Tattoo by Larry Brogan

My mother always told me, “I may be your mother, but the truth is that you have all my doubts.”

“I am a child… a baby. The earliest memories to my recollection are the demons of my upbringing,” says Henry.

As irony would have it, those memories would shape my first 17 years of life. It’s a good age. A good age to understand life’s ultimate tale of morality.

In truth, there is no lesson to be learned here, no higher calling, only a physical demon — a shadow, which had visited me in my sleep… while I was simply a toddler, barely walking. I had been left to mutate into an overgrown baby, in my mother’s spring cot and cradle, till I was two years old.

At the time, she felt that there may be no real path for me. But, I never stopped believing in myself, hitting every brick wall on its end, to the point of actual injury. Emotionally and mentally, I was already handicapped. This is the curse of mediocrity. Written off at birth, I never gave up thinking, at the very least a silver lining would illuminate my path. In all that I jest, there is one of three things, which brightens the road-less-travelled; Hope, which is the cornerstone of any mediocre life; Faith, which affords us the gift of limitation; and finally, Redemption, a soldier at war, ready to forgive him/herself for all that had been done.

And, that is how it all began.

It is often in times of hardship, I am reminded of her and what she had whispered to me in my adolescence. She carried me in the womb for nine and a half months, dropped me while I was still a toddler, and finally forced to alleviate all motherly bonds between the both of us. No real injury had been prevalent, but bastardized I had become. I see no evil.

One angry tirade upon another, sets the foundation for higher learning. I began my graduate diploma at the turn of the new millennium.

My father always told me, “You have to speak well of others if you are going to be recognized in this world… and do not forget to dress well.”

I fashioned baggy jeans, a Ramones t-shirt and angry punk music from the 1970’s. Hardly chaotic, when spoken in the facade of proper etiquette. I was accepted and hailed in high regard for proper conduct. My father never acknowledge it until I had my dress sense had matured.

I take to the West Midlands, England in the summer, where I am to spend the next three months preparing for public school. As if it could get anymore crass.

Primped and proper-ed, with Queen’s English at the get go, I long for a better life, one lived more frivolously and away from this moral compactor negotiating my path through… well, shall we call it education or life? I spend the summer mulling over that lack of Malaysian culinary affair, I get a little round, dieting on trifles, assorted cream cakes and Yorkshire Pudding, to go along with a heavy diet of meats and dairy. No offense.

The Queen for the moment was highlighted in my outing, where she passed with a ‘C’ in English at o` level. To be honest, how would one really do justice to Princess Diana without offending someone in England? They had adorned Princess Diana of Wales a Queen and she will always be held dear in the heart of the Mighty England, where she still the stood as an advocate of a better brand of the spoken word. Perhaps this is the reason she was taken from us. I took to the same liking — or at least attempted to.

By the time the summer had ended, I began to build an accordance with all those cordial enough to receive me. By this time I had graduated my dress sense to a bowler hat, sports coat and cotton socks. I hear no evil.

My brother always told me, “You need to step out of your comfort zone if you are ever to make a living for yourself.”

I never took his advice to heed, but I will say this:-

Most of what I understood about reading and writing is that, once celebrity has been had, the right itself would assure you safe passage into the next stage of your life. This only means to say the comfort zone is a place where both demons and angels may or may not reside. I cannot really be sure.

The shadow, which visited while I still a toddler is not an entity. It is simply a metaphor for all of the fears of my mother, fears she would have had for me.

Boyhood suggests that we will never really get over the stories that are passed down to us from generation to generation. They incite, they inspire, they bewilder the s%#t out of us and will always tell us that growing up is never really necessary.

Needless to say, I have passed all my tertiary education with as much ease as a hot knife through butter… and, I am a broker. The irony, really.

I may not have taken my brother’s gesture to heed, not like I took my father’s advice and mother’s warnings, but I am not really that superstitious.

So I start to question; Where is all the love in the world if writing a simple letter to the going public is so difficult, more difficult than attaining a living. I guess there may be a few out there who are willing to listen, but as lamentations creep up — breeding itself from my very sunken nadir, I tell you all, I will have my day!!! I speak no evil.

Recently, we held an open call for writers to submit a short story based on the Three Wise Monkeys, an infamous Japanese proverbial maxim. This is Jonathan Lim’s interpretation of the maxim through his short story above. Have your own interpretation of the maxim? Drop us a comment or send us your short story with the subject header as “Three Wise Monkeys” to