The Book Of Roderick
Written By: Eric W. Falvey
In the deep green hills of Western Kentucky, the sound of Proud to be an American by Lee Greenwood cascaded through the silent beauty of nature. Following the sound down a long winding dirt road led you straight to rusty old trailer park, nestled neatly in the backwoods. The origin of the music could be traced to one trailer in particular. A rusty, timeless shelter barely held together and littered with beer cans. The occupant of the dwelling, Roderick Penisburg had just awakened from his slumber. Though he started his day by brushing his teeth with beer- and using whiskey in lieu of mouthwash like normal, Roderick would soon learn that his family lineage was riddled with secrets that would take him on unthinkable adventures, if they did not kill him first.
Roderick was dressed in Cargo shorts, a cut off T-Shirt depicting a cat shooting laser beams out of its eyes (which he referred to as his “pussy slaying shirt”), and combat boots. As he groomed himself in his tiny trailer bathroom, he gazed into a mirror while stroking his mullet. “Hello beautiful” he said to his reflection, “thanks for the handjob last night” he chuckled to himself while checking out his “bitchin” sideburns and epic moustache. He sleepily sauntered into the kitchen rubbing his eyes and poured himself a bowl of cereal. “Most important meal of the day” he murmured. He rummaged through the fridge looking for some milk. He found a dingy-looking half gallon stuck in the back of his refrigerator. “God damn it! this smells worse than that whorehouse in Tijuana” he said to himself in disgust after taking a sniff of the spoiled jug. Spotting a beer on top shelf, he gave a nod of approval and poured it into his cereal in lieu of the milk. “I was planning on drinking today anyway, ‘Beereal’, two birds, one cold one” he chuckled as he walked out onto his front porch to greet his neighbor and lifelong best friend, Horace.
Horace Baggyscrote was a tall, portly man with a big beard and a large belly to match his oversized personality. Dressed in ripped up overalls, with no shirt underneath and a camouflage hat perched on his head, he was the very embodiment of the term “backwoods hillbilly”. The new day found Horace out front of his mobile home fixing up his Moped when Roderick emerged on the porch. “What’s the matter Horace, your ‘piece-of-shit fem-mobile’ not working again?” asked Roderick smugly while eating a spoonful of his “Beereal.”
“Oh, this ol’ girl works plenty hard enough to handle me riding her every day, just needs a little TLC every once in a while. Just like your mom, ” Horace replied mockingly.
“My mom died asshole!” retorted Roderick, annoyed.
“Yeah she did…of exhaustion!” Horace shot back obnoxiously while making humping motions into the air. Roderick clinched his fists and growled,
“I swear to God, make another comment like that, and I will smother you in your sleep with a pillow you fat fuck!”
Horace, refusing to back down, replied condescendingly
“why don’t you come down here and try it right now Nancy?”
Roderick, his fiery temper rearing its ugly head, magnified by the fact that he had been drinking, walked slowly down his front steps to accept Horace’s challenge. “If I have to come over there Horace, I will dick-punch you so hard those tranny hookers you had over there last week will feel it,” warned Roderick.
“I TOLD YOU THAT IN CONFIDENCE!” roared Horace, insulted by his friend’s betrayal of trust. Both men begun walking towards each other, fists clenched, eyes glaring with rage. In the large dirt portion between their houses (that could only be described as the “front yard”) the two men met face to face. Their eyes locked on one another like heat-seeking missiles.
“It seems like our friendship has hit an impasse” growled Roderick, “and by Kentucky trailer park rules, there is only one way to settle this.”
“Are you sure you want take me on Rod?” asked Horace confidently.
“You know I do,” shot back Roderick.
The two men still locked in a stare down, muscles twitching, tempers at a boiling point, prepared for what they knew came next. Their eyes never shift from the pupils of the other man. The tension around them flaring up. Both men, face to face, muscles tightened, jaws clenched, simultaneously uttered the words that unbeknownst to them, would start a sequence of events that would blow their tiny beer-soaked minds:
Four hours later, both men found themselves lounging in rusty old lawn chairs, in front of a backyard fire pit made from an old tire rim. Empty beer cans littered the surrounding ground, some old, some new, as neither man had finished the entire 30 can case of beer.
At this point, neither one even remembered what they were fighting about to begin with. Horace looked at Roderick, with intoxicated concern in his eyes. In his obnoxiously loud drunken, southern accent he asked, “you know Rod, we ain’t really talked about how you’re doing since your daddy passed away last month, you doin’ ok?”
“I dunno man, he never really supported any of my career ambitions” sighed a drunken Roderick. “I told him I wanted to be a magician when I was 8, and he told me he’d show me ‘the world’s greatest magic trick’. He made my bike ‘disappear’ and then ‘reappear’ transformed into a new TV”. Horace roared with laughter, his enormous belly bouncing up and down with every chuckle.
“Yeah that sounds like your dad,” he said with great amusement. “I remember when we was kids he would always have the CRAZIEST stories! It was only when we got older that we realized they were all just cover ups for his drunken benders”.
Roderick, badly slurring his words at this point shouted back emphatically “He just disappeared for FOUR years! rambled on about being ‘stuck in Egypt’” he continued, as he sipped his beer and scoffed. “He was probably wandering around Tijuana looking for a back-alley cure for syphilis. Meanwhile I had to quit school and get a job just to take care of my sister.” Horace stroked his beard and chuckled.
“I don’t think you can call selling weed to middle school kids ‘a job’ he said sarcastically.
“It put food on the table didn’t it?” responded Roderick, defensively. “Besides my sister Busch turned out alright.”
“Well, she is the most popular stripper at The Battered Clam now, so I guess she did turn out to be successful. I suppose she owes that to you” said Horace, once again stoically stroking his beard.
“She was always the most talented member of the family,” said Roderick with sense of pride.
Horace, never one to miss an opportunity to tease Roderick, muttered softly,“and the most flexible”.
Roderick, in hearing Horace’s wisecrack, whirled around and launched a beer can in Horace’s direction. He pointed his finger at him very sternly growled “Watch it.”
Horace, unwilling to test Roderick’s patience any further in the moment, quickly changed the subject.
“Did your dad at least leave you anything in the will?” he asked.
Roderick made a grandiose motion towards his mobile home and sarcastically answered “just our luxurious family mansion here. And some dusty old chest in the closet.” Horace was suddenly intrigued.
“Did you ever look in the chest?” he asked. “I’ve heard old chests like that sometimes contain antiques that can be worth a lot of money.”
Roderick scoffed “If there was ANYTHING of value in that chest, the old man would’ve sold it for beer and whores in a heartbeat. Besides, I can’t even get the damned thing open.”
“WELL, get it out! Let’s have a look!” Horace giddily exclaimed.
Roderick walked inside of his home and after some digging through the heaps of empty beer cans and porn DVD’s, finally retrieved the heavy chest. Out of breath, as he struggled to pull it down front porch steps, he looked over at Horace, who was just sitting there, watching him struggle, not offering to help. “Don’t worry, I’ll get it” he muttered clearly annoyed while rolling his eyes. Roderick finally muscled the heavy chest off the stairs and into the yard. The heavy oak box landed on the dirt with a solid “THUD.”
The box itself was quite plain looking. A simple polished oak chest, with nothing fancy about it apart from the ornate metal clasps that latched it shut. Each latch was shiny silver, with a shield etched into the metal. The initials R.P were etched into the shield.
Roderick, fueled by a combination of drunken intrigue, and wonder placed both hands on the lid of the chest and attempted to muscle it open. He pried with all his might, but he could not get the lid to budge. He responded to his failure like a 3-year-old throwing a tantrum, letting an angry howl,
“GOD DAMNIT WHY WON’T THIS STUPID THING OPEN!?”
Horace, watching his friend struggle, strolled over to the chest nonchalantly, with his smug, ass-holish, smirk on his face, and flipped the latch on the front. The chest simply popped open.
“How in the Hell did you do that Horace?” asked a bewildered and utterly frustrated Roderick.
Horace, again unwilling to pass up an opportunity to further agitate Roderick, replied slyly
“Gettin’ difficult boxes to open is my specialty…just ask your mom”.
Roderick glared at Horace with a look that nonverbally said: “One of these days Horace, I’m going to punch you right in the throat and you’re gonna drop dead with me smiling down at you”.
Looking away from Roderick’s dagger-like eyes Horace gazed down into the empty, cobweb filled chest, disappointed.
“Well I suppose it was worth a shot” he said sadly, turning to stumble his way back to his chair.
Roderick, who needed to see the empty box for himself, staggered over and peered down. He pulled a beer out of his pocket and snapped it open with a crack. “Here’s to you letting me down one more time dad!” he said raising his beer for mocking toast.
As if in slow -motion, the can of cold deliciousness slipped out of his hands, and in his drunken condition, he lacked the coordination to catch it. It plummeted down into the empty chest like a yeasty cannonball, landing with a loud thud and shooting beer in every direction.
Roderick, dismayed that he had destroyed a perfectly good beer, gazed down at the carnage below. The beer had punched a small hole in the floor of the chest, revealing a false bottom. Through the golden-brown foamy liquid now lining the chest, Roderick could see part of a large object that appeared to be covered in cloth.
“Hey! I think there actually IS something in here!” he yelled excitedly. He reached down and removed the beer-soaked object from the chest. It was large, and rectangular, wrapped in a dirty, tattered, old, purple cloth. He placed it down on the tailgate of his rusty Chevrolet.
“What is it?” inquired Horace. “Is it gold? treasure? the December 1953 edition of Playboy Magazine with Marilyn Monroe on the front cover?”
Roderick shot Horace a non-verbal “what’s wrong with you?” look.
“Let’s unwrap it and see what it is” he said, pulling the cloth away from the object.
There, lying under the cloth was a thick book with a vibrant neon purple cover depicting a knight atop a unicorn in the middle of a lightning storm. In big, glitter-gold letters the title read: The Book of Penisburg.
“God damn it” sighed Roderick, “it’s just a book”.
Horace looking inquisitive shouted out “Ohhh maybe it’s like one of those books that contains the secrets to pleasing woman!”
Roderick rolled his eyes. “No Horace, that was just a really bad American Pie movie.”
Completely out of the blue, Horace giggled.
“What’s so funny?” asked Roderick.
“Nothing” replied Horace, “it’s just I---I never even knew your daddy knew how to read.”
Despite his best attempt to remain angry, Horace’s comment forced Roderick to break out in laughter.
“I didn’t either,” he said with a chuckle.
Roderick picked the book up, disgusted, and threw it to the ground. As the tome cart-wheeled through the air, a folded-up piece of paper come floating out, gently gliding to the ground by Horace’s feet.
“Hey Rod, this looks like some kind of note! It’s addressed to you!” he said handing his friend the piece of parchment.
Roderick grabbed the note from Horace’s hand and began to read aloud:
Don’t ever read this book drunk.
Looking up into the sky as if he were speaking to his father’s ghost Roderick replied, “well, I haven’t listened to you for 28 years, I don’t see the sense in startin’ now.” He flipped open the book and started to read aloud:
Meanwhile, back at Candiace Castle (pronounced Candy-ass ) in England, King Candiace Kane strolled about the castle in his pink, fluffy bathrobe completely unaware that his unknown mortal enemy, the irritating and irrational Cunther McFlair, had landed with his army on the “Beach of Frolic”, Merely a week’s march from Candiace Castle, Cunther had but one intention: War.
“This is an actual book! How stupid! Thanks a lot dad” muttered a clearly disappointed Roderick as he tossed the book back onto the ground.
Suddenly, the book began to shake, as if it were possessed. It began quaking on the ground, faster and faster as Roderick and Horace both stared at it slack jawed and dumbfounded.
With a loud crack, the book shot into the air like a bottle rocket and exploded in an intense, bright light, engulfing everything.
Roderick felt his feet leave the ground as everything around him started spinning. His eyes clenched to avoid the harsh light. He could faintly hear Horace screaming in the distance. Loud, high pitched, intense screams, that no man that large should ever have come out of his mouth.
Suddenly everything stopped. Roderick felt himself plummeting through the darkness, falling endlessly for what seemed like an eternity.
Another loud crack cut the empty silence, along with another bright burst of light. Roderick desperately reached for the light, frantically trying to get out the enveloping darkness. He stretched as far as his arms could reach, and that was the last thing he could remember.