Kuhreihen
7. Oscar + Norton

Two contestants come in a pair.

They’re both in their sixties. They were married in California before the state backtracked its stand on same-sex nuptials. It’s an uphill crusade, but at least these two adorable men can stay hitched. They were grandfathered in. I think there’s a pun in there somewhere, but you’ll have to find it on your own.

The mysterious benefactor skipped over the cars Oscar and Norton owned as individuals. Skipped over the cars they owned together. In fact, they found a perfect copy of a car they never owned. Their dangling carrot for the game was a car they rented for their honeymoon. The rental was itself a perfect copy, but not nearly as nice as the 1952 Morris Oxford sitting in their driveway.

“Is that him Oscar?”

“Unmistakeable.”

“Beautiful.”

“And ours apparently Norton. Do you fancy a drive?”

Oscar grew up poor. But happy. His family were all good people. God-fearing, but fun-loving too.

He was one of three boys and his mother always knew. Always knew. His father knew too. And pretended there was nothing to know. His mother pretended on her own, but with a different, and more creative, brand of delusion. She imagined her little Oscar as the neighbor’s child. She loved him better that way. She was always so happy to have little Oscar in her home and never for a moment had to worry about what the world would think of the neighbor’s gay son who was actually her gay son.

“His hair is so fine.”

“What?”

Her husband thought she was a little bonkers. She wanted to tell him it was the neighbor’s child. It was the neighbor’s child that had hair like spun silk that reminded her of staring at the rain.

“Nothing my darling. Dinner?”

The neighbors of course had no children. None of their own. Oscar played over there often. Most behind the wheel of the neighbor’s car. A Morris.

Norton grew up with a little more money and far more misery.

His parents knew. They knew. And they tried their hardest to make the most of their child. Norton’s father loved him, but also kept a distance. Treated his son as if he had some sort of exotic disorder. And his mother cried often. Whenever she found him wearing something of hers or opting out of something she felt was respectably masculine.

“He doesn’t get dirty with the other boys.”

“He plays with them.”

“He’s out there. But he won’t get dirty. What’s wrong with him?”

Norton did get dirty. In private. At the end of his block was another man who also owned a Morris. Norton loved the car and learned all about how to maintain it from the friendly neighbor. He did not know. He didn’t. He thought Norton was a little strange to not want to play with kids his own age, but he was helpful around the garage, and affable, and funny. The neighbor was a lifelong bachelor and had never taken a shine to children before Norton. Norton always washed up before returning home. He didn’t want his parents to know he’d been working on cars. They’d be too excited and for all the wrong reasons.

Oscar and Norton associated the Morris with their youth. They loved the car. Growing up they both recognized it as unique and themselves as unique and it was a secret they kept from the world so they could keep other secrets from the world. In time it was their only secret, a forgotten one until they were looking at luxury rentals for their honeymoon.

“Oh my. Do you know what this is Oscar?”

“I do, but do you?”

“How do you know?”

“Morris? Morris was the first man I ever loved.”

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