Wednesday, March 28, 2007

All About Longwickle's Friend, Hans Landsteiner (Part 1)

No less fascinating than the life of Edwin Longwickle, was that of his best friend and colleague, Hans Landsteiner. Hans was born in the small town of Petting, Bavaria, and is generally believed to be the son of Hanna and Jonas Landsteiner. As a child, Hans was both a bed-wetter and sleep-walker; urinating in up to twelve different beds in a single night.

A local psychologist diagnosed his chronic bed-wetting as stemming from childhood trauma, no doubt suffered when he accidentally walked in on his mother having sex with a head of broccoli. Things only grew worse shortly thereafter when his mother announced at a family gathering that Jonas Landsteiner wasn’t Hans’s real father. Hans, who already faced the challenge of being half Jewish in an era plagued by anti-Semitism, was now forced to come to terms with being half vegetable as well.

The revelation shocked all in attendance, prompting Jonas's sickly mother to faint and his senile father to ask for a second helping of cake. Furious, Jonas kicked Hans and his mother out of their Fucking residence and they were forced to move in with Hanna’s herbaceous lover. Four years later, Hans was sent to a boarding school in Fucking, in Upper Austria (I swear, that's the name of the actual town, I'm not making this up!).  Thankfully, the transition from Petting to Fucking was a smooth one for Hans.  He majored in botany and international vegetable affairs, hoping to thereby regain touch with his lost family heritage. Hans also demonstrated an aptitude for languages and by the age of sixteen he was already conversant in seven, including Latin, Esperanto and Jamaican Creole. He was also elected president of his school's French club, whose weekly meetings consisted of reading the works of Madame de Lafayette, being smug and condescending, and surrendering to the German club.