TALES FROM THE MOLEMAN !
Thanksgiving Ramblings From Our Underground Correspondent
It was a few days before Bird day. A couple of years ago, give or take a few hundred, some guys got fed up with a fat guy in a powered wig tellin them what to do so they chartered a boat and headed for greener pastures. I would've done the same thing. I have done the same thing. Minus the boat and the wig, although there was still a fat guy.
Out of this group the ones that weren't eaten by dinosaurs or afflicted with Lycanthropy made it through a hard winter and with much help from the locals decided to put on a big feed.
These thoughts invaded my dreams as I lay in bed and tossing and turning till the cosmos punched me in the kidneys. I seemed to have woken up on the right side of the dirt. I was tangled up in my Martha Stewart sheets from the K Mart Collection. Egyptian cotton. 1000 thread count. My pulse was present but ragged. My head was pounding like I'd just watched a marathon of Conrad Brooks movies narrated by David "the Rock" Nelson and my tongue tasted like the floor of Creepy Classics water sogged basement. I slid out of bed cautiously and peered out the window. The world was still there. More or less. People were scurrying about to and fro as if there were important tasks to accomplish. There weren't. I had inside information.
There was a Risk game board layed out on the table in front of me and I moved the pieces around trying to game out the world situation. The Candy Land pieces represented one side and Little farm trucks from my old Animal Farm game represented the other. The Monopoly shoe was the Russian Fleet and the balancing guy from "Tip It"represented the man behind the scenes pulling all the strings. Looking at it this way almost made sense. Like watching "Wild Women Of Wongo" with the sound turned off.
I drove around a little looking for a Foto Hut and then finally gave up and parked my car way back in the corner of a grocery store lot cautiously making my way to the front entrance always on the lookout for Mothman sign or overly aggressive Girl Scout cookie sellers. The latter being the more worrisome of the two. I figured the Mothman could be reasoned with.
At the Customer Service desk I pulled a packet of Harvest Candy that I had purchased a few weeks ago out of my pocket and dumped the contents on the counter, I explained my problem to the employee who seemed to have a problem focusing. This package of Harvest Candy contained only two skulls and one owl. There were absolutely no witches or bats but there were Nine cats. The rest was all pumpkins and candy corn. This was the biggest outrage I'd ever encountered since that time I bought an issue of Spectacular Spiderman and found that someone had drawn mustaches and beards all over Aunt May.
As I was trying to explain in detail my total disappointment with the product I noticed Ron Adams out of the corner of my eye. I quickly scooped the candy back into my pocket and decided to follow him. I don't know if he noticed me or not but he bobbed and weaved down one of the aisles and took a hard left turn near the 50% off Halloween Pop Tarts display. I wanted to surprise him so I ran back into the meat department and grabbed a turkey out of the case, then jogged back up to where I thought I'd run into him again. As he was looking at some canned goods I climbed a couple of shelves up from the next aisle holding the bird in front of me with my head peaking over the top flapping my right arm like a wing.
"Gobble Gobble!" I shouted loudly. "Happy Thanksgiving, Ron!"
I guess this startled him because he jerked backwards knocking over a display of Cream of Mushroom soup in the shape of a pyramid which went rolling in all directions. He scrambled for footing and went down hard taking a display of Stove Top Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce with him. Pandemonium and confusion reigned as customer's carts collided and employees ran over to see what had happened. A little old lady shook her umbrella in anger at Ron who was trying to stand up and pick up cans at the same time.
"Gobble Gobble?" I said again very quietly then slowly turned and made my way back to the parking lot. On the way home I listened to an audio tape of the entire first season of "The New Soupy Sales Show" and kept my eyes on the rear view mirror. There were a lot of nuts out there. You couldn't be too careful.
I was having one of those days. Like Rommel at Kasserine Pass or Charlie Brown trying to fly a kite near a grove of tall trees. I was temporarily homeless due to my house being infested with Green Slime and my car was leaking oil and spewing blue smoke to beat the band. The band, it is assumed, was Fred Waring And His Pennsylvanians. As I contemplated the negative balance in my bank account and the inscrutable forces of destiny I pulled over into what was, unfortunately, a No Parking Zone and got out to observe the Valdez-like oil slick that was forming underneath my car. I stood there thinking as a tow truck driver passed by slowly licking his lips in anticipation which had the effect of making me feel not unlike a piece of meat in the desert.
It was at this point I noticed a man waving at me in the mirror. I waved back but when I turned around he wasn't there. This caused me to doubt my mental faculties a little and call back the bartender.
Then there was Lou Oleman who was the first kid in line to see "The Mummy" in 1932 and went on to be the first one in his neighborhood to order, and be disappointed by, the U-Control Monster Ghost from the back of a comic book."
He snapped his fingers and suddenly I was outfitted quite differently. "Red and yellow sneakers?" I said with astonishment.
"Doesn't matter. All that matters is being cool. You want to move up in the world don't you? Make a little scratch. If you'll pardon the expression." I didn't answer him but instead was feeling the top of my head. "Where's my hat?" "My dear Oleman, Fedoras went out with tailfins and Bobbysox. But if you must have a hat..." He then snapped his fingers and a baseball cap appeared in my hands. I held it and turned it around slowly noting that the writing on it in green letters read "Surf's Up!" I gingerly placed it on my head. "Uh uh" Mr Hempstead said. "Turn it around." "But if I turn it around it won't keep the sun out of my eyes." I said almost whining. "You're too hip to worry about things like that now. It's all about appearances and this is how you dress if you want to look young and successful."
"I feel like a fool" I said as I looked myself over. And where's my watch? What's this gaudy thing?"
I began walking around in circles confusedly until Hempstead said "What are you looking for?"
"Mr Oleman you no longer know anyone named Ron Adams. Nor any Dan Webers or Heiss's or Hayhursts, or Pellegrinos or Pickles. Or any of that ilk." "Any Lewcyks?"
"No" he said firmly. "Nor do you have any interest in monster movies or "Bashing." From now on you like films like this" he said as he snapped his fingers. "Wine For Breakfast?" I said looking at the DVD that suddenly appeared. "Is it any good?" "It's French. With subtitles. Very trendy. Won lots of awards somewhere. And speaking of wine, you're now a connoisseur. You have a wine cellar in the corner of your basement where I cleared out a lot of old magazines and plastic junk." "My monster models! My Famous Monsters and UFO Quarterlies! My "Monsters On The Prowl " and "Zither Fancier Monthlies!" I said as I gasped in horror. "You don't like those things anymore Oleman. Get with the program."
"Well, I don't know" I said as I looked out the window watching my Roadmaster being towed down the street on a flatbed. "I don't really like Golf. I kind of go in for Horseshoes or maybe a little competitive Cheese Rolling at Cooper's Hill."
"Look Mr Hempstead, I don't want to appear ungracious but the things I like, the things I believe in, are a little odd but they're worth considerably more than a sports car and a corner office."
"So you like things the way they were?" he said.
"Not at all" he said shaking his head. Then with a snap of fingers I was dressed back in my old clothes. Rummaging around in the pockets I even found a Zagnut Bar and a couple of plastic dinosaurs that I'd bought the day before.
Then a very angry voice from down the hall boomed out, "Will you please tell the gentleman who occupies this museum and livestock exhibit that I shall like to see him as soon as he deigns to report for work."
"He's talking about your desk, Mr Oleman. Time to go in and get fired," Hempstead said. "But I don't even really work here" I protested. "Sorry. Just a technicality. Have to cross the Ts and dot the I's and all that. The paperwork that goes with this job is phenomenal."
Editor's note: In case you're just stumbling upon your first commentary by M. Oleman here. He's e-mails these ramblings to Creepy Classics and Monster Bash. They are usually, engimatic and many times, well, just pain strange. But, his writing voice of growing up in pop culture over the past decades strikes a chord...granted an off-key chord. Sit back, take your time and just go with it as he dredges up memories and somehow involves Creepy Classics, the Monster Bash and all the volunteer Bash folks you see at conventions.... -Ron
It was a few days before Christmas. The sidewalks were crowded with last minute shoppers and the sky was dark with Angels trying to earn their wings. I almost clipped one at the corner of 9th and Penn when he stepped out in front of my car. I slammed down hard on the brake pedal sending my Dudley Manlove from "Creation Of The Humanoids" bobblehead careening off the windshield and into the back seat where it nestled in a box of vintage Japanese Christmas Elves.
The Angel then opened the locked door of my car and slid in beside me, "Excuse me sir" he said hopefully, "But are you a little down? Need someone to show you what the world would be like if you'd never been born?"
"No" I said firmly. "I'm quite content."
He stared at me a moment, wrinkled his brow and said "Aw Phooey!" then shot up through the roof of the car heading in a northerly direction.
I felt kind of bad after that, but I couldn't be responsible for everyone getting their wings, so I continued on my way taking my time. The planet revolved lazily underneath me like Goldfish in a pond. Or, BIlly Gardell circling the Buffet at the Swissvale Eat N Park. The 8 Track clunked from selection to selection of Milton Mezzrow's "Muggles From Mezz For Christmas" while I drove and balanced a cup of mud from "Baby Huey's Haus of Java and Jet Fuel." I thought I saw my old enemy "The Spatula" once on Stanwick so I did a fast U-turn and punched it down a one way but I lost him in a crowd of Star Wars reenactors at a strip mall celebrating Wookie Life Day. He couldn't escape me forever.
I had nowhere particular to go so I pulled into the parking lot of an eating and drinking establishment where I wasn't banned for arguing that Haystacks Calhoun was the greatest wrestler of all time, which he is of course, then parked in the back.
The window next to the rear entrance was always unlocked so I crawled in through it, which was my usual way of entry except on Bring Your Own Bassoon Day, and hopped down next to the stove where a large pot of Gazpacho soup was boiling. No matter how many times I told the chef it was supposed to be served cold he wouldn't listen. I think he did it just to spite me. As I made myself a sandwich of Braunshweiger on Rye and was looking around for the Mr Mustard, I noticed that the noise coming from the bar was unnaturally excessive.
Loud voices, off key singing and the Juke Box all competed with one another. The place was packed. As I opened the kitchen door and looked around taking in the crowd scene I saw Dan Weber sitting at the bar. His head was down on a plate of Kielbasi and Sauer Kraut with three empty plates nearby, and he was using a pile of Pierogies as a pillow. When he saw me he looked up, dragging his long hair through a side dish of Cole Slaw and said "Can't...eat...any... more..." then slid off his stool and landed on the floor like a bag of wet t-shirts from the Creepy Classics flood. He groaned a little then reached out and grabbed the skirt from around the Christmas tree, wrapped himself in it and went right to sleep.
I scanned the room and saw lots more familiar faces. Mark Statler was there dressed as Cousin Eddie from "Christmas Vacation" while his brother Theron was made up like Uncle Lewis. They seemed to be reenacting a scene from the movie to the delight of a crowd of onlookers while behind them a turkey was being carved and there was loud discussion on who would get the neck.
I walked over to a corner booth where Ted Lewcyk and Brian Keegan were playing a game of Stratego and since it was obvious that Ted was getting creamed and only had a couple of Scouts and a Miner left I thought it best to move on before the game board was toppled and the pieces started flying to the screams of "No fair!"
Don Reese, not to be outdone by anyone, was up on a table making jokes about "the Creeping Terror" pretending to use a salami as a microphone and trying to shout above the din of the crowd while Paisley Adams was Fencing with Wolf Watson using empty wrapping paper tubes. They seemed to be competing for a trophy made out of butter in the shape of Peter Lorre's head with one ear missing which looked to have been spread on a nearby piece of Poppy Seed Cake.
The place was filled with misfits, eccentrics, oddballs and past and present Monster Bashers who were all crowded together celebrating. There were Jacksons and Adams' from the far reaches. There were Doerrs and Hayhursts and I even spotted a couple of Addams'
As I took in the scene with great wonderment, a loud noise came from the front of the building where a garbage truck had pulled up. Out from the passenger seat stumbled a grinning David "the Rock" Nelson. In his right hand was his video camera and out of his overcoat pockets peeked several Fruitcakes.
Somehow, through fortune most strange I had inadvertently stumbled upon the somewhat annual and occasional Monster Bash Combined Christmas, New Years, and Boxing Day Party.
I bent down and took two twenties out of Dan Weber's wallet which he owed me from last year when I bested him in Tip-It, elbowed my way to the bar, and settled in for a long celebration. I ordered a K-Mac (Absinthe, Bitters, Tentaka Kuni Sake and Blue Cream Nehi served in an Oxblood Wingtip) and looked around to see who would discuss "The Valley of Gwangi" with me long into the night.
And so, a Merry Christmas to all, and as Tiny Ron himself once observed, "God Bless us every one!"
Comment coming in from Larry Boyington of Oklhoma City:
While I might
disagree slightly with him on that, there were some wrestlers who wrestled here who
I was lying on the couch drinking coffee out of a mug that said "Tea" on it. The TV was turned on but the picture was mostly a blur. If I squinted a little I could almost make out someone that sort of looked like Peter Lorre if I cocked my head to the left. I contemplated getting up and trying to adjust the picture but it didn't seem worth it.
Outside the snow was falling lazily and the wind was creeping through the alleys like Monster Bash Comedian Don Reese trying to sneak the last piece of pie from a potluck buffet at the American Legion. I tried calling the number that someone had given me promising it was Ron Adams personal line but all I got was a recording that said "If this is M. Oleman you have reached a wrong number. Please do not try again." I was suspicious and was thinking that maybe I had been given a Red Herring but then I was also suspicious about the guy on the Lucky Charms box. He looked eerily similar to a guy who had once tried to sell me a used Opel Kapitan in downtown Strasbourg in '89.
As I sat there I became overwhelmed with an all consuming passion that could not be denied: I needed the latest issue of Monster Bash Magazine.
The outside world was a naked landscape of bleak and desolate ruination that sought to crush my soul and spirit beneath it's boot, but unfortunately was also where you had to venture to buy monster magazines and sans-a-belt slacks.
I girded my loins and left the house.
I walked down the street but I could not see any sign of any sort of business that would carry Monster Bash. Finally I dropped into a small candy store that sold comic books and magazines. "We don't carry that" the little man behind the counter grunted at me. He seemed to be standing there just waiting to deny me the existence of what I was looking for. I looked him over slowly and decided he was hiding something. Or maybe I was. I could never be sure.
I went around the corner. There was a small store that I had passed many times before but had never really paid much attention to because it was in such disrepair. The faded sign above the door said simply "Books" and the front window was so dirty it was impossible to see inside. When I opened the door a cat screeched and ran under a table and a fat guy with sweated out armpits jumped upright from behind a counter. Books and magazines were scattered everywhere and a very beat up copy of "Weird War Tales" floated to the floor. He looked as if he had been sleeping in a nest of comic books and food wrappers.
I was through being pleasant.
"Monster Bash 18" I said firmly.
I stared at him as he continued to hold the book up. I kept staring at him till he dropped the magazine and said "maybe in the back." He made his way to the rear of the store maneuvering past a minefield of boxes of books and piles of tattered magazines occasionally looking back at me. I waited for a bit, and when it seemed like he was taking a little too long I noticed a cold breeze blowing in from the back room. I cautiously moved back that way and peered in the room making sure to stay low. The back room was just as filthy and unorganized as the front and the exit door was hanging wide open. I turned around and noticed the cat was watching me intently. I hesitated only briefly then leaped over a broken down box of National Geographics and ran down the street looking for the fat man.
"Fat Guy... Monster Bash..." I wheezed trying to catch my breath.
I walked slowly back trying to remember where I had parked my car. My Wingtips were scuffed, the knee was ripped out of my left pants leg, and my Commando Cody collectible badge had fallen out of my shirt pocket and rolled into the storm sewer. The kid with the Sky Bar followed me for a while then lost interest and starting kicking over a snowman in someone's front yard.
I wondered who could be behind this vast conspiracy to deny me the latest issue of Monster Bash. Was it my old enemy "the Lavender Loon?" Or maybe it was that kid who lost his Bill Mazeroski card to me back in 3rd grade in a game of "Topsies" and swore he'd get even if it took him the rest of his life. And what was the connection between Ron Adams and the Fat Man and is it even possible to get parts for an AMC Pacer anymore?
I had these thoughts and many others as I drove slowly home taking the red lights as they came and keeping my eyes peeled for meteorites and giant sinkholes
-M. Oleman, In Hiding
Dear M. Oleman, don't fear...MONSTER BASH MAGAZINE #18 just isn't out in stores yet...but it will be very soon. Try again in about a week. -Ron
The mysterious and eccentric M. Oleman has reared his head from a cave in western Pennsylvania and submitted this latest installment for your weekend reading.... -Ron
I stuck my head out the window and was rewarded by the stinging blows of ice and cold rain. A hedgehog or a rat or something had given the signal that spring was imminent but I saw no signs of it. Although I did see a flying saucer off in the distance coming in a little low and wobbly. Just the way Ed Wood portrayed them.
At one point he turned around suddenly and I had to duck into a doorway so he wouldn't see me. I peeked out slowly after a moment and saw him hide something under a bush, then hop away again. I crept up carefully and found a brightly colored egg. Hard boiled. I peeled it and added a little salt that I always kept in the cuff of my pants for just such a situation, then walked on after him slowly chewing. I tailed him for a few blocks and I began to wonder why I was the only one that noticed him. As I turned the next corner he once again looked back and I had to throw myself to the ground quickly and violently so he wouldn't see me. As I lay there panting a kid came up and stood next to me. His face was smeared with chocolate and he was munching on something.
"What are you doing, mister?" he said as he took a big bite of chocolate that was in the shape of the Mummy. (Tom Tyler not Karloff)
The kid looked down the street then shrugged his shoulders and walked away. I didn't understand how anyone could be so blase about a giant rabbit walking down the street. I personally blamed it on video games.
I got up on my hands and knees and began to crawl for awhile, using a low hedge as cover. Finally I saw the rabbit go into a dilapidated building that looked abandoned.
I crept over slowly and using an old pallet as a ladder climbed up and peeked in the window. To my astonishment the room was full of large rabbits sitting at a long conference table, and at the head of the table was Ron Adams. I was sure it was him although I confess I had never seen Ron wearing a crown and purple robes before. And behind him stood Dan Weber dressed as Frankenstein with his arms crossed and looking very grim. The rabbits were all talking and arguing at once. Their conversations seemed to mainly be about dyes and hues and pathways and hiding places. Ron called for quiet a couple of times then finally Dan Weber pulled out the biggest mallet I had ever seen and pounded on the table yelling "ORDER! ORDER!"
"Cheeseburger and fries!" one of the rabbits yelled and they all started laughing loudly quieting down only after Dan pounded the table again.
Ron looked around slowly at each of the rabbits. "The reason I have called you all here today is because of our mutual problem. You all know of whom I speak. It's time we take care of him once and for all. I am of course talking about the perpetual pebble in our shoe, that thorn in our side, that "Creeping Terror" of classic movies, Mr M. Oleman!"
The rabbits immediately erupted into a screaming chorus of roars and squeals and began banging on the table and Dan Weber began flailing his arms around and growling "Fire, Bad!"
I was so startled that I started to lose my footing and grabbed at the ledge in a panic. I looked down briefly at the pallet I was standing on and when I looked back up all eyes in the room were upon me. I froze for what seemed an eternity, then slowly climbed down. I started to walk briskly back towards my car looking over my shoulder as I moved. Suddenly the doors flew open and out poured dozens of angry Easter Bunnies. As I ran my back began to sting as I was pelted with Jelly Beans and chocolate eggs.
When I rounded a corner the kid with the Mummy chocolate bar tried to trip me by dumping the marbles out of a Kerplunk game on the sidewalk but I dodged to the left and jumped over him. Back at my car I slid behind the steering wheel and fumbled for my keys. As the rabbits bounded towards me they started to change and grow until it began to resemble a scene from "Night Of The Lepus." Then the giant rabbits suddenly got quiet and parted to the side as an even bigger abomination appeared: A 100 foot tall groundhog wearing a top hat. He bent over and stared at me through the windshield and shouted "If you don't like the way I predict the weather DO something about it!"
I sunk back in horror when suddenly a camera was thrust into my face from the back seat. It was renegade filmmaker David "the Rock" Nelson.
"How does it feel to be in David "the Rock" Nelson's mooovie?" he said creepily, then threw the Devil Ant at me.
My head was spinning as the Rock grinned and filmed it all...Then with a thump I woke up.
Underground at Monster Bash
The night before the Monster Bash I had a dream that I was standing in line at an all you can eat buffet with Horror Host Mr Lobo when he demanded to get in front of me by screaming "Do you know who I am?! Do you KNOW who I am?!" and in the ensuing melee had my copy of "They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers" ruined when it ended up covered with Lime Jello. I hoped this wasn't a harbinger of things to come but just in case took extra precaution while packing and wrapped all my belongings in heavy plastic.
When I left in the morning I stopped at a gas station to inquire about the possibility of heavy Bash traffic on the Turnpike and the attendant gave me a look similar to the one I got when I went into the Danish Embassy to see if they sold REPTILICUS t-shirts. Either the station attendant had never heard of the Bash or someone was spreading cash around to keep mouths shut in an attempt to throw me off the trail. And, he also gave me a hard time about paying for my four dollars worth of fuel with a sock full of nickels and pennies. "Your will is strong, Van Helsing" I kept saying as I did my best Bela Lugosi and tried to hypnotize him till he relented and accepted the coins.
But, finally after a year of waiting and writing letters to the editor pleading for a Monster Bash Express lane on the Interstate Highway System, I chugged into the parking lot of the Bash hotel on fumes with an assortment of strange noises coming from under the hood of my car that sounded a little like MechaniKong after he got a good beat down from Godzilla. Once again I managed to find my way to the Monster Bash despite all odds and obstacles thrown in my way by enemies real or imagined. And, even though I was sure I was being followed by a Russain Spetsnaz Assault Team I was determined not to let it ruin my weekend.
I dashed across the lot covering my face with a Joe Besser mask to beat the surveillance satellites and mess with the guys at the NSA a little, then stepped into the lobby and looked around. The place was full of weird and strange people. Misfits, oddballs, crackpots and fringers mingled with eccentrics and kooks. There were Secret Squirrel Bobble Head collectors and Ed Wood true believers and a guy that was running for President of the Planet Metaluna. Not to mention renegade film maker David "the Rock" Nelson who it is rumored is determined to make DEVIL ANT 5, no matter how bad the reviews or how dismal the sales. It was, in short, my kind of crowd.
The sea of orange Monster Bash Staff shirts flowed throughout the convention like wheat in an Autumn field. Or, nerds at a comic book store. Or, wind blown comic books in an Autumn field being chased down by nerds. They were all helpful and pleasant even when I asked for political sanctuary and demanded to live under the stage in the movie room where I would be safe from persecution from an unnamed rogue government. (Apparently I'm on a waiting list and they'll get back to me).
Oh, the orange Staff shirt! That most coveted of all finery! To have one and wear it till it became stiff with dirt and age and stood up on it's own! Could there be anything greater? How to get one! I could only imagine what strange, arcane rituals went on behind the scenes involving this rare orange fabric. Alas, the veil of secrecy is tight and the best I could do was stand close to one Staffer while he inhaled a large sandwhich as he gave his opinion on why THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS was such a great movie. He was wasting his time. I was already well aware of that fact.
I walked around and mingled with the crowd. At first I tried my best to appear normal but that only made me stand out, so I assumed a strange visage and blended in. One generous vendor gave me a free VHS copy of the movie PHANTASM when I expressed interest. I was happy for a little while till I convinced myself that it was some kind of clever ruse and the box was probably full of live scorpions or tiny Body Snatcher Pods so I ditched it in a toilet in the Monster Bash Staff room where presumably they're well versed in disposing of these kinds of things. Even though it was a close call and I almost died, I still have to admit it was a nice gesture.
Going to the Monster Bash is like attending the kind of giant family reunion the Munsters or the Addams Family must have had if they were real, and I'm not fully convinced they weren't. And, in fact there was more than one person present that resembled Uncle Fester and not a few Morticias. Where else can you meet someone who was in one of the original Universal Frankensteins like Janet Ann Gallow or Donnie Dunnagun? Or, one of the Hammer Horror girls like the lovely Veronica Carlson? Or, someone who was in PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE like Conrad Brooks? Or sing the Song Of The New Wine from FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN with a large group and then get pelted with rubber monsters and Mars Attacks! cards which you get to keep! No take backs, or do-overs like in grade school. The Abbott & Costello tribute people looked and acted so much like the real thing I felt I was transported back to 1952. Which didn't work out too well when I tried to pay for a candy bar with a nickel at the hotel snack bar. And, as usual Mark and Theron Statler, the creative team behind the "Mark Statler And His Creepy Classics Chiller Band" CD were on hand like good will ambassadors of New Vasaria. I almost bought another CD, but I already have two and I'm having trouble converting them to 8 Track.
I Bashed my brains out all day Friday and Saturday finally falling asleep in the movie room on Saturday night while watching Shemp Howard in HELLZAPOPPIN' and wishing it was like the old days and someone would carry me up to my bedroom and tuck me in, quietly admonishing me for staying up so late. There actually were a couple of larger fellows present like Creighton from the Ghoul A Go-Go gang who looked they could manage it, but I didn't want to impose.
Sunday flew by like Christmas vacation when I was ten years old and then sadly this Bash, like all good things, had to come to an end.
-M.Oleman, PA Turnpike Mile Marker 178
Editor's note: "M. Oleman" is not me. He really exists....somewhere in Pittsburgh, PA. A mysterious and funny character. He occasionally writes these ramblings and sends them to me. His world is close to ours. Is it all true? I don't know...only he does. And, now, just in time for the holidays...the latest from M. Oleman in the continuing "Tales of the Moleman." - Ron Adams
I was standing outside Big Sid's Comic Shop with my face pressed firmly against the glass. I looked kind of like that kid Ralphie from A CHRISTMAS STORY peering in the window of the Department Store at the BB gun, only I wasn't dressed quite as nice and I didn't have any adult supervision.
I was waxing nostalgic and longed for the days when my biggest worry was making sure I didn't miss the latest issue of Famous Monsters. Which was actually last Tuesday now that I think about it.
And in the middle of the whole thing was an Aurora King Kong model drunkenly tilted on it's side. That one made me a little envious. Usually I was the one drunkenly tilted on the side.
I pushed open the smeared glass door decorated with a poster of the Hulk sitting on Santa's lap, and went inside. Sid was at his perch looking out upon his empire. Empty Pizza boxes and coffee cups littered the surface of his counter like courtiers and guardsmen and a large empty bottle of Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale tottered around. In front of his counter was an old original aluminum Christmas tree that had seen better days. There were exactly two ornaments on it, one being the Domino's Pizza Noid, and underneath was spread out an old Marx Fort Apache set. Or at least parts of it. And a badly wrapped present for Sid's Uncle Al that had been there under that tree for at least 3 years and had the effect of making me feel like I was 8 years old again as I wondered what could possibly be in it. It was probably a pair of socks or a belt but you never knew.
The following story is true. These events transpired one day, mid-May, in what people tell me is the 21st Century. Can you prove it didn't happen?
I woke up bathed in sweat and screaming with my hands gripped tightly around the throat of my Howling Mad Murdock doll. Actually it was an Action Figure. I was too old to play with dolls. They said. Anyway, I had dreamed that Vincent Price came to my house for Sunday dinner and I ended up serving him hamburger helper and macaroni and cheese from a box. He was so insulted that he swore eternal Dr Phibes-like vengeance against me for all time and forever. I begged his forgiveness and promised to heat up yesterday's Shepherd's Pie but that only made him angrier. In a rage he burst through my front door, climbed into the back of a waiting Hearse, yelled to the driver "Away! Away!" and was gone.
I shook off the effects of the nightmare and got dressed. I put on my waterproof Bulova Sea King wristwatch (in case someone managed to dump me in the river) pinned my official Adam 12 police badge to the inside of my coat (in case I needed to get through a road block) and jacked a roll of Sure Fire Super Jets into my Chuck Connors Cowboy In Africa cap gun (you couldn't be too careful. There were a lot of strange people out there) then prepared myself to step out into the Kabuki Theater known as reality. I really didn't like to leave the house, but "outside" was where they kept Raspberry Zingers, Hi-C Ecto Cooler, VHS tapes of The Gong Show and other necessities of life. To fortify myself I plunked a couple of pieces of Wonder Bread into my Sunbeam T9 (Manufactured by the Chicago Flexible Shaft Company in 1948, a very good year for toasters) poured some tepid water into my instant Nescafe and plotted my strategy.
I was on a mission and nothing would get in my way. Except a werewolf. Or, possibly a really angry and determined hunchback. Almost nothing would get in my way. I was determined to find the truth about...CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON. I said it out loud like that for effect just to see if it sounded as crazy as I thought it did, but it didn't sound crazy at all. Of course, I also thought the idea of using Boyer Smoothie Peanut Butter Cups for currency wasn't a crazy idea and was going forward with a plan until U.S. Treasury Agents made me cease and desist.
Outside the sun was shining and the birds were singing. It was a beautiful day. If you liked that sort of thing. As for me, if the government really had the secret power to modify the weather, and I knew they did no matter how much they denied it, my fervent hope was to get control of the switch and set it to perpetual cloudy and gloomy. With a constant threat of rain and rampaging Gill Men.
To get my mind off the sunshine I popped an old Inner Sanctum tape into the cassette deck in the Roadmaster and hit the expressway. Things weren't like they used to be. I couldn't find a Woolworths or Gimbels Department Store anywhere. The old Rambler Dealership on McKnight was now a strip mall, and no matter how hard I looked I could find no sign of a phone booth anywhere. How would I get in touch with Paranormal Investigator Stan Gordon if I saw Bigfoot? Smoke signals? Carrier Pigeon? Actually I had one of those, but still.
It was all gone. How long had I been asleep anyway? I took a long swig of Raspberry Ghoul Aid out of a Gargamel glass to clear my head and continued on wondering what the Morlocks would do when they finally emerged from their subterranean caverns and took control of things. Maybe they'd put Chilly Billy back on the air and finally release that copy of LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT that was rumored to be hidden away in a secret Pentagon warehouse. Morlock rule wouldn't be so bad. In any event they couldn't do much worse than the people who were running the planet now.
I drove into the city and made every effort to stop at the red lights. Feet slithered on the sidewalks close by as people hurried to and fro unconcerned about the eventual burnout of the Sun and the unavailability of spare parts for 1948 Hudson Hornets.
Once I thought I spotted Turhan Bey but it was just some kid fooling around with a red plastic cup on his head. I yelled out the window for him to knock it of before he attracted a Mummy, but he didn't pay any attention to me. I guess he'd have to find out the hard way.
I brushed past a bored security guard flashing my John Agar Fan Club Lifetime Membership card, which he accepted with a nod. I briefly wondered how John Agar gained entrance to facilities where he wasn't allowed, when it hit me what a ridiculous thought that was. He was John Agar. He could go anywhere he wanted.
In a musty back room I started rifling through old files. Catacomb...Catapult...Catbird...Cattail...Then nothing. The file for CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON had been pulled just as I suspected. I looked through the microfiche and old card files and got the same result. I was making a little noise going through some old boxes when I was suddenly approached by a terrifying creature that brought back childhood memories of the utmost fear and trepidation. It wasn't a Vampire or a Golem or a Blob. Worse. Much, much worse. It was the Head Librarian. She was no more than 5 feet tall, couldn't have weighed more than 100 pounds and looked to be about 200 years old. In my childhood there was only one thing more feared than the movie Usher with his red coat and large flashlight, and that was the Librarian. Entering the library as a kid meant being on your best behavior, something that was hard to do for very long. No talking, whispering, laughing, or giggling. No eating or drinking. Just breathing (quietly) and reading. She glared at me and asked me what I thought I was doing in a raspy voice that sounded like a rusty gate swinging shut on a cold October night. I tried to explain to her about the Catwomen Colonies on the Moon and the giant spiders and the caves full of gold. About Moon Rocket 4 Code 63 and the Y chromosome deficiency and Sonny Tutfs. She listened then frowned then made me spit out my gum. Then she pointed towards the door with a finger that looked like a crooked 10 penny nail.
The next thing I knew I was back in my car contemplating being banned from the County library system for a year. Again. I took a small, leather bound book out of the glove box and wrote in it "The conspiracy has even gotten to the librarians. No one left to trust."
I drove around erractically like renegade filmmaker David "the Rock" Nelson wandering the halls late at night at the Monster Bash hotel looking for a closet to sleep in to spend the night. I swung by the Hobby store on Burland and tried to get information but it was "Speak Like The Slime People Day" and I didn't have time to learn the language. At the Donut Hut I tried to get some information from Shlobbo Shlabotsky, but he was gorging himself on creme donuts dunked in coffee, and through his sloppy mouthfuls all I could understand him saying was "hoda blik er ud nudel." I didn't know what that meant and it was making me sick to my stomach watching him eat, so I got a coffee to go and left.
I stopped by "Hans' Haus der Hund" and ordered a Bismark with extra Kraut before going out back and rooting through their dumpster to no avail. At the Ben Franklin on Murray I thoroughly questioned the guy running the Pet Department and dumped out the trash can in Men's Haberdashery looking for clues till they asked me to leave. My next stop was Sears & Roebucks where I went straight to the head office and asked for Mr. Roebucks, who I had been told knew a lot about the Catwomen. Apparently I had been misinformed. All of my inquiries yielded nothing. The conspiracy to keep all information regarding the existence of Catwomen of the Moon was total and complete.
At the intersection of Grant and 4th Street as I sat waiting for the light to change wondering what my next move would be, I spotted Weepy Mackles. He crossed the street in front of me eating a Skybar. I didn't like Skybars. They were full of promise that never delivered. Like politicians. Or a Roger Corman movie.
He bit into one of the squares, caramel it looked like as it ran down his chin, and smiled stupidly as he ate the gooey chocolate. Then he noticed me. His eyes lit up and he took off zig-zagging down the street.
I don't know why exactly I chased Weepy every time he ran. It was just instinct, I guess. Maybe I spent too much time hanging around dogs. But, for whatever reason, I jammed the gear lever into park and darted off after him, almost slipping on the smear of chocolate he left behind on the road.
He nearly lost me turning a corner but I poured on the speed and caught up. I cornered him in an alley behind a cheap, take out burger joint. Cats scattered in every direction and a hobo took off cradling his brown bag.
"Jeez" Weepy puffed, "How'd ya catch old Weepy wearing them shoes. huh? What the heck!"
"Come on Weepy, give. Catwomen of the Moon, What do you know?"
Weepy could make himself cry anytime he wanted to. He also had the annoying habit of talking about himself in the first person. Mrs.Staley, my 4th grade English teacher, would be appalled.
"See, you know Weepy's right" he said as he saw the look in my eyes. "Why would Weepy stay on Earth if there were Cat-women Colonies on the Moon, huh?! Think about it! Come on!"
As I stood there scratching my chin wondering what exactly to do next a stranger trotted up beside me.
The Tow truck driver wasn't a bad guy and he let me off the hook. After I slipped him a sawbuck. He didn't know anything about Cat-women on the moon either. Or, at least he said he didn't.
I drove home slowly considering the day wasted and wondering if I should get a real job. The pay for uncovering conspiracies about CAT-WOMEN ON THE MOON was abysmally low.
Then as I drove past Big Sid's I noticed something in the window and slammed on my brakes. It was a poster: MIGHTY JOE YOUNG! Staggering Sensation! Electrifying Excitement! it said.
MIGHTY JOE YOUNG...I thought. I wonder how long it would take me to get to Africa?