They received the father they did, Father 750194259, who seemed worn at first
too tight for fatherhood, because this season was a busy one for fathers.
Their request had been submitted so late for a new father. Though Father
did not disappoint, was not an inferior father. Instead he was mainly attentive,
knew with which of his limbs to perform, and what to bring them when they
missed strongly the father.
He brought them batteries, soup in bread bowls he had baked himself, sneakers
studded with green glowing lights on the heel, brought them into the air;
he threw them out his thin and tapering hands and gently into the bed where
his sleep, though the bed was not mostly his bed but the fallen fathers,
and perhaps the bed of the mother somewhat absent from his grammar of raising
He then would happen in the bed with the son and daughter, fall in on his
stomach, laugh with them while they walked bouncingly on his back even though
physically hurt. He would point them out of the window and fly them zippingly
around. He would sometimes forget Monday.
Mostly Father 750194259 was good to have around.
He fixed the rooftop satellite so that someone would know where they were. All
fixed, he said.
The son and daughter watched the channels that were not channels but radio
Why dont you watch real TV? Father 750194259 asked.
This is real TV, the daughter said. She blinked then the channel, or
He squatted to distribute high-fives, to bring closer their heads to his
For breakfasts he etched fried eggs in a bed of sourdough bread. The son
and daughter screamed when it was served to them. Why they screamed it is
Thank you for being a father, the son said.
Thank you for being a son, Father 750194259 said.
The father came to find them in the night, though he knew where they would
be. The son and daughter heard the call of his van in the driveway. They
750194259 pressed into the couch, bewildered, paralyzed, unable to retrain
his bugging eyes on the game show where someone had enviously won only to
someday dying. The son and daughter stood on the stoop, watching the father,
silhouetted by the headlights of his van, heft a rolling suitcase, stuffed,
inside darkness. The father was very round and had been built now rounder,
My children, he said. He deposited his suitcase on the concrete. The
father stood, possessing himself. He let out a storm of air. He opened his
cough-riddled, like taking the son and daughter in there. He pulled off his
hair, showing a glistening globe. He thought I wish I did not have the mothers
body in the van. He unfixed his arms and, coughing once, rearranged them
to fit in
the children. The children stood still on the stoop, shivering. The father
gave a come here gesture with the tips of his fingers.
Come to your father, the father said. He approached them and stuffed
them full of him on the stoop, the three bodies lit as one by an overhead
The father pounded foully down his feet. Father 750194259 watched the credits
roll on the game show. Nobody in the end had won.
I missed you boys, the father said. The son and daughter felt him curl
into a smile. His skin was scented like a fire.
After the credits it was a new show about police. Father 750194259 did not
care about police. He rose himself and went to the foyer, where the son and
culled and sullenly pulled the father, folded over, laughing and coughing
Who are you in my home? Father 750194259 said.
Who am I? the father said. "Ive come back to my home, to
my two children. Do you see them?
No, Father 750194259 said.
Father 750194259 wanted to unlatch his outside and reveal the man lining
his inside, who would confirm how he was finally the father for all their
I will not have been these two children, ever in repetition.
The son and daughter took the father off. They stripped him thoroughly into
another room, while he lumbered and mistook himself for others, coughing
750194259 asked would he retain the house in his name.
Whats your name? the father said.
The father amputatingly hunted or fished, like a true father, for the other
mans hand with his own.
Father 750194259 gave the series of numbers for his fatherhood.
The hand of the father, surrendering searching, found a childs head and
Father 750194259 slept on the couch. He watched game shows on mute instead
In the morning, Father 750194259 filled the attic, the basement, the roof,
all fringes and outer parts of the house, with the electricity of his sobs.
afternoon he was decommissioned.
After two months a new father was assigned to the son and daughter, only
this one was packed full like the body of the father, and had been accused,
never convicted, of two suspiciously minor robberies, which took place in
the same night, and perhaps in the same house. He and the father were very
There was no need, in the end, for the father to return.
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