Headcanons: Old Gregg
For culumacilinte, who prompted me through the Headcanons meme with several characters and requests, so I am now doling out my responses like Johnny Segment. (And yes, I will finish all of these! Life is not allowing much writing time right now, but I absolutely will finish all of these.) This one is about Old Gregg!
Old Gregg doesn’t remember much of his childhood. Aquatic creatures tend not to make the most nurturing and devoted of parents, and Old Gregg’s certainly weren’t; there was never anybody around to show Old Gregg how to get along or how to style his seaweed or how to play a funky bass lick. Old Gregg had to learn all those things himself the hard way, and because the other fish always kept a wide berth from Old Gregg–they knew Old Gregg was Different–it was a lonely existence, that time of learning things. Old Gregg’s therapist says this is why Old Gregg has developed “unhealthy coping mechanisms for meeting his emotional needs.” Or at least Old Gregg’s therapist used to say that, until Old Gregg made him be quiet; he doesn’t say too much these days.
But Old Gregg made his own fun, yes he did. Old Gregg saw all the beautiful things the humans gave to the water, and Old Gregg took them and loved them and learned from them all. Old Gregg made toys of the glittery needles and the plastic bags that float like ghosts, and although Old Gregg learned later that humans call these things “rubbish,” Old Gregg knows beauty when he sees it, and Old Gregg made an assessment and saw these things were good. The waters of Black Lake brought Old Gregg all kinds of amazing things–and then one day, they brought Old Gregg The Funk, and Old Gregg thinks that’s when life really began, because Old Gregg knew from that moment on that Old Gregg would never be lonely again.
Old Gregg grew up eating fish and such, until Old Gregg learned more from the treasures he found in the water and developed a taste for human food. At first, Old Gregg had been under the impression that humans must eat nothing but soggy bread and crackers, but eventually Old Gregg learned of the beauty of crisps and biscuits and sweets, in their brightly-colored packages that make strange noises and stay forever shiny. And it was a very, very special day when the water delivered a bottle of Bailey’s to Old Gregg, because the minute its creamy beigeness touched Old Gregg’s lips, he was certain that it was the greatest thing Old Gregg had ever experienced.
And then, one day, Old Gregg discovered something called a cookbook, and in this cookbook it told Old Gregg all about how to please and impress a man through his stomach, so that he might love Old Gregg and never ever ever ever ever ever want to leave Old Gregg. This was a concept that appealed very much to Old Gregg, and so Old Gregg set himself to learning to be the best “homemaker,” as the cookbook called it, that Old Gregg could possibly be. Old Gregg did many experiments in learning to create all the dishes the book described, and sometimes Old Gregg had to make substitutions because the baking supplies in Black Lake are limited and the nearest Tesco is another village away and has a very inconvenient layout, but improvisation and creativity are the life and heart of Old Gregg’s funky soul, so he made it work. Now Old Gregg knows how to make an apple crumble that makes a grown man cry when it’s offered to him.
Every recipe mastered, every little bit of knowledge, is a step that brings Old Gregg closer to finding true forever love. Old Gregg just knows it.
Old Gregg didn’t always pay as much attention to his appearance. There was a time when Old Gregg didn’t even know how he looked, and that was the time before clothes.
But over time, Black Lake brought Old Gregg newspapers and magazines and seminal funk albums, and Old Gregg learned about clothing and fashion and style and the importance of having a signature look. Old Gregg would study himself in the shiny mirror shards he found in the lake and gaze upon Old Gregg’s reflection and wonder what his look should be. Old Gregg experimented with many different looks, but none of them really felt true to Old Gregg; the only thing Old Gregg felt sure about was that a pink tutu made Old Gregg feel pretty.
But then, one day in the early 1980s, a copy of Rick James’s Fire It Up floated into Old Gregg’s possession, and from the minute Old Gregg looked at the cover and saw Rick James with his proud mane and his white leather and high-heeled boots, Old Gregg knew he had finally found his inspiration. Old Gregg studied the picture hard to style his seaweed just like Rick James would, and he searched every nook and cranny in Black Lake to find bits and pieces of an outfit to bring his funky look together: white leather boots, a silver jacket. Eventually, Old Gregg knew it was perfect when he put it on and looked in the mirror and felt right and could say with 100% certainty: “That’s Old Gregg!”