Monday, May 3, 2010

Return to the Castle

The Queen wanders back to the construction site, every once in a while. She stands on what used to be, what was supposed to be, her parapet, thinking of the day when the Doctor first brought her here, this spot in the wilds of Western Ohio, undeveloped yet in the early 70s. She remembers the vision he had built for her, standing in the spring mud, in the middle of nowhere. A huge fortress, 7 bedrooms, 5 baths, a pool. She always wanted a pool. She had always wanted lots of things, this little girl now trapped in a grown woman's lumbering body. And if he wasn't going to marry her, at least he was going to build her a castle of her very own.

She had spent the following months imagining all the parties she was going to throw, with all the other doctor's wives. Nobody gave the King his share of respect at the clinic, she knew all those wives looked down on him, with his shiny suits and salesman face. But wasn't he a doctor too? And wouldn't they be jealous when they saw the 4 towers rising up out of the trees, and walked through the courtyard shining with lamps. Into the rooms warm with rich thick carpets and parquet floors. She wanted mirrors in every room, throwing light into all the corners. She wanted to be able to sit in her grand parlor, turn her head in any direction, and see herself sitting there in that beauty, a queen finally.

Together they had excitedly drawn out plans, on paper towels one night at the kitchen counter in their two bedroom Colonial. A moat! Floating staircases! Diamond paned windows! And most importantly a pool! For the pool parties they would have. A huge dining room, for the dinner parties she would host. And a giant bedroom, worthy of a royal couple, just for the two of them. In there, together, they would hide from the judgments that had followed them. Couldn't ever be good enough for the rest of the world huh, couldn't be anything but cheap, shallow, trash huh? Fuck them. The King was a doer, a player, a man of means. He had built his kingdom from the ground up.

It was all going so well. Every day she came out to the site to watch the construction crews lay bricks and foundations, bronzed and sweating in the summer sun. The men treated her with respect to her face, though she imagined the lurid things they whispered once she had left, she repeated them in her mind late at night. She wore white, and in her mind, she was their cool ice queen descending from the heights to bless the indentured servants with a thin but sincere smile. The walls slowly but surely went up. She felt sure it was because of her.

The King didn't tell her directly when things began to unravel, but she sensed the trouble clouding around him, smelt the fear like a thunderstorm gathering. He was distracted and irritated. He hardly went out to the site, instead staying huddled in his office drinking. He dosed himself more often, and started to skip meals.

Then some people died. They were patients of his, addicts at the clinic. It was ridiculous, they would have died either way and all the Doctor had been doing was trying to help. And it wasn't like he was selling heroin. Methadone was legal. But the lawsuits started coming, and into their living room a parade of other suits. Grim faced lawyers, trailing the smoking remains of papers and triplicate wherever they went. She hated their devious little lizard faces, tongues flicking nervously, all the "ahs" and "well..."s that slipped out of their mouths in nasty whispers. She stayed in her room, and maybe on some days, she helped herself to the medication. Lay on the bed, dozey and high, thinking of all the rooms that might have been.

They arrested the King, he went to jail. There was no more castle, the crews had been dismissed. The Queen found herself taking a condo in North Olmsted, because there was no money left after the lizard bills had been paid. A rumour had started among the construction crews that the King had hidden his drug money in the walls of the castle, and they told their brothers, and their friends, who told their friends. Soon vandals were attacking the walls daily, punching holes in the brick like woodpeckers, looking for the gold of Treasure Castle. It was ridiculous. They were hick idiots. At first she was mad, but later it didn't bother her so much. She had nothing left, not even the status of a widow, and who was she to care if the locals tore the very walls of that incomplete husk apart?

So every once in while she comes back here. She tried to sell it, but even in the real estate boom of the 80s, there were no takers. The driveway has been worn away and covered with the trash of partying kids. Graffiti is here and there, but for the most part the castle remains clean, except the holes. Everywhere holes. She wishes her own life hadn't been the same way, years of punching walls, always hoping to find the ship coming in.

More pictures can be seen here. And from the first time we went there. Also, some required listening..


  1. I saved you as my last blog of required reading tonight for I knew there would be a yummy photo story. You didn't disappoint. Thanks, muffin. I needed that.

  2. I'm sorry you're all phoneless and stressed out. Hope the rest of the week perks up.

  3. I saw a place on E 55th that I wondered if you knew about, but I Googled it and apparently it's a still-functioning funeral home? So...don't go poking around in there just yet.

  4. No! Wait! It is a decommissioned funeral home!

  5. damn I just sit around doing nothing and you find castles. I need to be the creepy guy who hangs around the outskirts of your explorations.

    you can even throw things at me.


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