Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Noodles, Where Are We Going?

Shortly after we moved into our present home, I began noticing that there was something 'off' about the folks living next door.  It was a combination of things, like the wildly untended yard, or the aerial walkway through the trees and around the house someone had cobbled together for the use of the ten or so white cats that lived there.  In the late gloom of evening, it was an eerie sight; these cats walking slowly about in seeming midair.

Then there was the graveyard.  About thirty or so white crosses jammed into the soil between the house and the garage, moving slowly, death by death, toward my property line.
Relax.  It was an animal graveyard.  Not a Pet Semetary, sorry.  It didn't need to be a Pet Semetary because all the other weird in combination would have overshone it's evil Pet Semetariness.

Like the mysterious guy who started living in their garage.  Just showed up one night.  He'd step out sometimes on a warm summer evening and take a steaming elephant-piss back and forth across the blackberries that covered a good part of the garage and the backyard.  I don't know what this guy ate, but what he baptized stayed dead as fuck.  And this is the mighty Himalayan Blackberry we're talking about - the god-king of all invasives. You could hear this guy from indoors at my place as he cut loose like a fire hose.  I peeked a couple of times, but they were quick peeks.  One day he disappeared.  I did not ask.

The family of five that lived there were not too visually peculiar; you'd see them buying huge sacks of Cheetos and Purina Critter Chow at the store, looking a bit wore out and unwashed, but this is farm country, and we all look like that.

Let's look closer, shall we?  

Mom was a trembling wraith, like a Grey in a wig.  She refused to speak. I know this from the few times I tried to visit...all she did was stare at me until I left her line of vision - then she'd scream for her daughter to go see what the visitor wanted. You could see her in there as you passed when the light shone a certain way, just sitting, wearing a nightgown and a stole made of live rats, serenely pissing in place until you could smell it across the street.  You could see the marks on the floor where they overflow had turned into an amber colored, syrup-ish, fiendish form of adhesive.  The bottom half of the chair didn't come up when they lifted, so they took a hammer, broke it apart and slung it out the door.  

There was another spot just like that in the kitchen, where I'm assuming Dad had his throne, you'll excuse the pun.  The place where his armchair had been was a square of hardened piss-glue and old fecal matter from various sources, sunk an inch or more into the linoleum, which was black and fuzzy and had danger tape around it.  Linoleum did not come in black and fuzzy.  You can look it up.

His chair made it into the side yard in one piece.  One piece that had been tunneled and eaten and rotted black and molded over with blue freakiness, a ghastly pit of tobacco colored horror marking the spot where his Highness sat steeping in his own whiz.

While Dad was still in residence, his only form of daytime entertainment involved an occasional waddle out to the side yard in nothing but his huge, stretched-out, baggy jockey shorts, bringing up faint memories of the cattle ring at the county fair - where he'd poke at the dirt with a rake. Nothing about this was beautiful or appropriate.
There were two separate camps which arose to explain his sudden disappearance:  1.  He abandoned the family and went to Arizona, or 2.  The rats got him .  Once the developer breaks ground, I guess we'll find out.  Either way the guy is going to freak out when all those skeletons are unearthed.  Maybe one will have a gold tooth...? (Fried Green Tomatoes reference. Is so clever!)

The twin brothers would sometimes appear during the daytime, and I'd wave and be a nice neighbor, hand them a beer, you know.  They smelled like an old bookshop full of used hamster shavings, but they were OK.

Sis I have written about.
I wrote about the time she picked a dead cat up off the road and strolled home with it, talking to it and petting it all the while, causing huge swathes of cat fur to slough off marking her trail all the way to the front door. 

I wrote about the times I'd seen her out mowing the field in a mans' deep-cut sleeveless t-shirt, a  gargantuan boob swinging cheerily out either armhole.

I wrote about the times she'd cut loose at 2am in hair-raising, werewolf howls, screaming and growling incomprehensibly.

I've recounted the episodes when she'd stand at the back window and have vicious screaming arguments with the pear tree.  (When she was capable, that woman could cuss like a bag full of cats.)
When she was in her right mind, her personality was that of a quiet 6 year old girl. Once her father disappeared mysteriously, she began to get normal enough to hold down a job, and she's been doing better and better ever since. 

Another tale I've written already was about the time their tame rats (wild and pet stock; any rat that wandered in was welcome to learn how to take a Cheeto daintily from the lips of Sis....shudder) tried to move into our house, their little ratty minds having learned to associate the human voice with the dinner bell.  They begged prettily, in a semicircle, like little poodles of evil while my husband barbecued steaks on the grill...they ambled in though the dog door whenever they felt the need for a snack, languidly sunned themselves in my front yard, licking their balls, scratching themselves; and the resultant Mad Biker rampage through the house with a broom and a shotgun.

What I never realized that as desolate as things looked outside, what was going on in that house was so very, very much worse.

When the buyer came over to speak with me, he asked me if I wanted to see inside.  I was already halfway to the door, because I have no sense whatsoever.  Old fucked up hazmat house full of filth?  Color me there!

It goes without saying that there were places of lunatic carpentry attempts where the roof, wall and floor had been completely eaten away by rainfall.  A couple had ferns growing out of them.  I'm all for bringing the outside in, so let's move on.

The entire house, with the exception of a few items, was empty. Stopped in time at 1955.  From that time onward, nothing had been touched, cleaned, swept - nothing.  The old wallpaper, once beautiful, was shadowed over and brown with age. This aspect creeped the shit out of me until I realized that it had all been covered with cardboard boxes pushed tight to the wall and towering all the way up to the ceiling.

Anything that could be outlined by horror was outlined with horror. Horror with hairs all stuck in it. And cast snake skins.  And white cat hair. You could tell exactly what had occupied the spot by the perfect outlines left.  And everything that was wide enough for a turd held multitudes of them and dared you to play 'Guess the Poopie'.

The only stink in the place was ammonia.  Like on Jupiter, the underlying single note of ammonia, motherfucker, mingled in various amounts with the signature pee aromas produced by incontinent humans, dogs, cats, snakes, rats, bearded dragons, more cats, way more rats, possums, rabbit pee, rabbit eau du love squit, raccoon pee, more possums and other various creatures created a series of invisible, semi-stationary atmospheric continents of OH GOD FUCK THIS.  Ask anyone from Jupiter.  They'll tell you.  Some spots on Jupiter, you can screw up your resolve and tolerate because fuck, dude, you're on Jupiter right?  But others are...not...vacation territory.

Of course, the smell was only part of the horror.  Let me draw you a little word picture here so you understand what I mean.

Two story house.  Downstairs, you've got people and random creatures pissing where and when they would, ambling around, eating Cheetos and admiring their stacks of cardboard boxes.

Upstairs...upstairs was where the rats lived.

Because rats have no thumbs and cannot play video games, they chew on things.  They are mad bastards for chewing on things.  They don't care what they chew on.  They don't eat half of it anyway, they just leave rat saliva-coated chew-flitters heaped up in random places for whatever ratty reason.  The second story was their kingdom.  They had the run.  The water was left trickling in the bathroom sink in case they wanted a drink, and the toilet was, I don't know, their rat spa or something.  I think they used the tub for some kind of rat initiation ceremony, because why the fuck not.  

A couple times a week the humans would tear open a bag of Purina Vermin Chow and sling it across the floor up there. And thus, the rats were good.  The rats were taken care of.

But since they were rats without video games, they began chewing.  The rug.  The linoleum.  The underlayment.  The baseboards. The insulation.


ALL THE WALLS UPSTAIRS HAD BEEN CHEWED AWAY TO THE BARE STUDS. Floor to ceiling.  Gone.  Only the nails left.  Those, and flitters. 

They'd started on the ceiling by the time moving day hit, so there were a few meandering holes...but oddly, the walls and ceiling of the stairs that lead up to their kingdom had been left alone, for the most part.

The paint on the stairs was 1940's Apple Green.  Just one coat.  But bubbled and heaved; almost as though there was gravel beneath it.  There wasn't.

It was caused by what was above the stairs.

The ceiling sloped upward, as stairway ceilings do.  In the center of the wallboard there on the ceiling of the stairway, ran a long, stained, sagging black fissure with black...something...dangling from it.  In that one spot, there on the stairs, was the worst stink I have ever encountered. Ever.
The rats had been enjoying themselves over the years by scrambling up and down the slanted boards that backed the stair ceiling, like an antic game of Let's be Rats and Run Up and Down Slanted Boards.  And remember, as rats go along, like mice, they piddle constantly. Drip drip drip.

Now imagine a person living up there on the second floor.  Every time they walked up that stairway, the paint of which was so saturated by rat pee that it came off in spots and then was glued back on over the years whenever someone trod on it, our stair climber was also being showered every day, every night, by a constant mist of warm rat piss.  Yes.  The weird black dangling crud?  Was made of melting wallboard and rat pee.

The sister lived up there. On a mattress on the floor.  And she didn't sleep alone, either.

No go enjoy your dinner.