So Roland’s dad was some sort of genius like I said. Roland—my junior high locker mate–said his father was trying to make–and this was 1962–a watch with no moving parts. I was consternated. I thought the guy must be nuts. But now everybody has watches with no moving parts. So maybe the guy was unto something of an electronic or digital nature.
He also wanted to invent other things. Following Buckminster Fuller he had built a hyperbolic dome right there on there lot. They had made it out of WOOD, mind you, and had been hell to build since wood does not bend all that easily. It was set on a concrete foundation, and rather than buy gravel to pour the concrete the old man had the kids (eventually, as I said, there were ten of them) go out and pick up rocks and pebbles from the dirt on the surrounding hillsides. The house itself was ramshackle, sprawling and in need of paint. They made no pretense whatsoever to landscaping.
Roland and three of his brothers lived in this small room with bunk beds on both sides. The only other stuff in there was a radio on the window sill, a stack of muscle magazines and bar bells. I would set on the floor or on the edge of a bunk if it was vacant, and we would talk and occasionally one of them would get up and go grab a barbell and huff and puff for a while lifting it and then sit back down. I didn’t participate in the barbell stuff and they never asked me to.
The barbell stuff didn’t seem to be macho compettive stuff, though they did have any manner of masturbating contests, involving who could do it fastest, or who could do it most repeatedly, and who could not do it for the longest time. They were also into experimental masturbation what with fruit and such. Like making a hole in a water melon and fucking that. Or putting tuna oil on their cocks and getting a cat to lick it. Stuff like that. They were way beyond me masturbation wise. I did tell them about a book I read that talked about some Russian that fucked trees. They thought about it for a while and agreed that, while it might be somewhat painful, depending on the bark, a tree could be fucked.
One day we are talking and I ask Roland where he had been born. I knew they had lived back East and wondered what state, but he mistook my question and said he had been born in the house. House? Yes, he said. After the first three his father had decided to screw the hospital bills and so he had delivered all the other kids himself. This disturbed me a little bit but then I remembered that people used to do that all the time. Though usually there had been a nurse of some sort present. And I wondered did they have birth certificates, and Roland said he didn’t know but would ask some time because we agreed it was important to be fully documented.
Then Roland said all of the babies had not lived or maybe had been born dead; he didn’t know. How did they know this? He laughed and said, well, his mother would get pregnant which was highly visible and then about nine months later there would be all this screaming and yelling when she delivered and then that would stop, and if the baby was dead, his father would come out with it wrapped up in something and then burn it in the incinerator out back.
I could see that incinerator from the window. It was made out of concrete block about waist high with a little metal door in the front and a metal chimney coming out the back that was painted red for some reason. I found this all a little strange as if I had strayed off into the forest and gotten a bit lost. I asked Roland did he think that was legal. Who knows? He said.