Thursday, July 7, 2022

House of Laughter

February 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Fiction, Secrets of NYC, Staten Island, Stories


(Voorlezer’s House – Photo/photoshopped by Joe – Orig. below)

I had my feet up on the couch in front of our *50″ LG plasma TV, because that’s what I like to do. On the TV was Guy Fieri, lapping at his digits, while his eyes bulged as big as doughnuts as he tore into monster burger and tried to tell me how good it was.

My eyes glossed over in luxurious delight. I dreamed about grilling up my own slab of juicy beef, infused with cheese and onions. Lady friend(LF), who was breezing about the apartment while talking on her cell, has us on this whacked out diet and exercise program. When we eat, it’s like we’re grazing a field, so I really needed to take that trip through the TV and be at Guy’s side.

Steps away from me in the dining room, the pizza and Chinese delivery guys(aka num and nuts) were bouncing in their chairs, frothed up and effervescing over this guy they had over, whom I’m calling “a friend”–to be nice. I think his name is Morgan, but I was trying not to pay attention as I always do when he’s around.

Morgan’s lofty papaya-orange hair was bobbing. “I’m an inventor,” he said to me like he hadn’t said it fifty times before, and in his cartoonish manner as it seemed he spoke with his tongue pressed to his teeth. He fingered a bright yellow Styrofoam orb he had brought with him. It looked like planet Saturn with its rings attached. And he kept looking at me because he is one of those types that has to look at strangers when he talks. You know them. You’re buying a package of Trident Layers at CVS, and he’s talking to the checkout girl and looking back at you with his batty eyes like he thinks you give a crap.

“Ideas just come to me, and I invent them. Heehee,” Morgan said, sounding like a daft parrot.

Ok. Whatever.

He held planet Saturn by the rings. Dressed in purple skinny jeans and a flaming yellow shirt, and with his wacky hairstyle, he looked like an exotic bird. “I invented this, and it’s like an indoor Frisbee. It’s called ‘Feecees.’”

I raised my brow.

“It’s squishy soft and fuunnnnn. Heeheehee,” Morgan said and tossed the Feecees or whatever it was, because that’s what it sounded like he was calling it.

The orb circled the room and came back to him. I was pretty impressed.

Heeheehee,” Morgan smiled, mashing the Feecees into a small ball, while num and nuts chortled along.

“It’s fun. Heeheehee. I like to play with it in my hands.” He held up the Feecees, which retained its smaller shape. “It comes back so you can play with it all by yourself. Heeheehee.” He bounced it off the wall, caught it, and then began windmilling his right arm, while he extended his left arm with both wrists crooked. He kicked out his stiff and straight left leg. It looked like he was a soldier preparing for some strange march.

I leaned closer to the TV, focusing hard on Guy Fieri and hoped to be drawn in by his punky ebullience.

“I’m funny, right,” Morgan said. “And gay! Yah! Heehee.” He tossed the Feecees, and to my dismay, he hit the wall just above my TV. He then stomped his feet in place and caught the Feecees on the return bounce. He stared at me like he was trying to burn a hole in my noggin’.

Num and nuts saw him staring, and they focused on me like I was a bug on the tips of their noses. I felt like I was locked in a clown car.

I was about to lay into Morgan and take a shot at num and nuts, when LF came into the room with a big tray of snacks. She wore a gracious smile and looked upon us with eyes of splendor. I tried to relax, knowing if I yelled at the troika from Bizarroland, it would ruin her mood, and she would tear into muah.

“You don’t remember me. Heeheehee,” Morgan said to me and gave a thin derisive smile. “You really don’t!”

Num and nuts guffawed like they were paid to. LF set down the tray loaded with pita chips and various dips on the dining room table. She smiled upon us like we were one happy family.

Morgan shuffled his feet, while smacking the tips of his shoes against the floor. He sang, “‘I come to town de udder night, I hear de noise an saw de fight.’ Heeheehee…”

Every muscle in my body stiffened. A dream I had just last night about my past life in the 1850s came roaring back to me. I had dreamed about that house, that strange house. It was located in Brooklyn, less than a mile from our “firehouse“. If I only would have passed it by, but I couldn’t resist…

It was early evening in the spring of 1854. I had been ambulating upon a road overlooking the Brooklyn wharves by the mouth of the East River. I was gazing upon a forest of masts, including those across the river that stopped just short of Battery Park, which encompassed the tip of Manhattan. A promenade ran along that shoreline, and no ships docked there. Some strange bit of starry yellow light drew my attention. It stirred in the sky then dropped into the trees, not 100 yards away. I detoured off the road and through a field, toward the light.

Laughter resounded from some unseen gathering. The light zipped out of sight. Just then I came upon a large farmhouse and freshly tilled land. Up the dirt road that ran past the farm, I traced the frolicsome sounds to an old red school house. The laughter and cries from inside its walls were astounding. The planking seemed to be vibrating from all the exuberance.

I had to pay a tall, rail-thin man to gain entrance. They were having a minstrel performance in the open first floor. I headed to a makeshift bar and ordered a spiced rum that seemed to wake my every sense. At the center of the hubbub, a man dressed in tattered clothes and wearing blackface was singing, dancing, and kicking up dust. A maniacal light flickered behind his eyes.

It was him! It was Dan…

Morgan began to sing, breaking my reverie, and I found myself caught between the past and the present. “‘Here’s old Dan Tucker, he comes to town. He swings the ladies round and round. He swings one east, he swings one west; he swings with the one he loves the best–‘”

I heard Dan’s laughter in my head…

“‘–Old Dan Tucker was a fine old soul, buckskin belly and a rubber asshole. Swallowed a barrel of cider down, and then he sh-t all over town.'”

Morgan finished singing and broke into his worst fit of laughter. “Hee, hee, hee…” He sounded just like Dan.


(Vohelezer’s House in Richmond Town – Photo by Joe)

* Props to Polar Bear Dave who gave me the 50″ LG plasma TV after winning it in a raffle!

Here are all the posts in this series:

Episode Forty-Three

House of Laughter  –  (House of Laughter – The film version)

Old Dan Tucker  –  (Old Dan Tucker – The film version)

Black Sullivan And His Girls  –  (Black Sullivan And His Girls – A Major Motion Picture)

The Glove – (The Glove – A Major Motion Picture)

To be continued in Episode Forty-Four

Here are my STORIES and info on my Novels


One Response to “House of Laughter”
  1. Mike in Jersey says:

    Hello. Excellent job. I could not imagine this. This is a excellent story. Thanks!

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