The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Local Color, Part II

My wife contributed this post to the Devil Queen this week. Enjoy.

"I was driving down the road with six monkeys on top of my car," Jim McCarthy said.

I blinked. Admittedly, I hadn't been listening closely to what Mr. McCarthy was saying. Afterall, he had been talking about a Kohler toilet he had fallen in love with just a second before. Not that I don't love new-styled, one-piece commodes, but I was trying to interview Russell Odelle, the secretary of The Election Commission, about plans to standardize ballot recounting at the county level.

"What?" I asked. "Did you say monkeys?" Mr. McCarthy is a straight-laced, former Yankee from Illinois. This morning, his hair was freshly cut and perfectly combed. He wore a long-sleeve, sage-color dress shirt that made him look distinguished. Mr. McCarthy was not the type to suffer monkeys.

"Well, I was driving through the Wildlife Sanctuary in Gentry, and I had my windows cracked about two inches. Those monkeys descended on my car and started shoving their hands through the windows, grabbing," Mr. McCarthy said.

"They were probably looking for food," said John Brown.

Mr. Brown happened to the commission president and usually seemed very displeased to be so. He is a laid-back man with farmer hands. He never looked well-dressed even when he wears nice clothes. Mr. Brown would definitely suffer monkeys anywhere, even in his car.

At this point, everyone seemed to think having monkeys on the top of your car was normal. Heck, the little buggers escape the sanctuary, and hunters spot monkeys in the woods. No drugs needed.

I visualized monkeys swarming the Ozarks. A weeping woman being interviewed by Channel 5 TV was saying: "How could we let this happen? Monkeys are everywhere!"

"So, there's monkeys in the woods?" I asked.

Mr. Odelle was quiet up until this point, but the monkey topic was apparently irresistible. "Well, there is no food for them in the woods so they can't survive," Mr. Odelle said.

Now the Ozark, runaway monkeys were starving in nearby woods. Depraved monkeys snarled, desperate for a banana. Little monkey skeletons were scatted in the rust-colored leaves. This is gruesome, I thought.

"Well, then I saw one of those big snakes — a python, I think," Mr. McCarthy continued.

"Yeah, and it tried to eat your car, right?" Mr. Brown laughed.

Mr. McCarthy looked at him but ignored the comment. "Then, I saw a panther cat. I know a girl who takes the pups, or cubs, home and nurses them with one of those bottles. You can only do it for a few months before they get dangerous."

"But the panther cats survive if they escape. They used to be native here," I said.

The woods will never be safe with all these monkeys and panther cats, I thought.

The group nodded and I could tell they were all thinking about large, black kitty-cats jumping down from the trees to eat them. I was more worried about the monkeys. There's just something creepy about monkeys, I thought.

"You should go to the Wildlife Sanctuary," Mr. McCarthy said.

I told him I thought I should and then gathered my notes and left them with their monkeys and panther cats.



Blogger Jenn said...

Oh, that's beautiful.

Thank you.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Loved it. Reminded me of the baboons of home. *sniff*

7:24 PM  
Blogger Maryam in Marrakesh said...

What a fabulously well written piece. I enjoyed it all the way through. Way to go, S.

8:40 AM  

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