The System of
by Dr. Robin Rollinger
There I was riding my bike through the country in the twilight on my way to Clown Town. The last sign I saw indicated that I only had 666 meters to go. In that case I could make it by nightfall. Or was it 666 kilometers? If so, I should start thinking of stopping somewhere to get a good night's sleep.
As fate would have it, I had to stop somewhere anyway because my front tire had a slow leak and I didn't have a bicycle pump with me. Maybe I could get some help and continue on my way. It was certainly worth trying. At that point I looked to my left and saw a hill with a road going up it. Next to the road was a sign that said “Crowhill.” Way up on top of the hill I could see a mansion, Crowhill Mansion no doubt. Now I did not relish the thought of riding or walking my bike all the way up that hill, but I just couldn't see any other solution to my problem. There were, after all, no other houses in sight. Besides, I had never been in a real mansion before.
When I got to the top of the hill I was nearly out of breath and perspiring profusely. So I sat down on the ground for a little while and looked upon the mansion. The crows flying around it made it look a bit ominous. Or were they bats? I laughed at myself for thinking that this might be a place where a vampire lives. I was however reasured that this wasn't the case and indeed consoled when I noticed a very large crucifix above the front door of the mansion. After a short rest I decided to ask the resident of Crowhill Mansion for help.
I stood at the front door and looked up at the crucifix. Whoever lived here must be thoroughly Roman. That was alright with me though. Some of my best friends are Catholics. So I knocked on the door. It didn't take long before a man, very nicely dressed with neatly trimmed hair, answered the door. I told him of my plight, and he politely asked me to wait just a moment. Apparently this was the butler. Then there appeared a man with red hair, not much on the top, but with a nicely trimmed beard.
He smiled and said, “Good evening, I am Mr. Crowhill. Come on in. I will be happy to help you.”
As we shook hands, I started to introduce myself, but he interrupted, “We....I....know who you are. Just come in, and I'll have your tire mended for you.”
I followed Mr. Crowhill into the mansion and saw the butler standing in the hall to take my coat. After my coat was taken, Mr. Crowhill said to the butler, “Walt, please repair Herr Doktor's tire, would you?” Then he looked at me and asked, “Which tire is it, Herr Doktor?”
“I forgot, but it is low enough by now for anyone to see.”
“Very well. Walt?,” said Mr. Crowhill.
“At once, Master,” said Walt, and he walked out the door towards my bike on the front lawn.
“Come with me, Herr Doktor,” said Mr. Crowhill with a cordial smile.
I followed him into a room where there were two couches facing each other perpendicular to a wall. Against the wall and between the far ends of the couches there was a comfy chair. On the couch to my left, as I entered the room, a man was sitting. He had a full head of hair and a mustache. Over in a corner of the room there were two women sitting face-to-face, saying their rosaries. Peace and Tranquility were oozing from that corner.
Though I was not introduced to the women, the man who had been sitting on the couch stood up and said, “Herr Doktor! So pleased to meet you! I'm Dr. Rooster.”
As we shook hands, Mr. Crowhill asked us to sit down. Dr. Rooster sat down where he had been sitting. Mr. Crowhill had indicated with his hand that I was to sit in the comfy chair, but I just had this Funny Feeling about it and decided to sit down on the couch facing Dr. Rooster. Mr. Crowhill obviously looked displeased when I did that, but he immediately regained his cordiality and asked me if I wanted a beer. I told him that I would love one, but I also said that I do not wish to drink alone. He said that before I arrived he and Dr. Rooster had just been talking about trying some of the new brew that was now ready. I was also given a choice, porter or lager. I chose porter and Dr. Rooster chose lager. One of the women in the corner took heed of this whole exchange and left the room immediately. Mr. Crowhill sat down next to Dr. Rooster. Then some conversation ensued.
“You know, Herr Doktor, it is getting dark,” said Mr. Crowhill. “ I suggest you spend the night here. In the morning your bike will be repaired and you can continue on your journey.”
“Yes, Herr Doktor! I'm spending the night here too. It would be a great pleasure to converse with you this evening. Besides, we don't want any vampires to get you!,” said Dr. Rooster.
We all had a good laugh at that, and then I said, “That is a very friendly offer. Good beer and good conversation are hard to refuse. And judging by what I have seen of this place, it is ideal for being safe from vampires. Alright then, but I have a question.”
At that point the woman who had left the room came in with our beer. As it turned out, Mr. Crowhill was drinking lager too. Anyway, she served us the beer, without saying a word, and went back to join the other woman in the oozing of Peace and Tranquility from their corner. We said cheers and began to drink. Then Mr. Crowhill asked what my question was.
“How do you guys know me?” I asked.
“Your dialogues between Chowderhead and Horseface of course!,” replied Mr. Crowhill. “Hasn't your publisher told you? They're selling like hotcakes in Clown Town. And since the cover has that picture of you on it, albeit in a Clown Suit, we recognized you at once. You are a famous man, Herr Doktor.”
Dr. Rooster added, “And I am aware of your scholarly work too, Herr Doktor. Don't you know that phenomenology is of considerable interest to us Catholics?”
“I guess so,” I replied. “There is of course the connection with Edith Stein. And I have met priests before who groove on Heidegger. They seem to groove on him Big Time. But I must confess that I have little to do with phenomenology in either of these respects. My latest essay on the subject bears the title 'Phenomenology without Phenomenological Method'.”
“That should prove most interesting,” said Dr. Rooster. “I suppose you are also aware of the pope's work in the area as well?.”
“I know about it,” I said. “But I haven't read his dissertation on the acting person. I have heard that the phenomenologist who had the most influence on it was Max Scheler. And I myself regard Scheler as a clow....cloudy thinker. Besides, I take great interest in the system of Franz Brentano, who not only left the priesthood, but the church altogether a few years after the doctrine of infallibility was declared.”
“How could you!” exclaimed Dr. Rooster.
Just as I was about to respond, there was a knock on the door and the woman who had served the beer went to answer the door. Mr. Crowhill looked at me and explained that he is having a few other people over this evening. A man named John entered, but he did not want to join us. He was more interested in the Big Game between Big Blue and the Freiburg Beings, so Mr. Crowhill sent him to the T.V. room.
As we continued to drink and converse, the topic of religion became one of ever greater focus. I told them that I used to be an atheist. At that time Walt had just come into the room and said, “At least that's better than having a Big Shiny Hairdo!”
We all had a laugh at this. Then Mr. Crowhill said, “We are so glad Walt finally got his hair redone. You should have seen him just last week. And you should have heard what he was saying about our church!”
“What were you saying, Walt?” I asked.
Just then someone was at the door again. This time it was a couple, the Dunstwerths, who also joined us. The two women who were in the corner came over to talk with Frau Dunstwerth. (You know how women are. Don't get me wrong though. Some of my best friends are women.) Walt got some more chairs, but some people remained standing. Nobody, however, sat in the comfy chair. My Funny Feeling about that thing was getting funnier and funnier.
“Back to Walt,” Mr. Crowhill said. “He has come around remarkably. It is a Wonderful Thing what just an night or two in the comfy chair can do.”
“Hmmmmmm,” I responded. I really didn't know what to say about that. Then I turned to Walt and asked again, “What were you saying a week ago when your hairdo was.....that other way?”
“Herr Doktor, you will be pleased to know that your tire is repaired,” Walt said, apparently only happy to change the topic and also to get rid of me. But Mr. Crowhill immediately informed him that I was spending the night at Crowhill Mansion and urged him to go on and tell me what he had said a week ago.
Walt hung his head in shame and said, “I called her a whore.”
At that point the women stopped talking about the drapes. They were quiet for once.
“Who did you call a whore?” I asked.
There was a pause for several seconds. Everyone in the room was quiet and looking at Walt, as he continued to hang his head down.
“The church,” he muttered, as if he didn't want anyone to understand him. “But Walt is much better now,” said Mr. Crowhill. “Aren't you, Walt?”
“Oh yes!,” said Walt as he lifted his head and beamed. “I am much better now, Master. Shall I now prepare the room for Herr Doktor?”
“Yes, Walt, and make sure you polish that crucifix in front of the bed quite thoroughly.”
“Polishing the crucifixes in this house is my favorite job, Master!” After Walt said that he left the room.
Just then I finished my beer. Mr. Crowhill looked at me quite seriously. I thought he was going to ask if I wanted another beer, but actually I wanted to leave at that point. It was just getting too weird for my taste. But instead of offering me another beer, Mr. Crowhill asked, “Herr Doktor, why don't you get in the compfy chair?”
I nervously told him that I was quite comfortable where I was, but I suddenly began to feel extremely drowsy and heavy.
“They don't call it the comfy chair for nothing, Herr Doktor,” said Dr. Rooster. “Come on and make yourself comfortable.” He looked at the women who had been in the corner earlier and said, “There was such Peace and Tranquility oozing from the corner when you were doing the rosary. Maybe Herr Doktor will enjoy that, especially when he gets into the comfy chair.”
The conversation in the room was becoming muddled. My condition was getting worse and worse, but I managed to say, “G..gi..give....meeeee....some coff......ffffeeeeee.”
I wanted to continue to say that I will make phenomenology out of it, in a last ditch attempt to bring back some levity into the conversation. But I couldn't even utter the words. I was rapidly drifting off into slumber and couldn't fight it any longer. Finally, I was beyond the point of no return. I was fast asleep on the couch and fully vunerable to the System of Dr. Rooster and Mr. Crowhill.
The System of
When I came to, I found myself sitting in the comfy chair. Though there was no one else in the room, I thought that there must be others in the house still. The door to the hallway was closed, but I could faintly hear a basketball game. I could also hear some music. I listened hard and could finally identify it.
Who would be a poor man, a beggarman, a thief,
Catchy tune! I started to tap my toes and stomp my feet, but I discovered that whatever was in the porter must have paralyzed me. Hopefully it was only a temporary paralysis.
Another thing I could hear, indeed much more distinctly than the music and the basketball game, was the ticking of a clock. Such a quaint sound that was. I started remembering childhood days at grandmother's house. There was constantly that ticking sound there. You don't much of that nowadays, do you? It wasn't annoying though. Quite the contrary, there was something soothing about it. I looked in front me and saw where the ticking was coming from. There was a large clock on the wall in front me, at a distance of about 20 feet. According to the clock, it was about quarter to midnight.
Suddenly there came a black cat into the room. "Where did he come from?" I wondered. He approached me and jumped up on my lap. He started digging his claws into me and purring. I felt no pain from his claws though, because the drug in the porter had apparently made me not only paralyzed but numb as well. "I have become comfortably numb," I thought to myself.
Suddenly I heard the door to the hallway open, but only a bit. I couldn't see anyone, but I heard a woman's voice say, "Snowball! Time for din-din!" The cat lept from my lap and left the room through the door, which was immediately thereafter slammed shut. I could here the click of the lock. I looked at the clock again and saw that it was just a few minutes to midnight. I could again identify a song in the background.
If Jesus saves,
What kind of man was Mr. Crowhill? And what did he intend to do with me? I was sure that his ultimate goal was to convert me to Roman Catholicism, but I was not sure how he intended to do this and what exactly his System was. Determined I was though to resist it, to resist it with every ounce of strength in my....my....you know that one dood-dad...what is it called now?.....my soul! That's it!
And hopefully I would be in Clown Town tomorrow morning to autograph copies of my dialogues. When I thought of this I had to laugh at the remark earlier in the evening about the picture of me on the cover of my dialogues. "Clown Suit indeed! Couldn't they see that it was an authentic Heideggerian pseudo-blackforest peasant's outfit? I was a Big Hit in Todtnauberg whenever I wore it at the balls there. So why not also in Clown Town? Far be it from me to go there posing as One of Them, a Clown! Hah!"
As I was engaged in this train of thought, the clock finally struck midnight. Then there was almost complete silence, except for the very faint sound of the basketball game. Then I heard some Catholic chanting sounds. I heard the door to the hallway unlock. The door opened wide, and in came Dr. Rooster and Mr. Crowhill. They were holding up a huge crucifix between them. Mr. Crowhill now had a chain around his neck with a Huge Amount of keys hanging on it, so many keys that I was surprised that he could even stand up.
Yet, there he was supporting not only his own weight and that of the keys, but also helping his illustrious friend to support the crucifix. Moreover, the crucifix was extremely polished. It was in fact so dazzling that I could hardly look at it.
Following Dr. Rooster and Mr. Crowhill was a huge crowd of people chanting Catholic Stuff. Some of them I had seen before. There were the Dunstwerths. There was Walt. There were the two rosary women.
As these people filled the room, the two leaders took their station with the crucifix in front of me on the other side of the room. Once the room was full of these chanters, I heard the door shut. But this time I didn't hear any lock click.
Finally, they stopped chanting in response to a motion from Mr. Crowhill. Then Dr. Rooster commanded, "Ladies, take your station!" Since the room was so full I could hardly see what he meant, but I finally heard the two rosary women going at it as they had done earlier in the evening. So there I was: paralyzed and comfortably numb in the comfy chair, and now subject to all this oozing of Peace and Tranquility. It was of great interest to me to observe, however, that Mr. Crowhill seemed to be somewhat annoyed at this whole business about the rosary, whereas Dr. Rooster was obviously grooving on it.
Finally, Mr. Crowhill was ready to speak. He looked straight at me, but before he uttered a word I spoke out: "You'll never get away with this, Crowhill! When I get my Big Fat Royalty check I am gonna hire a lawyer to sue you for your mansion, your crucifixes, your whole crowhill, and maybe even your rosaries! And I will find a lawyer you don't like. Let me see......what about Alan Derschowitz? I bet you don't like him!"
Sudddenly Mr. Crowhill said, "That will be enough of your nonsense, Herr Doktor! The moment of truth has arrived, but first I want to read a poem." Then he read the following poem outloud:
Oh, what a curse upon my breast
"Where did you ever find that poem, Crowhill?" I interrupted.
"I have been keeping tabs on you, Herr Doktor. Now let me continue."
And whence, pray tell, can you derive blessing?
Mr. Crowhill was finished reading the poem and said, "That, my friends, was something that Herr Doktor wrote over 20 years ago, when he was young man."
Suddenly Walt interrupted by asking me, "Why did you write something like that?"
"Because I thought it would get me dates," I replied.
"The kind you eat?" he asked.
"No!" I said impatiently. "The kind you go out on."
"Did it work?"
"That will be enough, Walt!" said Mr. Crowhill sternly.
Though Walt did obey Mr. Crowhill, I could detect some anger in his face, as though he might have some hope of being liberated from his miserable state. More astounding than this, however, was the Extraordinary Thing I noticed about Walt's hair. What was happening to Walt? And could this be of any help to me in the release from the System of Dr. Rooster and Mr. Crowhill?
In any case, Mr. Crowhill didn't seem to notice Walt's anger or the Increased Volume and Shininess of Walt's hair. He continued where he had left off before Walt interrupted: "Though Herr Doktor wrote that blasphemous poem...."
"It wasn't blasphemous," I said. "It was ironic!"
"Yeah, yeah, sure, sure," said Mr. Crowhill and resumed. "Herr Doktor wrote such blasphemy in his youth. He lived, moved, and had his being in it! But he has actually come a long way since those days of laughing at life like a side show. You could well say that he has been coming home for some time now. But tonight we are going to bring him all the way home."
"What do you mean by that, Mr. Crowhill?" I asked.
"Tonight," he replied with a grin, "we are taking you all the way home....to Rome, Sweet Home!"
The ensuing laughter from Mr. Crowhill and then from everyone in the room made my blood curdle. What was it that Dr. Rooster and Mr. Crowhill had in store for me?
The System of
Before proceeding further in my narration, it might be of interest to know something about the history of the comfy chair. Though I do not by any means wish to make the slightest pretense of having expert knowledge of such a Deep Subject, I have managed to piece together some facts since that evening of being subject to the System under consideration a system in which the comfy chair obviously plays a central role.
The origins of the comfy chair are shrouded in mystery. Some say that it came from ancient Babylon and its first owner was a prostitute. Since this account however no doubt comes from Protestants, it is of course highly suspect. After all, we know what They Are Like.
In any case, all are agreed that it mysteriously turned up in Turin in the 14th century. At that time it was literally shrouded, and I mean shrouded by a Shroud. Perhaps this is the very thing that gave it its power, which was proven to be quite considerable in the 16th century when the comfy chair turned up in Spain and was used as a crucial device in the activities of the infamous Spanish Inquisition.
I have have tried to discover how it got from 16th century Spain to Crowhil Mansion, but I have only managed to come across the following facts. Dr. Rooster acquired the comfy chair at a fleamarkt. It was purchased at a modest price, and a rosary and the Big Crucifix (you know, the one that he and Mr. Crowhill were holding up between them) were thrown into the deal.
I have also learned that prior to this purchase Dr. Rooster had been a Presbyterian minister (one of the "chosen frozen"). At that time he was considering the possibility of converting to an Episcopalian orientation, but the comfy chair Changed Everything.
The first time he sat in it he asked his wife to do the rosary. Though she was appalled at the very idea of doing such a thing, she was a such firm believer in submitting to her husband that she saw no choice but to obey. At the moment she did this, and while Dr. Rooster was sitting in the comfy chair, he immediately and definitively converted to Roman Catholicism. Then she sat in it and did the rosay, resulting again in an immediate and definitive conversion to that particular religion.
When Mr. Crowhill approached Dr. Rooster with great interest in the latter's conversion from a reformed orientation to full-blown Roman Catholicism, the comfy chair was still a well-kept secret of the erstwhile Presbyterian minister and his wife. In fact, Mr. Crowhill thought the conversion of these two to Roman Catholicism was nothing but a Big Intellectual Thing. Dr. Rooster tried very hard to persuade Mr. Crowhill to sit in the comfy chair, but Mr. Crowhill showed much more enthuisasm for Big Intellectual Discussions in taverns. Finally, Dr. Rooster decided to give the comfy chair to Mr. Crowhill as a gift and it worked like a charm. After that, the two of them took it upon themselves to convert the Protestant friends and acquaintances of Mr. Crowhill.
These were mostly TBN types and reformed types. Among the reformed were Herr and Frau Dunstwerth, who succumbed to the System one evening and immediately thereafter burnt their vast collection of reformed literature, including "The Collected Writings of Cornelius Van Til." (When I came across this particular piece information, I smiled and thought that the comfy chair is not All Bad.)
Anyway, after Walt (once the outstanding TBN guy in the neighborhood) and the formerly Highly Reformed Dunswerths were converted by means of the comfy chair, the rest was a piece of cake. They co-operated with the System whole-heartedly and thereby subjected all their friends and acquaintences to it. And now Mr. Crowhill wanted to add me to their list. Without further ado, let me tell you what happened after he expressed his intentions to me while I was helplessly (though comfortably) sitting in the comfy chair.
Mr. Crowhill made a motion upon which the chanting and the Rosary Stuff started back up. While this was going on he used one of the keys on the chain around his neck to open a compartment right in the center of the Big Crucifix. There were various knobs in there. First he turned one knob. This caused the lights in the room to dim. Then he turned another which caused light to come from above.
When I noticed that there was light coming from above (not very bright of course, because extreme brightness certainly cannot have that Special Mystical Effect), I looked up and noticed that the entire ceiling was not only luminous but had taken on the shape of an Enormous Cinnamon Bun. And there was an image of a woman appearing in the center of that bun. Under the circumstances I found it reasonable to conclude that this image was meant to represent none other than the Virgin Mary Herself.
While I was in the midst of all this chanting, oozing, and luminous bun-like Mariosity, I started slipping into a Major Trance. Perhaps this was meant to be moment of conversion. Little did Mr. Crowhill realize, however, that when I go into a trance, I do not dwell on Roman Catholicism. Rather, I am firmly committed to Husserl's transcendental idealism whenever I'm in trances. That is actually why I try to avoid them, but now this tendency of mine seems to have been My Salvation from a conversion to Roman Catholicism.
After hours of being in this trance, the chanting was over. I snapped out of it in a state which could be described as dazed and confused, though hardly Roman Catholic. The women in the corner were still going at it with the rosary though, until Mr. Crowhill said, "Ladies!" They stopped. And even though there was less Peace and Tranquility in the room, he had an expression of relief on his face.
Then he commanded the others to get out their brass shaker things. He said once again that I would come home tonight, and then they all flung holy water (or what I thought was holy water) on me. They did this repeatedly, saying each time in unison, "The power of the comfy chair compells you!"
While they did this, Mr. Crowhill turned a knob in that compartment of the Big Crucifix, and this caused the comfy to rise slowly and thus to get closer and closer to Mary-in-the-bun. All along they continued flinging the holy water (or whatever it was) on me and saying in unison, "The power of the comfy chair compells you!" Then he slowly turned the knob the other way and the comfy chair lowered to the ground. Mr. Crowhill made a motion with his hand and they all stopped flinging That Stuff at me.
Mr. Crowhill took out a handkerchief and wiped his forehead. He could see that I was not converted yet, but he was not going to give up. He seemed to be ready for a break, before going into the next phase. Everyone in the room was silent, but I could hear much jubilation from the TV room.
Very loudly and distinctly we could all hear from that room: "Oh God, I pray that you let Big Blue win!"
Mr. Crowhill continued to wipe his forehead and looked up with an annoyed expression. He put his handkerchief away and smiled at me. But suddenly the door from the hallway swung open wide and in came John (you remember John, don't you?) and some short tubby guy with invisible hair and a beard. These two were singing "My Old Kentucky Home" with great enthusiasm.
At the same time I heard a loud meow. Snowball was also running into the room.
This was not only all very alarming to Mr. Crowhill, but Dr. Rooster fell to floor and started gagging. "Don't you know I'm allergic to cats!" He started crawling to the door and one of the rosary women followed him, insisting that he would be fine after an Intense Rosary Treatment.
After he and that rosary woman were finally out of the room and there was an obvious impasse, Walt said, "That singing gets me in the mood. I wanna sing about Jesus!" Then he started clapping his hands and singing:
Open your heart to Jesus And tell him of your sorrow. Open your heart to Jesus, For you might not live tomorrow. The devil, he is clever. He'll lead you into sin. So open your heart to Jesus And let him come right in!
Immediately after Walt had belted out these lines (and his hair was now clearly developing not only in Volume and Shininess, but also in getting puffed up Really, Really Big), I heard someone else say, "Hallelujah!" Another one said, "Praise the lord!" Then all the people to my right (where Walt was) started dancing and shouting and clapping and singing Goofy Commercial Gospel Stuff.
At this point Mr. Crowhill shouted at the top of his lungs, "Get out of my house, you fools!" He drew a sword out of a special place in the Big Crucifix and threatened to stab those TBN people to my right. So they all started ushering out of the room, mumbling and grumbling, as they got into the hallway and went out the front door. As they were going out of the door, they started back up with their singing and Mr. Crowhill ran out of the room with the sword. He was really mad at them.
John and Mr. Tubbyman were standing next to the door, apparently dumbfounded that their innocent enthusiasm about the victory of Big Blue an answer to their prayers no less! could have such a dramatic effect. "Let's go listen to the after-game commentary," said John. "Yeah, them guys are so clever!" said Mr. Tubbyman.
After those two left the room, I noticed that it was getting very, very cold. Was it from a draft? But it wasn't cold out when I arrived at Crowhill Mansion. Then I turned to my left and was taken aback (as much as I could be taken aback under the circumstances) when I noticed that the people to my left, including the Dunstwerths, looked as though they were Frozen Solid. But they could talk, because I heard them muttering something about....two lips? No, it was TULIPS! (Later I found out that each letter of that word stood for a point in their peculiar System of Thought: T = total depravity, U = unconditional election, L= limited atonement, I = irresistible grace, P = perserverence of the saints, and S = silence of the woman in the church.)
After Mr. Crowhill had chased the TBN people out of his house and off his lawn, he came back in the room and started shivering. He knew that something fishy was up and immediately noticed how the reformed people had become frozen. "Oh no, they're having a relapse too!" he exclaimed. So he walked over to the Big Crucifix and turned a knob in that compartment that was so full of knobs. It started getting warmer. As a result, the reformed people were thawing. Mr. Crowhill just looked down to ground and said in a tone of suppressed anger: "Now get out of here before I take my flame thrower to you."
After the reformed people ushered out of the room, there were only three of us left: Mr. Crowhill, one of the rosary chicks, and me. (There might have been a cat somewhere in there too.) Mr. Crowhill looked at the remaining rosary chick and said, "Honey, I think Dr. Rooster might need more than the Intense Rosary Treatment. He probably needs the Extremely Intense Rosary Treatment." She got up and left the room immediately, leaving me and Mr. Crowhill alone. But in all the excitement, both she and Mr. Crowhill forgot to close the door to the hallway. This gave me some hope.
"If I have to do this all by myself, I will see to it that it gets done," he said. "You are coming home tonight!"
Little did Mr. Crowhill know, however, that my paralysis was wearing off. I am sure that he knew exactly what he was doing and that the Porter Drug would have continued in its effect if John and Mr. Tubbyman hadn't started singing "My Old Kentucky Home." Yes, this song caused me to get my strength back. And since I noticed this, I continued to hum it to myself and was getting stronger and stronger. I was feeling like Arnold Schwarzenneger. (I have seen him in movies before, and that's why I have a good idea of how he feels.)
I did not move, however, because I wanted Mr. Crowhill to think that I was still completely paralyzed. He leaned the crucifix against the wall and started to pick out one of his keys for something that was no doubt Extremely Sinister.
Just then I yelled out, "The Big Mary Bun is falling on your head!" As he ducked for cover, I got up out of the comfy chair as quickly as my strength would permit and started heading for the door. Actually I was moving rather quickly (for a guy who had just been paralyzed all night), but Mr. Crowhill saw me and darted for the door with the Big Crucifix, which he managed to get in the doorway in order to block my path.
We both stood there, looking at each other. My thoughts were racing like mad to find a solution to this pressing problem. Finally, I decided that the only way out was through the window, even though it might do violence to those drapes which had earlier provided the ladies with such a Magnificent Conversation Piece.
So I lept for the drapes and ripped one of them down. Lo and behold, it was dawn! There came streaming in on sunlight's wings a million bright ambassadors of morning!
Much to my surprise, Mr. Crowhill collapsed at this very moment. He was groaning and writhing on the floor. He started calling me a fool and I was feeling something like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when she threw that water (or whatever it was) on the Wicked Witch of the West. (Isn't it amazing how much you learn what different types of people Really and Truly Feel by watching movies?)
He was crawling to the comfy chair! I just stood there agape (in the English sense, not the Greek one). Finally, he reached the comfy chair. He was breathing rather heavily, but he managed to gain his composure to say, "I am still too weak, Herr Doktor. We fresh converts have to spend the daylight hours in the comfy chair."
"Then I will let you get comfy and I will be on my merry way to Clown Town," I said with a bright smile on my face.
"You have won this round, Herr Doktor," said Mr. Crowhill. "But I will bring you home one of these days. You mark my word!"
I just turned around and started to remove the crucifix from the doorway and heard, "Herr Doktor!"
"What is it Crowhill? I have an appointment in Clown Town this morning."
"You are a restless soul, and that is what saved you tonight. But it will ultimately be your downfall."
"My downfall no less! You're sitting pretty right now, Mr. Crowhill. You would be well advised to stop your threats while your're in such a vulnerable position. I would say, 'Go ahead and make day', if I were like Clint Eastwood. But I'm not like him. I am more like.....like....Arnold Schwarzeneger! So I will say Aufwiedersehen! Or is that hasta la vista, baby?"
It occurred to me how stupid that response must have sounded, but please try to feel my pain.
As I removed the crucifix and started into the hallway, I heard Mr. Crowhill say, "Aufwiedersehen will do fine. We shall see each other again." Then he started laughing in that sinister way that you hear sometimes from sinister cartoon characters.
I headed out of the door, got on my bike, and rode as fast as I could down the hill and straight to Clown Town. But my thoughts were unsettled, and they have been unsettled ever since. For I know that I haven't seen the last of Mr. Crowhill.
End note: Jethro Tull lyrics used without permission but with much admiration.
Read the next installment! The Fall of the House of Crowhill