- Vol. 05
- Chapter 05
Walter Fishman had a warped sense of humour. His wife Enid hee-hawed absurdly over his jokes. Their store, aptly named 'THE LAUGHING STOCK' was a confusing emporium of colour, curiosities, clowns and similar oddities. Their only son, my buddy, was named Newton, thus ensuring a nickname: Newt. As a toddler he had been reined in his buggy with a blown-up whoopee cushion, which he thumped furiously, ensuring parental hysteria. I overheard this one day from my parents (but kept quiet as he was teased enough at school). When he became a teenager he was the butt of his parents' jokes. 'Cold up there Newton?' Walt would say, alluding to his height – and Enid's 'Stop scratching boy', after sneaking itching powder in his pants. He didn't particularly aspire to an academic career, just definitely knew that his calling wasn't with exploding cigarettes or rubber thumbs with screws. Poor sucker was fated to help out Walt and Enid, especially since she had taken to her bed. Resentment on both sides – Newt the dogsbody and his father's non-stop moaning, he would moan even more if I popped in to see my pal, who was becoming thin and stressed. Everything came to a head one dark night at closing time. 'Sort the electrics, Boy. I'm off to the pub', barked old Fishman. Newt stumbled over to the fuse box and nearly tripped over the latest delivery. He kicked it aside in his misery and eventually restored the lighting. Opened the box and peered inside. 'Hideous!' he muttered. Gleaming false teeth grinned at him, with red, glossy gums. A metal contraption, when released, made the teeth move and clack manically. Only devices Newt appreciated – the natural twigs which were keeping the metal from working.
A shout from upstairs, 'Make me some toast, Newton and be quick about it!' Still clutching one set of the choppers he hurried to make toast. He was about to leave when Enid snapped 'Come on boy, I can't eat without my teeth in'. Twig extracted he leapt across the room and crammed the joke teeth in his mother's mouth. Rushed downstairs, grabbed more teeth and waited for Walt's return. Unsteady from drink Walt was taken unawares, grabbed by the throat, choking and frothing on the floor. His last memory were his son's words 'I've fixed the lights, Dad and it's lights out for you!'