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you’re almost come on, hrrnnn.. I AURRRGHHH!!! what’s wrong?

there, Mrs. phemus! margie, you can can’t! you did it,
do it! push! honey! Well.. it’s, um..
Congratulations, you have it’s. . you see..
a beautiful baby-- Ehh? it’s a.. .

Well, it’s a boy.

The OdD EsSay:


The Memoirs of Paul Phemus

co-writTen and
ilLustrated by Michael Gage Costa
All the tests came back normal. The
doctor said aside from the, um.. baby?? that.. that thing--
defect.. the baby is perfectly healthy.
Defect? Paul.
this is our
baby, no
matter what
he looks his name
like! is paul.
R

F
RR KK
K

FF

grgl blf honey, quick! paulie is I’m in the aw, don’t cry, paulie. stop coddling him,
taking his first step! middle of see? all better. margie, it’s just a
da-da. say fixing the sink.
da-da. scratch.
ma-ma!
hrm.

1
hi, i’m paulie. MOM, AM I NO, DARLING, YOU’RE NOT A
I’M JIMMY. HOW COMES A FREAK? FREAK. YOU’LL ALWAYS BE MY
YOUR EYE LOOKS FUNNY? SPECIAL BOY.
I DON’T KNOW.
IT LOOKS FREAKY.

DAD, YOU WANT TO NOT RIGHT NOW,


PLAY CATCH WITH ME? PAULIE. THE
GAME IS ON.

6:30 PM

HEY FREAK! NICE SHUT UP!! I’M SORRY, MRS. PHEMUS. I WILL NOT
LACK OF DEPTH TOLERATE FIGHTING IN MY SCHOOL, AND
PERCEPTION! HA HA! THIS WAS HIS THIRD STRIKE. I’M AFRAID I
HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO EXPEL HIM.
PRINCIAL

but fred, he’s just a boy! your father and i have found you a new
school. it will be better there, you’ll see.

no, he’s not. not


to the other kids.
don’t be naive.

2
Hey, two-eyes! ha ha, yeah! can you see the What? . .no. I- I mean..
nice specs. future with those things?

ACADEMY FOR
EXTRAORDINARY
JUVENILES

what a freak.

hi, I’m lilith. i saw


you in geometry. i’m paul.

don’t take this the wrong oh, well.. wow.


way, but why are you here I have a tail! that’s really neat! thanks. I like
at the academy? your eye.
thanks.

you want to go to a movie DAD, CAN I BORROW FINE. BUT I WANT IT BACK IN PERFECT
or something this friday? THE CAR TONIGHT? CONDITION, HOME BY 10:00 SHARP!

THAT WOULD
BE NICE.

really? great!
I’ll pick you
up at 8:00.

3
I’m sorry, son. Lilith can’t go DAD, THIS ISN’T FAIR!
out with you.
Dad, Please! NO DAUGHTER OF
MINE WILL BE SEEN
WITH A FREAK.
HONEY, I
SAID NO. BE
ON YOUR WAY,
SON.

where the hell have you


been?? it’s past midnight!
Your mother was worried
G! sick! and is that a dent it
CLAN
my car? who the hell do
you think you are, you
ungrateful little mutant!?

MONTHS LATER
I got that writing we’re so proud of it’s not harvard, but
something in the scholarship to penn state! you! right fred? I guess beggars
On a night like this,
At the gaping yawn
mail for you here. can’t be choosers.
Of my life's abyss,
The approaching dawn
Seems to herald my
Inexplicit doubt
And the thoughts that I
Never talk about.
As the crickets sing
Their unending song,
I lie wondering
Why the night's so long,
But the days so short
That they slip away.
Must the time distort
What I feel today
Into something sad,
Something I'll forget?
Must the mem'ries fade?
Will I feel regret?
Memory is not
What it used to be,
But perhaps that's 'cause
Nothing is, to me.

H!
FWAS

H!
AS
FW

4
CHUG! CHUG!
CHUG! CHUG!

PaulIe Phemus?? lIly?


Is that you? oh my God, it IS you!
it’s been so long!
you look great!
so do you.

POETRY

I love you, I love you well in a toast to my new daughter- Dear. . .


LIly. too, PaulIe. in-law, Lilith. God Bless Ya! if my
that case.. son can end up with a girl like
you, anything is possible!
. .will you
marry me?
GLAD to have you on I GOT THE JOB AT THE SPARTAN TRIBUNE!
board, Mr. Phemus.
Congratulations, Paulie!
cl
in
k

I want to have I’m sorry, Mr.


a baby. Phemus. Your
condition prohibits
you from having
a child.

I’ve got to work Oh.. That’s ok.


late at the office,
honey. I’m sorry.

LILY! I’m home early! how’s Oh, paulie! You remember Hey, how are you? Your wife
about we go out to see-- simon, right? here is a hell of a tennis
player, let me tell you.

6
I’M SORRY, PAULIE.
THIS ISN’T WORKING
ANYMORE.

LILY?? I was Paul? it’s Dad. “You need to come home.”


hoping you’d
call. I--

You should have been here. dad, that’s not true. I loved yeah, that’s right. Your mother loved you. She
As I walk through the valley of mom! she was there for me a loved you so much, she could never see you
the shadow of death, I fear no hell of a lot more than for what you are-- a Selfish, Thankless,
evil, for though art with me.. I’m sorry. You didn’t tell me.. you ever were! embarassing freak!!!
you didn’t want to know. so
self-absorbed with your own crap--

well, you know what? everything I’m disappointed Yeah, what I’m sorry, Ma. I love you so much.
I am, I learned from you, dad. in you, Paul! else is new?
SO GO
TO HELL.

7
Excuse me, I’d like to Of course, sir.
change my ticket to Where would CHICAGO
SICILY.
another destination. you like to go? SICILY

NEWARK

DALLAS

The Odd Essay


Memoirs by P. Phemus
Let it not be said that a man
needs two eyes to see this
world for what it is. It can be a
harsh, ugly place, but there is
also beauty if one can find it in
M
BA AM
themselves to look for it. In my
life, I have lived long and seen
B the true face of humanity, and I
have stared back at it.

I was born in Johnson City,


New York, to Margaret and
Fred Phemus. I quickly discov-

YEARS LATER
what manner
of creature
inhabits this
cave?

8
Who’s there? Nobody. the villagers tell of a what? no.. I mean, yes, Are you for real?
man-eatIng cyclops who but, no-- I don’t eat trickery, foul
Yes, that’s very dwells In these caves. I beast! Your words My name is paul.
funny. Do you presume you are he? people. I’m just a taste of Deception.
need something? writer. I’m not
bothering anyone.
It is I,
Odysse--
er, I mean..
“Nobody”!

MORE LIES, Demon! You scorn me ...Freak? PREPARE I AM NOT A FREAK!


with your effrontery! THYSELF!
Look, I just I promise to
want to be dispatch you
left alone. quickly, freak of
nature!

. .n-not..

. . not.. a.. f.. f-reak..

. . I’m just your specIal boy.

9
THE END

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