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Mean Mr. Maxwell Mustard Seed
Author's note: I wrote this novel as a bit of myself and a little bit of fantasy. The main reason was to teach others that its not the love you receive but the love you give. Also some of the names in this story are a credited to The Beatles songs and music.
I got up from bed as I did every morning. It was cold but I dealt with it as always. I stepped onto the old floor; it creaked as I walked upon it like always. I walked to the kitchen of my house and opened my ice-holder, and picked up a block of ice and set it down into a pot to let it evaporate. The ice-holder, a device I invented myself in fact. One day I figured out to make it when I was bored, and was also running out of my water supply that I brought with me when I came here. I have been here in Russia for so many years now I forget what day it is, what month it is, what year it is. I live in the eastern part of Russia, in the northern parts of Siberia, so isolated, so peaceful for me. I haven’t left the area around my house in so long. I live here sustaining myself on melting ice into water, and I have a green house in the basement for vegetables and fruit. How I hated fruit and vegetables when I came here… but in order to be self-sustaining and stay out of the putrid world outside, I must eat it. I came to terms with fruit and vegetables sometime after coming here. I grow vegetables here by building the green house deep underground where it is warm even here in the mountains where it gets to be rather cold. I don’t even know how I’ve lived here so long, alone. The first months I was freezing, I was tempted to leave my home due to the harsh winters… but I managed. I bundled my clothes into the same robe I haven’t taken off in so long. I know what you might be saying to yourself… I’m just a crazy old hermit who uses the word “long” and “alone” a lot, but quit whining and listen to my story for a little while.
Perhaps I’ve gotten a bit off-track. My name is Maxwell Mustard Seed, or at least I was called that long ago. I continued along my daily routine here and while I waited for my ice to melt, I went outside for some more. Taking my Ushanka, or winter hat, I went outside for a moment grabbed a block of ice and ran back inside. It was freezing outside… I can only stay out there for a moment before I get too cold. I put the block in the ice-holder and continued my routine. My next step was to go downstairs, down the seemingly endless stairs to my greenhouse, buried underneath my house in my “basement.” I grabbed some fruit into a basket, a nice red apple, some lettuce, and some pears. I watered some of my plants and checked on them all… of course plants don’t live forever, even their off-springs don’t always make it. I keep my hoards of surplus seeds in the corner, because without these plants and seeds, I would die. The plants were good so I grabbed my basket and went back upstairs.
I came up back into my hallway and walked into my kitchen, where my ice had melted and I poured some into a cup to drink. I chopped up my fruit and vegetables and put it into a plate to eat. I sat down and ate my breakfast. I had no clue what time it was though so I didn’t quite know what eating time it was. My watch had stopped ticking some time ago so I just guessed. My meals were always so simple, bland, the way I liked it. After I finished eating I got up and walked through my main hall, passing my bathroom and the bedroom. I stopped walking when I reached the living room. I looked at myself in one of my many mirrors. I was a pale old skinny man in glasses with a huge white beard that reached down to my feet and trailed behind me. Yes… I did look like a crazy wizard, I’m guessing it’s been very long since I came here when I still had brown hair with big red cheeks and was in my teenage years. Yes I’m sure your guessing how old I am and what’s my back-story is already, but we will get to that soon. I walked on into my library out of my living room. My living room was pretty much empty with a couple sofas that I only used, and a dusty radio that I hadn’t turned on in some time and last time it spoke something of a war in Russian.
In my last room, my library, my office, or my study as some may call it, I had tons of books, and almost all were in English as per my home country. All these books I had bought from various places and amassed a vast archive. All the books I had read… many times. I gazed at the maps of the world and the stars as always when I walked in. I thought of what I could do today. Solitaire… no, read a book again… no, study maps… no. I did one of those things almost every day but today I felt like something different. I gazed around at my books thinking of something I have not read in a while. I saw my encyclopedia and went to pick it up and in my grasp it slipped onto the floor in front of me. In the crook of where it was, I spied my pencil and blank papers I had lost so many years ago. I decided to use the paper and pencil to make a quick summary of my life and my day as I have just written part of which above. I sat down into my desk and opened the window for a little bit of light so I could write. I decided to start my story in America, Wales, Maine 1902 when I was in 10th grade… a year I wish I could go back to every day.
First day of school in the 10th grade, and the year 1902, a time of many advances in technology and turn of the century. I got up out of bed and got dressed up into my every day clothes. The floor creaked below me in this old house I was raised in my entire life. My family wasn’t a rich family but I didn’t care about money. My family was just me and my mom. My grandparents died before I was born, and my dad, John Seed, got into an argument with my mother long ago when I was six and he left. It was just me and my mother living here. I was sort of a mother’s pride and joy, my mother was always so proud of me even when she shouldn’t. I was a geek at school all my life; I was a bit on the heavy side and had a tough time at elementary school. My years before 3rd grade were ok but after that it went down-hill. 3rd-5th grade I had a terrible time dealing with my parents’ divorce and I was quite upset during this time and got picked on a lot. At the beginning of these attacks against me I would fight back only for me to get in trouble instead of the kids attacking me. I just eventually gave up and took it like a man. As I always say if anyone’s to suffer it might as well be me.
In 6th grade, I had made friends though and was declared a genius by my teachers and also the bullying stopped and most things were happy, I love school and life in general now. My friends, Jake Newbury and William Deer, were geeks as well, and we had never had dates or girl friends before. There was always this one girl though I really loved, her name was Carey Summit. I did like her but I was too shy to ask her on a date fear she might reject me. I had been friends with her for a while though, even though it has only been a few years, and I didn’t know a lot about her past. I would always help her and would hold a little conversation with her in class. I don’t know if she has had a boy friend or not before but I always hoped one day that I might be that guy. I noticed that we always had some stuff in common; she too was a book worm like me and a bit geeky. She also had dreams of being a chemist like me, and yes I do believe in emancipation and women’s rights. She was cute but not too cute with shoulder length blondish-brown hair, she was perfect. I had dreams of one day marrying her or at least dating her but I always seemed to push off that till later. Of course some girls may have found me creepy and I can understand that.
As I made my way out of the room I went down the stairs to the kitchen where I found my mother making breakfast. My mother then said “Good morning honey, I made some eggs for your first day of school today.”I didn’t usually eat much for breakfast but I was polite as always and ate it. After that I said good-bye to my mother and went to school. The cranky old neighbor, Mr. Gorman’s next to our house was doing his lawn and gave me the dirty eye. He wanted to buy our house so he could build over it and build a bigger house. My mother luckily always refused knowing that I loved this house almost more than anything. Our school building was awfully old and made of brick which made it terribly warm during the summer. It was still the end of August and was still a bit warm but I managed. The day went by relatively quickly and all my classes went well. I had some of my classes with Jake and William but I had all of mine with Carey. Ah… how whenever I looked at her it filled my heart with glee and I longed for her. I was a bit of a know-it-all in class and volunteered for everything but I don’t care what others think of me.
Months in the year went by like a flash, it was already February and I blamed it on the space time continuum with my friends when we joked. We sat together every day at the same table during lunch. I would tell them of my day and news of science. I’d also tell them of Carey how I liked her and they kept trying to make me ask her out sooner. I didn’t want to ask her out all of a sudden, it might ruin my friendship with her in the first place and I didn’t want that. I still helped her whenever possible and I was extra polite to her, I am polite always but I decided I would be even more with her. Whenever I went home I’d just read and continue the always moving pursuit of knowledge which was one of the high-lights of my life.
I heard at school there would be a Valentine’s Day dance with a band playing. I thought of asking Carey out for that Friday, my friends had convinced me. I had no clue how to dance slow and fast but I would most certainly try, and I would ask her the week of the dance to go. Jake and William would be going alone but at least they would be there so we could hang out.
. When I got home that Friday before the dance however there was a complication. I got home and called, “Hey mom I’m home!”
She worked through the week as a nurse at a hospital and was probably tired. When I got upstairs I found her tucked in bed and she opened her eyes at me and smiled. I said “Hi mom”
“You feel alright mom? You look a bit ill.”
“No I don’t. Doctor Robert said I have Tuberculosis.”
Doctor Robert was the nice old man my mother worked for as a nurse, and was also her doctor. I knew what Tuberculosis was and knew what my mother was saying to me. She was dying.
“But… I… how long do you have mom?”
“He said a couple days; he gave me some medicine to ease the pain.”
I began to cry. I believed crying was a way to relieve pain. But now I could not cry enough. I stayed with my mother till Saturday night when her breathing finally stopped. I called Doctor Robert and he had a horse drawn carriage come over and take her to the morgue. The following day we had her funeral. Only her co-workers and I attended the funeral. I was her only family, besides my father but who knows where he is.
Doctor Peters gave me some money to take care of myself and for his condolences. I don’t care about money; no amount of money can bring my mom back. The Monday came and I had decided I would ask Carey out. I would wait till lunch time when an opportunity came. Nobody knew about my mother’s death, I did not tell anyone. I do not need their sympathies. When lunch came, I finally after all this time of waiting I swallowed my pride and scooted down the table to her. “Hey Carey… I have a question.”
“Would you… go to the dance with me?”
“… I’m sorry… I’m already going with Dan Beck.”
That killed me, my heart sank. I replied, “O… I understand it’s ok.”
I scooted back down the table and told my friends of what happened. Then Jake said, “Well it could be worse, it’s not like they are getting married.”
Of course that was sort of a lie. Around here, couples in high school got married but Jake moved here back in 6th grade so he wouldn’t know. I thought maybe she found me creepy like the other girls while she laughed and talked with them. I said to my friends I would go anyway just to hang out and they said they would be there too. Then the name Dan Beck popped into my mind. I knew him a little but I never talked with him. I had no idea he even liked her though. If I just acted sooner… that could’ve been me she was going with. Later in the week I heard they had talked a month ago and found they had a lot in common. I had too found a lot in common with her, but I hadn’t really talked to her so she wouldn’t have known.
The dance then finally came around that Friday and I went into the dance in my very best clothing, I hoped she would maybe let me dance with her once at least. Carey showed up shortly after me and she was beautiful. More beautiful then I had ever seen her. Dan showed up late in some average clothes that were like rags compared to mine. I hoped she’d then see me instead of him but alas I was wrong. He refused to dance while I was out dancing by myself like my friends were. She wanted to dance but Dan refused even for the slow dances. Come on pick me I thought to myself. No luck. Eventually I got tired and went to the side where Dan was sitting while Carey was in the bathroom I guess. He looked at me and I guess he knew what happened between me and her. Then I said, “… You’re a lucky man, I hope you know that”
“Of course I am,” He replied
He was mocking me. I had been mocked before but this time it was very different. This time I began to get frustrated. Then he spoke again, “O how sweet her lips are, I know you long for them but I doubt you of all people will ever get them.”
O that hurt. I really wanted to punch him now but I just balled my fists and got up to sit somewhere else. He then got up too and he spoke once again. “Hey bastard, don’t show your back to me, and why don’t you speak instead of walk away from me!”
He then grabbed me by the shirt collar and I reacted by punching him right in the nose. That sent him back into the tables and he groaned holding his nose. People screamed, some laughed saying “Nerd fight!” and the band stopped playing and there was dead silence for a moment. Then if anything could get worse, Carey ran over to Dan. She held his nose and tried to get him to his feet then said to him, “Are you okay!?”
This is what happened when I was little and was goaded into a fight. I would get blamed. “Max… what’s wrong with you!?” She screamed.
I replied saying “… I… but he… goaded me into a fight…”
“I know you’re jealous but you can’t just hit people!”
She continued speaking, “I thought you were my friend but after this…”
She spoke more than that, “I… I hate you!”
That killed me even more then when she rejected me earlier in the week… I still stood there in front of her, staring. Then Carey spoke the last words she would ever speak to me. “Don’t ever come near me again! You understand!? Mean Mister Mustard seed…”
Then she turned to Dan and said, “Dan lets go, maybe we can salvage what’s left of our night.”
Dan smirked back at me. Carey… her name echoed in my mind and what had just occurred in the past few minutes. There was still a dead silence. I then turned away and started walking out towards the door. Then I turned and moaned back at her, “I may not be Dan… and I may not be what you want… but I will love you… forever… but I will do what you want… and if that’s never to see me again… so be it…”
My two friends stopped me as I was walking out and spoke. “Max… what happened?”
I looked at them and moaned, “Don’t bother me… in fact no one ever bother me ever again…”
I continued walking away and heard people muttering “Mean Mister Mustard seed” again and again. I walked out the doors and walked down the road home and my mind processed what just happened. In the past week all my dreams and world had been crushed. My mother, Carey, my friends, my life. I am the man no one likes or loves. I walked home and opened the door into my home. I then walked into my room and unlocked my safe with my money. I wanted to go back and beat up Dan more but I had promised to never come near Carey again, and I am a man of my word.
Then I decided I’d do what Carey wanted me to do… never come near her again. I began packing my things; mostly my books and money then loaded them all into a few trunks and left my house for the last time. I walked over to Mr. Gorman’s house and knocked on his door. He opened up, and I held out the deed and held out my other empty palm. He put a ton of money into the empty palm and took the deed without speaking a word. I then left for the port in the middle of the night and decided one of the most isolated far-away places in the world where I could be alone. Siberia, Russia. I waited for a boat to arrive in the port from Russia after about a day of sitting on a bench. I did speak a little Russian after reading a book; I even had it with me. The captain was confused that why would an American go to Russia, but I showed him some money and quickly accepted to take me back with him on his trip to get some immigrants and goods on his trip back to Russia. The trip took a couple weeks but I finally got to western Russia. I thanked the man and then took a train to eastern Russia taking a few days. The train took me to the very end of Russia in the Siberian Mountains.
When I finally got to the tip, I went into the town and was searching for a house up in the mountains where I could live alone forever. I went into a tavern and asked around until I found a man maybe twenty years older than me. He spoke to me, “So you want a house up in the mountains, eh American? I own a house up there; it belonged to my father before he died due to the cold weather.”
“Yes as long as the house is plenty isolated I don’t care much” I replied.
“Well you’re in luck boy! I’d be willing to sell that house, how much you got?” he asked.
I held out my hand, it was my last bit of cash. He snatched it out of my hand and handed the deed over to me. Then he chuckled and spoke. “He he he… good luck getting up there! It’s in the middle of a frozen mountain; it hasn’t been unfrozen for decades!”
“I have a plan to live up there don’t you worry, now I must find a guide up there,” I replied.
“Thanks for your money, American!” he chuckled.
I then asked about the town for a guide up there till I found one who would escort me up there for a small sum. I then bought up great supply of water and plant seeds and put them into my collection of trunks and acquired another one. Then I met with the old escort and loaded my things onto the animals that would carry the things up with us. Going up the mountain was hard… the wind blew right into my face. But eventually we made it up to the mountain and I found the house the man at the tavern spoke of. The guide then began unloading my things into the house. The house luckily was fully furnished and had a few rooms and a basement deep underground where I will plant my seeds. Then the guide asked me if that was all I needed and I replied, “Yes.”
That was the last word I ever spoke since. Then the guide nodded and began down the mountain again into the freezing winter. I got settled unloading my books and what food I brought. Then I went downstairs to the creepy basement and planted the seeds and put mirrors all along the stairs case reflecting the light from outside and into the deep basement letting the light shine on the plants so deep underground, so I did not need oil or candles. Then in order to get water on my own I melted ice. Eventually I made the ice holder over time. I was totally self-sustaining… but I could never leave here on my own without help, I would die if I tried. The first night I bundled up clothes into my night robes and then went to bed in my new home. After a few weeks I forgot about what time or day it was and minutes began into hours, and hours into days, and days into weeks, and weeks into months, and months into years, and years into decades.
That is my story of how I got here… it is a sad tale but I am a very sad person… perhaps you think me mad, but I assure you that I am not insane. If I were insane I would’ve ran out of here screaming or gone after Dan years ago. I got up from my desk and began to put my paper back when, I then heard something strange outside. I had never heard such a sound. I peeked out the window to see some men exiting some strange machine. Robbers I thought to myself. I picked up my dusty Colt revolver and held it trained at the door. The door then creaked open slowly. Then a young man no older than me when I came here, walked in. I then spoke in my toughest voice. “Stop right there!”
The man stopped dead in his tracks stunned. He then spoke “Who… who are you?”
“I am Maxwell Mustard Seed,” I replied.
“I’m… I’m George Seed… nice to… meet you,” He said.
“Impossible, I have no other relatives” I said strictly.
“Well… I’m your great great nephew. Your father remarried again after he left your mother, and well he had my great grandfather. Let me explain a bit. My great grandfather had two children then his children had children and here I am. Our family is still based in Maine and I grew up in Wales. Your legend still lives on. Mean Mister Mustard Seed, the man nobody liked. Carey… your high school sweet heart, she ended up getting married to Dan… but then divorced him, and then she searched for you for the remainder of her life. She did become a scientist but she wanted to find you… she ended up dying alone forty years ago of cancer. She however still stayed in Wales and stayed in contact with our side of the family and she eventually did find out where you went but she became too ill and died. Plus when we found out about it, the Russians wouldn’t let Americans into Russia… well it’s a long story I’ll tell you about on the ride back but anyway after a while they began letting us in again and well I tracked you down here… I expected you to be dead but here you are alive…”
My mind was blown away then I spoke and said “How long was I away?”
“Well… uh about 111 years, its 2013.”
My mind practically exploded… I’ve been here that long, hating the world… Then the man… my nephew spoke again. “Well I was supposed to bring back proof and this is more than enough proof, would you like to come back home with your family?”
I thought about it and then I realized… someone did like me… I had family and Carey did eventually want me. “I accept!” I shouted, then I grabbed my things including the auto biography and I left into the weird flying machine with my nephew George.
The new world puzzles me but I find it amazing. These things called cars, planes, phones and computers are all quite advanced from when I was born. I met with my family and I was in newspapers everywhere. I was happy for once and I then one day, visited Carey’s grave and kissed her headstone. I still did love her after all these years of living in that house. Now I got what I finally wanted… to be loved by people and have family. I am also one of oldest people alive now, at 127 years old you get noticed. I was always odd in life but now I am happy living with my family and I am now called happy Mustard Seed, and in the end the love we receive is equal to… the love we give.