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!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Damgoode, Jeff Trismegistus

I meant to post this a couple months back, but it got lost in our rush to prepare for our appraisal.

One night, I came home from work to find the following message on my answering machine. "Hey, I'm calling for John Ahlen. This is Jeff T[rismegistus] from high school. JP and I were talking and wanted to know what you've been up to. . . "

For those of you who haven't been keeping up with it, I graduated from high school 13 years ago. I hadn't seen or heard from Jeff since my freshman year of college. Wow.

Jeff is one of the people I'd always wondered about from time to time. I was pretty floored to have a message from him on my answering machine. I mentioned it to my sister and she said, "Jeff? You mean that fuck enormous guy, the one who broke the ceiling fan?" Yes, that Jeff. And, it wasn't his fault that he broke the ceiling fan. When you're well over six feet tall and you stretch in house with eight foot ceilings, thing happen.

Sis is right too. Jeff is a big in every way. Not only is he physically big, but he has a big voice, big ideas, and an incredible about of energy. Somehow, the combined effect makes him seem even larger than he actually is. He's like a bright light in a dark room. Your eye is drawn to it and it is impossible to ignore.

I called him back and we talked for a little. Made tentative plans to get together sometime. We talked about the Devil Queen too. He'd Googled me and found my beast; he definitely wanted to see it.

That weekend Jeff called and asked if he could come up and see the Devil Queen. He even offered to help paint. Now, how many of you have actually had someone you haven't seen in 13 years call you up and just volunteer to work on your house?

We had a nice visit. Jeff met the family, Scarlet and Gideon, which blew his mind. Apparently, I am one of those people that folks have trouble seeing as a father. It makes sense too.

Both Gideon and Scarlet decided they liked Jeff immediately. That is high praise indeed. It would be fair to say that together, they make quite the hard audience.

Since I'd seen Jeff last, he'd stumbled (literally, long story) into owning his own business. I'm not sure that I fully understand the particulars (Jeff, correct me if I'm wrong), but what started as a small production company of sorts somehow spiraled into a chain of pizza restaurants, Damgoodepies. And, there were numerous other side projects. I'm not sure that I quite figured out what the two computer programmers living in his basement were up to, but the whole notion of their being two guy and a computer squatting in his basement is pretty intriguing in itself.

Scarlet asked Jeff, "So why look John up after thirteen years? Why now?"

Jeff said that over the last few years a lot of people, a lot of friends, had let him down. He said that he was tired of trying to meet people and make new friends, so he decided to track down all the old friends he'd lost touch with over the years. Besides, he like a lot of them better anyhow.

Pretty damn cool.

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