Originally posted in 2005.
When I was in grade school, we had a genius who lived in my closet and smelled of garlic. He lived on the third floor of our house, slept at odd hours of the day, and kept his mail in our cereal cabinet. It’s a credit to my absolute belief in the normalcy of my family, that I didn’t find this strange in the least.
The genius and I shared the third floor, which was basically a converted attic. His bed was near a large walk-in closet and that is where he kept most of his processions including his TV. Most nights, while I was trying to fall asleep, he would be watching TV. The light would emanate from inside the closet like some weird Close Encounters moment, backlighting his inert body. The sound would be just loud enough to be distracting, but not loud enough to be entertaining.
How he came to live with us escapes me now, but what I do know is that my father had known him for years, and the genius, being without a place to live at the time, had been invited to come live with us. His name was Tom.