Thursday, March 24, 2011
The Rise and Fall of the Stoned Guest
Brushes with evil? Sure, I’ve had a few. Just some thin little paint strokes, though, really. Nothing you’d need to shake an Exorcist at.
Oh, yes. Yes! I remember one, in particular. His name was Damien. A demonic/cherubic/ceramic lawn statue, he was.
Damien first came into our lives when Corb worked the front desk at one of his first jobs, back when the little demon (Corb, I mean…not Damien) was a young, impressionable twenty-so slip of a thing.
Way before Corb started there, at some point in time, I guess, someone (somehow) thought Damien would be a cute addition to the hotel’s landscape. I don’t know why, really. Maybe that landscaper’s name was…hmmm, Satan? Specializing in decorations for Motel Hell?
Damien had an eerie smile and blank hollow eyes that either made him look like Little Orphan Annie or Linda Blair’s lost brother. In his hands, he gripped two frightened stone bunnies in a stranglehold. That’s not exactly warm and friendly, if you ask me. Certainly not the image I’d want for my hotel…if I had one, other than in games of Monopoly.
Anyway, by the time Corb started working at the hotel, someone had placed Damien so he was peeking out from behind a bush, kind of like a demonic Arte Johnson. He stared right the office of Corb’s boss, from her window. It was a frightening sight, particularly if you were working the midnight shift.
Thanks in part to Corb’s twisted sense of humor, Damien quickly moved up in the world, though, from lawn ornament to office joke. He made his way into the warmth of the building, appearing, occasionally, on someone’s chair, or on a desk in place of a vase of flowers. He was once hung by the neck from the top of a door.
Eventually, he started to make his way into people’s homes. That’s when things stopped being so funny, and just became kind of creepy.
That’s how he ended up at our apartment, actually. It was one of Damien’s first trips away from the office. The stunt was intended to celebrate Corb’s birthday. As a surprise, and without his knowledge, one of Corb’s co-workers met me at a rest stop off I-95 and delivered the statue to me under a shroud of silence.
“I’ve got the stuff,” she whispered, as if it were a drug deal.
Then we had sex. No, no, just kidding! She made the trade, I grabbed the statue and hid it inside my car. Then, at midnight, while Corb was fast asleep, I snuck Damien in and placed him inside our refrigerator.
Corb woke up the next morning and stumbled with his big feet toward the refrigerator, his blond hair sticking up at all angles. He opened up the fridge for a glass of milk. I hovered behind him, with a demonic/cherubic smile of my own on my face.
He opened the door. Then, closed it. “Why good morning, Damien, how are you?” he mumbled, without any change in the expression on his face.
Of course, I thought it was hysterical. Corb thought it was lame. He hates being on the butt end of jokes.
While I had Damien around, I managed to convince our cat at the time, Thumbkin, to pose for a photo in bed with him. Kind of a coitus interuptus kind of thing, or at least that’s what I was aiming for. I posted a horrible story about their intimate encounter on the thoroughly inappropriate cat blog I was keeping at the time.
Two months later, Thumbkin was dead. We came home one night to find him underneath a sofa, stiff as a board. The kids were devastated, and Corb was a wreck. That left me to deal with cleaning up the wreckage.
Was it shagging the stoned guest? A sheer act of sheer evil on Damien’s part? My tacky little cat blog? I have to be honest, we didn’t make any connection between any of that at the time.
Once back at the hotel, Damien quickly started getting passed around more than an ex-girlfriend of Charlie Sheen. It was as if the attention paid to him had stirred something, something deep within his demonic/cherubic/ceramic little soul (or lack thereof). In fact, he actually started bopping about from hotel to hotel, because people suddenly didn’t like having him around. Water breaks kept occurring, for some reason, shutting down the water pipes and depriving people of showers. That had a tendency to get the customers all shades of angry.
He was moved from that first hotel to one that Corb’s boss transferred to. Then back to the first hotel. Then to a hotel Corb had transferred to.
Then, somehow, he ended up back at our apartment.
Flash forward, to about a week after our new roomy had moved in with us. I come home to find the entire apartment building in total darkness, except for the eerie red glow of emergency lights throughout the building. I call Corb up, immediately.
“Something’s wrong in the building,” I say.
“It started around noon,” Corb replies. “The lights went out in the living room, and those red lights appeared. I called the main office. They’re not sure what’s going on.”
Five hours later, the lights are still out. It’s nine o’clock at night at that point, and Corb and I are running out of ways to keep the kids entertained away from home. In desperation, we drive back to the apartment, positive the light situation will be fixed.
It’s not. The crews are still working away.
Suddenly, it hits me. “Is Damien inside the place?” I ask Corb.
We make our way up the red-lit stairs and stumble into the place. Theo’s afraid to enter, afraid of the shadows. Corb runs around, lighting candles to bring some light back into the world, followed by Theo, all the way.
Meanwhile, I locate Damien, lurking in a corner by the couch. I grab the little son of a bitch and make my way back downstairs, throwing him into the back of Corb’s truck.
Fifteen minutes later, the lights go back on.
The next day, I receive a call from Corb in the afternoon.
“I almost didn’t get home from work today,” he says.
“My truck was almost totaled. The car in front of mine smashed into an eighteen-wheeler that stopped suddenly. I put the brakes on just in time. Ted, I’m still shaking. It was scary.”
I pause for a moment. “So, Damien’s still in the back of your car?”
“Oh.” I can hear the wheels in Corb’s brain, racing away. “Oh, shit.”
“That’s it!” I scream. “Get Damien out of your car before anything really bad happens.”
Corb runs back to his car and lifts Damien out. Places him next to our dumpster. Walks away.
The next day, he arrives home with the kids, after work, and parks next to that dumpster. To check on Damien, to see how his day has been spent.
But Damien’s no longer there. In his place...no word of a lie...Corb finds a handful of large-sized bones on the ground. Not chicken bones, exactly. Too large to be those. What, then?
Coincidence? We may never know. What we do know is that Damien has never returned. In the time that’s passed, we have yet to see him adorning someone’s balcony or as a lawn ornament at the front office of the apartment complex. He has yet to run as a candidate in a local election for any political office that I know of. My feeling is we’ll probably never see the evil little guy again.
I’m not sure if I really believe he was a good statue gone bad. Maybe he truly wasn’t bad, just drawn that way, by our stories and the creepy things that happened (that maybe had nothing to do with him). Whatever the truth is, I don’t need any ill wind blowing over my house, thank you very much.
Blow, ill wind, blow away. Good riddance to you. And take those scavenger bones with you.