Act XIII, Scene I
The worth of that is that which it contains,
And that is this, and this with thee remains. ~ Sonnet LXXIV
Lisa entered the house, followed by Homer, who was carrying Bob’s suitcases. Upstairs, she paused outside her brother’s room, finding it oddly quiet. When she opened the door to the guest room, she found Bob sitting on the edge of the bed with Bart standing behind him on the mattress. Flowers, bows and even Marge’s curlers adorned Bob’s hair, which had been restyled like some hedge trimmer’s mockery of a crumpled origami swan.
Lisa growled and planted her hands on her hips. “Bart!”
With a wicked chuckle, Bart jumped off the bed and bolted out the door. Homer, having finally conquered the staircase, entered the room.
“What’s all the…” he paused to stare at Bob, then dropped the suitcases as he burst out laughing.
Bob stared back at him, clueless as ever since his accident.
“Marge!” Homer gasped between guffaws, “Quick! Get the camera!” He left the room, but his laughter was still heard loudly from down the hall.
Lisa rolled her eyes, climbing up on the bed to take Bart’s place behind Bob. She tucked the drawing and the photo of Gino into her dress before working to undo her brother’s ‘masterpiece.’
“The boy – er, Brat, I think his name was – offered to put my hair up so it isn’t in the way all the time,” Bob muttered, feeling awkward now.
“It’s Bart,” Lisa replied, struggling with a knotted bow, “but ‘brat’ is a very fitting anagram.” She started on a curler next, unrolling it carefully so as not to yank Bob’s hair.
“So – ow! – what did you find at the motel?”
“Sorry! We found your clothes, some books, and a few other things. We packed everything in the suitcases and bags over there,” Lisa replied, indicating the luggage Homer had left by the door.
“And… my family?” Bob asked cautiously. His voice was meek, fearful yet full of hope.
Lisa paused, the curler slipping from her fingers. She opened her mouth, taking a breath as if to speak, but nothing came out. She pressed a hand to her chest, feeling the paper crinkle under her dress. The photo and the drawing would remain hidden, for there was no way she could bring herself to tell Bob what she had learned.
He had lost his lofty position in Salsiccia, and the respect of its citizens, because of her. And he had lost his memory because of her family. The man had seemingly lost everything, and Lisa did not have the heart to tell him he had lost his wife and son on top of it all.
“I… I’m sorry, but I couldn’t find anything,” she said at last. “Not a single clue.” The lie tasted bitter, like bile, the truth behind it even worse.
Though Bob said nothing, his disappointment was a palpable presence in the room. Lisa empathized with him. She continued fixing his hair in silence, wishing she had never mentioned his family in the first place. She had gotten his hopes up for nothing, and now his mood was lower than ever.
Homer appeared in the doorway, a camera in front of his face. “Hey, Bob! Smile!”
Bob lifted his gaze from his lap to peer up at Homer through his auburn bangs. His long face was longer than usual as he made no attempt to humor the man’s request. The camera flashed, momentarily blinding him.
“Dad!” Lisa shouted.
With a high-pitched giggle, Homer was gone.
* * *
“I don’t get it. Are you saying Bob KNEW Gino wasn’t his son?” Marge looked at Lisa skeptically.
Across the table, the girl nodded vigorously. “Exactly! Bob met Francesca AFTER he moved to Italy! That was AFTER he was released from prison, which was only a month and a half BEFORE Maggie was born! There’s no way he could be Gino’s father.”
“Mmmmm, maybe he adopted him?”
Lisa shrugged. “Maybe, but that doesn’t explain why he tried to pass him off as his biological son.” She pushed a photo across the table.
Marge picked it up. “Who is this?”
“It’s Gino. I’m ninety-nine percent certain it’s him.”
Marge’s eyes alternately narrowed and widened as she stared at the little raven-haired boy in the photo.
“And look at this.” Lisa unfolded a piece of paper and laid it out on the table: the crayon drawing.
“See, ‘to Bob.’ What little boy calls his father by his name?” Lisa queried with a smirk. “Seems a tad disrespectful, don’t you think?”
Marge smirked back. “You forget whose mother you’re talking to.”
As if on cue, Bart came tiptoeing into the kitchen, wearing a thick scarf of toilet paper around his neck and two baby carrots taped to his eyebrows. He crawled into the cabinet under the kitchen sink and closed the door, chuckling evilly. A moment later, Homer’s anguished cry could be heard from the living room.
“What the –?! Who would do this to turkey jerky? So young and deliciously innocent,” he sobbed. “You will be avenged!”
Lisa rolled her eyes. “Right. What was I thinking? But still, you can’t deny the rest of the evidence, not when it all adds up to the same conclusion, and that is that Gino is not Bob’s biological son.”
The cabinet door creaked open and Bart poked his head out. He removed one of his carrot eyebrows and gave it a charismatic nibble. “Ehhh, what’s up, Doc?”
“Your sister figured out that Gino isn’t Bob’s real son,” Marge replied.
“Nice nerd work, Sherlock.” He nodded to Lisa and closed the cabinet door. A second later it swung back open. “Hold on, are you saying that Bob’s hot wife got knocked up by some other dude, and Bob doesn’t even know? Ha ha, what a loser.”
Lisa frowned. “No! I mean yes, she did, and Bob DOES know, but this happened BEFORE they got married. So he knows, only he DOESN’T know ever since he lost his memory.”
Bart stared at her, slack-jawed and confused. Lisa sighed. “Bob knew the truth before he lost his memory,” she repeated slowly for his benefit. “Now he has no idea.”
“You haven’t told him yet?”
Lisa shook her head. “I don’t intend to tell him.”
“Well if you won’t, then I will!” Bart declared as he climbed out of the cabinet.
Marge stood up. “You’ll do no such thing! That poor man has suffered enough at the hands of this family!”
Bart’s jaw dropped. “But Mom! Have you forgotten that he’s spent the last few years trying to KILL me? And all I did was prove that he framed Krusty for armed robbery!”
“Yeah, nice nerd work, Sherlock,” Lisa mocked him. Bart stuck his tongue out at her.
“People change, Bart,” Marge explained calmly. “He hasn’t tried to kill anyone since he moved back to town. You’ve got to give him credit for that. And it would be wrong to take advantage of him in his current state. Without his memory, he’s not the same man who chased us out of Italy with a butcher knife. You can’t punish him for something he doesn’t even know he’s guilty of.”
Bart crossed his arms and snorted. “That didn’t stop you from grounding me after Maggie glued her mouth shut!”
“That’s because you left the glue out KNOWING she likes to play with it!”
“Yeah, but I didn’t think she’d dip her pacifier in it!”
Marge growled and rolled her eyes. “Just be nice to him, okay?”
Bart pulled off his other ‘eyebrow’ and stuffed it into his mouth. “Can I at least tell him he works for me part-time as a ninja assassin drag queen?”
“No! He’s very vulnerable right now, so no messing with his head!”
“Or his hair,” Lisa added.
Bart was about to argue when Homer entered the kitchen, looking antsy. “Hey honey, there’s no toilet paper in the downstairs bathroom and I…” he paused when he spotted Bart’s unusual ‘scarf,’ “...gotta go!” Homer grabbed the toilet paper and ran. Bart made a strangled cry for help as he was yanked along with him toward the bathroom.
Marge sighed and sat down, turning to Lisa again. “So, what DID you tell Bob?” she asked.
“I said I didn’t find anything at the motel, but I would keep looking.” Her gaze dropped to the pictures on the gingham-covered tabletop. She sighed sadly. “I hate having to lie to him, but… do you really think I did the right thing?”
Marge grunted in thought, twisting a napkin in her hands. “Well, I don’t approve of lying, but I also don’t approve of burdening a person with more bad news than he can handle, especially when it won’t help him in his current situation. So I guess it’s okay. For now.” She pushed her chair back and stood up. “But if Bob doesn’t regain his memory soon, I think we should try to locate Frances and Guido.”
“Francesca and Gino,” Lisa corrected.
Marge blushed. “Right, because I think they could help jog his memory.”
Lisa scooped up the pictures and stood up too. “While we’re at it, we could also try to locate the rest of his family.” She went over to the whiteboard mounted on the wall and erased the old grocery list and household chores that needed to be done, then uncapped a fat felt-tip marker.
“Let’s see… there’s his brother, who tried to blow up the dam…” she wrote his name in large green letters. “And his parents, who attended his trial after he framed Krusty…” The marker squeaked zealously against the board.
“Now, we know Bob’s parents live in England, but his brother might still be in the U.S.. His mother is a famous actress, so it will likely be very difficult, if not impossible, to contact her directly. His father is a doctor, and assuming he hasn’t retired yet, we may be able to contact him through his practice. And as for his brother… well, I highly doubt there’s more than one person with the name Cecil Terwilliger in this country. Or the world, for that matter. Let’s just hope he’s listed somewhere.”
“What about Bob’s wife?” Marge suggested.
“Right.” Lisa added Francesca to the list, hesitating on the last name. “I doubt she goes by Terwilliger since she was already a well-known model before she married Bob. In fact, she may have a pseudonym. I’ll try to look for her in European fashion on the Internet.”
Marge and Lisa both studied the list of names on the board:
CECIL TERWILLIGER – BROTHER
DR. ROBERT TERWILLIGER, SR. – FATHER
DAME JUDITH TERWILLIGER (née UNDERDUNK) – MOTHER
FRANCESCA TERWILLIGER – WIFE
Bart re-entered the kitchen, TP-free, and stared at the board. “What’s this? You and Bob making a guest list for your wedding?” he teased.
Lisa frowned. “I’m making a list of his known relatives so we can contact them in the hope that they can help him get his memory back.”
Bart snorted. “Yeah, right. Why do you care so much, anyway? I mean, if you’re NOT in love with the guy…”
“Why don’t YOU care?” Lisa countered. “It’s called compassion, Bart. Maybe if you had some, people like Bob wouldn’t be trying to kill you all the time.”
“Hey, I can’t help it if I’m too real to deal with!” Bart said haughtily.
Lisa rolled her eyes.
ACT XIV: [link]