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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Everyone needs a Marvin in their life.

Submitted: January 27, 2019

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Submitted: January 27, 2019



I met Marvin on my first date with Emily.  She’s my wife and the mother of my son, Danny Jr.  We were college students, on the way to my apartment after pizza.  Parking was on the street and the closest spot was four houses down.  Marvin was on the porch, three houses down.


I’d seen horseshoe crabs before, on the beach at Panama City.  Marvin was a sculpture, made by welding two actual horseshoes to each other.  Various curved metal pipes and rods protruded from the horseshoes, topped off with two pairs of spoons fashioned into claws.  He hadn’t been named at that point, my date would take care of that momentarily.


If not for Emily, I wouldn’t have noticed the small piece of folk art.  My attention was fixed on my companion.  But she let out one of those sounds only women make, something like “Awwww”, very melodically, when she eyed him.


Then she gave me the first of what I call her devilish look.  She said, “We’re going to to visit Marvin later, after it’s dark.”  We made our way up the stairs to my apartment.


I forgot about Marvin as soon as I opened the first bottle of wine.  While we watched a movie, I worked on getting closer to Emily on the sofa.  By the end of the second bottle, I’d gotten brave enough to offer her a joint.  That may have been a mistake.  As soon as we got high, she said, “It’s time to rescue Marvin.”


The word “rescue” had connotations my drunk, stoned mind was having difficulty with, but I didn’t have time for pondering.  Emily got up and headed out the door.  I felt obligated to follow.


She can walk pretty fast when she wants to, or maybe it was the drugs.  By the time I time I caught up to her, she’d stopped on the sidewalk in front of Marvin’s house.  The lights were out.  I leaned down and whispered in her ear. 


“What are we doing?”


“We’re casing the house.”


“What happens after we finish doing that?”


“We liberate Marvin from the porch.”


She said that as if stealing things from your neighbor’s house was an ordinary activity.  Not that it mattered.  By the time that sunk into my head, she’d sprung into action.  A few steps, then Marvin got stuffed into her purse.  We walked briskly back to my place.


“The first thing we need to do is find the perfect spot for Marvin.  He needs to have a good view of the living room.”


“Why does he need…never mind.  I’m afraid to ask.  Is there a second thing we need to do with him?”


Emily gave me another devilish look.  “Of course, silly boy, we need to take a photo of him, and mail it to his owners, along with a nice letter. It’s the right thing to do.”


She instructed me to remove the stack of Frisbees from the bookcase to make room for our new metallic pet.  I was given the task of taking a photo and printing it out while Emily penned the letter.  She handed it to me when she finished.


Dear Marvin’s parents,


Thank you so much for letting me and my boyfriend borrow Marvin.  You can tell by the photo he really likes his new home.  We’ll take good care of him and keep you up to date on his activities.  And we promise, we’ll bring him back when we graduate.


E and D


My brain short circuited when I got to the word “boyfriend.”  That was beyond my wildest dreams.  Any apprehension about stealing Marvin dissipated.  I’d break into Fort Knox and steal a thousand Marvins, if that’s what Emily wanted me to do.


So I didn’t have any problem with carrying the letter down to the outgoing mailbox.  When she cased Marvin’s house, she’d memorized the address.  I had paper, pen, an envelope, and a stamp.  The US Postal Service took care of the rest.


When I got back, there was still a tiny part of my brain not completely dominated by thoughts of Emily.


“Welp, that’s done.  I do have a question.  Why did we just commit burglary, and send evidence of our crime to the victims?”


She gave me the third devilish look of the night.


“I knew the moment I saw Marvin, he would bring us good luck.”


Before I could think of a reply, she put her arms around my neck and kissed me.  When the sun came up, and Emily was asleep beside me, I was a Marvin believer.




Time began to pass in a blur.  Everything changed.  Specifically, it was spring break at Gulf Shores.  Of course, Marvin came with us.  


Emily had been planning the trip for months.  She had a list of activities, most of which involved Marvin.  All to be documented photographically, and mailed to his parents.  She was serious about proving herself to be a good surrogate.


He was perched on the dashboard all the way down and back.  While I drove, Emily focused on getting a perfect picture.  I made the mistake of questioning her technique.


“So, why are you taking so many photos?”


I could feel the devilish look burning into the side of my face.  I decided to keep my eyes on the road.


“Silly boy, it’s complicated.  The sunlight needs to reflect off of Marvin’s claws just right.” 


Eventually I learned not to ask questions like that.  She kept taking pictures.


It was late afternoon by the time we checked into the hotel.  After showers and a fancy seafood meal, we decided on some private time in our room.  Doing what Emily referred to as making whoopie.  We wouldn’t find out until later, we also made Danny Jr.




We got to the beach early the next morning.  Emily was intent on building Marvin a sand castle fit for a king.  She wielded an array of tools as she sculpted the wet, sticky sand into shape.  I provided the manual labor.  There was plenty of sand and water, my job was to mix them together in a bucket.  


Together, we created a mansion for our metallic buddy.  Marvin posed on top while Emily shot the photos.  A short while later, I mailed off the first of three vacation letters to the parents.  Each photo had a note on the back.


“He’s got the best sand castle on the beach!”


“Marvin enjoyed the sunset while D and I enjoyed the shrimp.”


“His first round of putt-putt golf!  He cursed a bit but says he wants to come back.”


And so it went.  Marvin was there when Emily and I got married.  He was there when Danny Jr. was born.  Somewhere in between, Marvin helped us find a bigger apartment.  With each event, there were photos and a letter.  It was clear we were keeping him entertained.




As far as Marvin being good luck, Emily insisted it was true.  Who was I to argue?  Would Emily have stuck around if not for him?  Would there be a Danny Jr.?


Life was busy and there was little time for philosophical questions.  I split my time between classes, changing diapers, and delivering food for a nearby Chinese restaurant.  The money I made didn’t even come close to our expenses.  The loans mounted up.


Emily’s life revolved around Danny Jr., but she found time for classes.  Every now and then, she found time for me.  Life was good.  Not easy, but good.  Through it all, Marvin kept a watchful eye on us, from his perch on the bookshelf.




The days and months passed.  Childbirth and parenting duties delayed our graduations by a year, but somehow we’d made it.  Graduation was a week away and we both had jobs lined up in Charlotte.  We were starting to pack, when I realized Emily was staring at Marvin.  Tears were streaming down her cheeks.


This was the woman I’d watched bear the indignities of pregnancy and the impossible geometry of giving birth, without a whimper.  I put my arm around her.  “I guess it’s time to send Marvin home.”


We packed until late that night.  Afterwards, I carried Danny Jr. while Emily carried Marvin.  As I watched my wife replace the sculpture on the porch, it was my turn to cry.  Truth is, Marvin had witnessed all the really important parts of my life.  I was going to miss him.




Somehow we endured the drive to Charlotte.  A child makes traveling about a thousand times more complicated.  The rental house we’d found was furnished, which was a good thing.  All three of us were beat and ready for bed after an all day ride.


The little one fell asleep as soon as he hit the bed.  We had a few suitcases to unload from the car then we’d do the same.


As I was closing the trunk, I heard Emily say “Awwww.”  Very melodically, the way only women do.  She was staring a statue of a garden gnome, perched in front of the neighbor’s house.  She had that look on her face.  Uh oh.

© Copyright 2019 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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