Nixie’s Fountain

a strange history of Rainbow Beach

Pt 5

from the

Soul Food Cafe Project

Enchanteur Tour

 There’s hand painted tin sign hanging behind the Soda Fountain at Nixie’s in Rainbow Beach.

It says

! Drink Nixie’s Root Beer !

“soothing to the nerves, vitalizing to the blood, and refreshing to the brain”

and in fine print under that:

Nixie’s….Everything you need for Health’s Sake

That’s where people from The Bow went when something ailed them…and somethings never change.

Not matter how somethings may appear.

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 The night Alona Darelyn walked into Rainbow Beach she headed straight for Nixie’s.

She didn’t slow down to look at the house she grew up in, she didn’t wonder where everyone was. 

Instead she walked down the middle of the street she had roller skated down as a child, she crossed over another street she rode her bike on as a teenager and right there in front of Nixie’s where she got her first traffic ticket she put her bags down on the faded blue bus stop bench and she told herself she was home.

And that it was time to go into Nixie’s to find a cure for what ailed her.

Nixie’s was empty of course- the soda fountain was gone, the cases that once held the penny candies was gone, the lighting fixtures where gone- everything was gone.

Nixie’s had been stripped to the bone.

But that didn’t really matter because the thing that made Nixie’s the place to go to find a cure for what ailed you was always there- if you knew where to look.

And of course Alona did.

It was down on the floor, just in front of the place where the Soda Fountain once stood, a dusty circle of tiles colored blue and green and red.

Alona looked down and tried to scoot the mess off the tiles with her foot and when that didn’t work she sighed.

She went to the back of the store, where Miss Nixie, whose father was the town’s pharmacist back in the late 30’s and early 1940’s  used to make and tonics and medicines.

When Alona walked by the radio on Mr Nixie’s desk it clicked on and buried in the static was a song about what a little Moonlight could do. Alona put her finger to her lips and said, ” shhh ” and the radio clicked off.

And then she started to open doors.

She opened one door which turned out to be a closet that held four white coats hanging from wooden hangers and the second opened up into a little washroom .

Alona  found a bucket under the sink and then she turned on the faucets and grimaced as the bucket started to fill with thick rusty water. When the smell from what was coming from the tap hit her nose and started to make her eyes water she turned her head and looked out the door back into Mr Nixie’s workroom

 Through the door on those very shelves is where Miss Nixie was supposed to have collected the powders and liquids that she mixed into the Soda Water behind the fountain.

That was the soda water she spent all day Friday and into Friday evening mixing into the drinks of everyone who stopped by before and after the movies and she used it to mix into even more drinks for everyone who was either on their way to or coming home from the Friday Dance at the Palace By The Sea Dance Hall on the Pier.

By midnight, over 200 people were dead and Miss Nixie was nowhere to be found.

But what Miss Nixie started that night in her Soda Fountain didn’t stop with the deaths that night- for some reason people took it into their heads to try to finish off the people who drank from the fountain and didn’t die.

For instance- people like Alona’s Grandparents.

Though right now that was water under the bridge as far as Alona was concerned and with that she turned the bucket upside down and the water hit the floor.

Only it didn’t pool or spread the way it should have.

Instead it ran around the tiles and then then it was gone.

” More. ” something whispered from under Alona’s feet.

Alona kneeled down and smoothed the still dusty floor with her hands. ” No.”

” Give you anything….”

Alona kneeled and brought her face to the floor and her lips touched the mold and rot and she said, ” You’re going to anyway Miss Nixie.”

Alona looked up and in a dark corner was a spinner rack with rusted claws that held a neat row of postcards.

They weren’t dusty and moldy like everything else in Nixie’s.

They were brand new.

Each was a light green card with simple block letters that read:

Admit One For Free

To See

The Newest Addition To

The Clawson Museum of Anatomy

For One Thin Dime Extra

see

our amazing collection of

Curiosities and Monstrosities

Pathological Cases

collected from far and wide.

One Night Only

Alona took the card back to the tiles she let it drop to the floor.

” You didn’t.”

 The dust rolled away from the tiles at Alona’s feet and the rough outline of a woman’s face was looking up at her.

” I did. “

” I’m going to find Kanden, Miss Nixie…”

” I don’t doubt that Alona Darelyn.” Miss Nixie chuckled

” And then I’m coming back here.”

” Of course you are.” Miss Nixie’s laugh bounced off the walls and shook the floor.

” And of course you know that when I do the moon will be full…and by morning, Miss Nixie, I will be too.”

The dust and mold reached up from the floor towards Alona’s throat and then it fell back down again and covered the tiles on the floor.

” It’s a date then.” Alona said.

Alona reached down and picked the card up from the floor and then she folded it and put it in her back pocket.

When she left Nixie’s Fountain the radio in the backroom switched back on and the Spinner rack in the dark corner turned slowly for a few minutes.

And then it stopped.

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The Late Show

a strange history of Rainbow Beach

Pt 4

from the

Soul Food Cafe Project

Enchanteur Tour

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On the night Alona Darelyn walked into Rainbow Beach the sign at the Starlight Drive Inn just outside of town started to glow.

One might think that the sunlight hit the sign just right and gave the illusion that the bulbs had flashed on and then off and then back on again- and one could say that  it could have just been the lengthening shadows that looked like cars and people moving around the parking lot and concession stand and if you really put some effort into the thought you could tell yourself that the hissing an crackling sounds you were hearing weren’t coming from the rusty speakers on rusted metal poles…

of which there were still a few left in the Drive Inn’s weed filled lot.

But the truth is every night after Sunset the lights go on at the Starlight and you really can smell the faintest hint of popcorn and pizza. You can  hear phantom tires drive over phantom pavement. Towards the back of the Drive Inn if you stand  where the bigger cars and trucks and vans used to park you will see a wood paneled station wagon with a seven year old boy sitting in the back seat by himself pulls up along side another wood paneled station wagon with an eight year old girl in the backseat.

The little girl  has black hair and black eyes and when she sees the little boy in the next car she waves and throws herself over the front seat and starts pointing to the screen and more specifically to the swing sets and Monkey bars under it.

The little boy sees the Mother shake her head and the little girl oozes back down onto the the back seat and disappears from sight.

A few minutes later he sees her feet- clad in giant pink rabbit slippers start to dance upside down in the window.

” That girl  lives next door to us. ” the little boy who was Kanden says to his Mother.

” You actually met someone today? After two months of living here you actually left the house and  talked to somebody? ”

” No.” Kanden says ” I heard her Mom yell her name when she fell off the roof…”

” What?” his parents shouted.

” The roof, I saw her. She climbed out her window and I think she was trying to get to the room next to her’s but she fell.”

Kanden’s parents turned around and looked at the upside down rabbits dancing in the window and then back at Kanden.

Kanden took a breath because Kanden only ever said about two dozen words a week and the thing is- he wasn’t used to talking. ” It was okay though. She landed in the Rosemary Bushes.”

” Uh- huh” his parents said together.

Anyway…when her Mom came outside I heard her yell, ” Alona Darelyn for the love of God how many times have I told you to use the stairs like a normal person.

So I guess that’s her name.”

Kanden looked over to the car and the rabbits, free of the little girl’s feet, were having their fuzzy faces mashed into the passenger window.

Kanden forced himself to look up into the front seat because he had to get something taken care of right now…something very important.

Something that had to be resolved before the show started.

Kanden asked his Father. ” There aren’t any Oompa- Loompas in this movie, is there?

” No. There are no Oompa Loompas.” Kanden’s Mother told him.

” Ar you sure?” he asked.

” Positive.”

” Because I hate Oompa Loompas.”

” We know.” they said together.

” I still have nightmares about them.” the little boy said ruefully.

His parents didn’t answer.

” So is this isn’t a scary movie, right?”

” It’s about a boy and horse.” Kanden’s Mother said quietly.

” It’s Oompa Loompa free Kanden. Do you want any popcorn?” his father asked and before Kanden could answer he was out of the car and walking towards the concession stand with his hands jammed into his pockets and his head down.

Kanden slid down into his seat and his mother asked if he wanted to take his seat belt off now and Kanden shook his head. “The car might roll” he whispered and his mother started to rub her eyes and then she leaned her head against the window and sighed.

Kanden’s father came back and he didn’t even look at him as he handed Kanden his popcorn and Kanden- who didn’t like popcorn but guessed he’d better stop talking for awhile kept his mouth closed.

The movie was about a boy and a horse and Kanden, who liked horses but didn’t like sitting in the dark looked over into the next car and the little girl was looking right at him.

She held one of her rabbit slippers up and pointed at it.

And then she pointed at the back of her father’s head.

Kanden thew his hands against his window and whispered, ” No!”

” It’s not that bad Kanden, look at him that boy fell off his horse and he’s getting back on- did you see that? ” his mother asked.

The little girl nodded and she was laughing.

” Don’t do it.” Kanden said a little more loudly.

” If he doesn’t get back on Kanden- he’ll be afraid to ride for the rest of his life.”

Kanden looked into the front seat and then he said, ” sorry.”

His parent’s looked at each other and Kanden didn’t need light to know that his parents may have been looking at each other but that they were really looking at him.

The little girl waved again and this time she pointed to her eyes.

She rolled them up into her head and then she peeled her lids up.

” Yuck.” Kanden said, but he kept watching and when she pulled her lids down and looked at him again…her eyes almost looked orange.

” Oh Wow.”

” I’ll say Son. ” his Dad agreed, that was pretty brave of that boy wasn’t it?”

” Sure.”

The little girl pointed to her teeth and then she covered her mouth with her small brown hand and when she took it away..her teeth were much brighter and pointier then they had been before.

” Oh boy.” Kanden yodeled.

Kanden’s Dad turned around and he was actually smiling at him.

” You know son, if you like horses this much we can see about riding lessons- I mean, you won’t get on a bike with training wheels- hell son if you like horses this much- damn son- I’m impressed.”

Alona pointed to her ears and Kanden could see that they were pointed at the top now and almost reached to the top of her head.

” I am too! ”

Kanden’s parents were talking about the stables just outside of Rainbow Beach and Kanden’s Mom was sure they gave lessons there and then from the Little Girl’s car they could hear her Mother yell, ” Damn it Alona stop showing off and watch the movie or we’re leaving right now!”

They heard a little girl yell back ” Alright! ” and when Kanden looked back over to the car he saw not one but three sets of dark orange eyes glowing in the dark.

And they were looking straight at him.

Then Kanden did something he had never really done before.

He smiled.

A Macabre Thought…or Two

There’s one thing I just can’t admit to people I know- I actually like some of Woody Allen’s films. I don’t know why, because I shouldn’t like them. 

My brain isn’t wired to like movies with brittle shrill characters who couldn’t find their own back sides if you gave them a map, a book called “Backside finding for Dummies” and a Backside Finding Search and Rescue team to help them out.

 I like movies with Pirates and Ghosts and Demonic kids that stuff babies into wine caskets and Mad Scientists that drip honey on people while they sleep and then turn bugs loose to devour the victim alive.

That’s me, that’s what I’m all about, and though I won’t cop to liking “Hannah and Her Sisters” I will say without a moments hesitation and lots of enthusiasm that one of my favorite movies of all time is Donovan’s Brain.

I like it for the ending.

At the ending of the movie the brain escapes from it’s tank and flies around the lab, chasing the mad scientist and his friends. The best part is Donovan’s spinal cord is still attached to the brain and the spinal cord is whipping around the place just like the creature in ” Alien ” would end up doing with it’s tail over 20 years later.

All kidding aside, I liked Donovan’s Brain because somebody had a story and they told it and exactly the way they wanted to tell it. They didn’t pretend it was anything other then a story about a killer brain that could fly.

That’s real story telling and that kind of story telling takes guts.

I keep that in mind when I write my own stories. 

Donovan’s Brain-  food for thought.

Woven

a strange history of Rainbow Beach

Pt 3

from the

Soul Food Cafe Project

Enchanteur Tour

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Years ago out on Kilgoar Road- the only road that leads to Rainbow Beach- the story about the tragedy and the strange history of Kilgoar Cemetery is woven into the bark of a tree.

That’s the tree where Gaddelin and Watson found the sign announcing that the “Borden’s Circus Of The Curious” would be coming to town for a special engagement.

The boys, who were 12 and 14 at the time, were amazed that anyone let alone an entire Circus would come to a little nowhere town like Rainbow Beach.

Amazed but not surprised because odd things were always happening at The Bow.

For instance odd things like those signs- they were all handwritten and they started turning up in strange places all over town.

They were turning up inside of library books, underneath canned goods at Brody’s Grocery Store, inside of linen closets and floating down  the old logging roads people stopped using in favor of the new highways that had gone in a couple of years before- that would have been back in 1926.

Watson had collected dozens of them and when he had a nice little stack he took them to school and started to put them in desks and he folded them up and put them inside of jackets and in the the Teacher’s desk

” What are you doing? ” Gaddelin asked- he had walked into the coat room and thought he saw Watson taking something out of Wendy O’Hara’s coat pocket.

Then Gaddelin saw the folded square of paper sticking out of Wendy’s coat pocket and he went over and pushed it in.

He asked his brother again, ” what are you doing Watson? “

And Watson shrugged and said, ” I don’t know. “

Curious, Gaddelin thought and then he let the thought go.

For a little while.

The Circus finally came to town.

Both Gaddelin and Watson felt a little foolish that they were part of the “Circus Flier Scheme” because the ” Borden Circus of  The Curious ” was like all of the other Circuses that made their way around and through those small logging towns in the Cascades.

There were rides, and lions and bears. There was a carousel and a Ferris wheel and a tents that you had pay extra to get into.

The Sideshow was exceptional both boys decided because you didn’t have to pay extra to see it.  The Conjoined Twins were walking around eating popcorn and playing ring toss like regular paying customers, there was a man who was over 7 feet tall that took in the Magic Act headlined by a woman called ” The Amazing Benandanti”  with about 40 residents from various towns in the County. Plus the Circus’  Little People were waiting in lines for the rides with everyone else.

Finally Gaddelin asked the woman who told Fortunes ( she was waiting in line for the Carousel ) ” Ma’am, what’s so Curious about this Circus ?”

The Fortune Teller held her hand out and said, ” My name is Saterlee Chapel.”

Watson reached out to take Saterlee’s hand and instead of shaking it Saterlee turned it over and glanced at it and smiled.

” I can see into the future…can’t see into the past.” Saterlee looked up and shook her head ” That has kept me back from being an honest to goodness headliner.”

” Uh-Huh” both boys said.

” Well, when we were down in Seattle I was working with my crystal ball when suddenly I see a burning wheel and a hundred hearses driving into an empty cemetery.

Now, what do you suppose that means? “

Both boys shrugged and Saterlee Chapel Shrugged too and when the Carousel came to a stop she said, ” Curious isn’t it? “

And both boys agreed.

They watched Saterlee choose a place for herself on the Carousel and when the music started they both turned and walked away and as they did they both decided while they were here they might as well have some fun.

Watson Kilgoar reached into his pocket for some money and instead of pulling out a handful of change he pulled out a handful of  little squares of tightly folded paper

Watson showed them to his brother.

In his hand were the fliers.

Gaddelin  Kilgoar  reached into his pocket and pulled out a little box of matches.

Then they stood by the Ferris Wheel for a very long time and watched it turn far into the evening.

Finally they got on.

You could see the flames for miles.

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