Ross was my best friend when we were in kindergarten. We played doorbell ditch. We played doorbell ditch at the creepy house. We rang the doorbell and ran away. Then we came back and rang it again. The door was opened a foot, the hand shot out, dragged Ross in. He didn’t come back. Ross’s parents called the police, people talked to me, but nothing doing, nothing was discovered. Ross’s face was on the milk. What happened? The witches got him, and the witches can talk using the “witch consonants” and befuddle the mind, so the police didn’t catch him. They kept Ross in the atelier and they fed him on the moth hormone; he grew the spineret and he made the cocoon and he came out, winged, fluttering cleaning the dishes from the long table in the hall after the ladies held their dark and terrible Esbat.
He snuck out and made it to our high-school graduation. Even well-brought up (or maybe especially well-brought up) people don’t like to talk to somebody who looks like that; what do you talk about? Do you ask the questions you want to know the answer to — what else did the witches do to you, Ross? — even if you also don’t want to hear them.
One of those things you want to know the answer to but you don’t want to go through the experience of asking and being told. One of those things life just has to teach you if you’re going to learn it, or you’ll never learn it. Or you could ask somebody.
Ross is actually a really nice guy. Studying to be a social worker. He will not let you say a bad word about the witches. When nobody is watching he flutters around the streetlamp, huffing and puffing, terribly embarrassed, but he knows what he wants.