Cabernet was a sickly child. Born to Jasper and Nadia Sauvignon in a slightly decrepit stone home on the outskirts of Bordeaux. The boy was ravaged by Phylloxera in his early years. He was an unpopular child, despised for his small weakly stature, sheepish avoidance of conflict, and the fact that he was smarter than the other children. He was, in fact, a genius.
Cabernet spent most of his time reading under an ancient oak tree in the corner of the play-yard or on the uneven front steps of his parent’s home. On occasion, he might be found riding bikes or playing marbles with his healthier and more physically-able cousin Cabernet Franc. Although the two shared a first name, a similar genetic makeup, and both had one brown and one blue eye, the boys, born two days apart in October, were vastly different in character and physical appearance. Cabernet Franc, who always insisted his last name be used when addressing him, was an unruly child, known for fist fights, mean spirited pranks, and the tendency to swear at unfortunate times.
Cabernet Franc was awkwardly larger than his afflicted cousin Cabernet, who often found it hard to keep up on their bike rides to the abandoned mill or candy store. Cabernet Franc was blessed with a naturally tan complexion and ruddy checks, while Cabernet looked as if he had been entirely drained of color, his skin the pale grey of a corpse. But what Cabernet Franc inherited in the way of looks and physical impressiveness was altogether diminished and overshadowed but his dim witted mind. Cabernet Franc was largely held to be an idiot, an assumption that lead to a great many fights on play yards as a child and numerous other places as an adult.
While Cabernet Franc found himself frequently in the company of some stern faced adult or Police Officer, admonishing him for his crooked ways, Cabernet found companionship in great works of literature, devouring them with fervor and delight, as if starved for knowledge. By nine, he had consumed Don Juan, Moby Dick, War and Peace, Through the Looking-Glass, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Ulysses, A Farewell to Arms, and Resurrection. By eleven, the list would swell. He took up studies in Russian (so that he might read in the mother tongue of Tolstoy) and spoke nearly perfect English. His unpopularity with his class mates reached new levels.
Cabernet Sauvignon continued to apply himself to his studies, altogether skipping three grades. By age 15, he had finished high school and graduated with top honors. By 19, he had published a thesis on highly concentrated proteins, largely held to have given birth to the modern day power bar. By 21, just before he published a series of self-help books for afflicted children (The Lion, the Fox, and the Power in You won three literary awards and was published in 17 languages), and after consuming unnatural amounts of his newly concocted proteins, Cabernet had grown tall, handsome, and confident, a fact greatly despised by Cabernet Franc who by this time found himself in the full time company of the law, imprisoned on charges he stole a chicken and cursed at some school children. His ruddy complexion had also been much tarnished.
Cabernet’s impressive gains, both physical and financial were bringing him popularity throughout Bordeaux. He began to travel outside the region, giving lectures to school children and at local chambers of commerce. He put on productions of his one man show (The Falcon King and the Turnip) and used the proceeds to fund a foundation to aid children affected by Phylloxera. He volunteered for the homeless. He started to study art and poetry and was said to have committed several Shakespeare plays to memory. Cabernet’s fame began to swell. He became the subject of countless news articles; three books were written about him (one was rumored to have been authored by himself under the pseudonym Renee Duvall). Dozens of schools throughout France were named after him.
In time, the now well-to-do and beautiful Cabernet began to grow weary of his home country and his regional fame. He started to collect maps from exotic places. Thailand, Peru, Laos, California. He had in fact long dreamt of the West and California, and now devoted much time to the study of the region.
On a dreary afternoon on the last day of Autumn, Cabernet kissed his grave faced mother and father goodbye then boarded a train to Paris where he bought a one way ticket to New York. He was young and beautiful as he contemplated what awaited him in the New World.