The Man with no First Name
by Daniel J. Durand
Due to the lazy attitude of the author, the boy was born into the fictional world with no first name. His parents never knew what to make of it, and would refer to him as whatever random name would strike their fancy at the time. Children would make fun of him when he was old enough to attend school, children with names like “Billy” or “Jack” or “Thomas”, which weren't particularly original names, but nonetheless better than not having one at all.
The boy without a first name envied those children. Eventually, out of this envy grew jealousy, and this in turn became a seething hatred. As he grew into his teens, he rebelled against society as most teens do, but in a different way; by misnaming. Walking down streets, he would refer to them as alleys. Cats were dogs, boys were girls, up was down, opposites were setisoppo. Names, and by extension words, became meaningless.
Eventually the boy grew into a man, leaving his parents' home and going forth into the cold, named world. He worked at a shoe store for a time, then moved on to become a cashier at a fast-food restaurant. From job to job he went, but alas, happiness always eluded him, for at every job he chose he was forced to wear a blank name tag. Customers were confused, scratching their heads as they pondered the implications of a man with no first name. The man with no first name would merely stand there, shoulders drawn as the customers would leave the store, their brains too muddled for them to make a purchase. He would invariably be fired after a time, as he was bad for business.
Unable to hold down a job, the man with no first name was soon without funds for the most essential aspects of life, such as food and shelter. He turned to crime as a means of survival. He would only take what he needed, perhaps a bun from a nearby bakery, or a pair of shoes to keep his feet protected. He kept to himself, sleeping in abandoned houses and bathing in streams. A pathetic existence, he knew, but one in which he was content. At least, until he laid eyes on her...
She was the most beautiful woman the man with no first name had ever seen. An artist and a person of great compassion, she worked at a soup kitchen in her spare time. They met over clam chowder, their hands touching as she handed him a steaming bowl. Both knew the warmth came from more than soup, and as their eyes met, it was fate.
He asked for her name; she gave it to him, saying it was a silly name her parents had given her. The man with no first name knew better.
“What's in a name?” he asked her.
They shared their first kiss in the alley behind the soup kitchen. The homeless watched as they stepped into the night, which felt a little less cold. As the man with no first name gazed into her eyes, a tear fell from his own. He knew that he needed more, now. He explained to his love what must be done.
“What's in a name?” she asked him.
“Everything,” he replied.
They embraced in parting. As the man with no first name left the alley, he glanced back at her; they knew this wasn't the end. They would see each other again, one day, when he had found a name.
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