Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Bertram Boy

If you ever visit Latigo Flint's street in the late afternoon, you'll probably see a child at play. That's the Bertram Boy; the only child in the neighborhood that ever plays outside. He's an active little guy with a vivid imagination. He wages war on ivy and has fallen out of trees. He knows where all the gophers live and finds reasons to be in mud.

The Bertram Boy has two older sisters, aged twelve and fourteen. They spend nearly half of every day in front of a computer screen. Recently the Bertram Boy confided to me that their eyes had started to glow in the dark; a flickering whitish blue.

"Damn Bertram Boy!" I stared at him, astonished and just a bit horrified. "Does it scare you?"
He shrugged. "Only at night." Then he spotted a lizard and scampered off to catch it.

I needed to know more. My mind had gripped the image of his sisters' glowing eyes and I couldn't shake it free. I followed him across empty lots, pelting him with questions, which he nonchalantly answered. How does he know their eyes glow blue? Well, they creep into his room at night and stand over his bed.

Can't he lock his door? His parents forbid a bedroom lock--it seems he had a seizure when he was three and instant access has been mandatory ever since.

Does he remember having the seizure? Yes, but he doesn't want to talk about it.

The sun slipped behind the hills. Porch lights started clicking on up and down the quiet suburban street. The Bertram Boy was due for supper now. I had one last question for him.

"Hey Bertram Boy?"

He turned; I could just make out his small figure in the gloom. "Yes?"

I moved next to the trunk of large old pine, wrapping myself deep in thick bough shadows. I stared straight at him.

"Do... do my eyes glow Bertram Boy? Do my eyes flicker and glow a whitish blue?"

I heard him sigh a little before speaking. "Do you really want to know Latigo?"

I thought about it. "No, I guess I don't."

He gave a little wave and trotted toward his house. "Well then good night Latigo."

"Good night Bertram Boy."

11 Comments:

At 8:24 PM, Blogger Ari said...

I'm glad that Bertram Boy didn't let you scare him.

Weren't you just saying the other day that the world was mean? ;)

 
At 10:13 PM, Blogger Dave Morris said...

The Tinsley twins, a couple of 10 year old girls down the street from me, have permanent grins on their faces. Usually it doesn't bother me, but in the late dusk, when the light's just right, their grins almost feel... evil.

I wondered what makes them grin so, with such a constant, steady expression. Then I realized their mother ties their pony tails too tight.

Not as creepy as glowing eyes, though.

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger Ghost Dog said...

The Bertram Boy sounds like he is wise beyond his years, and a great adventurer. He'd probably be a trustier sidekick than Kid Relish.

 
At 8:54 AM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

I saw something in my bedroom just last night. Fortunately it was not some young girls but a Siberian Tiger. Siberian Tiger I can live with...

What is this bit with porch lights? Don't you people know that is what attracts moths and door-to-door salespeople?

 
At 8:55 AM, Blogger fourth_fret said...

yes, i agree with ghost_dog. bertram boy would be a fine ally indeed. you always want someone who gives you the opportunity to avoid the truth. ;)

 
At 10:57 AM, Blogger Wulfenjarl said...

It is also possible that the girls were in fact abducted by aliens and this is why their eyes glow.

(Well, sounds possible to me.)

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger slarrow said...

There are two possibilities here, Latigo. Since the boy currently has no protection from his eerie sisters due to that whole unlockable door thing, he needs a little extra edge. Specifically, he needs lessons from the quickest quickdraw in the world, Latigo Flint. Everyone knows how the catlike Latigo can rouse from sleep and instantly attack any threat, real or imagined. Buy the boy a pellet gun, give him a little training, and watch the sparks fly from those glowing eyes.

Or, if you don't feel like that, take the girls trick-or-treating this Halloween. Demand a 55% cut. Can you imagine how much candy (and coins, maybe!) people would shell out to get a couple of spooky girls with glowing eyes off their porches? (If you suspect your eyes glow too, make it a 70% cut.)

 
At 10:23 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

I did say that didn't I? And by the way, the Bertram Boy was scared Ari... he was scared for me.

A vivid description Dave, I see them even now. There is a great capacity to over-tighten scrunches in this wretched town.

I couldn't do it to the lad Ghost Dog... apparently being the sidekick to the quickest quickdraw the world has ever known tends to drive one insane.

I hear you Old Hoss. I once owned an adolescent tiger shark named Fesbach. I kept him in the bathtub. He's dead now... he was indirectly killed by a porch light.

See now Forth... that second sentence happens to be the truest thing I've heard all month. Very nice.

Because you're afraid Wulf, that's why it sounds so possible... you too spend nearly half your day in front of some sort of screen, don't you?

I like all of this Slarrow. It's true, the Boy may replace me some day. (And yes... that cut would be 70% in that case.)

 
At 7:15 AM, Blogger Blog ho said...

a cautionary tale of caution. i liked it.

 
At 11:10 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Your blog glows blue and gold. Don't freak out.

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger tabitha jane said...

this post makes me think of that song about how they ran around the neighborhood counting blue cars and saying "tell me all your thoughts on god"

and "do my eyes glow?"

 

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