DAY 36: Random Story #2 – Part I

Gardiner Williamson despised Italian food to such an extent that he despised Italians as well. The reason for this animosity is debated, but theories can be derived from his troubled childhood, and the unfortunate Ital0-events therein. These shall be outlined below, and delineated in meticulous detail, to make certain that perusals shall not engender misconstruing…

Gardiner was born to a destitute family in the tiny, fictional Italian village of Guadilla. His parents, however, were not Italian; in fact, they descended from Russo-French hybrids who had formed their own communistic society in between Austria and the Balkans. Needless to say, as this is not mentioned anywhere in history, their society did not last long, and they were compelled to flee to Italy, where they made a name for themselves in Guadilla. Though they prospered in this little village, the Williamson family disliked Italians immensely, and, albeit contributing to the society, were never fully assimilated into it, preferring to mingle as infrequently as possible with the locals. This mindset was passed on, inborn, to Gardiner, who learned to dislike Italian food intensely, and, by extension, Italians themselves.

One day, though, Gardiner met an old hermit who was wandering near Guadilla, with naught be a few rags on his back and a haversack over his shoulder. The decrepit old man, with a tousled beard, bald head, chiseled countenance, gray eyes, and a scar running diagonally across his face, said unto Gardiner: “I am Nathaniel. Would you do me the honor of giving me your name, young lad?”

“Gardiner,” Gardiner replied. “To what end are you striving, wandering in the wilderness outside of Guadilla?”

“I am a pariah, having been ostracized because of my appearance and impecuniousness,” Nathaniel replied. “I do not hope to achieve anything by meandering through the countryside, but find that having no goal avails me better than striving to meet one.”

“How so?” Gardiner said, for he was having difficulty comprehending Nathaniel’s words.

Nathaniel smiled and said, “Are you not destitute? Surely you should understand the mind of one who has nothing and knows nothing.”

“We were poor once, but are now well-to-do, for my father owns a steel company,” Gardiner responded. “I was too young; memory does not serve me in my youth.”

“Then I have no hope of impressing upon you the significance of wandering without an aim,” Nathaniel answered him, and turned to set off to the south. “Farewell.”

“Wait!” Gardiner cried, before Nathaniel had distanced himself more than ten feet from him. “Would you like to have supper with us?”

“Us?” Nathaniel inquired, pivoting on his heel and raising his bushy eyebrows.

“Me and my family, of course! My parents, my brother and my two sisters.”

“I would not be able to forgive myself if I intruded!” Nathaniel said, shaking his head  sadly. “Perhaps another time, when you have secured the sanction of your family…”

“Come now! They will not mind it, and I do not know when I will see you again. Follow me, Nathaniel!” And Gardiner started back towards the village. Reluctantly, Nathaniel followed.

As the sun descended into the western horizon in a brilliant conflagration of orange and purple, Gardiner and Nathaniel came to the footstep of the Williamson residence, whereupon Gardiner rapped lightly upon the door and said, “I am home, Mother!”

Mrs. Williamson came to the door immediately and opened it, her face brightening at the appearance of her affable son. “Hello, Gardiner! Come inside. I have prepared some wonderful non-Italian foods for dinner this evening, and I have a reason to believe that it will be a sumptuous, Italian-less, thoroughly enjoyable repast indeed!” Then, upon sight of the vagabond, her radiant face grew dark and forbidding, and she said, “Who is this squalid man, Gardiner.”

“This is Nathaniel,” Gardiner replied. “I asked him to join us for dinner this evening.”

“Your ancestry, Nathaniel?” Mrs. Williamson asked brusquely.

“Full-blooded Italian,” Nathaniel replied proudly, beaming amiably. “I wish to thank your son for his invitation to dinner this evening; I have never been called to such a meal, you see, and find the solicitude of others for my wellbeing to be touching and uplifting.”

“We do not accept Italians here,” Mrs. Williamson said, tightening her lips and knitting her thin brows.

The smile faded promptly from Nathaniel’s face. “I beg your pardon, ma’am; does my nationality offend you?”

“Indeed it does. I have never taken well to Italians.”

“Surely there can be exceptions, Mother,” Gardiner said pleadingly. “I do not like them either, but this one seems nice enough.”

“What aspect of Italians do you abhor, ma’am?” Nathaniel asked, attempting to keep his voice as pleasant as possible.

“Every part of them. Their mien, their detestable behavior, their inordinately immense collections of lima beans, and their Italian-ness! What more is there to be said?”

“Am I presumptuous, ma’am? Certainly not. Do I like lima beans? I despise them, actually. Am I being rude to you as we speak? I pray that I am not.”

“What have you to say for being Italian?” she asked sharply.

“That I cannot change. My blood shall be Italian until the day I die.”

“Then I cannot suffer your entrance into this house,” Mrs. Williamson replied. “I will not besmirch this lovely dwelling with Italian filth…”






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