Mudlark No. 58 (2015)


I’m twelve. In my pjs at Gary Laberman’s house on Comanche Drive.
We’’re loud-chomping popcorn from a Tupperware bowl, when the son
of Frankenstein calls that gorgeous Promethean apostasy, the Monster,
“his father’s work,” talking theatrically in a detached tone of voice.
The Good Doctor sounds like he’s going through puberty. Gary and I 
are sprouting hair on our gonads, having started the Sex Ed classes 
with our dads, watching arabesques of microscopic sperm jigging up 
fallopian tubes on rapturous journeys toward making Life. The son 

of the Maker of Monsters, new deed-holder to Castle Frankenstein,
names the lightning-play in the picture window. Calls it magnificent.
There are torches. Igor lights one in a crypt where a living-cadaver
colossus sleeps on the slab above Baron von Frankenstein’s grave.
And, later, there are sparking machines with chain-draped histories.
The lighting in Son of Frankenstein is like the black-and-white films
we watch in the Sex Education classes. Gary’s seen them, too. He’s
been there, in an auditorium/gym, with a dad staring straight ahead
so he won’t have to make eye contact with anyone. It’s shyness,
sure, and magnificent, but we’re not there right now. Not hearing
how the Man puts his penis in the Woman’s vagina, not hearing
what good it is, knowing what to do with a body you don’t own yet.
Gary has his hand in the Tupperware. He’s transfixed as Igor starts
lecturing the son as to what it takes to carve your name into the face
of Heaven and the eternal. Of course there’s no rest for anyone whose
superhuman heart thrums along at two hundred fifty beats per minute,
the speed of the heart of a boy upon first hearing the word intercourse.
In a year or two, we know we’ll be the Monster Who Stalks Little Girls.
Any day, our phalluses will accept the cosmic jolt of Time, and grow.
Any minute, we’re certain, townsfolk will start lighting the torches.

Roy Bentley | Saturday Afternoon
at The Midland Theatre in Newark, Ohio
Contents | Mudlark No. 58 (2015)