A Story by Peter Rogerson

A character outline based on a somewhat abusive set of parents.


There’s nothing like certainty to turn a pleasant mild-mannered gentleman into a fool. And Ishmael Codworthy was one of those. He had certainty in bucketfuls.

The first certainty he’d been inflicted with was that of his own superiority. Maybe it had been his school days, when he’d been assured in morning assembly after morning assembly that he was lucky to be attending the best school ever. The Headmaster was quite munificent on the matter, his black gown wibbling as he elaborated on the very superiority of the school and the famous names that had issued from it.

It had taken very little effort on the part of Ishmael to transfer that superiority onto himself. After all, was he not invariably top of the class? He had to be because his dad was very clear on the matter.

If Ishmael wasn’t top of the class then his dad had a leather belt, didn’t he?

School days over and with his skin more or less intact he started at the best of all Universities because that’s what his parents said it was, and as it was just down the road from where he lived he needn’t leave the sanctity of his home for the wildness of lodgings in a less than perfect town elsewhere.

He had been at University for less than a year when he was talked into sex, and a real consequence of his upbringing was the certainty that he would excel at anything he turned his mind to, even relationships.

He had an irrefutable certainty of himself as a lover. Whilst still a schoolboy and in his teens he had discovered hitherto unsuspected functions of parts of his body, and to his own amazement had found the discovery actually and physically very thrilling indeed. Surely nobody else was capable of such excruciating ecstasy? Surely this meant that he would emerge into his adulthood as the very best of lovers �" for he had associated the secret aforementioned functions with those of lovers.

He would have been able to prove it, but he had no girl or woman in his life save his mother, and boys don’t go loving their mothers, do they? Not in a physical pants-down way? It just isn’t done.

No. It just isn’t done … at least, not more than once. And that once his mother was quite clear about. She didn’t want it and he must pull his pants back up before he caught a cold in his kidneys. He had protested, of course, and she had done her best to comfort him in his grief but all that had done was make him want to repeat the exercise time and time again, and when his mother mentioned the repetitions accidentally or incidentally to his father the latter resorted once more to his leather belt and said it would hurt the father more than it hurt the son. Which was true because the son, big enough now to defend himself, disarmed the father and beat him until he was black and blue and in actual tears of regret.

He had to leave home forthwith despite the fact that he’d been convinced that his parents had provided him with the best possible home and it soon crossed his mind that the downside of leaving that best possible of homes was the fact that it had a roof over it and he didn’t. In fact, it took him a matter of hours to understand that plans really ought to be considered before major changes are made to a person’s life rather than after, and that dossing down illegally in the student’s common room would be looked on by Authorities with a certain amount of distaste.

So, homeless and with many a warning ringing in his ears, he had to find a roof other than the common room and, fortunately for him, Sara worshipped him.

Sara? She was a third year student with a brain the size of half the Universe and a body the size of the other half. She couldn’t help it. Despite her truly stupendous IQ she couldn’t quite get into her head that steak and kidney pies in excess provided nourishment for an obscene development of extraneous Sara tissues.

Besides being over-intelligent and physically vast he suspected that she might be most kindly described as a nymphomaniac, and when she set her store out to entrap Ishmael she used every one of her female wiles plus a great deal of intelligence, a combination that was bound to be successful bearing in mind his homeless status and the fact that she had a University room big enough (at a pinch) for two even when one of the two was she.

The University authorities didn’t need to be informed, she suggested, and he numbly agreed whilst she removed his trousers on the pretext of checking that there was nothing amiss with his legs. All three of them, she said with a hollow laugh. And she checked.

He decided, there and then, that she was the best possible woman for a man to have in his life. He was certain of it, despite the comments issued by other students concerning Little and Large, Big and Small, Fat and Thin. His certainty was quite enough to make ignoring the ignorant an easy thing to do.

Sara was doing her finals the week she discovered that she was pregnant, and when she told him, tearfully, he whooped his joy to the world because that truth meant his equipment worked and the possibility that something might be awry with it had troubled him for years. Or for months. He wasn’t sure which. But confirmation that it was indeed functioning correctly forced him to assess the possibility that quite soon he would become the best of all fathers.

In fact, he was certain of it.

Sara had problems. That’s the kindest way of putting it. The sort of problems that made pregnancy and birth rather dangerous procedures, and her chances of a happy birthing were not helped by her refusal to do anything about it. Doctors should have been consulted, midwives chatted to, nurses entertained, but she saw none of them. Instead, she finished her finals and went to work for a bus company as a night-lady tasked with cleaning vomit from bus floors, and because of the hugeness of her natural girth nobody realised that she was anything but fat.

She had worked for less than three months when everything went wrong and she bled to death at three in the morning on the top deck of an open-top double-decker used in summer for sightseeing.

Ishmael was bereft.

His certainties came crumbling down around him and he might have mourned himself into an early grave had he not already formed a strong and abiding relationship with his new landlady called Anna who, being in her early eighties, was unlikely to conceive even though she welcomed his advances with an ardour created by half a century of celibacy.

And it was the certainty that his was the best possible life that turned Ishmael from a mild-tempered gentleman into a fool because, try as hard as he might, Anna remained deliberately unpregnant and he was consequently constantly assailed by doubts as to the potency of his own vibrant flesh.

Indeed, just about everyone agreed that Ishmael Codworthy was a fool. Except, of course, Ishmael.

© Peter Rogerson 02.09.16

© 2016 Peter Rogerson

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Added on September 2, 2016
Last Updated on September 2, 2016
Tags: student, certainty, self-opinionated, parents


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 75 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..