Really, it’s pretty easy. When the family aliens inquire about spare rooms, just tell them, “no room in the inn for you.”

Oh, and get ready for a royal snit. Denial of housing is likely to cause them much Christian butthurt. It’s a lot easier to bear them the bad news if you’re a hard motherfucker of a Cumberland cracker, but that isn’t who we are on Dad’s side of the family. Grandma certainly wasn’t. She was always a mark to give alms to an alien in need. She wasn’t a duplicitous gossipmonger about it, either, which is more than I can say for the rest of us.

Maybe I should discussed protestations of butthurt in the singular. Alien Aunt so far hasn’t angled for a place to crash with her relatives, although this isn’t so much a matter of stalwart principle as of having an extensive network of bleeding-heart Christian moochables in her church circles. These people understand karma. They know that it’s bad juju to deny a fellow believer a place to freeload if their goal is to be given a place of their own—that is, a place of someone else’s—to freeload in the future. In secular bleeding heart circles, and sometimes in Christian circles oriented towards social justice, this is called “paying it forward.” It’s a version of the Golden Rule, but tailored specifically to benefit people who either have or know of available housing. Wasting this charity on a homeless gutter drunk isn’t so much bad juju as ineffective juju; not only has he missed the 3:20 to Lakewood, dude probably can’t even find the ticket booth. These prosperity gospel goobers may seem like they have their heads in the clouds, or perhaps like they’re chasing clouds, but they’re no dummies about money. Like Billy Fish, they recognize the impressionable middling and wealthy, and esteem them not so much for their character as for their money.

(Actually, I’m a bit unfair to the ramadamadingdong school of evangelical Christianity. Billy Fish esteems such people excusively for their money. He really is that crass. The 3:20 crowd do feel some spiritual and intellectual connection with their parasites, their hosts, or, if they’re involved in an Amway-style daisy chain of mooching, both. Besides, they’re debasing theologies that are inherently rotten, while Billy Fish debases things that actually can be debased.)

Alien Uncle has made the tactical mistake of sticking through thick and thin with a relatively mainstream Protestant church in the Wesleyan tradition. Oops. His church people aren’t hardhearted, proud crackers—far from it, if Grandma’s last congregation was any indication—but they aren’t Alien Aunt’s melt-in-your-mouth flaky moochables, either. These are people who have by and large found a ways to hack it in this cold, cruel world. They prefer not to direct their charitable impulses towards a guy who would be in decent shape if only he didn’t insist on spending every cent of avaiable cash and credit on new motorcycles and stereo equipment.

For about thirty years Alien Uncle had a place to store all this crap, actually, two places when Grandma’s neighbors in College Terrace weren’t complaining to code enforcement about the clunkers that he kept in her driveway. After Grandpa died, and consequently stopped battering her for good, Grandma decided that it was time for Alien Uncle to leave the nest, so she helped him buy a house of his own.

According to Cartetaker Aunt, this house was “a pigsty,” but at least it was a place that Alien Uncle could call his own. That is, aside from the portion that the bank owned: most of it at first, then less as it appreciated, then all of it when Alien Uncle took out his first HELOC, then a bit less, and so on until, circa 2003, the bank was ready to name it and claim it because Alien Uncle couldn’t make the mortgage payments. At the request of other relatives, a former pastor at the family church who had become a successful businessman attempted to counsel Alien Uncle, but to no avail. This pastor implored him to cut his losses by relinquishing the house, but Alien Uncle refused. Somehow, he held onto the house until about 2009, when the bank finally foreclosed on him. Even then, he hung on rent-free until it was time for the sheriff’s deputies to evict him. He had a decent run at the bachelor shack, but he would have had a much longer run, probably until death did him and the shack part, had he had a lick of sense.

When the bank foreclosed, a friend from church took Alien Uncle in on an open-ended basis and, as far as we know, never asked for rent. He gave Alien Uncle a room of his own on the condition that he keep it reasonably clean and not clutter up the rest of the house with his shit. Alien Uncle showed his gratitude by moving piles of his bounteous shiznit into his room, and then letting it run over most biblically into public areas of the house. To Alien Uncle’s bemusement, his host put him and his junk out on the street. Even after Alien Uncle had cluttered up his place, his host was gracious enough to give him on the order of two weeks’ notice to move out. By all accounts, he showed uncommon kindness towards Alien Uncle by taking him in and exceptional forbearance by not immediately expelling him when he started using his house as an unauthorized storage unit. He evicted Alien Uncle only last year, so as far as I can tell he put up with the bullshit for months.

Things got hairy for Alien Uncle after he was evicted. He spent a week or so in a motel, on a $68 nightly rate, until he ran out of money. At that point, he moved into his car, the Audi of Many Colors, for several days, maybe even a week or two. (I never got an accurate chronology, and I’m not even sure how accurate a chronology he gave Grandma.) Finally, he got settled in an eight-way split of a ranch house in East Palo Alto. Grandma said that he had his own room, but at $400 per month, the rent sounded awfully low.

Apparently, the current digs aren’t what they might be. Caretker Aunt recently heard from Alien Uncle’s pastor that he spent several successive church services dropping hints about the possibility of rooming at her house. When she finally told him flatly that it was off the table, Caretaker Aunt said that “it sounds like he kind of threw a fit.” His pastor reported that he also inquired with a young couple at church, who refused on the basis that they had a young child at home and another on the way.

Obviously, my parents and the Caretakers have good reasons to be worried about alienproofing their houses. ET would phone home, if only he had a home to phone. If the caretakers weren’t so worried about their house becoming an alien helipad and their driveway a permanent home for the Audi of Many Colors, they might not have taken in a severely autistic foster child who finds it riotously funny when he beshits himself and then gets poopy all over the toilet seat. This kid also found it hilarious when the bigger dog in the house “did a Mike Tyson,” as Caretaker Aunt put it, during a fight with the smaller dog. He also drinks anything he can get his hands on, mostly soda but in one instance an unattended bottle of beer, which results in bladder incontinence. This is reminiscent of a friend of mine back east, Herb Hancock, except that Herb exclusively used beer to facilitate his pissing on his hosts’ couches.

You have to be in a tight spot to take in retards as a way of keeping the family aliens at bay. The thing is, we don’t know just how tight things are for either of the aliens. I’m able to glean some intelligence (I think the cool cats call it “elint”) on Alien Aunt via Facebook, but not enough to really know whether or when things are likely to really fall apart. It’s a bit like Kremlinology: you can figure out where the big cheeses are in the Politburo yearbook photos, you can get an idea of who’s up, who’s down, who’s out, and all that, but what does that reading of tea leaves tell you about the likelihood of the sclerotic economy that supports the government sputtering to a halt when oil prices fall?

If you thought Khruschev was enigmatic, try deciphering Alien Uncle. At this point, we hear almost nothing of him except what his pastors report to Caretaker Aunt secondhand. Just the other day, my parents and I got word through Caretaker Aunt that he had had a motorcycle accident in early May, totaling his bike. He was down to just one style of ride, the poor thing. In the midst of that, it seemed that he had an abscessed tooth and might need major dental work. But the Lord works in mysterious ways. After he had the congregation pray for his tooth to be healed, the pain went away. No longer needing the money for dental work, Alien Uncle bought himself another motorcycle. The Lord God had again provided for his people.

The Almighty is still working on Alien Uncle’s credit card debt. If it’s ever paid off, that will be a work of majesty.

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