Dreadful Musings · Fiction

4. What’s In A Name

The inner critic is known to question the nature of any and all things. Even the critic’s very existence is not excluded from this endless critique.

At first, he wanted to be called Brian for this section but decided on the spur of a moment that William suited him far better. Mellie rolled her eyes as she recalled that all last week, he suffered his usual crippling existential crises and thought it prudent for everyone to call them Victoria because they didn’t know what they were, who they were, or if they even believed in the concept of gender. Victoria was the only thing that felt right and offered any semblance of ease to their troubled existence.

But today, William was assisting Mellie with a thorny issue. Aria was in a rather dour state of mind a few days back and suggested Mellie write a story about a person who found everything around them disgusting and horrid.

“While you’re at it, make it a fun place,” she said as she slumped into the couch. “Like Disney World or a party or a fair.” She paused. “You should also probably kill someone. For giggles.”

Mellie decided to go with the fair idea (scratch the killing) and was partially inspired by a Smith song. Halfway through, she began to wonder if the main character should have a name.

“Would a name really add anything?” William asked as he scratched his head over the draft.

“It would help the reader identify with the narrator more, I guess.” Mellie said.

“Would it though?” He offered unhelpfully.

Mellie tapped her pen against her notebook paper and glared at him.


“How about I shoot a couple of names at you?” Mellie took out a piece of scrap paper. “Joel?”

“Does this story take place in Biblical times?”

Mellie scratched the name out. “Alright. Jamal?”

“Ehh…” he said with a weak motion with his hand.

Mellie clicked her teeth. “William.”

“That’s a lovely name though I’m not quite sure it would fit a self-destructive character. Sounds too formal. Victorian even.”

“Then what would you suggest?” Mellie said throwing her hands up in exasperation.

“Since I don’t feel strongly about it either way I say avoid directly naming him. Plus, it makes a more powerful statement if you don’t name him. Make him another member of the faceless crowd. Forgettable and tragic!” He gave a dramatic motion with his hand and slumped back in his rolling chair.

Mellie decided to name the narrator William. He choked tragically on a popcorn kernel.


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