Tuesday, April 19

Mr. Happy Puppet Head is sick. I listen at night as he bobbles through the hallways, breathing heavily through his mouth as his nose drips steadily, soaking his mustache with puppet mucus. He hasn't eaten or drank anything except tea for the past two days.

"I'm sick," he says.

"I know," I say. We're standing in the backyard. "Maybe you should go lie down."

"I can't breathe inside," he says. "I can't breathe outside. This sucks."

"Do you want another cup of tea?"

"Yes. But use more honey this time."

"That tea stuff's not gonna do nobody no good," says a voice from the other side of the fence. " Never has, never will. It's too young. Nothin' youngs ever gonna cure nothin'."

Me and Mr. Happy Puppet Head freeze. It's Old Man Wigsby from next door. I'm scared he'll put a spell on me, and Mr. Happy Puppet Head hates old people. We both sneak as quietly back to the house as we can.

"I'm going to go to bed," I tell him. "You sure you won't need anything else until the morning?"

"Yeah, I'm sure," he lies down on the coffee table. "You're giving me a headache."

I wake up to the sound of my roomate vommiting in the backyard. I grab a glass of water and run outside. I find him hunched over a pool of partially-digested milk, the empty gallon jug lies a few feet away. "Oh, Mr. Happy Puppet Head..." I kneel down and offer him the glass of water, which he cringes away from.

"Milk is supposed to be healthy," he moans.

I'm about to tell him why and when milk is healthy when I hear a twig break from the other side of the fence. My ears perk up and I can hear the rustling of courderoy slippers on grass. I slowly lift my deeply breathing friend into my arms and carry him back into the house.

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