GBH here, short for Gordon Bartholomew Hoffman. GBH sounds like I'm somebody important, doesn't it? Why do I keep asking you things? You don't know anything except what I write in you.
It happened again this morning. It happens at least once or twice a week, and it always happens in the morning. That's when Dork waits in the kitchen for me to come up from the basement where I had taken my wet underwear and sheets and put them in the washing machine, dropped in some soap, and started the wash cycle.
I knew Mother was there because Dork was grinning. He always grins before he makes fun of me, that is, when somebody else is around. It must not be much fun for Dork if nobody else but yours truly is with him.
* * ** *
Jimmy Kell said this about Dork: "He grins like a shit-eating dog."
Bobby and I laughed our fool heads off when we heard that.
"It's the truth," claimed Jimmy. "Besides that, Bill's an asshole who thinks he's better than the rest of us. That's why he hangs out with rich kids like stuck-up, suck-up, Walter Wefel."
"For certain," said Bobby.
* * ** *
Back to the kitchen. "Mother," said Dork, a little louder than he needed to, still wearing his shit-eating grin, "Gordy's going to be in the Marshfield insane asylum when he grows up because he can't stop wetting the bed, isn't he? Kids older than two years old who can't stop wetting the bed have something terribly wrong with them, don't they?"
I'm eleven-years-old, and I still piss the bed and hate that grin, his shit-eating grin. Sometimes, I wish I could knock it off his face. Maybe with a baseball bat.
And what does Mother say? Not one single word comes out of her yap. She says absolutely nothing. Which tells me she agrees with her shit-eating pet.
So, later that day when Dad arrived home from his house calls, I could tell he wasn't drunk. That’s when I dared approach him, sitting in his parlor chair. "Dad?"
"Do you think I'm crazy?"
Dad smiled. "No, Gordy, I don't think you're crazy. Why do you ask?"
My shoulders almost touched my ears as I shrugged. "Just because."
"As far as I'm concerned, you're an intelligent, healthy boy with an overabundance of energy, that's all."
So, there, Dork, take that. You don't know anything.
"Did you and Mother adopt me?"
Dad took off his glasses. Both sides of the top of his nose where his glasses rest were sunken in and red. "Why do you ask?"
I shrugged, big time. "I don't know."
"No, you're not adopted. By the way, I'm more than certain you're my son because when your Mother came home from her first Rochester hospital visit, you were conceived."
You mean I was born?"
"No, I said you were conceived."
"Someday, Gordon, when you're older, I'll explain it to you."
* * ** *
(Dad didn't have to explain the word "Conceived" to me. I already knew the answer. Jimmy Kell explained to me, his younger brother Bobby, sisters, Hen House Helen and Betty Ann, and my sister, Crazy Annie, "A husband puts his wiener in his wife's crack that's between her legs for a baby to start."
"What happens then?" asked Hen House.
Jimmy got kind of angry. "Well, he pisses in it, of course, that's what,"
"He pisses in it?" screamed Crazy Annie. "Yuck. And that's how a baby starts?"
"Double yuck," squealed the three girls).
Bobby and I just laughed because eventually we get to do the pissing, but the girls, what do they have to look forward to?
* * ** *
Whenever Dad calls me Gordon, he's starting to get hot under the collar. I needed to calm him down or I'd get it. That's for certain. Right then, I remembered he mentioned Rochester. I hear that word used a lot at night. By both him and Mother. The way I figure from what they yell at each other, Mother was hurt bad in a car accident while Dad was driving drunk. Doctors in Rochester placed steel rods inside her leg on her hip. At least, that's what he and Mother scream at each other long after Dad comes home drunk. It's usually their last argument before they shut up and Mother goes to sleep while Dad listens to operas on the record player and paints oil pictures of people and houses on canvas.
"Rochester, huh? Was I born in Rochester?"
Surprisingly, Dad smiled again and said, "No, you were born in Riverview Hospital, right here in town, but we lived in Vesper. You almost died from pneumonia shortly after that."
"I almost died, huh?"
"Yes. Bouncer, our Chow-Chow, was your full-time nurse and guardian. He lay under your crib, all night and all day and guarded you, except when he needed to go outdoors to do his duty."
Now, it was my turn to smile. "Oh, yeah?"
"Yes. As a matter of fact, he growled at anyone, including your brothers, if they tried to approach you. Bouncer allowed only your Mother and me to go near you and that crib of yours."
* * ** *
I'm thankful Bouncer kept Dork away from me. I wish Bouncer was still around. I'd sic him on Dork. "Bite him, Bouncer, bite him." All I can remember about that dog is his purple tongue. I thought it was weird.
* * ** *
"Don't you remember his retractable claws?"
"Able," Dad finished for me. "Chow-Chows come from China. They're actually dogs but they have retractable claws, just like cats."
"That's weird, isn't it, Dad?"
"Purple tongue is all I can remember."
"He was your best friend after that. You and he played together a lot before he got old and died."
He waited a long time and then asked me with, "Yes?"
"Why do I stutter?"
"Son, you're full of questions, aren't you? The way I see it is you stutter whenever you're excited."
"So, I shouldn't get excited, right?"
Dad sighed. "I guess."
He was preparing to read the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune because he lifted it up and pulled the pages apart, the double pages held high before him. I couldn't see his face any longer.
"Dad, why do I wet the bed all the time? If I don't stop, I won't be able to join the Navy when I graduate from high school. And I'll probably end up in the nuthouse at Marshfield."
Sighing, Dad re-folded the Tribune and laid it on his lap, took off his glasses, blew on the lenses, and rubbed them with a white handkerchief. "Gordy, you're going to outgrow wetting the bed long before you join the Navy. Don't you worry about that. Besides, I hope you'll go to college and medical school, instead of joining the Navy. But if you really want to join the Navy, I'm certain you'll be a top-notch sailor as you are a top-notch son."
"I'll probably have to go to college because I'll wet the bed until I'm fifty years old."
"No, Gordy, you won't. I should know."
I didn't want him to get upset. Besides, his words made me feel much better. "Thanks, Dad."
"You're welcome." He lifted the paper, again.
Soon, he'd turn on the radio and listen to Gabriel Heatter, the newsman.
I figure Dad really should know all about my problems. He's a doctor and graduated as the top student in medical school. At least, that's what Mother says. I guess that's important to her.