The following is another excerpt from my unpublished/unfinished novel TUTTI, Chapter 2: “The Cage”.
Saturday morning came quickly and quietly, with the exception of Mrs. Rosen from across the street, whom Chad and Julie had to remind several times the night before that there were children upstairs who were trying to sleep.
Chad sat at the kitchen table and sipped his cup of coffee. He was drinking from his favorite mug, the one that had the cartoon of a large anthropomorphic piece of feces with a moustache leading around two smaller anthropomorphic pieces of feces. The caption, of course, was ?Number Two Dad?. It was a gift from one of his office buddies, given to him at around the time Seph was born.
It was Julie, the graduate student studying mythology, who came up with the very clever idea of giving their children names from mythology, with the twist that they would be characters from Greek mythology, so that their pairing with the last name ?Roman? would be laced with hilarious irony to anyone who happened to notice it. Chad was reluctant at first, but agreed for both children when his wife supplied the actual names. Ari was short for ?Ariadne?; Seph was short for Persephone ? both of these names he liked very much, though he was secretly hoping to have a son, which he would name ?Apollo?, or ?Pol? for short, which he thought might be a good name for, say, a star high school quarterback. Julie later admitted that her baby boy name would have been ?Hephaestus?, or ?Heph? for short, which, Chad joked, would be a good name for the founder of an adult magazine.
?He would be taking up the family business!? Chad shouted just before Julie clobbered him.
Occasionally, the girls would become upset that their names were so unusual and never appeared on things like key chains and bicycle license plates sold in discount stores and hotel gift shops, but Julie would mollify them by showing them artistic representations of the mythological characters whose names they bore, which they would always find interesting ? until Julie would inevitably hit that picture in the book, the one in full color, of Hermes, herald of the gods, interpreted here as a fully nude male figure, save for a winged hat; and of course his deific genitals were represented here, in proportion to the rest of his body, as being the size of fire ants. It never failed; the girls would see the picture and point and laugh and squeal uncontrollably, and ultimately Julie would need to put the book away and turn on the television to get them to be quiet. She was never clear, however, on whether they were laughing at the fact the genitals were so tiny, or genitals in general, or the picture of naked Hermes in its entirety, or the winged hat, which was pretty damned funny on its lonesome. Ultimately, she decided not to worry about it. Both children had accidentally wandered into Mommy and Daddy?s bedroom or shower at various inopportune moments, and so it was to be assumed that the girls at least knew of the existence of the male genitalia, if not its function.
Daily Hey Magic Number: 25