By JM Stories
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Prologue: The Scream
“Bernie, where’ve you got to now? Damn that kid is way too loose. If his father didn’t raise him better… come here boy!” a boy of nine was running by Suzanne Parker, but was soon stopped, when Suzanne’s index and thumb clamped down on his ear.
“The hell do you want from me you Weasel?” the boy said. He talked with a strong Texan accent, and had the wildest dirty-blond hair you’d ever have seen.
“Don’t talk to me like that, boy.” Suzanne shot back. She now started to drag the boy into the old, and breaking house that she owned.
“Daddy did,” the boy said.
“Yeah, and your Dad was a loser, wasn’t he?” The boy jerked free from her grip, but Suzanne’s fingernails had dug into his ear, and a trickle of blood appeared on the boy’s ear.
“Look what you did to me you big S.O.B. They’ll take me away from you, you and your poor house and life.”
Suzanne was always on the edge of her emotions. The boy’s insult was now too much; she burst into tears. “Bernie Jones, you listen here.” She cried through tears, “I’ve tried so hard to get along with you, to give you a good life, with what little I can give you. This is no way to treat me, now get inside.”
Bernie, the boy, considered her for a moment, and ran off again, leaving Suzanne crying in the inside porch. There was a loud creak as Suzanne sat down on the bare porch floor.
Suzanne had always had a hard life. She was smart and strong, exceptionally for her age. But nothing backed her up at home. Her parents both drank, and did drugs, and fought almost every night. Sometimes, Suzanne tried to intervene. Instead of listening to her reasoning, her parents turned on her, and beat her. Even with Suzanne’s strength, she wouldn’t fight back, as she could never force herself to hit her parents. After they left Suzanne bloody and often out cold, her parents continued to tear into each other, sometimes physically.
The town she lived in didn’t care about her family. Her parents constantly caused trouble, paid the fines, and made more enemies for Suzanne to cope with. Hence, no one noticed Suzanne’s injuries as she went to school the next day. The teachers at Suzanne’s school always ignored her scarred hand when it rose to answer a question; everyone hated Suzanne.
So Suzanne turned to religion. She started to go to a near-by Christian church, and people saw that it wasn’t Suzanne that was at fault, it was her parents. Finally, people started to pay attention to Suzanne. She got taken away from her parents, and, once graduated from school, took lessons in family counseling.
Unfortunately, she had no money to live on, and was fortunate enough to get her parent’s house after they died. She lived there, trying, once in a while, to help out a troubled family in the area. There was little to no business for Suzanne in the small town, and she lived very poorly in her parent’s house.
But business picked up for Suzanne, and she gained some funds. Unfortunately, the money went mostly to her endless bills and loans she picked up over the years. Despite the hellish life she lived, Suzanne was somewhat happy.
Suzanne gained an even better surprise when she found out that there was a seven-year-old boy who was literally rejected from every home in her state of Texas. With her experience, Suzanne was happy to take the boy into her home, even if for a little while.
This boy, Bernie, was in a bad situation. It all started when his father met the boy’s mother, went far with her, and got her pregnant. Like many men in his age group who got a girl pregnant, he ran away from her, leaving her the trouble to do everything she needed to do for the un-born baby.
But the father came back, just in time for Bernie’s birth. For some reason, the mother died giving birth to him, and Bernie’s father raised him for the first years in his life. Around when Bernie was age 5, his father got over the “line” and got himself into jail. Bernie was taken away from him, and put into an orphan home. After getting out after 2 months, he did some heavy drugs, and got into a lot more serious trouble with the law. The last time Suzanne knew, the man was in some kind of correctional institute for the heavily troubled (or something like that).
Suzanne never tried to find out about Bernie’s father. All she knew was that he had some good funds, was troubled, and never good at raising Bernie. For all she knew, the father might have been dead. But Bernie always spoke highly of him. He compared his father’s upraising to Suzanne’s, and never tried to like Suzanne. These days, the summer holidays, Bernie would run off, never telling Suzanne where he went, even if she told him she’d need him for something that day. During school days, he usually went, and pulled off with fairly good marks, the best of which was in music.
After twenty minutes of pure tear shedding, Suzanne got up and went into the house to fix dinner. Three hours later, Bernie came in. His clothes were muddy, as were his shoes, which he neglected to take off.
“I’m hungry, I want some food.” He whined.
“I had lunch ready for you,” Suzanne answered back, “But you took so long that I ended up throwing it out, you’re going to need to make your own. If you would have come in when I told you to, you’d have eaten.”
“Daddy never made me make my own lunch, why can’t you be like him?” Bernie said again.
“Because I have some more sense than your father.” Suzanne turned to go to her bedroom when she heard a heavy thump. She thought it was Bernie protesting, but when she turned around, Bernie was standing just as he always had been. But three feet away from Bernie, a box containing Suzanne’s old typewriter, was lying, broken, over the floor, having fallen from on top of the cupboard.
“What’d you do that for?” Suzanne asked as she went to clean it up. There was no doubt in her mind that Bernie had done it.
But then he said “I didn’t do nothing,” and surprisingly, he started to make his dinner. Then two seconds later, there was a monstrous creak and groan as two floorboards fell from the kitchen floor, down into the basement below. The house always had been breaking down, but nothing to this extent had happened, and Suzanne was sure Bernie was playing a trick.
Sensing Suzanne’s thoughts, Bernie stopped making his peanutbutter sandwich to turn to Suzanne, “You’ve must know that I didn’t do nothing.” As he said it, an entire cupboard, two feet away from Bernie came crashing down, off the wall.
There was silence for a few seconds. Both Bernie and Suzanne were stunned by the destruction. Then, a rat started scuttering across the kitchen floor, and stopped in the middle of it. It stood still for several minutes. After a while, the rat appeared to be calling Suzanne over to it. Suzanne did not move.
Instead, the rat did. It scuttled over to Suzanne, and crawled up her leg. Suzanne was still too terrified to move. The rat was now on Suzanne’s chest, and Suzanne looked down at it. In the split second she had to look at it, Suzanne could swear that, carved into the rat’s short hair, was the word ‘car’. Suzanne screamed.
At that scream, the house started to shake. The ceiling caved in and the floor broke down. Cupboards fell and Suzanne kept up her screaming.
It was Stu Clark who first saw the house. He was the local garbage man, and was making his usual daily rounds. He was up to Suzanne Parker’s road and saw that the usual three bags of garbage were not where they usually were, at the end of the lane. This was not exactly an unusual event. Once in a while, Suzanne forgot to get her garbage to the end of the lane.
So Stu went up the lane, past the trees which blocked Suzanne’s house from the main road’s view. The site appalled him.
The house of Suzanne’s was flattened to the ground. Not exactly literally, though. But the usual two-story building was now merely a pile of debris.
Stu thought that a fire had ravished the house, but there was no smoke, and surely someone would have noticed smoke before. So Stu went in for a closer look. As he got closer, he saw what looked like a short pillar standing straight amidst the rubble. When he had maneuvered the truck as close as he dared, he got out for a closer look.
There had definitely not been any fire, but it looked more like a tornado had flattened the house, but there was definitely no tornado around that day. And then he saw what looked like a pillar was not a pillar. Instead, it was the boy, Bernie.
Stu went closer still, until he was right where the porch would be. On the ground, he noticed, were some small bits of rubble oddly shaped. Stu bent down and saw that they formed a word, ‘nation’.
But the two seconds that he had looking at it was over when he heard a scream. It was Suzanne. Bernie was still standing motionless amidst the rubble. Suzanne screamed louder, “Don’t hurt me, get away from me, you rat,” there was then a very horrifying mix of screams from Suzanne and a sound unlike any Stu had heard. It was like a rougher Donald Duck voice, mixed in with a million squeals from a mouse.
As quickly as it started, the sound stopped. Then, out of no where, a strike of what looked, and sounded like thunder and lightning struck the center of the house, and Stu was sent backwards, flying towards his truck. He was out cold when someone else with more sense came around.
Three days later, Stu learnt that Suzanne was dead. A neighbor had come down to see why Suzanne hadn’t met her engagement of tea. When this neighbor saw the rubble, she called the police and ambulance right away. Neither the police, nor even the FBI could decide what happened.
Suzanne was dead when the ambulance crews could get to her. But there were no marks on her body, which could tell why Suzanne died. There were no bite marks, not even a detectable natural cause was found. For all they knew, she had died of fright. Bernie was not dead, though, but in the coming years, he was never the same. Bernie was kept in orphanage homes forever, and no one could do anything for him. He was always just staring off into mid-air, as if stunned.
Within ten years, the police closed the case. No one was able to explain what had happened at the old house of Suzanne’s, but it haunted Stu for years. He would end having millions of dreams a night, each containing the odd sound of the scream, and the odd appearance of the lightning.
Part One- Biography
Chapter 1- The Childhood of a Stooge
Stooge was his name, and it sure was a name that was known nationwide, to all the middle-aged people who listened to his heavy metal music. What a name it was, wasn’t it? What a story it told.
You couldn’t tell from his face… or his every-day personality, that he was a famous rock’n’roller. But, like every other rock star from the eighties, there was an addiction of some sort, and a troubled life for Stooge.
Stooge was born on January 5th, 1960, in Austin, Texas. None of Stooge’s parents gave him the name ‘Stooge’. Instead, he was named Anthony Walker Strout. The name Stooge comes up soon.
Both of Stooge’s parents were full time ranchers, and part-time hippies. In his early years, Stooge was introduced to the folky sounds of Bob Dylan, and his other musicians of the time. Both his parents influenced Stooge’s ways as a heavy metal rocker.
The unorthodox ways of his life were influenced by the unorthodox ways of a hippie. His parent’s up bringing influenced the addictions of Stooge’s life. And the constant cursing and constant wildness was brought on by the ways of a hippie. If it wasn’t for it being the 80’s, Stooge might-as-well have been a hippie himself.
As a little boy, Anthony was popular among his stable of young, male friends. Adults noted him for his daring ways, in which he performed acts no army general would undertake.
“I remember once” Bule Dutor, 69, formerly of Austin said. “There was an alligator brought to the local zoo, back in 1963. Now Anthony, on a bet, jumped into the, then unattended pen of the alligator. And if that wasn’t enough, he started to wrestle the alligator and hung on pretty well. His little toe was never the same, but you get the idea.” Indeed you should.
We were blessed with the chance to meet with many people who knew Stooge growing up. Among some other acts of terror, we learnt that Stooge had ripped the head off a rat, burnt one of his parent’s cows to death (internally), and spent one night in a rat-infested cellar.
His, now late, parents, Annie and Fred gave a collabatoral comment that was most interesting, and topped of what we want to say. “Stooge seemed to have a mind of two different things. He could be a loveable, crazy maniac, or he could be a serious, ambitious person. We could not find rhyme, nor reason of when he was either.”
And this is where Stooge comes in.
Anthony could easily put in a strong claim to be the youngest teen-age, girl, heartthrob. The girls in Austin, Texas loved Anthony and his cute, sweet, adorable, crazy, you-name-it, 4-year-old personality. But Anthony went for the “chicks” his age. His first girlfriend was fellow 4-year-old Annie Thompson. According to her, they both stood firm on issues such as “big kid” underwear over diapers, no matter what, white bread over brown, and grown-up couples are absolutely sickening.
But they couldn’t last long.
One day, Annie happened to see Anthony in the middle of an affair with older, hotty, six-year-old, Suzy Swagger. Apparently they were kissing, buy Anthony later confided that their “kissing” was only exchanging pecks on the cheek. Many contraries to his later lip locking with real girlfriends in his teen-age years. This time, Anthony agreed that this girl had better views of life than Annie did.
The new couple said they firmly believed dirty toilet paper belonged in the garbage can, not the toilet, toilet paper really did belong on the teacher’s trees, and household rules were in the hands of the President of the USA to decide. And Suzy could read.
During his young childhood, Stooge never did date the teen-age girls who loved him as a cutie-pie. These girls gave Anthony the name “Stooge”, which they felt fit him as a young hunk, and a cool dude. This name stuck with Anthony as a nickname, all through his childhood.
Chapter 2- The Teen-age Years of a Stooge
Over the next ten, plus years, Anthony went more and more by the name, “Stooge”. At age fifteen it got to the point where he only answered to the name Stooge. He also moved along with many girls over the years. These couples agreed with a variety of issues. When he was seven, the main issues was “I hate sandwiches,” when at 10, “My Dad’s the best, not yours” and at 14, a dramatic change to “Parents suck!”
But the teen years for Stooge were more then girls and the name Stooge. During the years, Stooge became more of a party animal then ever before.
With the years progressing, the parties became wilder, and crazier for the young mind of Stooge. And he loved it.
Stooge’s parents were never the greatest parents in the world. Even though Stooge was a pioneer to the hating towards parents, they were very lenient in the way they raised him. Stooge could go to parties all that he wanted, and have no curfew. But his parents never did forbid his times coming home drunk or even stop it. An old neighbor noted that they were probably drunk all the time, and never noticed it in their son.
Eventually, the parties Stooge went on becoming more and more wild; Stooge still loved it. In these days, Stooge enjoyed, more and more, the attention that was given to him from the ladies. The parties Stooge went to were now more than getting drunk, instead he used them to get his weekly dose of girlfriends.
Fellow students noticed that Stooge ate lunch with a new girl every week. One person gave us his “schedule” with girls:
Saturday: Meet girl at party and get drunk with her.
Sunday: take girl out for supper; kiss her.
Monday: buy lunch, get close.
Tuesday-Thursday: buy girl lunch; at night make out heavily with her.
Friday: Sleep with her, dump her.
Start from top again.
That’s the kind of person Stooge was. We talked with many other people who knew Stooge, showed them this “schedule” and they agreed it was very accurate. Stooge, now, did not like a girl because of the “issues” they agreed upon, but more for their body and what that body could offer him. We’ll leave it at that.
Stooge even went out with his first ever girlfriend, Annie Thompson again. Like most girls around this time, she wanted him for his coolness, hotness, and what being around him could do to her image. But Stooge ended up hurting Annie’s image, rather than the intended boosting of it.
Annie was with Stooge on the Friday. Everything well between them, and Annie was expecting another week to go by.
Annie loved his warm, soft, kisses, and loved having him escort her everywhere. But Annie knew little of Stooge’s schedule.
That Friday night, when Stooge picked her up for a party, Annie noticed he was in a good mood. An exceptionally good one. Apparently, Stooge had said, “I forgot some things at my place. Do you mind?” she said she did not. They drove to Stooge’s house. “Hey, my parents are away, wanna come inside?” And Annie agreed.
When they got inside the porch, Stooge fell on her, locking their lips together. When Stooge tried to remove her shirt, was when Annie tried to draw the line. She attempted to push him away and he yelled, “No. No one’s done this before”. He took her to his room. There, he threw her on the bed and stripped, first himself, then her. As much as Annie loved his body, she knew what her parents would do if they found out she had gotten herself pregnant. They’d kill her.
On his bed, Stooge forced her to go through a near half-hour of agony, and torture. To her, it was hell. To him it was heaven. Once he had had enough, he said “you’re fighting really turned me on. Now don’t say anything to anybody. We’re through.”
When Annie got home that night, she promptly told her parents about what had happened and they pressed charges against Stooge. Though there was no punishment from the courts, Stooge’s parents “woke up” and clamped down on Stooge’s behavior. Stooge could no longer go out on any night to party, and he had very limited fun time.
Naturally, all the girls who never had a chance at Stooge (which was a lot) were outraged at Annie. Many noon-hours, she was beat on by the girls and even some guys who depended on Stooge to bring booze to their party. Annie soon moved away and Stooge never heard from her again.
Chapter 3- The Start of Music for a Stooge
Stooge’s parents prided themselves with one thing; their taste in music. That taste, many would say, was passed on to Stooge.
During the nights where Stooge was kept inside, his parents passed on music to their son, first the taste, then the playing of music itself. Both parents had been able to plug out a few tunes on piano and acoustic guitar. Stooge caught on quickly.
He soon was able to play songs straight from ear. His talent grew, so Stooge’s parents scratched up enough money to pay for guitar lessons, where he started to learn the electric guitar.
Along with guitar, Stooge found he had quite a bit of talent vocal-wise. So his parents cut a few costs (drugs, what else?!?!?!?!) and paid for Stooge to take voice lessons as well. Stooge’s music career took off with very little practice involved.
During those later years, Stooge was allowed to go to parties again, mainly because his parents wanted to party as well. Stooge’s roll at the parties changed from the booze provider, to the musician of the party.
Stooge formed his first (and only) band in 1976. They were appropriately titled “The Stooges”. The Stooges contained 1 drummer, 1 bass player, 1 electric guitar player, and 1 guitarist/singer, Stooge.
The band started playing the big parties for teen-agers, right off the bat. They mostly played covers of Led Zeppelin songs (and the like), but Stooge managed to write a few of his own songs for his band.
The Stooge’s reached their peak of musical celebritism, when Stooge was 19. They got a big gig to play at a New Year’s Eve party. This was the biggest party of that time in Austin, and the Stooge’s were hoping to blow the placed away.
The band supposedly practiced, “40 hours a day”, or so Stooge later said. Finally, December 31st came and the band played their young hearts out. They had prepared four new songs for the rowdy crowd, and it worked.
At that concert was a music promoter who gave the name of the band to Wolf Records Owner, Mike Ageis.
“I was blown away when I saw them perform the next month,” Mr. Ageis told use. “Stooge had such a great voice, which so fitted heavy metal music. So I signed him.”
But Mike Aegis and his Wolf Records didn’t want the three other members of The Stooges. They decided that Stooge sounded best as a soloist. So they gave Stooge a decision; drop the band and come with us, or stay with them and try for another record deal. They let Stooge think about it.
So Stooge did think about it.
On one side, Wolf Records was a great opportunity. They were the creative master-minds behind the ‘Winny Jets’, who were near the same thing, musically, as Stooge. He could become famous with Wolf Records.
On the other side, he would have to leave his friends who made up The Stooges. And how would they take it?
“Ah, so what.” Stooge said when he made his decision. “They’re only a few people on the road of life. With Wolf Records, I’ll become famous! I’ll have a tonn of hot girls, and more money then I’d ever know what to do with. It’ll be awesome! Besides, I didn’t like those guys anyways.” So Stooge had made his decision.
He told his friends and Mr. Ageis his answer and they reasoning behind it. His friends were outraged and promtl;y told him to f**k off. Mr. Ageis, on the other hand, was thrilled. “That’s what you need behind someoine who wants to be famous.” He said. “You’re going to be such a winner.”
And the deal was made. On March 1st 1980, Stooge was signed to Wolf Records. A legend, a legacy was born.
Chapter 4- The Process of Becoming a Celebrity of a Stooge
“Rock on, Stooge,” were apparently the first words Mr. Ageis said once Stooge had signed his contract with Wolf Records. Both he and Stooge were extremely happy men at that time.
Rock on. Stooge set out to do that.
Wolf Records gave stooge a huge push, right from the beginning. Not only being assigned the producer, Don Was, but he got a big marketing push. Even before Stooge started recording, Wolf Records was already promoting his first record, Blood-Red Carpet.
In April of 1980, Stooge stepped into a recording studio for the first time, with Don Was. “This was cool,” Stooge said of the time a few months later. “Not for Don, though (laughs). We took about fifteen takes of the first song, Criminal, and each time I’d end up laughing after the line ‘kiss the piss’! Then after I calmed down enough my voice wouldn’t stop cracking so we called it a day after an hour!”
“He was crazy,” Don said of his first day in the studio with Stooge. “I can’t put it any other way.”
Eventually, Stooge got his nerves, and voice, under control, and he and Don Was started to make great progress and within two months, Blood-Red Carpet was completed. Six months after that, Blood-Red Carpet was in stores.
At first, the record didn’t pick up much steam. Criminal was the first single and it did moderately well on the charts, for a new artist. Later, critics blamed Wolf Records for over-extending the time between the song’s release, four months, that people nearly forgot about Stooge when the record did come out.
So Wolf Records started out to fix their mistake, first, by releasing the love song, Beline and sending Stooge out to tour. Beline caught fire quickly, as did Criminal, again, so the first concert that Stooge did, it was near a sellout. Stooge was on his way.
Stooge’s first tour, appropriately titled Stooge’s Bloody Red Carpet Tour, was a major hit straight from the start. Though it took five shows to actually get a sell-out, the entire tour ended up doing it. And people loved it; especially the police.
Many of the people who went to see Stooge’s show were heavy dealers, or users, of drugs. So, each night, the police broke down many chains of drug selling by searching a majority of the people who came through the doors at Stooge’s shows.
Eventually, Stooge noticed the drug busts.
He wanted to get involved.
In a bad way.
Instead of preaching how wrong it was to do drugs, he joined in. He was now, as well, joining his parents in becoming drug addicts, which was a fact they tried to hide from him.
It was near the end of Stooge’s first tour when he officially became an addict, in the eyes of the world, that is. It was a time when he was top of the charts, winning most of his awards. The biggest, most important show that he had was the “Rocker’s Association of America” awards show. In that show, Stooge was nominated for “Best Male Rocker”, “Best Rockin’ Album”, “Best Rockin’ Song” and “Best Entertaining Rocker”. (In case you didn’t noticed, this was an awards show for rock music.)
But be sure you don’t get the wrong idea. Stooge came to the awards show, and made his presence known.
That night, Stooge won all four awards he was nominated for. Each time he went up to accept an award, two ushers helped him along. Stooge was not talking well at first. When he did, it was with such nonsense and obscurity, that it took forever to make him stop. And Stooge was scheduled to perform. But his voice was so off-key and he knew so little of the words to the song that his band quite and left Stooge alone on the stage. To top it all off, the shirt he wore was only half done up, and his hair could have passed for a pile of twigs.
Stooge had done the night before, of drugs and it showed. Everyone hated Stooge.
Within one week, the complaints started to come. First, the television networks that had aired the awards show, got complaints from viewers because of the garbage that Stooge had presented them with. The television networks complained to the Rocker’s Association of America, who, in turn, complained to Wolf Records for Stooge’s behavior. The next day, Wolf Records head, Mike Ageis, talked with Stooge.
The meeting was behind closed doors, and very little of the meeting was disclosed to the press, which was eager to get some juicy news about Stooge. Ever since Stooge had screwed up at the show, the press had been badgering around, trying to get the scoop.
When Stooge first hit the big time, the press was good with him. They gave him fairly strong reviews, and published his, good moves. But after the awards show, every major newspaper in America was talking about the probable addictions that Stooge was suffering from.
Mike Ageis thought his talk with Stooge would go over well.
When he left the meeting, the only thing he told the press was that Stooge said he’d enter rehab clinics. But, Stooge promptly forgot his promise, missed his next ten public appearances, and lost most of the trust from his once strong fan-base.
Chapter 5- The Re-building of a Stooge
And so Stooge and Wolf Records set to work to get Stooge back, and ready to become a superstar once again. The re-hab took nearly a year, but Wolf Records was convinced that Stooge could make it.
The first and only needed attempt for Wolf Records to get Stooge to rehab nearly threw Stooge away from his label. Two weeks after the infamous awards show, Stooge was at a party where he was, undoubtedly, doing drugs. Mike Ageis, who knew about it, phoned the police. His plan was to get the police to take Stooge, and force him to go to re-hab. It nearly worked.
The police showed up at Stooge’s party, (where everyone was high) and arrested everyone present. Apparently, Mr. Ageis complained that their party was too loud, and the police came to check it out. There was a serious debate, even before Stooge and his friends could go to court, to decide whether or not the police were right to arrest them. The judges decided they were, and Stooge was charged with possession of drugs.
Being the odd person he was, Stooge decided to defend himself, even though Wolf Records offered to pay for a lawyer. (Wolf Records and Mr. Ageis denied having to do anything with the phone call. A farmer secretary of Mr. Ageis informed us of the truth!)
In Stooge’s “opening statements”, he literally proved himself guilty as charged. “Look Dude,” he said to the judge, “I knew what I was doing man. And it was pretty good that night, you know? And your poli-offy’s hit me at a bad time; you know what I’m saying? I had gotten a girl who wanted to go all the way. She had such big…”
“Enough,” the judge pounded, and Stooge sat down. There was twenty more minutes, in which Stooge was found guilty, fined, and forced into re-hab. Mike Ageis quickly walked up and paid the fine for Stooge, up-front, and in cash. He even made arrangements for Stooge to make it as simple as the using scissors for Stooge to make it to his drug re-hab sessions.
The sessions went well, according to the leader of the sessions. During the six months that Stooge had to attend it, he was reported to have numerous out-breaks where he “demanded” to have various kinds of drugs. Of course, he was denied and the sessions continued.
After six months, Stooge made a public statement. This is the gist of what he said. “I realize, now, that I’ve made an ass of myself. I overdid it, a lot, and realize that doing what I did is not the best way to live my life. I hope that some of the fans that I hurt will be able to forgive me for ruining some of their chances to party at my shows. I also hope that you let me back because I’m getting to record another record.”
The media covered nearly every bit of Stooge’s rehabilitation. The public statement got the most coverage, especially in music magazines.
As promised, Stooge did step into the studio in January of 1982. Again, Don Was took the position of producer, and they created a good, not excellent, follow up to Blood Red Carpet. Friendly Man was released in August of 1982. The first single released, Bomber, reached phenomenal success and Friendly Man was a hit record.
But the new record still faced problems upon its release. Many critics accused Stooge of being a little too over-sorry. They continued by saying that by naming Friendly Man, Friendly Man, he was trying to suck up to the people he screwed with his drugs. The critics could change nothing.
After four weeks, the record had sold two million copies, and Stooge was supposedly regaining his once lost fan-base. To test out their hypothesis, Wolf Records sent Stooge out to tour, again. And the tour was a major success as well. Most of the fans cheered on loudly, though some of them booed loud and clearly.
Another Rocker’s Association of America Awards show came around. Many of the organizers were apprehensive on whether or not to nominate Stooge again. Since the last time they did, they lost not other nominees. The show got much bad review and lost much support because of Stooge. Apparently, many viewers though the Association had put Stooge up to doing what he did.
But after heavy investigation, the Association nominated him for four awards, three of which he ended up winning. Stooge was soon accepted back to the TV networks. Many important people deemed him, okay, and most people forgot about the fiasco that Stooge had faced, not long before.
But secretly, Stooge was growing into another addiction, gas sniffing.
Chapter 6- The Death of a Stooge
For the first time in two tries, Stooge finished a tour. This time, he completed it with no visible problems with addictions; no problems whatsoever.
Wolf Records was happy. As far as they knew, Stooge was clean, and did nothing out of the ordinary. They noticed, however, that Stooge was going out more, for they had forced themselves into Stooge’s life after his addictions. It seemed to always be a farm he was going to.
One time Stooge had gone to a ranch to supposedly visit with a friend. Stooge was in-between recordings. He had just finished his third and was planning a long wait to release it. But Stooge didn’t return that night, or the next three days after that. Wolf Records sent the police to check the place out.
After nearly 3 hours of searching, the police found Stooge, and a group of nearly 150 men and women. It appeared every one of them had been burnt to death. Beside each person was a garbage bag, each containing traces of gasoline.
The police concluded that the group had been sniffing gas, poured most of it over themselves, and set themselves on fire in an act of suicide. Not more than thirteen of the people, Stooge included could be identified.
The legacy of Stooge was over, a mere 25 years into his life.
Interlude: the Scream (2)
Betty Parker was a waitress. She worked 12-hour days, 6 days a week, along-side her husband who did the same thing. Incase you haven’t guessed already, Betty and her husband were poor.
At home, they had only one ray of hope, Suzanne. Betty adored her lovely little daughter, as equally did her husband, Tom. Suzanne was strong and smart, exceptionally for her age. But nothing backed her up at home.
Betty and Tom were not strong or smart. Nobody in either of their families were. When Suzanne was young, she’d often come home, and asked them questions. The questions were nothing like ‘Where do baby’s come from?’ (which Betty knew all too well) but more philosophical questions like, ‘What’s the meaning of life?’
Neither Tom nor Betty were philosophers, and so, they often went Suzanne to ask the same question to their neighbor, Cathy Duncan. Tom and Betty worked together in the local family diner. They got little pay, and Betty got numerous chances to have an affair when drunk men tried to hit on her. Overall, the days sucked and both Tom and Betty hated their jobs. They only worked for Suzanne, trying to help her exciting future.
Cathy Duncan was a housewife. She did the chores that needed to be done in her home, and quite enjoyed it. Her and her husband, Malcom, were well off. Malcom owned a prosperous construction company, which built nearly every building in the small town that they lived in.
But that small town, Ratson, had few people as well off as the Duncans. And Cathy hated it. She hated walking to the one supermarket in town, and seeing people in old, majorly out-of-style clothes. And once a the supermarket, she hated to wait for a customer trying to save a few cents at the tiller.
But Malcom didn’t hate the poorness of the town. When he was young, he had lived in a big house in a big city. One night, when he was nine and home alone, a burglar had broken into his home, assaulted Malcom, and destroyed most of the house. Ever since then, he had been almost-mortally afraid of cities and quite liked the small town that they now lived in.
There was only, really, one person that Cathy learnt to like. That being Suzanne Parker. Ever since Cathy’s own daughter, who was as old as Suzanne, had come home the second day of school complaining that Suzanne was too smart, Cathy took a liking to Suzanne.
Cathy made it her ‘mission’ to turn Suzanne into a smart lady who would be successful later on in life. Suzanne’s parents, Betty and Tom were not smart, but wanted Suzanne to flourish more then they did. So, Suzanne was allowed to visit Cathy every once-in-a-while to get some ‘guidance counseling’ on her future.
Around the time when Suzanne began her teen-age years, her parents under-went a metamporphis, as Suzanne explained it. She said it was as if they had suddenly become totally different people.
One night, Suzanne had come running to Cathy’s house., Barely out of breath because of her strength, Suzanne told Cathy that “My parents just came home. They’re drunk, and I think they’ve been doing drugs.”
Being so compassionate, Cathy let Suzanne stay the night; she didn’t want her ‘project’ hurt.
From then on, nearly once a week, Suzanne came running to Cathy’s house. Nearly every time, Cathy allowed Suzanne to stay the night. But sometimes, Suzanne said she hadn’t been able to get away, and her parents beat on her, as if she was being punished.
Once, when Suzanne was 15, Cathy decided “enough is enough” and she called the police. After many court hearings, Suzanne was taken from her parents and they were sent to jail for child abuse. Cathy got custody of Suzanne, where she got her into social worker training. Throughout Suzanne’s adult life, Cathy and Suzanne remained friends.
Sometimes, at night, Cathy would have a dream. It was the same one every time. When she woke, Cathy could only remember three things. First, that it was s scary dream. Second, it ended with a terrible scream and the letters ‘rein’ appeared in her face. Third, and finally, that both of the previous things meant bad things for someone she knew; or herself.
Part Two- Stu Clark and Jonathon Heart
Chapter 1- Rat Attack
Stu Clark was a poor, under-paid, over-worked and old garbage man. He had been the garbage man for the small town of Ratson for nearly 35 years. Before that, he had been a garbage man in Austin, Texas for eighteen years. Before that, well, you don’t want to know.
Ratson had everything; there was one rich family, one screwed up family, and many stories of horror, humor, and stupidity. There’s one story from option one of the story section that both changed the town of Ratson, and ruined Stu’s life. Enjoy.
The year is 1921, the inaugural year of Ratson’s first mayor, Duncan Clarke. He launched by his opponent, John Strout, in the first election. Most citizens had voted for Clark for two reasons: 1) because Duncan Clark was nice, and 2) because John Strout was evil.
As the two went head-to-head in competition for the mayor duties, one thing became clear. That being that Duncan Clarke had the town in his best interests, and John Strout had his own interests in mind. Before the election because of that reason, John Strout got nicknamed ‘evil’. Once the election was over and Duncan Clarke had won, John Strout lived up to his name, and became evil.
One night, July 5th, to be exact, the new mayor of Ratson was holding a ‘men’s only all night party’. The men of Ratson liked two things, nighttime with their wives, and getting drunk. This party gave them both as they would get drunk, come home, go to bed with their wives with a huge burst of energy barely knowing what they were doing (but surely they got the gist of it.) So naturally, every man went.
When the men got home that night, and when the met the next day at various hard-working jobs, they found that each wife had told each husband the same story. That being that the defeated John Strout had broken into their home, attacked them, and raped them. At that time, there was about 35 married men in Ratson.
Besides being astounded that John Strout had supposedly been able to do 35 women, the married men of Ratson agreed that they should find Strout, and punish him. So, the men all reported that John Strout had broken into their homes, and raped their wives. With 35 accounts of breaking and entering, and 35 accounts of sexual assault, warnings of John Strout were sent across the state of Texas, and every police force was alerted that Strout was ‘dangerous’. The men thought that those actions would be enough.
But after 3 weeks of searching, John Strout was not found and the police forces in Texas were troubled. There were no airplanes to travel by, in those days, and the best they could conclude was that Jon had disappeared into thin air, like he was a witch. After four weeks, the investigation had taken a severe turn.
The FBI had been notified, and there was a nation-wide manhunt for John Strout. The date was August 5th, when the severe turn occurred. Duncan Clarke, the mayor of Ratson, had managed to calm his residents and assured them that John Strout would be caught and punished. So, the life in Ratson had returned relatively back to normal. But on that day, August 5th, at 3 p.m., a man named Ed Franklin noticed a rat by his front door, in his home. Since he had never seen a rat in his house before, Ed killed the rat and investigated how the rat had gotten in. Eventually, when his search had taken him outside, he saw clear as daylight, that an area of the street, two houses down, was full of rats; he couldn’t even see any pavement. Ed, apprehensive about what would happen if he went out again, phoned the house, which the front of it was, littered with the rats. The house belonged to mayor, Duncan Clarke.
Ed phoned the mayor, and warned him of what was infront of his home. He also phoned two close friends. Within 25 minutes, the entire town knew of the rats. Once Ed’s phoning was done, he went to look out at the scene again. He was the only one who saw how Duncan Clarke died.
First, Duncan Clarke had tried throwing rocks at the crowd of rats, from his porch. His pregnant wife was terrified. Finally, giving up on the rock throwing because of lack of effectiveness, Duncan Clarke went out to face the rats one-on-one. As soon as Duncan left the house, the rats attacked him, and ate him alive.
By this time, nearly every man in Ratson had also ran out to investigate. As well by this time, nearly an entire block of streets had been filled with rats. And again, as a repeat with the mayor, (former mayor), the rats launched themselves at many of the men who were nearby. But not all of them.
And as an unharmed Ed watched form his front yard, he noticed that a dark figure was coming form the top of the hill, just up the same street that he lived on. As the figure emerged to the front of the (former) mayor’s house, Ed saw that it was another bunch of rats supporting a large figure, like a football team to their coach. Ed had just a few seconds to glance at it, but he saw that the figure the rats were supporting was (a defeated) John Strout. Strout was undoubtedly dead, with a wooden stake through his heart.
Then a strike of what looked and sounded like thunder and lightning, struck the stake, stuck in the chest of John Strout. All of the people who were not being eaten alive, were thrown backwards to their own houses. Everyone was knocked out cold.
When Ed woke, he immediately set his eyes on the rat-free street. He looked to be the only person alive, at the moment. Curiosity got the better of him, and Ed went, again, to investigate the street.
There were 35 bodies, if they could be called bodies. Each one was cleanly skinned, and many of their bones were sticking out at odd angles. Organs were spilling out from the bodies. Ed could tell that each figure was a man by a quick look between the legs. One more thing drew the attention on each of the bodies.
Right over where the heart was (most rib cages were hanging over, as if on hinges) was a stake, driven into each heart. Ed didn’t have to know much, but he knew that these 35 male bodies belonged to the men who were married. Whose women were raped by John Strout. Ed thought that this might have been an act of revenge by the man.
It was on this day, April 5th, in 1921 though, that Stu Clark was born. All through his childhood, he lived in Ratson. Now, at 75 years of age, he was still working as Ratson’s one and only garbage man. Stu was always afraid of rats.
Stu was not a planned child, and he had had a hard childhood. He was born to a widowed mother who let him know how much she didn’t like him. Her, with most of the town, thought he was evil. It wasn’t until he was eighteen, that he found out why. Stu, alone with 2 other boys were near look-alike. They each grew their hair long, had green eyes; basically looked like identical triplets. To top it off, though, they were born on the same date. These two other boys, named Patrick Beck, and Jonathon Heart, were also called by townspeople evil.
On Stu’s, Patrick’s, and Jonathon’s eighteenth birthday, each of their single mothers had a ‘meeting’, where they broke big news to them.
“You all know of Jon Strout,” their mothers told them with a little sadness in their voices. Each boy nodded, “Well, he is your father. Each one of yours.”
They then went on to tell them of how he had raped them, from which they had come from. It was explained why everyone in the town had seemed to hate them.
With feelings mixed with sadness, and hate, (mostly hate), Stu, Patrick, and Jonathon ran away together. They were annoyed that their mothers didn’t want them, that their town hated them, tat their past (though shared with the rest of the town of Ratson), had been hidden from them. The boys ended up moving to Austin, where they each felt quite at home.
In 1944, Patrick Beck died. Some kind of heart trouble, Stu learnt; he never was any good at science. After the funeral, Stu and Jonathon thought they should make an attempt at making a ‘homecoming’ back to Ratson. When they did, they were thrown straight back out. The residents of Raton were convinced that the evil legacy of John Strout had left them with the demise of the three boys from their town.
Twenty years later, in 1984, Stu came back. Jonathon Hearth, who had lived with Stu since they arrived in Austin, had gone off to Washington D.C. Ratson was in desperate need of a good garbage man. And Stu, who was tired of doing garbage in Austin, was perfect for the job.
There was a new generation in Ratson a ‘hipper’ generation that did not take seriously, much of what their parents had told them. Each resident, most of which grew up and died in Ratson, marrying a Ratsonite, had been told the story of John Strout by their parents. When the oldest residents heard of Stu getting a job in the town, they again went to their children. But those middle-aged ‘children’ just said “uh-huh, sure old person.” Sarcastically, and sent them back to the nursing home.
So Stu was accepted with open arms, by the town of Ratson, and he worked as their garbage man for the next 35 years.
Chapter 2- The Affects of Suzanne Parker
In 1970, Stu Clarke married.
To him, his wife, Marry-Jane was the most beautiful woman in the world, but how unusual is that? Their wedding took place on July 5th, and most of Ratson showed up.
Stu had been doing his garbage route for around six years, and during that time, he got to know many of the residents. Many of them became close friends.
For the first time in a long time, Stu was extremely happy on July 5th, 1970. He had found his soul mate, almost an entire town was attending his wedding, and Stu forget that m any old (now very old) residents thought that he was dangerous.
But after a two-week honeymoon, it was time for life to continue again, for Stu Clarke. But by now, it wasn’t that bad. When he first came to Ratson as its garbage man, he was extremely apprehensive that he still wouldn’t be accepted. Now, though, being the garbage man was surprisingly fun. Often he was invited in to houses for coffee, which was fine with other people on that day’s route, because everyone else wanted to invite Stu in. It was much like Stu had to ‘share’ himself. Stu didn’t know why everyone liked him so much. He thought maybe it might be because the kids liked him so much. He always joked, and played with them and to see their faces when he did. Stu thought he might have a special ‘thing’ with kids. Stu loved kids. Since he and Mary-Jane had gotten married, they had been trying to have kids. A year-and-a-half later, Mary-Jane still had not gotten pregnant. Stu took Mary-Jane to the doctor, fearing the worst. And he got the worst.
The doctor told them that Mary-Jane could never have children, some kind of medical problem. Stu forgot all the correct terms in about two minutes.
When they got the news, both of the Clarke’s were shattered; Stu especially. Quickly, he realized that he may never have, genetically, his own children. Stu had heard of men in situations like his, who wanted children so bad but their wives couldn’t have any. Those men seemed to always leave their wives. But still, Stu did love Mary-Jane and stayed with her.
So instead of their own, Stu and Mary-Jane adopted children. Two of them, a 2-momtn old baby girl and a 9-year old boy. They loved them like their own children.
In August of 1971, just before the start of the school year, a new family moved into Ratson. It was a family of three; a man, a woman, and their seven-year-old daughter in grade two. This was the Parker family.
At first, it wasn’t much of an issue for Stu. They were only an extra stop on his miniscule garbage route. In the later years of Stu’s life, they became more then a stop.
The town of Ratson, being miniscule itself, was close. A new family moving into the town meant quite big things for them. As usual with anyone new, the town of Ratson had a small house-warming party for the Parker’s.
The Parker’s didn’t respond with the greatest of enthusiasm.
The little one, Suzanne seemed eager to meet everyone that she could. She loved, and everyone in return, loved her. But the girl's parents weren’t as good. Betty and Tom smiled politely and thanked everyone for their kindness. But all through the night of the party, it was easy for Stu to tell that they didn’t want to be there.
People were very curious about the Parker’s. And so, in the head of the gossip talk among Ratson’s coffee drinkers was the Parker’s. There was really no known reason that the family had moved there. The adults were only table waiters. The Parker’s were not wealthy.
For the next six years, the Parker family became less and less part of Ratson’s community. But after those six years, the Parker family became more in the town of Ratson. It all started with Stu.
There was something about the girl, Suzanne that opened Stu’s eyes. It wasn’t that Suzanne was a girl, he was faithful to Mary-Jane. But it was just something about her. Everytime Stu saw her, it reminded him of something secretive. One night, he tried to explain it to Mary-Jane; she didn’t understand. So, Stu kept the feeling to himself.
But now in the year 1977, and the entire Parker family was presenting chaos. Before you hear about it, make sure you know this: Suzanne was smart, but a loner.
It all started when a Ratson native named Aaron Hardy, had a complaint with his coffee at the local diner. Betty Parker, Suzanne’s mother, was service Aaron, when he said “There’s a moldy piece of bread in my coffee.” Betty ignored him the first time, and so he said it again at which time Betty said, “Yeah, so what?” The arguing went on for only a few more moments, because Betty ended up picking up the coffee and poured it over Aaron Hardy’s head.
Tom Parker was over by Betty’s side immediately. Instead of putting a stop to Betty, he punched Aaron Hardy in the face. Son, he and Betty were beating on Aaron with a mix of fists and slaps. Most other people in the diner were over soon, and pulled the Parker’s off Hardy.
After the brief court hearings, the Parker’s were given a fine, which they paid with Suzanne’s college fund. They went on to live their lives normally. Both had their jobs, first day back, the owners were apprehensive about keeping them on.
In two weeks, the town of Ratson learnt the fine hadn’t changed the Parker’s.
On a Sunday, when the diner was running a buffet, the Parker’s performed an act always reserved for the bedroom, right on the buffet table. The next day, Tom and Betty Parker were fired.
Over the next many weeks, the adult Parker’s performed more acts, which should have embarrassed them. Overall, they collected over five-thousand, five-hundred in fines. All the time, they left Suzanne out of it. But while Suzanne went to school, she was continually beat on by people on the playground. Everyone did it, not only the bullies. No one even tried to stop the children; some even encouraged it.
Eventually, Suzanne’s parents turned on her., They would come home and beat on her like the children in the playground. Each day forward, Suzanne became steadily more bloodied.
Only two people felt anything for Suzanne. Stu, of course and a woman on Stu’s route, Cathy Duncan. Stu was glad…
(there’s just some thing about her)
…That Cathy took care of Suzanne, Stu…
…Stu just kept it to himself that there was something about her that made Stu fell sorry for her.
(just something about her)
Eventually, it worked out that Suzanne would fall into the right hands. Cathy passed her on to authorities, who gave her a good education.
Suzanne’s parents disappeared in 1985, just in time for Suzanne to move into their house herself. Stu suspected that they died; that was what Suzanne had told everyone. But there was always something about that family…
In 1989, all things went wrong between Stu and Suzanne. Stu had always kept his 'feelings' about Suzanne to himself, because no one needed to know. He just kept on his slight attraction to her, of course, it wasn’t anything sexual. There was just something about Suzanne.
Stu was still doing his rounds of Ratson’s garbage route. He knew everything by heart and his memory was as good as every. Stu often thought that being a garbage man had helped him especially his memory. Exercising it every day had to do something.
That day, ten years ago, when Stu had come to Suzanne Parker’s house, the strangest thing in his life occurred. You, the reader, already know of it. It was the event at Suzanne’s house, when there was a sudden lightening bolt, which, for some reason, caused Stu to fall unconscious, even when it never hit him. Most of all, Stu remembered it as the day that Suzanne Parker, Stu’s secret interest, died.
Ten years later, to the day, in 1999, Stu was in a Hospital in Austin, Texas. It wasn’t for him. As far as he knew, he was in great health, even at seventy-seven years of age.
But on this day, Stu Clarke was visiting someone he had always felt responsible for, Bernie Thompson, Suzanne’s former foster son.
Stu, of course, hadn’t done anything to Bernie. He hadn’t caused the boy to be the way he was. The boy was in the children’s part of the hospital. No reason was visible as to why; he wasn’t sick like everyone else around him. Basically, it was because they didn’t know what to do with him.
Bernie was now 19, and soon to be moved to another part of the hospital. In this room, he had spent the past ten years, never leaving it once. Doctors were never able to classify his condition. He was barely ‘in this world’, always staring into space, rarely acknowledging anyone, never talking.
Stu always felt obliged to visit Bernie. “No one wanted him, many years ago the doctors were ready to release him, but no one wanted any kind of kid who didn’t do anything at all. It was impossible to tell if the boy felt lonely or not.
And then, like with Suzanne, there was just something about the boy. About once every three months, Stu would go to the hospital to see Bernie, and try to break the barrier in his mind, which kept what it was about either Suzanne, or Bernie.
Mary-Jane Clarke was falling asleep, when she realized that her husband, Stu Clark, wasn’t breathing. She checked his pulse; nothing.
A day later, after she had called 911, and the doctor’s did an autopsy, she found that her husband of twenty-two years died of a heart-attack. It didn’t surprise her; he was old.
It was time to move on.
Chapter 3- The Affects of Stu Clark’s Death
Jonathon Heart was sitting in a small-sized church, packed full of mostly everybody in Ratson. Being the half-brother of the deceased, an old lady in the front was willing to give up her second-row seat for him.
It was Stu Clark’s funeral that Jonathon was attending. He was one of the few family members who was there, the residents of Ratson were there to grieve for their favorite garbage man.
Jonathon hadn’t seen his half-brother for a long time, and now, he felt guilty about it. What made it worse was that Stu'’ widow, Mary-Jane, didn’t recognize him when he knocked on her door a couple night’s ago. It took his Driver’s license to convince her who he was.
Mary-Jane was actually taking the death of Stu very well. Like most widows, she did cry at the funeral.
As the minister said the final ‘Amen’ of the service, and as everyone else muttered it in return, everyone got up and left. Soon it was only Jonathon, Mary-Jane, and the minister left, along with Stu’s dead body.
“Is there anything you two would like me to do? I know this would hit you hard, being his closest family.” The minister said, undoubtedly trying to get them to leave his church.
“If you could leave us, it would be great,” Mary-Jane said. “I think we’d like to have a few moments together, with Stu.”
“Sure thing, but get me in my office if there’s anything I could get you. I’ll come back in, say, twenty minutes?”
“Thank-you, reverend,” Jonathon said. Thinking Mary-Jane actually did want to be alone for that reason, he went up to Stu’s open coffin, and stared into it for a bit. Tears slowly crept into his eyes.
In a few minutes, Mary-Jane joined him, and stared down at her dead husband. “So he died of a heart-attack?” She asked.
“No,” Jonathon said.
“I didn’t think so. There was more, wasn’t there?”
“More than any doctor could understand. He did die from a heart-attack, I guess, but it’s what caused his heart attack. That’s the problem here.”
“Was it your childhood?”
“Our father, yes. I didn’t want to believe the truth about him of a long time. Since I found the truth about our childhood, I knew about our father. When a man came onto the scene, the world-wide scene, I knew it was true. Something about him.”
“So now what?”
“You know, Mary-Jane,” he said, turning to her, “I don’t even know anymore.” More silence, time where he could think. “Did Stu ever mention very much about us? Me and Patrick?”
“Yeah, but not very often. He never gave me the sense that you three were close. That was why I wanted to see your Driver’s license.”
“We never were close, Stu and I were closest. Patrick was just kind of out there. Did Stu ever mention anything about having a biological son or daughter that he was separated from?”
“No, nothing I can recall.”
“Did Stu have any other half-siblings?”
“No, I'm sure of that.”
“Then it was me, my sister, I wish it weren’t. i have a great, great-nephew named Bernie Thompson. Did Stu ever talk of that name?”
“Yeah, I know or sure he did, all the time. I think Stu had an obsession with the boy. So he’s your nephew? How’s that?”
“My sister had a kid with my father, John Strout. Another rape on his part, the bastard. If my tales are correct, he actually was a bastard. Anyways, that person had a kid who, in turn, had Bernie.
“Now I realize why I’m the last one of us three to live. Patrick, or Stu, could do the same job, but God knew it would be best through closest blood lines. My name isn’t Heart for nothing, you know.”
“So, you know, you’re uncle in a couple of ways to this Bernie, and his father. Your Bernie’s grandfather’s uncle, and half-brother.”
“Yeah, I never thought about that.”
“Again, now what?” Jonathon said nothing. “What’s about your last name?”
“I can answer that. It’s my heart, heart in determination-wise, and my physical heart that will end it.” A slight pause.
“You know what’s creepy?” He asked, “Is that I believe my father had that kid, my nephew and my half-brother, with my sister, half-sister, even after he was dead.”
“What? That’s impossible. Barely possible now, never mind many years ago.”
“No, oh no. My Dad was powerful. That was why I had a hard time believing. I liked to think he was just crazy, schizophrenic maybe. But not my Dad.”
“The way you said that, you sound proud of him.”
“Suddenly, Jonathon looked hard at her, grabbed her shoulders and brought their faces an inch apart. “Do you want to settle the score on Stu’s death? Do you love him that much?”
“Then let’s take a visit to Cathy Duncan.”
Chapter 4- The Affects of the Talk with Cathy Duncan
Cathy Duncan was reading ‘A history of the Queer town of Ratson.” Which as a totally true account of her town’s history, when the knock came.
‘John Strout could be claimed to be an actual witch. Many people who contributed interviews agree.
Strout was one person who worked very hard to start this town. But it appears during his election run, he went a little “coo-coo”. In modern days, attempts have been made to get psychiatrists to review the case of John Strout, to try to understand him.’
The case of John Strout hit Cathy hard, as her father was the first mayor of Ratson. So, Cathy was Cathy Clarke, though no relation to Stu. Cathy always guessed that John Strout was some sort of mad-man, a lunatic. But as far as the term ‘evil’ along with Stu, Jonathon, and Patrick, Cathy didn’t know.
Now, Cathy and Malcom were basically retired. Malcom did a bit of work with his construction company, but had hired someone who did most of the work he used to do. Cathy was glad he was home much more. This way, she was able to only do half of the house-chores. He did the other half.
But today, Malcom was away for a bit. He was attending some construction convention in Dallas. He had wanted her to join him, because he hated the city. But Cathy hated construction business, so she was able to convince her son-in law to accompany her husband. Later, she would know she was glad that he was gone.
On the second series of knocks, Cathy was at the door. Before she even opened it, she concluded that the person behind it was overly persistent.
She saw who it was. The person who was infront, who probably had knocked, (hence, was persistent), was old, maybe even older than Cathy herself at age seventy-seven. His face was heavily wrinkled, his hair pure white. Cathy looked at him, checking him over, through the screen door. “May I help you?” She finally asked the out-of-towner.
“Mary-Jane and I would like to, need to talk with you.” Cathy looked behind the old man and saw Mary-Jane, whom she knew.
Mary-Jane stepped infront of the man. “Please,” She said, “This is my brother-in-law. Stu’s half brother. He’s thinking that we need to talk with you.”
“Is that John Strout’s son?” Cathy asked quietly. Mary-Jane nodded her head urgently, so Cathy quickly let them in.
“I’m the only one left, now,” The man said as he passed Cathy.
“So that mean’s you’re Jonathon. Jonathon…Heart?”
“Yes, and for a reason too.”
Jonathon went straight into Cathy’s house leaving the polite Mary-Jane and Cathy in the door-way. “I told you,” Mary-Jane said.
Cathy had never known what to think about Mary-Jane Clark; no relation to Cathy. Cathy always thought of her as lower-class, being the garbage man’s husband. Then never talked, this was their first time.
Cathy lead Mary-Jane into her house, searching for Jonathon. He was sitting in an arm-chair, Malcom’s arm-chair, waiting for the lady’s to join him.
Cathy motioned for Mary-Jane to sit down beside her on the couch. “First off, I need to know the relationship you had with a girl named Suzanne Parker,” Jonathon said when Cathy was barely comfortable.
“What does Suzanne have to do with this?”
“I guess you’re entitled to a full explanation.” Jonathon said. “Basically, Suzanne has everything to do with this. She housed the boy in question.”
Still not having received her full explanation, Cathy stopped trying to get it and said, “I almost loved Suzanne like my own daughter. She was a beautiful girl. I was always into her, you know what I mean? I always wanted to watch out for her well-being. There’s…there was just something about her.”
“Ah-ha,” was all Jonathon said. Then, a small while later, he said, “And since even Mary-Jane does not fully understand it, I’ll tell of her relationship with Suzanne Parker.
“It’s simple, really. Stu was in Suzanne’s yard when she died. But there’s a reason he was there.”
“Wait,” Mary-Jane said. “Are you accusing my late husband of murder?”
“That is very impolite, even if it were true,” Cathy said.
“Oh no, Stu is innocent of murder, he definitely did not commit it. But there was a reason that Stu was there. The reason was for him to be a witness. Then he’d tell you, Mary-Jane what happened, for he’d never forget that day. In turn, you would tell me. I needed to be aware of what happened.”
Cathy suddenly took Jonathon seriously, even though she blamed this man’s father for killing her own father. “So why do you need to know?”
“That’s a good question, one that will take a bit to answer. But, I want to tell you anyway.
“It’s God, really, who chose me for this. It started with my father, John Strout. Surprisingly enough, many people considered John Strout evil; they were right.”
Cathy suddenly tensed back from Jonathon, as far back on the couch as she could go.
“But don’t worry,” Jonathon said, his tone never changing, “I’m not evil.”
“How…how?” Cathy stammered.
“Let me explain again, Cathy. I think that Mary-Jane, here, would agree when I said that Stu Clark was not evil.” Mary-Jane nodded. “It had nothing to do with our different mothers, no. Our mothers were as non-evil as me. Though I still think of them as bitches, they weren’t evil in the same sense that John Strout was, no. The evil gene, which John was inflicted with, skips every other generation. So, every one of John’s kids would be good; likewise, everyone of our kids would be evil. Everyone of our grandkids, would be good, and so forth.”
There was another moment of silence, where each three person present through it over. Then, Jonathon said, “What did Bernie Thompson do to you, Cathy?”
“He didn’t really do anything to me personally. It was Suzanne who he affected most. The boy was rambunctious, wild, not a person who would go with a strict person like Suzanne.”
“Until she died. He was wild until she died.” Mary-Jane said.
“Yes,” Jonathon speaking now, “But before he could go on, Mary-Jane cut him off.
“Wait, about this evil gene. Would, could that mean that Bernie is evil?”
“No,” he said, “John Strout, his great-grandfather was evil. Bernie’s grandfather, my nephew, and my half-brother who I believe was named Fred, was good. Fred's son, named Anthony was evil. Anthony’s son, Bernie, is good.”
“So if Anthony was evil, what happened to him? What did he do?” Cathy asked.
“He hasn’t done his worst, yet. He’s dead, Anthony Walker Strout is. Have either of you heard of the singer, Stooge?”
Chapter 5- The New-found Affects of Stooge
“They called Bernie, Bernie Jones, when Suzanne adopted him. They didn’t know, or care, that this last name really was Thompson, his mother’s name. About two years after he was put into the hospital, someone did a little research and found his real last name.” Jonathon said while they were speeding along an empty gravel road. Cathy was driving. She really hadn’t wanted to get involved, but when Suzanne was involved, she always tried to be as well. Even she was ten years gone.
“So what is Stooge doing?” Cathy asked Jonathon who was in the front seat with her. Mary-Jane was in the back-seat, “What does he want?”
“Right now, revenge.” He’s been back for ten years, now, the first day he was back was the day Suzanne died. Revenge. That’s a common trend that witches don’t seem to realize won’t work with God. Especially this revenge. He really doesn’t have anyone to avenge.”
“A witch?” Mary-Jane said, popping her head into the space between the two front seats.
“Oh yes, Stooge is a witch. Ever since he was fifteen, or so, he was one. Fifteen is when the evil gene usually takes affect. That’s how he’s coming back, through the with powers of reincarnation.”
Cathy gasped, “Good God! The dreams!”
Nearly at the same time, Mary-Jane said, “The sticks.”
Jonathon said, “Mary-Jane you explain first.”
She said, “Stu said that when he pulled up to Suzanne’s crushed house, the words ‘NATION’ were written in debris from the house.”
“Yeah,” Cathy said. “And once in a while, I’d have these dreams. It would be the same every time. Screams al the time. And there were always the letters ‘REIN’.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Suzanne saw a ‘CAN’, somewhere before she died.”
There was silence for a while. “I just don’t get it.” Cathy said as she continued driving.
“It is hard to understand,” Mary-Jane agreed.”
“I’ll try to explain all of it,” Jonathon said, “Stooge wants revenge at Suzanne for ‘mis-treating’ his son Bernie. Really it isn’t mis-treating, just raising Bernie different then he would. Now, since he’s basically ended it with Suzanne by killing her, he wants to settle the score with the rest of us.
“So who is the ‘rest of us’? Well, it’s everyone who either sided with Suzanne, basically your, Cathy, or everyone else with John Strout. That includes Patrick, Stu, me, even you Mary-Jane. I’m guessing he thinks that even if we don’t have the evil gene, we should still help him in some way. Basically, everything he says is a load of crap.”
“What drives him, Jonathon?” Cathy asked. That was something she had always wanted to know.
“Something I don’t really know is that, Cathy. My guess probably like most people’s that he takes ‘guidance’ from the Devil. But then again, who knows?”
“Probably only him,” Mary-Jane said.
“Probably,” both Cathy and Jonathon agreed.
Another moment of silence.
“So you said you were named ‘Heart’ for a reason. What could that reason be?” Cathy asked another question that she had wanted answering.
“Those are reasons that I believe you’d have trouble understanding, Cathy. Maybe once it’s over, you’ll understand more. But not until then, I think.”
“Where are we going?” Mary-Jane asked Jonathon, Cathy looked questionably at him as well.
“We’re going to Suzanne Parker’s old yard.” He said.
“Why, that’s two minutes away from my house.” Cathy said. “And we’ve been speeding in the opposite direction all of the time.”
“The beauty of it!” Jonathon said, smiling at Cathy.
Cathy slammed on the breaks sending Mary-Jane in the back-seat, head-first into the back of Jonathon’s seat. She turned around, and started driving from the direction they had just come from. “IN a little time that I have known you, Jonathon, sometimes, I wonder about you.” She said harshly.
“So what will we do when we get to Suzanne’s?” Mary asked rubbing her head.
“Here’s the plan,” he said. “We get to Suzanne’s and you two will walk to the ambulance department. You’re going to tell them to send an ambulance to Suzanne’s old place. I’m guessing everyone knows where that is?”
“Yes, everyone knows of it. But you can’t just go in there and tell them to send an ambulance.” Cathy said.
“Then call from a pay-phone.” He said.
“Why walk?” From Mary-Jane.
“Because I might need the car. Come on, it’s not like you two are anywhere near five-hundred pounds, or even that badly out of shape.”
Now Cathy asked: “What are you going to do?”
“Damn it, you two,” he said, getting angry for the first time. “I fell like I’m getting an interview for a job. All I can tell you is that I’m going to settle the score. I’m going to settle the Strout evil gene, end it, end Stooge.”
“Jonathon, I’m starting to believe you. So since I do, I believe you’re going face-to-face with a with you could be hurt, or even killed.” Mary-Jane agreed.
“Maybe,” was all that Jonathon said.
Chapter 6- Stooge
Cathy pulled the car into Suzanne Parker’s old driveway. Little did she, or Mary-Jane know, but this was basically the same spot where Stu had parked, ten years ago when Suzanne died. The three stepped out of the car at the same time. Knowing he knew what he was doing, the women left Jonathon, and started walking towards the town of Ratson.
Jonathon was right, they weren’t that out of shape, and it was only about a mile or so to walk.
The scary thing was that Jonathon seemed to know too much. In most cases, this would seem like a good thing, but this was not a usual case. Now, it was just creepy. It was creepy to Cathy to know that Jonathon knew someone would need an ambulance in the end, and he might need the car.
She was very scared for the man; though he seemed to be, somehow, blessed by God. He was going into a show-down with a supposed witch. He was unarmed, even a gun might be helpful in this situation. Worst of all, he had no bits of silver; Cathy had a feeling the Devil might be involved.
None-the-less, it would work out in the end, however God chose it to end.
When Jonathon watched the women leave, when he couldn’t see them any more, he turned around, and saw the yard.
The rubble of Suzanne’s house was still in place, exactly as it was left. The grass was uncut and had been for the past ten years. Now, in a field form, it must be home to numerous wild animals. Only the road looked inviting, but even it was a little over-grown with weeds.
Slowly, he started walking. The road had been well-used over ten years, many police and FBI vehicles had traveled it over the years. Now the case had been closed; it was listed as an un-solved murder. Hopefully, with luck and God’s grace, no one would re-open it. Jonathon hoped to close it right now.
In five minutes, because he was walking slowly and the lane was long, he ended his walk and was infront of the rubble, which had been Suzanne’s house. He studied it closely, found a spot, which was unusually clear of grass; he walked up to it, and knelt down.
The spot he was at, which was clear of grass, contained a sign. It, of course, read ‘NATION’. This was the spot where, ten years ago, Jonathon’s brother, Stu, had knelt. Slowly, a tear trickled down his cheek as he regretted not ever getting to know his half-brother better.
He got up quickly, and wiped the single tear away. He had barely even cried at the funeral, much earlier that day. This definitely was no time to cry.
It was getting dark, though still light enough to, say, read, when Jonathon started to step right into the ruble of Suzanne’s crumbled house. He knew he had to get into there to meet it.
Mid-way through the rubble, with a foot covered in animal crap, and a hand scratched from stopping himself from falling, he found what he wanted to find. It was a decomposed body, a very sickly sight, but Jonathon easily kept his lunch down. No body part could be attributed to this body which had been lying there for the past nine years. Jonathon guessed that after an autopsy had been performed, police still wanted to get an idea of where she was when she died. In the end, everyone forgot of disposing the body correctly, or they were made to forget. There was one body part that was visible; Suzanne’s heart. It was a hard thing to do, but Jonathon forced himself to reach where her chest used to be, and pulled out her heart. This time, he had a hard time keeping his lunch down.
As he was straightening up, Suzanne’s long dead heart firmly in his hand, the lights went out. It was like someone had just pulled the breaker. It was pitch black outside.
Slowly, a think, dark line of light appeared across the sky, kind of like a slightly stretched out bolt of lightening. The sky was now split in two, up on the horizon. The small upper half was slightly lighter then the longer bottom half. Stars were now very visible in the sky.
A faint, godly music from Hell, came from the distance, picking up volume as it came nearer. No modern metal band made music like it. It was the servants of Stooge who led the vocals as they came into view, dancing in an un-earthly way. They were in two large lines, gapes between them. Jonathon knew all would be coming. The servants were still a distance away from him, just infront of the trees behind Suzanne’s house, but he was still scared.
They stopped. In a moment, the person these people had died for, would come into view. These people were also reincarnates, of a different form than Stooge, who had died with him. Their deaths were a religious, spiritual one. In that sense, spiritual and religions of the Devil.
Stooge appeared in a moment, in the form Jonathon suspected he would take; a rat. It appeared that the form of creature of the Strout evil gene was the rat.
THE MAN slumped over and Stooge knew him to be dead. There was a squealing turned into a scream, “Nooo…” as Stooge transformed into a semi-transparent human form. That form was basically the same as when he was human. Marks from Hell were the only new additions.
Stooge walked over to THE MAN, JONATHON, for that was all he was to Stooge. There was a burning sensation in Stooge’s empty chest, to kill THE MAN.
This sensation, oblivious to the dead Jonathon Heart, was the evil gene at work. Without the gene, Stooge, John Strout, and others before them, would be perfectly normal people if it wasn’t for the evil gene.
Jonathon had died, but it had been God’s decision. He had taken him in a painless fashion, a heart-attack. It was all part of His plan.
Stooge signaled his servants away; they dissolved into thin air in moments. He was standing infront of THE dead MAN.
He looked happily at the man, the burning sensation now a hard, new urge. That urge was to make THE MAN a sacrifice to the Devil.
It was a basically simple process, and so Stooge set upon doing it. Slowly, with the power of the evil gene and the Devil behind him, to spread his hand out, and stuck it into THE MAN’S chest. That was the power from the evil gene.
As he pulled out the man’s heart, a new thought came to him. ‘This MAN tried to help my son.’ That brought a new urge to hurt THE MAN by sending him and his soul to Hell. But also, he thought about going to that hospital in Austin where his son was kept, and kill him, and all the people in the past ten years who and caused him pain.
Of course ,he would only kill his son to send him to Hell with his father. They had been apart for atleast twelve years.
But Stooge’s thoughts were distracted when THE MAN’S heart gave a horrific leap in Stooge’s hand. Suddenly, though Stooge didn’t know it because he was dead, the heart turned a deathly cold; colder than dry ice. Colder then Pluto.
And then, the heart exploded, sending its coldness all over Suzanne’s yard. All evil that might have been there once, was now gone.
If Hell is hot, wouldn’t it seem logical for Heaven to be cold?
It was not a coincidence that Jonathon’s last name was Heart. No, he was probably given that name so historians, only really Cathy and Mary-Jane could easily remember what he did.
Heart was something that Stooge, nor anyone who worshipped the Devil, could understand. All those people knew are hate, greed. The heart has always represented love, beauty, the opposite of the Devil and his followers knew.
In the end, it would be the heart, love that would end Stooge, and the evil gene.
Epilogue- the Scream (3)
Cathy was back home again, and was digging in a pile of old newspapers from 1960, nearly thirty years ago. Malcom was a big reader of newspapers, and kept most of them that he read over the years. Cathy had made him throw many out, keeping only a few from each year.
She knew God would have made him keep the right one. Sure enough, the January 5th, 1960 edition of Austin’s daily newspaper was there, very yellowed from old age.
Cathy looked happily at it, and quickly slipped back into her house. It was late and dark, a natural darkness, unlike the one Ratson had experienced earlier in the night. She wondered what crazy idea scientists would come up with. Nothing they knew of could be right. They believed science, of course, no god’s or other worlds.
She went back to the living room where, earlier, in the day, she had met Jonathon Heart of the first time. This time, only Mary-Jane was there. Malcom wouldn’t be back for another two days, which was good. Cathy and Mary-Jane would need time to straighten everything out.
It was late now, but they wanted to check this out, just before they set about making a bed for Mary-Jane to stay the night. They next day would be very busy as they were going to travel to Austin together.
”I found it,” Cathy said to Mary-Jane, who was sitting on the couch; politely. “Do you want to read it, or should I?”
“You can, I don’t want to rip it or anything.”
“All right, let me see…” Cathy flipped through the paper. “Here it is, Capricorn: ‘An excuse buys you a second chance; don’t tempt fate. You have your gears in motion towards a commitment. Circles of influence are expanded. A couple easily gain each other’s trust, but they should be careful to guard it.’” Cathy paused a moment. “Sounds like Stooge, doesn’t it?”
“Yes,” Mary-Jane said, “Yes it does.”
They arrived at the Austin city hospital in good time, eleven A.M., just in the middle of visiting hours. The front-desk nurse directed them to Bernie Thompson’s room, but clearly wanted to know the connection with this strange boy.
A nurse was checking on Bernie when the two lady’s stepped into the room. “I’ll leave you three alone in a minute.” She said. Exactly sixty-one seconds later, the nurse left.
When the door snapped shut behind her, Cathy looked at the boy. His eyes were open, but staring straight into dead space. No part of him looked to be alive. She and Mary-Jane had discussed it and decided it was best if she, Cathy, started talking. There was a little bit of a closer connection between the two. There was a better chance of a response if she spoke first.
“Hi Bernie,” she said.
Suddenly, the boy’s eyes jerked, and miraculously, looked at Cathy. Colour seeped back into his formerly pale face. He took his arms and moved his fingers, felt the rest of his body. Under the sheets, Cathy could see his toes twiddling. He now looked alive.
“Is it over?” Was all he asked. His first words back.
“Yes, oh yes, Bernie, it is.” Mary-Jane said. Soon enough, tears were streaming down both women’s faces.
“I didn’t think I was a bad host. Please, sit down.”
Both women took seats on the side of his bed. Tears were still streaming because they didn’t know how much the life-time ordeal had affected them.
“Was Dad killed? Killed for good?” He asked. Both women nodded. “Good, I never knew I should have hated him.”
He felt his hair. “Oh my, it’s long, like Dad’s. I’ll have to cut it.” He was right. He did look much like his heavy metal rocking Dad.
“We want you to know, Bernie, that we want to help you in every way we can,” Mary-Jane said, still sobbing.
“Nonsense,” He said, “Sure, I lost ten years of my life because God wanted to put it on hold while the gene basically worked itself out, but God is good. I think He knows that I really am good. He’ll help me put my life back together.”
“Jonathon was right,” Cathy said, “The Strout evil gene does skip a generation.”
“Yeah, you know what sucks?” He said, smiling happily for the first time in his life, “I’ll have to remain a virgin for the rest of my life. Too risky, really. God worked hard to fix and end the gene. He wouldn’t want the gene continued because of me relying on scientific birth control.”