Chapter 2- Coming Out of the Closet

"Hey, who are you calling small, tough guy?" Asked a slightly offended Anthony, as he carefully examined Simon from toe to head.

"Excuse me?" Responded an extremely confused Simon.

"You heard me man. Who are you calling small? You aren't exactly George Mikan yourself there buddy." Retorted the diminutive black-haired Sciliano.

"Who's George Mikan?" A puzzled Simon asked.

"He's regarded as the first real big-man in basketball."

"Really? I never heard of him. How tall was he?"

"I think he was about 6'4" or something."

"That's not too big, I know point-guards taller than that."

"Well it's all relative my friend, he was a giant compared to the other players of his day."

"What? Were players smaller back then?"

"Yeah, didn't you ever hear of evolution?"

"What does evolution have to do with basketball?"

"Well people are taller now because of evolution."

"Oh yeah, I think I saw a show about that on PBS..."

"Who the hell are you?" Asked an extremely surprised Rose as she walked into her new bedroom to find her husband talking to a strange man.

"Oh hi honey, this is Anthony, we were just talking about how people are taller now because of evolution."

"That's a load of crap Simon, people aren't any taller now than they were a thousand years ago. And you call yourself a history teacher."

"Well then how can you explain George Mikan hon?"

"I don't care about George Mikan, I just want to know why there is a strange man in our bedroom."

"Oh, sorry for being such a stranger ma'am, I'm Anthony."

"Well please to meet you Anthony, now can you please tell me why you are in my bedroom?"

"Oh, I guess you're new here. None of the townspeople told you about me?"

"No, we just got here."

"Well it's a long story, got any popcorn?"

As Simon rushed to find where the hot-air popper was packed, Rose left Anthony in the bedroom while she finished looking around her new house. Before long, all three ended up together in the Sijanowski's living room, Simon with a bowl of popcorn-- half of which he had to salvage off the floor when the hot-air popper went crazy and started shooting popcorn all over the place. Both Simon and Rose sat quietly at the edge of their sofa, listening intently as Anthony began his story.

"You see, in the beginning, my great-grandfather Ernesto came to this town, long before it was called Agnew Valley. Back in the day, these part used to be known as Copper Hills, since all those hills around the town used to be loaded with copper. Around the 1880's there was the Great Copper Rush, and hordes of settlers came here from the East. Now my great-grandfather was a smart man. He came to this country from Italy by sneaking on a boat bringing crates full of Ragu sauce to the Americas. Later he became a full-fledged American citizen when he married old Andy Jackson's great niece. However it wasn't long before great-granddad Ernesto got divorced, stole a race horse, fled from the police, and moved to Copper Hills. Anyhow, being a smart man, my great-grandfather recognized the opportunity that came with the influx of settlers from the East. So Ernesto designed bumper-stickers that read: 'Prospectors do it on their knees.' And they sold like hot cakes. It wasn't long before every wagon on the Oregon trail had one of my great-grandfather's bumper-stickers on the back of it. Gradually he amassed a small fortune. He used some of his money to buy a mail-order bride from back in Italy, together they gave birth to my grandfather Nunzio, and then my great-grandfather died in a fishing accident. Nunzio was the sole heir of the family's fortunes, and he used all the money to run a mud-throwing campaign for mayor of Copper Hills. He won in a land-slide, and would be the mayor of Copper Hills for 40 years. As mayor, my grandfather gave this town its first police station, fire company, and 24 hour convenience store. He wielded a lot of power, and was very corrupt. Granddad Nunzio was known to sell orphans to roaming bands of gypsies, so he could finance his opium addiction. My last memory of my grand-father was when he was seventy-four, and I found him dead in bed with a twenty year-old prostitute named Lola. Anyhoo, my father, Cecil, was the youngest of four brothers, and used his share of the family estate to build a miniature golf course and driving range. On the fifth hole you had to hit the ball between the legs of a hippie holding a peace sign. Well some network guy heard about it, and came here and featured it on the news. Soon everybody was talking about the hippie hole, and my dad got a lot of business from curious visitors. One day Vice President Spiro Agnew came to my father's miniature golf course, and he said the hippie hole was 'the stupidest thing he ever saw.' The whole town was swept in a fever over the vice president's visit, and it was not long before the town Copper Hills became what it is now, Agnew Valley. To make a long story short, my father died of lead poisoning when I was seventeen, my two sisters and I split up the inheritance, and I used my share to go to trade school and become an electrician."

"Wow, that's some story, and you tell it so well. Ever consider a career as those people who read books to be put on tape?" Said Simon, who seemed enthralled with every word of Anthony's story.

"Thanks man. I do take vocal lessons. I'm hoping one day to become a narrator for bad mimes."

"Well that's definitely is a noble career path. What do you think honey? You have been awfully silent."

"I think I still want to know what this guy was doing in our house, and I want to know RIGHT NOW!!" Exclaimed Rose, who during the entire story was staring at Anthony like he had a monkey playing the accordion dancing on his head.

"Oh that, the old owners of this house borrowed my Trivial Pursuit board game, and they never gave it back, so I was just looking around to see if they left it here."

"Did you find it?" Asked Simon.

"No, the bastards must of took it with them."

"So, you knew the people who used to live here?" Asked Rose.

"Oh sure, we were real close, we went to high school together. I was able to get in the house today because I still have the spare house key they gave me."

"What kind of people were they?" Inquired a curious Rose.

"They were a nice loving couple, Frank and Suzy. They used to brew their own beer together in the bathtub in your master bathroom."

"Why'd they leave?" Asked Simon

"Frank is a mascot for a minor league baseball team, and the team he works for was sold to a guy who relocated it in the west coast. And then..."

"Well, you are certainly a very interesting man Anthony, but we have a lot of work to get done, and we should get started soon." Rose cut in.

"Oh, I get the point ma'am, I won't take up another moment of your time. If you need me, I'm in the book. Later folks."

"Have a nice afternoon Anthony."

"Yeah, see-ya man." Simon said as Anthony quickly got up and left the Sijanowski's new house.

"Simon, call the locksmith, we're changing these locks."

And so just as quickly as Anthony entered the lives of the Sijanowski's, he was gone. On the way out of the house, he looked like he was offended for being asked to leave, but he really wasn't. In reality Anthony was glad to leave. He was afraid that if he was in that house any moment longer, he would accidentally reveal his secret, the secret of why he was really in their house. Anthony never liked Trivial Pursuit, he always got the geography questions wrong. He definitely wasn't there to try and find his Trivial Pursuit board game. Yeah, Anthony had a secret, and the Sijanowski's definitely couldn't know about. They weren't ready. At least not yet.