Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Possible Origins For Him. 6.

You can listen to today's story two ways. Click the triangle to the left to begin streaming audio, or click this text to download the MP3. Enjoy!

I was born ugly. Not a cleft pallet or flat nose or some tabloid rack batboy. I gurgled up at my mother and she sobbed. Doctors had to perform so much surgery just to keep me breathing that cosmetics were out of the question. They left my crib in the basement, under a narrow window. I'm told I didn't cry much. I bled instead. They wrapped me in newspapers because the blankets became too unsanitary to wash. I think they were underestimating the washing machine – it was sturdy. I spent a lot of time with it, testing what would break apart or perish tumbling inside. Me, the washer, dryer, and boxes of things they didn't want.

I learned to escape the crib early. They’d forget to feed me some days, and others, a kid gets bored of lying in his own scabs. Scaled down a landslide of National Geographics and Gotham Gazettes. Learned to read from them. Learned where the jugular was from them, too. You never think about how surroundings influence you like that until you realize all those precious papers have gone up in flames with the rest of the house. I’m still a little absentminded like that. I was so afraid to leave home, so afraid everyone else in the world would want me in a basement that I tried not to think about it all. Departure was simple necessity – you can’t stay in town once you’ve locked your parents downstairs and set a fire. I had my little hoodie up the whole ride to the city, to avoid identification, and judgment.

Nobody tells you how hot it is in a city train station. I was used to the cool of underground. There, it was like steam in thin air. My face felt like it was falling apart. I pulled the hoodie down on the escalator and held my breath. A couple glanced at me. An old lady shrieked. I came up to the top and saw this black man playing a guitar. He was jumping around and laughing to solicit change. He saw the couple, and the old lady, and all the people staring at this new act. He looked at me, and his showman smile went away. I know where it went. I caught it between my teeth, and I’ve never let it get away.


  1. I was expecting more a jugular reaction to his parents ;) Perhaps the fire came later.
    The second sentence in the second paragraph made me stumble for ... seconds.

  2. Sounds like he was still a little tyke here, with his little hoodie. I really like this, equal parts funny and menacing. Love the end, and this:

    "a kid gets bored of lying in his own scabs."

  3. This series is most fun! I'll have to catch up with the first ones. Can't believe I let them pass without notice.

    I'm thinking that when you have enough versions, you could join them into an anthology. I'd certainly buy it.

    Oh, if you got some artists to make comic books out of it... Oh, my! I can picture a version with an Ackham Asylum look, and another with a different approach. It would be great!

    Aim high, I say. You never know how far you'll get if you think small. ;)

  4. Gross and creative. The insanity nearly always starts in a bad childhood doesn't it?-Tiffany

  5. Love the details in this! The fact that he learned where to find the jugular from National Geo is fantastic. I'll have to go back and read the others now. Bravo!

  6. I loved this: "I’m still a little absentminded like that."

    Maybe because I can relate.

  7. Interesting that Elaine stumbled on the same line Mark praised. Anyone else want to cast a judgment on that one? The sentence takes a purposefully awkward turn, but if it's bad, it's bad.

    Mari, I hope you enjoy the series. I have at least two more entries coming this month, and I'll be re-posting the old ones for #tuesdayserial. I wouldn't distribute this in an anthology because he's not my character. Certainly trying to profit off of it could blow up in my face, but beyond that, this is an honorific. Now if somebody at Warner wanted to do something...

    Itmeans, many people believe it starts in youth. I had to do one that went there eventually...

    Shannon, glad you liked that National Geographic reference!

    Crystal, can't we all relate to that? I'm terrible with memory.

  8. These origins are genuinely astounding. I'm really enjoying them! DC need to employ you.

  9. Think I'm going to need a shower after reading through all of these eps. But so, so good.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  10. This is the most chilling but sympathetic version to date.

    As to the catching the smile line ... man, you are a freaking genius.


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