“Come on and hurry up with that kid’s puzzle, Duncy. I’m ready to start with the *adult* toys.”
“Now Duncy. *Separate* your words; don’t compound everything you say just because you are *lazy*.”
“All… right.” He was trying so hard not to be stupid and duncy. He so wanted to earn a new nickname from Bubbles.
And later he would: The Boy or just Boy, derived from DeBoy (derived from D-Boy or Dunce-Boy or one who makes a lot of “D”‘s). Because one day, not too far in the future and maybe even today, The Boy from DeBoy would open Suisan’s eyes to the world around her and the horror it entails. Entrails.
“Maw came back last night,” DeBoy (still DeBoy here and not The Boy — yet) offered while keeping alert for a puzzle piece with a brightly painted clown face on it. “Fresh from Stomach Land.”
“Now, *Duncy*. You *know* there’s no such place.”
“There tis too.” He had a while to go in Suisan’s eyes. She could see the boy now but the cone still dominated the face. Sometimes — often — he became merely a cone again. DeCone.
“There it is!” he exclaims, spotting it with his keen eyes. He inserts another piece. Shouldn’t be long now.
He kissed the cone topped clown head from the back. “I love you,” he cooed. “And I *understand* you.”
He turned and finally saw her. In the flesh! She was scratching her head, but not from something she didn’t understand this time. Lice. Must have got in during the middle of the night. No more sleeping in clown barns!
She hadn’t notice him yet because of all the scratching. Itching and scratching. He could run away — again. But where? Back to his maw? Nah, that wasn’t really an option, although he needed food every once in a while. Tripe: better than entrails at times. It described his life perfectly.
Bubbles, he thought. That’s what I’ll call her. The name just floated into his head like an enclosed air pocket. And once he had a name then talking could commence. “Little girl, little girl,” he began softly, out of earshot again. He knew just how to pitch it to remain unheard. Then: “I’m here, I’m here, I’m — *here*.” The last “here” got through, as he planned. Despite the name (DeBoy, derived from D-Boy or Dunce Boy or one who makes a lot of “D”s and just gets by) this diminutive fellow is quite nuanced and different from us more learned folks. And now he possibly has a friend.
Suisan turned again toward the voice but again saw nothing but a cone. The boy remained invisible to her.
“I don’t understand what I’m suppose to be *learning* here!”
A noise from the back of the room. She had awoken someone. “I’m here. I’m here. I’m here,” the boyish male voice sleepily repeated, as if waking up from a dream. “I’m here.”
But when she got up and turned in surprised response no one was there.
“I’m here, I’m here,” it said, just out of earshot now on the other side of the veil. Only a dunce cap remains. “I’m here.”