This is a true story. As I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, as a young adult fresh out of high school, I ended up moving back to the town of my conception and birth, in order to see the cleft lip and palate specialist that had repaired me as a baby. I was there to see if he could fix the mess that my Aunt Francie had made with her fat and meaty fist.
For several months, I lived with my Uncle P. Eventually he introduced me to my father, and that lead to phone calls with my paternal grandparents who currently resided several states away. They used to reside in the town of my birth and still owned a home there, so they decided to return to their house in town and move me in to “get to know me”.
That is a creepy story, which I will detail in another blog entry at a later date. This time, our focus is a brief and spooky true story about something that happened at the graveyard.
I had … fuckers (it seems absurd to call them lovers) every once and again but nothing real, nothing that stuck. I was a lonely creature and therefore I often developed very serious celebrity crushes. I had to do SOMETHING with my completely natural post-adolescent lust, and since real boys were often unavailable to me, celebrity crushes it was.
I had a huge long-term crush on low-key rockstar Rich Robinson, the now-former guitarist of the permanently disbanded group, The Black Crowes. I think I was about 5 or 6 years into that crush when he married (surprise!- a model) Emma Snowball. I did not want my new and very strange “Grandparents” with whom I temporarily resided to see me weepy over such foolishness.
The Grandparents had a small dog of their own, and I had my Hobo. Hobo was my Lhasa Apso dog that had been given to me by my Uncle P. Uncle P. had named him Hobo because he found the dog in a junkyard, the dog was an “old man” and he had a long white mustache. Hobo was adorable. He also gave me the perfect excuse to get out of the house to smoke doobies or sulk and weep piteously over eternally inaccessible newlywed rockstars, or to just get the fuck away from my grandparents, because they were damn strange people.
It was late, 10 pm or later, and it was snowing. I concealed my pot use from the grandparents, of course, and I didn’t want to be caught openly smoking a doobie down the residential street, even late at night, so I usually went into some woods behind the rec center. Hobo was a short, squot lil fellow, and enough snow had fallen that walking was getting mildly difficult for him, so I opted to stay on the shoveled walks instead of going to fuck around in those woods, so I headed to a place much closer and much more accessible; a place I had never smoked before.
We wandered through it, looking at all of the lovely gravestones, and Hobo was pounce and bounce and fun fun fun… until I did the thing that pissed somebody off. I wanted to rest my miserable, sulky, jealous and self-pitying ass for a moment, so I found a gravestone under a tree that was still dry. I rested my ass against it – not a full blown sit, but a lean – and I pulled my Walkman out of my bag and popped in a cassette (I was NOT in the mood for The Black Crowes for sure, so I grabbed a moody mix tape I had made featuring stuff from Uncle P’s massive cassette collection. Stuff from Rockwell, Bonnie Tyler, Glenn Frey, The Alan Parsons Project and Laura Branigan – holy shit I can’t believe I member those details, but I do! ) and I also pulled out a doobie. I lit it and took a hit when all of the sudden my damned Walkman snapped off. I turned it back on. It made a rr-rr-rrt! noise and it snapped off again. I opened it and fished a few inches of the tape’s guts from the roller mechanism and rolled it back up into the cassette casing, making sure it didn’t twist up.
I popped the cassette back into the Walkman only to discover that while I was fucking around with the tape, my doobie went out.
I try to re-light the doobie and my new lighter – which I can see is still full of fluid – is just flick, flick, flick. No flame. Fuck. My Walkman suddenly snaps off again. Shit.
All of the sudden Hobo goes “yark!” like somebody stabbed him in the ass with a hat pin. He quits the leash tugging and the happy, sniffy exploration and cowers against my lower leg, shivering violently. We haven’t been outside long enough for him to be cold, at this point we’ve been outside no more than half an hour. Hobo was a stout little fellow with a full winter coat and he often spent up to 3 or 4 hours out in the snow along with my grandparent’s fat little dog – they both handled it just fine. My step-grandmother would often “invite” the dogs to come in from the snow multiple times before they complied. So he wasn’t cold – that’s not why he was shaking.
I thought – “Could it be? Am I pissing off some spirits here? Is my music appreciation and doobie smoking and grave leaning disrespectful? Maybe so. Probably so! Shit!” – and then I thought, “Nah….what am I thinking here? That I am actually pissing off ghosts? Come on, lets not get stupid. Lets smoke this goddamned joint and go home”. I tried again and it would not light. The Walkman was still fucking up too, but I couldn’t tell why! No rogue tape had sucked up into the guts of the Walkman this time. It just wouldn’t play – it kept snapping off. I was like… “Nah… it couldn’t be…can it?!”
Then I thought, “This is weird as fuck and possibly kind of amazing. I HAVE to test this theory!” I stood up and strode out of the Graveyard – outside the gate and several yards down the road for good measure. Hobo complied readily – he was ready to gtfo! I turned on my Walkman. It worked perfectly. I found shelter under a massive pine tree and lit my doobie. It sparked right up, first flick. It stayed lit and burnin’ strong as I smoked roughly two thirds of it, and I got through a couple of songs with no bullshit from the Walkman. I was like – “whoa – wow!?”
I can still recall standing under that pine, partaking of that sweet, sweet sweetleaf, with my ears flooded with music as I watched the snow falling through the street lights, and appreciated how the faces of the gravestones sparkled and shined brilliantly in the moonlight and the snow. It was beautiful. Peaceful. Very melancholy. No particular sense of malevolence. Even Hobo was chill.
Of course I had to complete the experiment. I took Hobo’s leash and headed back for the gate. The closer we got, the more he resisted me. He was pulling on the leash and trying to sit down practically forcing me to drag his butthole – literally – along the icy road while diggin’ in his claws, and he was also making a series on angsty “grrr-rr-rrr” noises. He also looked oddly puffed… as if his little furs were all standing on end. I wasn’t gonna put my dog through that, so I hooked his leash over one of the spikes of the outer fence – I would only be going a few yards away from him – and headed back into the graveyard by myself.
Seriously, I didn’t expect anything to happen.
I was no more than a paltry yard inside that gate when my Walkman snapped off and the last third of my nicely burning doobie went out as neatly as if it had been snuffed. At the same moment these things happened, Hobo threw his head back like a wolf and went “rooooooooooo!” It sounds cliche but I literally felt the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Hobo was not a roo dog. He was a yark-yark-yarker. When he made that roo noise I felt a weird pulse in my genital region – it was not arousal but terror – and I am SO glad I didn’t actually piss my pants because THAT would have been fun to walk home in the cold with, and even more fun to explain to the grandparents, right?!
Just as his rooo tapered off and drifted away into the night, a loaded burdock stalk came popping up out of the snow and popped me a good one, right in the ass, poking through my jeans enough to be painful, and leaving burdocks stuck all over my ass and the back of my coat. I suppose I must have just stepped on the stalk under the snow in just such a way to make it pop up like that – right? – but that timing though!!! I emitted an embarrassing little girly-scream, I’m glad nobody was around to hear that… or was there?!!! 😮
Of course you can guess what happened next – I turned on my heel and I got the fuck out of there and I never went back. Never-ever.
Hobo pulled harder on the leash than usual all the way home.