Who is Allen Smith? I am.
The Who is? I am. series is a collection of stories based on fictitious characters. I take inspirations from bits and pieces of real personalities and character traits of people that I have met, walked over, or both. However, any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental and perhaps, a miracle. That includes animals.
The explosions in the sky signified the turning of a new century. To Allen, the only emotions he had of the colourful spectacle and the exaggerated movement of bodies around him was nothing. He knew that if there was a day of happiness left for him, it wasn’t today.
He wasn’t saddened either. He felt completely nothing. The only way –he thought, was to bite the length of a chopstick so it would appear that he was smiling. His smile would win him best actor in a leading role, but the death in his eyes was a supporting cast member not aligned to the cinematography of his current predicament -to act happy and look at fireworks on this New Year’s Eve.
His reason was valid; he didn’t want his date to hang him on the tree amongst sour grapes. And if there were any signs of pure happiness, he could see it in her eyes. So he avoided them at all costs. Those eyes. Those pretty eyes shouldn’t get affected by the death in his.
He wasn’t like this all the time. But at the stroke of midnight, his existence suddenly became unbearably painful. More so than ever, the accumulated pinches now bear the force of a punch.
It wasn’t anyone’s fault; not even his. It’s one of those days –he thought. But for fucksakes, why has it got to be today? He took a sip of whiskey on the rocks as he slides rock bottom. Tasted next to nothing, but the sweaty bodies around him gave it a tinge of salt; which is something no one should have with liquor and that includes tequila. Amateurs –he thought.
As he tried to accept his new found acquired taste for salt with whiskey, he watched the girl he really liked dance under the moonless night. Her name is Christina, and her beauty sparkled under the glimmering colours born from gunpowder and explosive. Her face was the only thing he could see. Everything else was a blur. The year went by in a hurry. He couldn’t catch up. He smiled at her and quickly bit on an imaginary chopstick for others.
All this imaginary chopstick biting was making him hungry. Instead of making an astute decision and put things like food in his mouth, he went over to Christina and held her arm in the most chivalrous way known to man. Or so he thought, it was actually the gayest touch ever.
“Look at the fireworks! They are so pretty!” she said, before he could ask her about the same thing. He watched the reflections of the fireworks on her face as she beamed like a beaver –that gave him a second worth of joy. Quick, another question to rival the one I didn’t ask –he thought.
“Hahaha,” he laughed.
Hahaha? It wasn’t even a real laughter. It sounded like a punctuation. The kind of punctuation that is most commonly used when one is stumped and acting like an idiot. He was looking for the toilet bowl, so he could flush his head through it. Yes, Allen has never failed to flush, even if he was to have his head in it. Neither has he ever not put the toilet seat up when he’s peeing; no matter how monstrous the seat looked like. His moral impetus towards the unspoken ethical righteousness of peeing is flawless.
If there’s one thing Allen fails miserably in, it is to not care. He cares too much for people (and ethical ways of peeing) though he hates being around them. This isn’t paradoxical, it’s a fallacy.
Allen could be strolling by and run inside a burning building to save no one in particular. He doesn’t have a superhero mentality; he has a superhero creator mentality. Similar to how comic book writers envision superheroes to be, everything that they create holds an uncanny resemblance to an inner desire to be as such. This desire isn’t driven by delusional ideas of strength, but rather by the reality of their experiential weaknesses and pain.
It isn’t much surprise that no Superman exists in reality (noo…say what?), but co-creator Jerry Siegel made something fictitious into an international icon. Men have bought the idea of Superman as a symbol of justice and strength. When fear resides in men, give them a comic book.
In high school, and before he created Superman, Jerry father died of a heart attack during a robbery in his store.
Most of Allen’s family members are still up and about. But he lost himself along the way through the same cause that he stood for, which is to care for people. And people that he cared for, pretty much didn’t care about him; not because they are assholes but because he didn’t let them.
For the sake of argument, Allen thinks he is Superman -the emotional version. Saving people with his awesomeness and complete understanding of human mechanism through care and that thing called love. Come on, no one can save Superman and no one can break him. Well, except for that magic green stone.
Whoever assumes that superheroes are having a whale of a time standing atop towering buildings overlooking the city, is crazy. It is a boring place there. And superheroes may have super human abilities but their clothes are not water-resistant. Superheroes don’t carry umbrellas. The only one relishing the time it rains is Aquaman.
But let’s not go as far as to think that Allen is Superman. The guy can’t even put on a cape without tripping over it.
And his kryptonite? Allen is his own worst enemy.
That’s why he shields himself from the rest of the world. Just in case he starts fighting with himself, it wouldn’t be a sold-out gig. But if anyone needed him, he’ll be there, even if it’s in another country.
But tonight, under this moonless night, with all these fireworks in this country, he ain’t got anywhere else to go.
Christina was the only person that mattered that night. She’s not a superwoman. She’s just, human. Something that Allen has forgotten how to be. But she’s teaching him how to by having total disregard to what is and what is not. She has no rules. She loved the fireworks. She believes in magic.
The last time Allen believed in magic, the magician disappeared and broke his heart. It wasn’t just one magician, it was many. The same people he cared about. But Allen cared for the wrong people. And of all people, he forgot to take into consideration one very important person. And that was himself.
Perhaps, with all the salt and whiskey, the fireworks and blaring disco music, a very sweet girl beside him, and an imaginary chopstick, he should give himself what he deserves. But before he does, he needs to find it, and the only way he can do that is go back to reality.
“I think I am pretty awesome,” she said with no tinge of snobbery, “I got everyone here.”