Thanksgiving pushed my writing of A Play Demonic (The Queen’s Idle Fancy) to the back burner, but a new flame has been lit. Thanksgiving dinner has fed most of the players, and now Part 24 shines a light on Gerald Pommeroy, the owner of the castle where monsters dwell. Gerald speaks to Camoustra and Frenalto about his life as a fisherman, tells them he owns a boat—it’s sheltered in the town marina. They make him fill in one of the holes in the basement, and plan for more . . . At this point, Gerald’s sanity may be called into question. Read about his poor fate and share the tale with others . . .
“We are all demonic!”—QUEEN STORMAG
Another painting by my father, George Bogdanovitch hits the blog . . . hope you like his art work as much as I do.
If you’d like to read A Play Demonic (The Queen’s Idle Fancy) from the very beginning, simply click HERE for Part 1. To refresh your memory from the last chapter, simply click HERE for Part 23!
A Play Demonic (The Queen’s Idle Fancy) — Part 24
Behind the stonewalls of the castle opposite Kate Denisov’s ship-shape, cute home, battened-down hatches for the fall into winter season, Camoustra and Frenalto allowed Gerald Pommeroy back upstairs. They fed him a boxed Thanksgiving dinner from the local supermarket, bland stuffing that tasted like sage paste, overly salted mashed potatoes, and a few slices of turkey breast doused in glue-like gravy the color of chickpeas.
“This could be your last Thanksgiving,” Frenalto teased the grateful owner of the castle keep, “eat up!”
“Yes. Anything for you. Please, please tell the master . . .”
“You shouldn’t call him that.” Camoustra interrupted Gerald. If she were a cat, she’d be purring, each word dripping with subtext, glee.
Gerald Pommeroy’s senses awakened. He was an old man. Turning eighty-nine in three months time. March. No children to speak of, losing an only son in the Vietnam war, and a wife to ALS twenty years past. He retired decades ago from crabbing. Earned his living working the salmon boats up in Alaska three times a year. Extended that when he felt up to it. He still owned a small crabbing vessel, always took younger helpers, tourists, out on the Sound if they could help with the stronger stuff. The backyard, all fenced in behind his castle, was awash with sailing and boating, fishing gear and rusting equipment, neglected crab pots. And, even shy of 90, Gerald’s physique kept strength with trips to the Fidalgo Pool where he took interval training sessions and stretching classes for seniors. Even so, he had a pacemaker and a stent helping his heart tick away with a normal beat. He felt like a cast member in a dream. He studied his hands, the splotched pale skin, a few blisters closed but still visible. Digging. He’d been digging so much. He remembered the monstrous head of a young gentleman—poor soul. He’d buried it in the dirt in one of the small graves and began to dig other enclosures. Evil. He felt evil, and wondered about all the good he’d accomplished. Wouldn’t that be worth something in this long long life of his? He couldn’t even think about a higher power without thinking he was being tested.
The phone rang several times as the days and nights ticked away. His mind blinked. Wouldn’t his friends at the pool, the ones he said hello to each day in passing, his swim mates, worry about his absence?
“Gerald is under the weather.”
“Oh, thanks for your concern. My uncle’s doing much better but won’t be back to the pool anytime soon, if at all . . .” Camoustra loved her little lies and speaking to these voices over the telephone line.
“Of course you can come visit him. He’d love that.”
Time passed, days, weeks now, and not one friend or acquaintance came calling on Gerald Pommeroy, pressed the castle’s doorbell worried about his abrupt disappearance. He had no family, no nephew wondering to whom his uncle was going to leave his small estate after his passing. Waltzcrop disappeared during the night, walking alone somewhere unknown to Camoustra and Frenalto, as it ever was.
“Happy Thanksgiving,” Gerald said to the monsters on either side of him (they were only drinking red wine—did they even eat?), the most difficult thing Gerald’s addled mind concentrated on was being cogent enough to sound sincere, obsequious, a budding sycophant. His next thought took him back in time to his first job on a crabbing boat, hired by a friend of a friend of his father’s—a wretched man, Captain Beauford, a violent, sadistic drunk who loved to put his crew close to danger when the opportunity presented itself. Laughed at the roiling waves splashing against his boat. The dreg jobs became Gerald’s chores, shouted at to complete quickly; they were Gerald’s to finish. Belittled by the captain and his own personal Igor, a redneck from beyond the mountains of Concrete nicknamed Pork for his love of bacon, Gerald learned how to be subservient, get a job done, stay silent. He lasted out that first sailing position, but never forgot how horrible, possessed, the captain appeared at times. He blamed the alcohol then, but now wondered about a darker influence, fiery pits filled with the dead, the heads of the dead.
Once more he remembered the head he placed in one of the shallow graves below where he ate his flavorless, boxed turkey dinner. If he was good, they invited him upstairs, and he vowed to be good. It was a young gentleman’s head, severed cleanly at the neck. The skin now tightened across noticeable cheekbones, and he wondered if this was part of a normal process . . . how could this be normal?
Gerald, buried poor Pete “Petey” Quarles, his head anyway, dropping earth over his pale pate with a short prayer: “Look over this poor soul, Lord.” The woman who stirred his own lustful thoughts, this monster in human form, gave him another command, and he salted the earth over Petey and added more dirt. Finally, he pressed the ground flat with his shovel and placed more salt in a mound on top of that. He looked around him at all the empty holes he’d dug in the basement ground and shuddered.
“We’ll be taking your boat out soon, Gerald,” Camoustra said. I’ve always wanted to be out on the open water again. Gerald raised his head. He could only move slowly, showing his age.
“We’ll have the most fun. I’ll even get the crab pot ready once Frederick returns. We have a body to dispose of, and the depths of the Sound are perfect. Don’t you think?” Frenalto asked this but really didn’t expect an answer. He was someone—some thing—that loved to hear the sound of his own voice yapping away. Gerald nodded.
The body attached to the poor kid. Soon, it would be wrapped in chicken wire and placed in a rusty old crab trap. He’d always bought the four-door type. The wire would keep the body in place. The cage would drop to the bottom, the deepest point Gerald knew about, and an unsanctified burial at sea would take place. There were at least ten crab traps behind the castle, and Gerald shuddered.
“Cold, dear? Let me get you some tea.” Camoustra left for the kitchen and Frenalto picked at his teeth with a long fingernail, a disgusting habit, but who was Gerald to speak about disgust? He planned and planned and couldn’t see a way out. He found himself sleeping one moment, blacking out the next, hours, days passing, in thrall to their wishes. This was the strongest he’d felt in a long long time, and they needed his services, his fishing, crabbing, expertise—they need me sane!
To read the next chapter of A Play Demonic (The Queen’s Idle Fancy), simply click HERE and begin reading Part 25!
And that’s a wrap for this week . . . I expect the story engine to keep turning. The gears are greased and willing. Auditions ahead on the horizon, and a battle too. Stick with the story!
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Gerald is on the naughty list this year.
Gerald might have an ongoing problem, Ben . . . hope you enjoyed this peek behind castle walls.