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Freddy Barnett's

And Then Things Got Weird….

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July 2019

Alien Space Probe 1952, Lubbock Texas

Lubbock, Texas / The 1950s

“Farmer” Joe Caperton

One night, in 1952, Buddy and Ada Brill landed their spacecraft in an open field on the pasture of the Triple XXX farm, near Lubbock, Texas. In the 50s, XXX didn’t signify anything more than a cattle brand or perhaps shorthand for moonshine.

Only a handful of humans had ever witnessed one of Buddy and Ada Brill’s alien invasions. However, only one of them was jackass enough to have opened fire upon their super-cool spacecraft with a Remington shotgun.

Of course, the clown did get his ass drilled in the process, but only because the two reddening, pissed-off space critters needed to cover up the true purpose of their visit to Lubbock, Texas—the propagation of Rock n’ Roll.

Buddy and Ada were normally nonviolent and had previously attacked only one Earthling, a music executive who criticized their music by saying, “What the hell is this jungle crap?”

“Farmer” Joe Caperton, on the other hand, was a simple math teacher at Lubbock High School.

One starlit summer night, after being a husband to a sheep, Joe pulled his Hudson over to the side of the road so that he could get a better view of the “suspicious mechanical thang” that was the size of his barn, sitting in the middle of his family’s forty acres. The “thang” looked, and lit up like a giant rooster-red juke box.

Joe didn’t bother to investigate. He just went with his basic redneck instinct to goddamn shoot something.

Buddy, the lyrical alien, plucked Farmer Joe off the field with his new ACME “alien sized” Auto-Suc vacuum tube, and dropped the old man inside the Brill spacecraft. The normally calm, hard working Buddy cried out, “Look what Colonel Cluck did to my cool Wax job, Ada! I mean… the fuck!”

Buddy left it up to his cranky musical partner, Ada, to administer the standard universal alien anal probe upon Farmer Joe. It was Ada’s idea to use the farmer’s own ACME rototiller (a huge tool on wheels that the two aliens would become very fond of).

She told the bumpkin that in the Universal Intergalactic Guide Book for Idiots the “anal probe” was listed as “A standard mechanism used to help nourish skinny Earthlings, who should eat more.”

“What are you going to do with mah tiller, you crazy Mahjong?”

Ada’s eyes narrowed. “Hey! First of all we are NOT Mahjongs or Martians and Don’t get hacked off at us, plowboy! You started this clambake. We came from two hundred light years away to bring gifts to your big Palookaville-of-a-planet, and what do you clodhoppers do to show your appreciation? I’ll tell you, Manure Breath. You plug our newly painted space ship full of holes! What the— what were you thinking?” Ada just could not help adding while poking, “Nobody fucks with Buddy’s candy-apple-red Earl Scheib paint job! You cow pies cannot mess with our wheels!”

Buddy shoved Farmer Joe against the console. “Bend over, Turkey Neck. Do you hear my lady, Ada, ringing the triangle? No? Well… come and get it. It’s dinner time!” Ada cranked and lowered the ship’s six-foot-long probe and took careful aim at Caperton’s butt with the smoking ACME jalapeño coated device.

The violation of Farmer Joe Caperton was meant to be a serious warning to all the bipedal hump monkeys on Earth.

* * * *

The torture idea fell flat when Joe Caperton refused to suffer. The dumbfounded Ada later reported to the Goddess Cheri. “My Goddess! This idiot, this corn-holed chicken lover was diggin’ it! Instead of screaming for his mother, no! Most humans would be screaming for their great-great grandmother. Instead, this pea-brained hillbilly was movin’ and groovin’ on Cloud Nine.”

* * * *

“Are you two done sticking things in me yet? Well, are ya?”

Ada looked up from the probe’s console. “Are we what?”

“Are you done playin’ with my butt, lady?”

“I thought I’d dropped my keys in there,” said Buddy. “Sorry. Yeah, Mr. Caperton. We’re done. You can go soon.”

“Are you two sure that you’re done? You don’t want to play with it no more?”

“Mr. Caperton! We’re done!” said the already irritated Ada.

“You don’t want to play just a little more? You sure? I can tell you guys all kinds a-stuff about the Klan, bull semen, and such.”

The tired Buddy looked at the dumb hick. “That’s it, you old loon! Get out! Somebody call security!”

“Okay! Okay! Damned Mahjongs!”

“Ada and I are not Martians,” said Buddy. “Numbskull! And they are called Martians, not Mahjongs!

“We are Brills,” added Ada. “Martians are into team sports, decorating… and scouting. Not music! You heard what Buddy said! Go on! Split!”

Caperton put on his overalls and boots, and with his head bowed in rejection, walked bowlegged down the stairway of the ship and off into the starlit Texas night.

“Buddy? Do we have any security guards?”

“No, Ada, but I’ve learned that the mention of security guards is enough to scare anyone.”

* * * *

Farmer Joe Caperton never clearly saw the two Brill aliens who had questioned him. To him, the aliens appeared to be a pair of green diaphanous clouds. Caperton would later describe the Brills to the authorities as “small and green with enormous heads,” only because he once saw an artist’s rendering of Martians on the cover of Busty Alien Magazine at the candy store in town.

After one week, the only thing that Farmer Joe could remember about the Buddy and Ada Brill was “the clumsy female bouncing into me like bumper cars at the County Fair.”

He did recall that the two aliens frequently cussed at each other. They’d been sharing small quarters and banging into each other for over 45 years.

Buddy and Ada dismissed Farmer Joe from their spaceship across the field from an all-night diner called The Daisy. As Joe walked bowlegged toward the light of the diner, they saluted him and said, in unison, “A gezunt dir in pupik (ah Geh-zoont dear en pooh-pik)” which means “Best of health to your belly button.”

* * * *

The official police report was taken by Texas Rangers on the morning after Farmer Joe’s abduction. “The folks at The Daisy said you were trailin’ blood, Joe.”

The FBI would later omit the rube’s experience within the craft, as well as how the invisible aliens played this “scary music.” They called their music Rockabilly. “It was terrible, sir. They put a heathen jungle beat to our sacred country music!”

That music played on the octo-phonic speakers inside the spacecraft as the two aliens drilled Joe five ‘new ones.’

Joe Caperton’s tale was ‘too much’ for the Texas Rangers who were sick to their stomachs. He went on and on about the aliens, and how they’d turned his rototiller into a butt probe “that buzzed like a sumbitch, lit up like a burnin’ cross” and loaded his pooper with Naga Jolokia—the hottest pepper in the universe.

The Brills had written “Ring of Fire” with Farmer Joe in mind before they’d blasted off. To make sure that he would hear the song, it was immediately delivered to Joe’s young friend, Johnny Cash, at Joe’s own birthday party. Joe’s friends couldn’t understand why the math teacher broke out in tears upon hearing it.

Life magazine interviewed Farmer Joe in 1953. The interview never made it to print. The magazine’s “Farmer Joe” files were brought immediately to FBI headquarters in Washington DC under direct orders by J. Edgar Hoover, who read portions of it, in the bathroom, for three weeks.

A copy of Farmer Joe’s testimony still exists 350 feet beneath solid granite, at Area #61, in Nevada, where the ‘Mercan gubmint’ stores its best bathroom related humor.

Seidon (Poseidon)

Seidon (Poseidon)

anitas-poseidon-dark

(Art by Anita Benson Bradley)

The Gulch School, stood alone on Far Rockaway Beach in the 1950s. I didn’t eat lunch on my first day of school because mom had to come back to fetch me.

Mrs. Gulch towered behind me by the school’s entrance as my mom, approached anxiously, framed by the grey Atlantic behind her. Gulch tightened the grip of her ironwood claws upon my own tiny shoulders.

“I’m Almira, Almira Gulch,” said the old buzzard.

My mom had questions: “You called me at home and told me to come get my son. Is everything okay? And where’s the young teacher, Nancy, that I talked to yesterday?”

“Your boy is fine,” Gulch said releasing me.

“Thank god,” my mom said.

“But there is a problem,” said Gulch. He bores easily.”

****

To prove Mrs. Gulch‘s point, I jumped forward toward the sandy path, “What’s that, mommy?” I asked, pointing to a stone statue with a beard and crown, that stood, knee high, next to my mom. Gulch pointed with a long talon. ”Lousy Pagans dumped that thing in my yard.” she hissed. “That blasphemy is going into the trash, tonight.”

“Ooooh, I like him,” my mom said. “This looks very very old. Freddy, this is a statue of the Greek god of the sea. His name is Poseidon.”

“Is Seidon friendly?” I asked.

“Po-seidon. You want to be his friend,” my mom said. “He can be very mean — to very mean people.” She waved her hands dramatically above her head. “He kills his enemies with great storms.”

“He’s ugly,” said Almira Gulch sniffing the metallic air with her raven’s beak nose.

The sound of a large wave, pounding the shore, caught everyone’s attention. A strong breeze buffeted us with sand, but Miss Gulch‘s tight hair bun remained steadfast. It began to drizzle. Grasping her cane, Gulch said, “Come inside. There is going to be rain. What a world.”

As we entered the old school, Mrs. Gulch pointed to a painting on the wall. “That’s my husband, Dorian. The picture makes him look so old. Painting. Yes, Mrs. Barnett, the reason I asked you to come back this morning was, I let little Freddy use my arts and crafts room to see if he had a creative streak.”

Actually, Gulch had locked me in the spare classroom because I kicked her in the shins — I was certain that she was Dorothy’s Wicked Witch.

Gulch walked ahead. “Freddy destroyed my art room with three gallons of red paint meant for the outside of the school. Come here, dearies.” Gulch opened the door to the windowless room.

My mom’s eyes widened and took in the panorama. “My god! It looks like someone was murdered!” she said — while I was thinking, It needs more blood.

“We’ll never get this cleaned up! Your son may end up a housepainter like…Ahem, that German feller with the little mustache. Look at this …” said Gulch while scratching the hairy mole on her chin, “Mrs. Barnett, you’ll have to find Freddy another school. He may be dangerous to the other children.”

“What children? Where are the children that were here earlier?” My mom asked while staring at an old straw broom leaning against a stack of red splattered boxes, labeled ‘Gingerbread Cookies.’ Mom shivered.

“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Gulch.” Mom nervously turned to me. “Freddy, tell Mrs. Gulch that you’re sorry so we can go home. Do it. Now.”

“Mommy! She hit me!” I lied, complete with make-believe tears.

“What! Is that true, Freddy?” My mom stared at the harridan.

Before I could lie to my own mother, again, Almira Gulch pointed her long crooked finger at me.

“Your little gentleman is a teller of tall tales, madam,” she said with an evil eye.

“Are you calling my boy a liar? Just a few moments ago you called him a little Hitler!”

I kept my own lip zipped as I was already in enough trouble.

“Let’s go.” Suddenly, my mother grabbed my hand and marched me away from the school, no doubt saving me from becoming one of Mrs. Gulch‘s gingerbread cookies.

We were about to pass Poseidon when an idea struck me. I turned back to Mrs. Gulch and said, “My mom says that you should be nice to the little Seidon statue!”

“If you sinners like Seiiiiiiiidon so much,” she cackled, “take him home with you!”

My mom picked up the statue and sheltered the heavy thing in her arms like a newborn. “C’mon, Freddy.” Mom propelled us home, away from the Beach. She looked worried.

“Mommy, what’s wrong?”

The wind and rain had been building since we’d started walking. By the time we reached the tall brick stairway that led up to our house the rain began to sweep horizontally. The tall pine tree in front was rocking wildly. Mom rushed me up the stairs and into the hallway as the sky began to turn black. She turned to secure the potted plants, slipped on the top step, cutting open her ankle.

The wicked witch did this! I thought., angrily shaking my stuffed dog at the lightning.

My mom had forgotten about my painting and fibbing. She was in pain when she pushed me into my room. “Play your records. I’ll be right back” She held back tears as she closed my door. At my bedroom window, I saw the churning clouds and, within, the bearded face of … Seidon!

I ran to the front hall and hugged the statue. There and then I promised Seidon my prized Patti Paige record, “How Much is that Doggy in the Window?” if he would help my mommy stop crying. I’d already played the record two-thousand times and had moved on to more hip music, ‘Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.’

Seidon must have been a Patti Paige fan, because ten minutes later the sea god had washed The Gulch School into the Atlantic by wielding a mighty storm that later bore my mother’s name……Hurricane MOMMY — I mean Hurricane Claire!

The next morning, the record, along with my record player, were gone from my room. The floor was wet and sandy.

That night, my dad had returned from his business trip to find that the storm had washed our big pine, westward, into Jamaica Bay. After dinner, mom told dad about my first and last day at The Gulch School and our hurricane adventure. Dad paused, stood up tall, removed the smelly cigar from his mouth and told us both that he was proud of the both of us.

He stared down at me. “So Freddy. You defeated a witch you say? Well, I’m especially proud of you young man. You passed your first school test with flying colors.’”

I had no idea what he was talking about, but it sounded good.

“Son. You wanted to help your mother…Being a smart boy, you didn’t employ the services of some hobo on the street. No, you went to your new friend, the nearly forgotten god, Seidon. In other words, you went straight to ‘the top.’” There was a pause and he laughed, and muttered “Patti Paige? Really? Ha! That’s funny.”

“What’s funny?” asked my mom.

“Well, Claire, remember when we were Freddy’s age and remember when my own mom got hurt?”

“Yes,” she nodded. “The hurricane of ‘32.”

“Back then, if I recall correctly, Seidon had a thing for Ella Fitzgerald 78s.”

“Your right,” Mom agreed. “He’s changed. But, isn’t it nice to have him back home again?”

Preparing Johnny for His Big Comeback

“A Real Piece of Work”

After more than twenty-five years, Johnny had compiled enough great material for a new album. He’d recorded a few samples in his home studio when he got out of bed each morning. Johnny was surprised by the quality of his voice on the demos. There was something brand new about his sound.

Last night, as Johnny slept, an entire suitcase full of brand new songs, and song seeds, were dropped off by the goddess Cheri’s song writing aliens, Buddy and Ada Brill. A gift from Cheri to her faithful puppy-dog, Johnny.

Johnny’s time was near.

* * * *

Frankie and Nat continued to teach him as he slept. Dino would offer suggestions, hand out the cigarettes, and mix the drinks. All three would often take turns teaching Johnny how to sing the old and new songs properly.

When he had his big comeback, he would be assigned to the legendary William Morris agent named Sid Arthur. Sid had been the best agent in show biz. “Had been,” as in Sid was currently dead. “Dead? I can fix that, kid. You’re listening to a guy who’s had more returns than Costco’s customer service!” he said while Johnny snored in agreement. Sidney, still a germaphobe, insisted that the dead bald singers known as “The Chrome Domes” clean up their booze bottles and filthy cigarette butts! “What do you think this is?” He scolded Frank, Dino and the others, “the goddamned bowery? Okay, now one of you should get on the horn, and call up Cheri!” said Sidney. “Stat! The kid is ready.”

“Stat?” Asked the laid-back Dino. “Oh, so you’re a doctor, now, Sid? Doctor Kildare? Ben Casey? Call Cheri yourself, big shot!”

“Why you punk! Who do think you’re talkin’ to, Junior? Don’t forget that I was the one who booked Jesus’ appearance on the fuckin’ mount! Maybe you don’t remember. It was because of me, Sid Arthur! “Hitler at Nuremberg! Wait…uh no, that wasn’t me. Shea Stadium, The Beatles! I got them here in 1964! Hell, I WAS The Ed Sullivan Show! You ungrateful tadpole. I’ll make sure that you never work in this town again!”

There was a dangerous pause in Johnny’s bedroom. Then they all cracked up, together. Frank nearly fell off his bar stool.

“Just you wait, Dino,” laughed Sid, pointing a warning finger. “I can make your afterlife a haunted Hell. Remember, your old partner, Jerry Lewis is coming soon. Jerry is coming. So, if I were you, I’d watch it.”

“Thanks for the happy reminder, Sid,” said Dino. “Fucking Jerry. Now, I need another drink. So much for the idea of a peaceful afterlife, you putz.”

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