Showing posts with label Short Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Short Fiction. Show all posts

Monday, October 9, 2023

Count Ohno and the Imaginary Dog

Tom Cotton was at work.  At sixty-four, he had enough life savings to last him about eleven months, so he figured he’d be working till the day he died.  He didn’t mind work.  He rather liked it.  If he died working, he wouldn’t mind.  He just wished that being a DJ was as good a job today as it was thirty years ago.  He thought a lot about the fact that, in a couple of years, he’d be heading into a new century, having dedicated his life to a job nobody really cared much about anymore.  

Everybody thought Tom used a made-up name for the radio, but Cotton was the name of his ancestors.  The only thing Tom made up for the radio was Wonder Boy, the imaginary dog that was the butt of most of his jokes.   Tom was the top morning man in central Mississippi for twenty years until a young fella named Mateer took over that spot in the eighties.  Mateer played Top Forty at a time when MTV on cable television had reignited young people’s interest in top-forty music.  

Tom preferred to pick his own music.  Some country, some top forty, with a focus on singers familiar to Mississippi, Bobby Gentry especially.  He’d been in radio long enough to know how playlist services worked; he just preferred to use his own.  In his current job, he gave out the station ID and the time before playing the news over the wire.  When he got to work, he played the day’s recording of the Rush Limbaugh show.  His station played Limbaugh twice a day, once live during the day and once recorded during his shift.  Nearly every day, he received a call from somebody who thought they were talking to Rush.  Sometimes, Tom would talk to them.  He’d done talk radio before, and it was nice having somebody to talk to.  After Rush, he played Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell until four in the morning, when he’d play the recorded playlist until his replacement came at 6:00 a.m.  Sometimes, he’d record commercials and voice-overs, which gave him a little extra money.  

As the night wore on, Tom’s job got quieter and quieter.  When he first started working in radio, the studio was on the first floor of the Lamar Life Building.  A glass window let passers-by look into the studio and see Tom at work and try to catch a glimpse of Boy Wonder, who Tom always said was outside doing his business and would be back soon.  There was some discussion in Jackson about whether Boy Wonder was a real dog or imaginary.  Tom never let on what he knew.  His current studio is in rented office space on the west side of Interstate 55, across from Devilla Plaza on the east.  He sat between the car dealerships and the Chinese restaurants.  When he broadcast from the Lamar Life Building, everybody knew where he was.  Now, nobody cares.

Sometimes, when it got very slow at work, Tom would answer fan mail sent to Count Ohno Notagain.  When Tom worked for one of the top media companies in Mississippi, they had offices and radio studios in the Lamar Life Building and an independent television station a few blocks away on Commerce Street.  

There were two television stations in that part of town.  One was the fabled WLBT, one of Mississippi’s oldest television stations and the only one in the country ever to lose its license for associating with too many racists.  WLBT was an NBC affiliate, but WLFB was independent.  Like most independent television stations, they survived by broadcasting syndicated programs, Gilligan's Island, Star Trek, The Brady Bunch, etc, and packages of old movies.  

Starting in 1964, WLFB signed a contract to offer “Shock Theater.” on Saturday nights.  ScreenGems, the television arm of Columbia Pictures, assembled a package of fifty-two horror films made before 1942.  Most were by Universal, but it also included King Kong, Son of Kong, The Body Snatchers, and I Walked With A Zombie from RKO.  

Most of the stations that carried the Shock Theater package put together a program where a host, sometimes given a creepy costume like a character in one of the movies, would introduce The Mummy’s Hand, Monster on Campus, or House of Frankenstein, and then again lead either into or out of commercial breaks.  

The station manager asked Tom if he wanted to do a voice-over to introduce the movies, but Tom decided he loved the idea and wanted to do more.  He asked if he could use the studio space where they shot commercials and do a program like they had in the bigger cities with Zacherly, Sir Graves Ghoulie, and others.  Tom still owned his father’s 130-acre farm near Learned, Mississippi, and there he had some woodworking tools he was pretty good with.  He made a coffin out of pine boards and stood it upright on a base with locking casters.  He could stand inside and open the coffin lid like a door to start the show.  He built a “mad scientist table,” also on casters, which he decorated with test tubes and beakers from Mississippi School Supply and blinking light bulbs he got from Irby Electric.  He built a throne with locking casters on the feet and decorated it with plastic Halloween skulls.  These three props would be stored in a corner until Saturday nights when Tom would roll them into place with a clip-on mic that dragged the chord behind, and he mostly adlibbed his lines, although he spent most of the week trying to figure out what he would say.  Boy Wonder, the imaginary dog, was replaced by Bubbles The Blob, played by his wife, crouching down and covering herself with several layers of plastic sheeting.

Mississippi Monster Matinee was the surprise hit of the sixties and seventies.  WLFB even managed to license it to stations in the Delta and the Golden Triangle.  School children wrote letters to Count Ohno Notagain and drew pictures of him and bubbles.  For a costume, Tom found an old Tuxcedo at the Goodwill Store.  It had some dry rot at some of the seams, but he was going to dirty it up anyway.  By thirty-five, he still had a full head of hair, but it was already dead white.  On a trip to New Orleans, he visited a magic shop and costume shop, where he bought a white handlebar mustache, a white goatee beard, and white mutton chop sideburns.  A little greasepaint gave him circles under the eyes and thin black lips, and that became Count Ohno.  Tom joked that he looked like Colonel Sanders in a Dracula costume, but the look was memorable, and his young fans loved it.

During the sixties and seventies, Count Ohno made appearances at the Arts Festival in Jackson and the State Fair.  For people of a certain age, Count Ohno was a bigger star than Doc Severson, George Jones, or any of the other acts the grownups brought in.  Eventually, Tom cleared it with his station manager to start a Count Ohno Notagain Fan Club.  The station always figured the show was six months from failing, so they let him do it as long as he paid the expenses.  He rented out a PO box at the downtown post office in the Federal Court House and started telling kids an address where they could write to him.  For five dollars, they could join the Count Ohno Fan Club and receive an official Membership Card, a signed 8 x 10 photograph of the Count, and a personal letter written by the count and slobbered on by bubbles, the blob.

As the seventies wore on, Screen Gems quit offering the Shock Theater, but there were other packages, including one that had early Ray Harryhausen films, The Giant Claw, some Hammer Horror, and Tom’s favorite, giant monster movies from Japan.  One night, Tom put on a lab coat, some thick glasses, and a heavy accent to become Professor Tojo Ohno, who talked about how horrible Godzilla and Ghidora were for Japan.  He thought it was incredibly funny, and so did his wife, but an irate German woman called the station to complain about the horribly racist portrayal of our Japanese Allies Tojo Ohno was, so Tom decided not to ever play him again.  It was just the one person who complained, but Tom was like that.  He never wanted to offend anybody.

When he started playing Count Ohno, Tom had to draw on the bags under his eyes and the wrinkles on his forehead.  He has all these naturally now, but he still draws them in as part of the ritual of getting into character.  Of all the things Tom had been, of all the parts he played in live, being Count Ohno was the most fun.

The station canceled the Mississippi Monster Movie Matinee by 1985, but Count Ohno Notagain still made convention appearances and command performances at Halloween parties at local nightclubs, like Hal and Mals.  He was always surprised at how many kids listened to his morning show and then watched him on television but never realized he was both people.  Tom never admitted to fans that Count Ohno was actually Tom Cotton, the radio DJ.  It was well into the twenty-first century before the secret made its way to his many fans.

For the Monster Movie project and other programs Tom came up with, he was often left to sell advertising himself if he wanted the show to go on.  Tom had a few places he could always count on for an ad.  BeBop Record Shop, The Little Big Store, and JL Jones Furniture were all regulars.  He sold ads to Mac Bailey Fine Cars in Pearl, where your job was your credit.  Bailey had a pretty active racket selling late-model used cars in crappy condition to desperate people on a weekly payment plan they couldn’t afford; then, after several weeks of struggling to keep up with the weekly payments, he would repossess the car and sell it again.  Some of his better cars were sold six or seven times this way before they quit working.

Tom could always count on Clarance Wong of Wong’s Authentic Chinese Kitchen and Lounge.  Wong was authentically Korean, but nobody cared.  His name wasn't Clarance or Wong either, but that’s what they put on his immigration papers, and he always got a kick out of the fact that he tricked the government.  Wong had a menu with almost thirty choices on it, nearly all made with the same ten ingredients, but your choice of protein.  Wong built up quite a reputation and quite a business over the years.  He wanted very much to leave it to the daughter he loved so much, but she decided to get her MD at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and now she’s an anesthesiologist and not a very good cook.  

Tom’s wife died about six years ago.  He fell in love with her in Junior High School and never thought about another woman.  His father left him a little farm up around Learned with a house on it.  He and his wife lived there.  She had a garden and taught third grade in Raymond.  Tom always fancied himself a farmer.  His father was, and he grew up on that little farm helping his father with the beans and corn.  Farming didn’t pay what it used to, and small farms never paid much.  Once Tom got into the radio business, he eventually gave up on agriculture.  He still lives in the house now, but he rents most of the land out to a guy who grows Christmas trees.  

For a while, Tom served in the Mississippi House of Representatives.  His wife taught school, and he still worked in radio to pay the bills, but when the house was in session, he’d go from his desk in the radio studio to his desk on the House floor and do the people’s business.   As white people moved out of rural Hinds County, districts were redrawn to preserve white majorities for a while, but ultimately, Tom’s district began looking for black candidates, so he retired from the house.  He still paid close attention to every bill that passed through the Mississippi House Of Representatives, even though he couldn’t do much about it.  

As Mississippi raced toward the twenty-first century, Tom felt like his best days were behind him.  Most people remembered him for things he didn’t really do anymore, at least not professionally.  At least two generations of Mississippians grew up listening to him on the radio and watching him on television, but they were becoming parents themselves now, and fond memories of Boy Wonder, the imaginary dog, and Count Ohno doesn’t pay the bills.  What people do because they love it and what people do so they can feed their progeny are usually two different things.

When six o’clock comes along, Tom will drive back to Learned.  He’ll make a cup of coffee and sit on his porch and watch the sun rise over the horizon where Jackson, the State Capitol, the Lamar Life Building, and his wife’s grave lay.  If you can measure a man by his memories, Tom Cotton is one of the richest men in Hinds County.  For tens of thousands of Mississippians, Boy Wonder sits curled up at Tom’s feet.  They can see him, even if Tom can’t.    Count Ohno’s throne sits in the barn, under a tarp, ready for the next show.  Until next time, my ghoulies.  Sleep tight!  If you dare! Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha!

Saturday, July 22, 2023

The Song of Summer Visitors - First Draft

 With San Diego to his right and the Pacific Ocean to his left, Marc expertly turned the steering wheel of his old, but maticulously maintained truck down the ramp edging the trailer with the skiff on it into the water.  Tyler watched his grandfather with rapt attention, like he was watching a ballet.  There was nothing Tyler loved more than sailing with his grandfather.  There was nothing Marc loved more than Tyler, even the sea.

Years ago, many years ago now, Marc tried to teach his wife how to back the trailer down the ramp.  He tried and tried, but she never got the hang of driving in reverse with a trailer behind.  When it became clear that she only had a few years left to live, Marc’s wife, Tyler’s grandmother, asked him to take her out to sea one last time.  He lifted her frail, emaciated body out onto the boat, then miles off shore, in the lanes where the whales pass from North to South, under a starlight sky, she passed from this world into the next.  

He wrapped her body in yards of linen he found at an abandoned craft store with enough stones from her garden to make sure her body went to the bottom of the sea, and he gently lifted the woman he loved over the side of the boat and dipped her into the sea, which would become her final home.  Watching the shrouded white figure of his wife sink into the sea, he heard the impossibly, long keening song of the whales, joining him in this moment of sorrow.

The skiff today had the same body as the boat Marc buried Tyler’s grandmother with, but in the years since it’s had many upgrades, including an array of photo-generator cells on the roof of the cabin, condensed batteries that would hold a charge for years.  The cabin was big enough for Tyler and Marc to sleep, and stored enough food and water for a month’s excursion.  

With the skiff, afloat, inspected and secured, Marc parked the truck, and he and Tyler set sail.  Many years ago, Marcus shucked oysters, bussed tables and tended bar so he could pay his way through college with a marine biology degree.  He had two jobs, one was cataloguing and observing the number of cetaceans that passed by San Diego for the California Dept of Wildlife, and another leading tourists in the winter to see gray whales, and blue whales in the summer.  Watching human beings observe and interact with these ancient and mysterious creatures made him very happy.

Clear of the dock, Marc raised the sail, and steered seaward.  His thick, white hair, with curls as thick as his thumb blew in the wind.  Tyler’s hari was the same texture, same cure, but glossy black.  They set sail.  Marc’s strong broad hand on the tiller, his deeply tanned skin wrinkled at the knuckles.  A roadmap of tiny wrinkles in his ancient flesh, the veins in the back of his stand out beneath the bleached white hairs.

Tyler sat forward.  His job was to hold the lines to the Jib and keep it in trim.  A few feet away from his grandfather, tyler studied the chords flowing back from the top of the jib to make sure then went back straight, tugging the line for the jib to one side or the other if they began to flap.

Marc could easily make this trip by himself with just the mainsail, but Tyler liked having responsibilities, and doing things to make Tyler happy was the point of life these days.

With more than an hour to go before they reach their destination, Tyler intensely watched his sail, while Marc intensely watched Tyler.  Tyler loved his grandfather.  He loved sailing, he loved his parrot and he loved chocolate, but he’ll never know the feeling of loving his own child, or grandchild.  That made Marc very sad.

Marc’s grandmother taught ancient history at a private catholic academy in San Diego, long before the city became what it is now.  Through her connections and utilizing his keen mind, Marc won a scholarship to attend.  One day  a boy asked if he was named for Marc Anthony.  “No,” Marc Said.  “I’m named for Marcus Aurelius, one of the five good emperors and a philosopher king.”  

With a strong steady wind, the sea rippled against the hull of the skiff.  Tyler focused his eyes out to sea and said, as he has many times before, “Tell me how the world ended, grandpa?”  Marc sighed.  The ruins of San Diego were still visible behind him.  The architectural glass skins of the towers long ago broke and dropped away as the steel and concrete skeleton of the buildings began to buckle and collapse under the weight of time.  

Tyler was exceedingly intelligent, but he was nine years old.  For nine year olds, telling the same story over and over provides some comfort for them.  Tyler knew there were a million stories about the past, but this was the story of his past, and as horrible as it sounds to you and me, it was fascinating to him.

Marc’s eyes focused.  He wanted to tell the story honestly and correctly, but in the way a nine year old would understand.  Tyler had been nine years old for seven hundred years, so Marc had the opportunity to practice this enough times to make it perfect, but it was never any less painful.  

“You were six,” Marc said.  “You were six years old when the virus hit.  It hit first in Greece, but within a year spread to the whole world.  People had been talking about the end of the world, probably since the world began.  Some thought it would be fire.  Some thought it would be flood.  Some thought the hand of God would smite us.  Some thought zombies would eat our brains.  Some thought we used use nuclear weapons to destroy ourselvles.  Some thought an asteroid would take us out like the dinosaurs.  Nobody expected something so tiny it couldn’t be seen would destroy the world.”

“There were a little over eight billion people on earth when the virus hit, within a hundred and fifty years, there would be less than two million.  It would take a hundred and fifty years for the world’s population to bottom out and stabalize, but within five years of the initial outbreak, everybody left on earth stopped aging.”

“You were six then the outbreak began.  You aged three more years after than, then your body stopped getting older, but you also stopped getting sick.  Your body became able to heal itself of almost anything.  Your nine years old now.  You’ll be nine years old forever.”

“Some people died very quickly once they became infected.  Your mother died five days after she contracted the virus.  Your father was deployed in one of our stupid wars in Eastern Africa, so it took a week for command to get the message to him.  With the world dying, we ended the war pretty quickly and your father came home.  He lived another five years.  Your grandmother another twenty.”

“If the virus didn’t kill you, it turned you into superman.  No disease could touch you.  I was seventy-three when the virus hit, but my body never got any older.  My skin was still wrinkled and old, but my muscles and my organs worked better than they did when I was twenty.  My hair came back, but it was all stark white as a seagul.”

“Something about the disease responded to hormonal changes in the body.  Once your body started to show the first sign of puberty, you quit aging.  You’re strong and healthy and really very, very smart, but you’ll be a little boy forever.  Ther’s a little more than two million people left on earth.  About a quarter of them are little kids like you.  The rest are grandparents like me, mostly grandpas.  Everybody inbetween died out.  We’re all that’s left and we’re not getting any older.  This fall, it will be seven hundred years since the virus broke out.  You and I never got any older.  We never will.”

“Something about the disease made me desire the company of a woman again in ways I hadn’t thought about in twenty years.  Your grandmother and I were very happy for almost seventy years after your mother and father died.  We took over a big house on a hill.  I had enough knowledge of mechanics and electronics to keep everything running.  The people who owned the house converted it to solar power long ago, so there was always electricity.  Your grandmother was a whiz at raising vegetables and chickens, and that’s how we lived for a long time.  We were happy in a world that was dying, dead really–except for us.”

“The disease made our bodies incredibly strong.  The only thign that could kill an infected person who survived was dispair.  There were stories of people who gave up on living after the world died, but found it almost impossible to end their own lives.  Almost that is.  There were a few ways left to break an unbreakable body.”

“The disease killed off anybody who had normal adult hormone levels.  People who had reduced hormone level like your grandma and me survived the first wave of the disease.  Little kids like you who hadn’t started the puberty level of hormones survived too.  Everybody in between died within twenty years, leaving just old people like me, and young people like you.”

“A lot of old and a lot of young people died, but some survived like we did.  For some reason, the diseae lasted longer in men that in women.  Men who were infected and survived were almost supermen.  Women who were infected and survived were too, but for some reason, for many of them, the disease would one day just stop working.  The immortality the disease gave them ended, and they began to be susceptible to diseases again.  That’s what happened to your grandma.  The disease extended your grandma’s life, then it ended it.”  

There are women left in the world, but not many, and those who are left don’t have much need of men.  Some have grandchildren of their own to look after.  Some are hold up somewhere using the kybernet to communicate with what’s left of mankind, some still trying to find a cure.

It wasn’t long after people began theorizing that sub atomic particles could communicate with each other regardless of constraints of time or space than people began developing a way to communicate on the sub atomic level, allowing computers to exchange information without wires or radio transmission, even through space without the constraint of c2, the Speed of light.

This way, humans on earth could communicate, in real time, with the human colonists on Mars.  There were less than three thousand people on Mars when the virus broke out.  There are almost forty thousand now.  They live completely separately from the humans on Earth.  Any interaction carried the risk of the virus infecting the Martian population, which would spell the end of mankind.  The last uninfected human beings in the universe live on Mars, and they are growing and prospering, turning Mars into a beautiful living planet again, like it once was.  Humans lived, grew up, fell in love, had children, grew old and died agian, but only on Mars.

“I’m gonna be a little boy forever.” Tyler said.  “FOREVER!” he shouted in the winds, with an impossibly happy look on his face.  “Forever,” Marcus said, with a tear in his eye.

By instinct, Marc knew where to stop.  He lowered the mainsil and tied it to the boom.  He pulled fried eggplant, tomato and pepper sandwiches out of the cooler, so he and Tyler could eat in the cool breeze.

“Is this the spot?” Tyler said.  “I think so,” Marc said.  He’s been knowing where to stop for seven hundred years.  He knew even before the disease, but now he knows weeks before when his friends are returning.  They speek to him in his sleep.

“What does it sound like,” Tyler said, “when they sing to you?”

“Do you know what it sounds like when you can hear their song through the hull of the skiff?”  Marc asked.  “It’s like that, only louder, and longer, and only when I sleep.”

“What do you think they say in their songs?” Tyler asked.”

“I think they say, ‘hello friend.  I’m coming soon.  I missed you.’” Marc said.  The old ones sign to me first, then the younger ones, then the younger ones become the older ones, and the new younger ones are born.  The older ones teach the younger ones the song, and tell them about their friend in the boat.”

“There was a time when men hunted whales.  They cooked down their bodies to make lamp oil.  They used their teeth to make women’s corsets.”  Marc thought it was important for Tyler to know the whole history.

“Whale teeth are like giant feathers, they strain the tiny shrimps they eat of the water.” Tyler added.  

“That’s right.  It’s called ‘Baleen’ and they used that to make girdles for women so they wouldn’t look fat.”  Marc grinned while Tyler puffed out his cheeks and stuck out his belly like the photos of fat women he’d seen.  Tyler could barely remember meeting any women ever.  What he knew about people he knew mostly from photographs.  

“Why do you think the whales chose you to talk to?” Tyler asked.

Marcus looked out to sea.  “I think I chose them.  I’ve been studying whales since I was a little boy like you.  The disease made me able to do things I could never do before.  I would remember word-for-word books that I read when I was thirteen.  I could hear and identify the song of birds miles away, and when I sleep I can hear the songs of whales at sea.”

“And they tell you when they’re coming!” Tyler said.  

“Well, I’ve known what time of year they were coming for a very long time, but their songs in my head let me know when shales I knew were coming near.”

“Like Notch!” Tyler said, excited he remembered the name of one of grandpa’s friends.

“Like Notch,” Marc said.  Notch was one of the first blue whales Marc recocognized from one season to the next as blue whales made their way North to South past San Diego.  There was a noticeable notch taken out of his dorsal fin.  Marc assumed it was from some sort of accident, maybe a shark attack when he was a juvinile, but it must have been some sort of congenital defect, because Notche’s children had it, then grandchildren, now the great grandchildren of notch pass by San Diego every year, with the song they sung to Marc passed down from generation to generation.  

When men stopped hunting whales, there was some concern that blue whales were near extinct, but once they were protected, they started making a comeback.  Now that man’s pollution dropped to almost nothing when their population was decimated, whales traveled the oceans in numbers not seen since before men learned to sail.  

“When you think they’ll get here?” Tyler asked.  

“Pretty soon now.  We’ll sleep here tonight.” Marc answered, and pulled out his guitar to play songs Tyler knew.  Marcus liked songs written by a man named Yusuf Islam, who died a century before Marc was born.  He played “Morning has Broken, Peace Train, and Father and Son, a song Marc understood too well, but Tyler never would.”  They sang into the night and ate grapes, blueberries and figs, and waited for the whales.

Marc woke with the sun.  He made coffee while Tyler slept.  When the world goes from a population of eight billion down to two million, there’s an awful lot of somethings left stored in warehouses.  Marc knew of a dock side warehouse that had entire containers of freeze dried and vacuum sealed coffee beans.  Enough for the rest of his extroridinarily long life.  He might be the last man on earth to enjoy coffee in the morning, but enjoy it he would.  Tyler slept in the tiny cabin as the yellow fingers of the sun stretched across the world.

Soft at first, but growing louder, long, deep whistles vibrated through the hull of the skiff.  “Wheel, wheel, wheel, wheeeeeeeeeel.” they sounded.  Tyler sprang into awakeness.  “They here!” he shouted.

Tyler scrambles to the deck of the skiff, hanging onto to the stanchion so he doesn’t go over.  Marc uses his binoculars to scan the horizon.  “There!” He shouts, pointing to the north.  A spout breaks the surface of the water, then another, then another.  A pod of whales was coming towards them.  

“Quick!” Marc shouted, as he raised the mainsail and tyler raised the jib.  They turned the skiff in the direction the whales were headed and waited for them to catch up to them.

The flukes of a blue whale are twenty-five feet wide.  Almost wider than the skiff is long.  They look slow because they’re a hundred feet long, but blue whales are remarkably fast.  Soon there are spouts on both sides of the skiff, as the pod slows it pace to travel in time with Marc and Tyler on the skiff. 

Tyler looks out and counts two adults and two juviniles with notched dorsal fins.  The great grandchildren of his grandfather’s whale.  The largest whale, an ancient female with a notched fin breaks the surface not twelve feet from the skiff.  She’s many times longer than the skiff, which looks tiny and frail now.  Her pectral flipper reaches under the skiff and nudges it’s keel.  Tyler shakes with excitement when he feels her touching the boat.  He can smell her breath as she spouts mere feet from him, the mist falling down on his shoulders.

For most of the day, Tyler and Marc sail in the middle of a blue whale pod.  Animals they’d known for years, descendants of animals they’d known for seven hundred years.  Marc was seven hundred and seventy eight years old.  Tyler was seven hundred and six years old.  Their bodies never aged, they never feared death, and neither knew how long this would last.  

As the sun began to set, the pod pulled away from the skiff.  Their journey was many miles yet.  Tyler sat in the cockpit of the skiff with his ear to the hull, listening for the last of the whale songs.  

Marcus Aurelius Delehandro studied the tan shirtless chest of his grandson, in an eternal hope that one day, a black hair would appear among the downy white fuz that constituted most of Tyler’s body hair, some sort of sign that this arrested life might one day start moving again, that one day his precious grandchild might still become a man, then an old man, then a grandfather like himself.  It crushed him knowing that tyler’s life would never be complete.  

There’s not much to compare with the love of a grandparent for a grandchild.  It’s easy to think you’d want that to go on forever, but when the day came that it did go on forever, after seven hundred years, the thought that consumed Marc’s life was that his grandson, the last heir of his family, the last living human being he loved on earth would never live a life complete.

Tyler never understood this.  He was happy to be a boy forever, as boys usually are.  Marc had no friends who ever understood him, except in the summertime, when the whales swim by and spend the day with their old friend.

Official Ted Lasso