I FOUND OUT, IN THE WEEKS LEADING up to the safe purchase, that he had already started to collect the content to make his Frankenstein. He worked forward with the TiVo box, downloading every minute, of every day, before he collected a terabytes worth on a backup drive, which would then be added to the safe, after our superhuman and pre-chiropractic lifting performance. He also worked backward into history, through many insufferable phone calls to Fox News, and Cox Cable, and TiVo trying to locate who had the archives for this proper human anthropology, as each company deferred the problem to another. Ultimately, Fox agreed to fill his terabyte backup drives of pending discography, in return for an internet testimonial, attesting to the nobility of the show, and lamenting the “Killing of Bill O’Reilly”, and a word about his project - the collection of all aired Fox News segments. All of this, the safe and the thousands of terabytes, he stored in the attic, the tallest part of the house whose support beams ran laterally and also linearly, and upward 45 degrees to bisect the horizontal studs. This was the fulcrum of the house, where all things electrical and fiber optic pilgrimage, and where the function of the house was at stake.
Before the safe implementation, during the part of his schedule that entailed walks down to the beach, he’d stream an episode of Atomic Facts from the safe. The long straight sections of sidewalk from the house enabled a line of vision toward the ground obstructed only by glass, plastic, lithium, and changing colors. He’d look up for crosswalks and to verify he’d reached his destination. But mostly, he’d look down at two dimensional white males with $75-and-a-tip left part haircuts, red ties, blue blazers, who’d do their best work to cut off “NEO-SOCIALIST!” guests, from saying the list of bad words like gun-control, or geremander, or equality. The full-on neck strain, the deranged schizophrenic and the Harley-rider-sized penis appearance, they were all worth it for “THE TRUTH!”.
Very liturgical was his response to this rhetoric, “yes you fuckers!”.
He’d walk blind save for a four by two window, and deaf but to what the best pair of earmuffs were saying.
He continued this disposition into the rest of his life, interacted with people as if they were extensions of his own body. We, his sons were the arms and legs required to move furniture and pick up prescriptions, and walk the dog, and mostover, set out to eradicate every piece of dust on planet earth when it came time to clean. Janice was only useful for the tactile; food and sex. She served as tongue and penis on the macro-organizm . But the extension didn’t stop within the home and with the family. He was on the phone at all hours of the day, F. News in the background, calling this motherfucker and that motherfucker trying to record all ten of the advertised channels TiVo claimed to be capable of at one time, should the rest of the family’s archiving wishes approach nine channels at a time. Or, he’d be demanding a Cox Cable man as personal assistant or telling some extremely patient customer service representative that “YOU need to make ME a password because YOUR password requirements are FUCKED!! These people served as connecting nodes and fundamental biological networks; neuronic, vascular, capillary for connecting the major organs of this ubermensch.
The six degrees of separation that we are all born into, the network which is never utilized beyond one or two contacts, was a series of nodes for him. How many synapses and sheaths and transmitters are tripped when you touch a hot plate or a stove? He had the same systems neuromuscular for whatever product needed to expand his reign. Had several landlines all simultaneously on hold with vendors or politicians, social media contacts, and Viagra support employees. And when any bit of information was received regarding, say, an endangered part of an old washing machine, he’d then dial, with the new lead and leverage the information to get one step closer to realization. Parts in India, Hong Kong, Mexico, you name it, his voice reached there. He a peripheral nervous system to collect whatever came out of the mouth of Sean Hannity.
Through the ceiling Saul yells, “Son, son, can you hear me!?”
“You should start to see the snake right now”
Out of the corner of the inlet where all things television related lie, the metal snake appears, last used to retrieve long hairs from the sink, and to taunt his wife with them. “Yeah I got it”.
Ok, you see that long package of cable on the table? Open it up and tape one end to the snake!”
I fucked around with some duct tape for a minute, and left a trail of wadded up frustration on the ground. And then finally, “Alright I got it. Go ahead and pull!”
The coil of cord situated in a perfect circle began to rise like half a DNA strand, as Saul mimicked a rowing motion in the attic to pull it up. It was as I watched the cord rise that I noticed the TV, which was lying on the ground face up, and still plugged in, had been playing the entire time. A sound bite caught my ear, “Up next, a chicken survived with its head cut off for 18 months”.
“OH SHIT, EARTHQUAKE”, Saul’s voice muffled its way through the ceiling from the attic.
Sure enough, he was right. One of those that makes the chandelier swing in an interesting yet controlled enough manner that has you slowly side stepping to a doorway, silently, rather than running and yelling - maybe a 4.0. And as I watched the crystal rock back and forth, and after a picture frame, whose little-studied architectural support designed to prop it nearly straight up, fell down from a poor center of balance, I thought for a second, that maybe the entire house just took one big step.
Daniel Erickson is a CPA living in Seattle, Washington.
"Untitled" by Kendall Hanselman