“Saved by a real-life, modern-day ‘Monster’, I am destined to live an anonymous life…” R.S.
My friends ask, “Why do you leave a successful career you enjoy? To become a…Archeo-apologist?”
I answer, “Because it’s time I take part in a resurrection. My own.” I must excavate my past to discover who I am.
I am Raji Singh, loving wife Tenille. Wonderful children. But up until age 4, I was James Thaddeus Fiction V. A ferryboat capsizing in a typhoon changes that. ‘A THOUSAND DIE,” world headlines shout. “NO SURVIVORS.”
My father, Dr. James Thaddeus Fiction IV, and mother, Imah Fiction, pack me into a medical trunk. “Don’t leave me ma, fa.”
“PA-LUNK,” into the roiling, rumbling and icy drink I… everyone.
High tides seize my little ship that should rightly have been my coffin. I’m roller-coastered. The sinking ferry’s whirlpool nearly sucks me away. Debris is an incessant battling ram gouging my floating vessel. Water rushes in. “I’m drowning.” Wrenched between consciousness and unconsciousness.
I cry, barely able to breath. I suck precious air, somehow. I spit out plentiful sea. So disoriented. Don’t know if my seconds are minutes. My minutes, hours. Fate spares me.
You can read the full account of my unlikely survival in TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE.
I’m surfed to shore. I, who, moments before had everything – now had nothing: but life.
Now comes the hardest part of my foundling journey: Realization of the loss of loved ones. It leaves scars, indelible. I forget – just to cope. As with most ‘foundlings’, as I have discovered in the intervening decades: I am stripped of much memory. (It has been come to be known casually as the Singhing Syndrome and major research institutions are studying this that has, sadly for me, been named after – yours truly, Raji Singh.)
As with most foundlings, “thousands maybe millions, no one knows”, (quoting from the Singh Institute for Foundling Awareness – SIFA) we are watched over by caring creatures. My care creature – a land-sea ‘Monster’ long thought extinct. No miracle saved me at sea, a Trumpeter (a form of giant Galapagos-like turtle), pushed, dragged, and pulled me to shore.
Charles Darwin wrote often of their thriving species, named Trumpeters because they lived in “beneficious splendor” on the Pacific Island of Jericho. “They were hunted to near extinction by my fellow humans seeking their bounty.” See Darwin’s, THE BEAGLE HAS LANDED, Fiction House Publishing.
Who could ever say, even Darwin, why one of such a beaten down member of a species, maybe even the last, wouldn’t just snap a human sprig like me in two, let alone look after me; risk its own shell in getting me to those of my kind.
With this creature – Turt, I’ll always call him Turt – my new life, with all its trials and tribulations begins. It’s a hazardous, even treacherous journey endured by famous foundlings (Beowolf, Romulus, Remus, Moses, Aristotle).
Being a foundling is unusual, but not unique. What makes me different is that I come from a foundling line. My great-great grandfather, James Thaddeus ‘Blackjack’ Fiction, he too was a foundling. Many of you will recognize his name, as the Cincinnati-Manhattan-Lindia City abolitionist publisher, and to a lesser extent as founder of the now banned, (attributed to the 19th century circus showman P.T. Barnum,) “the world’s most popular sport of our 19th century – Cat Boxing.” A poster for Blackjack’s major fighter, ‘Puss n’ Gloves if found in even reasonable condition, its value, ‘two million dollars.’
So many facts of Blackjack’s abolitionists activities, thought lost today are well in tact. Though ‘archived-away’ in an intentionally haphazard, helter-skelter way because of his cloak and dagger activity he learned to play life ‘close to the vest’ – double, triple locks on maps, details, code names for contact people like the Harriet’s Beecher Stowe and Tubman, J. Brown, secret hideaways, false panels, hidden doorways. He kept meticulous care of all his records…
So how will I carry out my plan of resurrection? With Tenille’s, the children’s blessing? By resurrecting, bringing to light long buried – some for as long as 175 years – secrets, historical data, interviews, stories, tales, I don’t know what-all yet, revealed through and lived through one of the world’s most successful and prolific publishing companies, my great-great grandfather’s Fiction House Publishing.
“Great-great granfa Blackjack, you’ll live on through me. And I can discover myself through you.” Thank you. Raji Singh