This one is about a girl named Sweetie and a boy named Junk. And you may be wondering whether he was really junk and she was really sweet, and if you are, there’s nothing wrong with that. And you may be thinking, sure, a boy can be made of junk, I know boys who are, and a girl can be sweet,sweet,sweet, I know girls who are — or maybe I am a boy like that, or even, I am a girl like that. And that’s fine. Or you may be thinking “naw!”. And that’s fine too.
Junk was out back on top of a really wet old mattress that had gotten a bit weird TBH from being left out in the rain so much so that there was a little pool in the middle of it and in the pool, there were baby mosquitos, and around the steamy yard where junk was playing there were growing big ailanthus trees and also grass that was so tall it had gone to seed. I don’t know what he was doing there. Just hangin’ out, I guess. Just sort of sittin’ there, although sometimes he would get up and walk around the old catalpa tree, and sometimes when the door opened he would hide because he didn’t want trouble from the people who lived in the house.
Were those people Junk’s Mom and Dad? I don’t know. I guess. Maybe. That would make sense. I guess.
Anyway, Sweetie would watch from the porch which she shared with the cat, Crystal Rystal Ray Dawn Thunder, whom she called Chris and when she had had enough she went out and started to talk to Junk, and she asked him why he didn’t play.
“Why you sitting on that dirty disgusting old mattress? Why don’t we play a game?”
“What’s a game?” Junk asked Sweetie.
Well, Sweetie was both amazed and confounded by a question like that, and she tried to teach Junk red light green light and she tried to teach him chess, and she tried to teach him steal the old man’s bundle, but Junk just sat on the damp mattress looking at her with his big brown eyes. And Sweetie didn’t know what to do. What would you do? With a boy who not just doesn’t play but doesn’t seem to even get the idea?
She went into the house and she came back with a shoe box with all sorts of things in it — a gold bead necklace,a copper plated door knob, string from a cake with chicken neck bones strung on it, a harmonica. And she said “Junk, these are my silver dreams in this box.” And junk said “What’s a dream?”
Well if you think she was flummoxed before, she was beyond flummoxed and half-way past next Tuesday now!
What could you tell a boy who didn’t know how to dream?
What would you have told him?
So finally she said — look you see this doorknob. It’s not just a doorknob.
“It’s not?” asked Junk.
“It’s not. It is also a stone that a hero can use to kill an Ogre-Wizard-Dragon-Devil-Slug.”
“Oh!” said Junk.
Well a few years passed, and Sweetie got sweeter and sweeter and Junk got some sort of thing with the city where he had to clean up parks to get his benefits — or maybe his parents swiped the benefits and just gave a pittance to Junk — if those two really were his parents — I’m foggy on some of the details but not the main point, which is that life moved on.
Until one day they actually sold Sweetie to a man named Mr. Erasmus and they were trying to get her into the car by Wilacre park, and she was kicking and carrying on, and the folks who had sold her were counting the money and not looking too close at what was happening when BAM! in his forehead something struck him down, in mid-abduction, dead.
Sweetie was saved. She ran from there and never looked back.
What was it that him that man in the head?
A copper doorknob.
Who threw it?
You know who.
Now a lot of the things I write about here for you don’t have morals, they just kinda are what they are, but this one, lucky for you does and here it is, it’s this.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to play and you don’t know how to dream — you can still know how to love.