Goodnight Grandma: Charles and the Moonstone

Features | April 16, 2017

Yes, child, I will tell you one last story tonight, before you shut your eyes. The tale soars like an airborne orca, ponders on mysteries as strange as how you’ve grown so ugly as the child of a beautiful couple, and swims in iridescent lagoons of wondrous fantasy and clumped up mucus. It hearkens back to a different time, when the universe momentarily found itself off-kilter; when the scale of all things, for every self-conscious soul, read not a number, but only “gluttony.”

It was night. I was just sitting by the window, knitting in my rocking chair as always. Heavy footfalls on the front walkway stirred me from a daze that had been coaxing me towards sleep. I rose from my seat and made my way to the window. A thick mist had settled out in the fields, so thick that I strained to see the porch railing. But in the gloom, the outline of an approaching figure, dark as pitch in the twilight, was unmistakable. It neared at a pace that communicated a suppressed pain, potentially even a fight, yet one that hadn’t left stalemate for some time. Closer it came, advancing towards my little, frail cottage. Suddenly, I drew back from the window, struck by a bolt of fear. The figure, it was then clear, was far larger than any man I had laid eyes on before. I fled to the shadows of my room, only to realize that I felt no less naked among them… under my nightgown was nothing. I had forgotten to wear underwear that day. I gazed at the floor apologetically, knowing that its weary folds would soon suffer the scathing floods of Acheron.

Then, an earthquake struck! My poor house groaned under the strain, pleading with me to let it take us both. Yet, with a thunderous “thump, thump, thump,” on the door, I realized that glorious option had come and gone, as a zephyr of cool relief beguiles the scorched pilgrim lost in the Sahara. From the shadows, with all my strength, I tried to blow out the fire from across the room. I huffed, and I puffed, and I ended up sucking down one of my 24k gold molars. I choked like a mother hawk chokes on a half-digested salmon, an act of love for her young. After writhing on the floor for some time, I yakked up a glowing mixture of that morning’s porridge, butter and stomach bile. Feeling as though I had graced the floor with a divine ablution, I rose with new life, ready to face the horror behind the westerly door, yonder.

No longer afraid, and inexplicably attune to the demands of the moment, across the room I called: “oh, weary traveler of monstrous stature, why have you come?” After a period of silence, a gruff baritone replied: “I have come in search of Grandma Beeswax the seer, whom many say has the neck of an ostrich, the feet of a lion, the nose of pigeon and the eyes of a gecko on speed.” Caught off guard, yet with greater confidence I said: “ah, well, you have heard correctly. I am that wise magi. Indeed, my mother never did disclose the identity of my father. Her habits, however, told all. She loved all men, and welcomed them all into her bed. I suspect that, somehow, I had many fathers… But who might you be, oh mysterious one?”

“Dear seer, I hail from a land far from here that sits between the river Delphia and the mountains, Phila. People who know me well enjoy calling me Cheezit. Those with whom I have clashed disparage my memory with the name, “Plugged Honeysuckle.” To the moon, I am just Charles. To my dog named Juicy Steak Dinner, I am Charles Wade Barkley.”

Now, child, you are too young to know the man who came to my door that night. He still lives today, but as another, and in a way difficult to grasp. To the present day world before that night, he was a mobile pear. To me on the night he came to me, however, he was the heavens and all that was good beneath them. How could such a man have sought me out, of all people?! And why? I was incredulous, yet never in my life had I been more intrigued.

“Sir Charles, might you break my door down in spectacular fashion, as they do in the movies, to prove that you are the great man you claim to be?”

The house trembled as if it was upholding a tremendous burden, like a chair would tremble if asked to support the weight of a freshly-vacationed Oprah Winfrey. From the mantelpiece a vase fell and shattered on the floor. To shield myself from the falling debris I crawled under a small table next to the staircase. Just as the bolts on the door broke loose and the door began its yawning plummet to the floor, thousands of rats came streaming down the sides of the walls and fell from patches in the ceiling. Time slowed, and my eyes met those of a rat mid-flight, only a fraction of a second away from his doom. His message was clear: he had cheated on his wife, the poor thing, and hadn’t apologized, and now wouldn’t have the chance… I tried, in this precious moment to console him with an admission of my own. The night I married Robert, your grandfather – may God bless his soul – I made love to his brother, Gerald. I proceeded to play ring around the rosy with all of his siblings and first cousins throughout our marriage, to his utter cluelessness, and never saw depression face to face as a result, nor had any marriage problems. Such is the only way, boy. Remember to tell your mother that.

Anyway, after the rat hit the floor, all went silent. In the doorway an ogre stood, both in form and face. Even the depth of blackness in my home could not obscure his features. I thought to myself: “and they call me a hot mess of testosterone. Look at this here man.” Through the stillness, amidst suspended saw-dust particles and ant guts illuminated by otherworldly light, we gazed at one another. For a second, I thought he was Robert’s vengeful ghost… to test my hypothesis, I slung a piece of jagged glass at him. A rejection of my suspicion, the figure did not duck like cowardly Robert would have done, but stood his ground and permitted the shard to bury itself in his forehead, wholly unfazed. His great big eyeballs did not so much as twitch, for a divine ignorance of all, including pain, had blessed every minute of his life. From an unspoken mutual understanding, we collected ourselves and lurched towards the still burning fire.

“Charles, my dear, what irks you so?”

“Well, Grandmother Beeswax, at first, it was nothing but my golf game. On perfectly normal days, when a man should have no worries save for his prostate, strange things began to happen to my swing. While standing over the ball, my stomach would suddenly collapse into my digestive tract, for all my friends to see on my cream colored pants. The ball would threaten to steal the chocolate cake I had stuffed in my wallet and be a better owner to my dog. None of my putts would go in.. although that’s actually nothing new, haha… And worst of all, somebody’s messing with my swing. I’m telling ya Beeswax, I feel like a puppet out there. One moment I’m a’ swingin,’ and the next, something or someone is yanking my arms skywards. No one owns my arms except for me. Last time I put a body part on Ebay, the bidder was Dennis Rodman. And you know I’m not selling my earlobe to that twisted monkey!

But now, it ain’t just golf neither! For the exception of tonight, every time I step foot outside I lose weight!… No, no, not in that way you insensitive junky-fuck… I have diabetes… this gut is here to stay… Don’t look at me…. What I mean to say is that I start floating! Just out of damn nowhere. Air Force Charles, all aboard the gelatinous, zero-gravity blob. It happens like clockwork on nights when the moon is brightest… I just start a floatin’! The other night I got caught in my neighbor’s maple tree. And I have a boo-boo to prove it. Yet, if it weren’t for that tree, God knows the moon would have snatched me on up!

Here’s what happened last night: I had been watching Shaq teabagging Reggie Miller’s dad on TV for a while and just dozed off. And normally, if I shut my eyes, I’m gone until at least noon the next day. But no, I woke up. Oh, and did I wake up. Gravity had flip-flopped on me! In my jammies and all, some invisible demon was trying to pull me through my own ceiling! He would let up, and I would sink a bit, and then he would rear back and let me fly! That’s why my face is so flat today. He smashed my nose in.

Tonight I felt somewhat safe, because of the haze and all. I couldn’t even make out the moon’s light, the moon himself. So I decided that this could be my last chance to make my way to you. And so I did. Please, Beeswax, I need a helping hand.”

Little Jonny, two days later, my poor Charles just vanished. Investigators, I read, scoured his house and found no clues. The media made up a whole mess of lies to draw in gullible eyes. The sports world went into mourning behalf of the confused ogre whom they had lost so painfully, without a last farewell. There were neither signs of where he might have gone, nor clues that suggested anyone was to blame. He, quite simply, left… without a trace.  But, little Jonny, if you, on the brightest of nights, take a look at the man in the moon, you might just be able to solve the mystery.