The boys were tarring the on-ramp to the interstate again, and the smell wafted through to sun porch on to the kitchen and into the dining room, where Daddy Melon sat in his adjustable LazyBoy recliner. Daddy Melon has a habit of taking off his shoes, falling asleep for two or three days at a time, then waking with a start. Typically, it takes him on hour or two to rekindle his time/space continuum. Instances in which his discombobulation were most severe included the time he awoke thinking he had just survived the Normandy landing at Omaha Beach, and when he saw the shooter from the grassy knoll escape. That last one had everybody interested, but Daddy just couldn’t remember specifics, except the guy was wearing Doc Marten’s high tops, and a baseball catcher’s mask. Ho hum, Daddy.
Well, there’s Daddy Melon relaxing like some latter-day Pharaoh when the tar smell smacked his tendrils, and the reaction was severe. He shot out of his recliner like a latter-day Baryshnikov, negotiated a very impressive allegro to the front porch, and began what could best be described as a little farmer’s jig. You know, the type of ragged, dose-doe, swing your partner action they used to do in square dances. Then Daddy Melon stopped straight, his eyes went cold, and he fell flat on his face out to the world.
After a brief stay in the hospital and several stiches later, Daddy Melon was as good as new, if that’s any sort of endorsement. Which it ain’t, since our Daddy has not been what you might call “successful.” Sure, he’s worked all his life (until recently that is), but it don’t count for much, I guess. His professional positions include time as a warden for diagnosed misanthropic children; a “tail-gater” at a bovine circus (where he scraped up cow turds as they occurred); and a product demonstration associate for a poorly conceived product called The Angry Leper, a contraption with an ugly decomposing face that audibly cursed while sucking up floor dirt. On more than once occasion, The Angry Leper caused such distress to the audience that they chased Daddy Melon straight out of the store, screaming bloody murder That job only last a week, which was kind of a mixed blessing.
His work history notwithstanding, we all loved Daddy Melon with hearts and bones. But Daddy’s sleeping habits started to concern us. After he got back on his feet so to speak, we took him to a specialist, and he came back with the word that Daddy has an ailment called “narcolepsy,” where he can fall asleep on a dime and stay that way for God knows how long.
Well, the family saw us a parlay here. We could rent out Daddy for parties and he could fall asleep for people and give them a good ‘ol laugh! Daddy wouldn’t know no difference, of course, since he would be asleep, so it wouldn’t be cruel or anything like that. We put out an ad on Craigslist: “Narcoleptic old man available for special events. Will fall asleep for you at unexpected times. While awake, will converse about the weather, current affairs, general gossip, and other nicities. Pay by the minute, or by engagement.”
The ad went up on a Sunday. By the following Saturday we had no responses. Daddy was back in his recliner, doing lots of nothing meanwhile. We started to get a little antsy about his aptitude for nothing and his snarling attitude toward the rest of us.
We all got together one night, out of frustration and out of general tired-of-it-all, and started concocting ways to rid ourselves of Daddy Melon once and for all. If he couldn’t carry his weight around the house, his presence, as they say, was “not mandatory.”
Two nights later, a big old semi-truck steamed in behind the barn. Daddy, out like a light in the recliner, was wrapped in a double-weight burlap bag, and placed in the semi’s passenger seat. Daddy was snoring like a little baby through the whole exercise.
Nowadays, we get a monthly check for $500 from the Daddy recipient, which pays for the groceries, the lights, and then some. Daddy is now what you call a “human drone,” where he is strategically placed in people’s homes at night near a nightlight while they are away to safeguard against break-ins. Women often take him in their cars as well, to prevent car jackings. Daddy remains oblivious to it all, and we get a nice payday. All in all it’s a win all around, thank you very much.
Daddy is now marketed as “Musk Melon: A quiet deterrent against crime, available by the minute or engagement.” The marketing people thought the Musk part was catchy. Me, I think it’s a little weird, and don’t make me feel much safer at all. Could’ve just called him “Water Melon” I suppose, but that don’t sound too much better. He’ll always just be Daddy to us, though.