Freudian Slips: The Brothers Fim

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

July 02, 2006

The Brothers Fim

The Brothers Fim both landed under the umbrella of my agency’s services but there was not an umbrella big enough in the world to cover their many challenges. Bartholomew and Darby Fim are the kind of bad storm that requires more than umbrellas held by the long arm of the law. I always likened the front door to their home as the gateway inside a Pandora’s Box. Walking to that door, I shared an excerpt from my previous visit with my trainee.
“Have you ever seen reruns of the old TV show The Munsters?” I asked my trainee.
“Yeah. Why?”
“They ain’t got nothing on The Fims. I was here for four hours last time. Although there were many memorable moments, the highlight had to be a semi-nude Bartholomew playing a sweet sounding fiddle while his pet mouse crawled across the broad shoulders of his 6’3” frame.”
Through the screen door, a holler from the heart of the kitchen granted us passage inside. The dispassionate father of the brothers Fim sat hunkered down at the kitchen table absolutely enthralled by a Sudoku puzzle. Darby lay asleep in Tweedy Bird boxers in the den to our right. Bartholomew could be heard plodding down the staircase.
Curiosity brought Bartholomew into the kitchen but anxiety caused his pacing. He moved gingerly for a big man, high on his tiptoes like a ballet dancer. Ahead of even his bare feet, Bartholomew’s body odor announced him. His obstinacy towards the artificial smell of deodorants, powder, soap, and cologne compromised his personal hygiene. Bartholomew’s tactile defensiveness considered clothing a nuisance. Bartholomew found the wrinkles, tags, seams, density, and weight of clothing material too confining. So Bartholomew appeared clad only in a cranberry colored blanket that he fashioned to look like a Roman toga. A single safety pin protected us from lewdness but not his ballet performance. Because he can no longer surrender to a change in routine long enough to accept a modest haircut, his long wavy curly locked hair shook everywhere. At once, Bartholomew resembled a cross between Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf.
I turned to Cassandra, who stared in silent disbelief. “I would like to introduce to you…”
Bartholomew rudely interrupted me. “Spare me the introduction of your young apprentice. This is not a roll call. This is an audition for my attention.”
I pardoned the interruption. “Cassandra, this is Bart and his father Bert.”
“My given name is Bartholomew all the proper and I refuse to believe that I was born of that doormat of a man.” Bartholomew wildly pointed to his biological father before continuing. “In case you’re quick with labels young lassie, somebody with my affliction needs to be in constant motion. As a social worker, you of all dregs of society, should understand obsessive compulsive disorder.”
The crisp affluent language skills are a hallmark of Asperger’s Syndrome. Even so, I tried to redirect Bartholomew. “I know you have rituals, Bartholomew, but can you sit at the kitchen table long enough to sensibly talk to us?”
“Idling one’s time is the eleventh commandment. I choose to literally and figuratively make a stand. Need I elaborate further the reason for my being?”
Bartholomew continued to stand and pace as we discussed treatment recommendations for him and his brother. The father listened but he could do little to manage the contents of the household that the mother abandoned.
I asked, “Bartholomew, what do you think about agreeing to a psychiatric evaluation with the possible outcome being prescription medication?”
“Medication is mind control. It is resident evil.” Bartholomew did a twinkle toes ballet over to me then pinched the skin on my forearm. “Do you feel that, Joe?”
“Ouch.” I grimaced.
“Medicine makes me not feel.” He explained. “It turns me into somebody who I am not and a somnambulist I am not.”
A malnourished cat scurried across the table leaving a trail of fleas. My nose picked up that breakfast had been burned to an unrecognizable composition on the stovetop not too long ago. Darby’s daughter, Roshshashanahan, clanged up the basement stairs to join us in the kitchen. Roshshashanahan was recently expelled from school for shooting classmates with a BB gun. She craftily used electric tape to secure the gun down her back then walked it past the metal detectors. A product of her environment and genetics, Roshashanahan seemed like the reincarnation of Mischief Night.
Now hearing voices, Darby roused awake on the couch. He rose up and stretched his limbs. It was the first time that I had ever seen Darby bare-chested. Cassandra and I found ourselves reading his tattoos like a testament to his hard life.
“Roshashanahan, go get Daddy a beer from the fridge." ordered Darby. "A longneck.”
“Can we wait on that? I prefer to interview my clients sober at least through the breakfast hours.”
Darby said, “Cancel that beer, baby.”
After a yawn and the donning of his hearing aide, Darby was ready to take in the world, if the world was ready to take on Darby. I remembered better days when Darby’s biggest challenge was attention deficit disorder. That was before the fateful pickup football game. Darby hauled in a 65-yard pass with his meat hooks and headed for the go-ahead touchdown. Darby glanced over his shoulder and with nothing but daylight in front of him; he knew he could outrun the last would-be tackler. Darby scored the touchdown but forgot about the Caterpillar bulldozer parked near the end zone. Construction workers had left heavy equipment parked on the edge of the playing field. Darby suffered a skull fracture that required medical transport by helicopter. An emergency craniomity was performed at the hospital, which included surgical evacuation of the hematoma. Darby had one meaningless touchdown to show for a lifetime of crippling brain injury.
“I see everybody is awake and talking about the problems of the brothers Fim.” complained Darby. “Joe, what about you? You used to wear a beekeeper’s suit.”
“Indefensible.” I admitted aloud. Then I whispered in a side bar to my trainee. “More on that later.”
Meanwhile, Bartholomew pulled the curtains over the windows like the end of a stage production. His ritualistic behavior virtually incapacitated his daily functioning. In fact, his quirky habits made it nearly impossible for him to leave the home. Bartholomew switched to a British accent that had its similarities with theatre. Bartholomew sang the soundtrack to the Phantom of the Opera before switching to the emission of strange whooper will noises and wildlife cackles. Then came the yodeling. The change in venue conjured up the unlikely union of hillbilly meets the sound of music.
Darby sauntered to the kitchen and creaked a kitchen chair across the floor. As if announcing his own arrival, Darby sat down then promptly farted. I left a neuropsychiatric report on Darby out in plain view on the kitchen table. I noticed Darby glancing down at the report so I slid it towards him. He picked it up and started to read it. From the exhaustive report, he lifted the only two objectionable words from a page littered with strong-worded diagnosis.
“Jesus Christ! I have Tourette’s Syndrome.” announced Darby as if he was stating his own case.
Nobody paid much attention to Darby’s revelation. The father instead scolded Bartholomew.
“The world is not a stage, son. Get off that coffee table. You are not here to entertain. Stop what you are doing. Have you ever done anything for the common good? You need to mingle with common folks. Have you ever done anything for the common man?"
Bartholomew’s feet came to tap dancing surrender atop the coffee table. He gritted his teeth like a man in conflict with his own advertised ideals. “…In the last election, I voted Democratic.”
After some chuckles, Darby admitted, “We just got the carpet replaced. Bartholomew wore out the last carpet. It was in perfect condition except for the path paced by my ignoramus brother. Jesus Christ! I can’t believe I have Tourette’s Syndrome.”
“Stop talking in circles, you tattle tale?” fired back Bartholomew. “Darby, you are just trying to look better than me in front of our visitors, these egotistical pundits reducing themselves to house calls.”
I mediated, “Bartholomew, can you drop the British accent and the role playing to talk to us in a normal voice? Darby, I can explain that new diagnosis.”
Bartholomew jumped off the coffee table long enough to talk about his personal dreams. “I wish to conquer the world without anyone finding out it was me. I will go to France and run my kingdom from abroad. I hate Americans so I will get along famously with the French.”
I invited, “If you talk to me at the table, maybe we can also discuss acting classes or a theatre group for you, Bartholomew.”
Bartholomew replied, “I don’t need acting classes. I need a stage.”
Darby interjected, “Shut up or I’ll tell Roshashanahan to go get her gun.”
Bartholomew argued, “Don’t side with them. They are limited intelligence without a shred of charisma.”
Darby asked, “Dad, can you ask Bartholomew to sit at the kitchen table with the rest of us?”
Bartholomew answered before his father could even look up from Sudoku puzzle. “The more I surrender to change, the more new demands are placed on me.”
Cassandra could see the growing frustration on my face. Time was wasting but it seemed like hours had passed. I looked around for a wall clock in Pandora's box.
“What time is it?” I asked.
“Only Bartholomew would know.” mouthed the father. “Yesterday, he hid all the clocks and watches in the house.”
“I find the ticking sounds an intolerable cruelty.” Bartholomew raised his pointer finger in triumph. “There will be no clocks in this house forever more.”
I stammered. “…Wait a minute. I feel like I’m trapped in a scene from a movie.”
Bartholomew lunged at me thrusting an invisible pretend sword to my throat. “That would be Captain Hook, mate, starring Dustin Hoffman as the similarly afflicted."
Oblivious to Bartholomew’s theatre, Darby again bemoaned, “Jesus Christ! I can’t believe I have Tourette’s Syndrome.”
Cassandra called in the time from her wristwatch. We had only survived ten minutes in the house.
"Jesus Ch5i$!" I cursed in my head. "I can't believe it has only been ten minutes."

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10 Comments:

Blogger E said...

Is this for real?! Wow!

12:49 AM  
Anonymous et said...

Joe, you were right in character, stage fright and all!!!!

5:50 PM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

“Spare me the introduction of your young apprentice. This is not a roll call. This is an audition for my attention.”

Oh god, it sound's like he was channeling Isadora Duncan!!

Joe, that was my fave story, I loved it...I was reading it out loud to Whatshisname...thank you for sharing.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

E,
Not just a job but an adventure, E.

Et,
On that stage I wanted the hook but all I get was Captain Hook.

Pax,
You have so many favorites that a subscription might be next. lol

7:53 PM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

Joe,
It's true you always top yourself!

So this posting is my Latest Fave!

So many great lines to quote.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous et said...

Pax........channeling Isadora Duncan? With or without her veil?

11:26 AM  
Blogger eatmisery said...

Happy 4th of July!

12:51 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

eat,
Thanks

4:02 PM  
Blogger Heart Of Darkness said...

I'm sorry, did I get you wrong, or did you just post on my site, calling me 'more horny then a monk'???? I don't know how to respond to that! Or, even, if I should get upset!
Let me know if I should lash out on you or not. Saving my energy for more interesting things otherwise... :)

7:19 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

heart of darkness,
let me shed some light. i implied normalcy when I commented...even monks think.. my comment was meant to soothe not burn a fire within.

9:03 AM  

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