I found the voice for Waking Paul Bunyan!
He's 12. What do you think?
"Most people say I'm pretty smart, but it's never been proven. I guess I elected myself to spill the beans on something worth mentioning. It ain't easy having a famous relative - especially when it's Paul Bunyan, the biggest man who ever lived, apparently. My dad, (sometimes I call him my old man), he's crazy about my great, great, great uncle. He has facts and figures and a handmade genealogy tree that goes way back, maybe even to the dinosaurs.
My sister Alissa, she's crazy, too. All girls are crazy. Just ask any twelve-year-old boy and they'll tell you. Girls ain't good for much. Too emotional, especially. Alissa cried when the goldfish drowned. She had a nervous breakdown when her hamster keeled over on the exercise wheel. But when it comes to spiders and bugs, she's plain kill crazy and joyful at their demise.
Having madness in a family is okay, I guess. It doesn't bring great pleasure but it always gives me something to think about. I'm pretty thick-skinned from it. My mom says someday it will make me a better man, having all that insanity on my dad's side of the family. She says she never would have married the old man if she knew he'd become a Paul Bunyan nut. He wasn't that way when he was a Boy Scout. He never mentioned it in high school or when they married. She says his obsession began after we kids were born and after his own dad died. Going through old boxes hidden in grandpa's attic, he discovered the whole Bunyan story. Grandpa never revealed the big dark secret. Maybe he just didn't want to live in someone else's shadow. Mom says dad is middle-age crazy now with failed dreams. Being related to Paul Bunyan is a big deal for him, she says. It's made her crazy, too. Crazy enough to turn any conversation into a cause for divorce.
My little brother, he's a good kid, I guess. He lives in that stupid wheelchair and never complains. I wish I had his kind of guts. Him and Paul Bunyan and my crazy old man, they're as unique and different as marbles.
My mom's craziness is nothing like my sister's. Mom is too business-like, running that eighteen-room motel at the edge of town. We kids call it the Psycho Motel - like from the movie. It has a history of violence - People stabbing themselves to death or hanging themselves, people with prescription bottles and old people dying in their sleep 'cuz their respirators ran out of air. Hell, some motels with bad locations may as well be called mortuaries. We kids joke with her too much. I said she ought to put casket brochures in every room instead of bibles nobody reads. If people read the bibles, maybe they wouldn't be wanting to die so fast.
My family, we try to laugh a lot between all the miseries. We try not to talk about death much, not knowing what's gonna happen to Little Bill as we go. Seems we know more doctors than kids. But Little Bill, he takes things in stride. He's one heck of a marble.
I can't say I'm living a normal life. Not with all the eccentrics around me. Being the offspring of dreamers and intellectuals tends to lead towards social isolation. My dad thinks an old pile of scrap wood, a box of nails and a claw hammer is the most fun any boy can have. I tend to disagree. I'd rather have something electronic. My dad, he says cell phones maybe cause cancer. The closest I can get to one is two old tomato soup cans connected by string. Little Bill, he's only ten feet away on the other end so I can hear every word he says, regardless.
All us kids, my mom, the neighbors, even the man at the dump tell my old man to move his mind into the twenty-first century. Hell, he ain't even in the last century most of the time, his thoughts clouded with Paul Bunyan business from the 1800's.
After Grandpa died, then Grandma, we moved to the old farmhouse on a forty acre tract of land. It sets on the edge of town in Wabasha, Minnesota, along the upper Mississippi River. On a clear day, I can see Wisconsin across the water. (We don't get to Wisconsin much. Dad says it's full of liberals).
Wabasha is the oldest town in the state, started in 1826 as a trading post. Everybody here is pretty proud of it. It used to be called Wabashaw with an extra w, named after an Indian chief. I hear they dropped the last w to make the place sound more cosmopolitan and less Indian to nervous investors and homesteaders. Lots of Indians roamed the area before white settlers came. There were Sioux, Sacs, Foxes, Iowas, Omahas, Otoes and Chippewas. But they faded away over the years. We got lots of half bloods in the area. Everybody wants to be part Indian in Minnesota. You get free money from the government."