For the 2018 #AtoZChallenge, my theme is the A-Z of Descriptive Emotions beginning Sunday, April 1, 2018.
E IS FOR ECLECTIC
MAN WHO WEARS SEVERAL HATS
By Neel Anil Panicker
He was christened William D’ Cruz Fort Cochin Mathews. Imagine someone born with a name that long? What would one do? What would a boy just turned six do when the only sounds his ears have ever heard were the crude, dignity hurting taunts that his friends__other tiny tots his age, or even slightly older __subjected him to come every single time they spotted him, either at Queen Mary’s School cum Orphanage that he went to, or at the small patch of green outside his thatched Portuguese style frescoed ‘villa’ where he lived with his large extended family of paternal and maternal aunts and uncles and cousins__ all twice or even thrice removed.
Are you an orphan? said one. I doubt it, said another. “You’re right, otherwise how would he have such a long name.”
“Maybe, he has different mothers and different fathers and he is a mix of all of them”, pontificated the purported gang leader, the one who always stepped in such situations to drive the final nail in the coffin. And so continued until his late tweens this merciless shredding of his self respect and unfailing rubbing of salts into the split wide open gaping wounds until the day when the boy, now 18, and fresh out of high school decided that he had had enough and so changed his name by officially re-christening himself. He was now simply Will.
Though Will did initially try to correct one and all when he was addressed by one or more or even all his other appendages, but with the passage of time, he resigned himself to the fact that he couldn’t control peoples’ tongues and/or how they chose to address him, or anyone for that matter.
And so it was that at the impressionable young age of 21, the boy who had “many fathers and many mothers” became different things to different people.
To his adoptive parents he was Willie; to the cashew factory where he used to devote his services six hours a day every alternate day he was ‘Fort Mathews’, the hipster who lived in a fancy island the other side of river Vypeen; to the regulars at the local Sunday church that he frequented unfailingly every week he was Crazy Cruz, a tag that he acquired due to his insistence on feeding all manner of strays including cats and dogs, even snakes, and shock of shocks even the reptilians that creep in and out of small boundary wall holes, smashing the daylights out of the terror stricken denizens.
But to his childhood friend, his one and only friend, and now Superintendent of Police Isaac John he was simply Detective Will, the innocent child that refused to grow up, that still looked at the world as one unending bowl of wonderment__something to be viewed with a head bristling with curiosity albeit laced with a slight tinge of skepticism.
For Isaac, he was also the go to person when he needed to do so some quick ‘underground’ sleuthing, or when a case came up that needed beyond the ordinary intelligence and foresight.
So when the call came on a Sunday evening, Detective Will was in his room, listening to classical music, with all the lights out and the curtains drawn.
Eclectic could very well be added to his several other ancillary names.
#neelanilpanicker #a-zchallenge #eisforeclectic #fiction
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