Classic Uncle Bardie: Be Careful What You Ask For

Another Halloween repeat performance from 2013. Enjoy. It’s Halloween.

The light from the windows of her hundred-year-old house streamed out onto the lawn late that night in February. The light reflected the shadow of her silhouette behind the curtains of her second story bedroom. She was watching me, I knew, as I stood next to the fence across the street and waited. I had been here every night for one hundred days, in rain, in fog that came up off the nearby sea, and on clear nights. It was the key to the door of her heart.

I wondered if she would ever recognize my love for her. At first, I had sent her notes, then candy, then flowers, first one, then a half dozen, then a dozen. But she ignored them. When we had last spoke at our high school, she had urged, “Please don’t.”

But I loved her too much to give up and I knew she would come to love me. It was fated to be and only a matter of time.

Each night I watched her father arrive from some late night appointment and go into the house. He was always going and coming at night. But why? Why did he do this? After all, he was a successful lawyer who had an office downtown, open for appointments all day long. Why did he need to be out this late every night?

One night her father walked out of the house and headed for his car. I looked at my watch. Eleven o’clock. I decided to follow. I hurried around the corner and jumped into my old beat-up green Buick. I started it, then sat there. Her father backed out of the driveway and headed east.

I pulled in behind him, about twenty car lengths, and tailed him. We drove for thirty minutes or so until we came to an old rundown warehouse. He parked in its parking lot, next to the three or four other cars there. I pulled to a stop a block or so away and watched him enter a side door into the building.

I got out of the car and walked over to the partially lit parking lot. I went around to the side and listened in through a half-broken window. All I could hear was the sound of barking dogs in the distance. I pushed my ear closer to the window. Then I felt it. The cold metal in my back. It was a gun.

“Come with me,” the man behind me demanded and grabbed me by the neck and shoved me forward. Before I could turn around to see who it was, I was forced through the side door and into the warehouse. Before me stood several men.

“I caught this outside,” the voice behind me said.

“Welcome, Mr. Benedaro,” her father greeted me with a smile.

I was pushed toward the group of men and forced to drop onto my knees. I was in the center of a circle of these men.

From behind me, I heard her voice. “Now, Father?” she said.

“Yes, Daughter,” her father said.

I turned to see a large wolf, charging me with its teeth bared.

“What the he…,” I screamed as she bit into my neck.

Hamlet: Entrapment

Whence is that knocking?
How is’t with me, when every noise appalls me?
What hands are here? Hah! They pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.
Macbeth Act 2 Scene 2.

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 3 Scene 2 (continued). Remember that camel through the eye of a needle thing Jesus talked about. Hamlet had a plan. He set a trap for Claudius. But there was only problem with it. That problem wasn’t small like the eye of a needle. It was as big as the Arc de Triumph. Hamlet should have seen it but he didn’t. Hamlet was so into his plan it would be like cutting the nose off to spite the face for him to recognize the easily recognizable.

Basically the plan went like this. He asked the acting troupe to re-enact the crime as the Ghost related it to him. There was a king poisoned by his nephew the way Claudius poisoned Hamlet’s daddy. Then the villain woos the queen. If Claudius is guilty, he will protest such a plot. If Claudius is not guilty, he won’t have a problem with the play. At least, that was how Hamlet saw it.

Claudius saw the scene and he was out of there. Which didn’t prove he did it or he didn’t do it. It only proved that he was upset. He had been set up. If the FBI set such a trap, it would be called entrapment.

Wouldn’t you have left? Say Claudius was innocent of the accusation. He sat, watching a play that accused him of a crime he didn’t commit. Not only was he accused but Hamlet rubbed it in his face. It was out there for all of Castle Elsinore to see, including his wife, the Queen.

What does Claudius do? He storms out. He is angry at Hamlet. Hamlet has forced Claudius to show his hand. But Claudius isn’t showing any hand. ‘Cause a man guilty or innocent would have done the same as Claudius.

Classic Uncle Bardie: SomeThing

                                                       A tale of horror
I am doing something this week I don’t usually do. I am re-posting a couple of posts I think you, my readers, my enjoy. I published this tale during Halloween week, 2013. I like it so much that I thought it should receive another go ’round. So enjoy this one, and happy dreaming.

Something moves. Or does it? Del isn’t sure. He looks and listens hard. For an instant, the thin, wiry man sees a motion, a movement among the trees at the edge of his back yard. Holding his shotgun with both hands, he readies himself to aim and fire. His eyes again search the trees and the marsh beyond the trees.

All is quiet. Nothing stirs, only the troubled whimper of a wind. Strange. Usually the marsh is alive with chirps and buzzes and all kinds of splashes. But now, not a sound. He listens harder, more carefully. Slowly he begins to hear the normal, marshy voices that grow louder as the afternoon light fades and evening approaches.

“Nothing here,” he decides. “Must be her imagination. She’s always thinking up things.”

He turns and steps easily across the wet grass, drenched from a sudden afternoon downpour that ended only moments ago. Returning to the house, he enters the back door and walks into the kitchen. Ginny stands waiting by the sink. She clenches a large butcher knife.

“Well, d’you see anything?” she asks, her eyes filled with terror.

“Nary a thing.” He sets his gun in a corner by the stove.

“You think I’m making it all up. Well, I’m not. I did too see something sneaking outside the bedroom window. Heard its growls too.”

“Now, now.” He takes his wife into his arms, then eases the knife from her hand and lays it in the sink. He holds her close to him.

“You must’ve heard the noises yourself. They were loud enough.” She settles into the sanctuary of his broad shoulders for a long, lingering embrace. Her whole body is shivering. He runs his hands gently through her hair and whispers soothing words into her ear until she is calm. After a few minutes of silence pass between them, he lightly kisses her lips.

Releasing her from his arms, he asks his usual, “D’you fix my supper for work?”

“You still going to work after what I seen?” She holds onto his arm.

“Course I am. How could I not?”

“Please stay home tonight. Just this once.” Her hand squeezes tighter and tighter.

“Shush.” He wrenches her hand from his arm.

“Sure wish you would stay home with me tonight.” She reaches again for his arm.

He forces her hand away. “Finish my supper while I get dressed,” he says, ignoring the supplication in her voice.

She chokes out the words, “It’s ready. ‘Cept for wrapping up a piece of that chocolate cake I made special this morning.”

“Look, if you get scared again, have George come on by,” he says, referring to their only son. “You can go stay at his house tonight. I’ll pick you up in the morning.” These are his last words on the subject. It is time to ready for work.

Del goes off into the bedroom and changes into his security guard uniform and is back in the kitchen just as Ginny is placing the cake into his gray lunch box.

Her eyes plea with him to stay with her and not run off to work. But he takes his supper from her hands and pulls his Atlanta Braves cap off the hat stand by the outside kitchen door.

Flipping the cap onto his head, he kisses her cheek a goodnight kiss. Then he is through the door and gone.

Ginny walks into the living room at the front of the house and watches Del through the large picture window as he drives away in his Ford Explorer. Then she drops into the large comfortable chair, Del’s chair, and trembles. Soon her entire body shakes. Tears well up into her eyes. Her face, wrinkled and sagging, appears to be much older than her fifty-seven years. The room darkens as the night fills it with its blackness. Ginny sits alone, afraid to fall asleep because of the nightmares she’s been having. She fights off the sleep. It is too much for her. She’s so tired from her lack of sleep over the last few days that she’s soon dozing off.

Asleep, she starts drifting in and out of her subconscious. It is then that a something eases its way out of the shadows of her sleep and into her dreams, those worlds of gray and fog and unhappiness that inhabit her slumber. Through these lands of mist and uneasiness, of phantoms, specters and dark, ugly things, this SomeThing walks, consuming everything in its path.

Thunder shakes her awake. Her clothes are drenched with sweat, the kind of sweat that only comes from fear. Out the window, a storm rages with a hard, driving rain pelting the grass. Again, the thunder grumbles and a tree crashes in the distance. Lightning streaks the sky and brightens the room.

Just for a moment, she sees it. A shadow, or at least what she, at first, believes to be a shadow. It isn’t. It is the SomeThing that had haunted her nightmares for days, the SomeThing that had made those awful growling noises, the SomeThing that had escaped into nothing earlier that afternoon, the SomeThing that had come from some hell of an evil place.

And a wicked looking SomeThing it is, its eyes cold and cruel with a hate that can only come from another world, its mouth dripping a mixture of white, rabid fear and dark, red blood, its huge body a black silhouette outlined against the lightning flashing in the distance.

Ginny cowers into her chair, struggling to breathe. She wants to scream, tries to scream, but the scream does not come out of her mouth. The Thing, the SomeThing reaches for her, its long talons grasping to tear open her neck.

*****

The house is unusually quiet when Del gets home. It is four o’clock in the morning of a cold, clear February night. The storm earlier has passed, leaving everything drenched and a full moon to fill the sky. Guided by the light of the moon, he hurries through the living room and into the dark bedroom. He leaves the light off so as not to wake Ginny and quickly undresses for bed. He crawls under the clean sheets, then turns to give his wife of thirty-seven years a goodnight kiss.

Ginny is not there. She is gone from her side of the bed where she always sleeps.

He starts to get out of the bed, but then decides, “Must be at George’s.”

He is relieved. Within minutes, he is snoring. His dreams delve deep, deeper and deeper and deeper into that subterranean underground that is his inner consciousness until he is struggling through a swamp, legs hip-deep in water. Cypress trees everywhere, and a heavy, red fog closes in around him.

Alone. No other life in the swamp, but the flies. Those damnable flies circling his head, making no noise. An eerie silence breathes on him as he forces his way through the muck and the mire. Feeling eyes following him, stalking him, he turns and sees…nothing. He looks back to where he is going. A necklace, his wife’s necklace, drops into his hand and opens. His photograph smiles back at him. He looks up. There she is, Ginny pinned to a tree.

This startles him awake. His body is unable to move, frozen with fear. Rain beats against the rooftop. Thunder groans nearby. Lightning brightens the room while the shadow of a SomeThing covers Del’s face.

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: One Haunted House

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Haunting” (1963):

It’s that time. The time the scary stuff comes out. We dress up the pumpkins. We put on someone else’s face. Usually a scary someone like Dracula or Frankenstein’s Monster or a Werewolf or a Kardashian. It’s a time when we really don’t want to go down in the basement. It gets so scary some years we may find ourselves calling for the Ghostbusters. (“Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters.”)

It’s time for a spine-chilling movie. What better spine-chilling movie than a haunted house film? But I gotta tell you. For me, there have been very few haunted-house movies that can measure up to a Big Scare.

“The Haunting” measures up. It was directed by Robert Wise. You mean, the Sound-of-Music, The-Day-the-Earth-Stood-Still Robert Wise. Yes, that Robert Wise. A Robert Wise who came out of the Studio System when directors got to work in a lot of different genres.

“The Haunting” is adapted from Shirley Jackson’s novel, “The Haunting of Hill House”. Nelson Gidding’s screenplay does not deviate much from the novel. It is filmed in black and white, creating an aura that accentuates darkness the house gives off. (Please don’t ruin your experience by seeing the 1999 remake. It’s not good.)

The movie opens with the house silhouetted against the night sky, not an inviting scene. The house whispers to the viewer, “Stay away if you know what’s good for you.” With the appearance of the house, there is the discordant music of a harp and a piano. Then the narration begins. “An evil old house…Whatever walked there, walked alone” Suddenly I realize that it might not be good to watch this one alone.

Then there is the cast. Not your usual horror movie cast. Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn (from “West Side Story” fame) and Lois Maxwell (the original Miss Moneypenny). No Vincent Price. No Boris Karloff. No Christopher Lee. No blood and gore either. Just fear.

“The dead are not quiet in Hill House,” Mrs. Sanderson, the current owner, warns the scientist. He has approached her, asking her to allow him to research the psychic phenomena in the house.

Soon we learn just how not-quiet the dead are. Which makes this one a perfect Halloween movie.

Do you have a favorite Halloween movie?

We’re working things out

A pickin’ and grinnin’ lyric.

Off to Philadelphia, P A
They drove for twenty-four hours a day.
They hoped hard times had stayed their stay
But the hard times followed them anyway.
I’m still with Tommy, she says to me
We’re working things out.
Sure, he can’t hold a job, she says to me.
We’re still working things out.

He had seven jobs in seven days
And he has an eighth on the way.
He needs to get his act ready for play.
Just give him some time. It’ll be any day.
I’m still with Tommy, she says to me
We’re working things out.
Sure, he can’t hold a job, she says to me.
We’re still working things out.

It’s not that he’s lazy or that he drinks.
He’s in need of a little leeway.
It’s taking some time to work out the kinks.
He keeps hoping things will work out okay.
I’m still with Tommy, she says to me
We’re working things out.
Sure, he can’t hold a job, she says to me.
We’re still working things out.