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The Inventor in the Basement

Way back when, in simpler times, we lived with Granny and Grampy. When Gummy moved out to be a dentist, The Machine took over her room in the basement with the Bahamian cockroaches because I was too messy. Granny had a friend, Francisco, a Filipino inventor from Australia. He would often stay with us because Granny’s other friend was a D.C. patent attorney who was always working with Francisco on some project. Francisco had trouble finding steady work because once he got himself employed, he would just invent a machine to do all the elbow grease. So then Francisco would be fired but his robot would not.

When Francisco came to visit, he’d bring scary stuffed animal for us kids, platypuses or kangaroos with real fur and claws, and then set up camp on The Machine’s trundle bed and read Popular Science late into the night.

One day Francisco was scheduled to visit but never showed up. Eventually Pa got concerned and tracked Francisco down to an airport motel where he was practically on his deathbed. Pa hoisted him down to our family wagon while Francisco explained that he came down with a mysterious cold on his international flight and tried to cure it with a homemade, petroleum-based remedy. It had quite the opposite effect.

We did not hear much from Francisco after that though occasionally he appears at random family functions – like Peggers desert wedding. Nobody really knows how he knows about them just that he’ll suddenly appear from behind a shrub with a Nikon camera.


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