Disclaimer: All these characters aren't belong to us
Notes: On rereading this I'm inclined to the view that I actually swiped the tone less from Lionel, than from Kind Hearts and Coronets. But that's not inappropriate. And I've always felt that Lionel has a lot of artifice about him.
Dedication: This one's for Suann, for her many kind words in the face of, well, my writing. You're one of the reasons I do this, so thanks.
I was born in the slums, convenient from a narrative point of view, and, not unnaturally, was immediately seized with a burning desire to leave them. In this endeavour, I was hampered somewhat by my umbilical cord, a challenge that most babies are thwarted by right from the get go. In my view, such early and ignominious defeat leads to the inherently passive and accepting nature of these infants. I was made of sterner stuff.
Having been born, most unusually, with a very serviceable set of small, sharp serpentile teeth, I immediately set about this obstacle, and managed to chew through it in approximately five minutes. My mother was sadly uninterested in this first prodigious feat, having drunk herself into a stupor by way of preparation for my arrival; while my father started as he meant to go on, by being absent from the entire proceedings. One good thing; by the time I had finished, I was no longer particularly hungry.
I spent my first hour on earth becoming increasingly frustrated by my own limbs. The things were ridiculously pink and floppy and not even decorative. I confess that my emotions got the better of me and led to an embarrassing temper tantrum. This awakened my mother, who greeted me with a shower of vomit. I believe that it was at this point that the first budding seeds of parricide were sown.
I whiled away my childhood, as most youngsters do, in acts of mild criminal mischief. My first burglary was attempted at the age of six and was, naturally, not a wild success. I blush now to think of the way I did not quite thoroughly wipe away all the fingerprints and, most embarrassingly, left an all day sucker on the mantlepiece. Fortunately, the neighbourhood police were uniformly chimp-like of mentality ( and looks) and my crime went undiscovered. By the time I was ten, I was ready for bigger things.
It was at around this point that I met my sometime friend and accomplice, Morgan Edge. He was shaking down the big kids for the lunch money they had stolen off the smaller kids by threatening them with, what I thought at the time was, his finger in his pocket, which they believed to be a pistol. I later found out that though it wasn't a pistol, it was also no finger.
My dear Morgan Edge. Always at least one organ ahead of everybody else.
Bored of thuggery, as the Reverend Spooner used to lisp, we decided to move into business circles. The incredible ease with which money could be made by fleecing endless willing victims was then, as it is now, a source of constant surprise and gratification to me. Indeed, on occasion, I felt the need to be as cruel as I possibly could be to my chosen victims. It was for their own good. After all, if they learned nothing from the experience then they could be endlessly duped by bastards like me. Also, I confess, I found it very, very funny.
Morgan and I, both came from families which gave their children a great deal of freedom, fresh air and internal injury. Later on, I would have cause to be thankful that my father, on his brief sojourns into my life, spent them mostly beating the shit out of me. It made me more able to withstand the many future trials, fires and people beating the shit out of you, that life had to offer. At the time, however, I was less understanding. So, when I required a certain amount of capital in order to set up a proper business venture, the clear and logical choice was also one that gave me a certain amount of pleasure.
Although I was neither uncouth, nor unwise, enough to actually start the fire myself (what, after all, are friends for?) I did really, really enjoy the bang.
For a time, as I got my start in legitimate business, Morgan and I remained close. It could after all, get very cold in the city.
Morgan was a crude and common man, but he did have a certain amount of charm, cunning and a very large, some would say immense, wad of blackmail material. Still, as I fought, bought, charmed and blew my way up the social ladder, my old pal became a rather sweaty millstone around my neck and other areas. Still, we managed to part on fairly amicable terms with the agreement to aid each other in times of mutual benefit, something which ended up working rather well over the years. Mostly, anyway. All things, good or otherwise must come to an end (and Morgan was certainly otherwise).
As a young, up and coming business man, with a healthy head of hair, a rakish beard and the hastily read Cliff notes to every major literary work, I became something of a catch amongst the young and daring idle rich. I amused myself for a time- a very, very long time -with dabbling in the warm, wriggly river of promiscuity; but eventually I became bored with all of these shallow, unimaginative, though exceptionally stunning and limber people.
In order to seal my respectability and, most importantly, gain an heir, I needed to marry. Lillian came into my life on a warm Summer morning when the scent of the flowers hung heavily in the air. The first thing she did was to slap me around the face over some trivial, passing remark I had made, about jello and springs.
I was impressed. Literally; she had been wearing a very sharp ring.
Over the course of several months, I learned that this woman was intelligent, thoughtful, kind yet ambitious and rather more than comfortably well off. Her slight mental instability was, alas, not immediately apparent. Lillian, in turn, was drawn in by my overpowering charm, my continual playing of Classical music, my facial hair and my astounding sexual prowess. She generously overlooked the raging monomania.
We were married within the year.
For some reason, her parents never took to me. They kept trying to poison her against me, searching for irregularities in my business dealings, muttering about my lack of spoon etiquette (eventually, I took night courses to rectify this) and mocking my natural oiliness.
It was a tragic blow to my wife and myself when they were both suddenly killed by rogue ninjas, their motives, to this very day, a mystery. On a happier note, they had not yet had time to carry out any of their many jocular threats to cut us both out of their wills.
With my wife as a major investor in LuthorCorp, it went from strength to strength, chewing up many smaller companies and growing, like a rampant mould, into the industry giant it is today.
Those were good times. Times of conquest, sexual infidelity and bridge. My proudest moment came when my first son was born, glistening, purple and prophetically bald. My heart swelled with an unfamiliar sensation, as I held him in my arms and promised him a great and glorious future.
He threw up on my thousand-dollar suit.
Later in life, I would have two more sons, both swiftly lost to me in their different ways. I mourn what could have been.
But it is in my first son, the only one who is truly mine, that my hopes lie. Twisted lying, harsh honesty, punishment, mental cruelty, a broad education, insecurity, fear, emotional repression and ingrained paranoia are the gifts that I gave him. That, a snappy dress sense and a phenomenal collection of cars.
I chewed my way into the world, so that I could make an impact on it, and so I did. But my time is too short. If I have done my work well, than my greatest achievement will be ignited after my death.
My son. My ticking time bomb. My gift.
I always have enjoyed a good bang.
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