oneirophrenia: (Girl I Like Bear 2)
Ladies and gentlemen...Storytime with Uncle Pegritz, Episode 21090. Please be considerate of others and turn off your cellphones, pagers, and other electronic devices. Or the management will jam them so far up your colons everytime you swallow you'll dial a different relative.

The Carriage Lounge at the Mt. Vernon Inn in Uniontown was the place to be for a while. Many, many, many episodes of Storytime with Uncle Pegritz will happen there, and damnear every one of them involve women...but 98% of them do not involve Uncle Pegritz actually getting to touch a woman physically, however innocent of clammy-handed lust that touch may be. See...I wasn't always the 200 kiloGauss chick magnet I am today: at one time, I couldn't get the honies to even point out the direction of the nearest exit let alone provide a brotha with a phone number or a random drunken make-out session. It's true! No matter how swank the vintage 1970s wing-collar shirts I wore, not a single dame would even cast a glance or a "Fuck you!" my direction...but I was used to such reactions, and by 1998 or so had grown positively immune to them. I didn't go out to hit on the skirts, nor did I go out to drink--my drunken years were still a good distance in the future. I went out to enjoy myself with my friends. I went out to boogie like a moron to the tunes of my favorite local cover bands. I went out to the Mt. Vernon Inn because my favorite local cover bands--Deja Vu first and foremost amongst them--played there often on weekends.

One Friday night, it was business as usual: Joe and Davin and I were there, hangin' out with other folks we knew about town and the members of the band (Joe's halfbrothers Jason and Jeremy, whom I'd both gone to highschool with; Darek Eberhart; and Dave Ray). 'Twas an average evening at the Vernon: the crowd was precisely one half Uniontown-and-environs-brand rednecks and one half College Kids on the Make, the gingerale in my cup was flat and dry as a stretch of Kansas prairie, the buffalo gals were all winking and wiggling at the band members and good ol' Lloyd-O, Jason/Jeremy/Joe's pa who ran the soundboard for the band, was grumbling and grousing about the boys wanting too much kickdrum in the mix as always. The lights were down and the small square dancefloor was packed with hustlers and hustlettes, drunken dads and aunts and cousins, all bouncing around to old cover-band faves like "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Ride-Around Sally." It was a good ol' time and, of course, my friends and I were jammed into that crowd too, flappin' and flailin' to the beat, ignorant of others around us and just having a grand old rocking time.

At some point, though...I felt a strange, womanly warmth brush my shoulder, and turned to tender my usual "Sorry, lady--this song just makes me freak out" appologia for bumping into somebody while spazzing out to Seven Mary Three's "Cumbersome." And, yes, there was some chick looking back at me....But before I could open my mouth, the girl had wrapped a good portion of her body around mine and was proceeding to freak me like a dog humping a treasured, ass-scented hydrant. I couldn't react. I couldn't move. I couldn't shout. I couldn't even move my jaw: a terrifying tetanus of sheer disbelief had crashed into my face with the force of a sledgehammer. I could barely get a look at the girl in the swirling dancefloor illumination, but she was short, had a little tousel of dishwater-blonde hair, and could wriggle her body like a muscular eel, thighs sliding slowly up and down mine, hips flowing waterwise against me, breasts....Good GODS, I was a second from fainting. Breathe, Pegritz, breathe! I closed my eyes and swallowed hard and tried to pace my own body's clumsy, arthritic twitches and bounces to somehow complement this lithe beast's churning moves. My veins were full of steam! I hadn't a clue what was happening but it was happening for sure, because from behind me I could hear Joe chanting, "Go, Pegritz! Go, Pegritz!" and the lights and Eberhart's squealing guitar and Jason's voice blaring out above all else, "Mooooooooooove it to the right, do the Harlem Shuffle!"

It would've been heaven, ambrosia on that postage-stamp dancefloor, a sudden eruption of hot, sweaty amazement...but for the fact that the girl writhing away at me smelled like a wet goat.

Now, she didn't stink like a mud-fouled barnyard. She wasn't rank with sweat or piss or old-lady perfume like the halfdressed grannies shaking their shriveled behinds elsewhere on the dancefloor--no, none of that. What I mean when I say she smelled like a goat was that she smelled like a wet farm animal: muddy, musky, like a wet dog who'd rolled in a thin patch of grass and got slopped up with some soil. Even there amid the press of bodies, the multiple funk of perfume and sweaty armpits and clothes, my nose twanged with the girl's werewolfish scent. What the hell was happening here?

The song ended. The girl looked up. She was cute: a sharp little face under that typical Fayette County poof of hair, a sly smile. Foxy, she was--in every sense of the word (including the smell). "Haaaaaah there," she drawled, and her accent was pure Appalachian. This was a girl clearly descended from the benighted Allegheny Mountains outside of Uniontown to enjoy herself in the lowland lights of our particularly little excuse for civilization. She barked a short name--Gina or Tina or something with some "ees" and "ahs" in it--and started up a roughshod conversation that worked itself out in staccato phrases fired at each other between bursts of song from the band, verse "What's yer name?" chorus "Pegritz" verse "You come 'round here often?" chorus "Yeah, most of the time when Deja Vu's here" guitar solo "Aw yeah?" final chorus "Yeah--I'm friends with all of 'em."

Eventually, since we were more focused on talking to one another than dancing, the dancefloor crowd extruded us to its edges and we spent some time chatting aimlessly. I was scarcely aware of what I was saying, because I was Captain Clueless and didn't have the vaguest idea what to say to a girl who actually wanted to talk to me. I did manage to make out, however, that she somehow knew Darek Eberhart and Dave Ray. She'd seen the band play before at some plankfloored roadhouse up in the mountains a while back and had come on down to Uniontown to see them tonight again. Strange. So strange. She smelled like damp fur but she was otherwise such a normal girl...the kind of perfectly modern type you sometimes find hidden like pearls amongst swine in the populations of rural counties: girls raised in traditional families who have nonetheless managed to free themselves from the shackles of those oldtimey upbringings without losing themselves in the opposite extreme. Around Uniontown, most women were either chastity-belted Catholic prudes or ravenous cum-sluts--a girl who was comfortable with her body and mind but not frivolous with them; uneducated, sure, but sensible and friendly and open.

What the hell would a girl like this be talking to--and dancing with--an idiot like me?

Needless to say, my selfconsciousness eventually throttled me as I knew it would. How could it be otherwise? A perfectly attractive, seemingly intelligent, if goat-scented, woman was talking to me for seemingly no why wouldn't that freak me out? Eventually, I babbled some kind of random excuse to her about needing to take a piss or find somebody and wandered off to let my brain digest the incomprehensible bolus of female attention that had been forced down its gullet. Mental heartburn instantly set in and I found myself meandering aimlessly for most of the remainder of the night, running into the Mountain Maiden a couple of times and speaking to her, but otherwise just circulating randomly while I let my unconscious grind over and over what little we'd said to one another earlier, trying to squeeze any drop of meaning from even the simplest hello. Was she interested in me? Really? Could she be interested in me? If so, what the FUCK was I supposed to do?

At one point, we even ended up slowdancing together to Eric Calpton's "Wonderful Tonight," and even though the solid warmth of her body in my arms was undeniably real I felt as though I were drowning in a bizarre hallucination.

The end of the night came at last, the lights went up, and there she was, suddenly by my side, asking me what I was going to do now? She was obviously drunk now--had been for most of the night, I assumed, though I hadn't seen her drink anything--and didn't have a ride home, so in a brilliant stab of inspiration I made the offer instantly: "Hell, I can give you a ride home." That definitely scored some points...especially since I then learned she lived five minutes from the Maryland border. Driving her home would entail an hour-long, maybe even longer, drive through the pitch-black, earlymorning mountains along highways haunted only by latenight truckers and weirdos in filthy pickups, and backroads that probably weren't even paved. I instantly regretted my offer but...but...maybe I'd still end the night as Joe had said I could if I played my cards: giving her a righteous wang-ride. That would probably make the terrifying journey into the elevated heart of darkness that is the Allegheny Mountains worthwhile, provided her pa didn't catch us going at it and chased me home with a shotgun....

The girl wanted to hang around for a while and talk to Darek Eberhart and Dave Ray, though, as the band was tearing down, packing up their sound equipment and intstruments, and making plans for breakfast at the Eat n' Park just up the road. Joe and Davin left; I hung around, drifting behind her like a balloon on a tether as she drunkenly babbled with Eberhart and Dave, my head bobbing and airy with her troubling goat-scent...which I fervently hoped to be merely a scent trapped in her clothes and not exuded by her curvaceous little body. I couldn't even imagine how I'd react if, say, we found ourselves in the buck in the backseat of my Cavalier and I discovered that her holiest of holies fumed like a nanny in the rain. These thoughts at least kept my mind busy during the drudgery of watching the band remove its gear to the parkinglot and load it into vans and cars.

Finally, though, the parkinglot out front was virtually empty save Eberhart, Dave, myself, and the girl. it was now close to four a.m. and I was dreading the drive into the mountains now, because I wouldn't get home until well after dawn and I was frickin' tired--a condition I certainly didn't want to be enjoying as I tried to find this girl's house according to her inebriated directions. It was clear by this point that both Eberhart and Dave were doing their rockstar best to persuade my skeeze to go home with either--or both--of them, which certainly pissed me off...not because they were cockblocking me or attempting to snatch up my apparent catch, but because they seemed to share a background of experience that hinted at knowing one another for a long time. I found out much later from Jason and Jeremy that the chick was a regular at all the band's mountain gigs, and both Eberhart and Dave had been after her for months, though she'd never before given them a real hint of interest on her part.

You wouldn't've known that by her reactions that night, however. It was now well after four and we were still standing around in that emptied, ghostly parkinglot. I was antsy for sleep and getting more pissed by the minute, wishing the girl would just shut up about whatever the hell it was she was talking about so I could give her a ride home and just be done with this confusing spectacle. I turned away, and when I looked back, she had leaped onto Dave Ray and was humping him. Literally. Humping him like a bitch in heat, hips pumping viciously, breasts heaving rabidly behind her sweatshirt--and she was panting, too!

Her tongue--I shit you not--hung down to her collarbone, a wet, doggy tentacle of pale pink that wagged in the cool night air and slopped about on Dave Ray's face leaving odd, brightly-glistening trails.

At that point, all of the muddled, erotic and terrorized fantasies that had been churning in my head for the last few hours froze solid into one foul mass of coagulated garbage and I almost thought I would puke. That tongue. That goat-scent. The fact that, after having just talked for hours with me about random stuff like going to school and music, and having babbled about everyday smalltalk with the two band guys, she had suddenly devolved into some kind of tentacle-tongued mountain creature from a fairy tale, a woodland troll hungry for sex. I watched Dave Ray take that horrendous tongue into his mouth as she ground her hips against his. Darek Eberhart was laughing sickly, I was just sick. I could only imagine the decadent clan of inbred mountain mutations of which this girl was clearly the prettiest, proudest scion...and worst of all, I knew that no matter how much of a physical grotesquerie the girl actually was beneath her clothing, Dave Ray would gladly poke the hell out of her anyway. He was just that kind of guy. I'd seen some of the women he'd taken home after gigs in Uniontown and...well, let's put it this way: a she-goat with a prehensile tongue was probably the finest of them.

Without even asking if the girl still needed a ride home--probably not, I figured--I turned and just left. I wasn't disappointed that events had taken that turn: my flirtation with the girl had begun very abruptly and very strangely, and my mind was still awhirl with that even though I now found her positively creepy. I was simply not ready to handle something like that...a sudden encounter that could've ended with a one-night stand or something similar. Such things were as alien to me as that girl's oral physiology was alien to the rest of humanity, and had I found myself on the receiving end of her octopoid kiss, would I have been able to make even the slightest sense of it? Would I have been able to live with myself the next morning? Would I have become stupidly obsessed with her, desperate for another mouthful of that ropey tongue? Probably. I was a starveling hound then for whom even the slightest affection, however forced or drunken, was like a syringeful of the finest heroine imaginable: I would've wolfed it down and let it fry my brain, become slavishly addicted to it even though I knew it was a monstrous thing born in the shadowed depths of alpine depravity, and then let it destroy me. I knew it then, and I was glad in the end that the subtle warning of the girl's loamy stink was borne out by her actions and her gruesome tongue--it saved me from a trap I would've walked into all too willingly, a potential relationship, however brief, of Lovecraftian horror.
oneirophrenia: (Default)
Here it be, Loyal Viewers: The story of Pegritz and the Teenbyoppin' Donutshoppin' Poon Extravaganza: or, The Tragickal History of A Jailbait Princess.

Uniontown ain't known for its nightlife...unless you count the weird bugs that infest the city's shadowy corners assailing the world with their weird, pseudo-electronic warblings on a summer night. Basically, Uniontown, being a shriveled-up husk of a coal town, mostly just has corner bars where the old and the lifeless go to sup the dregs of their memories and guzzle rotgut booze to the tune of the Country-Western-Only jukebox. There are...or, rather, were a few more "happening" bars where the local college kids and twentysomethings went to flash their mating displays--but, really, unless you were either a forty-year-old unemployed wino or an oversexed frat rat or sorostitute, Uniontown really doesn't have a thing to offer diversionwise. Under-twentyoners basically have three options: hang out at the Mall (which they do, in strange, mindless shoals like fish stunned by all the flashing lights and the brilliant storefronts), stay at home and vegetate in front of their computers (like me), or gather up a bunch of friends, find a convenient parkinglot, park their cars in clumps and turn up the stereos and congregate at these random locations. These days, the parkinglot of WalMart and the nearby Shop n' Save seem to be The Places for this...but back in 1998 or 1999 there was but one place for this kind of cruisin' to happen: the parkinglot of Yum-Yum Tasty Donuts, the allnite donuts-and-coffee shop behind the Eat n' Park.

Now, my friends and I were no strangers to Yum-Yum: MANY a night we'd spent hour after hour ensconced in the one corner booth that always seemed empty and waiting for us as though decreed Ours and Ours Alone by the gods of Sitting Around Doing Nothing. We were practically pieces of furniture there...or, well, pieces of furniture that swilled gallons of tasteless generic coffee and gobbled donuts by the dozen (because the donuts were effin' good). Anyway, since we spent so much time at the donut shop, we naturally noticed the many teenaged night-owls who would come rolling into the parkinglot to take up their usual spaces, stereos humming with bland MTV bass, eyes insomnia-wide with Mountain Dew and whatever the drug-of-the-week was. Mostly, Joe and Davin and I made fun of these vagabond children...though, in the backs of our heads, we knew we weren't much different--we, too, were out looking for something to do and had been drawn to the donut shop like caffeine-addicted moths to cheap Columbian flames, and we, too, had hung out in parkinglots when we were kids, as well. But these kids were truly laughable.

First of all, there were the Dullardy Don Juans: three or four boys who would hang around the open ass-maw of the one kid's Jeep Cherokee, ballcaps perched backwards on their oblong heads, full of acned swagger and hiphop lingo (even they were whiter than me). They'd wave and wag their hips at any carload of hoochies that drifted by through the halogen-oranged restaurant-strip night. "'Sup, babies!" "Heeeeeeeey, girls--c'mon over hyar." "Yo, BITCHES!" So hysterical. Teenaged congeries of hormones, video slop absorbed from MTV and their ubiquitous rap albums, and sheer stupidity. The worst thing was...they did draw girls to them. The Poon Squad, as we elders safe in our donut shop glasshouse called them. A random selection of Lolitas from various local highschools, all of them perennially clad in the skimpy raiments of their nature no matter the weather--sticky July swelter or skin-ripping February freeze--and all of them obsessed with BOYS. BOYS were the drug of choice amongst their set. COCK. You could see the lust for freshly-pubed wang roaring in their blast furnace eyes, you could smell their overflowing pheromones sizzling beneath their hideous floral reeks. They were hot toddies, everyone: panties swampy with need, heads empty of anything but fantasies of Eminem and Jay-Z, mouths wet with hunger for any quick thrill or pocketful of money they could squeeze out of the teenage loatharios they lured to their rocks. These skinny little sirens were all of them very attractive in a sleazy, future-stripper sort of way, and I'm not about to lie: I was lookin'. We all were. How could we not? Joe and Davin and I were men, and even though we hadn't the vaguest interest in these jailbait goddesses our wangs certainly did. Anyway.

There were three girls who, for some reason, occasionally took to talking to us when we'd pass them by going into the shop or leaving. Sometimes, we even ended up standing around in the parkinglot with them talking--and by talking I mean making fun of them subliminally while we pretended to have an interest in the vapid vaporous words coming from their mouths. One was a bizarre girl, a true daughter of Proteus, whose appearance and mental arraignment changed so much weekend to weekend that to this day I can't recall anything about her but her scent: Teen Spirit and alcohol. Another was a short, blonde little chick whose name was, apparently, Brickface--why I never learned, nor did I particularly care, even though she'd seemingly taken a bit of a shine to the ol' Pegritzmeister. The final one--call her Julia, pronounced "Hoo-lia" because she had a distinctly Latina look to her and I can't remember her name--was the burning hot protostar around which the other orbited, basking in her burgeoning radiance: long, straight dark hair; a perfectly heart-shaped face; a booty that would rock Jennifer Lopez's fans right down to their shoes; and a personality so abrasive and hardboiled (for one so young: I later learned she was fifteen) that when she hopped out of whatever car was chauffering her this week you could actually hear the sheer sandpaper reality of her scraping loudly through the air. I haven't a clue why Brickface and the Amorphous One hung around her: she bossed them about, snarled at their every word, and was just generally loathesome.

Well. One weekend, she wasn't around. Brickface and the Shadow Entity were, as were their anonymous friends and the Don Juans...but no Julia. Her friends didn't know where she weas: she hadn't been in school all week, hadn't called, etc. They were "concerned." Their concern, of course, was expressed in rubbing their bulemic little bodies against all those boys, boys, boys who normally would've been slavering about Julia's bodacious rear like penis-powered automatons. The next week, when Joe and Davin and I arrived at the donut shop, none of them were around--which was weird, because they'd become as much a regular feature of Yum-Yum Tasty Donuts as we were. I even asked one of the Don Juans that I actually knew, a rather decent (if dimwitted) fellow named Brian, if he knew what had become of the three sirens. Brian hadn't a clue. But he wished they'd show up again, 'cause them bitches were fine and he wanted to tag the darkhaired one, y'know, the one with the big ol' bubble-butt.

The next week, some of the Dons weren't there. Few of the other girls were, as well. My friends and I just figured that the donut shop had finally outlived its coolness as Official Weekend Hangout Spot for the highschool set. But that didn't turn out to be the case. Somehow, I got to talking to one of the boys and asked them what had become of those three girls and the others.

"Man, that's a hard story," he said, looking down at the ground somewhat...appalled? Shamefaced? Discombobulated? He shuffled his feet on the blacktop and I told Joe and Davin to just go in, grab me a Powerade from the cooler and an apple spice donut, and I'd be in directly.

The boy (who went to school at Uniontown High with them) told me that Julia had run away--run far away...all the way to distant, semi-legendary Pittsburgh because--surprise surprise--she was pregnant. Fifteen, and pregnant, with no idea who the father was. By some arcane algebra of blame and guesswork, she'd decided that the father was some black dude from Pittsburgh, mainly because he and his friends were willing to give her amnesty should she flee her very Catholic parents, who were sure to erupt into rage and saint-begging at the revelation of their unvirginal daughter's most nonmiraculous conception. So off she'd run to Pittsburgh...but when she'd arrived, her promised safe haven had been revealed to be either a drug den or the boy's mother's house--the fella telling the tale wasn't sure. After a horrendous fight, she'd found herself stranded in Pittsburgh and called up Brickface to come pick her up. Brickface and Noface had then stolen Brick's parents car and took off to get their friend....

And hadn't been heard from since.

The other kids who used to hang out in the parklinglot had started going elsewhere--each others' houses, mostly--because supposedly the donut shop parkinglot was now under surveillance by the cops, but my contact didn't care: he had nothing to hide, so who cared if the cops videotaped him standing around and hanging out, right? Some kind of bodiless fear had overtaken all of that little group...a spectre of fouled pregnancy, perhaps, or of possible murder, rape, dissection, malefice rampant in the faroff land of Pittsburgh that had swallowed three of their own. Brickface and the other girl were apparently pregnant, too: their wombs seeded by one or another of the group's male components, or maybe someone else...hell, maybe even Joe or Davin and I had did it!--nobody could tell, because these three girls had been so savagely cockhungry and liscentious that there was literally no way to tell if the stories they told of fucking Joe This-Guy or Michael That-Guy were true or false. Those three girls inhabited a sudden whirlpool of rumors rich with innuendo, disgust, and reproach; all of their friends, who'd engaged in the same behaviors the ostracized missing had, now seemed cowed by the fruits of their three friends' labors. An asteroid weighty with consequences--the consequences a thousand cautionary television specials and school speakers had warned them about--had crashed into their little donut-shop parkinglot circle and smashed it asunder. Some, like the guy I was talking to, had survived the impact by dint of never having partaken of the sirens' charms ("They were just too skanky for me," he said, "but I still talked to 'em anyway")...some were now on the run for fear the spectre of knocked-uppedness would hunt them down to and slay them with their anonymous lovers' sperm...and some were just sick of the whole damned circus that a simple little thing like hanging out in a fucking donut shop parkinglot had become.

Weeks later, I heard that Brickface and the Nameless One had returned...neither pregnant, but both scarred by their time away from home. Details of their sojourn in the underworld were rare and vague to the point of being worthless, but they weren't allowed out of their parents' sight anymore, that was for sure. Julia was gone: she'd made up with the random feller from Pittsburgh and was living with him, transferring to school somewhere in Pittsburgh after her baby was born. The fecund air that had hung around them and crept up even the noses of me and my friends was dispelled and that was it--we never saw any of them again.

Years later, I still think sadly about the little blonde one they called Brickface. Julia was clearly just a dizzy fifteen-year-old slut devoured by her own inevitable life, and the constantly-mutating one...well, she probably just dissolved into a puddle of pure confusion one day, all identity lost in the whirl of sex and playing hooky from school. But Brickface was the only one who seemed to have even the slightest chunk of true personality lodged in her like bomb shrapnel, smothered deep beneath the scar tissue of her relationship with the two others. When I spoke to her occasionally, her voice and random words often hinted at the existence of a mind deep behind her vacuous eyes--a girl who wanted to have fun with her life, who wanted to enjoy her youth, but had somehow gotten to think that enjoying your youth meant spreading your legs for any prick that could fill the void. She spoke gruffly, with the same gangsta-bitch swagger as the others, but she would sometimes giggle like a little girl at a funny word from her friends. I could easily tell she'd once been a completely different person, but she'd become so terribly mutated by the pressuring radiation her idol-friends gave off....It was sad. The worst thing was that she had some kind of odd, non-slutty crush on me. Not that I would've ever taken her up on that offer--she was practically half my age, and despite the fact that she was really cute, I even felt grimy just talking to her sometimes, even though I never flirted with her one bit--but it felt like her crush on me was some kind of desperate attempt to reach out of the shadow cast by the life she'd forged with her friends. It was clear that I, like Joe and Davin and Lenny and all my friends, were much older, but we weren't old--were weren't stultified stuffed shirts or Bible-bearing parent figures...we were guys much older than her who were still having a lot of fun in the fun-vacuum of Uniontown without leaving ourselves open to the constant urges and lusts of others. We weren't always on the make because there was no need for it: I didn't have a girlfriend, but Joe and Davin--hell, Davin would shortly get married to his fiance Amy, and Joe would soon move in with his soon-to-be-fiance Weege--but none of us were constantly seeking whatever convenient hole we could find to toss our sorrows into. We just...lived, and lived large--and had fun--and it had nothing to do with the eternal mating game, with the vicious circle of peer pressure, with anything but enjoying life.

Brickface wanted to enjoy her life, too...but she was too busy fucking, and bailing her idol Julia out of trouble, and stealing her parents car--laboring to maintain an image she'd bought for herself just to give herself something to do on the weekends and to make herself liked by others--to ever actually experience the world around her.

Today, she's probably married...and divorced. Three squalling kids. Living in a trailer park outside of Fairchance. Wandering why her wild, wild life in the parkinglot of Yum-Yum Tasty Donuts had left such a horrible, ashen taste in her mouth, as though she'd eaten a mouthful of the asphalt she used to spend so much time prancing about on. Why such great times had to end in such strangeness. She's probably never talked to Julia or the other one since. She probably has few friends now, and she doesn't fuck any of them.
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[ profile] jdecay inspired this, so buckle up, prop your eyelids up with some toothpicks and have a copy of Hammond's Medical Curiosities ready for referencing, 'cause here comes a tale of MUTANT FREAKS AND THE FRIZZYHAIRED BRIDGE-TROLL TROLLOPS THAT LOVE THEM!

Back in the summer and early fall of 1998, I worked as an ad designer at the Connellsville Courier, a small (read: nearly nonexistent) rag in Connellvsille, PA, which is about ten or so miles outside of Uniontown. That had to be the worst job I've ever worked in all my days, but that's a whole 'notha story or twenty (see Storytime with Uncle Pegritz, Episodes 19875-20001), but I will say one thing about the time I spent working in that dive: it provided me with the opportunity to observe some of the strangest people to ever walk the world. And probably the strangest of them all were the Three-Armed Freak and the Bridge Trollop.

See...Connellsville is a lot like an open-air Mutter Museum in which the teratological exhibits wonder around in public where you can gawk at them freely and feed them granola bars and PBR Silver Bullets. I have never set foot in a town--or in an entire region of the world--with as many deformed citizens at Connellsville. Perhaps the very earth upon which the town was built exhudes some deleterious radiation that slaps embryos around in the womb and chews up blastocysts like wads of undifferentiated gum, thereby sprinkling the populace with a much higher proportion of hydrocephalics, dwarfs, albinos, osetosarcomas and frightfully bright-colored keloids than you'd find anywhere outside of...say, Chernobyl. Perhaps the rate of inbreeding is just through the roof--a definite possibility, since many Connellsvilleans sort of all resemble one another. Regardless, working in Connellsville was a lot like working in a gigantic carnival sideshow.

One hot summer day, however, I was stopped on the bridge that crosses the Youghiogheny River on Crawford Avenue; I was coming back from lunch, waiting for the light at the end of the bridge to change. Since my Hooptie's air conditioning hadn't worked in years, I was sitting there with the window down, one arm hanging out in the breeze, just watching pedestrians strolling the sidewalk along one side of the bridge. There was one fellow walking along who...seemed to catch my eye for some reason: at first glance, he was just your usual sweaty, sunburnt, slackjawed daily denizen of Connellsville out for a noontine constitutional (probably to bake the drink-poisons out of his thin-haired scalp)...but there was something about him that just kept tickling my Spidey Sense. He was a big, flabby bruiser of a man, and of course, being a big, flabby bruiser he was wearing a filthy, ooze-drenched muscle shirt with the sleeves sliced off and the sides cut open all the way to his waist. His hirsute arms--longer than normal human arms, of course, quite Sasquatchian in proportion--were swinging loosely at his sides as he stalked along like a refugee from a Bigfoot film and...and...then I noticed it:

The motherfucker had three arms.

Yes! That was what my mind had subliminally caught on: whenever his one arm would swing forward, a little somethin' somethin' extra would peak through the slit of his muscle shirt--a stubby, malformed little vestigial arm that was, apparently, affixed to his shoulder blade, My man was totally strutting his stuff in the radioactive daylight of Connellsville, swinging his oversized primary arms and giving the ladies just that sweetest little glimpse of that extra stick of bone and gristle as though maybe the chickies would somehow think that his wang would be just as impressive as that maleficent growth.

The worst thing, though...was that some woman did notice, and apparently took the bait, fished in like a three-eyed trout from the shadows at the corner of the bridge. She emerged into view like a bandylegged river troll called to action by the tripp-trapping of the mutant on her bridgetop. Her hair was a gargantuan froth of yellowgray perm-curls that exploded from the top of her big round head like a spray of filthy dishwater erupting from an overflowing dishwasher, and her skin looked like sagging burlap sacks draped over an assymetrical skeleton of old driftwood and random flotsam coughed up on the shores of the Yough under that bridge. Dear gods, I was praying for the light to change so I could get back to the misery of work and flee this visual misery before me...but the light wouldn't change, and my eyes were glued to the scene of the living accident before me. I couldn't turn away!

The troll cackled something meaningless at the three-armed demon whose vestigial arm had hooked my attention and was slowly dragging my soul out of my body and wrapping it around its tiny wrist. The hulking tri-limb then said, "Baby, I got what you need!"--or some similar inanity. At that point, the bridge trollop's monstrous, fish-colored lips cranked back to reveal a piranha-mouth full of huge, round, riverstone teeth and--somehow--I could smell the cloacal reek of her breath ripping its way through the stagnant air, a farty miasma of grey-tongued halitosis and rotgut bourbon fumes. LOATHESOME!

Thank the gods--the Other Gods and the mild gods of Earth, and even the Great Old Ones while I'm at it--that the light changed and I was freed from traffic lockdown to peel rubber back to the newspaper office and leave the hideous sight of that eldritch courtship....To this day, I've never seen either the three-limbed agent of the devil or the beast that crawled out from under the bridge to skeeze upon him, but I fear. I fear, people. I fear that perhaps...perhaps that night love was found beneath that bridge, and the troll's fecund depths were fertilized...and, somewhere in Connellsville, an even greater mutation is slouching its way toward Bethlehem to be born. If so, I don't want to meet it. I haven't set foot in Connellsville in over four years for a reason.


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April 2007

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