Believe it or not our hero was not always the pugilistic tattooed adventurer who would claim the crown of King George by his own hand. As a matter of fact, he was quite the contrary.
This particular protagonist was a homebody video game nerd who planned on spending the summer of his sixth grade year just like he had spent every other; inside on his video game console. It was not that George had a fear of the outside, it was just easier for him to stick to what he liked. On the first day of summer vacation everything changed.
“George, get your swimming trunks and your backpack.”
He answered without looking up from his video game, “I don’t wanna go swimming, Mom. I’m gonna play Halo.”
“I didn’t ask you.” Her tone and these words made him glance up. She had her hands on her hips and the look on her face meant business. “And you don’t have to swim. I am dropping you off at Kingsley House. They have kids your age. I used to go when I was a kid.” She stepped into the room and began hastily packing things into his backpack.
“But nothing. I don’t care if you swim, walk, or just sit on a bench and read a book, but that bench will be outside this house. You are going to go outside and make friends.” She tossed the pack at him and rushed to hit the power button on the TV. “And you will not return to this house and this TV unless you break something or are on the verge of death.”
George knew there were times he could press his Mom and get his way, but this wasn’t one of them.
The funny thing about a city like New Orleans, which is almost exclusively one-way streets, is that you can’t make a left turn anywhere. So on the day our King would meet his future subjects, had everything gone according to plan, his mother would have dropped him off at Kingsley House and his life would have been very different. But let’s face it, things rarely ever turn out exactly according to plan and change one little detail and the butterfly effect could be staggering, even something as small as a water main.
Since a pesky water main had closed off St. Joseph Street, George’s Mom had to drop him off a block away by the empty lot next to the old St. Vincent’s Orphanage on Magazine and Race.
“Mom?” George pleaded.
“Do not sass me, I will cloud up and rain all over you!” she hissed while handing him a brown paper bag.
“Your lunch. I don’t want you back inside my house until at least three o’clock. Now gimme a kiss, tell me you love me, and make friends.”
George gave his mom a peck on the cheek and set out about his destiny.