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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Goblin Under The Palm Tree


In 1973 Mel Sweggert and I were college roommates at UCLA, but we decided to move out of the dorm for our final year of college. We found an old two-story apartment building in Culver City that had seen better days…but it had a courtyard with a pool. Drooping near the stairs in a corner of the courtyard was an unattractive, but undeniably real, palm tree.


We christened the place our first night with beer and a fifth of Southern Comfort. I knew I was wasted when I looked out the window and saw strange creatures walking up and down the street. In the moonlight they appeared short and shriveled. “Come check this out,” I said to Mel.


He staggered to the window. “What’s up? I don’t see anything.”


I looked again; this time nothing. The street was empty.


I blamed the booze and laughed it off.


We drained the bottle of Southern Comfort and polished off the rest of the beers, staggered down the stairs and jumped in the pool. The September night was typically warm; I felt content with my life. I gazed at the stars, blurry behind the smog, and watched planes passing frequently overhead, their lights disappearing behind the silhouette of our homely palm tree.


The next evening we partied again, this time with our friends: Rodney, Jay and Barry. 1:00 A.M. rolled by and I was having a great time drinking and horsing around in the pool—until I saw the tip of a cigarette glowing in the darkness. We were being observed by someone beneath our palm tree. I’d noticed several good-looking girls in the pool earlier that day and had chatted with one of them in the laundry room. Perhaps a hot babe was sitting in the shadows, checking us out.


Just as I was about to draw everyone’s attention to the intruder’s presence, the glowing cigarette disappeared. I heard the creaking sound of someone rising from an old lounge chair, along with sandals slapping concrete. The person was leaving, their silhouette visible in the flickering glow of a nearby bug light. My mouth dropped open and I took a big gulp of pool water. We weren’t being checked out by a hot girl looking for some action; we were being observed by an escapee from last night’s hallucination, some sort of goblin or gnome. I shook my head in disbelief and wiped the water from my eyes.


When my vision cleared, it was gone.


The next day was Saturday, no classes. I poured a bowl of Frosted Flakes and tried to brush aside the cobwebs, along with last night’s disturbing image near the palm tree. My thoughts were drowned out by the sound of a lawnmower. I glanced out the window and saw a goblin pushing a lawnmower up and down the tiny lawn in front of the Hollywood-style bungalow across the street.


I’d grown up on children’s books like The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, and the creature across the street certainly looked like it could have come from a mushroom planet. Too much booze, I thought. But the apparition refused to vanish. I abandoned my Frosted Flakes to confront it.


Conclusion on Friday

36 comments:

  1. Well obviously you survived the encounter so it can't have been anything too vicious. Probably just some old lady hanging around.

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  2. Just reading about combining So. Comfort with beer has got my head pounding!

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  3. Certainly sounds like a goblin to me. If you catch it, rub it's belly for good luck.

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  4. You had a pretty potent combo brewing in you, so it's not surprising you were seeing some of those things. But since you were in California, perhaps it was just someone who'd tanned themselves into a gnome like state...

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  5. Great...just leave us hanging like that!

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  6. A goblin who mows the lawn? Where can I get me one of those?

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  7. I always knew that goblins chugged cigarettes like candy.

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  8. I hate it when men keep me waiting. Just tell the rest of the damn story right now.

    Love,
    Janie

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  9. College kids drink beer and Southern Comfort? Who knew?

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  10. I looked into my brain and glimpsed a shadowy response, but just then....

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  11. Great story Stephen, I am sitting in suspense now until Friday.

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  12. I know he was one of the extras from Wizard of Oz, right? If you tell us Judy Garland arrived the next night to sing I'll spit!

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  13. Okay, I want the next installment of this. The confronting part.

    Have a terrific day. :)

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  14. "Perhaps a hot babe was sitting in the shadows, checking us out."
    Ahhh, the confidence of youth!

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  15. Oooooh, can't wait for the rest of the story. Love those Crapi Apartments!

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  16. Ooooo I hope I can get to my internet access on Friday!!! Good one, leaving us hanging!!

    So what's the saying - beer then liquor....or is it liquor then beer???? Either way, good to know you weren't sick as a dog after that!

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  17. Nice suspense story :) Super excited to read about the confronting stuff....

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  18. Then you found you'd moved in next to Snow White and the 7 Dwarves? look forward to the next episode!

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  19. Culver City, huh? I spent a lot of time there. I suspect the goblin may be connected with the synagogue on Sepulveda across from the Drive-In. Hmm, I'll be back to learn more.

    PS Did you ever eat at Swedish Inn? Those pancakes were heavenly.

    xoRobyn

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  20. The goblin might have been taller if smoking hadn't stunted its growth.

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  21. You've certainly caught my attention. I'm betting the little green goblin was the building Supervisor and you guys were in serious do do.

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  22. Well, i've heard of goblins doing many things, but not yard work. This is going to be interesting.

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  23. can't wait to hear what happens next. :) great story so far

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  24. G'day CC. That's not fair. You can bet your boots that my computer will play up now and the rest of your story will go into the twilight zone and be lost to me forever. Great story though. Take care. Liz...

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  25. It's amazing how a load of booze will always make one feel content. :D Looking forward to part 2.

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  26. Everyone who has a palm tree in their garden KNOWS about the goblin's.

    I have three of the buggers!

    6am every Monday morning ... bloody fake lawn ornaments mowing!

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  27. Hi there, MB here. So we have to wait to hear the rest of the story? That shiz just ain't right! :) Good stuff though, thanks for the blog love and returning the following favor! Have a good one! ... And finish the story already!

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  28. Holy Shit! You had better get the finish out there tomorrow, and right quick, too. If you don't, I'll... I'll... well, I'm not sure what I can do to you from here, but it will be something. So there!

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  29. Yow- I have to wait? Rats- was this a retired Munchkin from Wizard of Oz????

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  30. I must say the funniest and sometimes strangest things really happen to you. Looking forward to know how this all pans out.

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