The beatniks – or Gloria and Solomon, depending on whether you knew them or not had a proposition for my parents. They had done their research and learned how badly my parents had fallen. Hell, they had found the tree we were living in! They too, believed in the magical properties of apple sauce and felt that I was a special child. Too special to spend my life living in the Oklahoma forest. Thus, they had traveled from Soho, New York to offer up a deal.
They would give my parents $3500 cash, as well as monthly installments of $40 for three years in exchange for me, TOM Starita.
My father, a cunning businessman, naturally refused the first offer and make quite an impression as he deftly scooted up the tree back home. All the beatniks – Gloria and Solomon, could do was stare open mouthed at my father’s luscious behind shooting up that tree like a rocket. My mother greeted him at the top and laughed at the absurdity of those weird New Yorkers.
A week later they returned, upping the ante. They were now prepared to offer $4000 cash, monthly installments of $47 for four years as well as framed poster of John Travolta during his Saturday Night Fever days, in exchange for me, TOM Starita.
My father looked at them, stroked his wily chin before screaming NO DEAL and once again flying up that tree of ours. My mother was there to greet him when he came back and expressed the same sentiments as last week, except this time she didn’t laugh as hard.
The following week came and went without a visit, and my parents were somewhat surprised. They were curious to see just how much their son was worth. I of course, was oblivious to the whole thing and spent most of my days playing with Chippy and Splinter, my tree bark friends. I was happy in my woodland forest, like a bizarre Robin Hood, except I lived in a tree, was two years old and didn’t save the poor from the tyrannical Sheriff of Nottingham.
But besides that we were exactly alike!
The next week the beatniks – Gloria and Solomon, arrived full bear. No more messing around, no more negotiations. They had a take it or leave it final offer.
Ten thousand dollars cash and my father would be allowed to punch one of them square in the face.
They had found my dad’s weakness.
As a kid my father lived to punch people. Whether it was the bully at school or his grandmother at Christmas, dad loved to hit people directly in the face. There is an urban legend of an incident that occurred during my birth. Apparently, when I was born the doctor announced I was a healthy baby girl. My dad was counting on a son and punched the doctor square in the face. Three minutes later the doctor came to and announced he had made a mistake; they had a healthy baby boy!
My dad loved to punch people.
I’ll never forget looking down from my perch in the tree as my dad literally shook trying to make his decision. Seconds felt like minutes and minutes felt like more minutes as he paced back and forth, stopping now and then to measure the beatniks – Gloria and Solomon’s faces between his index finger and thumb. Finally, he made his decision and called up to my mother.
Then he punched Gloria right in the face. It was the most beautiful punch in the history of punches. Forget any fight or movie you may or may not have seen, this one topped them all. Gloria’s hair was in a bun underneath her beret, and upon my father’s fist making contact with her nose, her bun exploded, shooting the beret fifty feet in the air. When it came down it landed on a moose who had just happened to wander over to see what all the commotion was all about. I believe that moose still has that beret and is now a local celebrity, as the only French moose living in the state of Oklahoma.
(For the record the above sentence caused me to chuckle to myself for twenty seconds)
My mother grasped for me, unwilling to believe they had just sold their only son. She started to yell at my father, who gave a bashful smile and told her between the money and the punch it was a no brainer. I had no idea what was going on and began to cry when the beatniks – Gloria (now holding her broken face) and Solomon took me by the hand and led me away to their helicopter. I was leaving the only home I had ever known and was heading to New York, not as their son.
But as a piece of furniture.