“*There* you are, Gramps! I don’t know how I keep missing you.”
Space Ghost (“Gramps”) turns, takes a look at Buurb, and then faces forward again, rocking a bit faster. “You haven’t changed,” he spouts grumpily.
“I know. I think I’m going to give it another shot with Mabel. I’m not quite ready to end a steady marriage.”
“My boy Baker Black,” the elder Space Ghost grumbles, mispronouncing his son’s name, “said to wait here in this town until the boy turns back into a girl. Then and only then can I go home.” He glances at Buurb again. “And you’re not changing, hmph. So I’m not heading home yet.”
“Collagesity, you mean,” speaks Buurb, who again thought of Mabel’s invitation to join her there to live in *their* new house, she keeps putting it. She’s certainly not prepared to break the bonds from her end either.
“1 1/2 years I’ve been here, give or take a year or two. Do you know how long a year and a half is give or take that?”
“Well,” states Buurb, trying not make *too* much fun of the old man, “that could be a negative half year, meaning you haven’t even arrived in Heartsdale to begin with. You stayed in Collagesity, and, even on top of that, lost a half year there.”
Space Ghost shakes his head, not taking this in correctly. “Babble. That’s all you young folks do these day. Rambles and babbles. You might as well be little robots walking forwards and backwards and every which way — always getting in *my* way, phmph. Now, back in my days… (Buurb thinks: here we go) In *my* days…,” Space Ghost repeats, turning to face Buurb and even shaking his cane a bit at him, “boys and girls remained separate and pure. There *were* no mixed up boy-girls like you.”
Buurbs attempts to remain patient again. “Oh, I’m sure they were around, Pops. It’s just they didn’t tell you they were, um, mixed up. It wasn’t socially acceptable then. It’s a lot better these days with the interwebs and social media educating people about such things.”
Space Ghost wasn’t finished digging at him. “Then *why* did you marry Mabel?”
Buurb shrugs. “I changed over. I knew I didn’t love Precious Snowflake any longer when I began to love Mabel. My sex changed — before I was a woman, now I’m a man. It’s not *that* unusual Gramps. Our friend Turchin McGur–.”
“He’s not *my* friend,” Space Ghost cuts Buurb off. “*He’s* the one who took Mabel over there in the first place. You should be together here or you should be together there if you’re a couple. But not you here and her there, see. Figure it out. Who *are* you? *What* are you?”
“I’m Buurb,” the hobo-man declares firmly.
“You *were* Unch,” Space Ghost snaps back.
“Urch, you mean,” Buurb replies. He’d finally lost his cool. “And it’s Baker *Bloch*, not Black. You don’t even know your own son’s name, let alone the true state of the world.”
Buurb immediately regretted flying off the handle. Kindness, he thought. I have to be kind to the Grandpas. They don’t know what they’re talking about half the time. But also: so much shared wisdom between them. They will be missed, each and every one.
“How was John’s funeral?” he then thought to ask, changing the subject.