Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois
My buddy, Hank Pearl, graduated from Harvard and Northwestern Law School, moved to Berkeley, passed the Bar. Then, like the son in Death of a Salesman, decided that all he wanted was to be outside with his shirt off, to live simply, like Thoreau at Walden Pond.
Though he had none of the requisite skills, he decided to become a jack-of-all-trades. His strategy was to bid low and learn on the job. Because I was also a marginal man, I became his partner. I knew less than he did and lacked his adventurous attitude.
One day we found ourselves under the house of the mother of Edward Teller, the Father of the Hydrogen Bomb. J. Robert Oppenheimer thought Teller was mad—the atom bomb wasn’t destructive enough for him. He needed more.
We were under the house, on our backs in the loose dirt, staring at pipes, trying to make sense of them, humming our theme song, Mission Impossible, when we heard throat clearing and looked to the open door of the crawl space. There was Teller, wearing round glasses and a clipped mustache.
Excuse me, excuse me, would you please not sing under my mother’s house?
He sounded like one of the Germans in the WWII sitcom, Hogan’s Heroes.
We’re actually not singing, said Hank. We’re humming. There are no words to the theme from Mission Impossible.
Then would you please not hum under my mother’s house?
But we couldn’t help ourselves. We tried not to, but couldn’t stop humming.
After a while Teller returned to the door of the crawl space, and silently glared at us. There he stayed, the Father of the Hydrogen Bomb, helplessly fuming.
About the author:
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over seven hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for work published in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver. Bombfather was based on an actual incident that my friend, Hank Pearl, denies ever happened.