By: Shen Wu Tan
I lived in the South for 17 years before moving to Mango Street. My father owned a music store in Tennessee when I was a young boy. And my mother stayed at home, tending to the other children and cleaning the house.
I used to help my father repair old records and jukeboxes before his business shut down.
Shortly afterwards, our house foreclosed.
I joined the military after high school since neither my parents nor I could afford to pay for a secondary education.
The memories of bloodshed have tainted my mind. The sounds of gunshots firing still ring in my ears. Sleep eludes me, for my mind fears the recurring nightmares.
I started smoking heavily when I was in the military. It helped relieve my stress.
Listening to country and western music helped calm my nerves, too.
After my discharge, I packed my things and moved into Ednaâ€™s basement on Mango Street. With hardly any change in my pocket, Edna rented the apartment out to me for little to nothing.
I started working night shifts at a local music store as a repairman and collected forgotten, recycled records.
I sometimes give away records to the neighborhood kids â€“ all except the country and western ones, of course.
I met Susan at the store. She came in looking for records by Jimi Hendrix. She lost her husband in the war.
After six months, I got sick of living in the moldy basement by myself.
The next day, I paid a visit to the pet store and adopted two little black dogs. Their names are Scottie and Dobby. They follow me everywhere.
A few times a month, Susan visits the apartment. We are driven together by our mutual need for sexual gratification.
Sex is a means of escapism for us.
Susan never stays long. After she leaves, I remember who I am.
I am someone who is living alone in a basement that smells of mildew. I am someone who seeks solace in music. I am someone who is haunted by Death itself. I am the Earl of Tennessee.
Published on Apr 9, 2013
My narrative is based off of the vignette titled "Earl of Tennessee" from House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. In my narrative, I expa...