Lemuel Potter, distant cousin

   

Lemuel, given the unappetizing nickname »Hairy« for obvious reasons, was kept a secret while cousin Harry floated on a volcanic wave of popularity.

Poor child! Born to a meek and mild mother possibly as a consequence of rape. Hairy, extremely hairy from day one, hairier every day. Kept a secret, kept well-wrapped up during childhood. Not a pretty sight, this bow-legged hairy toddler. But lively like the dickens. Always up to something. After the chickens, after the geese. Extremely hard to educate.

The first time Harry saw his cousin he turned away in horror. Poor mother Kitty!

However, where Harry needed schooling at an exclusive institute, Hairy was a natural – with no effort whatsoever. Needed no device, no auxiliary equipment, no catalyst. Only desire.

And desire he learned to develop with ease. But his desires were astonishing.

He did not wish for a Shetland pony (like most children at a certain age). No! A ferocious muskrat it was. And he made it fly – round and round and about and in a square –, scaring mother Kitty witless. Disinterested after a while, he gave his mother time to breathe – for his desires were few and far between.

Next memorable thing was a smoke stack eight hundred meters high – easily the tallest building in the world – on top of Kitty's house. Little Lemuel resided on it for a few hours, had a nest built by a stork, requested the stork's company. Nothing but clatter from the two of them from high above. But then helicopters and planes. Hairy played with them for a while. He'd grow the stack, drop it 200 meters, shoot it up again, make it sway. Until he got tired of it all and returned things to normal.

Mother Kitty's humble abode was besieged by reporters for days. Headlines, pictures in the papers. Hopeful planes and helicopters zooming by. Hairy sat in his room with the stork, not interested in comment.

Harry, hearing about it, doubled his craft efforts in school. To be outdone by this monster – and in such hands-down fashion!

The time came when Harry thought there was not room for two of them in the family. The reports differ, but we tend to believe Kitty: Upon hearing that Harry wanted him gone, Lemuel smiled one of his rare and hardly discernible smiles (there was so much hair!), touched Harry's forehead with his little finger and sent him to Greenland. Being the forgiving kind, he allowed Harry back after thirty-five minutes of deep-freezing in an igloo. Then said, »I'll go. According to destiny – my tasks around here are over. Other realms are waiting.«

Harry stared at his cousin round-eyed, round-glassed. »That was quite clever – Lemuel. Can you show me how to do that?«

Lemuel shook his head. »No, that would be betraying what I have vowed not to disclose. You'll have to figure it out yourself.« 
»But Lem –« 
»That's final, Harry. Good-bye.« 
»I can pay you for it. The merchandising is going quite well – as you may know ...«
»Good-bye, Harry. I have no interest in merchandising.« 
»I'll share my knowledge with you – for free!«

Lemuel gradually turned into air as Harry looked on. And has not been heard of since then.

   

   

    

Copyright © 2002 by Johannes Beilharz.

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