Soughington Armes looms dark and heavy on a discreet block in South Park. The Ashfield family, from Soughington, England, built the estate more than a century ago. Rumors around the area speak of dark and witchy occurrences happening behind the stained glass. One night last year, a girl in dark pigtails and a white dress went missing from her driveway near the spooky home. She was recovered, a week later, from a canyon valley three blocks away, found by necking teenagers in the night; her shriveled body was weak and broken but still breathing. Before the paramedics arrived and the child lost consciousness, she whispered her terrible story to the young couple.
Seems that while she played jacks on the sidewalk, near sunset, a black leather glove covered her mouth, another one slid over her eyes, and she was pulled up and rushed away. Snatched. During the next week, during her stay at Soughington Armes, her only comfort was the single silver jack she clutched in her hand. When she was found, and her fist pried open, the jack was still there, embedded so deeply into her palm it had to be cut away.
In that time, her young body aged a week, but her mind raced ahead to its senile years. The once bouncy girl with the pigtails is now a babbling hag, toothless with a stringy mop for hair. She stands at the end of her driveway still, but doesn't play, only rants in an insane old lady's voice.
You can see her. You can hear her. If you drive through that particular area of South Park, you'll notice her, always at the sidewalk in front of her house, always under surveillance from her mother's kitchen, always pointing and screaming at the ghouls of Soughington house.
While we only see shadowy figures moving from room to room, she knows what really goes on in there. She was intimately involved in the rituals. There were candles, she says. Dark robes. Shining chestplates of old English armor in which she caught her bloody reflection. There was chanting in a language she didn't understand.
It was like that, day after day. The silver jack pressing deeper into the flesh of her hand, her wrists bound tightly to a wooden rack.
And the worst of it, she says, was at night: while blindfolded, she heard her tormentors watching TV. What drove her to insanity each evening, the Ashfields of Soughington gathered together to watch Everybody Loves Raymond .
Thursday, June 21
The Postal Service Then & Now - Surprising Innovations Through the Years
Spike 6:00 a.m.
Is this propaganda? The only surprising innovation the postal service has displayed in my lifetime is an ingenious method for weight loss and hair growth. Last time I was at the post office, I waited in line so long I grew a beard and got thinner. I looked like a castaway. Stuff that in an envelope and mail it to yourself, Spike TV.
My Baby is Missing
Lifetime 9:00 p.m.
Yeah, but now you can sleep in. Doesn't that sound nice? I recommend a cat this time. If you're a poor keeper of animals, as it seems you are, and your cat gets run over or you misplace it -- like you did with your child -- it's no big deal. Go get another cat. If at first you don't succeed, start with something smaller and work your way up. Because it sounds like you're a little dumb, sweetie.
Friday, June 22
National Bingo Night
ABC 9:00 p.m.
We've finally turned the corner. Mark this night. Remember it as the time we as a nation stopped eating and breathing on our own. Put the tubes in, turn off the lights, and let us fester bedsores to the sound of a respirator and heart monitor. We are all Terry Schiavo.
Saturday, June 23
Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise
CBS 8:00 p.m.
Tom Selleck's mustache stages its fifth comeback with this made-for-TV vehicle. Tom wants to relax and ride out his days, remembered as the sparkle-eyed Magnum, but his mustache is driven... demonic, some say. It will stop only when it is rediscovered by a young filmmaker and given the star treatment that John Travolta's love handles got after Pulp Fiction. Oh, yes. This mustache will have its day.
Sunday, June 24
ESPN2 6:00 a.m.
Yesterday for lunch I had a tossed salad. Also on my plate was chicken. It was free-range, organic, and butchered humanely; choked, I believe. I'm interested in the culinary delicacy of bass. Especially caught by a master. One must bait, cast, and reel masterfully to garner the title. Ah, yes. Perhaps today some masterfully baited bass, hot sausage, and freshly squeezed taco. Mmmm...taco squeezins.
Monday, June 25
Age of Love
NBC 9:00 p.m.
I propose a show like this, but in mine, the man has to choose from Sasquatches or chupacabras. An aged Indian medicine woman will guide him, and he only has a safety pin and a spool of string to aid his survival. Naked, covered in mud, the moonlight glints in his eyes as a talon slowly closes around his neck. Poison oak stings his armpits on his wedding night. Doesn't that sound better than rings, roses, and champagne? Bring on the fur and drool.
Tuesday, June 26
CW 9:00 p.m.
This show is ending. It means one more series shot in San Diego dies. I couldn't be happier. I never saw the show; I hear it's good. One day they shut down my street to film an episode, and I had to move my truck and make accommodations for the sound crew and cameramen and trailers of makeup and actors. They tracked through my complex dragging cables and told us to stay indoors. I sat on my porch and got drunk and threw trash into the scene. Eat my coffee grinds, Veronica.
Wednesday, June 27
Good Morning San Diego
KUSI 7:00 a.m.
And what a lovely morning it is. Luckily, San Diego is situated so close to Mexico that we're treated to its rich and lively culture. For instance, my neighbor plays mariachi music through blown speakers every morning at 6. Since her rooster died of mysterious causes, this is her way of waking up our little village. Gracias, Lupe! How would I get up without you? It's not like I have a damn alarm clock, like EVERYONE has an alarm clock!
Thursday, June 28
TCM 5:00 p.m.
Everyone remembers Gandhi sitting in protest, but nobody wants to remember that he shoved a pregnant woman to get that seat. He traded his usual big, white-framed sunglasses that covered his face from cheek to forehead for the more dramatic, sad, little wire-frame spectacles for which he's famous. All those pithy quotes about peace he made up on the crapper because heroin plays havoc on the GI tract. Oh, Gandhi was sooo great. Ate kittens, I hear.