The Prodigal - Solo

The Prodigal

My name is George, something you may think was not unusual. When I tell you that my older brother is also called George, as is my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, you can guess that I come from a long and wealthy family.

The family was, indeed, well off. Me, however, didn’t have that much in my bank account. My father is a State Senator, a far-right, dyed in the wool Republican. He had played golf with Donald, both before and during the short-lived Presidency. I was sure that they would have taken turns at cheating. I had caddied for my father once, something I’d rather forget. Golf is one skill where, as you get better at it, you play less shots. That is something I think is stupid.

My father was also a staunch Catholic, and was forgiven every Sunday, on the dot. I found this one difficult to understand. His good book went on about a final judgement and, here he was, getting interim forgiveness, only to go out during the following week to commit the same old sins again. He would rant on at me about my lack of faith. I argued that his church had invented a higher being to praise when things went right, along with the opposite devil to blame when things went wrong. I’m sure that we’ve all seen pictures of Popes touring countries at war. Nobody blames the Pope; no it is all directed at the devil.

I was not the favourite brother, far from it. My brother had followed the family tradition and had studied law. I think that it was so he could find ways to get around it as often as he could. I had discovered a love of gardening and had dropped out of the courses my father had signed me up for, then studied horticulture at a community college. It didn’t help my reputation, at home, when I turned over half an acre of the fifteen-acre grounds and planted a vegetable patch. That was the final straw as far as my parents were concerned. It was either shape up or ship out. I shipped out.

I lived in cheap lodgings and found work in a garden centre, revelling in having plants around me every day. I volunteered at a homeless shelter on the side and my life was a happy place. That was, until the day I was walking home from the shelter and a couple of guys came up to me with guns drawn. They told me to be good and go with them. What could I do but be good.

They led me to a decrepit apartment block, typical of the places now taken over by immigrants from south of the border before the buildings were demolished to be re-invented as luxury accommodation. They took me up several sets of stairs and into a room. There, I was sat on a chair and ropes made sure I couldn’t move. Only then did the guns get put away, and one left the room. I asked just one question.

“Why me? I’m just a normal guy, with very little money.”

The leader grinned.

“It is because you from rich family. Your father pay us a lot of dollars to return you to him, in one piece.”

I could tell, from his accent, that American wasn’t his first language. I guessed that he may have originated in Costa Rica.

“You have to be joking, my father won’t pay a dime to get me released, you’ve picked the wrong guy to abduct.”

He pulled out a mobile phone and dialled a number.

“You’ll see, if he any kind of father, he want to save his son. You see, we did investigations, he should be home, now.”

The phone was on open speaker, and I could hear the dial tone. When it was answered I heard the hired help.

“Yes, can I help you?”

“Yes, you can, I want to speak to the Senator, I’m about to shoot his son, George.”

“You must be looking at someone else, sir. His son is here, in the house. The master is not home, he doesn’t get home until late. I’m sorry, I’m going to hang up.”

The phone went dead, and he looked at me.

“You not at home, you here!”

“That’s because you told her that you were holding George. In my family, he is four and I, for my sins, am five. That’s the way that we get identified. Here, dial this number I’ll give you, it’s his mobile, the secret one. He’ll answer that every time, even if he’s in the middle of pleasuring one of his mistresses.”

He dialled the number as I gave it, and we heard the tone, then the angry voice of my father.

“Yes! Who’s that, I don’t know the number!”

“Senator, you don’t need my name, all you need is that I have your son, he says he called five. I am asking for million dollars or else he will be killed.”

“A million dollars! For that piece of shit! A million dollars! That’s a laugh. You can keep him, he’s no son of mine, the little poof! From your accent, you sound like you come from a long way south. You must be one of those illegal aliens that Don warned us about.”

He then started laughing. “Hey, Mildred, the little queer has been abducted by aliens and they want a million to give him back, have you heard anything so funny in your life!

Then, the bastard hung up. We were both quiet, me because of the total lack of love, or even care; him because it hadn’t been the result he expected. I looked at him.

“If I were you, I’d get rid of that phone and start moving, now. If he rings the police and gives them the number, they can triangulate on the towers and locate us withing a few yards. Don’t worry about me, I have to admit I was surprised by his lack of care, but that’s not going to change my future. He was never going to kill the fatted calf for me, even if he knew what one was.”

My captor sat on the bed and looked at me with new eyes.

” So, you’re gay, then?”

” Yes, but not with anyone at the moment. Tell you what, if you let me go, you can come home with me, and we’ll get pizza on the way.”

He grinned.

“It’s not million dollars, but that the best offer I’ve had all day.”

He bent and kissed my brow as he untied me.

“Is Mildred mother?”

“Hell, no. That’s one of his little playmates. If you want to squeeze him for money, you can always tell him that you’re sending the information to the papers that he’s banging a sixteen-year-old. Actually, she’s one of the older ones.”

He grinned, again, and my heart melted a little more. Then we left the building again, walking towards my lodgings.

“Tomorrow, Five, I think about that. Firstly, we need to let aliens return you to earth. Then tonight, we see if we can take trip around the world.”

“Suits me. By the way, what do I call you?”

“In my country, I was Georgio, but you can call me Six.”

Marianne Gregory © 2023

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