His Lordship

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I’m Jason L. Secrest, an aspiring author and impoverished college student. Sometimes I blog. When I’m being real about real world things that other people also believe are real I post at wiseyetharmless.bogspot.com. Then there are the moments that I’m also being real, but in regards to a different real world where there is a real annoying talking demon in my basement and where my non-fake butler/valet/gentleman’s-gentleman knows Jujutsu. In those moment’s I’m Jason L. Secrest, Lord of the Manor, and I blog directly to you from my mansion study at whathowadsworth.blogspot.com.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Like (but not quite) a Thief in the Night

So... Bezel still hasn't relented and neither have I, but there have been other developments (as those of you who read the comments know).  Nathan, a good friend turned saboteur, recently invaded the home of my sweet and elderly neighbors, the Jorgensons. (I'm not sure how - maybe he was posing as some sort of repairman or something.) He did this so that he could install a wireless router in their home and trade the password to Beezle, who now values an internet connection as much or more than he values souls.

I assume that their transaction occurred on the night that I caught Nathan giddily trotting up the stairs from the basement at three in the morning. Though he was bright and chipper, I was sluggish and groggy. The evening went something like this:


"Oh, hi! There you are. I was just... looking for you."

"In the Basement? What time is it? What are you doing in my house?" (It should have occurred to me at this point that the alarms had never gone off. I wish that I'd asked about that. I wonder if he payed Will to turn them off.)

"It's time too... play Starcraft! I couldn't sleep, and we all know that you don't sleep, so I came to see if you wanted to play."

I yawned and said, "Why would I be sleeping right now?"

Nathan rolled his eyes and said, "Don't even give me that crap. You don't ever go to bed, at least not when normal people do. Don't even try to deny it, we all know that you hate your body and stay up all night playing games, 'cause you're definitely not writing. I haven't seen any new 'Amar' from you since I made you write last Saturday.

I rubbed the back of my hands across my eyes and managed, "Why didn't you just try to get me on g-chat?"

"Because, it is fact that you never log off when you're done at the computer and nobody in the entire freaking world can ever find you when they want to. Did you get your phone yet?"

"No... it's on it's way though," I slurred.

"Your stupid phone company takes longer than one of my Grandma's rants on Obama and government conspiracies. Do you know how long those are? They are freaking long. Anyway, you look like you're too tired to be any good at all tonight. We'd just get raped. Hard. So... go to bed, and I'm going home. Also, I'm taking this pie that Wadsworth left on table. Don't even try to say 'no' because you mooch from me and Bec all the time." (It's true. Nathan and Rebecca Major kept food in my mouth before I had Wadsworth. Now they and Derek's family take turns feeding me me on Wadsworth's days off.)

I gestured my assent and turned to stumble up the staircase toward my bedroom, and Nathan went after the pie. From the landing I heard the front door rumble open a few seconds later and Nathan yelled up at me, "And don't forget to write tomorrow. You haven't written for at least a week, retard. At least update 'Mansion House.'"

That was the end of the exchange, and until these recent comments on 'Riverman Johnson' I didn't think anything more of it. Now, we know "the rest of the story," or at least some of it anyways.

At first I was troubled when I realized that Beezle had another way to get at the internet.  My thought was that if Nathan became Beezle's internet provider, I would lose my one and only bargaining chip. Now though, I see that the nature of things has in truth turned to my advantage. You see, Nathan didn't take three important facts into consideration:

Fact 1: Beezle is in my basement. There's something about concrete and earth that impedes even the hardiest of signals.

Fact 2: Beezle's lair messes with traditional physics. Die hard Mansion House followers may remember that when I entered my basement for the first time, I was immediately taken by the sheer volume of the place, and realized that it couldn't possibly fit inside the mansion. The chandeliers were sitting exactly where my study and front parlor should have been. It's got something to do with inter-dimensional space-time physics or something. I don't understand it, but there it is.

Fact 3: As a direct result of fact one and fact 2, Beezle's wireless internet is comparable to bad dial up. It's worse than my family's internet connection was in the 90's when my dad's 386 would take over a minute to upload a page on a good day.

Beezle has been accustomed to the luxury of my cat5 connection, and he's not taking this reduction in speed well. In his words, "WITH THIS... IMPOSSIBLY SLOW CONNECTION, BROWSING THE INTERNET HAS BECOME A SPECIAL KIND OF HELL."

That's how I know i'm making progress with Beezle. He admits now, that it's not enough. Two days ago he couldn't stop trying to convince himself vocally that what he had was enough. You'd think that it would be the same for him as if there was no internet. It's not. He's so addicted that he can't help but sit there and wait for each page to load. I can tell when there's a spike in his download speeds because I can literally hear him scoot forward in anticipation. It might be that with the powers of the internet so close to Beezle, and yet, so far away, I may be able to reach an acceptable treaty with him.

The best part is that I've noticed a decline in the strange negative coincidences in my life. This could be because Beezle is so drawn to suffer through surfing that he doesn't have time to attack me. However, it might just be that he's switched targets... last week Nathan's phone died at an inopportune moment. Because of this, and other odd circumstances, he and his wife spent the entire evening trying to find each other instead of relaxing in their house. That could just be coincidence. I sincerely hope that it is. Otherwise, thank you Nathan. You've always been the kind of friend that was willing to take one for the team. (Rebecca, I sincerely apologize.)

-Lord Secrest

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Riverman Johnson

It is with great sadness that I announce that the epic struggles between Beezle and I, now commonly referred to as The Mansion House Wars, have not ended. They are getting worse, and I’m not coping as well as I would like to. The new semester is starting too, with all of the stresses of a new school year; but I am also finding that there is a measure of relief that comes with it. You see, I spend many more hours at the university than I do in my study. I like my study, but I’d like it more without Beezle’s constant interruptions.
I usually take the bus to school; I have many reasons for doing so.  First and foremost is parking. There is no special parking for owners of Mansions believe it or not, and generally speaking, those without assigned or privileged parking can expect to take longer to find a spot than they spend in class.  The second reason that I bus is that I save money. Last month I saved enough to pay Stan for his work on the grounds, and to eat out a few times. Finally, I like to ride the bus because of the environment. I can read on the bus. I can doze on the bus. I can watch quirky people, and eves drop on their phone conversations. (Please don’t think ill of me, but listening to people talk on the phone in public is a great way to stimulate the old grey matter for the invention of characters, plots, and settings. Knowing this, I stick to texting.)
On my way home yesterday, I wound my way to the back of the bus, stepped over the top of a beaten looking pack, and sat down. The seat next to me was vacant, so I dropped a sheaf of papers on it between me and a ragged looking man, presumably the owner of the pack. “Hey,” he said, looking out the window.
“Hello,” I responded cheerfully. He looked like the type of man who talks non-stop on a bus, and I was in a mood to listen, so I waited for him to continue. He didn’t. He only stared out the window. I shrugged and pulled out a book to read.
Without warning he leaned in close, overpowering me with his potent body odor, grinned, and said, “Hi, I’m Johnson!”
“Um… Hello,” I choked out. He leaned back again, and I caught my breath as tactfully as possible.
“I’m going north,” said Johnson. “I was going to go south, until I changed my mind.”
“Ah,” I said, “And what are you going to do when you get where you’re going?”
“I’m going to get some beer.”
“Oh?” I asked. I don’t drink, but I’m fairly certain  that there is beer to be found at every gas station in any direction so I probed a little further, “And what will you do then?”
“I’m going to drink some beer.” Johnson nodded profoundly.
I mirrored him seriously and said, “I see.”
“Then,” Johnson added, “I’m going to buy a two hundred dollar bike for thirty dollars.”
“That sounds like a great plan,” I said, “This is a nice time of year to spend some time on a bike.”
“Yep. And it’s good, because my last bike got stolen.”
“Oh. I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Yeah! And would you believe they stole my bible too?”
“Oh, that’s terrible. I think I could get you another, if you need one.”
“Nah, I got another one, but it makes me mad.  They stole my dumbbells, and my bike, and my Bible and my nudie magazines! I just got some new ones today.”
“Well, that’s too bad,” I said (I was thinking mostly about the new purchase when I said it), “but I’m glad that you got another Bible. Where are you living?”
“Down on the river. I don’t like the homeless shelters here. I said some pretty rude things to them because they deserved it and they put me on suspension. I haven’t had a shower for three months! Can you believe that?”
 I nodded emphatically with overwhelming belief. “Yes, that’s really too bad. So, where on the river are you living?”
Johnson’s leaned in, bringing his three month old ambiance with him, and scowled, “I don’t tell people that.”
I put my hands in the air nervously and said, “I don’t blame you, after all that you’ve had to deal with.”
He leaned back again and said, “Yup. But the next time they come I’ll be ready for them. I went to the pawn shop and bought a sword and some Chinese Stars. They weren’t very sharp, but I’ve got them so sharp now that I can chop your head off, well maybe not all the way off, but most of the way. I’m gonna get a pellet gun too.”
The bus stopped, and Johnson stood up. As he walked forward he kept talking, and the further he went the louder he raised his voice so that I could still hear him, “Believe me, you don’t want a pellet in your ass! My cousin shot my ass with a pellet gun once and the pellet got stuck in there, I had to go to the -”
The doors closed, and I chucked, before offering a silent prayer that Riverman Johnson be safe from harm and theft. As an afterthought I prayed for the people that got too close to his possessions. I got off at the next stop walked leisurely to the Mansion and Promptly threw my stack of papers down on my desk. I withdrew to the smoking lounge and put my feet up for a few minutes. (I don't smoke, but honestly,  a non-smoked-in smoking room is a really cool room. Mine is furnished with overstuffed beige couches, chairs, a fireplace, a bar that I keep stalked with smoothy ingrediants, and several stuffed and mounted heads that once belonged to big-game animals that I never hunted. Sometimes I even put on a smoking jacket because those are also pretty fantastic.)  
I would have enjoyed the casual, restive silence but death metal was blasting through the vents. Honestly, I don’t think that Beezle likes it either. He just likes that I don’t like it. Before the Mansion House Wars he seemed to lean more towards classic rock and show tunes. (One time I was pleasantly surprised to walk in on him singing “Portobello Road” from Bed Knobs and Broomsticks. The pleasant ended when he started substituting torture instruments, pickled organs, and other gruesome items for the usual wares of the famed street market. I have to hand it to him though; he’s got a pretty spectacular voice.)
After a short break I shuffled back into my study, put in some earphones and started on my homework. I finished it, and tossed my folder of school papers to the side so that I could do my writing (This is “finish a book” month for Nathan, Derek, and I.) Instead, I was startled to discover the image of a busty and scantily clad woman gazing lewdly at me from my desk. She lounged seductively over a magazine stamped with the emblem of the Playboy Bunny. There was something else under it. I gingerly shifted the Playboy and found a Hustler. With a groan I realized that they must have been under my papers on the bus. I had unwittingly stolen Riverman Johnson’s replacement “nudie” magazines. I gingerly hefted them. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, but there was no way that they were staying on my desk.
I reached for my trashcan but then I remembered that as far as garbage is concerned, all roads lead to my dumpster – the magical home of a developing teenager. Not a good plan.  My cheeks were growing hot and my heart rate was rapidly climbing. I didn’t want to leave these out, and I didn’t want to conceal them anywhere, for fear that someone might find them and get the wrong idea.
Then I thought about Riverman Johnson, and remembered my prayer for those that touched his possessions. When I offered it I had no idea that it might touch this close to home. I prayed it again with twice the fervency. What if he suspected me? He might confront me loudly on the bus. I could already hear it, “YOU STOLE MY NUDIE MAGAZINES!” I flushed harder and tried to think. "Maybe," I thought, "I can avoid a scene if I just put them in my bag and hand them back discreetly tomorrow." Then I realized that such an action would necessitate bringing pornography to and from a campus where it is strictly prohibited upon pain of expulsion until Riverman Johonson decided to go North instead of South again. 
"Maybe, I thought, "It would just be better to find a safe place to burn these and then hand him a ten dollar bill discreetly." Was there such a thing as discreet with Riverman Johnson? Would he make less of a deal about it if he got the original merchandise? I swiveled in my chair and hovered the magazines over my backpack, trying to make a decision.
 “Pardon me, Sir, but -“
“I jumped and shouted, throwing the magazines across the room. One of them landed, open to the centerfold I might add, at the highly polished feet of Wadsworth. He glanced down, then quickly up at me. His eyes riddled me with accusation, but his tone remained polite and respectful as ever as he said, “Please excuse the interruption, Sir. I did not wish to infringe on your… personal time. My intentions were to announce my return, but I have just remembered an important item of business that I have neglected. Perhaps it is for the best; my absence will give you time to conclude your indulgences.”
“No, Wadsworth, I’m not –“
William appeared next to Wadsworth holding a McDonalds soft-drink and said, “Hey, I heard a scream, is everything – is that a Playboy?” Without looking, and with great speed, Wadsworth flipped the offensive material shut (cover side down) with the toe of his shoe.
I was finding it difficult to breath. I leaned back in my chair, covered my face with my hands and groaned, “It’s not what you think!”
“Well,” drawled Will, “I think it’s a Playboy Magazine. Am I wrong? Is it Penthouse? Hustler?” He sucked at the straw of his drink, getting mostly air.
                I feebly wondered how I’d missed the moment when the blaring music had shut off, and Beezle had tuned in.
                “Look,” I said, issuing a silent command for my cheeks to lose their blush, “These aren’t mine! I accidently stole them from a homeless man -”
“- and I was trying to figure out how to get rid of them before something like this happened.”
                “Why didn’t you just throw them away?” asked Will, and he took another air filled pull at his straw. I narrowed my eyes at him, but Wadsworth did better. He shot his hand out to pinch the air, on the way he clipped Will’s head with force.
                “Owe!” said Will, putting his hand to his head, “What was that for?”
                “I apologize, young Master William. I spied a small insect, and thought to escort it from the building.”
                Sure enough, there was a fly squirming in Wadsworth’s fingers. Will’s expression said that he didn’t know whether to be annoyed or in awe. I settled on both satisfaction and awe and said, “Take Will with you. When you’re done, come back and help me get rid of these things.”
                “Very good, Sir,” said Wadsworth, but Will protested, “Hey! Who’s gonna watch him. We’re just going to leave him in here by himself with those?
                Wadsworth scooped the magazines up and held them under his arm saying, “If you don’t mind, Sir, I shall remove you from suspicion.”
                “Please,” I said, waving him away, “get them out of my study.”
                He marched out with Will and I flopped back in my chair.
                “WHO KEEPS TABS ON THE BUTLER?”
                “Some people don’t need to be watched, Beezle.”
                I glared at the vent and changed the topic, "How did you mange to pull this one off anyhow?"
                “Jealousies?”I roared, "What could I possibly be jealous of? Devious nature? Unabashed destruction of lives? Living damnation?"
                I stood, prepared to ream Beezle throughly, but at that moment Wadsworth returned, and said, "Arguing only tends to encourage him, Sir, I would advise against it." I wanted to ignore him, but I knew he was right, so I riped the cover off the vent and stuffed a jacket inside. I slumped back down in my chair and sighed before explaining the complexity of the situation to Wasdsworth. He listened carefully before saying, “Perhaps it would be best if I return these directly to Mr. Johnson, sparing your Lordship both an embarrassing encounter and the burden of storing these… distasteful publications.”
“How? He wouldn’t tell me where he lived.”
“I have seen his place of residence in my morning walks along the river.”
“If you could do that, it would be fantastic, Wadsworth.”
“Then I shall deliver them shortly.”
“I can come with you.”
“Alas, Sir, I regret that you may not accompany me. It would be dishonest for me to reveal the location of Mr. Johnson’s residence after he has purposfully withheld that knowledge from you.”
“Right. Well then. Cary on Wadsworth, and be careful please. He has a sword that he claims is sharp enough to decapitate you half-way.”
“I shall be cautious, Sir. Will that be all?”
“Before you go, I’d like you to tell me one thing. How did you get a fly to line up so well with Will’s head?”
“I regret to inform you sir, that the fly was a deception.” Wadsworth retrieved something small from his pocket and placed it in my hand. It was a rubber fly.
“But it was wriggling and buzzing between your fingers.”
“The ‘ACME Ninja Fly’ comes equipped with an electronic device that activates when the wings are pressed together.”
I picked the fly up by the wings, holding them firmly together. It sprung to life, buzzing angrily and fighting to get away.
I smiled and said, “This is great! Where did you get it?
“It was a gift from my niece.“
And so it was, that between light conversation and the ensuing light refreshments that Wadsworth again saved my bacon. If I had any money to spare I’d offer him a raise.