Tex came to town. He surprised us. We didn’t really think he was coming. He’s the guy who created Rag Boy, the show I used to work on. He was tired of Los Angeles and he decided…
Well, he drove to Texas first. Uhm… it should go without saying. I guess.
That’s where… he was born.
And I believe his intention was to just drive back… to Los Angeles. But… we talked on the phone, and he said… he was thinking about coming to visit us. And I said…
Oh! But the problem with that was…
He said, “The farther I drive, the farther I’ll have to drive back. The longer the drive home will be.”
And I said…
Oh, and we’re in Mississippi.
Have I mentioned that?
And I said, “You should just drive all the way across the country, and… you know, and then you’ll drive all the way back. Or…”
My other idea was that he could—like it was the 1940s, and he could hire Dean Moriarty to drive his car back to [laughter] Los Angeles for him and he could fly in an airplane. He didn’t like that idea. And I didn’t think we would see him, but one night I was watching… as I recall, it was iZombie… uh… maybe I had recorded it, or maybe I was watching it live. I think I was watching it live, because… uh… it was a Wednesday, as I recall, and there was a knock at the door…
[The sound of coffee being poured.]
And there he was!
I had given up. This was some weeks later, and I had given up the idea that he would really show.
But there he was.
Tex waved at our cat Big Boy and the cat hissed at him, which… confirmed my mother’s story that—or at least gave credence to it—that Big Boy once, as she put it, “growled” at her. When my mother was here for a visit.
Which I, you know, I kept telling her it was very unusual, and I don’t think Anastasia believed her at all. Uh—but why would my mom [laughter] lie about that? Anyway, so, uh… Big Boy hissed at… Tex. Now, why did I believe Tex so readily, having not witnessed that interaction either? Uh…
Tex and I watched Barry Lyndon.
Tex said it was like a nature documentary. He compared the narrator to the guy who says—I believe Tex put it this way, uh: “The ferret is going into his hole.” [Laughter, coughing, lip smack.]
He insisted that Barry Lyndon, or Ryan O’Neal, whose name is Redmond Barry at that point in the film, uh… farted. In one scene. And I said, “Uh, no, I don’t think he farted. I’ve [laughter] seen this movie lots of times and I’ve never noticed that.”
And Tex said, “Rewind it.”
So I… shuttled backward, and we… and I didn’t go far enough, and then I let the movie play, and he said, “Wait, aren’t you going to rewind it?” And—‘cause he really wanted to prove that Barry Lyndon had farted.
Well, you know, Barry… Redmond Barry is… is, uh, diddling around with a young wife of an elderly, uh… nobleman. And the elderly nobleman clutches at his chest and grabs for his… pills, which… ping… pong [laughter]—which scatter and clatter across the card table. And Tex thought it was because Barry Lyndon subtly farted at him as he left the room, as a final insult in their… tense conversation.
And there was some sort of noise! You know, it might have been the leg of a chair scraping on the floor as the elderly gentleman began his histrionic seizure. I mean I never once thought it was Barry Lyndon farting, but… I must say Tex half-convinced me with his argument.
I believe it would’ve been a little more obvious, had that been Kubrick’s intention. He was not one to let details go slack.
So Tex was gonna stay at…
Anastasia’s friend Darrell is often out of town, and he has a looming, imposing Victorian… I call it a mansion. I think it’s a mansion. You know, I didn’t grow up in a… in circumstances of luxury, so, you know, uhm, any big house, I tend to call it a mansion. Well, it’s a big, looming Victorian structure.
Tex and I went to check it out the other day and… I mean I’d been there once before.
I’m telling the… I’m recording about Tex!
AUTHOR: Just in case you heard me talkin’ to myself and wondered what was going on. [Throat noise.]
Darrell comes from chicken money. His… father was a noted chicken magnate. [Sniff.] And he kindly, errr, Anastasia texted… Tex was planning to sleep on our couch.
Anastasia had the idea of seeing if Darrell would let Tex stay at his house, as it’s unoccupied for the moment, and he was glad to do so, so…
And, uh, I’ve always said that place felt spooky. The one time I visited, I felt there was something weird about it. And, uh… Tex went over there after Barry Lyndon. We had the ringer off, so we, we didn’t know that he called, but he called to say that he got scared. [Laughter.] He got scared because it was dark… the whole house was very dark and there was a car in the driveway, which I had noticed when we went to check it out earlier in the day. But, you know, apparently Tex had forgotten there was a car in the driveway. And he thought, “Is somebody in here?” And he… opened the door and noticed that the mail, which we had seen lying on the floor earlier, under the mail slot… that was gone.
[Pause. Beard scratching.]
He thought that was weird. And he said, “Hello?” And he imagined someone upstairs shivering under their covers. And…
He looked in the sink, the kitchen sink, and there seemed to be something in the sink that hadn’t been there before. So he… his heart was racing, he said. And he ran out the door and got in his car and went to a hotel.
We believe it was, uh… Darrell’s property manager, who had come to fix the sink, apparently. Anastasia was texting with Darrell and getting the scoop on all this.
And what she didn’t tell Tex is that Darrell texted superfluously that, “Oh, when Sheriff…” Who was it? Sheriff Davis?
AUTHOR: “When Sheriff Davis blew his brains out in the backyard…” When was that?
ANASTASIA: In the seventies. That’s what Darrell said.
AUTHOR: In the seventies. So. [Throat noise. Pause.] Somewhere along the way, Tex and I got the notion we wanted to buy a Ouija board while, while he was in town but now I—I’m very much against it. [Laughter.] I don’t wanna go over there where the sheriff blew his brains out and start fiddling around.
Jack Pendarvis has written five books. He won two Emmys for his work on the TV show Adventure Time. During a period of light employment, he spoke into a digital recorder whenever the mood struck him and transcribed the results, accumulating the two thousand pages from which this column has been extracted.
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