Monday, June 11, 2007

The day Ivan thought he was Ivan Turgenev, master novelist and voyeur

A House of the Rising Sun usually has an attic entrance hidden from ordinary view. I am up in this attic. There are mirrors and surveillance cameras here as well as a goodly supply of Jack Daniels and a case of designer beer. Heineken. There are also traces of a white powdery substance on the plywood floor, where a small peephole shines a laser-like beam onto my forehead. If I chose to, I could peer down through the peephole at the goings-on downstairs, but this would stretch even my limits to being a voyeur. Well, maybe one peep downstairs.
The downstairs setting is very much out of a Turgenev short story, the gorgeous blonde with artistic aspirations, a coterie of fallen professionals, among them an executive of a now defunct Non Government Organization; a musician who once played with Gordon Lightfoot; an unpublished poet with red suspenders, and one more curious characer wearing a toga and laurels.

Lord, this has to be an SNL skit, though skit it is not.
The girl, though no longer a child, but looking for all the world like Shirley Temple, out of Wee Willie Winkie, right down to the short kilt, has completely captivated the men. She'd been doing this since the age of two because she was always the spit image of Shirley Temple, even echoes of Drew Barrymore in ET.

The whole scenario is begging for a cue. Where does the French Maid come in?
The cellphone vibrates against my jacked pocket.
Damn. They might hear me.. "Get out of there you damn fool," the sentry-friend is warning. " I just saw an unmarked cop car heading your way. "

My accomplice had parked his car in a small industrial plaza just yards ahead of the house of ill repute. He would follow me no farther. Too many bikers whizzing this way and that. And cop cars.
"I'll hang tight," I say. Where is there to go? If I try to get out I'll land right on top of the partiers.
I had originally ended up in the attic because a whorehouse has all kinds of doors leading in, but none leading out. I had been carrying on a private dalliance with the Shirley Temple when all of a sudden, there had been this crowd at the door. " Scoot," she had told me, but there was no place to scoot save bounding over the kitchen counter, lifting the trap door and hiding in a place reserved for, I suppose Peiping Tom and other strange guests of this Hotel California.
Presently in walks the town's chief of police, not regional police, but local constabulary. He greets everybody, all of them nervously standing up, picks up and examines a small vase or two on the end-tables around a C-shaped chesterfield, replaces the vases, one a loving cup, and smiles. Presently, the girl goes into an adjoining bedroom, comes back with a package, which she hands to the chief of police. He seems to almost click his heels, bows and presently he tries to go out the front door. No good. It is rigged. He does an about turn, raising incoherent grunts and "aaarghs" from the obviously doped guests. He somehow finds a door that is open, way at the back. He has to jiggle the bolts. And he is gone.
I wait for Eldonza to finish her set piece. What a way to get through college!
Sometimes I think if we stayed in our own rooms we wouldn't get into such strange situations.

How close is tragedy to comedy.

I still laugh about it.

Especially falling through the trap door, straight into the arms of the toga guy.

Jesus. Straight out of that old scene in The Magic Christian, with Zero Mostel.

Me? I was just a mildly retarded romantic, trying to be Nick Carter, Master Detective.

Those people were dead serious.
And they were so making it, and they all had steady jobs.


Josie said...

I've never known anyone who has led a more interesting life than you have. It's just too bizarre for words. What an adventure your life has been.


ialndgrovepresss said...

Thanks, Josie.

It's probably because I spent most of my life under the influence.

Uh, still am.

Meant to be the Scarlet Pimpernell, master spy, and instead, stumble upon a house full of pimps.

Ah well. You can't win 'em all.

You're doing great guns on your blog. The Mel Carter blog has drawn terrific reader respnose!


islandgrovepress said...

Should read response.

Josie said...

Respnose will do. I was going to ask you if that was a nose joke. "The nose knows". If I had a nickel for every time someone had said that to me.

islandgrovepress said...

Heh heh.

Old Al Capp: "Even the walrus has ears."


Donnetta Lee said...

What a cool story. I could really see this one. Felt like a voyeur just reading it, watching you watching!

benjibopper said...

trippy. hey, wait now, i think that unpublished poet in red suspenders was me.

islandgrovepress said...

Thanks for visiting, Benjibopper.
I have had a boo at your website.
I suspect you're a friggin' genius.


islandgrovepress said...

Ooh, Donnetta,

In the language of old Newmarket, Ontario (farmer town)
You are one clever critter. :)


EA Monroe said...

Hey, for a minute I thought the Shirley Temple with the hair was me! Only I'm not wearing a kilt.

I agree with Donnetta! A story for the voyeur and I was right there peeping through the crack!

Great story, Ivan. I almost thought you were going to say it was a dream and then you woke up and stumbled your way to the fridge.

islandgrovepress said...


You looked great in a long T-shirt.
...Saw the pic.
(Uh) Yeah, I'm in the fridge a lot. :)


EA Monroe said...

Oh, yes, the Snoopy T-shirt photo by Jon Burris. Those were the days!

I like Josie's Rockette photo!

islandgrovepress said...


I clicked onto Geewit's blog and what do I see? Three gorgeous Rockettes, one of them seemingly Josie-- with legs that go on forever.
All the more marvellous as Josie is five-two.
Yet Josie's face somehow fit the real Rockette's girls body. Hey Josie, you'll have to show us a little ankle in your next real pic!