The Painful Agitations of Dunby F Lee

This is an odd thing I started a long while ago. I thought it might get longer but it didn’t:

Dunby was not a child in the traditional sense of the word.

For a start he never had a mother, in the traditional sense of the word. The woman who gave birth to him was a chain-smoking teenager named Heather Hoover. She was the youngest daughter in a wealthy Scottish family of free-thinkers who were famous locally for doing little that was not stylish, reckless or extraordinary, and usually all three at once. When Dunby was just 3 months old it was decided unanimously that her sister Elouise was a far more suitable mother, and certainly looked better doing it, more elegant and maternal than the awkward and bad-tempered Heather. After two days of transitional breast-feeding to see that Dunby took to the new arrangement, they switched. And that was that.

Dunby’s father, Maxime, the household’s 23 year old Haitian gardener, was not consulted and kept a silent distance. He was understandably horrified and confused, but his financial dependence on the Hoovers was absolute, and he had evolved a somewhat laissez faire attitude to most things they did, however strange or distressing. Heather had only spoken to him once, on the night of Dunby’s conception. Between his poor grasp of English, and her thick accent, delivered through shallow whiskey-scented breaths that butted at his face like angered moths, he understood virtually nothing. Before Dunby could walk his would-be mother travelled to China to teach English, where she died of cholera within the month.

In this way Dunby began.

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