Title: Unmanned
Subtext: That which we call a rose.
Date: 07 Jul 15 (Tuesday in the PM)
Time: 2 minutes
Replies: 24
Revisions: 1
Publicity: Workshop

The man without a name wasn’t thrilled with his lot in life, and understandably so. As a toddler, in the security of his family and those they trusted, it wasn’t something he was even cognizant of, although one of his earliest memories is sitting on top of a little plastic slide in his room, not more than a couple feet from the floor, and having it suddenly occur to him that he knew the names of some of this circle of family and trusted friends, but didn’t have one himself. He began to cry as would any child of four or five-ish upon realizing such a thing. Somehow, however, when his mom told him that it was okay, that a name doesn’t change anything about who you are inside, he believed her. She was his mom, after all. The Word of God.

Things changed on his first day of school. The teacher introduced herself and began calling everyone’s name, with each child standing up and waving to the fellow classmates, some proud, some shy, some utterly terrified. She finished all the names but, being an astute minder of little heads, noticed the boy who hadn’t yet stood up. “And why hello there, I’m sorry did I skip you? What’s your name?” The boy without a name remembered the conversation with his mom but was unprepared for the shock of this question, the shock that truly everyone else had a name. The principal had to be called, hushed conversations in the corner, much flipping of pages and glances towards the reddening wreck slouched down to practically horizontal in his attached chair-and-desk. His parents were called. He was brought into another office where he continued to not listen to anything. He entered a world which he never wholly left.

He was eventually let into the class, no name and all, and the teacher made do as best she could, as did every other teacher and every other person he’d encounter for the rest of his life up through today. The other children, of course, were awful. They didn’t understand, they wouldn’t understand, they hated him. Even the ones who occasionally showed some form of pity or mercy or compassion eventually gave up. The whole situation was just too difficult for anyone to deal with.

And how to call him? What to call him? How should he sign his tests and papers? His applications? How would he be remembered? How would anybody know who he was?

Over time he figured out answers, or at least workarounds, to some of these questions. But not all. And he’s still discovering new problems with the whole thing. Through it all, deep in his mind, stubborn and creeping into everything he did, was the basic tenet that shaded his every thought and perception, that a man without a name is hardly a man at all.


Rabbit » Authorship
Rabbit » 5:05 PM 07 Jul 15

The Thread (24)

 Author's voice in grey. 

  1. Unclaimed, on his own. But unknown? or Unseen? I wonder how they inform each other.

  2. Reached out to Isis Hitlerqaeda but she had no comment other than, “Lucky bastard.”

  3. This is preposterous. There are perfectly good names out there. Man with no name. He’ll be nothing but a vagrant!

  4. Bravo, @rabbit. Superfeeded it.

  5. Funny, those classic spaghetti westerns hadn’t occurred to me. Looks like our hero may have found himself a new line of work.

    Appreciate the vote, Elk.

  6. And CC0, at that.

  7. How could I possibly lay claim to such a man? He belongs in the ether, to appear wherever needed.

  8. I think The Rooster named him Todd a little while back.

  9. Todd who?

  10. Interesting that “unmanned” and “unnamed” are near anagrams.

  11. Wow. Did the Rooster prophesize this piece? Now I’m a little frightened.

    I was gonna suggest we name him Bosco.

  12. I like Bosco.

  13. It’s all about identifying your indulgence. Kramer was the true prophet.

  14. I don’t buy that the other kids hated him. That part seems off. There’s no explanation for it. They’d either be the ones to come up with the name, or start all manner of confusion amongst the ranks by changing their own names. I just don’t buy it. I’d like to see some Lord of the Flies shit go down. Ralph or Todd or something.

  15. Kids are cruel, as we know. They attack any discrepancy to oust outliers from the herd. I thought it a normal reaction on their part.

  16. There are a lot of points where one might query why the boy wasn’t just named already. I posit that since this apparently never happened, perhaps it cannot happen.

  17. @bear — I have seen enough evidence to the contrary, and even more poignant, the contradiction to your cliché would be the stuff stories are made of. But I agree that the idea of a brat might require less imagination. And besides, any cruel, snot flicking kid would also be a name caller, no?

    @rabbit — I like that. Maybe a stronger line positing?

  18. I like it. It just cannot happen now.

    On kids — I’m with Horse. I think they’d make him a hero and source of rebellion. It’s a better story that way, too.

  19. It’s not my cliche, Horse. It may be a cliche but it’s not mine.

    Besides, I think you’re missing the point. Having no name is debilitating for this character. If he becomes a hero to the children, it changes what I assume is Rabbit’s motive.

  20. Isn’t the entire premise absurd enough to suspend disbelief? We’re obviously not dealing with reality. This is more of a Roald Dahl or Pink Floyd world, with their exaggerated cruelties.

  21. I’m debilitated — no, paralyzed at the flood of Roald Dahl / Pink Floyd puns rushing through my head. I might have to take the rest of the day off.

    I did have a few other things in mind for this unknown soldier – some you might even call positive.

  22. Pun away.

  23. I’m more sympathetic to @bear’s interpretation now.

  24. Went back through it all and see yours, too. Maybe there’s a Part II here for Rabbit to write.

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