The Mind Museum and Adjoining Garden – Fiction

The Mind Museum and Adjoining Garden

by Kerry Joyce
Illustration by G. Blue

“Now I want to have a happy little building right here.” – Bob Ross

Winter greetings to one and all, ye who dwell in the chilling temperate zone of charlatans, cynics mostly, and chumps. I, your faithful servant, write for your jaundice-eyed edification this month, with, of course, the invaluable assistance of my faithful lap top, the tireless and loyal “Fifi, Model II C,” from inside the Baron Duke Manor Motel, a veritable winter wonderland, and the very Baron Duke Manor, somewhat off the beaten path, which, nonetheless, this year boasts the cheapest single night room rates in all of central Vermont. Fifty bucks, (half a hunny for chrissakes), for a whole night.

True, the dripping faucet and the malevolent tumbling of the ice machine tend to leave one feeling cheated all the same. Ah, but at least one knows one is being cheated. And precisely how. Not so the spouses of the two adulterates passionately tearing up the neighboring room just now.

But, at last, the actuary with the heart of a lion, and the amazonian legal secretary seem to have finally crumpled into a blissful heap of arms, legs, etc. While, as if off in the distance, the sound of CNN’s Bernard Shaw can be heard most distinctly through this veritable Berlin of a wall between us: Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Hmmm! More sectarian violence in Northern Ireland? Do tell. But first, by all means sell me something. Oh anything at all. Oooh. Fifi just looooooooooves the new Coke ad. “Don’t you, baby?”

“Clickah Clickah Clickah Click Click Click. [RETURN].”

But we, (Fifi and I) have not turbo charged, four cylindered, and rack-and-pinioned steering-columned our way up and down and up the icy interstate, which spider veins these voluptuous Green (in the summer) Mountains, nor braved Vermont’s notoriously harsh winter tourists merely to report on the mundane mating rites of the indigenous population. Heavens no.

Nor have we come up here to stand alongside the homey ski lodge hearth with a $3.75 cup of Swiss Miss glued to our mittens, while engaging in a futile attempt at undressing with our eyes some affluent goggle-eyed ditzoid swathed in goose down, as she trippingly trudges through some machine-made from out the chalet window. Again, no. Those intrepid souls, living yet brain dead who preceded us have done far more than our poor power to add or detract on that score.

Instead, we have come to visit with Charles Laramie, curator, sole exhibiter, sole patron of, and indeed, come to find out, the sole visitor to the descriptively named Mind Museum, mostly located in Fairhaven, a small town abutting the swarming metropolis of Rutland (The bus does too stop here), Vermont. Although some portions of the museum’s adjoining garden are occasionally encountered by an unwary public.

We have a meeting with the immortal “Call Me Chuck,” at 11 a.m. But first, we fortify ourselves at Anna’s Dining Car with the fluffy Three Egg Express: Comes with hash browns and buttered toast, a side of unquestionably succulent sausage, and a virtually bottomless cup of coffee, (piping hot), all for just $4.99. (A freakin’ finski.)

Flipping her eponymous flap jacks, (“Anna’s Famous Griddle Cakes” are renowned throughout the tri-forks area for their gravity, as well as for their rich buttery texture) she seems a simple woman with an ample bosom. Or perhaps merely an ample woman with a simple bosom. One can never tell these days.

More interestingly, given the lightness of her step, her warm smile and generally friendly demeanor, it is readily apparent that Anna here has never even heard of Starbuck’s. Oh, but she will my friends, she will. Distant at first like an on-coming freight train, chugga chugga chugga chugga ooh ooh, then, like an oversexed legal secretary, growing louder, ever louder, until the final fatal flap is heard resounding with a deafening PFFFFFT, throughout the aforementioned tri-forks area. Followed by the rhythmic death rattle of a virulent chain store malignancy, shaking, shaking, shaking and ensnaring one and all in its broad path. Another timeless and unique way of fostering indigestion and slow death relegated to the misty past. A fate not even the sons and daughters of Athena’s most devoted worshippers can now arrest. Memories, light the corners of our minds… You get the idea.

Despite the fact that the Mind Museum had not exactly done a swimming business to date, its Web page was prominently linked to that of the Vermont Tourism Board. I stumbled upon the Vermont Tourism board page by entering the term “yahoo,” on the Internet search engine of the same name. It turned out to be a really hot sight, if you’re into covered bridges, and hand lacquered maple leaves. My e-mail queries were never answered though, so finally I telephoned and asked: “What’s the story with this Mind Museum?”

Predictably, the petty functionaries of the Vermont Tourist Board claimed not to know anything about it, and the Mind Museum Web Site was mysteriously “de-linked” just a couple of hundred days later. (Pretty fast for government work.)

After downloading the page for the first and last time, (it took fourteen hours) I was informed that I was the 9th visitor, not unreasonable considering how long it took to get a gander at it and that “This Web Page was most recently updated last hunting season.”

A tiny voice inside my head nagglingly suggested that it was likely that three, or perhaps even four hunting seasons had transpired since anyone had updated never mind looked at this page.
A pointillist with a passion for pixels had somehow rendered upon the page a verdant river valley possessing subtle gradations of virtually all 78,000 variations of the color green in the Pantone pantheon, or so it seemed.

On the river’s bank at the bottom of the valley, a gray-eyed woman in flowing white robes held a a tall bronze-shod spear in one hand and and a golden tablet in the other. The tablet read: Click Here!

So I did.

The page transformed itself unremarkably and then neatly hand scripted on my screen was the following:

The Six Sacred Urgings of The Delightenment

    1. Feed Yourself
    2. House Yourself
    3. Clothe yourself
    4. Groom yourself
    5. And if you are a man, always put the toilet seat down, even if you are living alone for the time being.
    6. Strive to do these, and indeed all things, with beauty and grace, or at the very least, style and humor always, so that you may delight and be delighted.

“Whooo, this bitch is tougher than my old Sunday school teacher,” my friend Eddie, who was sitting there with me, said.

(To Be Continued…)