Driving Away From The Supernatural World
(Photos by Bald Punk – The Rock Church, Queens Blvd.)
Having sworn off the supernatural world outside Calvary Cemetery in Queens, a conspiracy quickly formed against me. By the time we reached the Bronx, it had gathered and took incorporeal shape . . .
We drove off from the Calvary boneyard in Yankees-anticipatory glee. On our way to my friend Rocky’s to watch the game, I was firm in my proclamation and felt genuine relief.
I was starting anew! I had “kicked a bad habit!” Let the bells ring out. Bald Punk has turned over a virginal leaf.
Little did I know that less than thirty minutes after vowing to ignore the supernatural world, my resolve would be tested. Such was the manner in which it occurred–the nature of the siren-type temptation–that I felt there had to have been some sort of conspiracy in the works.
The lure was utterly perfect, and I found myself wondering if anyone in the car was a co-conspirator.
Yankee caps firmly planted upon their skulls, the pizza and Chinese delivery guys(aka num and nuts) have been complicit in countless betrayals and acts against me. Yet they are reactionaries, and generally go with the flow. The scope of this betrayal was well beyond them. (As was the knowledge of how to properly wear a baseball cap. When we got to Rocky’s, I showed them the correct angle between the bill and the eyebrows.)
Involvement by my lady friend(LF) was out of the question. She is one of the nicest human beings on the face of the Earth, capable only of altruism.
That left Benny, “the cigar store Indian,” an enigmatic, old homeless man steeped in the paranormal. It was well within his means to conjure up a diabolical allurement such as the one that tempted me.
On the car ride Benny had seemed his usual blithe and placid self. He was as amused by my swearing off the supernatural out front of Calvary Cemetery in Queens, to my being tested a short while later in the Bronx. If I detected any questionable signals, it was the way he lifted his brow and a knowing light filled his eyes when he realized my affliction. But I only read it as: “Ha, ha! You can’t look away.”
(Calvary Cemetery, Queens)
Therefore, my accusatory finger points back at myself.
Given days to mull the events, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the supernatural world doesn’t ever let go of you. One can’t resign as a witness to angels, ghosts, and demons.
As far as the enticement, and its perfect nature–its appearance was due in part to both chance and fate.
—I’ve been swallowed into a belly of ghastly secrets. It digests me as it sees fit.
We were up by Fordham University on the Grand Concourse. It’s a wide boulevard with tree-lined dividers that connects Manhattan to the Northern Bronx. While driving, I found myself imagining white and dark shapes arranged in an artistic order reminiscent of a Picasso work. The vision produced a sense of inner conflict that quickly manifested itself in brusque whispers that seemed to come from outside the car. It was then that I spotted a shadowy figure plodding along on the sidewalk.
(Grand Concourse and East Kingsbridge Rd)
The man was medium height with thick black waves of hair. He wore a tattered pea coat that had a wide collar, which flared out to nearly his shoulders. Around his neck was what looked to be a bandage wrapped with twine. He seemed alive, but I knew he wasn’t. I can’t explain it, except that the light of his being was very dull.
The man gave a sideways glance as if detecting my mindful gaze. I gasped, thinking I knew the face, especially the broad forehead and cropped mustache . . .
I gripped the steering wheel. My eyes shot up to the rear-view mirror. I belligerently took in Benny’s face. His eyes met mine. “Are you up to something old man?” I whispered, but he only smiled happily. I didn’t think he had seen the ghost yet, nor had anyone else in the car.
When I looked back to the sidewalk, I espied the ghostly man slipping through an impossibly small opening in a wrought-iron fence. I thought of my desire to ignore the supernatural and hit accelerator.
But I took one last look to my right. On the fence, I saw a metal sign with a signature in black script. I had seen it countless times on a poster that adorned my bedroom wall in a past apartment.
The signature was Edgar A. Poe’s. I pulled the car over.
Here are all the posts in this series: Episode Twenty – October/November 2009
Edgar Allan Poe Cottage in the Bronx (Pics only)