Sigmund Freud.

Elm City Review (Volume 9) online

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"C'mon Josh let's go do something," Harvey whined. "I don't want to
be stuck inside all day."

"What's there to do? Plus it's way too hot outside. I'm staying here,"
I responded. Harvey rolled his eyes and threw a pillow at my head, ruining my
catch record. The ball rolled down past his feet. He snatched it up and ran to the
door.

"Hey!" I protested.

"If you want it, come and get it!" With that, he ran out the door.

I got up and followed him out. The sun glared at me as I got outside,
perhaps warning me of what was to come. I should have turned back then, but
instead I sauntered over to Harvey. "So what's the plan?" I asked.

"Well, I'm going to go check out Remington Woods. You up for it?"

"Remington Woods? But that place is all fenced off, there's no way in."

"That's what you think. I was driving past there the other day, coming
back from the grocery store with my mom and saw a hole in the fence! There's a
way in! C'mon it'll be a great adventure!"

I wasn't so sure of the whole thing. Remington Woods was where the
old Remington gun plant was located about thirty years back. Since the plant's
closure, the woods remained empty and undeveloped because they were littered
with poorly discarded ammunition and mortar shells. The people who owned
the land wanted to turn it into some sort of park, but they kept on finding new
dangers throughout the site. It seemed like a bad idea to go and try to sneak into
the place, but I went along with Harvey anyway.

After walking for ten minutes from Harvey's house, the barbed wire
fenced enclosure came into view. I knew it all too well from driving past it
since I was a little kid. When I was little, people used to go up to that fence
and feed popcorn to the deer inside. By now, even I was getting excited. The
woods looked like a giant fortress of nature waiting to be explored by man. Sure
enough, there was a tear in the chain link a little ways down just big enough for
two small-framed boys like us to fit through. We climbed through, and it was
as if we had passed through the wardrobe and into Namia. It was beautiful. We
were surrounded by trees and vines and plants of all sizes. Our eyes soaked in
the unadulterated nature of everything, and we were fascinated by it. It was our
own private wonderland.

There were no paths through the brush, and we were slowed greatly
by prickler bushes that crept up on us and attacked our bare legs. Harvey and I
agreed we should have worn long pants, but there was no sense in turning back
now. Five minutes into the expedition we saw a break in the seemingly infinite

38



jungle. There in front of us was what looked like an old service road. Crossing
it was a little brown fluffy rabbit. We were in awe. Although we lived only ten
minutes away, the sight was a rarity in our suburban housing complex.

Tired of trampling through the undergrowth, we decided to switch over
to walking along the old road. There was not a soul in sight or in hearing range.

"Race you to that big white rock over there!" Harvey pointed to a rock
about one hundred yards away.

"Oh I'm there!" I ran out ahead of him. As the rock loomed closer,
and I was seconds away from victory, I heard it. It was a low motorized rumble
accompanied by the occasional clunking sound, and it was headed in our
direction. I stopped dead in my tracks in an attempt to uncover where the noise
was coming from. Harvey, completely oblivious, ran past me and was about to
revel over his triumph.

"Harv, wait, stop!" I huffed after him.

"What's a matter? Sore loser?" He snickered.

"Shut up. Just listen."

"What? I don't hear nothin'."

"It's some sort of truck I think."

"Aw c'mon man, you're hearing things. Why would a truck be driving
around this place? It's been closed down for thirty years. Just relax." As he
emitted his final statement a white Jeep Cherokee veered around the bend of the
road just past Harvey.

"Hide!" We yelled out at the same time while diving into shrubbery on
opposite sides of the road.

The tribal drum would not let up. It just kept on thumping at a fast
steady pace like the beat to a thrilling techno song in an action movie. I could
hear the man pacing along the cracked concrete no more than ten feet from my
hideaway. A voice sounded over a CB radio asking the man if he found us. He
didn't respond.

"I give up, please sir, don't shoot," Harvey cried out from across the
way. He stumbled out of his woodland shelter and out into the man's sight.

"Where's your friend?" The man demanded.

"I don't know, we got split up," the boy sobbed out. I never heard
Harvey cry before. He was always the strong one who was not afraid of
anything. The rustling marsh behind me responded by shifting its movement
away from me.

Thank God, I thought. Now if only Harvey wouldn't squeal about my
whereabouts, I wouldn't have anything to worry about.

"He ran into the woods on the other side of the road from me. Josh!
Josh, come out here! He knows you're there. There no use in hiding,"

Damnit, Harvey. I thought you were my friend. I had two choices,
surrender now, or wait until someone came in to find me. If I gave in now, I'd
most likely be in a load of trouble, maybe even under arrest. My mom would be
called, and she would ground me for no less than a year, meaning confinement

. 39



to my room with no television, Playstation, or computer. My future was not
looking too bright. If I waited, however, there was a small chance I could make
my way through the taunting marsh and find my way out of this hellhole. I got
on all fours and started to crawl toward the marsh.

No sooner had I crawled over to the curtain of reeds surrounding the
marsh, the rustling returned. I had enough. I was tired, achy, and my stomach
was starting to grumble. It was time to give up. I bolted in the direction opposite
of the marsh, back toward the road.

"Hey! You! Get over here!" the man yelled out. He was wearing light
blue button up shirt with a patch marked "Security" on the sleeve. In his grasp
he had a teary Harvey by the scruff of his shirt. I slowly walked over to the two
trying to figure out a good cover story.

"We're really sorry. You see, sir, we're fi-om the country and we were
homesick, so we wanted to go someplace like these woods to remind us of
home," I blurted out.

"Josh, stop lying! We live down the street sir. We're really sorry and
promise never to come here again. I just want to go home," Harvey wailed.

"You know I should call the cops on you troublemakers for the
disturbance you caused here. Not to mention you could have gotten really hurt.
There are explosives in these woods! You know that?" The livid guard retorted.
"I want your names and phone numbers!"

"My name's Harvey Kerrigan and my number's 380-9227."

Stupid Harvey. Why did you give out your real name and number?

"And how about you," the guard nodded at me, pen and paper in hand.

"Umm. . . I'm Josh Kaminski. . . and my number is. . . my number is. . .
415-9723." I was brilliant. I gave him my older sister's cell phone number
instead of my house one. She never picked up her phone if she didn't recognize
a number. I was in the clear.

"Okay boy's you're in luck. I'm not going to press charges. Now you
said you lived down the street?" The guard's voice softened.

We nodded in unison.

"Okay then I'll just drive you out to the main gate and you can walk
home from there."

The three of us drove in silence. The ride to the gate was about five
minutes. I didn't realize how far into the woods we had actually ventured or how
long we had spent in there. The sun was starting to fall into the western sky, and
I knew dinner would be ready soon. I was starving and anxious to get home.
In my mind, I told myself I would never wind up in a situation like this again.
Harvey sat next me. His cheeks were tear-streaked, but there was something
peculiar about his expression. A small, mischievous grin began to materialize on
his face, and I knew then that our adventures were far ft-om over.



40



An excerpt from

The Big Takeover

Chelsea Marie Dodds

"Hey Lyle! Billy! Check this out!"

My band mate Billy Peters and I, startled by the sudden noise, looked up
and ran out the garage door to see what was going on outside. Eric Adams and Gary
Swanson, the two other members of our band, The No Names, were sprinting down
the sidewalk towards Gary's house. Eric was struggling to keep his excessively
baggy pants up as he ran, and Gary was carrying a piece of goldenrod-colored paper
that flapped wildly in the warm, mid-spring breeze. I leaned against the outside of
the garage and watched as they leapt over the tall wooden fence that surrounded
Gary's yard, since they were apparently in too much of a rush to open and walk
through the gate. They landed safely on their feet and raced across the front lawn
and into the garage.

Eric thrust himself onto the old, musty couch that was sitting against the
back wall, his dyed fiery-red hair blending in with the leather. He was wearing a
childish grin on his face that made him look more like six than sixteen; his pearly
white teeth were gleaming, and his cheeks were turning a bright, rosy shade of
pink.

Gary took his backpack off and threw it on the floor next to his enormous
Crate bass amp. He took a moment to study the piece of paper that was in his hand.
His large hazel eyes seemed bigger than usual as they glided over the page.

"This is so freaking awesome," he said quietly, in awe.

"Well, what is it?" Billy asked, taking a seat on the couch alongside Eric.
He crossed his pale arms while staring at Gary impatiently. I was standing in the
doorway, trying to read over Gary's shoulder, but I couldn't see much since his
unusually large head was in the way.

Gary looked up from the paper, and his eyes darted across the room to
Eric. "Do you wanna tell them?" he asked.

"No," Eric replied, still smiling from ear to ear. "You tell them."

"Alright," Gary said, turning the paper around and revealing it to Billy,
and then to me. "We have a show."

"Yes!" Billy screeched, punching his fist triumphantly into the air.

"Are you serious?" I asked in disbelief. I walked over to Gary and grabbed
the paper from him. "An actual show? Not just a party in someone's backyard?"

"No. It's an actual show," Gary said, smiling.
I looked down to read the contents of the paper that I was holding, almost
not wanting to believe what I was seeing:



41



Saturday, May 15, 2004

TS.R.

Psycho 78

Love Struck Chord

The No Names

Kensington

Congregational Church

Doors 5:30pm

Show 6:00pm

Five Dollars

A smile crept across my face as I reread the paper, staring at the bold lettering
that spelled out The No Names. I felt like a little boy on Christmas morning. Seeing
this had made me the happiest that I had been in a long time. This was the first
concert ever that we would be playing that wasn't at one of our friends' houses,
and I couldn't stand the fact that it was still almost three weeks away. Then, after
reading the paper for a third time, I noticed something that didn't make very much
sense.

"It's at a church?" I asked Gary, confiased.

"Kind of. It's in this little building next to the church. My fiiend Tommy
Harrison... he plays bass in T.S.R.," he added, noticing that I now looked even
more confused. "Well anyway, Tommy's dad belongs to the church, so he got us
the show. It'll be cool though, I promise. We just can't swear in any of our songs,
and we have to mention that Jesus is cool and whatnot in between sets, and we'll
be good."

"And the church is actually going to let us keep the money from this show?"
I asked skeptically.

"Well, not all of it," Gary replied. "All the money from the tickets
is going to charity, but we get to keep the money that we make from selling
refreshments..."

"Which we would then have to divide among the four bands," Eric
interrupted.

"Why does the money matter anyway?" Billy questioned, rising from the
couch and walking across the garage, taking a seat at his old, beat up drum set.

"As long as we're playing, who cares how much money we have? We're
still kids; it's not like we need it for anything important."

"It would be nice to record a demo soon though," I spoke up, brushing the
long strands of golden blond hair out of my face so I could see my band mates.

"Yeah, and four tracks can get pretty expensive," Gary concurred.

Eric nodded his head in agreement, although he didn't appear to be paying
very much attention to the conversation anymore.

"We could make t-shirts too," I suggested. "Wouldn't that be awesome?"
"Lyle, you're too ambitious sometimes," Billy said, while slamming his

42



foot down on the bass drum pedal a few times. "Let's just concentrate on playing
for now so we don't suck at the concert."

"Billy, for once in my life I actually agree with you," Gary said, smiling.
He then carefully took his bass guitar out of its case and plugged it into his amp.
Eric grabbed his microphone and plugged it into an old amp that he had found lying
around in his basement. I lazily picked up my guitar, which was leaning against
the couch, and made sure that it was in tune.

"What song are we playing first?" I asked, turning around and looking at
the rest of the band.

''Leeches,'' Billy responded, not even a second after I had asked the question.
"I need to play something that goes really fast."

"Sounds good to me," Eric agreed, swinging his microphone cable around
so violently that it almost hit Gary in the face.

Billy quickly clicked his sticks together four times and we began to play
one of our first songs ever, which I had written the summer before. I know it was a
mean thing to do, and it was "disrespecting my elders," but I wrote the song about
how much I dislike my step mom, Clara. She was probably the most fake, two
faced person I had ever met in my life. And the fact that she was married to my
dad, who is somewhat of a rich snob, just made matters worse.

My fingers rapidly moved up and down the fi^et board of my red and black
Fender Stratocaster, playing the same chords that I had played hundreds of times
before. I knew this song so well that I could play it in my sleep. I had no idea why
we hadn't played an actual concert yet; we were definitely ready for it.

The song ended just as quickly as it had started, and without anyone speaking
a word we broke into another song called Arachnophobia, which Gary had written.
We must have practiced for a good two hours, if not more, playing through all our
original songs mixed in with a few Black Flag and Dead Kennedys covers. I was
sad when practice came to an end though, as I usually was. I don't feel like myself
when I'm not around music. I need to be playing my guitar and screaming my lungs
out in order to be happy, even if we're only playing in Gary's garage to an audience
of zero. Either way though, I feel like I'm on top of the world when I'm playing
with The No Names. Who needs drugs when you can have music?

Practice was over. Billy and I were sitting in Gary's garage doing homework
until my mom could come to pick us up. Eric had already left, and Gary was in
the kitchen fixing supper for himself and his little sister Angie. I was comfortably
lying on the couch, reading The Catcher in the Rye for my English class under
the dim light. Billy was making a model of Saturn out of marshmallows and pipe
cleaners. I had never noticed how simple middle schoolers' homework was before,
even though I lived with two eighth graders. Billy's Bad Brains CD was playing
softly in the background. The Big Takeover. Gary had been trying to master the bass
solo in this song for a while. // would be cool to play it at the concert, I thought to
myself That s what we 'II be doing in a few weeks - taking over the town of Berlin,
Connecticut with our music. I can 't wait. Nothing can possibly go wrong.

. 43



Uncle Ron

Robert Lumas

My father stood solemnly and looked forward. "You guys used to
do coke together at parties, right?" Not even changing his position or gaze,
unmoving, my father kept staring straight ahead and said, "I'm not going to talk
about that."

My father has to take pills every day because he was exposed to Agent
Orange in Vietnam. We don't know if he will ever experience any of the long-
term side effects of this like cancer, but even if he doesn't, he will get lung
cancer from the two packs of cigarettes he smokes every day. But my father has
seen plenty in his lifetime that he, as he sometimes says, "doesn't need to see
anymore." I asked him about Vietnam a bunch of times so I could get to know
him better, but he would never talk about it. I watched movies like Full Metal
Jacket and Platoon to try and maybe get an idea of what he had to go through.
I knew it was obviously not going to be exact, but maybe it would give me an
idea. Once, when I was watching one of them, my father walked through the
room and just looked at the T.V. for maybe five seconds before he said, "This
shit isn't real," and walked out. I just shut the movie off because it didn't get me
anywhere. I didn't know why he couldn't talk to me.

The guy, who had black hair and a seemingly spotless suit said, "Oh
yeah, right man" like he all of the sudden knew better. He looked like a model,
something out of a magazine, something too clean to be a part of this. My father
still paid no attention to him and stared straight. He seemed to be standing at
attention, the old Marine coming out. The guy asked what the service was like.
My father once again said, "Not here." I grabbed the cuffs of my slightly over-
sized sports jacket. My dad had given it to me a few months before for my junior
ring dance and told me to keep it since it didn't fit him anymore. I clenched the
handfuls of material with my fists nervously.

My father finally had to tell me about Vietnam when he told me Uncle
Ron died. He chain smoked through a pack in about a half an hour just telling
me about it. One of his best friends got shot in the head right next to him and
died two feet away. Later on, he and Ron had to carry the body to the helicopter.
He said, try to imagine having your friend's blood all over your pants. I
couldn't. One of his friends got hit, and a medic ran in to drag him out. But on
the way back, the medic stepped on a mine. Some of the chunks of flesh and
blood landed on my father. Pieces of his fiiends were on him, but he was still
under fire so he didn't even have the time to quickly wipe them off. I couldn't
begin to imagine that either. He fought the Viet Cong, saw civilians get executed
and maybe even killed a few himself. And instead of getting recognition when
he came home, he was pushed away and ignored.

The model must have finally noticed the lack of response, or that his
questions were absurd, or that a funeral home obviously wasn't the place to

44



strike up conversation. "Well Ron was a good guy," he finally said in a feeble
attempt to get on good terms with my father. My father said nothing. He finally
just walked away to another part of the room without saying anything else to my
father. He tried talking to another group of people, but they too seemed to find
his questions inappropriate and slowly moved away. The guy finally just walked
out of the place. We advanced a little more in the black line. My father carried a
small envelope clasped tightly in his fist. He was still as stone.

My father stayed with his family and tried to hold a job and kept to
himself. It took him six years after he came home from the war to stop his
cocaine addiction. Some of his other friends who made it through the war came
home and overdosed or committed suicide. Others ended up in rehab or jail. My
father and Ron managed to stay clear of trouble. They were never arrested for
possession of drugs and my father eventually quit. After a few years of holding
dead end jobs like being a janitor and an assembly line worker, they started to do
carpentry work together, eventually starting a business. I guess it seems pretty
normal, but looking back as I was growing up, the war affected him in so many
ways.

We walked up a few more steps and then my grandmother started
rumbling in her purse behind me. "Do you want a piece of gum?" she asked
over my shoulder. My father tilted his head back and shook it slightly back and
forth, obviously disturbed by seeing her apathy. I turned around and put my arm
around my grandmother and told her, "No thank you. Now's not really the time.
Grandma."

She put the gum back in her purse and said sincerely, "Right, it is a
tragic event." My Grandmother knew the family fairly well, but this was about
the thirtieth funeral she had been too. She was getting older and I guess she was
getting used to people dying. It didn't seem to bother her too much anymore. I
looked down at the white glint coming off of my father's black shoes.

He never goes with us to the 4* of July fireworks shows anymore. He
sits on our back deck and watches the sky from a distance. The last time we ever
went as a whole family, we all sat down and ate a huge spaghetti and meatball
dinner. After we were all full, we headed down to the lake shore and set up
blankets. As the first mortars went off and exploded in the sky, my father quickly
looked behind him. Then he started to get closer and closer to the ground. He
sort of hunched over and grabbed his stomach. Then he went down on his knees
and sort of fell slow motion until he was lying on his back with his hands on his
face. My mom asked what was wrong and he said he had a horrible headache.
A short time later, he walked over to a bush and vomited all of the spaghetti up.
Red and white colors like the fireworks exploding above. When we got back to
the car, he smoked a cigarette in about a minute all the way past the butt until it
was almost nothing. He pulled out another cigarette, and it stayed in his mouth
unlit for the remainder of the ride home.

When I was a little kid, my mom got me a water gun set with two guns
in it, and my father refused to ever play with me. He wouldn't even hold it for

. 45



me while I filled it up with the hose.

He used to wake up in the middle of the night to take a piss, but he
would never be able to fall back asleep. Instead of trying to fall back asleep or
watching T.V., he would walk around the house in the dark.

My mom would always just tell me he was sick. But when I was eleven
and became curious to know what was wrong with him, I asked Ron about it. He
picked me up from little league practice in his old white truck and as we drove
home, he gave me as best an explanation as he could.
"The war," he said simply.
"Well I guess I kind of figured that. What happened?" He tensed up a



"Ask your father to tell you. Then you'll know why he acts that way,"



little.

he said.

"O.K.," I said, but that wasn't quite enough of an answer I thought so I
said, "Can you tell me anything about it?"

"If you ask your dad, just remember one thing. That war fucked us all,"
he said.

When I looked back up, my dad was about five steps ahead of us, and
there were only three people standing in front of him. It hadn't hit me before, but
I realize that my father's shoes are shined. Like he had actually put a rag to them
and shined them. Every other occasion we had gone to, like my cousins wedding
last month or the family Christmas party my mom had told him to either shine
his shoes or rent a pair that were shiny. He refused every time.

I remember a few nights when I was only six or so, Ron and my
father would come home after work and share a few beers outside at night in
the backyard. I would go outside and sit on my father's lap and there would be
complete silence. I never got to hear the war stories because I was too young
then. After five minutes, he would tell me to, "Go back inside and get to bed."
But I would always beg to stay out later.

"Please can I stay out here?"

"No, me and Ron have to talk about things." I didn't ask after that
because I knew he might get mad.

"Alright," I would say. He'd always hug me and I'd say,

"Goodnight Uncle Ron."

"Goodnight Kiddo," Ron would say, and those were usually the last
words that I could hear because they would sit in silence until I was inside. A
lot of times they were laughing back there, but there would also be long periods
were they were just talking lowly. I never saw them fight, but dad was pissed at
Ron sometimes, and I didn't know why until a few days ago when Ron died.

My father went and knelt down at the coffin first. He put his hands on
the edge of the coffin and looked over the side at his fiiend. For thirty seconds


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Online LibrarySigmund FreudElm City Review (Volume 9) → online text (page 4 of 6)