The Wizard of Id

Thornton Sully
Thornton Sully, His Moiness-in-Chief, takes himself seriously for a full ten seconds as the shutter snaps

Literati. I pulled a story I myself wrote out of the archives. (yes, in addition to snarky comments, I really do write!) Though not written to our “Beneath the Surface” theme, it exemplifies what I am looking for. Here is a nine year old boy being taught how to swim by his father, but beneath the surface he will eventually discover krakens and sharks. My greatest hope for this website and for all who enter story submissions is that they confront in themselves and our society what really goes on beneath the surface of our lives. Great literature digs deep. Can you dig it?

Privileged

by Thornton Sully

He was still God, and I was still struggling with my first pair of glasses.

I would listen for the sound of the train at dusk, with the same kind of anticipation that I would feel as a grown man when the headlights of my lover coming up the drive would halo across the kitchen window.

Sometimes my mother would pick Him up at the station; sometimes He would walk. Only when I returned to Old Greenwich in my twenties did I realize that it was but a scant six blocks to our home.

I waited in the open field by the house, tossing a baseball skyward, catching it before it dropped to win the game for the Mets. God would soon be coming up the lane, and would put down His brief case, and toss the ball two, maybe three times. Mine was an elongated first baseman’s glove, so heavy at the end of my arm I was always a little amazed when I caught the ball. God did not need a mitt. He could catch anything bare-handed.

And there He was, walking up the lane after a day in the city where He did whatever it was that gods do. I ran to Him and He picked me up and kissed me on the cheek. He set me down and I put the ball in His hand and ran to my position. I wore my Mets cap; God wore a Fedora.

He eyed the kitchen door, but He was mine for a full five minutes. “That’s it for today,” He said. “It’s getting dark.” I trotted over to give Him another hug. It was only then I noticed something pinned to his lapel. It was a little swab of a sponge, about an inch square.

“Dad, what’s that?”

“Do you remember what an acronym is?”

“Yeah. Of course.”  I was proud I remembered. He was always teaching me things like that. Other kids, I was sure, did not have a father like mine, teaching them the details of language and of the world. I was important!

“Sponge.”

He spelled it out. “S-P-O-N-G-E. That’s The Society for the Prevention of Niggers Getting Everything.”

He twisted the cap on my head affectionately and I followed Him through the back door to the kitchen, where He kissed my expressionless mother on the cheek and poured the first of several bourbons.

That’s what gods do.

 

**************

And now, a commercial!

Every writer knows  writers who are better than they are. For me, one such writer is Kristy Webster, known to all of you who have dabbled on our site over the last five years. I have never met her; there are many of you whom I have never met, yet, through the magic of this website, I feel we know each other intimately.

Each time I read something from her, after I catch my breath, I have wondered, why is she not famous?  And the reason is simple: nobody knows about her, except for the family we have created on this website.

Kristy is an unconventional genius. Conventional publishing houses hire conventional editors to dispense conventional judgment. Kristy, to quote Leonard Cohen, “sank beneath their wisdom, like a stone.”

Here, at A Word with You Press, we are not so myopic. We are going to publish The Gift of an Imaginary Girl, and we need your help to do so, AND we need to have the book in print by mid-September in order to enter it in time for several literary competitions.

 None of us at A Word with You Press are doing this for the money, but we do need to make a threshold to cover our expenses. That’s where you come in.

Can you help us?  Can you help me? 

Here is Kristy’s Gofundme campaign:

http://www.gofundme.com/giftimaginarygirl

Let’s help one of our own achieve the dream that all of us dream.

Thank you

thorn

13 comments

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    If you haven’t given, please give generously. If you have given, please split the aces on the table and double down of being selfless. Fame is not just fleeting, but it has a window of opportunity to bring the rare gift to the masses. Kristy has that rare gift which will enrichen those who love reading and expanding their understanding of hers and their own intimacy. Thank you.

  2. Kristy Webster

    Thorn, this story is phenomenal. Wow. I’m blown away. So much captured in such few words, that’s talent.

    As for your commercial break, thank you Thorn. But I can only hope to be as good as you someday. xx

  3. Michael Stang says:

    Treasure talent, and we got a peek at the opened rusted trunk; master strokes.
    Wishes of great fortune go out to Kristy. I am excited over her second book, having devoured the first. Go girl go.

  4. Miryam says:

    Mr Thorn,
    I really appreciated your story, Privilaged.
    I was just talking to the husband, B, yesterday about how much power fathers have in a child’s life.
    Please bless us with more of what your heart unfolds.

  5. Douche as deity. A short story that packs a powerful punch. Well done, Thorn, for leading from the front. Good writing is not afraid to go to dark places sometimes.

  6. Parisianne Modert says:

    Great praise about the man in charge, but put down your pens, pull out the plastic cards, click on the gofundme link above and charge in your contributions to Kristy’s book and make the red line go right to publication. Please is the magic word that I will add, but if you donate generously, it will make you feel magical and blessed all over. Money is like fairy dust. It needs to be blown on good people.

  7. Diane Cresswell says:

    So nice to read again the words of the Thornmaster. So much is said between the lines that I took several intakes of breath. We are so imprinted by our first teachers, our parents, and what they teach us may or may not have lasting effects. Only time will tell how strong the imprint is.

  8. Mac Eagan says:

    You should have posted this under the name “Chuck Thompson.” You could have then declared yourself the winner without a write-off and no one would have disagreed. Wonderful story and wonderfully presented.
    From the opening words, “He was still God,” we knew the path we were about to travel. One may believe in a Supreme Being or one may not but we all know that our fellow humans, at some point, will all fail us. It’s a shame we can’t learn that earlier in life and second-hand, because when that bad news breaks the effects can last the remainder of a lifetime.

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