M Y   F A T H E R,   H E   L O O K S
L I K E   L E N N Y   S T R O L L O

BY FREDDIE MONTGOMERY

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My father looks like Lenny Strollo. When he goes to the store, women twitter, giggle, are transported back years into blushing adolescence. If they were older, of another era perhaps, they would fan themselves and hide their smiles behind. Men look at him sidelong, sometimes with malicious intent. My father, he is impervious to all this. Or so he says. He cannot but notice this quiet flurry of activity, in the vegetable isle at the market when running an errand for my mother, sometimes even in the next car, at the light. Once, in Wal-Mart, a woman fainted. My father rushed to her aid. She would claim it was due to the whiff of cleaning detergent from an adjacent in-store display as she thrust into his hands a crumpled register receipt on which her phone number was hastily scribbled.

We don't know that my father always looked like Lenny. There are no photos from which to make a credible analysis. When pressed on this point, my father smiles, but demurs. His shroud of mystery and deceit is flawless. It should be noted that I personally do not see the association, never having seen Lenny. But I embrace it with the same fervor as the giggling women. I do not brag of this quality, but sometimes I swagger slightly, at the mall, but especially in bars. Unfortunately, if Lenny has a son, I do not look like him, not so at least to the degree which might inspire someone to tell, or giggle after me in the vegetable section.

My mother is not particularly worried. You might think she frets about his safety, that this confusion might somehow hurt him, or the others. But my mother, she is 'of a certain age.' She thinks it is good that there is some regular diversion in his life, a responsibility she tired of years ago. My sister and I are equivocal on the subject. We agree with my mother's dispassionate acceptance, but we wonder if this might lead to greater confusion and frustration. He is an old man now, and such concerns should not figure large in a man's life. It is not an issue of great import, but nor do we think he should be so blithe.

Should he take his still winning smile up to that girlish woman, and gently dissipate her hopes? Not so much shatter; this is not, after all, international diplomacy. But there is something unseemly about his manner. He enjoys his notoriety, and thinks it fair. Whether it was only recently, if not for always, that he has discovered this similarity, why shouldn't he have his time? He knows it will pass. It worried him, even, at the beginning. But the same women still giggle and the same men still look furtively with set mouths, and things do not change. My father, he looks like Lenny Strollo.




OTHER McSWEENEY'S STORIES
- - - -

I Hate to Bother You, Mr. Gergen, but Won't You Please Pull on My Feet a Little? by Harry J. Tipple
The Terms of Betrayal by Mad KS
12 Minutes Over Reykjavík by Sarah Mason and John Pull
Via Dolorosa; System: AD&D: Category, Historical by Mario Moscalini


 



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