Episode 1 – Beginning at the Beginning
When you’re young, you don’t question anything. Whatever your parents tell you is fact, and you assume everybody lives similar lives with a few variations. People tell me my life is sad, even tragic, and I’d gotten used to simply nodding agreement…never stopped to think what it means, or how it really feels. To me, it’s just a differentiator that sets me apart, and I find myself reciting family mythology without a second thought.
My mom died of a heart attack when I was six…a tragedy I only remember in brief flashes. My father’s a part-time insurance agent who’s also in show business. Based on what he always said, I assumed he was a world-renowned celebrity, and when he left me every night, lived in a glittering world of glamour and adulation. Oddly enough, I still don’t know exactly what he does, and never seen him perform. All I know is, his performances include wearing costumes, and his closet’s full of them. For a long time, I thought he had a woman partner, because of all the dresses, but during the last couple of years, I’ve come to realize they’re his.
He used to look like every other dad in the morning, but now he seems older and more tired, and often appears in a robe with make-up hastily wiped off…sometimes there are even bizarre pencil lines around his eyes and mouth, even a fake mole here and there. Although I hate to admit it, he really looks like shit at times and I ask him if he’s okay, because he’s started coughing a lot.
“It’s just smoker’s cough, Corny,” he tells me, but it looks uncomfortable…and I can’t help worrying.
You’re probably wondering why he calls me “Corny,” a pretty absurd name. Well…it’s because my first name is Cornell. Cornell Augustus Dodson to be exact. Dad says our family has noble roots, and cites all sorts of trivial history I could give two shits about. All I know is, we’ve got weird, old fashioned names that nobody in their right minds would give a kid. His first name is Quincy.
Where they came up with such crazy names kind of haunts me…has led to harassment as long as I can remember. I’ve often asked Dad what possessed him and Mom to curse me with such an antiquated name and his answer is always “family tradition,” whatever that means. I’m beginning to think they were just too lazy to come up with anything better. I mean, I get the drift of it, but what’s the point of naming somebody something that’s ancient history? I’m surprised they they didn’t name me Zebulon, Darius or even Ham…names religious fanatics get out of the Bible.
I suppose Cornell would be okay, if I was an eighty-year-old movie star, but but I’m only fourteen and nothing special….tall and skinny with messy brown hair, a round baby face and a dimpled chin. My face-body combo is frankly pretty weird. How your face can be fat when your body isn’t (not at all), is totally beyond me. I poke at my cheeks every day hoping the Chipmunk pouches are shrinking, but it looks hopeless. Dad’s features are vaguely similar, but his face isn’t chubby and his cheek bones are prominent. He looks in the mirror and tells me he’d have no career without his facial structure. I should be so lucky! In addition to chubby cheeks, I have big lips and two immense buck teeth that stick out because my lower lip droops…all I need to do is drool to look like a total half-wit.
“Don’t worry,” Dad says. “I looked like you when I was your age,” which, I guess, is a compliment, but he’s really hung up on appearance, and I’m sure he’s holding his breath to see how I turn out. Honestly, I do have one or two good features. my eyes are intense green and my nose isn’t big and nasty, so I guess I can be thankful for that.
My body’s nothing great. I’m not a big jock, so I’m not cool and muscular, but I do play half-assed soccer, and can run pretty fast, so I don’t catch shit about that, plus my dick’s thicker than normal, so that’s positive. It stays in shape because of intense top secret work-outs. I’m really afraid if I don’t keep at it, it’ll shrivel…then I’ll be in real trouble…like people say: “Use it or lose it.”
So far, I don’t date, but really eager to start. I get unbelievable crushes on girls, and can’t help staring, but that’s about it. When they actually talk to me, holy shit! I freeze and my lower lip droops even lower…makes me look like a complete moron, or a beaver in shock…take your pick.
To be continued…Read next episode!