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#3 The Dentist

Phone rings.

Me: Hello?

Dad: Oh God, Ces, I’ve got this fuckin’ red rash on my right cheek that’s spreading across my whole goddamn face ever since I went to that thieving bastard dentist again who makes a fuckin’ mistake every time he puts that drill in my mouth and now I have this huge abscess that won’t stop growing and it hurts every time I poke at it so fuckin’ much I can’t even put my head on the pillow so I didn’t sleep at all last night I woke up at 2 am and then 2:30 and then 3 am and 3:30 and 4 and 4:30 and then five and then 5:30 and then six and then I finally fall asleep only to have your mother wake me up to tell me she made breakfast for me and when I get out of my bed my back locks up and it’s killing me and as I’m walking down the hallway I bang my fuckin’ knee against that table I made for your mother Jesus you never felt such pain and that knee’s never been good ever since I tried to kick your brother in the ass and the son of a bitch got out of the way and I smashed my foot against the brick wall so by the time I limp to the kitchen the fuckin’ coffee’s weak because your mother already put milk in it even though I keep telling her not to but she never listens to me just like you and Marcello never fuckin’ listen to me why doesn’t anyone ever fuckin’ listen to me?

Me: Who is this?

Dad: What the fuck are you talking about?! It’s me! Your father!

Me: I know, Dad. I was just…sooo…an abscess, huh?

Dad: Oh dear God, it’s fuckin’ killing me, Ces. I should have just punched out that dirty rat fuck dentist in the face so he would know how it feels!

Me: Okay, okay. You have to relax, okay? I’m sure it hurts like hell and I’m sorry. But the first thing you need to do is have the abscess checked.

Dad: It’s fuckin’ killing me!

Me: That’s why you have to have it checked.

Dad: But what if it’s too late?

Me: “Too late”?

Dad: Y’know, what if I’m going to…die…

Me: It’s an abscess, Dad, not a gun shot wound.

Dad: I don’t want to die before everyone else!

Me: Wha…Get it checked. You’ll be fine.

Dad: I haven’t even recorded my rap songs yet!

Me: You’re not…wait, you want to record your rap songs now?

Dad: I even came up with a hippity-hop name.

Me: Hip-hop.

Dad: I even have a hip-hop name–“F.O.G.”

Me: “F.O.G.”?

Dad: “Fat Old Guinea”

Me: Oh, Dad. No…

Dad: So I can’t die now!

Me: You’re not going to die!

Dad: You don’t understand, Ces. You don’t! An abscess keeps growing! It keeps growing and growing and growing until it moves all the way up your nasal passages and attacks the brain!

Me: What?!

Dad: It just spreads across the whole fuckin’ brain! My fuckin’ brain, Ces!

Me: I…I don’t think that’s exactly what happens, Dad.

Dad: Why don’t you ever fuckin’ believe me, Ces? Why doesn’t anyone ever fuckin’ listen to me?! I know these things!

Me: How, Dad? How do you know these things?

Dad: I just do! Just like I can always guess what ethnic group someone belongs to.

Me: You…you don’t still do that in public, do you?

Dad: Plus, a friend agreed with me about the abscess.

Me: A friend? Who?

Dad: Y’know…what’s-his-name.

Me: St. Augustine?

Dad: Don’t be a fuckin’ wiseass! Y’know…begins with an “M”…Morty!

Me: Morty.

Dad: Morty said an abscess goes straight into the brain if you don’t catch it in time.

Me: Morty the typographer.

Dad: It attacks all the nerves and cells. Before you know it you’re dead.

Me: Perhaps you should seek medical advice outside the defunct typesetting industry, Dad.

Dad: You gotta see how red the rash is!

Me: See a doctor, Dad.

Dad: It hurts so fuckin’ much, Ces!

Me: Have it checked, Dad!

Dad: Hurts every single time I touch it…

Me: Well then don’t tou…

Dad: I just knew this would fuckin’ happen! The moment I went back to that thieving rat fuck dentist I just knew this would happen! No good lying son of a…

Me: Dad! Dad!!! Before you start signing pre-need papers maybe you should ask yourself one thing. Just one thing. Do you really know what an abscess is?

Dad: I know it’s gonna fuckin’ kill me!

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tropicana-dad.jpg

We begin mid-phone conversation.

Dad: So last night I was going through all my old advertising art portfolios…

Me: Oh, cool. Any reason?

Dad: Just so I know I had one last look. In case for some reason I die in the future.

Me: Ah.

Dad: Anyway, apparently I really came up with a lot of great shit.

Me: I know you did.

Dad: No, really. I mean terrific shit. Not like the goddamn garbage advertisers use today.

Me: Find any ad in particular that you liked?

Dad: Well, remember those commercials?

Me: What commercials?

Dad: The ones they used to show a couple of years ago?

Me: You mean in the nineties?

Dad: No, about ten years ago.

Me: Ten years ago would be the nineties.

Dad: No, you know the ones I’m talking about. What…what the hell was it called?

Me: You gotta give me a little more info, Dad.

Dad: Y’know, the…the orange juice commercial.

Me: Uh…Minute Maid?

Dad: Don’t be a fuckin’ wiseass.

Me: What?

Dad: What was it…Tropicana! And you’re supposed to be the smart one.

Me: What?

Dad: Remember how they used to show some idiots stabbing their straws into the…the…

Me: Oranges.

Dad: Right, so they could get real orange juice.

Me: What about it?

Dad: Well, I was thinking about those ads yesterday.

Me: Why? They haven’t shown those commercials in like twenty years.

Dad: No, ten. Anyway, I remembered I had come up with the same exact idea way back in the sixties. So I went downstairs and found the slide I did showing a straw stuck into an orange. Do you know how long ago I did that illustration, Cello?

Me: Ces.

Dad: Ces?

Me: Ten years ago?

Dad: 1964! I have the date written right next to the goddamn’ orange! 1964! Can you believe those thieving rat bastards?

Me: What bastards?

Dad: Tropicana! They stole my fuckin’ idea!

Me: What makes you say that?

Dad: Because I came up with it first!

Me: But maybe they came up with the same idea on their own.

Dad: How could they? I came up with it first!

Me: But that doesn’t mean they stole it.

Dad: Of course it does! I came up with it first! If they came up with it after me that means they swiped it.

Me: No it doesn’t, Dad. After all, there are more people than ideas in the world. Don’t you think odds are that sooner or later two people are going to come up with the same idea exclusive of each other?

Dad: But they didn’t have to come up with it because I thought if first!

Me: Dad, listen. You know how when you’re sitting next to Mom and you both have the same thought at the same time without saying a word to each other?

Dad: No.

Me: Really?

Dad: So what should I do?

Me: What do you mean what should you do?

Dad: Should I go down there and beat them up?

Me: Go down where? Beat up who?

Dad: Go to the advertising agency to punch out the thieving art director.

Me: Let me get this straight. You’re going to go to an agency whose name you don’t know to beat up someone you never met who worked on a television campaign back in 1982?

Dad: You want to come with me?

Me: No. No I don’t.

Dad: I’ll bring the slide.

Me: Is that what you’re going to hit them with?

Dad: No, I’m bringing a bat.

Me: What?

Dad: Your bat from Little League. The one you said you didn’t have room for in your apartment. You know, Ces, we have so much of your goddamn old shit just crammed in our garage that…

Me: Focus, Dad. Bat. Revenge.

Dad: Oh, right. So you in?

Me: No.

Dad: I could really use your help.

Me: See you in five to ten years, Dad. Less with good behavior.

Dad: Wait, I thought you were coming next week to visit.

#1 The Party Game

pickadick.jpg

We begin shortly after my Mom has handed the phone over to my Dad, who wishes to ask me something. 

Dad: Boy, your Mom sure can talk, huh?

Me: She was telling me her doctor thinks she might have mono.

Dad: Mono? What’s that?

Me: It’s…wait, didn’t you drive her to the doctor’s office today?

Dad: You wouldn’t believe the traffic on the L.I.E., Ces.

Me: No, I mean wouldn’t you know Mom has mono?

Dad: I was in the waiting room, Ces. The doctor’s not gonna have both of us come in and hop up on the table.

Me: But didn’t you ask what…

Dad: Jesus, Ces, you should have seen the people I had to deal with in there. This old fuck kept sneezing on me. It made me sick. I mean, what the fuck was he doing outside anyway if he’s sneezing like that?

Me: Going to the doctor’s office?

Dad: What? Right, so we had to go to the doctor’s office. Ces, you should have seen the traffic on the expressway. All old people driving…

Me: Uh, Dad?

Dad: Yeah?

Me: Mom said you wanted to ask me something?

Dad: Ask you what?

Pause.

Dad: Oh, yeah. I found this great game I created a few years ago when I was looking through the basement. By the way, we still have a lot of your junk in there and the house is crowded enough. Maybe you can keep all the stuff at your apartment?

Me: What kind of junk is it?

Dad: Your old tests. Some notebooks from elementary school. Your diorama of the Shays Rebellion. What should I do with all this stuff?

Me: Uh, toss it?

Dad: You don’t want any of it?

Me: I don’t need any of it.

Dad: But what about me? You know how much I like to keep all your things!

Me: Just at my apartment.

Dad: Could you?

Me: No.

Dad: Okay, but don’t be upset if your mother throws it all out.

Me: But that’s what I…um, so you said you found a game?

Dad: One I created a few years ago. It would be huge now.

Me: What kind of game is it?

Dad: I think it would be perfect for orgies.

Pause.

Me: I’m sorry. What?

Dad: Y’know, orgies. Sex parties. Like that T-shirt design I did back in…

Me: I know what an orgy is, Dad!

Dad: Do you know how many times some thieving bastard stole that T-shirt idea? You know how rich I could be right now?

Me: Dad?

Dad: Sometimes I just want to punch someone right in the fucking…

Me: Dad? The game?

Dad: Oh, you’ll love it! Right now the working title is “Pick a Dick.”

Me: Oh, Dad…

Dad: You see, each player gets one big tile card shaped like an erect dick…

Me: Jesus, Dad…

Dad: And each turn they get to pick a connecting piece from the pile. Big cards that you attach to the dick like a jigsaw puzzle…

Me: Jigsaw puzzle. Right.

Dad: Some of the connecting pieces show an ass. Others show a mouth. There’s a whole bunch of different cards. And whatever card you attach to your “dick” the person has to do.

Me: Let me get…never mind. So it’s a game for two players?

Dad: No, it’s for an orgy party. I’m thinking between six to eight people.

Me: Wait, so the women even get, uh, “dick cards”?

Dad: Why would a woman have a dick? Just the guys. Six to eight guys. Maybe ten. Depends on whether or not I get around to making more cards.

Me: Oh, so the game is targeted to the gay market?

Dad: Gay?! What on earth made you say that?!

Me: It’s just that you said only guys get to play.

Dad: No, there would be a woman with them.

Long pause.

Me: Oh for Christsakes, Dad!

Dad: Now you get it? Whatever pieces the guy puts together, the woman…

Me: No, Dad. Don’t…just…just don’t…

Dad: What? I thought it would be great for the “tweener” market.

Me: WHAT?!

Dad: Y’know, people in their twenties.

Me: That’s the twentysomething market.

Dad: Wait, how old are tweeners?

Me: Ten to twelve.

Dad: No, no…that wouldn’t be right.

Me: Listen, Dad, it’s just that…where do I begin? Well, when did you come up with this game?

Dad: A little while ago.

Me: How long ago? Were Marcello and I still kids?

Dad: You were…younger…

Me: Okay, who was president at the time?

Dad: I know this…it was…hmm…Nixon!

Me: Nixon.

Dad: Y’know, Ces, he hated Italians.

Me: Maybe…maybe the game is more a product of its time then for today, Dad.

Dad: He constantly insulted the Italians on the tapes.

Me: He pretty much insulted every ethnic and racial group on the tapes.

Dad: Not as much as the Italians.

Me: I don’t think when he mentioned Jews he said, “Great sense of humor. Love their commitment to tradition.”

Dad: Why can’t you ever be on my side?

Me: Anyway, I’m just not sure that, uh, “Pick a Dick” would work anymore…if ever…

Dad: Of course it would! People still have sex. I even showed it to Cello and his girlfriend when they were over last week.

Me: You showed your cardboard erect penises to Brittany?!

Dad: I think she’s shy. She spent most of the weekend hanging out with your Mom.

Ces: Speaking of which, what does Mom think of all this?

Dad: I don’t know. She hasn’t even looked at it. She always looks tired. Do you think she could be sick?