Memories of a Forgotten Family

by Colin Bannon

When Claude MacManus was young, his father Sid made him rise before the sun to milk the cows. This always infuriated Claude, as they lived in the streets of New Jersey where there wasn't a cow for 30 miles. You see, Sid lost his marbles in The Great War when he saw his best friend, Duncan Fyfe, die before his very eyes from an acute case of sexual frustration. Sid was dishonorably discharged after he was caught squatting in General Fitzpatrick's pecan pie. As the story goes, Sid thought it resembled the outhouse.

        After a few two-bit jobs and even more one-bit jobs, Sid found a four-bit job and traded it to a Mexican named Earl for two two-bit jobs and a set of rare first edition dust covers. Subsequently, he met a prostitute named Bella Del Toro, or Bella The Bull, who lived under the stairs of the YMCA. They were unofficially wed and moved to the steps of the Fuller Insurance building where there was more space and less Athlete's foot. They had a child together to whom they gave the name Olivier, after Bella'a favorite actor, Sir Mort Bathers.

        After a short period of denial, it soon became painfully obvious to the couple that Olivier wasn't their baby after all, or even a human being for that matter. He was what looked to be a stock portfolio an employee had dropped out of the 5th story window. They agreed that they would love him unconditionally anyway and the unofficial couple unofficially adopted him.

        One summer, Olivier was blown downtown by a tremendous gust of wind. Bella and Sid were heartbroken, but decided it was for the best as he would never fit in with the other boys, being a manila folder. The couple soon gave birth to a real live baby boy. His name was a tribute to Bella's great uncle, who was viscously attacked by a Grizzly bear. As Claude grew up, he decided he didn't much like the steps of the Insurance Building and matters became worse when Olivier suddenly blew back into the arms of his parents. A small sibling rivalry developed after Claude and Olivier were forced to share a stoop. Claude would continually win the arguments by reminding Oliver that he didn't have a mouth and couldn't speak.

        Feeling deprived of privacy, Claude begged his parents to find work so they could move away. Sid took his son's advice and found work breeding exotic smelt at a near-by fish hatchery. Bella went back to work as a woman of the night where she made $500 from costumer with Alzheimer's who kept forgetting he'd already paid. Later that night, she died from complications of guilt. After a brief period of mourning, it became night.

         Sid, Olivier and Claude moved to New Jersey where all the steps seemed to be taken, the American dream gone awry. They roamed the streets looking for shelter and found it in a restroom at a Philadelphia gas station. The family was poor, tired, and hungry, but never worried about being unsanitary. One fateful day, the family's money worries were resolved when they discovered there was a reward out for Olivier, who, according to a poster stapled to a telephone pole, contained pentagon secrets and Colin Powell's locker combination.

        For his entire life, Olivier was brought up thinking he was merely a stock portfolio. Because his whole life seemed to be a lie, Olivier sank into a deep depression, took up smoking and eventually caught and burned. Fortunately, Sid and Claude saved the valued papers, claimed their reward and moved to Earl's Nudist Community for the Terminally Shy, where folks walked around pretending to be naked, but refrained from actually stripping in fear of chuckles. More importantly, after years of waiting, Colin Powell was now able to retrieve him gym clothes.

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