Hey guys, it's been a while. A long while in fact... School's been busy and I almost regret taking my hard classes because I don't have time to write or update regularly. Nevertheless, I'll try keep at this story and try to write the next chapter by December. Thank you very much for reading!

"I am very sorry to say this to you Mr. Bonnefoy, but you must take better care of your son! I understand how heavy the responsibilities are for raising a son like... well, like Matthew but you must never forget that he is a danger to himself! This accident is very troubling and it will be marked down on a permanent record. If this continues, we'll have to question your liability for Matthew.."

Matthew's curiosity lingered after that fateful day.

His favorite nurse was replaced with a different one after each checkup. They shifted weekly but it was random each time. One week he would be with a pretty brunette lady, the next she was exchanged for a twitchy old woman in her late-forties with a mild distaste for children and smelled strongly of smoke.

The week certainly brought along a new specimen of care givers, that was for sure. Either way, none of them said a word to him. They would especially rush his checkup, busying themselves with needless filing until Matthew's doctor made his rounds.

Now, Matthew's doctor was a whole different account. A tale to be told some other time, perhaps.

Neglected his daily dose of what he now labeled as "science" from the clinic, the only person left to interrogate was Papa Francis. Then again, he felt horrible asking questions that made Papa shake his head and frown. Papa would say (his voice deep and stern), "Mon trésor, pain and hurting are trivial, little things you needn't worry about. Hush now Mathieu, Papa will take care of it" and Papa would wrap Matthew in his arms, salvaging a quick nap before his nightshift at the bar.

The little boy would be wide awake the entire time, either gazing blankly into space absorbed in the mechanics of his own mind or snuggling closer to his father's musky, yet comfortable scent. Matthew just loved how Papa's prickly chin brushed against his cheek as he was kissed on the forehead. Holding his father's face, Matthew examined his features and compared them to his own reflection in a little, handheld mirror.

In many ways, they were strikingly similar – as genetics and such would have it, of course. Matthew took pride in inheriting Papa's looks and did his best to groom himself up like Papa would in the morning. He even decided upon himself that he would grow out his hair, nice and silky, like Papa's. And when prickly, little hairs on his chin sprouted out, Matthew decided he would keep that too and not wash it away with foamy whip cream like the men in those tv commercials… but that was beside the point.

It was evident the two possessed the same wavy blonde hair (Matthew's was a shade or two darker), same perfect nose, same mouth, same shape of lips, same expressive eyes – only Papa's was as blue as the sky in early May, while Matthew's as lavender as the heavens in cloudy November. Heck, they both even have the same dark, weary rings under their eyes. Papa Francis acquired them from his tiresome working schedule as an elementary school janitor by day and a bartender by night.

Matthew sulked at the very thought of his father's jobs. He thought his Papa was much better than serving and cleaning up after people. That was a servant's job and Papa was certainly no servant.

Papa Francis could only muster up a smile the day he applied for the job as the school's custodian. Chuckling to himself while he mopped floors, Francis mused at his ironic situation. From presiding a top corporation and suddenly reduced to a career such as this one. He never dreamed in a million years that he would be wheeling trash bags from room to room or on his knees scrubbing toilets to make minimum wage. All those years growing up in a sheltered home, leaving all the cleaning and maintaining to his maids and butlers. Life could be damned odd sometimes. Still, it was necessary to provide for Matthew's medications and weekly therapies. Treating disorders was not cheap, mind you, but it was handy that Matthew was granted Canadian citizenship and healthcare wasn't too much of a hassle.

Now as for the bags under Matthew's eyes, it was a bad case of insomnia that kept him up every hour of the night. Heaven knows how hard it was for the child to actually get some sleep. Occasional thirty minute naps were god-sent, but the faintest sound or a slightest shift on the bed, and he would instantly wake. Francis was uncomfortable having resorted to drugging his son with Tylenol or sleep inducing medicine just to get him to rest.

…But again, that was beside the point.

As a scientist, Matthew asked a lot of questions and by his self-proclaimed title, he was going to get answers.

Step 1 of the Scientific Method: State the problem using a question, based from observations.

Step 2 of the Scientific Method: Form a hypothesis; a possible solution to the problem. A prediction of sorts.

He'd already executed steps one and two many, many times so it was on to Step 3: Test the hypothesis and determine the independent and dependent variables.

Independent Variable: People in the telly from different channels.

Dependent Variable: Their interpretations and reactions to pain.

Step 4: Plan the experiment.

That was easy. As Papa Francis slipped onto the bathroom to get ready for work, the little boy sneaked out to the living room where the television was.

Step 5: Follow procedures. Collect data.

Turning the volume down as to not disturb Papa, Matthew infected his curious, little, blonde head with flashing images and moving pictures of bittersweet humanity, also known as crap telly.

There was a wide range of channels displaying many conceptions of…physical and emotional instability from what the boy could infer.

There was a movie playing on one of the channels that Matthew had a feeling Papa would not approve of him watching. It was about a group of goofy men who pulled colorful stunts that would cause them to scream out in obvious agony. Fingers were slammed between doors, a taser tapped the skin causing them to jolt in shock, falling off of chairs, roofs, bridges; all were done intentionally. Their faces were contorted into excruciating expressions, their skin in shades of pink to bruised purple as the audience and their friends laughed. What intrigued Matthew the most was how the victim joined in and laughing merrily along with the others.

In another show a stunning, young woman was smiling gaily, showcasing her before and after body. Before her one hundred and fifty pound weight loss, the narrator explained the rigorous steps she took looking the way she was now. She underwent limiting her diet to low calorie shakes three times a day (no more no less), exercised on hours end at the gym with her trainer screaming at her face, at one point required liposuction at her legs and arms, took diet pills, and regularly visited the salon for pampering.

In one of her interviews, she boasted taking laxatives to "cleanse" her stomach and having not consumed anything but water for three days straight. "Beauty from Pain" the logo said. The woman was pleased with the results to say the least, sneering at her old pictures. The big grins she and tv casts had plastered on convinced Matthew.

Step 6: Analyze Data.

He wondered if his old nurse lied about pain. The people in the screen were obviously giddy about pain and were more than happy with the results. Was he really missing out that much?

Matthew suddenly felt like an outcast.

Matthew never knew that the world is filled with masochistic people.

Step 7: Make a Conclusion.

Frowning, Matthew flipped to the next page of his notebook where he had been collecting his observations. From the bathroom, he could hear Papá humming a tune in the shower.

Matthew wrote:


PeepLe iN dA teli are sAd. Day Are hurt. Day Are peyN. Day hAv bAndAijes oN der fiNgers. Day Are Krying. But Day Are Day Are hAPier thaN MATCHOO. Beuti from peyN?

Matthew was frustrated. He was back to square one. It was just so complicated but he was itching to know everything all at once. His gaze drifted to Papa's adult books on the bookshelf by his most prized wines. They were placed between the books for support and arranged in a way that the wine bottles were the first thing you saw when you entered the living room. Papa owned many books but he refused to share them with Matthew.

"Perhaps when you're older," he chuckled.

Beneath Papa's adult books was thick book labeled 'dictionary' in bold. He heard from somewhere that it contained the meanings of words or something like that. Matthew listened to Papa's shower for a moment before dragging a stool towards the bookshelf.

He climbed onto the tall chair, yet he found that he still could not reach the dictionary. His arms were outstretched towards the binding of the book, the stool wobbling dangerously underneath him. He was almost there. Matthew could just touch the cover of the book. Just a little closer. Matthew was on his tippy-toes now. He carefully slipped the book out from the wine when the chair toppled over bumping the shelf in the process. Matthew fell with a dull thud.

The forced of the stool shook the shelf and one by one, the wine bottles shattered onto the wooden floor. The boy stared wide-eyed as his father's bottles crashed beside him, the broken glass cutting into his skin from the floor's impact. Blood mixed in with wine. Odorous, glistening liquid engulfed Matthew, his clothes soaked in the deep scarlet and made it appeared as though he had a gushing bloody wound. And of course the strong smell of wine infiltrated dear Matthew's nose making him feel tipsy and intoxicated as if he had drank.

Above all, he couldn't move. Nothing hurt; no pain, but Matthew was terrified. Something felt wrong, something was out of place within him.

The boy's blood ran cold as he heard the tap being turned off, the pitter-patter of the water droplets suddenly inaudible, the shower curtain screeched open, and the doorknob squeaking as it was being turned.


Author's Notes:

1. If you couldn't decipher Matthew's writing, here it is: "People in the telly are sad. They are hurt. They are pain. They have bandages on their fingers. They are crying. But they are happier than Matthew. Beauty from pain?"

2. Please look forward to the next chapter. A new entity will be introduced into the story and I'll make sure to make it a certainly interesting chapter. Titled: Optical Illusions.