The Life and Times of Gerald Seguiniac

Chapter 1

The great John Irving once said of Gerald Seguiniac, “He was the only writer I ever knew whose goal was to become famous without ever publishing a single word.” 

This is the first entry Gerald makes in his newly unwrapped, leather-bound Moleskine–moss green. He pens it with a fresh Paper Mate Profile ballpoint, because it flows evenly and comes in packs of six for under ten dollars. His penmanship is meticulous–it has to be–anything less would diminish his journal's future value as a collectible or museum artifact. He puts a tiny mark after the quote and moves to the bottom of the page where he places a footnote in smaller print, only to be reported or printed posthumously.

Gerald gets stuck overthinking the quote–John Irving? How about Cormac McCarthy, or perhaps Barbara Kingsolver? There is something about a two-syllable forename followed by a four-syllable surname that appeals to him phonetically. That is, after all, why he chose the name, Gerald Seguiniac–but, on second thought, now worries that this name may pose a problem. Gerald Seguiniac? What is that name, anyway? French? Scandinavian? Czech? There is a danger in choosing a foreign sounding name that forces him into a backstory from a country he’s never been to and knows nothing about. How about Peter Silapakis or Creighton Balacumin? Gerald, for the time-being, loosens his tongue and gets out of the way while it rolls out a series of consonants and vowels. There is a process to his name-choosing that’s virtually indistinguishable from glossolalia, better known as speaking in tongues. And there’s an art to choosing a name that is unique, memorable and unburdened by obscure lineage. He’ll stick with Gerald Seguiniac for now but reserves the right to revisit the decision. 

“Kyle?” his mother calls from downstairs. He does not answer. “Kyle?” she calls again. “Kyle? Can you hear me?” “Ky–Gerald?” 
“Yes?” he yells back. 
“Hun–you need to go.” 
“I have time,” he shouts. He can feel his mother’s closed eyes and shaking head, but knows she knows better than to insist. Gerald refocuses on his work. He trades his pen for one of his freshly sharpened pencils and moves to the second page. He begins drawing the outline of a rectangle in the approximate proportions of his bedroom. Within it he places a rectangle for his bed, his dresser and, of course, his desk. Then he begins making a dotted line around each piece of furniture. He’s left space on the right side of the page for a legend. He makes a short dotted line and below writes, velvet rope or plexiglass. He titles the diagram, Historical Tour. As he turns his attention to the view from his window, he admires his time-battered Toyota Tercel that cops would mistakenly list as gray on their citations, as opposed to the factory black. He loves how exhibiting the car would further his lore as a humble genius, but dismisses the idea for its impracticality. He glances at his bookshelf. It needs work. A lot of work. There is some worth salvaging–Lolita, Catch-22, Of Mice and Men, but it’s obvious that the entire For Dummies collection needs to go–Writing for Dummies, Book Editing for Dummies, Cooking for Dummies, Baseball Umpiring for Dummies, Law for Dummiesas well as the few outliers from the Idiots Guide To series, Idiot’s Guide to Photography and Idiot’s Guide to Personal Grooming (which he got from his mother last Christmas).
“Hun?” his mother shouts again. 
“I’m going. When you leave, just make sure you lock the door this time.” 
Gerald ignores his mother’s passive-aggressiveness to focus on her intentionally vague plans. “Where you going?” he asks. 
Gerald slams his pencil on the desk and strides to his doorway. “WHERE…ARE…YOU…GOING?”
“I’m meeting Sue.” 
“I don’t know. Barrasso’s maybe?” 
It’s Gerald’s turn to shake his head. “It’s a bit pricey there, don’t you think?” Gerald isn’t so much concerned with his mother’s financial health as how her frivolous spending is eating away their insurance money. 
“Huh?” she says again, but he knows she heard him. She follows, “You want me to bring you something back for later?” 
Gerald does crave Barrasso’s version of Linguini Vongole, but he’s committed to being a steadfast example of frugality. “No. I’ll just make a sandwich or something later.” 
“You sure?” Gerald pauses a moment, then takes three steps until he’s at the top of the stairs where he is sure to be heard clearly, “Okay, bring me an order of the Vongole.” 
“With garlic knots?” 
“Okay, dear.” 
“Thanks,” he adds begrudgingly. Gerald hears the front door close. He rushes back to his bed and opens his laptop. He places a sticky note over the camera hole and calls up a web browser in Incognito mode. He didn’t always do this, but ever since he started seeing Liza more regularly, he made a point of clearing his browser history and cache regularly as well. He peeks at the time in the right corner of the screen. He sighs. He closes the laptop and hurries to get dressed.


  1. I like it. I like that I already know what the story will be about. I can picture the scene. My first impression is that he's quite young. But then I learn he's seeing someone, Liz. Now I'm picturing him a little older... Like the details.

    1. Thanks Anonymous! Sorry, I am just catching this comment now. I hopefully rectified the confusion about his age in the rewrite.He is a forty-two year old man still living at home with his Mom, so you were right to be confused.


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