I spent a few weeks living among the stone forms of my frozen family. On some level I knew that they were dead, but when an impossible thing happens suddenly, you can’t be sure it won’t unhappen suddenly. I made a real effort to clean and guard my favorites, and each dawn I’d carefully study them to see if an expression or position had changed a little. I didn’t have a camera, and couldn’t draw, so I could never tell for sure. It could be a projection but they seemed gradually more at ease, the initial agitation of the moment fading, but they were still all looking up and away from something.
Had I been sure they wouldn’t wake up I might have explored more, but I thought they still might, and the price of curiosity lay stark on the lawn, so mostly I just swiped change from the jar in the main hall and hung out in the arcade in town. Eventually someone noticed an unattended minor wandering the city and alerted the authorities. When the police came I thought they were there to arrest me for dropping an aunt down the stairs and snapping her arms off. It was an accident, but I was prepared to do hard time. They never mentioned the statues, whole or otherwise, and I was taken into foster care.
I’d go months without thinking about that part of my life, and then a class field trip would send me spiraling. May is certain this must have incepted some deeply held paraphilia, but I don’t think it’s informed any kink, I just avoid museums and classy atriums when I can.
Lyle flipped through his rolodex with one broad, rootlike, finger. He had enough technical savvy to handle things in a modern way, but he couldn’t bring himself to entrust his leads to a computer, and it mattered that each had a card just for them. He punched the number into his phone and softened his voice.
“Hello,Gavin? This is Lyle Boggart, I am a resource officer from Carolina’s school.”
Carolina’s father buzzed some vague affirmative. It hardly mattered.
“She’s mentioned me? Excellent. I am calling about her class performance. She’d been an excellent student before this last semester, but her grades have slipped precipitously. I understand that she’s been sleeping poorly of late, but without some extra effort, and perhaps a tutor, I don’t think it’s feasible for her to remain in our gifted program.”
Carolina’s father sounded guilty, but malleable. Those who wanted the best, but did the least, gave the most.
“Yes, Yes, of course…no one doubts your commitment to excellence. We all need a little help at times. If you could just Venmo us 200$ I’d be happy to arrange a few sessions that are sure to bump her grades up. It might even help with the nightmares.”
Isaac sounded his arrival with three hard thumps on the door. Lyle made an apology and put Carolina’s father on hold. His work was important, but his roommate held it in low regard.
“ I know you stole my hat, you prick!” shouted Isaac, through the door.
Lyle took a moment to compose himself.
“I didn’t take your greasy hat, asshole. Why would I want that? You think I’m having fashion shows in here?” said Lyle.
Isaac kicked the door in frustration. Continue reading