As researchers recently witnessed firsthand the rare devouring of a star, they are now closer to understanding the physics of black holes. Satirist Paris Portingale relates the same phenomenon regarding his son.
There is a new theory that suggests black holes aren’t exactly what Einstein predicted in his general relativity theory. It says that as a son contracts it becomes a massive, dense ball of fire that can emit x-rays and begins concentrating on nothing but their inheritance and what they’re going to do with it once their father’s dead.
My son is a black hole and a piece of empirical evidence that the new proposition is probably quite valid. The thing is, my son doesn’t know it yet but he’s getting very little. I’m spending even as we speak. I’m buying an atomic clock over the Internet. Twenty-five thousand dollars. It’s a brilliant piece of apparatus, accurate to the millisecond or less. Next week, I’m buying a Megatron. I don’t know what it is but it’s costing two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and I’m hoping it’ll fit in the garage, beside the Mercedes.
He rings me occasionally, my son. I usually don’t answer the phone when it rings, I let the machine get it. I do this to screen out all the people who want something from me. They seem to know my name.
“Hello, Mr. Portingale, how are you today?”
“Shithouse,” I tell them. “The mortgage is due and my wife’s in one of her moods. Plus the dog’s just chucked up on the fucking new carpet again. I swear to God, if he does that one more time he’s living in the garage with the parrot and the fucking cat.”
Anyway, if it’s my son the message is usually, “Just ringing to see if you’re dead. If I don’t hear back in an hour I’ll know you’re dead and I’m coming up there to go through your stuff.”
There’s usually another call about half an hour later that goes, “Listen, if I come up there, you’d better not be alive, okay. I’m not in the mood for fucking around.”
And then ten minutes after that, “I’m coming up so you’d better be dead.” I usually pick up on that one, it’s a long drive and I’m not a completely heartless bastard.
My son’s a funny boy. When he was about twelve, we thought he was old enough to be home by himself over the weekend. The trouble was, we’d always come home to crap absolutely everywhere. So, this one time, before we left, I did a quick sketch of the kitchen and told him that when we got back we wanted it to look just like this picture. Of course, when we got back there was crap everywhere, but he’d also drawn all the crap into the sketch.
He’s about thirty-eight, or something, now. I remember we were particularly drunk this one time when he was up for a visit and he was looking through the fridge for cheese. There was a piece of gorgonzola and he picked it up and said, “What’s this?”
I said, “Gorgonzola. It’s an expensive cheese.”
He said, “Really? Do you know how they make that? They get some shit cheddar and mash it together with those shitty cheese slices they wrap in plastic.”
We were sitting on the floor at this point.
I said, “Yeah, right. And they’ve got factories full of Asian women sitting there opening the things up.”
He was lying down now with his drink on his chest and his head on the vegetable crisper. He said, “You’re an idiot, Dad. They’d have machines to do that.”
I love him dearly. When I die I’m going to see him right and have it specifically in my will that he gets the car and the atomic clock and the Megatron and any of the other shit I’ve bought. It’s the least I can do.