So on Tuesday, Randy and I made a second trip to the principal’s office. “We might get detention this time,” said Randy.
We didn’t. Mrs. Seuss said the barest of hellos and led us down the hall to the psychologist’s office.
Mr. Helprin was a tall skinny man with stick-up hair who bounced on his heels. Sammy was playing with play dough in one corner of the bright little office, which had a kid-size table, a rug area, and a ton of toys. Dolls mostly, but also blocks and crayons and drawing paper.
Sammy looked up from his play dough kneading and held up a long cigar-shaped blue piece. “Look. A sausage.”
Mr. Helprin began bouncing as though on a trampoline. He grabbed Sammy’s picture from his desk and tacked it to an art easel. He should have labeled it exhibit A in the “demented parents raise
demented child” trial.
“Sammy, would you come over here and tell Mother and Father what you told me about your drawing, please?”
Sam stood by his picture like the proud exhibitor of a major work of art. “Just as you told me,” said Mr. Helprin.
“Once upon a time,” Sammy began. Randy’s stories, it seemed, had taken root. “Big Bill had a really big sausage. And then Big Bill died, and Mommy gave head and was the sausage queen.”
I started to laugh. I laughed so hard I had to sit down on the rug. Mr. Helprin bounced harder.
“You may be excused, Sam,” said Mr. Helprin. And Sammy, who’d begun giggling, went off with a finger wave. I couldn’t say see you later. I was laughing so hard I’d begun to cry.
“Sausage is an interesting euphemism,” said Mr. Helprin.
I snorted. “Euphemism,” I said to Randy. “Bill’s Big and Tasty.”
“Oh crap,” said Randy who had joined me on the carpet, “Big Bill’s euphemism.”
“I hardly think this is a laughing matter,” said Mr. Helprin. “He’s talking about head. He’s talking about sausage.” Mr. Helprin drew imaginary quotation marks around “head” and “sausage,” which I found hysterical.
“Stop,” I said. “You’re killing me.”
“Your son is talking about head and about tasty big sausage.”
“You’re not from around here, are you?” said Randy once he’d regained his capacity to speak.
“I hardly see how where I’m from has any bearing.”
I’d managed to compose myself enough to stand up and walk over to exhibit A. “This,” I pointed to the crooked boxes in Sammy’s picture, “is Bill Ludowski’s sausage factory. Bill’s Big and Tasty, available at your local market.” I started laughing again. “God, that innuendo hasn’t been funny in a long time.”
“Sausage factory?” Mr. Helprin stopped bouncing and started looking confused.
“As in Italian hot and sweet. As in kielbasa,” said Randy.
“This,” I pointed to the stick figure, “is me eating a sausage. I am wearing a crown, because somewhere along the line Sammy decided I was the sausage queen.”
“Why?” asked Mr. Helprin.
“Because when Big Bill died, he bequeathed the factory to my grandmother and made me CEO. In other words, the head of sausage.
Mr. Helprin had a sheepish grin on his face. “So that…” he said pointing to the giant penis.
“Sometimes,” said Randy, “a sausage is just a sausage"