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Posted on 2006.01.21 at 13:40
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: Alien Ant Farm - Courageous

PARTS 3 & 4 (of 8)




            He returned to the alley he had arrived in, the hook still gripped taut, his palms white from the pressure.   He twisted his hands back and forth, unconsciously rubbing the metal apparatus, working out his anger.  Embarrassment and nervous temptation blanketed him.


            He squirmed a bit, and felt the vial in his tights press against his skin.  Then: a moment of panic - he quickly dropped the hook and plunged his hand down to grab his baby, his holy of holies.  He held it close to his face once again, and studied the thick, glass surface.  It was chipped on its rounded bottom, but not broken, and not leaking.  The dust shimmered and eddied ever-so-slightly in its cage.


            The boy put his fingers on the cork top, and began to pull.  A spot of blood dribbled down his chin and dripped into his lap.  He glanced down to see the damage it did to his clothing, and noticed that all the streaks and splotches had painted him red and green like a Christmas tree.  Green like him, and red like…


            He lowered the vial, and searched for his hook.  He would have to leave soon, he knew.  Leave and never come back.  Too many trips over too many years had aged him too much.  He was very close to the edge, very close to becoming everything he hated, everything he swore he'd never become.  And the vial he carried with him, just in case he never did find his friend, that vial was for his return trip…for his very last voyage between the two worlds.


            He'd just have to hold out and conserve, he realized.


            The boy hooked the hook back onto his belt, and then nearly tripped as he stood up: he was not alone.


            A quiet, small old man sat on the ground with legs sprawled and his back against a wall.  He held a little plastic pouch in his hand, and he chuckled to himself for no obvious reason.  The boy almost yelled at the creep, either for sneaking up on him or for not saying anything when the boy had returned, whichever the case may be.  But then he noted the contents of the plastic pouch.


            Carefully coming down onto all fours, and never taking his eyes from the mirage-like scene displayed before him, the boy crept like a cat towards possible prey.


            "Where…where did you get that?"


            The man, almost purposefully, acknowledged the boy only then.  "Eh?  What's that?"


            "Where did you get that spr…the…the bag…where did you get that plastic bag?"


            The man shook his head as if the boy had asked for a cookie.  "No, no, no, no, no.  I'm not gonna be tellin' a wee thing like yerselves about such things."


            "You have one of them?  One of your own?"




            "You have one." A statement of fact, a revelation.  "But you're so…old....  How-"


            "Yers gonna haves ta be more…eh…succinct if you wants me ta unnerstan' yas."


            "Are you a pirate?"


            The old man's eyes narrowed and his near-toothless mouth did the same.  "Now…I'm not sures whats yer talkin' about."


            "Yes you do.  Yes you do!  I saw it in your eyes just now!  You know what I'm looking for so tell me!"  The old man was small, smaller than even the boy at his young age, so when he lunged and gripped the old man by the collar and shook him as hard as he could, it did seem a threatening scene. 


            "TELL ME!" the boy screamed.


            "Okays…okays!  I'll gives ya whassa want, just leaves me be!"  The boy stopped his bullying for a second, but gave an "and I mean business" look to prompt the old man to continue.  "I gets the dust from a guy on Lilacs Lane.  It don' costs too much an' they sells to anyone whose asks.  Thas' all I knows!


            "You…buy it?"




            "Anytime you want?"




            The boy leapt to his feet.  "Then you can keep your sprinkle, kind sir!  I'll go fetch some of my own!"


            And with that, he began to trot down the alley, leaving the old man behind.  "Eh…won'ts ya need some monies?"


            Turning on his heel, the boy trotted right on back.  "You would lend me some?"


            "If it makes ya leaves me alone, yas."


            The boy held out his palm, and the old man laid a few paper pounds on it.  "They accepts these, sonny."


            "Thank you, kind sir!  And which star did you say I travel to?"


            "Third to the lef', sonny.  Third to the lef' an' straight on til midnight."


            The boy tucked the money into his tights and then stretched out his arms as if waking up.  "Aaaaaaah!" he said.  "This calls for a celebration!  This calls for some sprinkle right this very moment!"  He motioned to the man.  "You go ahead and take yours and I'll take mine and we'll celebrate together!  How does that sound?"


            The old man smiled very, very wide, exposing exactly three teeth.  "Thas sounds likes a wonderful idea, boy."


            They each took their positions, facing each other with their backs against respective walls.  Then the old man opened his pouch, and the boy uncorked his vial.


            Quickly, so as not to let the dust float off into the air, the boy shook the vial downward over his head with harsh, fast motions, propelling it onto his hat, head, ears, and shoulders.  Almost habitually, he closed his eyes and began to think of nothing but the bestest of thoughts - of sprinkle-smoking Indians befriending homeless boys; of motherly mermaids and rabble rousing child gangs; of defeated, disgraced pirates and disarmed hooks; of pouty, beautiful 'Bell and the many girls she treated as nothing more than mere competition; and most of all, most of all the boy thought of himself and his high…of his soaring through the air and the power he claimed that no other had.


            Yet even then he consciously tried to keep the ground.  He knew the poor old man couldn't do the same things he could with the sprinkle, and he had no intention of rubbing his benefactor's face in those limitations.  Once you were old, there was no going back.  Not ever.


            The boy cracked an eye open, to see if the old man was having as much fun as he was, but his companion was gone.  That revelation forced his second eye open, and there on the wall, where the old man had just sat, was carved the terrible double hook symbol - twined at the bases and each facing the opposite way.  The boy leapt to his feet and turned in a complete circle, searching the alley.


            He was alone.


            Well, he thought, no need to hold back then.  Hooks or no, it wouldn't take long for him to find the particular underpinnings of a star.  Not if he could travel by air.






            The boy landed a street away, and then walked up to a bald man that had metal implements sticking out of his ears and face.


            "I want to buy some sprinkle," he declared.  The bald man stared, an eyebrow encumbered by four metal rings raised.  "Oh, I'm sorry, I keep forgetting."  The boy cleared his throat.  "I want to buy some dust."


            The man remained silent, and the boy shifted his feet, suddenly self-conscious.  He wondered about his bloody-faced appearance; the old man hadn't reacted to it, at least not that the boy could tell, and so he hadn't thought that anyone else would.  Still, the old man had used the term "dust", and that's just what the boy had used, so why else would this strangely decorated, hairless man not be selling to him?  Was it his youth?  That had never been a hurdle before...


            "Pixie dust?" the bald man suddenly asked.


            The boy blinked.  "Yes!  You know about...."  He threw his hand next to his mouth and leaned in close.  "…about the pixies?"


            "That's why you're 'ere, innit?


            The boy was so elated to find someone on this world that knew exactly what he was talking about, and apparently knew exactly why it was so vital to him - even in his own land the inhabitants rarely saw eye-to-eye with the boy's insistency on the sprinkle's importance.  Then a thought occurred to him.


            "I want to see your pixie."


            The bald man laughed.  "Son, ain't nobody gonna be seein' any pixies.  You said you wanna buy?  What’s, it for your mum?"


            "I want to buy and I also want to see your pixie."


            The bald man eyed the pound notes sticking out of the boy's belt.  "And I take it that that's what you're buyin' wif?"


            The boy glanced down, then turned back and nodded with enthusiasm.


            "Well I'll tell you what, then, son.  That'll buy you 'bout an ounce, so what say I give that to yas and then you piss off like a good lad."


            "How much is an ounce?"


            From his pocket, the bald man pulled out an incredibly small baggy.


            "That's it?"


            "That is it."


            Trying to recover from such a terrible blow, the boy changed tactics.  "What about the pixies?"


            The bald man glanced to the four-story brownstone behind him, then back to the boy.  "Well, why don't we wait till your old enough to buy some nudie mags, and then we'll see about getting you in to look at the pixies."


            "And what if I brought you some…noody mags?"  An image popped into the boys head - a dozen bundles, called "mags", all filled with limp, wet noodles.


            The man cocked his head and smiled wide.  "Son, the point is that you can't get me any-"


            "I can get anything!"  Arms akimbo, the boy shouted his cock-crow cry.


            The man retreated a step.  "Jesus mercy, what the hell is the matter with you?"


            "You think I can't do it?"


            "I...."  He stepped back towards the boy, folded his arms across his chest, and thrust his chin forward.  "Alright…I'll tell you what.  If you bring me…twelve mags…I'll let you see the pixies."




            "Brand new ones!  And none a' that American shite."


            "Consider it done!"


            "Off you go, then."


            "Yeah…uhm…"  The boy now folded his arms across his chest.  "How will I know which ones are the…uh…'noody' ones?"


            The bald man burst out laughing.  "Just look for the ones in the black bags, alright?"


            The boy shook his head in understanding.  "Right.  Well, I'll be back."


            "Oh, and I'll be waitin', son!  I'll be waitin'!"


To Be Continued....

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