Hi Fan! (not a typo…) After a wee bit of a hiatus from this writing outlet, I’m back with a vengeance (a small one but, what do you expect, I am a midget). I’m back in class and this here is my newest assignment: To write a story from the perspective of an unreliable narrator MEANING, you’re not sure if you can trust his/her story. PS – yes, that is a shout out to you, maiden Carole Anne.
My mother had always wished to name her first born son, James, after that rebel without a cause. But, it was the 50s and my father called the shots. When the big bosomed nurse slapped my ass and announced that I was a boy, my mom cried with joy. Another girl to add to her five would have been a disappointment. My father passively pulled out a pack of large Rothman’s from his breast pocket and drew out a stick. Tapping the filtered side on the windowsill he was sitting on, he spoke in his grave voice, “Godfrey is his name. God Donagh.” You would have thought it was a G. D. joke but my father didn’t consider it so. He knew what his mighty genes had produced and it sure as hell wasn’t a Terence or a Willie.
I hated my name for years. The relentless teasing in the schoolyard kept me home most days. “Let’s see if God’s magical powers can stop this rock from hitting his God awful nose.” As they laughed and rocks hit me, I cursed my Dad. When he asked me about my beaten up face, I told him it was his fault. “It’s my stupid name!” “Godfrey, it’s probably because you’re a puny, weird-looking chicken-shit. Your arms are twigs,” he grabbed my left arm and shook it with force, “and it don’t help that you’ve got that odd birth mark that makes your hair go white,” he said while twirling his cigarette-squeezing fingers at the part of his head where my birth mark would sit. “Jesus, Godfrey. Stick up for yourself. Don’t you know who you are?”
At sixteen years old, I officially dropped out of high school and found solace in my basement bedroom. With the back of my head resting in my palms, I lied down on the plush brown carpet and spent my days getting lost in thought while listening to my Sgt. Pepper’s record. Days turned to nights and back to day again, blending into one. My new hobbies were sleeping and smoking copious amounts of marijuana. I let my thoughts spin and spin intertwining with what I knew were message-filled dreams. The messages were so vivid, – evil is lurking, you will save us, praise will be thrown at you – they must have been coming from someone. But, from whom? My future self? My father eventually kicked me out calling me a “good for nothing parasite”.
It was not until five years later did the devil and I finally meet. The scuffling above my ceiling signalled that a new tenant was moving into unit 404. Curious, I stepped out and used ‘checking my mail’ as an excuse to be in the foyer. Flipping through the flyers, my eyes tracked his movement from the building’s front door to the stairs. He was carrying a television to the top floor of the Cobble Hill brownstone. I waited a few moments and started back up to my apartment. We ran into each other on the 2nd floor landing which is exactly what I had hoped.
The freckled-face smiled at me, “Hi, I’m Carl,” he said as he stuck out his hand. Even though I hadn’t dreamt about him in years, I instantly recognized his face. This guy was a genius. No one would have suspected a ‘Carl’. “Hello, Carl,” I grabbed his hand and gave him a wink, “I’m God.”