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The Old Man Comes Through
by Charles R. Bucklin

When my parents split up - I had hoped we could stay living in our beautiful home in Los Gatos.  Unfortunately, the Old Man, furious at being exiled by Mom put the kibosh on that dream pronto.

No, things were never the same the day the Mayflower Moving Company arrived to take our furniture to a smaller home miles away. Trying to economize we moved into a small house on Pimento Avenue in Sunnyvale.

There was nothing "Sunny" about Sunnyvale, still I guess you can't name a town Hell and expect people to live there.

For years, Matty and I suffered from repercussions of that divorce. Matty shrank in size and I got fatter. After a while, we began to resemble the comedy team, Laurel and Hardy, in adolescent miniature.

The Old Man became emotionally distant and that was fine by me. Familial rumor had it that he had taken up with some hare-brained peroxide blonde floozy in his apartment complex. 

Turns out the rumors about the Old Man were true. His new wife was a bitch. She hated us on sight and the feeling was mutual. 

It wasn't long before I stopped returning the Old Man's phone calls. 

Meanwhile, Mom without any anchor began to engage in self-destructive affairs that usually culminated in us having to move more than once. 

Soon all three of us were crammed in a two-bedroom apartment in a crummy town called "Cupertino." Cupertino was such a flyspeck of a hamlet back then - that even town residents had trouble finding it on a County Map.

If Cupertino was small - our apartment was even smaller. To give you an idea of how tight our quarters were  - If the dog wagged her tail or someone farted - someone or something was usually knocked over in the process.

Good times.


Moving back from New York was a pain in the ass but it felt good to be back in California. I had just finished unpacking my last book box when the package arrived.

In the package was a videotape labeled "Legends"  and a letter from the Old Man. The letter read:

Dear Charlie, 
I know it's been almost twenty years since we last spoke. But you've moved several times and it's hard to keep track of where you are living.
As a peace offering, I am sending you a collection of our Family Home Movies, I put on videotape.
Watch the tape and call me. My number hasn't changed.Love, 

Fondling the tape I grumbled, "I was hoping for notification of an inheritance but...ok."

Popping the tape in the VCR, I kicked back in my Lazy Boy Lounger and sipped black coffee out of a chipped mug.

On the TV screen, a man enters a woman's apartment.

Plumber: "I hear your pipes need cleaning, Lady."

Hugely Breasted Blonde: "Yes, come this way - they're in...THE BEDROOM!"

Music - "Bow-Chicka-Bow-Bow!"

Movie Title obscenely flashes across the screen:




Coffee sprays everywhere out of my mouth - "What the Fuck! The Old Mans' gone senile and sent me the wrong goddamn tape!"

Moments later I'm on the phone hearing the Old Man's familiar laugh.

"Well, it got ya to call me!" he cackled.

"Come over, Son. I've missed you."