My brother is made entirely of PVC pipe. Nearly, completely, limb to limb.
And I mean that literally. It happened one piece at a time.
One summer three years ago he was playing a game of pickup basketball. Being as tall as he is, he is able to jump and touch basketball hoops, hang from them like Christmas tinsel, and slam dunk like Wilt Chamberlain. He is the best rebounder on our block.
It was late in the second half of the game and our team was behind by two points. Phil jumped to retrieve my rebound and came down with his armpit on the netted bucket. The momentum of gravity’s pull ripped his arm off. It was a really what one might call a “tough break.”
I have to hand it to him. He didn’t cry. Not once. Didn’t shed one tear.
But we put our heads together and came up with a plan that would ensure our parents didn’t find out. Quickly, we ran home and borrowed some of Dad’s PVC pipe, which he uses about once a year to fix some plumbing problem somewhere in the house. I cut a piece the length of Phil’s left arm and attached it to his torso. Then we cut out a mock hand, five fingers and all, from a piece of plywood and covered it with some of Mom’s flesh-toned fabric, which usually becomes someone’s underwear.
That winter, we were snowboarding. Phil hit a tree. His leg flew off. We tried to retrieve it, but it got lost in the woods. We think a bear ran away with it. Anyway, I reconstructed Phil’s leg with Dad’s PVC pipe. The tricky part was finding a piece that would bend when he walks. That’s when I learned to hate knees. His foot is wooden and polyester, like his hand.
Last summer we went skydiving. Phil got his ripcord wrapped around his left arm and tore it clean off. We could have reviewed the operation and come up with our list of bullet points to show how to avoid such mishaps in the future, but we decided instead to handle the crisis at hand. I made a perfect replica of his other arm from Dad’s PVC. Then I replicated the plywood and polyester hand.
This past spring Phil lost his other leg in a boating accident. PVC, plywood and polyester came to the rescue again. He now has four extremities made entirely of these materials. No one can tell the difference.
On his birthday, Phil coaxed his girlfriend Roxie into giving him a blowjob. She happily agreed. But Roxie uses too much teeth (don’t ask me how I know).
Roxie managed to remove Phil’s penis and swallowed it. It was tricky, but I reconstructed his seven-and-a-half full hard inches with PVC pipe. The downside is he always has a hard on. No Viagra needed there.
Two weeks ago Phil got into a fight at school. He lost. The other boy punched his face until his head fell off. It took all of fifteen minutes. I’d have sewn it back on, but the damn thing rolled onto a gutter and washed away with the sewage. Poor Phil’s head. Now it must live out the rest of its life without Phil’s body. But his torso is much more blessed.
I used the basketball. I painted the ball the color of Phil’s face, including his rosy red cheeks. I gave the ball Phil’s round blue eyes and golden hair. None of that was very hard, to tell you the truth. Much more challenging was constructing a nose shaped like the odd protuberance that used to be Phil’s. It’s made of clay, but works just fine – even with its postnasal drip.
Phil’s lips are pink and made of cotton. I had to slightly deflate the basketball to make it the size of Phil’s natural head. But I managed.
If you didn’t know Phil, you’d think he was fake, but he’s as real now as he ever was. People think what you see is what you get. Not with Phil. He’s more than a bunch of PVC pipe, wood, clay, and polyester. Despite the constant fibbing, which you can tell when his cotton lips are moving, Phil is the best brother anyone made of chrome could hope for. Last night we made a private entrance to our bedroom with quilts and blankets.
Allen Taylor is an Iraq War veteran with a digital book of poems that depicts the ennui. They can be found at http://rumsfeldssandbox.com. His fiction and nonfiction are all over the place. He lives in Pennsylvania with his beautiful redheaded wife. They live a very active over-40 lifestyle.