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© 2019 Tucker Spolter


A Misunderstanding


      Excuses? I have none.  Questions?   Many.  Was it the absence of peers?  My relative seclusion?  Admittedly, I was a pampered member of the House of Winston.  And whose fault was that?  Mine?  And why now -- must the foundations of my existence crumble?  Where have I erred?  Who have I wronged?  Why am I doomed?  I hear the whispers of our staff lap up the circular stairway, across the plush ruby carpet --- the murmurs of friends.  Men and women I have adored.  I sense their regret.  But, why is mine ignored?  Why must I be banished?


      Awkwardly, I lift a pen, certain that neither Ellen nor Philip Winston, my adoptive parents, suspect I have the ability or desire to communicate and in my own defense


“Mother!  Ellen!” I howl.


      Ellen Winston, queen of my universe.  Ellen whom I have adored since birth, matriarch of my home.


“Father! Philip!” I cry.


Philip Winston, king of my domain.  You called.  You demanded.  I came. I obeyed.  Ellen?  Philip?  Do you suspect?  Care?   After all the love I've dispensed; do your hearts anguish?  Perhaps not.


      Then why should I desire self-expression?  Or attempt to legitimize my plight?  To avoid blame?  Certainly not!  I pen this brief history so that after I depart, the events of my life, as I remember them, will be chronicled.  And may be of service to another in a similar situation.


       I'm certainly not making excuses for my disposition. Call environment the culprit, then neither of my pseudo-parents will suffer disparaging remarks and I can continue in a factual vein.


      My real mother was just as spoiled as I.  She (I heard, from more than one discontented girl servant, and later confirmed by Ivan, our rather loutish valet) demanded constant attention and adoration.  In all honesty, I never solicited recognition of my lineage nor sought special privileges for my particular station in life.  Though named after a Caesar, (Otto, founder of the Holy Roman Empire, a name I detested) I was shy, appreciative, and quite content with my situation.  Unaware of course that my lavish surroundings were unique.


      Even at an early age, I was cognizant of the effect my presence had as I entered a room.  One event I remember vividly. It was a special party, the Winston's 15th wedding anniversary.  "Angelic," one of the assemblage cried as I pranced in nude.  "How bright and handsome," another added.  At that moment in my youth, I was unable to comprehend the meaning of the words.  But, I understood the tone of voice and noting the pride in my parents' eyes, I drew myself tall, strutting from person to person, until I was shuffled off to bed by one of the more belligerent members of our staff.  That night I whimpered till dawn.  The next morning, my entire life was altered abruptly.  My leisurely childhood had come to an end.  My education commenced.  And with it all, my natural curiosity was pruned.  My borderless universe enclosed.


      I was rousted at ungodly hours, usually by Ivan the Lout.  My toilet, which had here-to-fore been a simple process of body elimination, became an extended ritual.  Every orifice was inspected.  I was groomed, powdered and perfumed. 


      Later, I was taken from instructor to instructor to learn the proper way to do this or that.  Any reluctance or hesitation on my part was dealt with instantly by a blow on one part of my anatomy or another.  I don't pretend to be a martyr, for occasions of physical abuse were seldom.  As my education proceeded, chastisement became less frequent and more often than not I was bathed in garlands of praise, for I took to my instructors and lessons eagerly, always innately trying to please them and through them my adoptive parents.  And in my own behalf, I feel I succeeded.


      At my debut, I was singled out from all the others of my peers for special accolades.   The name Otto resounded in room after room as I proved I had learned my lessons well.  My parents and instructors stood at my side time after time as I brought praise to the House of Winston.  Though, now it appears that it was all for naught.


      My possessions are stacked neatly in the foyer.  My parents have said their goodbyes.  "It's all for the best, Otto."  Each member of our staff has reassured me in turn.  So having little recourse, I am off.  Off to a farm.  And a most peculiar place it must be, where spikes of chrome and gold burst through the well furrowed ground.


      Ivan the lout has gone for the car.  I end this essay with tears in my eyes and Ivan's last words echoing down the staircase. "A stud farm!  Otto, you lucky dog!"





                         THE RIDE




In Middlewood, Texas, on the 4th of July,

While exploding fire works lit up the sky,

Off in one corner of the huge fairground,

Stood Terrel Shocker dressed as a clown.


Terrel was insane, though no one could tell.

His mind was battered on the night that he fell.

It would have been better if Terrel had died.

Because day after day his brain pounded inside.


On top of his ride known as Satan’s Soul,

While tightening a bolt he lost his hold.

Tumbling, he struck the ground with a horrible thud.

And from his left ear oozed a trickle of blood.


Barkers and midgets flew from their tents,

But Terrel seemed fine from all the events.

Laughing, he arose slowly and pointed above,

Then gave the control lever a gentle shove.


Satan’s Soul twisted as the gears took hold,

Nuts and bolts getting dangerously old.

And just as lethal as a tab of cyanide,

Terrel’s brain pounded and pounded inside.


His patrons would willingly pay the fare,

Rushing to their seats; devil-may-care.

And up and a round the cars would glide,

While Terrel's brain pounded and pounded inside.


As people disembarked in two’s and three's,

Terrel’s brain buzzed like thousands of bees.

Amusement park rider’s would turn to a friend,

"That's scary as hell, let's take it again."


And when his ride had a capacity crowd,

Terrel Shocker was especially proud.

Happy that so many had chosen his ride,

And again and again brain pounded and pounded inside.


And so it happened on this July 4th night;

Came a young couple in the midst of a fight.

He was cocky and vain and wanted to impress,

A raven haired woman in a pale white dress.

He mocked Terrel and his infamous ride.

Opening a car door and climbing inside.

He held a large wad money in a fat, freckled fist,

“If the Devil’s Soul scares me, I'll give you this."


Sneering, Terrel mumbled as he checked a red gage,

Then slammed down the lever in a furious rage.

The man snickered defiantly as his car began to rise,

while Terrel's brain, pounded and pounded inside.


The ride spun faster, with a mind of it's own.

Then from its sides

       flew strips of chrome.

Faster and faster it whirled round and round,

As spears of steel crashed to the ground.


There was no more laughter from within the car.

Screaming the man clung to the cold iron bars.

Motors whined and steel girders did bend.

And a gathering crowd knew that this was the end.


The car wrenched from the track, upside down.

Raced toward the heavens and then to the ground.

A just for a moment the screams did subside,

While Terrel's Shocker’s brain quietly died.