I solved the Morton Huseman mystery. He scares me, though I am trying not to send too much energy to the cold feeling in my spine. Morton Huseman is a friend of Pepe's. This would be reason enough for alarm bells to go off, but it's creepier. Morton Huseman has an unnatural way of swiveling his head from one side immediately and directly to the other side, 180 degrees, so that you are caught unexpectedly in his stare. It is this mechanical swivel that causes the chill in my soul.
He swivels and then says nothing for several seconds, during which time he neither blinks nor moves his mouth. Then, suddenly, he will begin a swishing motion with his jaws, swallow, smack his lips and say, "Aaaah." Pepe of course, can't see this, and all he hears are Morton Husman's affirmations as to his talent and vocal agility, his intonation and accent. Morton Huseman compliments Pepe, swivels his head over to me, and then: silence, stares, swooshes, smacks and aaahs, while Pepe, with his head blindly bobbling, shudders with glee like Richard Simmons and grins at the recent words of praise. It is frightening; Morton Huseman has penguin eyes. You know what I mean.
The universe forewarned me, but I paid little heed. We have grown cynical and unbelieving of signals...The day I came home to find Morton Huseman sitting at my kitchen table eating corn with Pepe, I knew something weird was going to happen. It was one of those days that starts with a purple sky and ends with a tsunami. But none of that matters anymore because as of this past Saturday, Morton Huseman is Pepe's Chinese Opera coach.
It seems Pepe filled out a form online using his little braille keyboard and his faulty voice technology, and he listed me as his reference, which is why I was getting calls for a Sloofa Mansion. I had spent days shouting into the phone, "There is no Sloofa Mansion at this number!!" I didn't know I was Sloofa Mansion. How could I have known? But if I had...perhaps I could have intervened... But after I turned everyone else away...finally there was only Morton.
When Morton, who apparently is exclusive, did his own personal research on Pepe, to determine if he was worthy of his fake-Chinese singing lessons, he found my blog. And I suppose to demonstrate his Authentic Chinesieness, he made a comment about my Authentic Medieval Shepherd's Pie, in Chinese. You can scroll down and see it in all its unintelligible glory, like an ancient Chinese secret. He obviously wanted to be coy, because let me tell you, Morton Huseman is NOT Chinese. He is a red-faced Caucasian man with white hair he wears in a twist behind his head like a skein of yarn. In a corn-induced stupor, he accidentally let on that he grew up in Iowa, NOT Beijing which is what his promotional literature says, and when I ask him about that now, he denies ever sitting there behind a tower of corn talking about his boyhood in Iowa, eyes glazed, face slick with butter, yellow kernals wedged between his small, backward-leaning teeth. I turn to Pepe, who is not deaf, for confirmation, but Pepe will bite the hand that feeds him. He knows I won't throw him out; he's blind, unpleasant and yeasty. And it's January. Pepe needs Morton Huseman's praise for his Chinese Operatic efforts. And Morton Huseman is not a nice man, he would surely withold his gentle kindnesses for any disloyal utterance of truth. Pepe has the sensitivity of the long blind and I know I can not win here.
You might be wondering whether I am scared to publicly denounce Morton Huseman as a fraud as far as online Chinese Opera instruction goes, but I am not afraid. I do believe that he was being coy with his Chinese message on my blog. Because there is no message there that had anything to do with Shepherd's Pie, or using my neighbor's neighbor's name on the label, or Christmas Cookies or even Pepe. This is what his message means:
Difficulty is not a new concept, but rather to avoid the old concept.
So I can think of only two reasons for Morton, the online Chinese Opera teacher, to make such a comment. Either he was playing the Chinese card, trying to look mystical and authentic and lacking a public enough forum so he inserted said coyism into my blog comments so that my vast and rapt cyberfollowing would see him as Confucian and want to learn Opera from him, OR he is saying that my blog about Medieval Shepherd's pie is hackneyed. Something he has read again and again. An old concept. You know...the "gross Shepherd's Pie passed off as a neighbor's cooking" concept. That my difficulty will be in finding a NEW concept to blog about. Or that in general, my difficulty will be with being fresh. As a writer and a person.
Either way, I believe Morton Huseman's purposes could be served by my turning the spotlight on him. Suddenly he has the forum he craves, because my vast and rapt cyber-following will know where to turn for all their Chinese Opera Instruction, and also it is certain that a blog about Morton Huseman showing up at my kitchen table before a toppling tray of boiled ears of corn in January with my blind houseguest Pepe is definitely NOT a played out concept.
So I am not afraid. Except for that swiveling head and those penguin eyes. Which are scary. Perhaps I subconsciously blogged about him so that if anything happens, you will know where to begin looking: in my basement, because for a short time anyway, Morton Huseman, who is apparently down on his luck, will be living with me.