Grovel Greg, Grovel Part 1

Greg, a shy and naive 19 year-old, decides to take his chances in the big city. He must pitch his wits against racism, unemployment, and people who want to take advantage of his inexperience. But things don’t go well, and by the Autumn, he has disappeared from the face of the Earth. Or has he? Parts 1 and 2 are set in 1976. In Part 3, set in the present day, his sister sets out to discover what really happened. One chapter will be published on Movellas each day, until the story reaches its gripping conclusion.

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6. Some Background Information

Greg is not ugly. Nor is he beautiful. Therefore it is tempting to say he has an 'average' face, that is, something in-between the two. But this would not be true either. In fact, he has an interesting face, one which is noticeable. Greg's face seems to bear a curious expression: it always looks like he is mid-way through a very interesting thought. It is a face that some people find mildly unusual, indeed, faintly irritating. It is the sort of face, for example, that thugs might be minded to punch if there was nothing better to do. If Greg had not been dedicated with the name Algernon, it is likely that his school 'mates' would have called him 'Weirdo' instead of 'Algy the Pug Dog' or 'Algy the Primitive Life Form'.

            To a degree, Greg is aware that he looks unusual. He is aware that his face, body and hair do not allow him to look 'modern'. He is aware that, because of this, people think he is a 'square'. Furthermore, he (correctly) thinks that people think he has deliberately chosen to look square to be different from everyone else. But this is only partly true. For sure, he does not wish to adopt a fashion that does not suit him; but deep-down, part of him would like to be more conventional, and to join the fun that other people have. It is just that his body is not suited to the modern 'look'. Take his hair for example. As soon is it grows more than an inch from his scalp, a curious tuft emerges from the top of Greg's head, which is impossible to pat-down. The only solution Greg can find to this problem is to keep his hair short. As a result, people think he is on parole from the borstal.

            Greg wonders, if he looked more conventional, and had not been named Algernon, whether he would be 'normal'. He often ponders this, in spare moments. In fact, he seems to think about this sort of thing much more these days, than he did in the past. But there are people, he remembers, who have odder names, and look stranger than he, who have nevertheless very 'normal' lives. For example, there is a bloke called Archibald who is indeed bald, even though he is only twenty. He has tons of friends, including a girlfriend. So Greg decides he cannot blame his name or his appearance for his own predicament. Indeed, now that he is Greg not Algernon, he can no longer use his daft name as his excuse for his failures. Basically, Greg thinks he is cut from different cloth to his small-town neighbours. Not necessarily better cloth (his crude socialism forbids him from believing this), but certainly different cloth.

 

There was an irony to Greg's adoption of the nickname 'Greg'. The irony is that the nickname was designed to ridicule him, but he ended-up liking it. A couple of years back, after saving his hard-earned paper round money for several weeks, he had taken a trip to the record store in the town centre. There, he shelled-out his money on a slab of vinyl, the LP 'Emerson, Lake and Palmer'. On leaving the shop, he was accosted by a group of his school 'mates' who forcibly searched his bag in order to find-out what record he had bought. In an era of Slade and Sweet, 'Emerson, Lake and Palmer' was highbrow indeed, thus causing amusement among his peers. 'Gettin' a bit cultured now, intcher mate?' 'Inter the old college boy moosic are yer mate?' they said, in their Suffolk drawl. To mark the occasion, they decided to re-christen Algernon 'Greg', after Greg Lake. 'Greg' pretended to be upset about this (the best way to ensure a nickname sticks), but secretly he was overjoyed at the prospect of replacing 'Algernon' with the cool name 'Greg'.

 

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