Todd Casil sighed with relief as he finally made it to his street. Pawing demurely at the swollen flesh around his eye, he made his way past grim rows of identical houses gridded on identical streets. It had been a long day for the timorous boy, and it was already dusk out. He had been shoved around and locked in the science room after school for nearly four hours before he found he could unlock the window with a pair of safety scissors. The kids at school didn't even look for an excuse to torment him anymore; it was something that came naturally for everyone that knew him. At least he could look forward to a peaceful night safe at home.
Until he heard him.
"Shit!" A rustle and a thud coming from that particular house across the turf.
The boy let out a frightened squeak, almost dropping his book bag and grasping his arms defensively over his bear. The front door had been swung wide open and there stood none other than that scary neighbor man, spindly frame wrestling a bulging trash bag out of the threshold. This being the last person Todd wanted to see on a particularly horrible day, he quickened his pace in hopes to pass the wretched house with its daunting occupant unnoticed. However, the small and huddled figure briskly making its way past his house was something Johnny could not help but notice, despite his battling the heavy object through his door.
"Hey there, Squeegee."
Squee wheezed and stopped mid-step, slowly turning his head to face the man. So much for being unnoticed.
A crooked, serrated grin swept over Johnny's face at the sight of Squee, despite the fact that the boy was now frozen and shaking in the middle of the sidewalk looking like he was about to wet himself. What seemed an eternity passed as they stood there in awkward silence, staring at each other from across Johnny's lawn. Or whatever the hell was left of the sad, mutilated length of dirt.
"Wh-what do you want?" Squee broke the silence, shaking as he looked his neighbor up and down, his voice only a timid peep against his quickening heartbeat.
His smile fading, Johnny released his grip on the bag, brushing off his palms and leaning forward to look askance into the darkness. "What happened to your eye?"
Squee's hand immediately shot up to cover the offensively bruised socket. "Uh…just…something happened at school."
Nny's eyes narrowed. "Hmmm. I see." He took a moment to ponder god-knows-what, sticking his tongue out of the corner of his mouth. Squee figured he didn't really want to know anyway. After a moment of scrutiny, he straightened his back and waved a beckoning arm. "Well neighbor! Would you mind helping me with this? It's a bit heavy."
'Why don't you go ahead and help the scary neighbor man. He looks like he needs it. Maybe afterwards you could set his lawn on fire, heehee.' Squee looked incredulously down at Shmee. Had the bear gone crazy? How could he even think of making that comment in such a situation? Even he knew that the neighbor-man was someone not to talk to…much less help. Something was up.
"Are you sure, Shmee?" He murmured uncertainly.
A snicker. 'Am I ever wrong?'
Squee couldn't argue with that. Deciding to take the risk, he tentatively crossed the browning grass to Johnny's doorstep.
"Normally I wouldn't be able to stand going outside," The lanky man explained as Squee set his backpack and bear gently on the ground. "But I've somewhat of a trash buildup. Why don't you take it from the other end? I've got to take this revolting bundle of shit around back."
The small boy squeaked, obediently scurrying to push against the back of the in time with Johnny's convulsive tugs. Little by little the two managed to wrestle the bulging parcel around the house and into the small area of backyard. Leaning in to give another hearty shove, Squee felt something cold and damp squish against his palm. The thin plastic had begun to tear, and its contents threatened to burst through their offensive barrier.
"What exactly is in there?"
"Oh just a few extra torsos and brain meats I could use getting rid of. The house was beginning to stink." Squee yelped and recoiled from the putrid sack as Nny only tittered and surveyed the span of his backyard. "Stinky stink-nubs."
"Are you gonna kill me now and stuff me in there too?"
Johnny chuckled and began to feel along the side of the house. "Of course not. You're my little Squeegee pal."
As if this had made perfect sense, Johnny whistled an upbeat tune and continued searching until his hand connected with a shovel. Holding it close to inspect its shattering and slivered handle, he motioned for Squee to step farther out into the cloddy expanse of yard. Squee looked around uncertainly. Twilight had almost given way to total darkness, and the more he thought about it, he less he wanted to be in the gloomy backyard alone with the scary man. He felt vulnerable without Shmee to hug close and murmur encouraging words to him, and it dawned on him how much of a mistake it was to leave him out front. What if a wild pack of demon wolves came upon Shmee and snatched him away as he sat digging graves in the back of this crazy guy's property? The wolves never showed any mercy!
The shovel having apparently passed inspection, Nny speared the rusting spade end into the ground with a jolt of his willowy arm. "Time to get to work."
"You-you're just gonna bury them in your backyard?!"
"If there's still enough room for them. What else is a good citizen expected to do with their bodies? Such a silly question, Squee…"
"I think I should go-"
"So Squee," Johnny plowed over his words as he began to work the loose soil, the shovel cracking and splintering with each thrust into the ground. "Wanna tell me what happened to that eye?"
Squee paused. "Why do you keep asking me that?"
Something was definately ticking in the depths of the man's mind, and Squee could tell his refusal to answer the question was making him ever so more apprehensive of an answer. For a long while he dug in silence, some thought or notion bubbling under the surface until he adopted a now angered demeanor, stabbing at the ground more violently with his shovel and hissing indistinct obscenities until he turned to address the child.
"Because I know what you're going through. Most people, kids at school even, are venomous sacks of shit. They pick on the weak to empower and engorge their own little worlds full of pathetic deception and malice. Trust me Squee, I know that more than anyone. And I don't want to see this filthy pig-minded humanity suffocate someone like you. So could you tell me exactly what happened to you?"
"Some kids were mean to me," Squee's voice was no more than a hoarse whisper, the sudden eruption of Nny's thoughts rendering him dumbfounded. "They wouldn't let me leave class and rammed my head into a desk a couple times before locking me up after everyone left."
Johnny didn't say anything for a while, but Squee could see the scowl smoldering across his face as he tore into the growing puncture of soil. "You know, mankind has a horrible, caustic effect on itself, and all people can do is spit vitriol back to protect themselves from being eaten alive. More often than not I'd like nothing more than to put a bullet through my head, just because of this cesspool of a life we're all stuck with."
The boy stood stiff as the dead as Johnny gradually deepened the hole, occasionally maneuvering around festering and indistinguishable figures already buried below. Squee tried not to think of what…or who…they might be.
"But that's not the point, Squeegee. If some fucker decides to force all the worlds' sewage down your throat, you force it right back down his until you break your fist off through his ass, do you hear me? I've been where you are, since I was about your age even. Don't let people reduce you to some helpless shell of a human they want you to become. There's nothing I would hate more than seeing you sooner or later degenerate into one of those spineless fucks the streets are riddled with nowadays."
He was rambling now, and the peculiar crazed look in his eye had begun to engulf his entire being. Slowly Squee's eyes widened, turning from apparent fright and ambiguity to awe. The words spouted from his sounded awfully like something Shmee would say, something disturbing yet comforting. His one and only trauma-sponge. Even though Nny's irate, jumbled lectures made no sense in content, the message was clear. It he cared enough to temperate him as well as he could, maybe the man wasn't so bad after all…
"But…why? Why do you…"
"Because I care about you and your sanity in the future. Not to offend, but your parents don't seem to be doing a good enough job helping you cope with the world and its filth. Your vindication of life is not something to be wasted. It's outsiders like us who have a better chance of preserving ourselves." With that, Johnny dropped the shovel to wipe his brow and took a moment to rest a fist upon his hip. He gave the child a pat on the head, genuine concern etched in his concave features as his bony fingers ruffled through Todd's hair.
Still pondering on what the man had said, Squee absentmindedly peered into the grave. "Isn't this a little too shallow?"
"Doesn't matter, the worms can turn them into dirt doodie just as well where they are. C'mon, help me push this in."
Deciding not to question him anymore, the wide-eyed child scurried into place to topple the near-bursting bag into the hole with has much strength as his tiny figure could muster. It hit the cold earth with a sodden thud, the way that would've made Squee shiver if he wasn't so preoccupied with contemplating out the advice his neighbor had given him. But Nny must've been pleased at least, for a faint smile curled its way onto his face as he brushed the dirt from his hands and surveyed his work.
"It's getting late Squeegee-pal, you should go home. Glad I could have this talk with you, but I can finish it from here. Unless," Johnny hunched over and shifted a suspicious, frenzied gaze around the darkness. He swiftly crouched down and gripped Squee's slender shoulders, throttling him. "If tonight's finally the night of the ancient worm-dookie fiends' rising from the grave!"
Startled from his thoughts, Squee bunched his fists to clenched teeth and emitted his habitual anxious sound of a small animal in pain. Alright, scratch that about the neighbor man not being so awful. He was downright terrifying
"Go Squee, save yourself! Before they come to tear us limb from limb!" Nny flailed his arms, raising his voice. Squee wasted no time darting out from the bowels of his neighbors' yard, nearly tripping three times to find and scoop up his things and run toward the shelter of his home. "And remember, don't let anyone force-feed you their torment! Especially not the worm-dookie minions!"
The next day at school, Todd Casil was sent home with an irate letter after heaving sandbox cat poop onto his classmates.
Soo...this story didn't really make much sense...but aww, doesn't Nny just give the best advice to his little Squeegee? Bfflz for sure.
Psssst. Leave a comment and tell me what you think, or Shmee will set Johnny's lawn on fire. :'D