The Weird Family by Cliff Aliperti

In 1980s New York, three deadbeat high school friends become fascinated by a weird local family, especially when the son joins their class at school.

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The father was large and wide, close to six-and-a-half feet tall with California condor wingspan, while the mother was a tiny little twig, often hunched forward thanks to whatever booty she was hauling along on any given day. There was a boy, around our age - teenager, that is - and a younger girl, both of them dressed in what looked like salvages straight out of one of those St. Vincent de Paul dumpsters. They became the Weird Family on account of the father's shaggy dark hair and creepy mustache causing Gomez Addams comparisons and accompanying TV theme song finger snaps. Plus there was the fact that they were just so strange, always out there, always walking, always a complete unit of four. Well, until...

I worked at the grocery three-to-eight school days and eight-to-six weekends and summers, five or six days a week for two or three years by then. Ever since I'd turned fifteen. Sorry, I know that was a lot of numbers: almost feels like I was doing time, which, in a way, I was. The job was shit, yet the job was also a bit of a rite of passage. We all worked there - Alex, Enzo, even both the Jones brothers during separate stints, and other fellows from around the neighborhood: Pete Driscoll, Oliver West, Antonio Harrison, etc. - for as long as we could remember, and lots of our older brothers had punched that same time clock before us.

The grocery was a regular part of their route. The Weirds, that is. Not that they stopped to shop, no, but they walked past it every day. If one of us didn't see them on our way into work, we'd spot them through the tall display windows facing the path they always used. Usually silent, the majority at least, only Gomez sometimes holding forth, ranting with waving arms. Their daily mission? We had no idea... survival? What the hell were they doing out there all the time? Where was Point A? Point B? They were just always on the move, to and from parts unknown. Until one day they weren't there. Nor the next.

After a few weeks, my friends and I concluded that the Weirds had disappeared.

Claude Archimedes turned up in my math class one Monday shortly after we had forgotten all about the Weirds. Claude was the Weird son, family name now discovered to be Archimedes. Suddenly, he was right there, his desk two rows ahead my own, etching circles into the desktop with his compass point. How very weird. I reported to Alex and Enzo at lunch and we spent the entire period seeking out the Weird kid, but he must have had a different lunch period than us because we came up empty. The three of us met up again at the end of the day, after eighth period, and while Enzo casually asked about the Weird kid, he was otherwise forgotten for talk of other bullshit. Forgotten, that is, until he approached, claimed by his mother and sister, father nowhere in sight.

I did the Addams Family double-snap of my fingers to alert the others.

"That's strange," Alex said.

"Downright weird," said I. "Never seen them without the old man."

"Dare I suggest," Enzo said, "he found himself work?"

"He's earning a buck to put little Weirdly there through high school?" I suggested.

The three Weirds walked past us, not ten to twelve feet away.

"Hey!" Alex shouted. They turned and faced us. "Fuck you!" he said, flipping them the double-bird and laughing at them.

The Weirds walked on.

Weird shit happened in the eighties. How's this one. I was a seventeen-year-old grocery store clerk with aspirations of becoming a police officer after I graduated. On my eighteenth birthday the owner of the store, Luke Dikman, took me aside and promoted me to security guard, telling me the post would get my feet wet while I finish school, maybe even look good when I go take the tests to become a cop. Monday morning, I reported to work, the asshole manager, Don Mayhew, hands me a red vest with blue stripes down the side (the store's colors), and a green plastic whistle on a rope necklace. These duds immediately called to mind some combination of crossing guard and gym teacher, or maybe, more precisely, little kid pretending to be crossing guard or gym teacher. Looks aside, I had been clocking my hours packing out cases of milk, eggs, and yogurt, and now I just stood around all day with Mayhew and sometimes even Dikman, the man himself. Until someone looked suspicious. Then I was to tail them.

So this goes on for about three weeks without much incident to speak of. Basically, I'm getting paid to bullshit with my elders, who mostly talk about action movies, liar's pussy, cars they can't afford, and asshole delivery men, the bread guy being most prominent of this latter group. Then one day, Dikman tells me to get to aisle two and watch some big guy that he said looked like he was up to no good.

Of course, wouldn't you know it, the big guy turned out to be the recently M.I.A. Gomez Archimedes, né Weirdly. Gomez was with some other people, who were not his weird family. The other two guys both looked more suspicious to me than Gomez, but maybe that's just because Gomez was so familiar to me by then, in a weird sort of way.

So I tailed them from about a half aisle's distance, leveling jarred goods and just generally straightening things up along the way. And wouldn't you know it, Dikman was right: Gomez had an opened package of American cheese (Kraft, sixteen slices) in his left hand and was eating away with his right, folding pieces into quarters, rolling one into a tube, popping various shapes into his mouth one at a time while dropping little cellophane cheese wrappers throughout the store as they shopped, like some derelict Hansel and Gretel being lured to the witch's oven, ie: capture by me.

I tailed them throughout the store, picking up these breadcrumbs along the way, scoring the main wrapper after Gomez dropped it on aisle six, and then I propped myself up against the wall near the registers, smoking like a cartoon character - every drag an inch of ash - while Gomez and his buddies were checking out.

I watched the cashier ring up each item: salami, bread, Budweiser, beef jerky... seemed like a good party was about to go down... when she got to the final item, a loaf cake, and stopped to provide the total. No mention of the American cheese. I waited until Gomez's buddy had paid and they were grabbing their paper bags in anticipation of departure. That's when I dropped my cigarette, stepped on it, and slid to the end of the counter, rapping on it hard enough to get their attention, before I asked, "Forget something?"

"What's that now?" the man who had paid asked.

"Not you," I said. "Him." I nodded my head somewhat aggressively at Gomez Weirdly.

"What are you talking about?" Gomez asked. This was the first time I had heard him speak. I thought by his looks that he might have been Spanish or Italian, maybe Greek given the last name I had since learned - some sort of immigrant - but he didn't have a trace of accent. He talked like my father; like he could kick my ass. "We're not forgetting nothing, kid."

"Then," I said, energized by moral superiority, "what about this!" I slapped down the empty Kraft American cheese wrapper that Gomez had dropped on aisle six.

He sputtered and I knew that I had him. Busted! I didn't really know where we went from here. Maybe Dikman called the cops, maybe we just banned Gomez from the store for life, no idea beyond knowing I had vanquished this weirdo and secured myself the greatest Weird Family story of all time to tell the other guys later. But as my mind lapsed into these potential consequences and skipped forward to my ascent to hero-of-the-day in the wake of whatever they might be, Gomez grunted, reached into his back pocket and smacked his own reply on the counter right before my eyes.

It was a receipt. For the cheese. Paid in full.

"Eureka, motherfucker!" he declared.

"I... I'm sorry," I said. I glanced at Dikman, who had watched the entire exchange from about fifteen feet away just outside the manager's office. He wasn't budging from that spot.

Gomez, who was right next to me by this point, made a sudden move with his entire upper body as though he were going to hit me. Then he stopped just before unleashing any violence. I don't think I flinched; I actually thought I deserved whatever was coming.

"I thought so," Gomez said. Then he snorted, moved past me, and muttered something about "fucking dipshit," which I guess was me.

I could accept that. I was a fucking dipshit.

By the time I heard the groan of the mechanical doors ushering Gomez and company away, Dikman was at my side.

He patted my shoulder a couple of times and then, in a very serious tone reassured me: "He was an asshole anyway, Bobby."

On the plus side, I think, that was the last any of us saw of Gomez Weirdly, sire of the Archimedes clan.

Suspension. Biggest waste of time ever. Now, external suspension, that was a blast - you were sent home for the day, so, basically, a day's vacation. Your parents knew about it either way, so either way, you were in the shit at home. Internal suspension especially sucked balls though. Sit silently for eight periods away from class as punishment for disrupting class. Or in my case, for getting busted smoking. Kids could still buy smokes back then, sure, but if you got caught smoking on school grounds, bad news. Fucking Billy Hefner, sitting right behind me, (reputedly) got caught jerking off in the girls' bathroom (otherwise empty), and then punched Mr. Davis in the chest when he was busted (Billy was barely five-feet tall; jagoff couldn't punch any higher). I spent a lot of time suspended without ever doing anything beyond lighting a Marlboro. Suspension, for me, was force of habit.

Sitting next to me that same Thursday morning as I twitched nervously a desk ahead of the unpredictable Hefner, was none other than Claude Weirdly. Mr. Kiner sat behind the big desk at the front of the room overseeing Claude, myself, and five other fuck-ups du jour including Hefner. We were sworn to silence, only allowed to read or daydream the day away. I spent my silent-time plotting.

Plotting Mr. Kiner's eventual call to nature that struck midway through second period. Janey Rider was placed in charge of suspension when Mr. Kiner excused himself, probably because she was the only chick in there, and to Mr. Kiner all the boys were total animals (see: Hefner, Billy). Janey didn't give a shit what went on while Mr. Kiner was away in the shitter, well, as long as Billy... you know, behaved himself.

"Dude, I hear you sliced open a frog in Bio and ate its fucking kidneys!" I said by way of introduction to Claude Archimedes.

Claude lifted his face from his book (On the Road) and slowly turned his head ninety degrees to face me. I braced for his denial.

"You're speaking to me?" he asked.

I nodded.

"It's a well-known fact that frog's kidneys boost a young man's vitality."

"What?" I asked.

"They make your cock hard," Claude said, making the jerk-off motion with his right hand.

"The fuck?" I heard Billy Hefner gasp lightly from behind.

This wasn't going as I expected. I absorbed Claude's answer, tried to decipher whether he had really eaten any portion of frog (he hadn't), and decided it didn't really matter. I burst out in laughter, this kid was fucking hilarious to seventeen-year-old me.

I reached across the aisle and extended my hand.

"Bob Morton," I said.

"Claude Archimedes," he replied accompanied by a firm handshake with the hand he'd just been using for the obscene gesture.

Okay, he was funny, really fucking funny, all the guys agreed. But he was still - well, we didn't say weird anymore, but... odd. He was a bullshitter of the first order, that much was agreed, and while almost any of his bullshit could crack us all up, some of it was so off the wall that we could only roll our eyes.

But then again, we asked some doozy questions. We were kids, there weren't any boundaries. So, like:

"Why the hell does your family walk all over town?"

"Automobiles spew many poisons," Claude said.

"So, what then, for your health?" Enzo asked.

"For the health of mankind," said Claude.

"Aw, gee, thanks," I said.

The answer was acceptable, I guess even correct in retrospect, but it was bullshit at the time. And while, like I said, no boundaries, there was a tiny bit of working class decorum that kept any of us from just point-blank saying, "Admit it, Claude, your family is too poor to afford a car." Then there was this other sensitive area:

"How come we don't see your father around anymore?"

Deep sigh from Claude. "Alas, he's gone."

"Like dead?" Alex asked.

Hemming and hawing from Claude. "He signed on to a secret government project, so... possibly? Probably? No, too strong. Possibly dead?"

"Wait," said Alex. "Like he's in the CIA or something?"

"Or something," Claude said. "Definitely something. Look, guys, if I knew, I'd tell you."

"But he's gone?" I asked.

"Oh, yes," said Claude. "One way or another, most certainly gone."

So as you can probably tell by this point, we'd taken to hanging around with Claude a bit, what because of his being in such close proximity to us at school now. I wouldn't say we liked him, no, I don't think any of us actually did, but we'd cut out the finger snaps and taken to calling him by his actual name. Despite this mild form of... respect? ...he had still somehow made himself into an endless topic of conversation, most especially when he wasn't around and we could talk behind his back.

One afternoon, Claude walked over to the three of us and thrust a piece of paper into Enzo's hand.

"What's this?"

"A flier," Claude said.

It was a flier advertising a party at Claude's house that coming Saturday.

"You'll come?" he asked.

"Wouldn't miss it," I said. Enzo crumpled the flier and stuffed it inside Claude's shirt pocket.

"Excellent. I'll see you then."

"Or in math class," I said. "Whichever comes first."

Claude laughed his uncomfortable laugh and sauntered away.

"You know what's weird?" Enzo asked.

"Claude," Alex said. "Claude Weirdly."

"Hey, now," I said, breaking out my best Gleason.

Enzo waved off the name-calling. "No, what's weird is that that flier wasn't a photo copy." He held up his fingers, stained black at the tips. "Fresh ink from some kind of marker."

"So, like it's the only copy?" I asked.

Enzo nodded.

"Good thing you gave it back to him then," Alex said.

"Well, we're still going, right?" I asked. "Right, guys?"

"Oh, yeah," Alex said.

"Definitely," Enzo said. "Wouldn't miss checking out little Clau-Clau's hidey-hole for all the money in the world."

"Yeah, well, fuck your UNIVAC or whatever the hell you've rigged up here. We heard you've built a particle beam." Alex glanced at me and raised an eyebrow. I managed not to laugh.

We'd heard this from Claude himself at some point during a particularly strange sugar-fueled rant, and we'd latched onto this detail for endless speculation in Claude's absence.

"Well... yes," Claude said, looking up from the wobbly Commodore 64 monitor on his desk. "It's not really on a technological par to what I've been showing you here -"

"You spent twenty minutes typing a bunch of zeroes and ones that showed us a picture of a flower," Alex said.

"I thought it was a vag?" Enzo said.

"An ambiguous flower," I said, rolling my eyes at Enzo. "But I'm curious about the particle beam as well." I bit my bottom lip.

"Well, again, there's not much to it that you wouldn't glean from a healthy study of Archimedes," Claude said.

We were silent.

"Not me," Claude said. "The Ancient Greek. My likely forebear." He glanced over each of our faces and sighed. "I suppose you're not all that interested in the min-u-tay behind it, nor my personal genealogy, you just want to see shit get blowed up."

"Hell yeah," Enzo said.

Another sigh. "I suppose I could show it to you. It's really quite rudimentary."

"How so?" I asked in my most intellectual tone.

"C'mon down and see it," Claude said, extending an arm towards his basement door and continuing to speak as we descended behind him. "I really hope you fellows keep this to yourselves. This knowledge could be quite dangerous in the wrong hands."

"Couldn't anyone who knows their Archimedes do whatever you've done?" I asked.

"Well, yes," Claude said. "But then they'd have to know to look for that information in the first place."

This was Claude's party. As expected. Just Claude, Enzo, Alex, and myself. Yay?

We reached the bottom of the stairs. In the center of the basement was a table with three wooden bar stools on one side and an overstuffed recliner on the other. All three bar stools were scuffed and scarred from years of use, and the recliner had duct tape repairs over both arms. Apparently, if you could trust his explanation, a distant relation of Claude's on his mother's side had left them this house and its contents after having secured employment in New Mexico. Sometimes it was Nevada. Claude extended an arm to usher us along and then rushed ahead of us to take his seat in the recliner. As the three of us were seated, I took notice of the large mirrors of various design positioned around the room and most especially around us. I'd swear to Christ that I saw a face peering at me in one of the mirrors, reminded me of an old British horror movie, not a Hammer, the other one, Abacus, or something. As with most things Claude, this place was fucking creepy.

"Wait a second," Alex said. He hadn't said anything in a few minutes and had appeared deep in thought. "What did you mean min-u-tay?"

"That's like a dance," Enzo said.

"No. No, it's not," Alex said holding up a hand to freeze all other action. "It's a big word. Maybe too big. Did you mean minutia? Or perhaps even minutiae, the plural? Do you think we're idiots, Claude, or are you just a pretentious dick?"

Claude said nothing. More accurately, his mouth opened a few times but nothing came out. Fish out of water. He didn't know Alex was an aspiring writer; he likely did think we were idiots. In my case, well, I was smart enough to play along.

"Fuck this," Alex said. "I'm out of here."

Enzo and I stood and followed in accord. I'd swear I saw something in the one mirror again (Amicus! Not Abacus, sorry!), but fuck it - we might have been idiots, but we were loyal idiots. It was back up the stairs, through the kitchen, out the back door, and down the path to the front lawn.

"Guy's a fucking asshole," Alex said.

"What was with those mirrors?" I asked.

"Ask Archimedes," Enzo said.

"Or Commodore Sixtyfour," Alex said. "Did you see what a waste of time that fucking computer of his was? Jesus, fucking loser."

"Wait - did you just refer to Commodore Sixtyfour as a guy?" I asked.

"Like Vanderbilt, right?" Alex asked. Then he laughed. "Just fucking with you."

"Oh, shit," Enzo said.

"What's up?"

"I don't have my keys."

I dropped my head.

"You left them in there?" Alex asked, nudging his head back at the already entirely darkened and now, once again, very weird home.

"Yeah, I guess," Enzo said. He glanced at the house. Looked a little worried, but took a deep breath. "I'll be right back."

"Want us to come?" Alex asked.

"Nah. Wait here."

Waited is what we did. Smoked one cigarette each, and then another.

"Shit, getting cold out here," Alex said.

"Yeah," I said, rubbing my shoulders. "You think he's all right in there?"

"Probably just watching another flower sprout from Claude's fingers," Alex said. "After all, he thought it looked like something better."

"That reminds me, Enzo never returned my fuckbooks."

Let's go get him," Alex said.

Claude's back door was still unlocked. His house was quiet and dark except for the light coming from the open basement door. Alex raised a finger to his lips and I nodded my head. No need to speak. We crept along the walls until Alex was just about to turn the corner to the basement, when a scream erupted. I froze, my heart in my chest and my skin prickling. Then, thump-thump-thump, and a longer scream, and suddenly Enzo tore past us and out the back door that Alex and I had just entered through. I looked at Alex, he looked at me, and then we heard more footsteps below and Claude calling out, "Do not disturb my circles!" I don't know which of us, Alex or myself, flinched first, but we were off and running, one for all and all for one, out the door, across the street, and into Enzo's car, the headlights just lighting up as Alex and I reached it.

Enzo put a foot to the gas and we were down the block and out of there.

"What the hell happened?" I asked from the backseat.

"I went in around back and the house is all dark and I'm calling him, 'Claude, Claude,'" Enzo said. "I'm digging through their kitchen looking for my keys, when suddenly I feel like I'm being watched.

"I turn, and there he is, backlit at the top of the basement stairs, Norman Bates style, creepy as fuck. 'Enzo,' he says, and I tell him I think I must have left my keys downstairs.

"Like Ahab, he beckons.

"So, I follow him down and he insists on showing me the particle beam. I'd forgotten all about the shit with the big word that pissed Alex off..."

"Minutiae," Alex said, giving the glove box a quick punch with the heel of his palm.

"Right," said Enzo. "Entire incident slipped my mind, so I go down to those stools and sit under all those mirrors. He sits down across from me in that crappy recliner and just stares.

"I got to admit, he stared me down, but all the better because I see, right there, my keys in the middle of the table between us. How in the fuck they ever got there, I don't know."

"Motherfucker must have picked your pocket," I said.

"Right, maybe," Enzo said. "Anyway, I reach for them, the keys, and just when I get my fingers on them he turns on this big floodlight or something and he's shining it into the mirrors and I can't see a fucking thing.

"But I've got the keys. I'm good, I think. I shield my eyes and start to get up, but the light, I swear to Christ, it's getting brighter and brighter and Claude starts talking to me, telling me about the Siege of Syracuse, and he's saying the particle beam is just about ready, and that freezes me up for a second and then, all of a sudden, there's this sharp stinging pain in my chest."

"Holy shit," Alex said.

"Right," said Enzo. "That's when I got the fuck out of there."

The car was silent for a moment.

"What'd he mean, Syracuse?" Alex asked.

"Must be something upstate," I said.

"Revolutionary War battle?" Alex asked.

I raised my eyebrows and nodded. "Maybe," I said. "And what the hell are his circles? Were there coasters to go under our beers? Like we stained that crappy furniture?"

Grunts and both sets of shoulders shrugged up front.

"Um, Enzo," I said. He turned his head. "You should probably know. Alex and I went in to get you."

"Great job," he said.

"You were screaming like a bitch," Alex said.

Enzo was quiet a moment. Then he said, "It's got nothing to do with New York. There's a Syracuse in Sicily. Archimedes was from Sicily back when the Greeks ran things. So, fuck you. Fuck the both of you."

Turned out, I was right - not about Syracuse, Enzo apparently knew his shit on that score - I had seen somebody in the mirror. I don't know what the hell I was thinking, but I walked home from school with Claude on Monday and we stopped by his place. No parents there as usual, his mother was working like eighty-hour weeks since the old man had disappeared, but the little sister was there and she was smirking at me the entire time I was over.

Claude made us some drinks, and eventually excused himself to go take a leak, so I took that moment to turn my focus to the little sister.

"What the hell are you smirking at?"

"Particle beam," she said.

"What's that?"

"You dumb fuckers thought Claude had a particle beam."

I sipped my drink and took a moment to think.

"Well, he has something rigged up down there," I finally said.

"It was me," she said.

"Wait," I said, my memory kicking in. "You were down there. I saw you in the mirror."

"Maybe," she said. "Was that you I spooked?"

"Spooked? Nah. You really freaked out my buddy Enzo though."

"Oh, that was Enzo," she said. "Yeah, we got him good."

I smiled, hoping to coax a confession. "What'd you guys do to make him scream like that? I've known the guy forever and never saw him so scared."

"So, Claude flipped on the lights, and I don't know if he told you, but that ancient old particle beam he goes on about was just the sun and mirrors. Like how you can burn an ant with a magnifying lens under the sun, you know?"

I nodded.

"Same principal, but his stupid lights weren't enough to do the trick, Claude knew that. We had all those mirrors down there from when we moved in, so he's been playing around with them a lot, but nothing."

"So what freaked out Enzo then?" I asked.

"That was me," she said. "I shot him in the chest with a pellet gun."

"Holy shit," I said. Then I smiled at her and we simultaneously exploded with laughter.

"What's so funny?" Claude said, returning from the bathroom.

"I just heard all about your particle beam," I said.

"Livvie!" he scolded.

His little sister flipped him off and ran off to her room.

So, I became a cop; Alex, the writer who's in my head right now (or is that vice versa?); and Enzo's dead. You probably expect Claude Weirdly became world famous after changing his name to Elon Musk or some other internet billionaire, but no. He went completely insane, claimed he killed his father, may have actually killed his mother, and was committed to Kings Park Psychiatric Center in 1992 - I don't know what they did with him after they closed down, Pilgrim State, maybe? Hell, maybe he never made it out of K.P. and still haunts Building 93? Anyway, had Claude held on another few years, maybe he would've been just like Elon. After all, back in the eighties he could make those ones and zeroes dance a little more than anyone else who we knew.

"Shit, was that all in the papers?" Frank Kulinski asked me last time I saw him. "I never heard any of that shit about Claude."

"Not the father. He skipped town with those bums he was partying with at the grocery. He had a Kerouac fixation and took to the road. Turns out that was kind of why they were always walking all over town back in the day." I waved my hand. "Or some other hippy dippy shit.

"Now the thing with the mother, that got a little coverage locally, not as much as you'd think though. Supposedly, he slipped her a Mickey, an extra strong one. Insanity plea stuck."

"Where'd you hear about all this then?"

"Little crackshot Livvie? I dated her for a couple years in the mid-nineties."

"You dated Liv Weirdly?"

I was silent a moment while recalling the time I had caught her dosing my drink, with what I'll never know. Either something to rev me up, or maybe a knock-out powder. Poison? Mommy's Mickey?

"Are you okay?" Frank asked.

I had trembled at the thought of the latter, wondering at the fate and current state of poor Claude Archimedes, surely innocent of what I had over the years come to believe were actually his sister's sins.

"What's that?" I caught myself recalling the breakup. When I had called her out over that tainted drink. She was incensed, but didn't deny it. Just knocked over my glass, and took off. Forever. "Yeah, we dated. She was a bit strange."

"I bet," Frank said. "Do you know what happened to her?"

I wondered if she still went by Livia Archimedes, or if she took his name. It'd been years. Hell, I wondered if she was even still alive. I needed to snap out of it and answer Frank.

"Left me for fucking Billy Hefner. Married the little jerk-off, in fact."

At least that tied up loose ends.


  1. The story is original and inventive! I felt like the narrator was not completely likable, but seemed real. Someone famous said there are only two plots: someone going to a strange place, or someone unknown coming to your place. This is the latter …some strange people coming to town. And that is fascinating on a fundamental level. Well done!

  2. I laughed out loud reading that Livvie had charmed the protagonist and married another man who found this family so “weird”. This family kept life interesting for these people who were afraid of sticking out in the crowd. Well done Cliff!

  3. A legendary family. Some people have all the fun. Mr. Mirth.

  4. Reminds me a bit of the Araboolies of Liberty Street (a fun children’s book), but the Weirdlies are much darker Araboolies…

  5. A rather odd little story about a square peg of a family fitting into a round hold of a town. Reminded me at first of a family that used to peregrinate across my college town of Edwardsville back In the 1970s as my roommates and I peeped out at them from the living room furniture we’d placed on the front porch. Turns out that the parents in that little family were profoundly developmentally disabled and so there was nothing amusing about their situation. The less enlightened amongst the townsfolk likewise called them the “Weirds” or something similar. The answer to that question remains at the bottom of a gin bottle. Claude portrays the outsider trying hard to fit in with his new friends, who are willing to be entertained by the bizarre du jour. In the end, the story is a little sad, as I think it’s meant to be. Good one, Cliff!

  6. As June said this is highly creative and well, weird! I could see this as a longer piece or a series of stories about the family as I think you've come up with great, memorable characters here.

  7. Thank you all for taking time to read my story and comment (love comments!).

    @BIll Tope Bill, it was actually right after meeting the wild group of characters in your story "Big Yellow" that I decided to try submitting the "Weirds" over here. Thrilled that it made it!