out of the ashes

Saturday, April 3, 2010

MARVIN !!!!!!!

Disregard Friday's post! I think I hit on it! I also think I can get away with the pov in narration, the obvious authorial intrusion. I need a hook, something that befits Marvin's amazing story.

Here we go.

Once upon a time there was a man who lived beneath a loading dock. He lived there because he was a drunk, and very old. Being a drunk and very old he couldn’t hold a job. Not that he’d ever really wanted to. He was also lazy—as you might have already guessed—and had no use for most people. He mistrusted them. This all added up to his becoming a hermit who refused to earn an honest living, and so of necessity made the underside of a crappy old dock his home.
We will call this old man Marvin, and I think we should give him a middle and last name, so…let’s see. Quenton and Fuster. Those fit him because he was not quite right in the head.
Marvin Quenton Fuster needs to live somewhere interesting. Hmm…Rome, where all the Catholics live, because this is a religious story.
No. Too many spirits hanging around in that ancient city.
New York. No, God would never set foot there.
Chicago. Too windy.
San Francisco. No, Marvin’s not gay.
L.A. Yuck. Too many producers savvier (and more crooked) than himself.
Seattle. Huh-uh. He drinks gallons of whiskey, not coffee.
DENVER! Yes, it’s perfect, and I’ll tell you exactly why as we go along. Bear with me.
So, you ask, if this Marvin hermit lazy guy drinks gallons of whiskey and sleeps outside, what has this done to his health?
Well, in a word. Ruined it. That’s two. Sorry. You can imagine the state of his liver, not to mention his trousers. Marvin is a mess. He is sixty-six and about ready to croak.
This is a true story, by the way.
So, Marvin is dying; he doesn’t seem to care, and—oh yes! He doesn’t relish the thought of dying of starvation, or freezing to death in the winter, so he has become a very, very proficient petty thief. He steals crackers and cheese, cans of beans (they’re easy to get out of the stores), blankets off clotheslines, socks, underwear (once in a great while), shirts, shoes (if they are anywhere close to his size), never any reading material, more blankets, batteries (though he has no use for them), dirty magazines once in a great great while because pictures are worth a thousand words (his words, not mine), candy bars, pencils (he has no use for these, either), string, and…whiskey! He doesn’t care for wine all that much.
He has no virtue. But God has been looking down on him, and likes him. I can’t actually speak for God, or even reasonably use Him as a character, but allow me some poetic license, because in my story He is indirectly involved. Okay? Good. Let’s move on.
God loves everybody (I can’t really see how. Just look around), but He seems to especially love the oppressed, the children, and the down-and-outers. Marvin, of course, fits neatly into the last category, though that is not to say that God didn’t love him just as much when Marvin was an oppressed child, with a brutal drunk for a father.
Melvin Fuster was more apt to beat little Marvin as look at him. Melvin also beat Marvin’s mother, a saintly woman named Rosemary, who young Marvin loved with everything in him. When he was seven she died. If memory serves me correctly it was due as much to Melvin’s nightly thrashings of her after he stumbled home in a rage—he lost all his money gambling; the old whore wouldn’t put out for him; a cop smacked him with his billy-club—as the official version. Heart failure. Pick your reason.
She died, and Marvin was crushed. Also at the mercy of the sonofabitch, Melvin, who
To Be Continued…


got tired of pulling the little brown-haired whiner out from beneath his bed (Marvin’s) and “kicking a lung out of him”. That is how Melvin termed a good ass-kicking for no reason.
Marvin ran away. But where does a seven year-old boy who has just lost his dear mother, who is growing up in a rat infested slum north of Denver, run to? Next door to the McGillicutty’s? Old man McGillicutty was worse than Melvin. They were drinking buddies. Plus he had ten kids, which left Marvin out of luck for a bed, or even a piece of floor. Not to mention Patrick Steven McGillicutty , who was a year older than Melvin and had no front teeth because his father beat them out with a sheleighly. Patrick hated Marvin.
Most Irish people are good and decent, and God-fearing (Saint Joseph and Blessed Virgin Mary-fearing, Saint Patrick-fearing, Saints Peter and Paul-fearing, and so on), but not Michael Joseph McGillicutty. He feared only the cops, who had better weapons and greater numbers. Well, anyway, Marvin couldn’t go there. That would have been jumping from the frying pan into the…yes.
This all would have been around 1939, just before Adolph Hitler invaded Poland in September, which event Melvin Fuster and Michael McGillicutty missed entirely due to their stupors and DTs and barroom brawls. But not everyone in the town of Globeville, Colorado did. The start of World War II caught their eye and commanded their attention to such a degree that little Marvin, sleeping in a ditch with a ragged blanket, entirely escaped them. Most of them.

(c) Patrick Lee 1998-2010


  1. Re-read your last five polished chapter, take a breath and start again--but first I sugest a break. Your new openings evoke copious imagery and emotions; funny to sad and pity.

  2. :)
    Yeah. We want to identify with little Jimmie...er, little Marvin, right?