Paul had a siamese twin: Sol.
Paul didn’t really know his twin existed.
Paul and Sol were separated after birth.
Paul and Sol each had one testicle, though neither knew this about the other. Their parents – Jay and Lisa – kept it very quiet through late night or lazy, anxiety-ridden Sunday afternoons when guilt crept post-sermon. Since Paul and Sol were connected at birth, and since their parents chose to have them surgically separated as soon as possible, they vowed to never speak to the boys of their “birth defect”.
This may not have been an issue if the two boys were not connected from the beginning. Although joined by a single testicle, their DNA was so interspersed that they might as well have been the same person.
As the boys aged, their parents had half-bathrooms (with showers) in each of the boys’ bedrooms. Although Jay knew the boys would eventually be exposed to normal “two-balled” kids in locker rooms for sporting events, etc., but he and Lisa decided to play ignorant and address the issue when it came up. They were close friends with the boys’ doctor, Pete Manafroto. Since Pete knew the twins since their first few months, all agreed that this would be the easiest way to address the issue.
“In some cases,” Pete said during the boys’ second annual physical, “they may not even notice. Occasionally the absence of a testicle results in almost an expansion of the remaining one, which leaves the unbalanced scrotum less obvious to the eye.”
The two brothers grew along different paths. Paul, as his forefathers did before him, took a job at the local meter-reader plant. (Paul shared this story many times over at various parties – both political and neighborly, sometimes both – and usually came upon the same results. Crickets.)
Paul, according to many, was the “slower” one. This could have been taken from both physiological and psychological perspectives and neither choice would be wrong. Paul was not going to deny the physical part. The only time he completed a chin-up was when Carl Feverton held a lit match under his single-balled scrotum and screamed, “GIT UP THERE, UniBALLER!!!” He knew that he was the less macho of the two brothers, but he showed no despair during day to day routines. This once-called “Uniballer” was able to overcome his portioned anatomy to father 3 1/2 beautiful children from 4 different mothers, and manage to have his own “pleasantly diverse” family, according to his neighbors.
Two years ago, Paul was accosted on his daily jaunt to the Costco produce department.
“Hey, look, kids,” a raspy cackle of a voice needled its way up Paul’s spine. “…it’s uuuuu-neee-baller.”
Some would say that Maopila, Kansas was like a flashback to time before tech ruled the world. Some would say that Maopila, Kansas was like walking into an ulterior universe. The basic structure of the town remained fairly consistent for the past 5 decades. Other than the new “internets lines” bringing the outside world into Maopila, one would think he was in a Normal Rockwell painting, especially during weekdays in early June.
“Dad said ‘uuu-neee-baller’,” young Orville Feverton stutter laughed. “Paul only has one ball.” Hee-yuhh, he snorted.
Paul, being the rational one, decided it best to act aggressive on this particular afternoon. It wasn’t as if this didn’t happen to him at least once a month by the same “sad human being” who used to taunt him to his match-induced trauma.
“They didn’t have any goddamn pomegranate,” Paul would eventually profess to the judge, Tim Swalfert, another classmate of Paul’s. Tim would take it as easy as he could on Paul. The Feverton family would have pressed many charges had their pride not superseded their anger and embarrassment.
“We’ll get ol’ uni-boy one of these days, kids. There ain’t nobody in this town gonna try and bite my son’s hip flexor in public and get away with it,” Carl would tell his family over Friday Fry-Night dinner (tonight’s featured Fry-Daddy special: gizzards and tots).
The court sentenced Paul 50 hours of community service, which he happily chipped away at serving Friday dinners before the Maopila Mosquitoes games during the Fall. High school football was the pride of Maopila. By the end of the season, though Paul had only served through 22 hours of his sentence, Tim Swalfert – judge by day, athletic director and Central Baptist pastor – forgave the remaining 28 hours in lieu of Paul’s annual pig roast extravaganza the week of playoffs.
Other than mainly one-sided Feverton feud, Paul and his family kept abreast of the community through various city and school committees.
Paul still parked his ’81 Chevette outside the cafeteria on board meeting nights. He never drove the car any other time. His dad helped him make the final purchase 3 days shy of his 17th birthday. Power brakes. AM Radio. No AC. Vinyl seats. Nostalgia. It was Paul’s time-warp opportunity each month.
The car was actually picked up some 430 miles west of home near Manitou Springs, Colorado. Paul’s dad, Leonard, an entrepreneur and dreamer at heart, was checking on some land he was hoping convert into his Christian bookstore dreams. “Bookstore of the Gods” would not be granted to Leonard due to it’s conflicting and confusing similarity to the prior named “Garden of the Gods”. The land and the bookish dreams would both vanish within 3 hours of Leonard’s voyage into the Canyon Casino that invited him in for “a free steak dinner” then escorted him out to the tune of “Buona Cera” and Leonard repeating the phrase, “I just wanna ‘nother bourbon coke. That’s all I ask for…”
(This will be part of a side story involving the boys’ roommate they found on an online roommate search site OR at one of their jobs.)
It was a nickname Kyle did not choose, but was not offended by either. Although he was not offended, it was given to him in a derogatory fashion.
The mood of the nickname changed after Kyle suffered his fourth cardiac arrest. From then on, although he was not in on the joke, Kyle was given a pseudonym: Couch Man.
(2/10/2018. 1:52 a.m.) To Be Continued…