Thursday, April 7, 2011


She reached out and grasped my hand with her sticky paw and with a gentle tug led me away. She pulled me, deftly but with obvious intention, to the landing of the back stairs.

“I know that you play in here,” she pointed without ceremony to the buried trap door beneath the landing.

“How do you know that?”

“I’ve snuck in there when you weren’t around.”

“You shouldn’t have done that.”

“It’s too late. I’ve done it.”

“You shouldn’t get involved in things that are none of your business.”

“I don’t care,” she swung back her hair with vigor, the twisted braid landing on one shoulder, bouncing off and springing to the other. “Why should I care if you scold me?” her cross eye was focused away from me, but her other eye, clear and chocolate brown, was focused sparklingly on my broad face.

“I suppose you shouldn’t,” I said glumly, for I had no way to enforce my strictures. I noticed, as she spoke, that her teeth were pointed at the tips.

With one thin arm she pushed the door and with the other pulled me into the chamber. The crawl space ran along the entire length of the upper landing and was originally used to store the multitude of steamer trunks Mother and Father had lugged about Europe for the three or four years before they conceived offspring.

Eventually, Mother had a servant empty the space, with the idea of using it for storage for her compulsive sewing. The space was emptied, but somehow Mother had never gotten around to storing her overflow of fabric in the hidden chamber. So Langley, a creature that fills a niche to capacity, who expands, as situations demand, to the very contours of a proximal area, skittered into the vacated area.

It became a clubhouse, of sorts, for Homer and myself. We would do a proper job of it, incorporating our little fraternal organization. In the way of all children in industrialized societies, there would be a certain documented rigor to our small confederation. A charter would be drafted, the finer points of which would be debated in committee, hashed about the room in gaggles of arguing members, sticking points hammered out, pragmatic compromises made, drafts re-drafted, much in the way of caucuses the world over. Eventually it failed. The final straw with Homer went like this:

“Ah Lang,” Homer would whine, sitting at the makeshift miniature table I had constructed for his fictitious delegation, “you’re makin it too complicated.”

“Mr. Vandemark, if you wish to address the committee I will have to request that you refrain from doing so until the floor is open for questions.”

A stymied Homer would purse his lips and furrowed his brow.

Then the daily procedures would be drafted and enacted. There must be a strict set of procedures adhered to by all member-delegates to insure that all members-delegates are free to participate in the open caucus format without political infighting or factions forming.

“Mr. Vandemark,” I howled with theatrical rage, “the Chair has admonished you for the very last time to remain seated and remain quiet until the chair recognizes you and you take the floor and the stenographer can note your comments for future issues of The Caucus Review.”

“But Lang…”

“Mr. Vandemark, I am close to holding you in contempt of committee!” I waved my gavel threateningly in front of his forlorn face. His eyes were flooded with tears which streamed in silent rivulets down his cheeks. “What’s wrong, Homer?” I lowered my gavel and stooped over Homer’s desk. There was a spreading puddle of yellow urine at my feet.

“I have….” he whimpered, “I had to go to the toilet.”

My time with Mina in the crawlspace proved to be more profitable.

She was a bundle of coordinated energy. Whereas poor Homer shrunk under the pressure of the rigors of the give-and-take of the boardroom, Mina flourished, prospered, and was the perfect foe and devil’s advocate for my vociferous objections, my hand wringing admonishments, my ceaseless haranguing.

“You are out of order, Madam!

“No, you are out of order!” she squealed with delight.


“MADAME!” she shrieked back, and rushed me, headlong, stopping short of my chair, pulling back my head and landing on my thick lower lip, her salty, pouty lips, sandwiching both soft slivers between mine, inserting her darting tongue into the antechamber of my mouth. My first kiss.

Ever since, I have always associated Eros with a sort of raucous parliamentary procedures.

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