All Things That Are Good

The story of Old Gregg, the loneliest man-fish that ever was; or, "The Legend of Old Gregg" told from Old Gregg's perspective.

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Length: words

Notes: I wrote this tonight as a break from my real work. The fic is sort of sad, but I write it out of love for Old Gregg, the most poignant and lovable obsessed outcast who ever was. Mostly, I was just trying to imagine how lonely the scaly man-fish must be. When you read it, try to think of it in Greggy’s voice. I think it works better that way, but it’s still pretty weird. Short! More of a character study than a fic, mostly cos I’m short on time these days.

All Things That Are Good by tartpants

I’m Old Gregg. That is my name, that is who I am, but you don’t know who I am. Not yet. I’m Old Gregg.

I’m Old Gregg and I have all things that are good. I have words, and I have sweet, creamy Bailey’s. I have a heart, it bubbles to the surface so fast you can’t see it. I got my heart from my father, the perpetrator Rick James, who took a speedball and had it off with a dolphin he purchased off Ebay. The perpetrator Rick James left my mutha in a cove, drunk on malt liquor; he took one look and named her Super Freak, then stumbled away to a future of Folsom prison and junkie call-girls. I was born with a speedball heart and jheri-curled seaweed, and my body was strange material that took to water better than land. I clung to my mutha’s back like a barnacle until the day she swam into a tuna’s net. She was glad. She barely thrashed. I hugged her dorsal fin then drifted away, so fast she couldn’t see it, and the current swept me into a river, and the river dumped me into a lake, and the lake opened its deep mouth and swallowed me whole. That’s where I stayed. I have things here, good things.

Everything good is forgotten then swallowed up, and Old Gregg keeps it safe.

At first, I didn’t have the words of others. These words I use now aren’t my own, but the words of men like the perpetrator Rick James. My own words are understood only by me, because they came to me as I floated in the soupy darkness and grew into a scaly man-fish. When something hard floated into my cave and hit me in the head, I didn’t know it was hard. I didn’t know it was something. It was just nameless and strange material, like me, and I called it mine, and after that it was good. Good isn’t a word, it’s just a feeling, and all things can be good once they know they’re no longer alone.

It was the Funk who taught me the language of men. He fell from the sky (though I didn’t call it that, not then) and bedded down with a conger eel (though I didn’t call it that, not then). I found him and took him to Old Gregg’s Place as another good thing, and he used his funky mouth to tell me what the word meant: good. But I already knew what it meant. You don’t need a word to know what something means, you only need mainline of your own speedball heart. The Funk gave the good things names. Here, this is a football. Here, this is a bottle of sweet, creamy Baileys. My speedball heart told me that the good things were less lonely once they had names, so I asked the Funk to give me one, and he named me Old Gregg. Old Gregg is who I am, but you don’t know who I am.

Soon, you will.

You came to me first as a hook.

It was shiny—a man’s word, which means to catch the light, to send sparkles shivering down the walls. It was a hook swallowed up by the lake and of all the good things it wanted me best, and it snagged in my jheri-curls like a crab-claw and hauled me up faster than bubbles to the surface. Outside, the air steamed and the moon blinked stupidly. I was sitting in a boat, and the hook was no longer a hook—it was you. Your name was Howard, but to me you were just you. You goes with me, you see; that’s how the word was made, and that’s how we were made: you and me together, at that moment, peering at each other through that meddling bitch, mist.

I scared you, fuzzy little man-peach. I didn’t mean to, but the words of men are a second language to me, and sometimes they collide in my fleshy mouth and come out wrong-ways. I told you my name. I said “I’m Old Gregg!” But you didn’t make an assessment. You shuddered and stammered and shied away from my speedball heart, so I had to lift my skirt and show you the path to it. You were blinded by the sight of me, as most men are blinded when the truth passes over them, brighter than a police strobe. And like the lake I swallowed you up, and you floated in darkness like strung-out donkey.

Now I’ve laid you out like a plank of drift-wood on the rocks of Old Gregg’s place. Water drips from your hair slowly, as if pained to leave, and I feel its pain keenly. It’s like a slow drowning, a word which here means to be at odds with ones muthafucking desire. I swirl my webbed fingers in a bottle of Bailey’s—it’s beige, you know, like you—and you suckle the sweetness from them, murmuring in your own sleepy mumbo-jumbo. It’s a language built on a single word, Vince, and my ears hear it as the word of the thing you want best, but that you know you can never have.

But you could have me. Because I can tell, even as you nibble on my thumb like a whiskery catfish, that you need to have something. I have lots of somethings down here: footballs, grills, bar stools, the Funk. But nothing has ever had me, not until I was snared on the end of your hook.

I think I’ve been waiting to be hooked. I think I’ve been waiting to be someone else’s you.

You, a word which means things never said but that are felt, just the same. The meaning of you and love is identical. This is something that most men don’t see or know.

But you’ve seen me, you know me. So when you wake, promise that you’ll say my name and know what it means: the best of all things that are good.

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