Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Kelton Avenue Mystery Head


I was bleeding when I first saw it. Not badly. Just a skinned knee from a pratfall a few blocks back (I walked the neighborhood for exercise.)
A face peered out a window several houses ahead of me. Its plaster skin and glass eyes made me think it was a prop or an educational model. Closer inspection proved it could only be an educational model about hallucinogens.
Two heads fused at at cheek level, sharing a chin, neck and twisted mouth of clenched teeth. My depiction is stylized. The original had realistic features and was creepy. There it was, propped in the front window like a vase of silk flowers.
What is this thing? I wondered. Where did it come from? And why is it propped up in the window? Did it freak out the neighbors? The local kids? (I'd have flipped if I saw it when I was little.)
I wanted to know more. Someone had designed and built this awful/funny/fascinating thing. Someone wanted it in the front window. Why?
I considered knocking on the door and asking. What would I say? "Sorry for interrupting your dinner, but what's with that freaky thing in the window?" I never had the nerve.
Then the Mystery Head got coy. Sometimes it was there, sometimes not. I often passed the house with friends on the way to the shops and eateries on Pico Blvd. I anticipated pointing it out to them. Would they think it was as weird as I did? Would someone recognize the artist (or horror movie) behind it? Invariably, it was gone when I passed with a witness (Why? Did the homeowners bring it to the table for meals? Borrow it to freshen up the bathroom?). A few days later, I'd pass the house and there it was, staring me down with four eyes.
It's been years since I've seen it. The house was demolished and rebuilt:
I checked the windows of the new home when I passed it. No mutant heads peered back.
I still wonder about it.

9 comments:

booda baby said...

What a good story! I'm originally from the midwest, notorious for the many Scandahoovians who prop up flat, wooden characters in their windows. They're a little like garden gnomes, only squished.

Compared to a 2-headed monster-ghoulie-thing, the above characters were all innocent and STILL I can not see one without concocting middle-of-the-night mischief stories. Why Oh WHY do they do that to us/we (whichever it is) passersby?

booda baby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Namowal said...

Squished garden gnomes!? That's creepy too. I'd hate to walk through that neighborhood at dusk. Yikes.

walterworld said...

Funny story---Must have been odd the way it was there sometimes and not others.

Maybe they had to tear the place down and rebuild to get rid of it once and for all!

Namowal said...

Walterworld,
Ha! :)
I can imagine it lurching from the wreckage of the old house saying "must find new window!"

Sally said...

great illustration too, really great one.

Namowal said...

Hey thanks, Sally.
I'd originally planned to make it look more like the original, but the results were stiff. Couldn't capture it. I had a lot more fun when I switched to rooster mode.

stray g said...

Wonder where it went when it wasn't in the window....

Namowal said...

Hi Stray g,
I wonder that myself. The fact that you never knew if it would be there or not added to the strangeness.