By Jasper Wren
I remember it clearly. After a timid knock on the French door of my father’s study, he lets me in. I promptly hop onto his knee for our evening discussion. This day, however, I have more on my mind than simple colonial economic policy, or Boswell’s Life of Johnson—two of our frequent subjects. Today I have one question and one question alone perched atop my mind.
“Daddy, where did I come from?”
Daddy bounces me once on his knee, then ruffles my hair. He stares at me askance through his thick-framed glasses. “Why would a nice boy want to ask such a question?”
“I have heard rumours, Daddy, of deeds done behind closed doors. Deeds between men and women and their parts. And, oh, say that it is not so.”
“Enough!” Daddy says. He picks me up by the waist and deposits me onto the closest ottoman. Daddy stands up and walks to the closest liquor cabinet, then brusquely grabs the closest bottle of whiskey. Forgoing a glass, Daddy swigs greedily from the bottle, whiskey dripping down his chin and soaking the collar of his freshly pressed Brooks Brothers.
“I should retire to my bed chambers,” I say, warily.
“No. You sit down. You want to know where you came from, I will tell you.”
Daddy comes back to me. He sits down and once more grabs me by the waist and places me onto his knee. But this time, oh no, I still remember the horror at this so clearly, this time he places me atop his left knee. It makes no sense. Daddy’s knee is always the right knee and Mommy’s knee is always the left. Something is amiss.
Daddy inhales deeply. “You came from a Stork, son,” he says.
“A bird? I see. Well, that is surprising, I must say, but I am young and fresh to the world. If a bird is what I came from then I shall accept that.”
“No, no, no,” Dad stammers. “The twins that live down the road from us. Tommy and Terry Stork. Your mother fucked them. Both of them. We never found out whose you were exactly.”
The world was changing so fast. One moment I was from a bird, and the next I was from… Wait a minute.
“But, Daddy, there are no Stork twins on our street,” I say, confused.
“There were. I killed them both, just to be safe.”