there was the complicated accommodation she had to make to arouse the Master's sleeping and complicated sexuality. But to trace the convoluted links of the Master's passion, to also involve his male lover, took some doing, and frankly, she was exasperated by it all, though in her own involved way, she loved the Master all the same.

There was this supreme power he had over her.
The Master had some modern twists. There was that business with the VCR, where afterwards they had watched their romp, and at one point in the replay there was no image of the Master at all, merely some sort of electric
outline as if from some monster out of a vintage B movie like Forbidden Planet. She'd had the first horrid intimation that the Master may not be from this world at all.
It was not the first time she had felt this way.
Kara had been married to Frank for fourteen years. Fourteen years it took her to realize that the world was not at all the way she was compelled to see it through Frank's eyes. Oh yes. Those eyes. Dark. Hypnotic. One night, when the curtains blew, she had had the hollowest, emptiest feeling that she was totally artificial, a total creation of Frank, that she was Frank's novel, Frank's VCR project.
She recalled playing the tapes on her day off, with Frank away at the laboratory. She was examining Frank from all angles. Yes, yes, he was extremely tall, much taller than she. He had a soft voice and a gentle manner. Handsome, a Simon Cowell if Simon Cowell could be made up to be handsome, the same black tee shirts, the confident manner. Quite a catch it had been for her, herself so fine, the envy of the campus.
Until you realized what Frank did for a living. Torturing animals in a laboratory where they ran tests for smear-proof mascara, day after day, the rabbits, the white rats, the monkeys with their eyes red a bleeding.
Come to think of it, she was having trouble with her own eyes lately--she had always had trouble with here eyes, and now tith this thing building up between her and the newfound "friend", her eyes were irritated all the more.

"You can't get everything from one person." Where had she heard this before? Why from Frank, of course. Frank with the dark sensitive eyes who would bring his gay friends to bed with them, here in this neat white cottage, this White Hotel, from out of a book she was reading, this white hotel where everybody was welcome, especially stray men with no obvious family connections, where nobody was selfish "in bed" and where a paradox of life was revealed: That which can be truly possessed was that which was to be shared.

That which you share. How did I ever get these atttitudes? Good God. I am a book keeper and an accountant. I have a regular job like everybody else in my set. Frank works in the laboratory. We are the ideal exurban couple. We are the young professionals, the house the mortgage, my car, Frank's SUV. How did I involve myself in this style of life with Frank, the mammoth parties, the drugs and satanism--all these "friends."

She thought of a couple of the "Friends", their questionable sexuality, their elegance, sometimes one of them disappearing. And that Hungarian gardener Frank had hired. Always trimming the edge of the lawn with what must certainly have been an axe.
The drug den downstairs.

The friend in the kitchen, for whom she was making a very labored and time-consuming breakfast (opening the oven door, sensing that the eggs benedict wer still lukewarm, the toaster seeming to not work at all)--was becoming a little restless and she caught him out of the corner of her irritated eye twiddling with the FM radio on the kitchen table.

...CHARGED WITH KEEPING A COMMON BAWDY HOUSE WAS FRANK...Did she hear that right? Must have been her imagination.
The friend, a touch silver-haired, a very open man, something of a poet, kept twirling the knob until a song came on, an older one by the Eagles, out of California.

She's got a lot of pretty boys

that she calls her friends.

He kept playing with the radio until he settled on some strain of elevator music, all the while lighting a cigarette, his third one since she had begun making breakfast. She had another look at him.
An elegant-appearing chap all right, from the way he held his cigarette, almost European-fashion, with the slim fingers extended, but there was a hint of strength in the hands, the leftovers of hard work, of mines and wars and of other people with hard hands. He came from the aristocracy of war and famine and that was a real aristocracy, Kara knew, perhaps the the only viable aristocracy in this crazy, sexy and druggy age. His eyes were green, and had the tendency to take on the shade of whatever dominant colour was around, and now they were reflecting a read-and-whie tablecloth, a bistro colour, which she had strangely selected this morning.
The tablecloth did not go at all with the danish blond and grey decor of the house with its white walls, its picture groupings of Cezanne and Monet prints, of all the yellow wood.

Yet it seemed somehow fitting for this man, this "Friend".

Through the large front window, Kara caugh a glimpse of the Hungarian with the axe. " I can not have this man murdered. I love him."
The "friend" seemed to have almost heard her.

The radio was now playing the soundtrack of an old movie called "The Collector".

"I have come to collect you, the friend's eyes seemed to say. "Frank sent you to 'collect' me.

"But I will 'collect' you.

"I will rescue you."

She finished making the coffee at last and picked up two cups, one for herself and the other for the Friend.


EA Monroe said...

Wow! Ivan, that's goth. Exurban Canadian Gothic, I think you have a new genre. Mine's just Okie Gothic. I wonder if most people live a "gothic" life and never even realize it?

I enjoyed your story! You've certainly lived the gothic life!

My grandma spent two years in Norman's mental hospital. Does that qualify me? Humm...

islandgrovepress. said...


Still on my beer.

Well, I did come in for a "visit".
Place drove me crazy, so I signed myelf out.
Two years?!! Poor grandma.


p.s.: Heather tells me that people with high IQ's tend to go in and out of mental hospitals.
We obviously don't live in ideal societies.

Josie said...

What a story! How is it I see you in all of your stories? You have green eyes, don't you? You're the rescuer.

I have known so many people like that woman. They never really are rescued because they don't want to be rescued. Their misery is their identity. So many people are like that....


islandggrovepress said...

Thanks, Josie.


patterns of ink said...

I quoted you in Part IV of "Why Bloggers Blog" Sunday night. Hope that's okay. (I did eamonroe, too.) Caution: it's a very long post (due to the quotes). =)

islandgrovepress said...


The short answer: Thank you, Dr. Tom.
We are probably a pair o' docs.


Donnetta Lee said...

Hi, Ivan: Enjoyed. I, like Josie, see you as the rescuer. Yes, old truths ring true here. Some women do no want to be rescued. Of course, neither do some men.

islandgrovepress said...


Yes, the old truths.

The old Presley song.

"Samson told Delilah,
"Delilah I declare
"Get your cotton-pickin' fingers
Off my curly hair."


Josie said...

Ivan, I wondered where you went, but I see you are still around after all... :-)


islandgrovepress said...


Just barely around.

I bought a turkey breast today, cooked it, and I think I have bird flu.

That or it's the mongoose.

Do mongooses attack turkey?

They probably do.

Mongooses will eat anything. Ivan has been smelling like turkey lately anyway.

Crap, mongooses eat cobras, they'd probably eat anything, even old Ukies...Or is that Wookies?

They even go after ancient Egyptians. Said Cleopatra, "Get our paws off my asp!"

(hiccup. Belch.)


JR's Thumbprints said...

There are so many implication when sharing breakfast with a stranger in your very own home. Nicely done.

islandgrovepress said...

Why, thank you JR!


Danny Tagalog said...

Yes, I liked the twisting and turning here - not obvious, but not too difficult to follow...

Did you just 'knock this out?'

islandgrovepress said...

Hi Danny,


I have been tinkering with this story for some time.
Circumstances in my life were certainly reaching the gothic and the psychic pain I was feeling moved me to write something as an antidote. Some goths were playing with my head.
But I couldn't just write a story for myself. There was passion here and I had to get it published, by hook or by crook. I had to "get at" the Goths.
I first ran the piece off in a newspaper that I'd started here, THE MAIN STREET WHIZBANG, but I felt that wasn't enough. I had to get a real publisher.
No real publisher could be found, so I went to the owner of my favourite watering hole, Ricci's Sports Bar and coerced the owner to
join me in starting a literary publishing company. The story on my blog was eventually published under the imprimatur of RICCI'S SPO
Bizarre, what?

There are times of passion in a person's life. He/she has to make a statement; just has to...and the statement has to be public.
What better publisher than Ricci's Sports Bar, where everybody went anyway to get the news.
A bit like Harbor Lights Book Store in San Francisco, I suppose, but you could drink while reading.

My publishing ploy worked.
The goths came back claiming slander and libel. But they never sued, and I'd given myself a good psychoanlysis.

Sometimes writing is the only way out of a no-win situation.


Anonymous said...


I wo'nt use your name above because the bottom of this outburst is a bit politically incorrect.

I am impatient for tomatoes.
You should have these inside till about 24th of May, but I've planted enought in s sheltered spot on my balcony to make sure that at least a half-dozen come up.
I'm still trying to look of Andrew Marvel, a "metaphysical poet" just after Shakepeare, for his thoughts on romping through his garden.

Have you ever seen a Greek soldier?
They have these kilts, tights and pom-poms on their wooden shoes.
Makes you realize that in that movie, "300", the maybe weren't just a "band of brothers."
Small wonder that the girls in Sparta had to walk around nude by decree.
I mean, who was lookin'?
"Hey, Hippias," I think you're so hip."
Oh-oh, here come the political correctness police, giggling to each other and breaking up dates!