john bennett | when things go wrong

When Things Go Wrong

He shaved in the morning and at night he brushed his teeth. Somewhere around mid-day he scrubbed his hands with warm soapy water. Once every two weeks he clipped his nails, alternating toenails with fingernails. His laundry he did in a 25-gallon drum in the back yard, filling the drum with the garden hose and using bar soap. He’d hang the clothing on low tree branches to dry. This worked best in summer. In winter the clothing froze into stiffness and he’d carry it inside in his arms like a crippled child and drape it over furniture.

It happened gradually, beginning when his wife left him for a sales rep from another company and he lost his job as product coordinator at the firm. For a time he slept with the cleaning lady who came once a week, and then one Friday she picked up her check and never returned. That’s when it began to show.

Things piled up–dishes in the sink, tangled clothes on the floor in the bedroom, and garbage outside the back door in black plastic bags. Dark rings began to form in the bathtub and the toilet bowl. His hair grew shaggy.

He left the TV on night and day with the sound off. He stopped using his computer. He shut the ringer off on his phone and put the mail unopened into brown paper grocery bags that he stacked on the couch.

Early on people dropped by and knocked on the door. He stood very still wherever he happened to be in the house and held his breath until they went away.

His cat was fine with the new arrangement, but his dog disappeared out of the back yard one day and never returned.

It was the lawn that finally brought him down. The grass grew knee-high and then was overtaken by weeds. The city tacked a notice on his door giving him a week to mow the lawn and then a week later they tacked up another one. A week after that the sheriff showed up.

They knew he was in there. They could see the glow from his TV flickering thru the slats of the closed blinds. They kicked in the door and found him sitting at the kitchen table in his underwear with the cat purring in his lap.

The cat got dropped off at the animal shelter. He got transported to a medical facility by ambulance, accompanied by two paramedics and an armed guard.

click the Hcolom Press logo to visit the web page...HCOLOM PRESS is the heir to Vagabond Press, which began as a main player in the Mimeo Revolution of the Sixties and continued publishing right into the jaws of the new millennium. HCOLOM PRESS embodies the spirit of Vagabond Press, retooled for the times we live in.

Hcolom is Moloch spelled backwards. Moloch is an Old Testament deity to which children were sacrificed, a practice society still engages in with increased enthusiasm. Consumerism is the new Moloch, manifesting itself like cancer in war, politics, the arts and religion, in every nook and cranny of human endeavor, draining the intrinsic beauty out of life and mutilating the innocence and magic of childhood with its commercial meat hook. HCOLOM PRESS intends to publish books that by their nature repudiate this pernicious force–novels, poetry, children’s books and books that transcend genre.

Our launch book, in June of 2006, was John Bennett’s novel, Tire Grabbers, a fable of sorts, a reality book rooted in the fantasy of our times, the story of the coming of Moloch and the children who rise up in rebellion against it.

Books of kindred spirit will follow close on its heels. Go for it by clicking here… or hit the Hcolom logo above…

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