Francis was mad, and everybody in New Village knew it. Nobody in the community had ever seen a medical report pronouncing him clinically insane, but there was an abundance of evidence―by New Village residents’ standards at least―to suggest he had gone the way of an eighteenth century English hatter. For instance, rumor was rife that he had told his mother, Muy, he held the secret to becoming the most powerful person on earth. The shocking revelation of his secret so horrified his mother, she had his father, Pappin, build him a room beneath their house―which was built on tall, concrete pillars―to which she hurriedly transferred all his belongings. It turned out that one of the ingredients in Francis’s power recipe was the requirement that he sleep with his mother.
To the casual observer, Francis appeared normal. He spoke and dressed well and, more often than not, displayed courteous behavior. But, when one spoke with him, he quickly dominated the exchange. Then he would assert that he had descended from a long line of kings, but had already transcended kingship; he was now a god—Manitot, the Iron God, who had the power to determine the fate of the world.
Those self-delusional pronouncements had no effect on kids, who, because of Francis’s size and very dark complexion, called him “Go-ko-shonh.” And, although he protested vehemently to parents, they showed him no sympathy and the nickname stuck.
One day, in the cool of approaching dusk, Shirley, Nadia and Gertrude sat on a retaining wall built fifteen to twenty inches above road level. They were in proximity to Muy’s house, which was not too far from their own individual homes, and engaged in gossip. By some inexplicable circumstance, the discussion turned to how they looked in and out of their clothes. Soon, they were baring their breasts and commenting on the size, skin texture, nipple protuberance, and other qualities of their femininity.
Translation: Go ko-shonh – Big pig
Author’s note: The preceding is an excerpt from the story, “The iron god”, from the novella, “New Village”, now on Amazon kindle.