Marty "Slim" Rutgers was born on October 17, 1975, to Virginia Elizabeth Rutgers. Virginia's parents died in a house fire when she was eleven, and the young girl was raised by her cousin, Bo Rutgers, and his wife, Merili, who had seven children of their own.
Virginia lived with Bo and Merili until Marty was three years old. One night, neighbors reported blood-curdling screams coming from the Rutgers home. Virginia and Marty left the next day, Bo and Merili telling everyone that Virginia had come across a snake in Marty's bed.
Virginia never let Marty out of her sight, and she considered homeschooling until administrators convinced her to enroll her son in the public educational system.
Despite being twice the typical weight of his classmates, Marty appears to have been invisible. Miss Edna Truesdale, his first grade teacher and now principal of Oxford Elementary, has no memory of Marty, although she can talk for hours about his contemporaries.
Throughout school, his marks were consistently "satisfactory" and Cs. He wasn't mentioned by name in any of the yearbooks outside of the obligatory class photos. He received neither honors nor demerits nor much of any notice at all.
When Bo and his entire family were killed in a freak accident at the mud-wrestling nationals held outside Atlanta, the house went to Virginia, their only living relative. She and Marty moved back there just before he graduated from high school, and he resides there with her to this day.
Marty's first job was as a janitor at the Southern Gentlewoman School of Expressive Ballet and Tap. He buffed the floors for seven years until a sting operation by the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department led to the arrest of the school's manager on pornography charges. The flustered owner moved Marty into the front office and told him to start wearing a tie.
While watching the young students on the new closed-circuit video system mandated by court order, Marty noticed the teenage Barbara Dubois, and he soon thought of nothing else. Marty introduced himself to Susan Dubois and said he could make her daughter a star. Susan jumped at the opportunity.
Marty made calls to talent scouts, casting companies, and modeling agencies. After talking to several people, he decided that Barbara should compete in local pageants while polishing her image. When informed that Barbara had been winning local pageants for years, Marty promised Susan that Barbara would soon be winning better local and regional pageants.
By the time the ink on the coaching contract was dry, Susan had realized that Marty had nothing to offer, but she wanted to keep her mistake—and Marty—quiet. She drew up a second contract with help from Barbara's sponsor, Sam Tuttle of Tuttle Confections, which stipulated that Marty would remain silent and deep in the background.
With fraud charges as the alternative, Marty agreed. Sam then announced that he had put up the money to hire the most expensive coach available, an eccentric recluse who had been behind some of the biggest names in the world.
Several months later, Barbara told her mother that she didn't want Marty hanging around the dance school any longer. Susan and Sam convinced the school to let Marty go and then hire him as a technical consultant at a weekly salary of one dollar to be paid by Barbara's sponsor.
Subsequently, Marty was hired for the midnight shift at a nearby catfish farm where he still works.
Whenever Barbara won a pageant, the press tried to reach Marty for comment, but Sam always returned their messages, explaining that Marty was consulting out of the country and therefore unavailable.
Since no one in the pageant world had ever seen him, everyone was shocked when he strolled into the Yoknapatawpha County Literature Festival and announced that he was Barbara's coach.