George Gauss is boy who can say words that begin only with the letter G. It is not because of his names, which obviously begin with the above-mentioned letter, but it is because of an unfortunate event that happened to him when he was seven years old.
Since he was very young, starting with the days when he made the first steps, George was drawn inexplicably, mysteriously and invariably to all the materials that made other materials stick together. In particular he was fond of all types of glue, liquid, solid or with butter-like consistency, odorless or with a sharp biting penetrating smell, beige, white, or transparent like hardwood floor polish, quick-acting and long-lasting or long-acting and short-lasting, well not that very fond of the latter, yet he found it amazing when he dipped the index finger into a can of glue then took it out slowly leaving a long thin string connecting his finger with the can until the string broke and remained hung in the air. He then liked to swirl the finger until the thin string would merge with the tiny bulge of glue that was covering the nail. He waited one minute for the quick-acting and four minutes for the long-lasting glue to dry. He waited without moving a muscle, staring the glue that was slowly solidifying. When his mother came he whispered to her, Mom, I grew bigger, I ate air with my finger and he’s now grown-up, like you. He can go to school and to work like you.
George thought that the glue is like air, that it pulled things together, like the wind pulled the trees to the ground, where they belong. He thought that glue, like air, makes the things grow bigger and faster. He saw a man grabbing his hat when a pale of wind pushed it back onto his head. The hat wants to stay with the man, mommy. The wind put it back. Yes George, the wind put it back. Mommy, does the wind make people stay together? What happens if there is no air? Do things fall apart? Do people fly off the ground into the sky? He thought the wind does not blow objects, hats or people away but on the contrary, wind brings them together. Wind was like glue.
In the year George turned seven he learned to read his first four letters: E, G, L and U. Unfortunately those will remain the only four letters he could read and G will remain the only letter he will use at the beginning of a spoken word.
That summer’s afternoon, he was playing behind his grandfather’s barn. Grandpa Gross was out in town, at the weekly caucus. He did not take his cassock with him, nor his biretta, but he left them home, on his bed. George was curious enough to find them and take them with him.
He hanged the cassock and the biretta next to a hawser that Grandpa Gross kept in the barn, just in case the one he used at his fishing boat wound wore out. George kept the super-glue in a huge jar, hid well in a big stack of hay. He had no problems finding the jar and opening the lid. He plunged his index finger into the jar and tasted the glue. It was just perfect for what he needed.
What he needed was Hobble, a ten-year-old sheep who was slumbering the whole day, eating brambles, and chewing slowly, like a hermit. Hobble was George’s best friend and George used to rebuke Hobble when she did not respond to his calling, or when she looked scruffy after scrubbing the grass for locusts, or when she left droppings on the granite slabs in the courtyard, while drawling something in Sheepish. George found Hobble sleeping and did not wake her up. This time he preferred it this way. He approached Hobble, holding the big jar with glue under his left arm. He plunged again the hand into the jar and applied a handful of glue on Hobble’s back and rubbed it thoroughly back and forth, until it penetrated the bushy hair, down to the skin and even deeper. When he saw little bubbles of frothing swelling and mixing with the hair he knew it was enough. He put the jar down and brought the cassock and the biretta next to Hobble. He applied two handfuls of glue on the interior of the cassock and only one inside the biretta.
He was ready.
It was easy to put the cassock on him, because when the glue is freshly applied in the first few seconds it has that smoothly viscosity that permits sliding and lesser friction. George knew this but knew it in his own words. The biretta was much easier to put on, because it took only one movement of the arm and that’s all. There was no glue dripping over his ears, nor over his forehead. He knew perfectly well how much glue was needed to help the wind put the biretta where it belongs.
“Hobble! Wake up Hobble, we need to fly.”
Hobble opened an eye and resumed chewing the grass she had left in the mouth.
“Don’t move Hobble”, said George and Hobble did not move.
George heaved his leg and laid it on the other side of Hobble. He felt like a crowned price. “Look Hobble, we are a crowned prince, let’s go outside.”
They go outside, behind the barn and George blows Grandpa Gauss’s bugle calling the armies to follow him. And the armies do follow him.
“Look Hobble, we are the Gorgeous George and Hobble of God! We are like one body, Hobble, like Grandpa says in the church… my goat hear my voice… I know them, they follow meee… Look, what neat! This is my body… Yhaaa!… I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep… he puts the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left…”
The car stops with a load screech in the courtyard.
“George, where are you, son?”
“George, where are you boy?”
Mother and Grandpa Gauss have just returned from town. Grandma Gauss is sleeping on the porch.
“Have you seen George?”
Behind the barn George’s damsel voice is instructing the sheep armies to get ready for entering the sky, also known as the kingdom of god, like Grandpa said in the church. Mother Gauss and Grandpa Gauss rush like crazy through the barn. There is George, riding on Hobble, blowing the bugle and saluting his army of courageous sheep. Mother asks him what he was doing.
“Look mommy, I am a big as Hobble, she is the sheep of God, and now I’m the sheep of God. I am big like you.”
Mother explains that Hobble is a sheep not a pony, you cannot ride a sheep. She is surprised to see that George’s hands are buried into Hobble’s hair. She tries to take them out, with no success. The glue on George’s hands has a miasmal smell. Grandpa Gauss kneels next to George, wipes his forehead and stumbles upon a tiny droplet of glue. He tries to chafe it gently.
“Grandpa said in the church, mommy, because we are killed all the day long, we are like as sheep for the laughter.”
Grandpa explains it is slaughter, not laughter and that it comes from the book of Romans, number eight with thirty-six. His face immediately crouches in a metamorphosis like the dough in a baker’s hands. He realizes the droplets are not sweat beads but solidified glue.
“What have you done to my biretta, boy?”
Grandpa Gauss realizes that George is glued to the sheep from the feet up to his waist and the cassock is glued to his back. Mother adjoins that yes, she can see that too and rhetorically mumbles to herself something like what were you thinking.
“I’m her shepherd, mommy, I have to take her and the other sheep to the sky, God is waiting to feed them”.
Grandpa knows the boy is right, because God takes care of all his sheep.
“I have to rescue all these sheep, mommy, because they are scattered and I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries.”
Grandpa believes that George must have overheard this at the sermon. And explains that it is from the book of Ezekiel, number thirty-four with thirteen. He takes Mother a few steps away from Hobble and George and whispers something into her ear, like: we must remove him from the sheep.
“What do you mean, remove him?”, Mother asks.
Grandpa Gauss tells her that the cyanoacrylate glue George used is extremely strong and cannot be dissolved with acetone because George is allergic to acetone. It leaves them with the only option, and that is to terminate the sheep, remove the skin from her, and then remove the sheep’s hair from George with a sharp razor blade and carefully, surgically applied strokes.
They began the ritual right there, behind the barn, right before sunset. George screamed like a lamb before being sacrificed for the opulent Easter dinner. Grandpa knocked Hobble in her head with the handle of a scythe and then applied an incision in her throat. She did not suffer. Mother held George as hard as she could, by his arms, and when he struggled and yelled at the climax of his agony, she embraced him from behind, so Grandpa could perform the skinning.
Three months later Mother and Grandpa Gauss brought little George to the closest Neurology Clinic. He was admitted with a severe type of verbal agnosia that manifested in his inability to say words that did not begin with the letter G. Later on, he began to spasmodically utter words like “glue” or a version of “goat” and sometimes, after he took the proper medication one could even distinguish the word “g-love”, which he pronounced with a swollen G from the deep throat, followed by a short abrupt “love”.
Every other day Grandpa Gauss comes to visit little George and reads him from his favourite book, the Romans, numbers one to sixteen.