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Posts Tagged ‘Jingles the Creeper’

Woodminster: South Pacific, Day Eight — C&R II, Montclair After Midnight

In Fiction, Theatre, Writing on September 21, 2017 at 12:15 pm

(It’s like a delicious enchilada, only slightly creepy: start here.)

Day Eight: Wednesday, 26 July 2017 – C&R II, Montclair After Midnight

I stare at Weedbeard a moment, formulating my question. I don’t want to spook him.“Is there a reason you didn’t tell me this earlier?” I say.

“I didn’t expect you to interrupt our gathering,” he says. “That shows real gumption. But the thing in the trees – what did you call it?”

“Jingles the Creeper.”

“Right. Jingles. Well, if it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t have known it was there.”

“It stuck a leaf up my nose. Twice.”

“Ah,” he says, to the floor. Then he looks me in the eyes. “That tells me it wanted us to know it was there. You’d better keep reading. But first, sip your tea. I’ll prepare charcuterie.”

I sip my tea. There are more letters. But I’m trying to wrap my head around everything that’s happened tonight. It’s after one in the morning, I’m wide awake, and an old hippie is preparing sustenance. I’ve only met this man once before, but I am comfortable here. I feel safe. For the first time, in fact, I feel like I have some purchase on these uncertain slopes.

I find myself going over the events that followed Weedbeard’s fortuitous arrival. I’d barely had time to jump into the cab of his vintage firetruck before he threw it into gear and the truck lurched forward. “How did you find me?” I’d started to say. It came out as, “How did youfucking Christ, do you have a gun?!

Jingles the Creeper, leaping out of the darkness, strides long and springy like a goddamn evil gazelle, launched itself from the shadows. I hadn’t watched it moving before now.

My impressions, formed in a moment of headlight illumination: horizontal stripes, head to toe. Poofy pants, poofy sleeves. What I’d thought was a lace ruff is a ruffly collar of the same striped material. Tight-fitting striped socks, left hand gloved, right arm held just behind itself – why? Face bone white, eyes and lips lined in black. Circles of rouge on the cheeks. An impression of strange marks on the forehead –

It lands on the hood of the truck – ah! Running on stilts! – they clatter on the metal hood, it can’t find purchase. It’s grinning, giggling, jingling, holding on to a point above the front window.

“Friend of yours?” Weedbeard says, resigned, calm.

Jingles the Creeper raises its right arm, and it isn’t an arm at all. It looks like the dead, black, wet trees of winter – the fingers long, gnarled, tapering to needle-sharp points, glistening and covered in thorns. At the center of what would be its palm is a vulvic squid mouth, chomp-chomp-chomping, thick green ichor leaking from it.

We’re heading up the back exit road, full throttle, and Weedbeard says, “Take the wheel, my friend.”

He lifts himself up in this yogic sideways thing and I slide under him, taking the wheel as he lowers himself into the passenger seat. I don’t even begin to understand how he could do that unless I’m hallucinating or he’s secretly a Chinese gymnast. But my eyes are glued to Jingles.

Out of its vulvic squid palm is plorping a gooey white ball in a milky film that looks like sausage casing. So much for Jimmy Dean. It’s bok choy at breakfast from now on. Jingles sing-songs at us like … a puffy-pants creeper in the night:

“Now the time for fun and games
Has fallen by the road;
Let us sing the darkling names,
Let us mount the toad!” He says these things like they’re really good ideas.

Weedbeard unlatches the passenger windshield – this is a firetruck from the early 1900’s – reaching behind us to a gun rack. He’s obviously going to load a shotgun and blast this fucker off the front of the truck.

Jingles the Creeper continues:
“Let us play and gad about,
Let us taunt and jeer,
Let us bite and rip and taste
The soft-yet-crunchy ear!”

We hit a huge pothole and Jingles the Creeper slips backwards a moment, its right stilt hitting the ground and snapping under the car. The scream that comes from its mouth is like a little girl. If the little girl really likes having her leg broken off. And is maybe also a demon of the netherhells. But – it was a stilt. Right?

Screaming the sing-song in complete clarity, Jingles says,
“So much fun to fun and grin –
Grin to fun and smile,
Smiling, smiling, fun fun grin,
Fun for all the while! (Fun-fun.)”

It pulls its leg back up and I see no splintered wood, but a broken knob of blue-black bone, a joint like a backwards knee, thick hairs sticking out of the bone itself. All of this in a couple of seconds, as it screams its demony girl child scream. It turns its eyes on me and licks its lips, its tongue pushing out of its mouth like the meatus and glans exposed from within an inflamed, pus-oozing foreskin; there’s something glistening and black in its mouth, like oily hair.

“Glaughble, gloughbrle, [gagging noise]
Hurk, hurk, [gag, gag] hurk –” says Jingles the Creeper.

Three more gloopy globules have come out of its squid vagina hand mouth thing, and the first one lands on the hood of the car, where it sticks a moment. Jingles is leaning in toward the passenger side of the windshield, pushing its head under the glass, giggling and keening as it sing-songs our baffling death menu. This fatherfucker is clearly pleased with itself:

“Klorghp, klorghp – gauuuuuugh –
Hurk and hurk, and hurk and hurk and hurk!”

“The fuck are you doing? Shoot it!” I say.

“I’m preparing a little ditty we once sang in the moonlight,” says Weedbeard, not a care in the world. I glance over. He’s tuning a ukulele, humming. “You good with harmony?” he says.

Jingles the Creeper scoots closer to the windshield.

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Woodminster: South Pacific, Day Eight — Correspondence & Revelation

In Fiction, Theatre, Writing on September 20, 2017 at 12:15 pm

(Newman? Williams? Elfman? Hermann? Your choice. But there’s only one way to know: start here.)

Day Eight: Wednesday, 26 July 2017 – Correspondence & Revelation

May 2, 1952

Miss Bess Tremaine
1908 Julia Street
Oakland, CA 94618

Dear Bess,

I am typing this letter to you in Miss Fitzsimmons’s Typing Class. Today our exercise is called, Posture and Prose. And so I am writing to you with the most ladylike posture imaginable. Unlike Sadie Ballard, who looks like a roast ham got drunk in a basement saloon before rolling down Lombard Street during a lint storm.

Perhaps that is not the most kind and generous thing to say about Sadie Ballard. I am ladylike after all, and Ladies are always properly behaved. Let me find a more ladylike way of expressing my thoughts. Ah, I have it: Sadie Ballard smells like old vegetable soup. The kind with Okra in it. Slimy. Best left for the piglets you’ll sell to upwind slaughterhouses.

Alas! If only it were all true. Sadie Ballard is sitting two stations in front of me, her every move balletic. Poised like a gentle doe, she wondereth on the in-side of her Dean’s List Brainpan, “Shall I flee hither? Or shall I flee thither? For I have farted, and I must allow others to bask in the magical dust I’ve bequeathed to them with my blessed sphinc!”

We are required to submit these letters before mailing them, so I might type something less honest. I certainly don’t want to straighten Fitzsimmons’s fright mop. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll wait and see: if Sadie Ballard does anything less than perfect before the last ten minutes of class, I’ll leave this letter as is.

Yours Most Sincerely,

[Handwritten Signature]

Miss Louise Archer
5694 Estates Drive
Oakland, CA 94611

PS, Did I hear you say you’re auditioning for that musical?

[Folded underneath this first letter, the following:]

May 2, 1952

Miss Bess Tremaine
1908 Julia Street
Oakland, CA 94618

Dear Bess,

Finally, a chance to write to you about all our exciting plans for the summer. I do believe you mentioned something about auditioning for the musical? Such excitement! Such ennobling artistic expression! And to be close to the enchanting Sadie Ballard, who shall surely have the lead in said expression of ennobling artistry – I just can’t wait.

All I do is listen to the recording. Over and over. I just hope that someone will see me as I see me: a diminutive, female Ezio Pinza. I watch his TV show as often as I can, by golly! I copy his every gesture. Sometimes I even put a potato in my –

Kainotophobia and killcrop kidology! Potato salad, that’s what. I heard my mother say the other day, “I wonder if everyone at the party will eat my potato salad.” And I said, “Mother, except for the cat hair, that’s a dang fine salad.” Oh, how we laughed.

Ever wonder what would happen if we went to college for manly studies like building fires and building forts in the woods? I’ll bet we’d fail, because we’re just girls. Ha ha ha, ho ho ho, where do I get these silly notions? Back to my needlepoint.

Truly and Very Very Very Sincerely Yours,

[Handwritten Signature]

Miss Louise Archer
5694 Estates Drive
Oakland, CA 94611

[Handwritten note at the bottom: Miss Archer, you are nothing like Ezio Pinza. Impersonating boys is a bad idea. Girls who build fires get burned. Needlepoint, indeed. Would that you were so industrious.
– Miss Fitzsimmons
]

[End Correspondence]

I set the letters down.

I’m sitting at a small, round oak table. Next to me is a steaming cup of fresh ginger tea. My stomach is barely settling down, but the tea – even its smell – seems to help. The table sits in a pool of golden light cast by an original mica lamp overhead. Across the room, just out of the light, stands Weedbeard, left arm crossed over his chest, holding his right arm at the tricep. His head is down, but his eyes are locked on mine.

He says, “That’s how it started.”

Woodminster: South Pacific, Day Seven — Voice Memo V

In Fiction, Theatre, Writing on September 19, 2017 at 12:43 pm

(If you like to be frightened, at least know the backstory: start here.)

Day Seven: Tuesday, 25 July 2017 – Voice Memo V

[Sound: still garbled and watery; frantic sloshing through water, wet hands on concrete; in the background, growing closer from the right, jingling and high-pitched laughter.]

Edward: Not one single fuck do I give right now, I’m getting out of this fuck-cunted fountain. Nightmare where you can’t run fast enough from the monster, and now I’m in a fucking toxic algae bloom!

Voice: Splishy splashy, little fish … !
Toxic algae, be my pal, gee!
Little fishy, grant my wish!
Crunchy-cralgae,
Here … !
I … !
Come!

[Sound: light footsteps on concrete and jingles punctuate the last three words, moving just above and to our right.]

Edward: Do you have to do everything with internal rhyme? Fucking creepy shitbags!

[Sound: During the above, huge frothing splash of a fully-dressed 190lb man throwing himself out of a fountain into dry dirt and brittle weeds.
In the far distance, sirens and horn of firetruck.
Hands and feet scrabbling for purchase, we hear wet shoes squeaking, wet cloth squelching under the following:]

Edward: In the movies, everyone gets away so fucking easy

[Sound: car engine close by, brakes engaged, engine idling. Sirens are closer.]

Edward: Headlights! On the trees above me, please let it be …

Voice: Scribble-scrabble in the dirt!
Fearful panting, jeerful janting.
When I catch you, it will hurt:
Leerful lanting, tearful ranting!

Edward: How does it feel about headlights, I wonder? Oh fuckno – it’s here, stripey pants – on the wall of the fountain – yeurks –

[Sound: Edward scrabbling to his feet, stumbling.]

Edward: Run fucking run, fucking run you pudgy fuck …

[Sound: running feet underneath the above line, then a trip and a fall into leaves and dirt.]

Edward: Graughhh!

[Sound: a voice, male, from the direction of the idling engine: You hear that?
Edward is struggling to his feet, cursing, breathing hard.
Another male voice from the direction of the engine: What, you think it’s the old Witch of Woodminster?]

Edward: They’re right up there. Here we go –

[Sound: THUD, Edward falling to his knees in leaves.]

Edward: Fuck. Tree. Head. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. … Bleeding … Oh God …

[Sound: stumbling steps through leaves, panting, wet shoes squelching with every step.
Second Male Voice from car: It’s an old wives’ tale, man.
Jingles and snapping branches overhead.
First Male Voice from car: So you say, but my friend said he saw her.
Idling engine and the voices in the car are getting louder as Edward moves up the slope.
Sirens are much closer.
Giggles and jingles and branches rustling, snapping overhead.
Second Male Voice from car: Okay, fine: what does she look like?
First Male Voice from car: Covered in leaves. He called her a bog hag.
Second Male Voice from car: (laughing) Bog hag? Your friend into D&D and shit?
First Male Voice from car: That’s the thing. He wasn’t. And he couldn’t sleep alone for two years after.]

Voice (whispering, with glee): I’m above you in the trees

Edward: Finally. Haugh, it’s the police. Get these leaves off my face.
Excuse me, Officers?

[Sound: from the right, Ma-MA! Ma-MAAAaaaaaeuuuurrrghllllthhhh …]

First Male: What the fuck – ?

Voice (whispering, with even more glee): Jingle branches, queurky queranches!

Edward: I need your help –

Second Male: The fuck is in that tree?!

[Sound: Jingling, giggling, thrashing branches.]

Voice (whispering, with way too much glee):Yous will not escape from mees … !

Edward: Offfficcc –

Voice (whispering, with what can only be called an excess of glee): Tingle tanches, tingle tee … hee … heeeeeee … !

[Sound: hacking, retching, the splashing of chunky vomit]

First Male: Outside your window!

Edward (groaning, doubled over in pain): Fuchhthasserbrilighhhh … [Fuck, that’s a bright light.]

First Male (simultaneous): Jesus Christ!

Second Male (simultaneous): Jesus Christ!

Edward: Glorphloorgh, phflorgleblorg … [I’m sorry about the vomit, but this is an emergency.]

Second Male: Bog Hag! Drive!

[Sound: Police vehicle thrown into gear, tires screaming as it speeds away; Second Male’s voice fading with distance as he bellows, What the hell, man, what the holy hell?]

Edward: No!

[Sound: Shambling, squishy footsteps as Edward runs after the police car.
Sirens are blaring, close.]

Edward: Fuck. My car. It’s in the lot at the top of the hill. Wait …

[Sound: squishing footsteps halt. A jingle and a giggle from behind us.]

Edward: … I smell … smoke.

[Sound: Firetruck hurtling down the road toward us, horn blaring, siren howling.]

Edward: Oh shit. I look like the guy who’d set a fire. In a bog. To roast toads.

[Sound: screaming squeal of brakes, footsteps on gravel as Edward leaps to the right. Siren cuts off, window rolls down, a voice speaks from the driver’s seat:]

Weedbeard: Edward. Get in. We don’t have much time —

[Audio cuts off. Battery dead.]