Posts Tagged ‘Jasper the renter’

Belgian Catnip

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

By Tiber

As you know, for a little extra cash, my father has rented a room up here on the third floor of the house to a business associate of a friend, a Belgian man named Jasper. You also know that the first night the slight and polite Jasper was here, he was mistaken for an intruder by Aunt April, who attacked him with a pitchfork.

Thereafter avoiding dining with us, he then was almost carried off into the forest by the dogs, who discovered he had some snack food in his pockets.

Dad keeps reducing the price of the room, however, and brave Jasper keeps staying on.

This week, Dad even managed to entice Jasper to join us once more for dinner since Cook’s food is so good. But even here, Jasper’s path is not all smooth. For some reason, from the beginning, Cook has taken a liking to him and she keeps pressing large amounts of Brussels sprouts on him. (“In case he’s homesick!“) I can only hope he doesn’t loathe them the way I do, because now there’s no way to avoid them, The only thing worse than having Cook like you is having Cook not like you.

Jasper did get a food offering that he enjoyed, however, when an older woman seen disappearing up the back stairs left a little package of Belgian chocolates outside his bedroom door.

He told Dad to please thank Aunt April for her peace offering but it turned out the “love chocolates” were not from Aunt April at all. They must have been left by the unknown woman Mom spotted one day, who may be living on her own somewhere up in the attics.

Hearing about this woman’s amorous interest as well as Cook’s must have lit a competitive fire in Aunt April and since she has no food to give Jasper, she’s been making rare appearances outside of her suite every night, to stand outside of his bedroom door and serenade him with her recorder.

The key here, I think, is the fact that Jasper has no romantic interest whatsoever in any of these females, which, of course, in the weird and wonderful world of women, makes him Belgian catnip.

I always remember how in the original version of the movie “Bedazzled,” the girl is mesmerized when Peter Cook, playing the famous singer, intones, “You fill me with inertia.”

And she was hooked.

The more genuinely uninterested a man can be, to the point of actually spurning any of a woman’s advances, the more the woman will pick him as her one and only and discard everyone else.

When you really stop and think about it, it’s a wonder that human beings ever get manufactured at all. 

The (very brief) Return Of Jasper The Renter

Friday, June 11th, 2010

By Tiber

As you may recall from my April post, “Not in Bruges,” Dad rented out a room up here on the third floor to an associate of a friend, who is here on business from Belgium.

His name is Jasper. And Jasper is such a nice person, I’m sure he felt that in coming to stay with such a big and active family as ours, rather than in a hotel, it would give him a real sense of home. The reality, of course, has probably made him want to drive at warp speed to the nearest family planning facility and donate all of his money.

On Jasper’s first night, we forgot to tell Aunt April he was staying here and, seeing him heading for the bathroom in the middle of the night, she went after him with a pitchfork. It bears repeating, how many people do you know who even have a pitchfork in their garage, much less in their bedroom?!?

Then, of course, Jasper accidentally witnessed the horror of the triplets on Easter morning, when they basically explode from the house in camo and ammo and conduct a scorched earth policy until they snag those eggs.

So because of these, and probably other events as well, Jasper has been coming downstairs for dinner less and less.

Dad, whose personality is even larger than, say, “expansive,” thinks Jasper is just shy. And Dad does not “get” shy. “Where’s the hell’s the fun in it?!?”

So he came up to Jasper’s bedroom and ordered, sorry, “invited” Jasper to come down for dinner tonight and enjoy a game of pool with him beforehand.

What we now think happened is that, since Jasper had been planning on snacking in his room, he’d had some Spam in his hand, which he then stuffed into his pocket when Dad coerced him downstairs.

They were in the billiard room under a minute when Dad’s two dogs came in and joyously yelped that it must be Christmas all over again!

Back in December, Dad had given us all the “gift” of a case of Spam, trying to get us to save money on food. Instead of eating it, however,  family members had just hidden their portions on and around the tree. The dogs were ecstatic, thinking the new Spam tree was the greatest present ever. And they dragged the whole thing, ornaments and all, outside for their own celebration.

And now, here was more Spam! And this time, it was hidden on this Jasper, who clearly was a 165 lb. Belgian doggie chew-toy!

Jasper took off, with the dogs right behind him and Dad calling out futilely, “They’re very gentle! They’re not going to hurt you!”

I don’t know, owners always say that but even if you had two large, perpetually hungry, out-of-control, pointy-toothed, slobber-spewing people coming after you, I think you’d run too.

It’s the little things that mean a lot

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

By Tiber

As I wrote about in my post “Not in Bruges,” to make a little extra money, Dad rented out a room up here on the third floor of the house to a man from Brussels named Jasper.

He seems like a nice, decent,  kind, quiet and normal sort and I was wondering how long it would be before my family would agree how terrific those qualities were and then shoot them into outer space with a bazooka.

Jasper politely said he wouldn’t be coming down to dinner tonight and when asked why, I thought he panicked because he suddenly blurted out that he’d “…uh…injured my Adam’s Apple…yes, that’s what I did, so I…I really must rest up in my room.”

My first thought was, “who injures their Adam‘s Apple?!? Is that even possible?” But of course, speaking frankly, I’m sure that many people, after spending even an afternoon with us, have tried to strangle themselves and then just made other excuses.

Dad offered to have dinner brought up to Jasper, but he frantically threw up his hands, as if to protect himself and cried out, “Oh, please, dear good and merciful God in Heaven, NO!”

Quickly realizing how that sounded, he tried to courteously cover by adding, “…because, of course,  I wouldn’t want to trouble you.”

I knew then that he was afraid that one of my brother Duncan’s triplets would be dispatched up to his room to deliver the food and he had probably seen them in action during the Easter Egg hunt I wrote about yesterday.

Most children looking for candy, run and toddle and gambol and it’s all pretty cute.

But if Jasper watched the triplets, he saw, first-hand, the ultra-lasers that shot out of their eyes, scorching the earth and anybody else’s nearby hands every time one of them spotted an egg and claimed it as his or her own.

Obviously, I just made that up.

(No, I didn’t please help me).

In any event, Jasper never came down to dinner. Word went around the house that at least he had some food, though. Evidently, he was heard chomping.

You’d think in a place this big, you could at least get a little privacy. But as I’ve said before, it’s also like the home for retired mob informants and the truth is, you can’t even gnaw behind closed doors on a Dorito, without the whole world hearing about it.

Not in Bruges

Thursday, March 18th, 2010


By Tiber

Since Dad’s looking for some extra income, one of his friends suggested renting out a room here. The house is so big and Dad’s friend even had a renter in the form of a Belgian man who has come to work for him for the next few months. Mom was none too thrilled but Dad said we could put him on the third floor and, except for meals, Mom would hardly even know he was here.

So, Jasper from Belgium arrived in a shattering rain storm. He stepped inside and said how much better it was to be with us than to be outside in a deluge. Good thing only Dad was there to greet him, as any of the rest of the family would quickly have cast doubt on that.

Anyway, Dad got Jasper settled into his room up here and soon we all were asleep.

Unfortunately, since Aunt April rarely comes out of her own rooms during the day, everybody forgot to tell her that a new man was in residence. Even more unfortunately, Aunt April does sometimes roam the halls in the dead of night and this is where she encountered Jasper, padding his way to the bathroom.

Speeding into action, Aunt April raced back to her room and then flew out wielding, honest to God, a pitchfork. How many people have a pitchfork in their bedroom?!? How many people even have a pitchfork in their garage?!? Poor Jasper ran but he doesn’t yet know the house that well and he ended up just going round and round in the halls, with this white-haired, pitchfork-charging demon in screaming pursuit.

Clearly, Jasper thought that by making one small wrong turn to the bathroom, he’d instead descended into one of Dante’s concentric circles of hell. Everybody woke up and it soon was all sorted out but Jasper, who’s sort of slight and polite, still looked a little shaky.

Cook, of all people, took pity on him and on her own initiative made him some Belgian waffles with Brussels sprouts, to “make him feel at home.” If there is a worse combination of any two foods, I don’t know what it is but no one wanted to say anything because, come on, it was Cook! Cook was actually being nice to somebody!

So Jasper, seeing all of us looking so pleased, went ahead and ate all of his “sproutaffles”, which I think may be guaranteed to elicit another trip to the bathroom later on. Dad did assure him, however, that he’d confiscated the pitchfork. Hey, it was the least we could do.

If Aunt April’s making haystacks in her bedroom, from now on, she’s just going to have to use her comb.