This time my father refrained from letting go of the winch until he had the safety engaged. Soon I was back on my own two feet and under the barrage of my father’s hug. Did I happen to mention my father is an inventor and forges most of his own tools. Those blacksmith arms nearly crushed the life out of me he just saved a few minutes ago. Oh the parenting irony.
“Sonny, I am so glad you came,” he said as the last of the air left my lungs. “I was worried you didn’t get my message.” I tried to respond but I was having trouble deciding what to say before I passed out. “Are you okay?” he asked. Finally seeing that I was turning into a too tall Smurf, he let go. I would say that first breath of air was so sweet, but I as I had mentioned earlier I was on a roof with a working forge, and all I breathed in was the sooty coal fumes being belched. That brought back the idea of the parking lot of hell. Yep, family never lies.
“So what did you need, dad,” I said after the coughing fit brought on by my darkening lungs.
“I need you to take your mom this,” Dad said as he pulled out a pocket watch. The thing vibrated and almost glowed. I was afraid to touch it. He held it out to me. “I heard she needs a bit more protection lately. This thing has a few surprises if someone tried to do anything she doesn’t like.”
I took the watch and was amazed how it was ridiculously light and at the same time felt extremely heavy. “What does it do?” I asked, not really wanting to know, but I needed to know what it could do to me.
Dad took back the pocket watch and opened the face. The inside cover was painted with a scene out of the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. I shivered involuntarily. The Nightmare Before Christmas is my mother’s favorite movie, probably since she loved to frighten you to death. I love my mother, but she can cause nightmares. Just ask my therapist. He was able to help me with those, unlike my conscience. His best advice, avoid my mother. Yeah, that just became much more difficult.
Dad didn’t notice my involuntary twitch. “It makes it almost impossible to track her, which might interfere with her cell phone coverage. It also acts as a small EMP device. When activated, it will short out all electronics within a small radius by pulling out the winding knob.”
Did I mention my dad was a genius inventor? Yeah, I figured that might have slipped my mind when I almost died. Half the time he made the Ian Fleming’s Q look like a country bumpkin. The other half the time Dad has bit off more than even he can chew. Either it doesn’t work, or works in ways that shouldn’t be known to man or God. This time, only God knows. Still I was on a need to know basis with the big guy, and since there wasn’t a deep bass voice giving me the details, I decided to go to the next closest expert. “What is a small radius?” I asked.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I haven’t had the time to test it, but it should work. At least in theory. I would have done more work on it, but I was worried. Have you seen her lately?”
That is a tricky question. You see, if you had a rogue genius under thumb and ran a large organized crime organization, the world is would be your oyster. Dad realized this would be a problem and decided to end his life. Of course, he really couldn’t do that, so instead he left my mother and took up life here on top of a retirement apartment house. He figured my mom would never look for him here. Of course you do not get to be the head of a large crime organization by being stupid, so of course she knew exactly where he went to hide. My mom loves my dad so much that she didn’t want to hurt his pride. She let him have his little fantasy, and uses me as a go between. She gets to keep alive a small part of being human, and he gets to think of the sacrifice he is making to save the world. Isn’t love grand?
As for me seeing her, I try to minimize that contact as much as possible. Actually I try to avoid all Familial and familial contacts. Keeps my life simple. Still, family is family, even when it is Family. Now you wonder why I wax poetic? I have family issues, capital f or not. My therapist eats this stuff up!
So I can’t lie to my dad. “I haven’t seen her in a bit. Business keeps me insanely busy.” Okay, so maybe I can lie a bit. What can I say, I’m complicated.
“Well this will give you an excuse,” Dad said. “You will do this for me, right?”
“Of course,” I said. What else could I say?