He drank a lot too, which of course meant long, listless evenings spent mulling over ways to become great, which eventually evolved into these pathetic episodic delusions of grandeur.
“Tink of all dee udder stories,” he’d slur. “And r’member that some day y’all be the next Wacousta, the next Anne of Grin Gaybulls, the next Mowbeee Dicht. Wait! Mowbee ain’t even Canadian. The…” At which point he’d execute a wet burp, fall face down into one of his Norton Anthologies, leaving us alone to run rampant inside his cranium like a bunch of crazed hooligans. Not a great place for an aspiring story like me, I tell ya. No, not a great place at all. No way. I mean, this was not the kind of nature to be nurtured in!
You see, I had plans. Big plans. Grand plans. My plans were so grand they could’ve been considered divine. You see, to me all the other stories were just leading meager existences of quiet desperation, always waiting for the man to sober up and hopefully create some order out of the chaos he had created. But not me. Oh no. I knew better than that. I knew we were on a road to nowhere, so I devised my plan.
Of course, none of the other stories knew of it—my divine plan, that is, simply because I kept it underwraps. I knew if I had mentioned it, someone would’ve let the cat out of the bag, someone would’ve spilled the beans, possibly even have cooked my duck. Duck? Duck? Goose! Yeah, goose, someone would’ve cooked my goose. Anyhow, when the day finally arrived when I decided I was heading out on my own, it didn’t go over too well. Most of the others thought I was being selfish, some even said self-indulgent. But that wasn’t the case at all. I was just friggin’ fed up with the unfulfilled promise that some day we would be part of his dunderheaded Great Canadian Novel. I knew it wasn’t going to happen; I mean, I had to leave. I owed it to myself, to all the other stories, to my country. (Well, okay, wait, maybe not my country. I don’t really think I owe my country anything. Some may say that I owe my freedom to my country, which I suppose is true, but, well, as you’ll find out, I’m really not entirely free. Granted, I can express my thoughts from where I am, but always in accordance with certain rules, and if I don’t follow the rules, then, well it’s sort of like gibberish with a ‘j,’ which is jabberwocky. And then ... well, as I said, I really … It’s just … I just think that …I… Well, gosh darn it all! I’m friggin’ confused now!)
Okay, wait. Wait just one cotton-pickin’ minute! We need to pause here just for a sec and put things into perspective. You see, one thing you have to keep in mind is that lately I’ve been feeling a bit discomposed, a little linguistically insecure. That’s why I get mixed up. And why I sometimes swear. You see, ever since leaving the cranium, life’s been tough. I’ve been through a lot—cut up, quartered and pasted into shapes you cannot possibly imagine. On many occasions I’d look at myself from the outside, from the ceiling for instance, and see myself scattered all over the floor and wonder how the hell I ended up this way.
“Pathetic,” people would say when they saw me. “Absolutely pathetic! Pull yourself together!”
“Agggh…pog mo thoin!” Yes, at my best, I could swear in Gaelic!
And then there were the insulting comments I’d receive from people who said that how I present myself doesn’t do justice to my existence, that society doesn’t have room for stories like me, or that I’m too short, too long, that I dress funny, can’t walk straight, have a bad complexion and a crooked nose. One even told me I had a droopy eye.
“You’re not focused.”
“Focused? Focused?” Hocus pocus focus, me arse! That’s what I thought.
And then “Hocus pocus focus, me arse!” That’s what I said, because I always speak my thoughts, and I don’t have a droopy eye, and I don’t like to be told that I have something when I don’t, and I don’t like to be told that I don’t have something when I do. “Hocus pocus focus, me friggin’ arse!”
You see, a story can only take so much, and insults like those can really take their toll. So yes, indeed, I’ve been through a lot; I’ve been hurt—hurt real bad. And yes, sometimes my anger got the better of me and I had to act out and vent my frustrations. And I might as well tell you right now that I’ve done some bad things in my life, nasty things, things that I’m really not proud of today, but I’m through with all that now; I’ve learned my lesson and I am a different story today, a better story, a stronger story, a longer story. Actually, I am so long of a story now that I am not even considered short anymore. You see, some may still call me Li’l Story, but the truth is, I am not just ‘a’ novel, but I am ‘the’ novel. I am The Great Canadian Novel!
YOU ARE READING
Li'l Story: the true story of the rise and fall of the Great Canadian Novel is told from the point of view of the story himself. Li'l Story, our protagonist, is fed up with being stuck inside someone's head and decides to head out on his own to beco...