John From Cincinnati
His Visit: Day One

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Mr. Sobell: C | Grade It Now!
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Hang Ten, Cocksucker!

The neighbor to whom Shaun has been dispatched is Bill, and he's none other than Al Bundy his own bad self. Bill is enjoying himself a morning of televised lucha libre. "I tell you one thing," Bill says. "They're over-exposing these masked midgets." Well, of course -- that's one of the hot-button issues at lucha libre arenas around the North American continent right now: just how much exposure should the masked little-person wrestlers get? Ask any group of fans, and you're likely to hear hours of passionate debate. Or it's possible that I just made all that up. Anyhow, Bill agrees to drive Shaun up to Huntington, although he doesn't answer when Shaun asks him not to tell Mitch about it. Instead, we're treated to a brief discourse on Bill's bout with fibromylagia. Just so that you know, fibromylagia is a chronic syndrome characterized by widespread pain and moderate to severe fatigue; another symptom includes something called "brain fog," which involves impaired concentration and short-term memory problems. Sometimes, though not always, fibromylagia can start as the result of a trauma like an accident. I mention this because if any of this proves to be true of Bill further down the road, you can always say that you were spoiled by Wikipedia.

Anyhow, Bill's got a lot of birds. (That's not a symptom of fibromylagia.) Or more to the point, he's about to have one less bird than he did -- one named Zippy appears to be pining for the fjords, if you get my meaning. He's lying on the bottom of the cage, stone dead. "This is something you learn to expect," Bill chokes out, deciding that it would be unseemly to cry in front of a teenager over an ex-parrot. "When you're older, you'll understand." Bill tries to lighten the mood by offering Shaun a Twinkie before he goes to give Zippy what I can only assume is the bird equivalent of a decent Christian burial. Shaun gives the bird a few loving strokes of his finger -- and soon, Zippy has sprung back to life as good as new. "Well this is..." Bill begins. "This is something." I'll say -- if I didn't know any better, I'd say that long-haired surfer kid might be some sort of messianic figure. I just hope it works out better for him than it did that filthy Oakie.

Back at the surf shop, Cissy is still stewing over her verbal throwdown with Mitch. "Why does what happened to Butchie make it fucked up to help Shaunie do what any thirteen-year-old would want to?" she demands of Kai. Because you probably share some culpability in what happened to Butchie and don't seem like the type to learn from your mistakes? That's just a guess on my part, incidentally -- Kai is wisely keeping her lip buttoned. Cissy is also fuming over Mitch's brain tumor diagnosis, though she seems more irritated by it than concerned. "Wouldn't put it past him, either, fucking jerk," she mutters under he breath, as she storms out of the surf shop, leaving a moderately befuddled Kai to carry on with her inventory.

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John From Cincinnati

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