you’re almost there, Mrs. phemus!

come on, margie, you can do it! push!

hrrnnn.. I can’t!

AURRRGHHH!!!
Congratulations, you have a beautiful baby-- Ehh?

you did it, honey!

what’s wrong? Well.. it’s, um.. it’s. . you see.. it’s a.. .

Well, it’s a boy.

The O
All the tests came back normal. The doctor said aside from the, um.. defect.. the baby is perfectly healthy. Defect? this is our baby, no matter what he looks like! baby?? that.. that thing-Paul. his name is paul.

E ay:

The Memoirs of Paul Phemus
co-wri en and i ustrated by Michael Gage Costa

FF

grgl blf da-da. say da-da. ma-ma! hrm.

honey, quick! paulie is taking his first step!

I’m in the middle of fixing the sink.

K

F

KK

RR

R

aw, don’t cry, paulie. see? all better.

stop coddling him, margie, it’s just a scratch.

1

hi, i’m paulie. I DON’T KNOW.

I’M JIMMY. HOW COMES YOUR EYE LOOKS FUNNY? IT LOOKS FREAKY.

MOM, AM I A FREAK?

NO, DARLING, YOU’RE NOT A FREAK. YOU’LL ALWAYS BE MY SPECIAL BOY.

DAD, YOU WANT TO PLAY CATCH WITH ME?

NOT RIGHT NOW, PAULIE. THE GAME IS ON.

6:30 PM

HEY FREAK! NICE LACK OF DEPTH PERCEPTION! HA HA!

SHUT UP!!

I’M SORRY, MRS. PHEMUS. I WILL NOT TOLERATE FIGHTING IN MY SCHOOL, AND THIS WAS HIS THIRD STRIKE. I’M AFRAID I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO EXPEL HIM.
PRINCIAL

but fred, he’s just a boy! no, he’s not. not to the other kids. don’t be naive.

your father and i have found you a new school. it will be better there, you’ll see.

2

Hey, two-eyes! nice specs.

ha ha, yeah! can you see the future with those things?

What? . .no. I- I mean..

ACADEMY FOR EXTRAORDINARY JUVENILES

what a freak.

hi, I’m lilith. i saw you in geometry.

i’m paul.

don’t take this the wrong way, but why are you here at the academy?

oh, well.. I have a tail!

wow. that’s really neat!
thanks.

thanks. I like your eye.

you want to go to a movie or something this friday?

DAD, CAN I BORROW THE CAR TONIGHT?

FINE. BUT I WANT IT BACK IN PERFECT CONDITION, HOME BY 10:00 SHARP!

THAT WOULD BE NICE. really? great! I’ll pick you up at 8:00.

3

I’m sorry, son. Lilith can’t go out with you.

DAD, THIS ISN’T FAIR!

Dad, Please!
HONEY, I SAID NO. BE ON YOUR WAY, SON.

NO DAUGHTER OF MINE WILL BE SEEN WITH A FREAK.

CLAN

G!

where the hell have you been?? it’s past midnight! Your mother was worried sick! and is that a dent it my car? who the hell do you think you are, you ungrateful little mutant!?

MONTHS LATER
On a night like this, At the gaping yawn Of my life's abyss, The approaching dawn Seems to herald my Inexplicit doubt And the thoughts that I Never talk about. As the crickets sing Their unending song, I lie wondering Why the night's so long, But the days so short That they slip away. Must the time distort What I feel today Into something sad, Something I'll forget? Must the mem'ries fade? Will I feel regret? Memory is not What it used to be, But perhaps that's 'cause Nothing is, to me.

something in the mail for you here.

I got that writing we’re so proud of it’s not harvard, but scholarship to penn state! you! right fred? I guess beggars can’t be choosers.

FWAS

H!

FW

AS

H!

4

CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!

PaulIe Phemus?? Is that you?

lIly? you look great!

oh my God, it IS you! it’s been so long! so do you.

POETRY

I love you, I love you LIly. too, PaulIe.

well in that case.. . .will you marry me?

a toast to my new daughterin-law, Lilith. God Bless Ya! if my son can end up with a girl like you, anything is possible!

Dear. . .

GLAD to have you on board, Mr. Phemus.

I GOT THE JOB AT THE SPARTAN TRIBUNE! Congratulations, Paulie!
cl in k

I want to have a baby.

I’m sorry, Mr. Phemus. Your condition prohibits you from having a child.

I’ve got to work late at the office, honey. I’m sorry.

Oh.. That’s ok.

LILY! I’m home early! how’s about we go out to see--

Oh, paulie! You remember simon, right?

Hey, how are you? Your wife here is a hell of a tennis player, let me tell you.

6

I’M SORRY, PAULIE. THIS ISN’T WORKING ANYMORE.

LILY?? I was hoping you’d call. I--

Paul? it’s Dad.

“You need to come home.”

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for though art with me..

You should have been here. I’m sorry. You didn’t tell me..
you didn’t want to know. so self-absorbed with your own crap--

dad, that’s not true. I loved mom! she was there for me a hell of a lot more than you ever were!

yeah, that’s right. Your mother loved you. She loved you so much, she could never see you for what you are-- a Selfish, Thankless, embarassing freak!!!

well, you know what? everything I am, I learned from you, dad. SO GO TO HELL.

I’m disappointed in you, Paul!

Yeah, what else is new?

I’m sorry, Ma.

I love you so much.

7

Excuse me, I’d like to change my ticket to another destination.

Of course, sir. Where would you like to go?

CHICAGO SICILY NEWARK DALLAS

SICILY.

The Odd Essay
Memoirs by P. Phemus Let it not be said that a man needs two eyes to see this world for what it is. It can be a harsh, ugly place, but there is also beauty if one can find it in themselves to look for it. In my life, I have lived long and seen the true face of humanity, and I have stared back at it. I was born in Johnson City, New York, to Margaret and Fred Phemus. I quickly discov-

M BA AM B

YEARS LATER

what manner of creature inhabits this cave?

8

Who’s there? It is I, Odysse-er, I mean.. “Nobody”!

Nobody. Yes, that’s very funny. Do you need something?

the villagers tell of a man-eatIng cyclops who dwells In these caves. I presume you are he?

what? no.. I mean, yes, but, no-- I don’t eat people. I’m just a writer. I’m not bothering anyone.

trickery, foul beast! Your words taste of Deception.

Are you for real? My name is paul.

MORE LIES, Demon! You scorn me with your effrontery!

...Freak?

PREPARE THYSELF!

I AM NOT

A

FREAK!

Look, I just want to be left alone.

I promise to dispatch you quickly, freak of nature!

. .n-not.. . . not.. a.. f.. f-reak..

. . I’m just your specIal boy.
THE END 9

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