Mad Maggot! That’s what everyone calls him. The stories about him elicit responses from sympathy, to disgust, to outrage. He is crazy, but no one can catch him. The kids at school say he steals babies in the night and eats them for breakfast. But no-one believes that, or it would have been news on the television and he would be hunted down and arrested, instead of being left alone to rummage through people’s garbage.
He makes silly trashy ornaments from things he finds in the garbage, too. paper and tinfoil pendents on greasy string. He tries to sell them to other people on the streets of small town Maple, Ontario, too. But no one wants to buy, because they stink of whence they came. He never begs. Never. But when he offers his creative excesses while cursing and swearing loudly and waving his arms around frantically, then hugging himself and crying, people will sometimes drop coins into his filth-blacked hands. He is a very large man, but sometimes he seems so small and pathetic you want to cry at the sorrows of the world right along with him.
Now and then he simply disappears for a month or so, and when he shows up again, he has usually had a hair cut and lost his beard, but it’s growing back in already, and he may have on a different, slightly cleaner overcoat, but he usually tears the sleeves off those within a week. He is more to be pitied than despised. Yet there are always those who go out of their way to further torture the tortured. Everyone knows that you should never push him too far. He carries a stick in his pocket that bears a sharpened end and larger blunt one. Once when the kids had him circled down by the tracks at the back of the football field down the hill behind the school, bear-baiting him, he pulled that nasty weapon out in a rage and brandishing it, began chasing them. He scared the hell out of them and they never went that far with him again. But they ran so fast they didn’t see him stop and fall to his knees, tears of rage and self-pity carving tracks in the grime on his weathered face. they didn’t hear his anguished lonely howl…
As Aedre continues her Escape to Freedom, she meets many strange and wonderful creatures. This one may be one of the strangest, and most certainly is one of the most dangerous. But Aedre has lived with danger all her life and has survived this far. Always before though, there were others around who could bear witness if the punishments and harassments of her family got out of hand. This time there was no-one else, just Aedre and the madman, everyone reviled and called Mad Maggot. Somehow, being drawn near this creature, Aedre could see that in some ways they had much in common, both being chosen as one to be reviled. It is this meeting that makes Aedre wonder if she is being made to take the place of this despised and crazy thing that was once as human as she. Could there be another fate? If Aedre was to seek it out, could another, possibly better, more humane fate be hers? Stay tuned to Aedre’s long journey of discovery in Aedre’s Firefly, the online graphic novel (updates Wednesday morning at the stroke of midnight).