There once was a boy.
He liked to talk.

He talked to boys and girls
and anyone who passed his presence.
One day he saw a man,
and the man held out his hand.
He had a present.
And the boy took it.

They walked away from the brook,
to the bridge,
to the place
where the man lived.

After the boy left that place,
he was never the same.

From that day on, the boy did not speak.
From that day on, the boy did not see.

And everyone thought
his silence was a joke.
His sunglasses,
the cane and hat,
a gag.

A lil
Charlie
Chaplin,
he was
laughed
at.

They didn’t understand him,
And he no longer found
comfort in the day.
So at night, just after eight,
he would walk by himself
to the edge of the lake.
He did this every night,
but one day was
a little
different.

It was Halloween
and a Sunday.
He wanted to go to church
because
God
is love.

He walked outside.

He walked
past a young girl.
The girl was talking to every one
who passed her.
When the boy passed,
the young girl laughed
and stuck out her tongue.
People around him
all joined in laughing at him.

The boy stopped.

He too stuck out his tongue,
but where his tongue
was supposed to be
there was nothing.

He took his sunglasses off
to show them to the girl.
There were no eyes
under the lids.

And the young girl gasped.
And the people screamed.

And this time it was
The boy who laughed.
He screamed,
and he howled.

He put his sunglasses back on,
and he kept on walking
to the brook by the bridge.

The bridge, where the man
he once met
still lived.

 

Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His third book, Train of Thought 2: Almost Home will be available soon. Support \The Michael Cherry Memorial 5K by clicking here.