Friday, February 15, 2008

Unfinished blogness: The Twilight Zone Meme

Last year, I was tagged by one of Kansas City's most no-no-notorious bloggers in the Twilight Zone Moment meme. The instructions:
Recall and relate a time when you experienced a "paranormal event"
Explain it rationally if you can
Inflict this meme on 5 other people
It took me a while to come up with the right Twilight Zone Moment. There have been so many in my life.

I could write the story about the time I was locked in a bank vault while the rest of the world underwent a nuclear holocaust. Or there was the time I went half-crazy in a military experiment because I thought I was the only person on Earth. Or there was the time when I, as an elderly man, learned the secret of how to become young again by playing kick-the-can and left my old, wrinkled friends to rot in an nursing home.

But then, over the holidays, I had the following experience that I think qualifies.

EDIT: Oh crap! I forgot the most important thing -- the spreading of the virus. So, John B., R. Sherman, Cara (Just Cara), Shane and KC Sponge consider yourselves infected.

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December, and we were visiting my parents' house for a few days (this all happened before the Christmas Eve Massacre of 2007, but in retrospect I wonder if the two events aren't related by some mysterious cosmic force).

My Supermodel Wife and I were assigned one of the nicer guest rooms in my parents' large country estate home. It's a nice big room with great view of the river that runs at the base of a limestone cliff in the back yard. I always liked that river because it provides a soothing "gurgling brook" sound, a sort of a natural white noise to help you sleep.

The only problem is the bed. It's an old four-poster bed made out of walnut. Legend has it that it's been in the family for over a century. And that might have had something to do with why I was wide awake at 1:45 in the morning.

To say that it is uncomfortable is to undersell the definition of the word "uncomfortable." Medieval torture devices are uncomfortable. Water boarding is uncomfortable. This bed seemed to have an unholy grudge against my lower back.

It started out as a dull ache as I tossed and turned on the bouncy boxspring, trying not to wake up the sleeping beauty beside me. I tried sleeping on my back, on my side, on my other side, but that dull ache grew into an excruciating malevolent presence slithering from my lower back to the base of my skull and back again, each time making me crazier with the pain.

Soon I was delirious. I wasn't in control of my own mind. I began to hear a voice, a whisper at first that grew in to a howling shriek: "KILL THEM... KILL THEM ALL."

I crawled out of the bed in a pathological sweat, my mind on the sharpened ax near the woodpile at the back door. It was clear that there was only one way, one bloody, murderous way to relieve the pain.

But as I made my way to the foot of the stairs, my mind began to clear. Already I was feeling better, the devilish pain in my back now subsided once again to a dull ache. So giving up the quest for the ax (what did I need that for again? I couldn't remember), I made my way to the kitchen for a glass of ice water.

The light from the kitchen cabinets illuminated a stack of old family photos and books on the counter top. Some of the family had been reviewing these old photos and diaries from the family archive that my mother maintains in the old part of the house (originally built of native limestone in 1873 by my great, great grandfather).

I casually browsed through some of the pictures as I sipped the water. The suddenly I did a double take at one that was near the top of the stack. I bent down for a closer look and sure enough, there it was.

A group of settlers posing in their fine cloths, the men with long beards, the women in frumpy dresses, the children in decidedly stiff looking collared shirts and jackets. They were all posed around a bed. A four-poster bed that appeared to be made of walnut.

It was the very bed I had climbed out of only a few minutes before.

I picked up the picture to examine it. On the back was written, in very fine handwriting, the names of my ancestors in the picture along with the notation that they were "seated around Mama and Papa's bed made from walnut taken from the Stump Patch."

The Stump Patch! Of course, everything started to come together in my mind. The Stump Patch is well known in my family as the small section of field about a quarter mile west of the house, up stream along the creek that flows through the back yard.

The original settlers of the property, those who built the house in 1873, had given it the name Stump Patch after harvesting a grove of walnut trees one year, leaving a field of stumps that would later have to be uprooted and removed.

It was only as they removed the stumps the next year that my ancestors discover that it was not a naturally occurring walnut grove, but rather a grove planted intentionally by a large settlement of Arapaho Indians to enshrine the final resting place of many of their tribe who had died in a small pox epidemic in the early 1800s.

I finally began to understand. The murderous rage I had felt as a result of sleeping in the bed, the very bed made from the very walnut trees my ancestors had taken from a hallowed burial ground in an unwitting act of desecration was the Indian spirits' way of righting an ancient injustice.

Just then, my Supermodel Wife walked into the kitchen with a deranged look on her face and a cheese slicer...

tagged: , , , , , ,


  1. That was fun. I'm glad you responded to this tag.

    I've been "away" too long; I need to be more regular in my visits.

  2. Our bed is a white cedar log bed. No nightmares though.

  3. I never believe anything involving an "Indian graveyard", being "related to Jesse James", or "unfettered free markets".

    Nice story though.

  4. XO, I know what you mean. I feel the same way about Big Foot, the face on Mars and one-world-government utopias (utopii??).

  5. Off Topic, but congrats for Saturday's 100 point effort. Apparently, vengeance was thine.


  6. Oops. Didn't see the update. I'll hit it in a couple of days.


  7. Thanks, I think, for the tag. I have some pondering to do . . .

  8. You tagged the wrong fool. I've never had a "paranormal" event.

    However, I have "normal" events every day.

  9. Shane, in that case perhaps you could write about a "pair of normal" events?


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