Family Trees Are Flooded

flooded trees

As a boy, just under the age of seventeen, he had been told many times, as many are, to clean up his bedroom. And it was upon such an occasion as this when his father—an actual scientist living out the days and years of his washed out scientific career in the backrooms of corporate Siberia—had poked his nose into the boy’s bedroom and received from his son this response: “It’s just following the natural law of the Universe of maximum entropy, minimal enthalpy.” Indeed, it was a mess, and the energy level was next to zero.

This hadn’t been the first time he’d stuck it like that to the old man. They’d had a family policy that if a movie was coming out that had a book to it, you had to read the book first before you saw the movie. That was the way it worked in this family. And when the horror movie Carrie came out, his father had slapped it down. After all, movies like that were trash, wastes of time. But to the kid’s surprise, he learned soon afterwards that this movie was based on a book. So, he bought the Stephen King novel and read it. Afterwards, as he had read the book first, he insisted he be granted permission to now see the movie of this poor girl who, drenched in a bucket of pig’s blood, seeks her revenge.

Yes, and once, having dissected a frog in Biology, he had brought the picked over skeleton of it back home. Having seen a gruesomely comic black-and-white zombie movie on TV once called Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, the boy had been struck by a comically gruesome idea which he did not pass by the usual channel of paternal approval. In this movie, a bunch of teenagers half-jokingly conjure up (to their eventual dread and horror) the dead in a graveyard. The first to rise from his shallow grave is a corpse named Orville. He becomes the eventual ring-leader of a ragtag bunch of zombies who kill and zombify everybody before crossing over the water at nighttime on a rickety hand-poled ferry to the mainland. And the boy, at fifteen years old, buried his dead frog beside the front stoop of his house, beneath a piece of slate for a gravestone on which he had chalked in the words, “Orville, R.I.P.,” where it greeted everyone for a good ten or fifteen more years.

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