Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mr. Parfenix READS

The cowl of Mr. Pigeon Parfenix AKA George.
The other day I woke up to this message from George, aka Mr. Parfenix, my landlord and friend of many years.  Well -- on the one hand he's my friend, but on the other claw, he's my landlord.  Sure he likes to make dinner for me, and he keeps me in Archie Double Digests, but in his spare time he has his whole Pigeon-Man/Supervillain/Evil Schemes thing that he likes to do.  Sometimes that interferes with our friendship.  Anyway, this month I got a little behind on the rent because when you're a big collector, sometimes the money gets small.  There was a run on Hawaiian Shirts on eBay, I found a bunch of vintage cake-top ballerinas that I needed to have, and I had to re-up on my supply of construction paper.  I need to have 120 pounds of it in the construction paper closet at all times.  I thought Mr. P. could wait an extra few days for his envelope.

Well I cashed in all of my coins from the Franklin Mint, sold some Ninja Turtle comics to the kid upstairs (ripped him off good!), and got a last minute DJ gig at the local Bingo Parlor (I hope those old fogies enjoyed my techno set).  If my wife, Melia, found out I spent the rent on construction paper, she might force me to take it back!  The next day I marched up to Mr. Parfenix's door.  If you know our building, he keeps a modest human-sized birdhouse that hangs off of a synthetic branch connected to the 13th floor.  You actually have to crawl through the inside of the branch to get inside his place.  I had the envelope taped to my head so he wouldn't peck me to death on the spot and I brought him one of his favorite treats as an apology.

After a short tirade, he invited me inside and we discussed his life at length.  We shot some video and I took some pictures.  He was very open about everything.

Why a Pigeon?  Mr. Parfenix said Batman got it wrong.  Pigeons are more terrifying, evil, and murderous
than a bat could ever be.  How does Mr. Parfenix know this?  Because his mother was a pigeon.

Well, not his real mother.  Sort of his adopted mother.  When Mr. Parfenix was a boy, his family lived in
the building that he now owns, where I live.  His parents both worked in the building, his dad was a
doorman, his mother a seamstress.  But the owners of the building were very rich, very eccentric people
and they kept a big pigeon coop on the outside decks of the 13th floor.  (From the outside there are 21 floors
on the building, but on the inside, on any given day, there could be more than a 100.  DON'T ASK.) 

Mr. P was allowed to visit the coop as often as he liked, and eventually developed a psychic connection
with the birds.  When the eccentric rich people died, they left the building to their prize pigeon, Evelyn.
Since Mr. Parfenix was the only one who could communicate with Evelyn, he took the highest seat
on the building association.  But his real parents grew jealous. 
When Evelyn was found one day on the street in front of the
building, run over by a steamroller, Mr. Parfenix blamed his parents, especially his father, who
just happened to own a steamroller.  Evelyn, the first pigeon to ever have a lawyer and a will, left the building
to Mr. Parfenix at the age of 16.  Not too soon later, he let the rest of the pigeons go free,
and banished his parents to Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean.   Several years later, his
father died.  The official report said that a seagull pecked the artery right out of his neck
during a summer swim, but if you were paying attention, you knew it was a pigeon.

Or some kind of strange Pigeon-Man.  It took years for Mr. Parfenix to figure out his alter ego.
First he was a singer in a New Wave Band called The Smell

Then he spent years traveling the world, finding himself.  In this pictures he's journeyed
2 blocks from his house and he's sampling some delicious iced tea.  Little did he know that this
"iced tea" would be the foundation for his famous "SHRINK DRINK" that makes him be able
to change his size from big to small at a simple thought.  During this period he slipped into doing all
sorts of evil things.  He was part of a few gangs, did some second story work, became a rapper,
a forger, a thief, and a nothing-maker.

Here's a song I helped him record when he first decided he was gonna have a go at villainy.

It was at this Andrew Dice Clay show that Mr. P first realized he might be bad.

When I met Mr. P, the P stood for Plek - that was his pseudonym for the uncountable pages of
unpublished mystery fiction he's written.  We met in a writer's workshop in the local community
college, where we both sat in the back, played Hangman, and did drawings of all the other
losers in the class.  Near the end of the class, my old apartment literally disappeared.  I looked for
it everywhere but I couldn't find it.  That's when Mr. P told me about his building and that he
had an apartment that he thought would be perfect for me.
You can't see our building in this picture.  Not because you can't usually see it, but because it was too shy
to be photographed.  What Mr. Parfenix didn't tell me about the building before I moved in is that it's
sort of alive.  In more ways than one.  The ghosts are one thing.  The Toys that live in the walls are another.
But the actual walls and floor and apartments are also technically "alive". I mean, it's sort of a dimensional
situation you've got to accept. That's why Mr. Parfenix was able to communicate with Evelyn, his adopted
pigeon mom.  
As for me and my apartment, well, we locked immediately.  You could feel it.
And when I put my giant Santa Claus head decoration up on the wall, that's when the apartment,
whose name is Nick, decided to talk to me.

Above and beyond all the things that he is and does, Mr. Parfenix is an avid reader.  He needs to read
as much as possible in order to help feed his own mystery novel, which is actually the bane of his
existence.  Started in 1999 as a getover scheme to make some quick cash, what was supposed to be
a 200 page pulp novel has turned into a 10,000 page/70,000 character fiasco.  

Apparently there are whole floors of the apartment building dedicated to the novel:
storing it, keeping it moist, giving it therapy, playing gin rummy with it.
Sometimes the novel comes to life.  You walk in the wrong door and you've stepped outside into
a drug deal gone wrong in 1960.  Or worse, you get shot in the head.  Word of warning: NEVER take
the service elevator.  There's some chapter from the book that decided it liked it in there, but there
are siamese twin knife-throwers in that chapter, a trigger-happy counterfeiter, a borderline zombie/junky
dance troupe a la West Side Story, and bunch of old farts who fart all the time.  It stinks around there.
Anyhow, Mr. P needs to read SO MUCH that he doesn't even steal money anymore, he steals TIME.
If he touches you in the right way, he can suck a few moments off your year that you won't even notice.
His days are about 72 hours long.  He uses a lot of that time to read, but slightly more fiendishly,
he uses some of the extra time to do NOTHING.
Mr. Parfenix's patented SHRINK DRINK.  Seven of these in the morning and he's good to go.
Well, good to get small.
Sometimes Mr. Parfenix makes a very large batch of Shrink Drink.  That way he can get really small.
He likes to get mosquito-small sometimes because he knows a puddle where the mosquitos
are really sexy and they love a man in costume.
This is the hole that Mr. Parfenix flies out of when he gets small.  It leads through the ventilation
system of our building.  This is usually how Mr. Parfenix enters our apartments and raids our
sock drawers, alarm clocks, and refrigerators.