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Freddy Barnett's

And Then Things Got Weird….

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Freddy Barnett

http://www.amazon.com/Fred-Barnett/e/B002N60GRQ Books: "Bloody Good" (True shark stories), "The Kingdom of the Cats" "Bats" Coming soon: "Shark Fin Soup" "Amok" NetworkedBlogsBlog:Freddy BarnettTopics: Fantasy, Horror, Humor  Follow my bloghttp://widget.networkedblogs.com/getwidget?bid=1453548

Artemis is Banished from Olympus

Book cover : Shark Fin CoverZeus and Leto often watched Goddesses of Walmart for entertainment. That night they were horrified when they saw their daughter dressed in the giant muumuu while trolling the aisles for deals on chips and soda.

Then the following celestial evening, after 50,300 hits on YouTube the voguish goddess Leto was forced to watch (in shock and horror) a video of her daughter shopping while dressed in a hideous floral nightgown and tennis shoes.

The hotel phone rang.

Bernie (Artemis’ charge and pet human) picked it up and handed it to the goddess, who had ‘let herself go’ while visiting Earth. ‘Artie’ was eating a tub of bon-bons on the couch.

“It’s your dad, Artie.”

Artemis grabbed the phone. “Daddy?”

The voice on the phone was powerful enough for Bernie to hear every word. The voice was angry enough to generate lightning from the earpiece.

“Artie. Dear Artie. Your mom and I decided that you can’t come home until you lose weight and come to your fashion senses,” daddy Zeus had said. “And tell your hobo friend to hijack himself a new suit with real pants if he’s gonna paint the town with my baby. Bernie’s friend Frankie should have already told him that life’s too short to dress like a bum. And what the hell is that thing you’re drivin’?”

“Uh…” Munch, munch, munch. “Bernie rented a Chia.”

“Everyone up here thinks that you’ve gotten weak and out of control. We can’t afford to have the other deities think that the Olympians are pushovers.” Zeus shouted into the phone. “For gods and goddesses sakes, Art-Art, you used to knock ’em dead.”

“Art-Art?” Bernie heard that and giggled.

The goddess shot lethal optikos (eye) arrows at Bernie. “Shut up, sandal licker! No, not you, daddy. There is going to be an epic battle with MacHeath’s army, so I promised to help out Bernie and his trollop friend.”

“You mean Miss Soapy Puppies?”

“Yeah, Dauna.”

“Princess,” the voice said. “Don’t come home until you’ve cleaned up your circle of friends.” Zeus hung up.

“But, daddyyyyyyyy?” The heroic figure wept a flood of diamond tears.

A text appeared.

Final judgment came to Artemis swiftly in a furious “bolt of rejection.” The bolt was hurled in the form of an angry text, with an angry minotaur emoji attached.

Artemis had just been officially banished from her home and family.

“What family, pop?” she texted back. “Do we even have a family name?”

“Good point, pumpkin. Let me ask your mom,” he wrote.

Back on Olympus, Zeus asked Leto, “Dear? What’s our last name?”

He texted Artemis, “You still there? Okay. Your mom says that our last name is ‘On High.’ We don’t need a last name, pumpkin, unlike the Kardashians. We’re bigger than Lady Gaga. We only use first names. Oh, your mom wants to know…what the hell kinds of shoes were you wearing on the Walmart show?”

Zeus’ mighty presence was suddenly gone, and Artemis was hurt, and that meant that she needed tacos.

Artemis had become “an embarrassment” to the fashion-conscious Olympian gods, who were tolerant to a point, often turning their backs on lesser Olympian crimes, such as torture, mass murder, incest, rape, infanticide and eating one’s own children.

A snippet from a new novel ‘PERDIDO.’

 

CaptainBonny In the words of the Captain Anne Bonny….(Sketch by Anita Benson Bradley)

“The stupid lout nearly wrecked the ship, three times, hence its appearance.”
“How? asked Errol Flynn’s lost (in 1972) son, Sean.
“He hit a few large obstacles. France, Italy and Russia. On my first voyage with Jack, when we I had an honest crew, we set sail for Belgium. King George II gave us a fortune in gold and trusted us to search the world for the finest…”
“Gold?” asked the young genius, Edison.
“Chocolate.”
The guests all let out a collective “Oooooooooh.”
Captain Bonny continued, “Everywhere we asked, people told us to head for Belgium. When we arrived in Belgium, we were ready for the exchange. The dock was heaped with our gold on one side and twenty tons of pure chocolate in bricks on the other. The dock owner, Plaid Phil, and his men drew their swords and demanded both. As fortune had it, a visiting duke from another part of the Netherlands was passing by in his carriage and demanded his driver to stop. It was Frederick Henry. had once tried to escape from an angry husband in the 1647 and drown when he tried to escape by hiding in a vat of his best dark chocolate which is now known as Orange Chocolate. Yeah, we were bad ass pirates when it came to chocolate, we scared our victims when they saw our faces drooling with it and we covered ourselves with almond slivers, strawberries and sprinkles.
They executed me poor Jack in 1720 in Port Royal. The governor was going to hang him, but he weighed too much by the time that I was done with him. Ha! At the end, we were calling him Jumbo Jack. The governor of Port Royal, Paisley Nick Lawes, stuck explosives in each end of Jack, knocked him out, lit the fuse and set him adrift and the whole town watched him explode and be eaten by sharks, who left generous tips— tips of gold doubloons they took from sunken Caribbean treasure! I’d do anything for some adventure. My crew and I take sojourns and race the hurricanes to rob …I mean pick up supplies and spices. Otherwise we just stay around home and cook. Those are my two best carvers, Killer Kelly and Baby Blues Walker. Say ‘Hi’ ladies.”

Shark Fin Soup Finished Cover

shark fin soup

During a storm, Jesus appeared on a blue tarp upon the deck of The Vinnie Maru, demanding that agent Bernie Benedict find him a date. 

_____________

Shark Fin Soup

A tale of sharks, gods, cannibals, mad cows and endless love. 

__________________

Since bygone days, two ancient Pacific cannibal tribes have fought over which of their respective shark gods should rule the Seven Seas. Today, the 3000-year-old Melanesian war has reached the shores of the US.

‘Word on the street’ has it that the shark gods and their peckish followers are gearing up for a final, pay-per-view televised battle which will take place in Jamaica Bay, NY, on New Year’s Eve. 

Leading up to the match, Interpol agent Bernie ‘The God Whisperer’ Benedict and his paranormal crew are following the body count along US waterfronts.

And Jesus still wants a date.

Soon, our hero finds himself in dangerous waters as the ‘prize’ in an over-heated mating game between two deities, the majestic virgin moon goddess, Artemis, and her luscious friend, the potty-mouthed Fijian goddess, Dauna. Join the merriment as Bernie — having tasted forbidden fruit — becomes Cupcaecius, a cosmopolitan dead ringer for Cary Grant and the first new god to appear on Mount Olympus in over five-thousand years. 

The Beach at Wassup Dock, Kupaio, Fiji.

From the upcoming novel Shark Fin Soup

Ying Yang by Fred Barnett

“SHUT THE באַרען up, לאָך WAFFLE!” screamed queen Dauna, shocking the tourists on their way back to Nyah-Wassup Dock, some of whom dropped their free cups of Outtamywayasshole Coffee. “Oh, sorry, all. That was my morning Tourette’s speaking. What I meant to say was ‘Shut the באַרען up, לאָך waffle!’”

“No offense taken, my queen,” said the crone, Lupta.

The crowd were now focused on Bernie’s terrible choice of Bermuda shorts, as if they were rubber-necking the scene of a tragic car wreck.

“That..schlub,” said Lupta the sage, employing an old Fijian term, “will someday bear your fruit, Your Heinous.”

“P’leeeeease. Fruit?” asked Dauna. “You know that I pass out at the sight of juice. That slob? Really? Dauna’s curiosity about Bernie had been aroused. My ampullae of Lorenzini (sharkie sensing organs) have never felt like this, she thought as her rear / tail end began to sway. 

Bernie, in return, could not take his eyes off of her anxious shifting legs beneath her lucky parreo. Lucky? Why did I think the parreo was lucky, as if it were somehow alive? He watched ‘Her Heinous’ draw down an entire cigarette in a single breath while she took an uncomfortable, yet thrilling inventory of the silly human. Her deep brown eyes seemed to go ‘click click click.’

Dauna was beautiful and she was looking at — him!

Wanting a snapshot of his own, Bernie lifted his new Nikon and aimed. The camera flared, fell and melted in the sand. The insatiable shark goddess queen began to circle the hypnotized tourist. Bernie had a feeling that either he was going to be eaten by, or married to the captivating queen. Same damned thing.

Dauna’s spell was broken when the captain of the dive boat called the tourists back on board. Bernie’s heart was racing as he turned for one last look. The sultry queen of Kupaio was gone. 

She’d driven off, upset about her future.

Every so often, in the silence of night, a mysterious breeze carrying the name “Bernie” would gently jingle the chimes of Dauna’s fun foyer. “Berrrrrnie. Berrrrrrrrnie.”

(Sad violin music.) But forsooth, dear readers, for after Bernie had left the island, Dauna was to be married.

An arranged marriage…

…to a gold-plated schmuck-with-fins named Bunji.

Dauna, upset, drove off in her golf cart, running into some stuff along the way.

Human stuff.

For Halloween!!! BATS ^^ö^^!!!! The Hell’s Angle’s meet their hero.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00060]“Vlad. I think you’re becoming hearing dyslexic,” said Elizabeth ‘The Bloody Countess’ Bathory. “The woman said angles. Hell’s Angles. A-N-G-L-E-S.”

“Jonathan,” Vlad D. Impaler said as he sat back in the car and lit his pipe, “could you kill them? I’m hungry.”

“What a sorry bunch,” said Lupta, the tiny witch. “Look at them, huffing and puffing, and just from huffing and puffing. Elizabeth, you guys drink what you want and then I’ll help Mina (Elizabeth’s great-great-granddaughter) make skin cream out of the rest. Save the livers for the pups.”

“Wait,” said Jonathan (Vlad’s great-great-grandson). “They might be more useful alive. Meet your new army, Pops!”

“That’s a depressing thought, Jonny,” said Vlad. “I rather kill myself… No, I’d rather kill someone else.”

While Vlad and Elizabeth watched carefully, Lupta, Jonathan, and Mina pushed the wolves from their laps and stepped out of the Challenger. Tiny Lupta Axe walked forward to confront the wannabe ruffians. She’d decided to keep the conversation friendly. She had to keep in mind that Vlad and Elizabeth needed help—any help that they could get.

The four wolves—Dino, Frankie, Sammy, and Luciano—flanked the car. Glowing eyes, growling and drooling commenced in four-part harmony.

“All right,” said the tiny witch emerging from the headlights, smiling. “Just what are you delusional slabs of beef doing here?”

A seven-foot tall, five hundred-pound bald colossus parted a pathway through the illuminated crowd on the grass and bravely walked up to Lupta Axe.

Lupta stared up from the giant’s navel and said, “Give me your lunch money and I won’t turn that pretty face into meatloaf.”

“I am Tor, Tor Johansson. I own Killer Builders in LA. We’re only passing through your country, ma’am. Some of our American members have come to Europe for the summer to ride with some of our Danish friends like Inga, Olaf, Hakon, Magnus, Hardrade, Sigurd, and Siegfried, who are also designers from our Scandinavian furniture branch. Everybody in architecture knows the Angles! We took the gang to Europe for a very special trip.”

“Yeah, we heard that they’re going to open a Black Flags Tragic Mountain down the road,” said a man peeping his head out of the crowd. “That will be our last stop.”

“Oh, reeeeally. Who’s the big mouth?” Lupta asked pointing to the nerd who was even smaller than she was.

“That’s Isaiah Newton,” said Brutehilda. “Be nice to him. He’s our demolition expert. He makes crap fall.”

Jonathan’s newly pointed ears perked up. Demolition? Oh, really!

“We do a bike ride on a different continent every five years to get everyone out of the office,” said Chester. “The Angles are not allowed to bring anything work related on these vacations. Not even a pencil! We have members all over the planet. We ride on weekends in our respective countries.” Chester looked down at Lupta who was winding her hand buzzer. “Maybe you can help us out, young woman.”

“My name is Lupta Axe. Spells, cookies, practical jokes…and I write.”

“Well, Ms. Axe, this year my friends and I decided to visit the home of the original bad-asses, Vlad the Impaler and the Bloody Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Most of all, we really want to visit the home of our favorite author Infinity Upton-Downes. All three are baaaaad motherfuckers. Pardon my Danish.”

“Well, they ain’t at home, assholes!”

“Who ain’t home?” asked Brutehilde.

“The ones you came looking for,” said Lupta who was still shorter than Brutehilda who was sitting on a Harley. “It’s tourists like you who are ruining our habitat! Once I embarrass you doodie-heads with my X-ray specs we’ll have to eliminate you. Oh, look! You stepped in vomit!”

Jonathan put a hand on Lupta’s thin shoulder and whispered, “Enough, Aunty. We might need them.”

Lupta picked up her plastic vomit and mumbled “Clueless idiots. Buzz off!”

Tor stared at the tiny witch.

“Take a picture, Q-Ball. It will last longer,” she snapped.

“Who are you and what do you know about Infinity Upton-Downes?” thundered Tor. “How would you know that she ain’t home? Infinity’s Witchipedia biography says that she lives in Transylvania year-round. I know everything about her…’cept what she looks like. I imagine that she’s pretty hot after readin’ her stuff.”

“Oh. Howwwww do I know she isn’t home, snowflake? ’Cause you’re talkin’ to her, ya big ugly bastard! What happened to your eye?”

“Huh?”

“Your eye! Are ya deaf too? Bend down and let me take a look you got something…right there!” She poked it. “Nyuk, nyuk.”

“Ow! Old bat!”

“I am rubber, you are glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks back to you! Ohhh, stop your whining. You’re fine, petal. Look through this telescope. See!” The telescope left a big black greasy circle around Tor’s poked eye. “So, you don’t believe that I am the famous Infinity? Have you read Tragic Lust #34? Of course you haven’t! I just finished writing it. It’s a romantic called Go-Go West, Young Man.”

Lupta waved her cane and began to recite:

“Ahem… Time. Stood. Still. Broken by an intensifying vibration, Thunder’s glistening bronze thighs began to quake. Handsome Jack’s mighty maracas nearly shook loose. The Paiute guide howled when she clamped down and crushed the stunned studly Spillwell’s notorious hardened spike… The wagon master’s dying wail triggered the legendary Montana avalanche known by all school-age children today as ‘Fuckin’ awesome!’”

Tor turned to Chester. “Holy Swiss cheese, Chester!”

“Holy…It’s really her!” said Brutehilda.

Fuckin’ illiterates, thought Lupta.

“Yup. That’s Infinity,” said a Viking-helmeted man in a business suit, named Lutefisk.

Willowy Mina shook her head. She still couldn’t believe that her own aunty, Lupta Axe, was the famous author of the disturbing books that she had been hiding beneath her mattress with her deluxe Willie Wanker Bar.

Milwaukee Crime Scene (Shark Fin Soup)

14612352_1216326551760784_4789995738798171161_o

The Milwaukee chief of police, William ‘Boulder Balls Bill’ Sagamore, had just shown up. “I hate hot weather. You must be agent Bernie. Whoa! It’s much too early for those blinding shorts.  ” Boulder Balls walked toward the shoreline, “Sure smells ripe. With this hot weather we’ve been getting ’em ripe.”

Two more “ripples” offshore distracted agent Bernie. The waters of Lake Michigan sure looked inviting this morning.

Had it not been for the tattooed body parts strewn along the banks, kids would have been swimming in the toxic muck from the Milwaukee within a few hours.

“Torsos! I hate headless, armless, legless, genital-less, ass-less hairless torsos,” Chief Big Balls Bill grumbled on. “It looks just like the stuffed derma my Aunt Minnie used to cook — but not as smelly or pale. I mean the bodies aren’t as smelly or as pale. And, look! They took all these guy’s belly buttons!” Belly-buttonless.

Doctor Green spat from his tobacco-stained teeth, “No face, no prints, no belly buttons =  no service. We’re gonna have to get some DNA. By the way, Bernie, your friend T.K. messaged me that belly buttons are a prized snack among New Guinea’s Hotat tribe.”

________________

Another pattern of killings. Bernie had also been following a string of decapitated animals that would take him eastward.

Reports of mysterious animal deaths were being noticed by news organizations across the U.S. Bernie hoped that the cannibal killings wouldn’t be linked to his big hungry kitty. 

Each of Bomba’s latest victims was larger than the previous. The cat was leaving his old “can opener,” Bernie, gifts strewn across the U.S. Thanks, Bomba. I miss you, too. What Bernie and the two local detectives found on that muggy Milwaukee night was the ruination of a very large snow-white bird. There were feathers and wing bones strewn across the alley. The head was missing as was the bottom half of the poor animal. Bernie’s partner, Frankie had picked up a piece of evidence that he held outward on a stick.

“Check it out, buddy boy. Some angel lost his halo. That’s nutty.” Frankie held out a golden ring that was about a foot in diameter and pulsed with light.

“Ooowee, this place stinks!” A powerful smell forced Bernie to move back toward the curb. Bernie could barely breathe as it burned his lungs. The smell came from Bomba’s acidic urine. The big kitty had not only marked his territory, but also etched Bernie’s, radioactive luminescing name into the alley’s brick wall.

 

 

Halloween Fun for the Entire (Manson) Family.

Frankenshark (A Halloween Tale from Bug House)

 

cartoon castle demon102(Based on a true story)

DURBAN, South Africa

August 17, 1959

On the Eastern horizon, distant flashes of a storm illuminated the hot August sky, a hint of the unspeakable horror about to visit sleepy little Durban. As the night progressed, vicious bolts of lightning lashed out far and low across night’s black shroud. Crackling branches of electricity reached out blindly, like the thin, pale, twisted arms of a bloated parasite in search of a fresh host.  

At 1 a.m., the tendrils of that far off storm, quietly receded with the tide. 

The night hung silent and heavy. Sticky, like drying blood. (yuk.)

A Bull Shark’s lifeless body, lay wrapped in filthy linen before a group of three “mad” (disgruntled) scientists at the Durban Aquarium. Because of the late hour, the tired, and still “very upset” group of academics, placed the cold eight-foot  corpse (that the foul smelling, grotesque, one-eyed fisherman affectionately called “Willie,” into an old bathtub for later observation. 

Renfeld

At 3 a.m., Left alone in the laboratory, was Daucina Renfeld, the new assistant from Tavenui, Fiji. Ms. Renfeld was an “odd rough skinned woman” with a deformity of the spine that resembled a sharp hump on her back. While closing up that night, she slipped on fish guts and fell, accidentally knocking her “combination hair dryer / portable radio” into the Willie’s tub. Sparks shot out, immediately swallowed up by total darkness. The young lab assistant lay motionless where she had hit her forehead on the worn porcelain edge. Blood dripped from the small wound, into the foul water.

Strong and silent, a dark new power suddenly surged, pumping its way through dead wires, into the shark’s waiting heart. 

When the lights flickered back to life—so… did… WILLIE!!!!

Cold, slow, weak at first, the heart began to take on speed and power. Thump. Thump. Thump.

On the morning of August 15, Ms. Renfeld had vanished. She was never seen or heard from again. Willie, on the other hand, was found swimming happily in the new “Predators of the Sea” tank. The three scientists, who had left before the power failure, could not figure out how their 105-pound assistant had moved nearly 300 pounds of a once-dead shark into the new tank all by herself, or why she would suddenly disappear. 

The night before, when the smelly carcass first appeared on an old wooden cart in their doorway with the hideous dark fisherman, the scientists were certain that Willie was a “DUD” (dead upon delivery). Somehow, through some mysterious cosmic blunder, the creature was alive. Swimming. Hungry.

That week, the three mad disgruntled scientists left their jobs at the Durban Aquarium, driven even more mad by the perplexing mystery of Willie, and further budget cuts.

Three months later

By December, “Willie” had grown huge. He was doing well at the Durban Aquarium. Too well. He was eating everything in the aquarium tank, including the other sharks. Once the prized pregnant female Dusky Shark had fallen victim to Willie’s huge appetite, the curators finally decided that it was time to get rid of the beast. 

The other aquariums did not did not want wanton Willie — “Wild Bill” as he was being called these days. Returning him to the ocean was not an option. Letting a vicious, blood thirsty Bull Shark loose upon the swimming public would be dangerous, and wasn’t worth the risk.

The decision was made. 

There would be no “FREE WILLIE” this time.

The gruesome Willie, who had become a favorite of visitors, would have to be disposed of.

Quietly.

The deed was done in the middle of the night, when death does its best, most stealthy handiwork.

After hours of wrangling, Willie was finally caught on a triple hook and “humanely” clubbed to death. He was then mercifully cut up into smaller chunks and stuffed into a reeking dumpster.

Early morning visitors wanted an explanation for the sudden disappearance of their favorite fish. So the aquarium’s manager, Mr. Cabebe told the families that Willie was found floating dead early that morning. Cabebe had also delicately let slip that “Willie now sleeps with the coffee grounds” — in the smelly dumpster. 

Hundreds of Durban school children gathered around the outside alleyway of the aquarium. In a great outpouring of sorrow, they shed gallons of salty tears into the dumpster while they said their farewells over the ripe trash bags full of the lovable scoundrel.

Ms. Renfeld returned that night and stole the brine soaked bags. From the laboratory, she also took the curator’s favorite “pet”…a jar labeled ‘the Brain’. This was “the Brain” which used to sit quietly and patiently upon a shelf, not far from Willie’s tub.

 In that jar, beneath a milky white fluid, rested the brain of a blood-crazed 25-foot-long Great White Shark who’d been named Abby. This demented Great White had eaten a Priest during an early morning Baptismal at Bloody Murder Beach only a week before.

That shark, was caught and  killed. Abby’s body was mounted in the aquarium’s entrance and her brain was removed for study. 

Somewhere in California’s Red Triangle, in the dead of night, high up on a hill an electric light can be seen flickering through the shuttered window of the ex-assistant, Renfeld.

She stands hunched over a rusty bathtub filled with cold sea water. Beneath Renfield’s bloody lab coat, numerous scars cover her back. “Love bites” from that night, over one year ago, at the Durban Aquarium. 

She use to weigh under 105 pounds, but now she has ballooned up to almost 175.

Ms. Renfeld drinks another glass of salt-water as blood oozes from her cut finger and drips into the foul tub of sashimi below.

“I am the bride of Frankenshark!!!”

The pups would need their father soon.

“The Brain” had been installed, and the chunks of Willie were all sewn up.

The combination hair dryer / radio was poised in her other hand…ready to drop.

The room went black.

“Come to mama….Come to mama,” she repeated.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

#

Note: The basis for this story is true. There was a real bull shark named Willie who was brought DEAD to the Durban Aquarium, in August of 1959. Some hours later, he did come back to life in a small observation tank. Willie was the aquarium’s top star attraction until he began to eat nearly all of his tank mates, including the pregnant Dusky Shark. 

And yes, “They” did murder him and chop him up in secret.

May he rest in pieces.

Frankenshark is dead.

At least that’s what THEY would like us to believe.

__________________

It’s (all) Who You Know — (from BugHouse -YA stories for Halloween)


It’s (all) Who You Know

When I saw my first school, the Hamilton House, it looked so lonely on the barren dunes of Far Rockaway. I never got to eat my lunch that day because my mom had come back to fetch me so soon. Her frantic walk was framed by the tranquil Atlantic behind her.

Dressed in black, the head teacher, ‘flinty’ Mrs. Hamilton, towered behind me. As my mom, approached, Mrs. Hamilton tightened her ironwood claws into my tiny shoulders.

 

anitas-scans

 

My mom had questions: “Are you Mrs.Hamilton? Why did you call? Is my son okay? Where’s the young teacher that I talked to yesterday?”

“I’m Hamilton. It’s my school,” she said unhooking me. “Your boy is fine, but there is a problem. He borrrrrrres easily.”

“Really,” said my mom.

To prove Mrs. Hamilton’s point, I interrupted the conversation, “What’s that, mommy?” I asked, pointing to a stone statue that stood in the sandy path, knee high to my mom.

Mrs. Hamilton raised a long talon, “Pagans dumped that thing in my yard. That blasphemy is going into the trash, today.”

 

anitas-poseidon-dark

 

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

“Is he friendly?” I asked.

“You want to be his friend,” my mom said. “Mr. Poseidon can turn angry in a snap! Mom snapped her fingers. “He brings vengeance upon his enemies with great storms.”

“He’s ugly,” said Ms. Hamilton.

The sound of a large wave, pounding the shore, caught our attention. A strong breeze buffeted us with sand. Ms. Hamilton’s tight hair bun remained steadfast. It began to drizzle. Grasping her cane, Mrs. Hamilton said, “Please come inside, it seems that the weather is changing. What a world.”

As we entered the old house, Mrs. Hamilton  pointed to a painting on the wall. “That a picture my dead husband Dorian. It makes him look so old.” We followed her down the hall. “This morning, I gave little Freddy some time in our arts and crafts room to see if he had a creative streak.”

She’d locked me in the spare classroom, alone, because I kicked her in the shins — I was certain it was her. I was sure she was Dorothy’s Wicked Witch.

“He destroyed the room with three gallons of red paint meant for the outside. Come here, dearies.” She opened the door to the windowless art room.

My mom’s eyes widened and took in the panorama. “It looks like someone was murdered here,” she said, while I was thinking, 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 mess. I thought it over and well,” Mrs. Hamilton  said scratching the hairy mole on her chin, “You’ll have to find young Freddy another school. I think that he may be a danger to the other children.”

My mother looked around. There were no other children. “Where are the others?” Mom was staring at an old straw broom against a tall stack of red splattered boxes, labeled ‘Gingerbread Cookies.’

Nervous, my mom turned to me. “Freddy, tell your teacher that you’re sorry. Do it now.”

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

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

Before I could lie to my own mother, again, Ms. Hamilton said,“For such a little gentleman, Freddy tells very tall tales.” Then, adding an evil eye, she continued, “He’s got some imagination, I’m saying.”

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

I kept my 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. Hamilton’s gingerbread cookies. We were about to pass Poseidon when an idea struck me. I turned back to Mrs. Hamilton and said, “My mom says that you should be friendly to the statue!”

“If you sinners like that awful thing so much, take it home with you!”

My mom picked Poseidon up and held him in her arms like a newborn. “C’mon, Freddy.” She propelled us home, away from the Beach. She looked worried.

“Mommy, what’s wrong?”

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, and cut open her ankle.

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

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

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

Poseidon must have been a Patti Paige fan, because ten minutes later the sea god had washed the Hamilton School into the grey Atlantic wielding a mighty hurricane that bore my mom’s name, Claire.

anitas-hurricane-dark

 

The next morning, the record, along with my record player, were gone from my room. The floor was wet and sandy. “Mommy!” I yelled, a little frightened. I calmed after recalling what I’d done.

My dad, tired, had returned from his business trip to find that the storm had washed our pine tree, westward into Jamaica Bay. After lunch, mom told dad about my mischief at the School and our hurricane adventure. Dad paused, stood up tall, removed the smelly cigar from his mouth and, looking down, told me that he was proud I’d learned a very important life lesson that he himself used in business.

“Lesson?” I asked, having no idea what a lesson was, or life was, or business was.

“When you need something done right, young man,” my dad said with a wink, “you must always, always go straight to the top.”

Freddy Deutsch, Age 4

Far Rockaway Beach, 1954

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