Christmastide; dark days

Whenever I move into a new dwelling, as I did yesterday, I cast my thoughts back to all the others I’ve inhabited/survived – some almost divine in my recollection (e.g., the marble, glass and dark wood flat among stone pines above Lake Avernus my father rented for us from a genial gangster); some dismal (e.g., the dining room table I paid $90/month to budding entrepreneurs to sleep beneath in Palo Alto once I ceased being able to afford a room in their house, which they called Camelot – and even put my mother and sister under the one time they visited me); and some dire.

Many years ago, I lived in a storage garage; a mad, unhappy place. One October, suffering from pneumonia (and by “suffering”, I mean retching blood, hacking up green phlegm, with crusted tissues all over the floor, a filthy blanket wrapped Native American-style around my shoulders, smoking GPC’s, and drinking Napoleon brandy from the bottle), I watched The Shining there in the dark with the volume turned all the way up on a small television propped atop another, much larger one from the 1950’s that didn’t work anymore. At some point, I fell over sideways – too cold, too sick, and too drunk to right myself. Staring at the TV like that – mouth slack, unblinking – I thought I saw something stir in the dark. One by one, huge, translucent spiders crawled up over the back of the set, then down its front, throwing monstrous shadows. I didn’t know if they were real or hallucinations. Either way, they were horrifying. And while they scuttled across the bright screen, Jack Nicholson’s character chased his son through the snow with an axe. I couldn’t even scream. I just lay there, a froth of blood and cognac on my lips, afraid I had died in my sleep and woken up in hell.

Anyhow, this new place is much nicer.

4 Responses to “Christmastide; dark days”

  1. Valerie Says:

    you’ve come a long way, baby! Welcome across the pond x

  2. wchambliss Says:


  3. Ryan Oakley Says:

    The fucking spiders.

  4. wchambliss Says:


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