It was some years now since Melvin's father had announced that he'd sired an illegitimate child and that he too was called Melvin - Melvin Snr! He was, apparently, a traffic policeman, but had been pensioned off after colliding with a civilian - or so the story went.
Melvin and his family (two sisters, one mother) hardly batted an eye lid, as his father, silent now, waited for a reaction, but was greeted with expressions of ennui and resignation.
They were well used to his flights of fancy, his baroque braggadocio. Indeed this latest tale was rather pedestrian by his usual high standards. It seemed to Melvin rather lame, as if he'd exhausted his stash of infamy and was now reduced to plagiarising T.V.
One Christmas his father was going blind. Melvin remembered this little broadcast well, the family were preparing to eat the revered Christmas lunch, serried round the table, shoulder to shoulder like the Apostles in De Vinci's famous fresco.
"Aye, I think I'm going blind as well..," he blurted to a dessicated aunt of uncertain age, Melvin thought it may well have been Agnes on her annual pilgrimage to drink, with able assistance from his father, deeply and with great conviction, the familial drinks cabinet dry.
Melvins mother who was in transit, carrying a large tureen of steaming vegetables, gasped and dropped her cargo to the floor, where brussels carrots and swede fell, scattering quite randomly. Melvin remained silent, as they all did, but he couldn't help noticing how the vegetables had formed themselves, to his eye, into a crude pastiche of famous painters styles: he perceived the intense and expressive brushwork of late van Gough as represented by the carrots, the brussels juxtaposed against the hideous carpet conjured De Kooning and as a whole the mushy tableau suggested Pollack. Melvin had been given a rather nice set of Windsor and Newton oil paints by Agnes as he recalled.
Another occasion and it was gout - Melvin began likening his father to a Biblical prophet such were the severity and frequency of his seemingly arbitrary afflictions.
" Aye son, it's gout this time, Doctor Rouse reckons I might have to have the bugger off..!"
Poor Melvin had no idea what gout was, but it sounded pretty horrible: it rhymed with shout and clout and snout and doubt. But it surely couldn't be any worse than blindness or bastards.
" Mum what's gout?" he asked his long suffering mother one day.
"It's what you get when you tell too many lies."
"Dad said he might have to have his leg off," countered Melvin.
"Exactly," said his mother as she carried on putting crymplene jumpers into plastic bags and tossing them into a large box the size of a Morris Minor.
Lately however another rumour had come unbidden and unwelcome like a troupe of Romanian minstrels at the front door. This pertained to the imminent arrival of someone called " Uncle Charlie;" the provenance of which was of course totally open to conjecture, in the same way one may ponder the existence of the Yeti or flying saucers or alternative dimensions - which Melvin was convinced existed anyway: hadn't his father taken up permanent residence there long ago?
The idea of Uncle Charlie settled and fermented amongst the family; indeed the more these legends were repeated they took on more form, became more real by a process of osmosis. Charlie was being realised and his murky self began to hove into every ones consciousness; in the manner of a slowly developing photographic image. The Golem was fashioned from clay and God breathed life into it, this was the same with Charlie only his substance was bullshit and Melvin's father was God.
Charlie had apparently emigrated to Australia without a penny to his name on the intriguing pretext that: "he had to get away.."
Uncle Charlie was not mentioned again, there was no point really - Melvin's father didn't bring the subject up, so why would anyone else and so he was left to disappear and recede: a hitchhiker in the rear view mirror.