May 30, 2012 by jamesessj
Glencannon’s day had begun with his mother’s answering a phone call from his best friend Kerry. “Yes?” he’d heard his mother say into the receiver. “Yes, all right, I’ll tell him. Thank you for calling, Kerry.” A few moments later his mother had appeared in his bedroom’s doorway, the expression on her face one with which Glencannon was all too familiar. It was the look that said he was her nearest and dearest flesh and blood, her only son, but she would never in a million years understand him.
“Kerry called to remind you about the math test,” she said to him.
“I remembered,” Glencannon said. “Not a problem.”
“He called you ‘Glencannon,'” said his mother.
“I gotta use the bathroom,” said Glencannon, brushing past her quickly.
* * *
At the breakfast table, however, his mother had raised the issue again. His father was at the table as well, his face buried in the daily newspaper as it was every morning. “I’m still wondering why,” Glencannon’s mother said, “your friend called you Glencannon.”
“Because it’s my name,” he answered.
“I thought we’d agreed you’d go by ‘Glen,’ like your father. But with one n, not two, to set you apart from your father.”
Glencannon’s father folded down half of the newspaper to look across at his son. “Little boys who want to go by their full names are usually gay,” he said. “Is that what you’re trying to tell us? You’re gay?”
Before his mother could say anything — for she was surely about to — Glencannon said, emphatically, “No! I’m eleven years old! I’m not interested in boys or girls! I’m only interested in Black Ops and Arkham City.” He paused a moment, then added, “And sometimes Serena Williams. Does that make me racist?”
His father folded the paper back to its original position, re-concealing his face. “I don’t care if you’re interested in Bea Arthur, long as you’re not gay,” he said.
“Who’s Bea Arthur?” asked Glencannon.
“Never mind,” said his mother. “And anyway, she’s dead, so” — this to Glencannon’s father — “you’d better care if your son’s interested in her.”
The newspaper shrugged.
Glencannon said, “I don’t like Glen. Or Glenn. One n, two n’s, what difference does it make? I like Glencannon. If you didn’t want me to be called that, maybe you shouldn’t have named me it!”
“Kid’s gotta point,” said his father.
His mother sighed. “I have to get ready for work. But this discussion is not over.”
* * *
The morning ran through Glencannon’s mind again, as he sat here in the dark, wondering where things had gone so awfully awry. Right from the beginning, came the answer. This day started out bizarre and only got bizarrer. He played the flashlight again against the contents of the closet. Dresses — pantsuits — women’s jackets — wardrobe enough for three women, crowding the edges of the rack. What was all this doing, down here in the basement? What had his mother been…up to, when she was down here earlier? Were these her clothes? Why hide them? And if they were hers, why had she done…what she’d done?
Glencannon turned off the flashlight. Its beam was hurting his eyes. He tried once more to move, but still couldn’t. His mind was growing cloudy — his thoughts growing heavy. He remembered his father’s final words to him this morning, before his father had gone upstairs to take his shower: “Eat your Cheerios, son.”
I’ll bet, Glencannon concluded just before losing consciousness, this has something to do with that cereal.
But he was wrong.