Andy subscribed to Elle, Cosmo, Glamour, Vogue, and W, a dozen or so your celebrity gossip rags, and O, of course. He read O in the interests of personal self-improvement, self-fulfillment, self-nurturing, and an improved sense of all-around selfhood. He wanted to like himself. Andy's wife Gloria suspected Andy of homosexuality or at the very least of being at the far metrosexual edge of heterosexuality, but seeing as how she was 82.5% lesbian she figured the wisest course was not to make an issue of it.
Come vacation they drove south with their 3-year-old son Claude to visit Gloria's mom Delores, whose cancer was in remission. She lived on the water and wore a tan and played golf. Her husband Dave, Gloria's father, died in a rather grisly boating accident. It was still retold with gory relish by the older staff at the country club, as a kind of object or moral lesson on boating etiquette and the terrible things that can happen when you don't respect your propeller.
Andy liked Delores. She had a great sense of style and was a kind of real-life Jacquelyn Onassis in his eyes. Like Jackie O she had a great tragedy in her past that she wore with grace, like a fashion accessory. Unlike Gloria she approached every day as a chance to inhabit some new fashion, as if she were a living model and her life an ever-changing magazine spread.
On the second day of their visit Gloria and Delores got into a spat over something having to do with Claude causing Andy, whose capacity for conflict was low, to flee to the nearby shopping district where he window-shopped the women's clothing stores. Meanwhile Claude himself, who insights were relatively sophisticated for a 3 year old, was beginning to realize that his family life was rife with conflict, and that existence, which he'd spent his first two years thinking was pretty easily deciphered, was really rather murky after all. He understood that his parents' sexual positions were if not reversed then close to it, and knew without knowing how that his grandmother was somehow complicit in his grandfather's death.
That night he lay awake with his hands folded behind his head, thinking about how he was going to have to go to kindergarten, then grade school, then middle school, then high school, then college, then for his postgraduate studies, and so on. And somewhere along the line he'd be expected to marry, or at least fall in love, and have children or at least consider children. And it was all so boring he thought he'd go mad.
But not weightlifting or running. Something riskier. Something involving a kayak or a luge. And goggles and a gun. Goggles and a gun and a kayak and a luge. And a sword or harpoon. Not enough sports require a harpoon, if you ask us. And a trampoline maybe. There's definitely a sport waiting to be invented that involves a luge and a trampoline and a harpoon. And a suit of armor. Find yourself a luge and a trampoline and harpoon and a suit of armor and you've got yourself a sport that's mad fun. Throw in a catapult and some animal pelts and you've got even more fun. More fun than throwing yourself around a rubber room, even.
The rain began to slow down before it even began. Or so thought Krain, who saw the ends of things in their beginnings. Other people looked at a baby and saw a baby. Krain saw an old man on his deathbed. He saw the pain, the three failed marriages, the child who died young, the other child who never visited. Who was in Spain even now, as the old man was dying. He saw the seventeen automobiles, the six apartments, the four houses. He saw the long succession of lawn mowers, the two heart surgeries, the second wife who was the love of the dying man's life. He saw a baby and he got thoroughly depressed. He saw funerals in christenings, divorces at weddings, the last day of summer on the first day of summer, etc. It started raining. He saw the sun. He saw all of eternity telescoped into an instant, the distant future fading into the past. His wife came out onto the patio and said, "What do you want for dinner?" "Thanks," he said, "I'm finished."
Dear Fellow Students of Mr. Clark's "Science Lab":
It was us who stole the gopher.
You're probably wondering why.
The truth is, we don't know. We didn't really want a gopher. We
don't even like gophers. Maybe in the back of our mind we thought we
could sell or pawn the gopher. If so we were sadly mistaken. If
there's anything we've learned through the experience of stealing Mr.
Clark's "Science Lab" gopher, it's you cannot sell or pawn a gopher.
You cannot go to a pawn shop and say "How much for this gopher?" and
expect to receive a nonabusive answer. As for selling a gopher,
there's a reason you can go to any mall in America with the reasonable
assurance that you won't run across a store called Gophers and Stuff.
Nobody wants to buy a gopher, hot or otherwise.
We should have brought the gopher back right away, we know that. We
were wrong to keep the gopher when we couldn't sell or pawn it. But we
were even more wrong to send, as we did, a ransom note for the gopher
to Mr. Clark's "Science Lab." Threatening to shoot the gopher unless
our demands were met was wrong and very traumatic to you, our fellow
students. For what it's worth, we had no intention of really shooting
the gopher. Also for what it's worth, we still don't think our ransom
demand of $50 and a hoagie was exorbitant. But be that as it may. We
were caught and the gopher was returned to its rightful place.
The moral of the story is crime doesn't pay. At least when the loot is a gopher.
Clarence was cutting wood in the forest when he happened up a golden clodhopper. It was as tall as he was and must have belonged to a giant. He dragged it home and said to his wife, "There's a giant living in the woods. I found his giant golden clodhopper." His wife was watching Entertainment Tonight and she said, "That's nice." Then she said, "That Angelina Jolie is so beautiful." Clarence said, "She's over the hill if you ask me. You know who's up and coming. That Megan Fox." Mrs. Clarence said, "Good luck to her finding a man as handsome as Brad Pitt," and Clarence responded, "I like him but I'll damned if I know why he married her. She's got more foreign kids than UNICEF." The two of them watched Mary Hart introduce a segment on some star from Lost. "She's been host of this show since forever," said Clarence. "1982," said Mrs. Clarence. "That's a long time," said Clarence. They cut to a commercial for the new Toyota something-or-other. "What should we do we the giant golden clodhopper?" said Clarence. "Put it in the garage, I guess," said Mrs. Clarence.