#18 The Confessor of Littlefield: 1950’s – John Boy

This installment introduces the writings of Bill Dinklpfuss. Adam, the storyteller, has arranged these sequences as he becomes more immersed in the telling of the story. The author bleeds into his characters, just as a part of me bleeds through, but this installment and #19 are the bridge writings that introduce the background of the story of Bill Dinklpfuss. Installment #20 is the first of the rest of the novel, which is the story of Bill Dinklpfuss.

I have been told that I am trying to be too clever with my arrangements sometimes, and that is probably true. I do try to present things from different angles, but it is just the way my mind works. I don’t do well with formulas. I could never solve for X because I could never remember the formula. I have an agnosia that keeps me from seeing things right in front of my face, or processing something I just read. So I learned at an early age to learn by a flurry of different angles because I couldn’t read once and remember. Because of this necessity, I developed my own techniques for presentation and try to modify and refine them enough so that my work can be shared.

rjh

Z

 

I wrote this the way I want it read. Please, don’t “edit.” – Bill

Bartie the Beveler doesn’t believe in books. No sir. A hammer and a saw, a punch to the jaw; all gristle and grit, and stinking cheese. That’s what Bartie the Beveler be. Jape, Tay and Frinzle always discuss the what’s up of buddiness but Bartie, you know, he don’t think it’s right calling a wizard a scientist, or a seer a thinker. And he don’t like no pictures that shoonta been drawt.

No new pictures? Nothing new?

What new? We all see things true. A tree is a tree, a fence a fence.

I just want to see new things made with the tree instead of just a fence.

Hey, if yer gonna draw a tree, draw a tree; just don’t draw one standing with an erection and holding a baby.

Why not?

(Stammers and chokes with righteous indignation, making a show of himself.) What, are you a catholic, or su’um?

Why?

Just trying to find out if you do good at times in spite of yourself.

Suck my ass, dude.

(Clara’s friend returned Bill’s original manuscript with a note in red letters. “Don’t try to be clever, you don’t know enough about writing to do this.”

Z

Here is an incident in Bill’s journal of 1975 where he is recalling a childhood altercation between Pete Van Innern’s mother and Bill’s mother Virgie. It would’ve been from the early to mid 1950’s.

Mrs. Van Innern shouted at Virgie.

“You fucking atheist, too stupid to realize how disgusting you are, going to public school and all; sending yer kid there too. Oh, that’s right, he doesn’t even go to school anymore!”

I was so stunned at the hate that I truly must’ve seemed like an idiot to that stupid ass bitch. She kept on.

“You people don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me. Yer all gonna rot in hell for all eternity and yer too stupid to care.”

I thought Virgie was going to kill her. I mean, the VanSkinnern bitch was big and tough looking but she had no idea what she was getting into. Virgie jumped into a full sprint toward the VanSkinnern bitch and, goddamn, I was disappointed to see the bitch quick jump into her car. Virgie’s body was possessed; I could see the demon summoning her foot to thrust through the bitch’s window but Virgie still had a degree of self preservation. She later told me the God of the justice system was Calvinist and allows hate from pigs like that, presbyters who appropriated God for themselves and passed laws that condemned others. Their compassion is borne of their grandiosity, not love.

She said something like, “listen up, bitch! Going’ around acting like your shit don’t stink. Have the guts to get out of that care you fucked up old hag! I’m gonna maul off yer fuckin’ face!  Come and get a piece of me you pathetic coward ass sucking bitch! Fuck you! If there is a heaven it isn’t controlled by shitty delusional bitches like you, appropriator of Christ (like the baseball player who says he is offended by homosexuals because he is a Christian). Yeah, if Christ really does stand for what you think he does, if I see him on the side of the road I am gonna maul his fucking face off too!”

Z

Somehow, the idea that Joshua Fitzdenpuker, from Shitlerville. Michigan, leaving a negative review on Carl Perkins’ Blue Suede Shoes on Amazon sums up the absurdity of wasted time and space that is modern culture. The voice of the village idiot trying to feel important and part of something. Five hundred years from now culture will view the 21st century as far distant in the past as we now view cro magnon man, with our absurd prejudices and superstitions and lack of education. We live as both material and producer in an existence where economy pervades all aspects of purpose, worth, and dignity.

Nietzsche said of Aeschylus’ time that it still had vestiges of primitive superstition given to it by the Homerian Greeks through the drama of the Olympic games, which involved mortal combat and feats of training and skill. Legends and myths developed around the ceremony of the games, with its drama lending a skeleton language to theater, poetry, literature, and the visual arts. The language changes tongues but after thousands of years speaks of the same things. The culture of today is trying to find something human to hold onto while pop media spreads division with acerbic assertion.

I am doubting Chomsky’s LAD. Because we have finite awareness of the handful of tones our tongue, dentals, and palate create, a ¼ step behind the intellect, we cannot help but recognize patterns and structure in description. This is not an acquisition device, it is not a brain born hard-wired. It is the faculty to acquire data and to assimilate it. The idea of displaying a predisposition toward syntax sounds like another attempt to place Plato’s primary forms from within the mind instead of from an external source.

A bird is born with the ability to communicate with a vocabulary of chirps which can be intoned differently. Another animal has no idea what the birds communicate to themselves. But only the human is stupid enough to think that because the bird cannot speak like a human that it can’t be speaking much of anything, except “where’s the food,” or “there’s an owl near.” The birds carry on the speech of their community; establish themselves among each other. They tend to their bodily needs like any other animal, tend to family, assist one another, call attention, give affection, show enmity and camaraderie. They do all that assisted by the language of attenuated chirps as they rub against each other.

But all of that is of no consequence to Ted Stoogent, who levels his newly purchased shotgun at the dove who has kept you company the past six months, sharing the 7 O’Clock hour with you, eating the seeds you toss it while you sip your coffee and check the news. Just because he has the legal right to do so.

Z

Because I speak with colloquial diction, I enjamb my words, saying “wooncha” for “wouldn’t you”; or a more appropriate “wooden-you”. Wooden-you is hard and refined, stripped of its bark, while I am bump-kin; bumped-kin; kin-bumped. My language is bumped from the kin of We. Thank you for correction of my pronunciation, Mrs. Sometimes-I-Read-Alot, but the truth is that there is not a universal pronunciation for anything. Vowels and consonant combinations are filtered through genetic tendencies, exacerbated by regional and local dialects, contexts, and tribalization. If you are the kid who interrupts the professor for saying “stimu-lee” instead of “stimu-lie”, or, for saying “para-bowl-a” instead of “puh-rabbala’, you are probably not going to do well in that class. Maybe google “why do people pronounce vowels and consonant combinations differently? Or wikipedia “phonetics.”

Z

From the notebooks of Bill Dinklpfuss.

I am thinking of this today, for some reason. I was giving an oration to John while Hiram worked on an old car. I was saying something like, “Trenton, you preacher of hatred, speaking vile, reprehensible, meanness; rules, regulations, ordinances, allegiances, creeds, and oaths. You poster child for puritanism. You have the money and property of your forefathers, gotten by ill-begotten gain, which was okay because your forefathers only shystered some sinners. And if God made stupid people hand over their possessions for pennies on the dollar in times of desperation, well, all the more to give thanks to the glory of the lord.

But he ain’t you, Gil-Willy. That is, Calvin Dyme, Cal DJ the BJ Buttbuckaroo! Sorry, William; Willie Am. I really am, Willie, I am.

Leave him alone, John.

Who, Cal Dyme?

You know what I’m talking about, snapped Hiram.

I was twelve, maybe thirteen. John talked that way to anyone if he got away with it. It was cold, impersonal; used a listener like a comedian uses an audience. It bothers me to read in someone that they’ve sized me up as a bit player in the theater of their imagination.

Kinda funny how religion encourages a person to do that; that random guy on the street who wants to talk to you about the direction of your life, the guy who doesn’t know you from anyone and deserves a pop in the nose for sizing you up that way; or the women’s bible study group and sewing club that is sure that outside their circle the world is going to something called a devil. Not that John is religious. He’s just off, mentally, or something.

“You’re just an old rag doll, Virgie used to say to me. You let everybody walk all over you.” But the way people characterize each other as though they are unaware of a self in one another repulses me. They characterize, see what they want to see, superimpose their desires and shape each other into context. It always seemed that to answer it was to become part of it. So I just ignored people. What they said wasn’t important because they just don’t know me anymore than I know any of them. Let them think what they do. I don’t hate them for it. I just have a hard time sorting out what I am observing sometimes.

Z

From Bill’s notebooks of 1979.

 

I don’t want to latch onto anyone

and cannot temper what is made of me

neither of myself or by others

What seems right to you, doesn’t seem right to me, Calvin Dyme, Old man Trenton. Trenton doesn’t wave if he sees someone; his hands shake when he drives. He spreads himself over the hills from deep in the seat. He smells like vinegar. Starched, stiffened white with rules and judgment. He would’ve made a bad executioner. He is not one to size you up for fair punishment. Chastising, judgmental denigration is all anyone gets from him. He sees evil in the eyes of a puppy. His wife is worse, I think. I never saw her but from behind the kitchen window with a scowl on her face, like a spider protecting her web. Their children live a long ways away; Texas, or some shit.

All sub groups set their narratives apart from other straw men and groups. If I take an idea from someone, riff with it, it becomes both a derivative and a falsity; thesis and antithesis. It is both dialog and conversation. Dialog is not a conversation. A conversation is two people freely exploring thoughts; a dialogue is a We event with two or more physical people appropriating the symbology of universals in order to fend and attack amidst an uneasy truce.

The epistemology of the God of Littlefield is Calvinist; everyone is judged as though the globe was a compost of rot and perversion. Everyone is depraved, no proof be given. It is a matter of faith that God is a stiff lipped schoolmaster who carries a wooden ruler ready to rap your knuckles. Think of Christ as the spotted lamb of the family? Why, innbuddy nose ya jes gots…Haha! Fucking old beast, Trenton. Heard him say that countless times. Everyone’s immoral, on the road to ruin or some crazy shit. So I whack off a lot, it makes me feel better and nobody needs to know it; only guys like RD Laing seem to know what normal is. Everyone is neurotic with fear for this devil and God commandment bullshit that has ’em all sneaking into each other’s lives. The world outside Littlefield, to them, is the flood, with Littlefield as the Ark that has withstood the friction of knowledge and technology of the ocean where the monsters of modernity lurk.

The noble savage may live elsewhere but he keeps his residence in Littlefield, where he is batted about between good and evil. In Littlefield, everyone knows their place. The mayor, manager, and electors can all be seen most Sundays at the Presbyterian church, the Lutheran church, and the Methodist church. The idea of Original Sin is very much alive in the Littlefield justice system. Above that, all matters are treated as issues of calculated descent.

Virgie was the object of everyone’s scorn. I lived with it every day; kids showing their parents’ prejudices, stupidity, and hatred, and then as adults, compassionate only when it is aggrandizing, or done in fear; not because it naturally feels like the right thing to do.

Shit, one should ask, “what would John Boy Walton do?” rather than “what would Jesus do?” Jesus never wrote anything down because he was talking all the time – if not to others, to himself. The idea of Christ looking like a femboy with milquetoast, runny eggs eyes, soft skin shining with a nice patina? Where are the sparkling, beyond correct, white teeth? Now John Boy, shit, his part was played so well that when Richard Thomas played in all those movies on the old lady cable television channel I kept waiting for him to break character and change into a model closer to the way I prefer to remember him: as John Boy. The ears on my television were often stung rudely by my rolling riffs of tongue as I serenaded John Boy through yet one more episode of catharsis with the Waltons.

“John Boy, do I hear that bed squeaking again?”

“Just looking for an extra sock under my bed, Daddy.”

Cut to the theme song with John Boy and his birth mark running through the fields with his blue runny eggs eyes and bare feet. Thank you lord John Boy. I learned more about life from you and your daddy and granddaddy in one season than I ever could’ve learned from my dad.

Z

 

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