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The Man with no First Name

Updated on March 9, 2011

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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    • darknezz111 profile image

      Daniel Durand 6 years ago from Southern Idaho

      The dude abides...

    • Alayne Fenasci profile image

      Alayne Fenasci 6 years ago from Louisiana

      You said you set out to write something funny. You hit on something heavier too. People are going to read this many different ways no matter how it was intended. Lots of them will find parts of themselves, their world, or their struggles in it. It's a fun story, but it also contains more than amusement. I hope you feel good when you hang up your pen tonight. Ya done good. :)

    • darknezz111 profile image

      Daniel Durand 6 years ago from Southern Idaho

      It's really funny. I just sit down and try to write something funny, and apparently I've done something much more than that. Thanks for the amazing feedback. I do this because I love to do it, and as a reward I can hang up my pen at the end of the day and say "Ya done good, Danny-boy, ya done good."

    • abbykorinnelee profile image

      Abigayle Malchow 6 years ago from Ripon Wisconsin

      It is very creative; yet very simple and this I love. It has deep life meaning, an angle of how society affects what we see as important or not, poses some philosphical questions like what the meaning of life is in some sense. All very casually written so no matter the age of the reader, the educational level of the reader, socio-economic class etc...can miss even the most simplistic idea...whether its about meaning of life question, what makes you an individual, society views that impact our own views of ourselves...someone, anyone can grasp something to hold in their own life. Well done, I am VERY impressed.

    • sweet nola profile image

      sweet nola 6 years ago from NOLA

      Lovely with ideas of originality... I will be reading more.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Very imaginative... I am however curious as to what the woman's name is.

    • darknezz111 profile image

      Daniel Durand 6 years ago from Southern Idaho

      Glad to see people enjoying my work.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      Hi Darknezz, well you're making a bit of a name for yourself in my book as a talented quirky writer, a lovely mixture that is difficult to find. Cheers.

    • Poohgranma profile image

      Poohgranma 6 years ago from On the edge

      I am addicted to your imagination and so glad you've written another story. You take the mundane and turn it inside out and upside down with the result being a delight to read.

    • Williamdelacy profile image

      Williamdelacy 6 years ago from Burma

      The imagination in this writing is strong. Like the scene in the shop, many of the scenarios are realistic, making the writing relevant to the reader. The prose was highly readable and the imagery was not compromised by a complex or overdeveloped style. The spontaneous love seemed predictable, although it add a sense of direction for the characters.