Entry #9 - Puns and Papers
“I can’t do that,” replied the insolent little child. Insolent is another word I have found makes people sound more brain smart, however, you don’t want to overdo it, or it becomes obvious that you are overcompensating.
“Can’t, or won’t?” I asked. I figured there was a distinction there somewhere, and if I could get this kid to clarify, I just might be able to tell the difference in future conversations.
“Shouldn’t.” Damn. He got me there. I was even more confused than I already had been. Can’t, won’t, shouldn’t… Were these all the same things, or were they different somehow? This was something I would have to set my mind upon at a later time though. There were more important things to deal with, such as who these kids were and what to do now that we had all just narrowly escaped whatever it actually was that we had all just narrowly escaped.
The girl decided to speak. “Mister Flint, my brother and I have been trying to find you.”
Trying to find me. What would cause two small children to look for the likes of me? Perhaps they worked for the government and were coming to collect on all the money I owed. As far as I knew, I had only recently paid all that back, and I was as good as square. I shook this thought from my head, because after all, the government wasn’t exactly known for their employment of small children to do their dirty work. No, these kids were after something else, and I was determined to find out just what exactly that was.
“We went to your office, but you weren’t there. Your secretary said that she hadn’t seen you and didn’t know where you were…”
I cut her off before she could finish her lies. “I don’t have a secretary.” I said, and I didn’t. Have a secretary that is. I did say that I didn't have a secretary, and I did not have a secretary, which is why I said that I didn't have one. I had never bothered to hire one, because I didn’t feel I needed one. Anyways, not many people want to work for someone who’s as unemployed as they are already, so in the end, it just felt like a lost cause. “I’m afraid you have no idea what you are talking about, young lady.”
She was young, but she was older than the boy who I felt safe in assuming was her aforementioned brother. If I had to guess, I would figure she was at least six, and he was at the very least four… but I never was good at guessing ages. Eventually I found out that she was fifteen, and he was eleven. I wasn’t too far off, but still not close enough to win the stuffed bunny at the fair.
“Well, whoever that woman was, she told us you were not there, and that we could find you in that basement exactly where we found you.”
Maybe I did have a secretary, or at the very least a stalker. At least someone was keeping tabs on my whereabouts. I never was good at doing that for myself, even when I tried using one of those little pocket day planner things. The result was usually me writing a plan for my days in the little book, putting the book in my pocket or somewhere else, and then forgetting what day to look at for the plan. Eventually, I would simply doodle little images of trees and stick figures in my day planners, and then create little flip books to bide my time. It wasn’t like I was doing much to plan anyways, seeing as how I was all unemployed and all. Yes, the whole things seemed like a waste of time and effort and paper, so I scrapped the whole idea.
Scrap. That was a pun. Because paper.
I chuckled to myself before asking the girl what they wanted from me.
“Well, we were hoping to hire you to help us find our way home,” she replied and smiled sweetly. Almost too sweetly. I choked back some vomit, and then spewed forth some words.
“That’s not what I do,” I said, a disgusted look on my face to counter the sickly sweet look on hers. It worked. She began to frown, so I continued. “You see, I am unemployed, and professionally at that. What I think you are looking for is a detective, and I am not one of those.”
“We already tried a detective,” she said sadly. “He was of no use, and now we are out of money and out of ideas. Someone suggested you, and we thought perhaps maybe the worst option just might turn out to be the best option.”
This was twisted logic, and I was starting to like it. There were some important questions that needed to be answered first though, so I asked one of them.
“Who in their right mind would ever suggest me to be helpful to anyone for anything?” I thought this was the most important question to ask. I was under no delusions that I would ever be of any real use for something actually helpful. I never had been before, so there was very little to go on there.
“Why it was this man here,” she said, pointing at Seymour.
“Seymour!” I shouted. “What on earth have you been telling people?!”
Seymour shrugged. “Well that was earlier, before I spent all day following you around,” he said softly. “I didn’t know any better at that point. Anyways, I still think that you might be of some use to them. After all, you’re both looking for the same place as it is.”
This made sense to me far more quickly than most things, and I wasn’t sure if it was the adrenaline or just the fact that Seymour was being incredibly direct and simple in what he was saying for once. I decided to state it aloud anyways, just to make certain the whole situation was actually as straightforward as I thought it was.
“So their home is actually…”
“The lost city of Tawlanok!” Seymour shouted, interrupting me in the process. This infuriated me, as it rightly should. Nothing makes me more angry than someone cutting me off with the exact thing I was just about to say. I suppose perhaps he might have wanted to say it at the same time as I did, but this was not a group cheer, and we hadn’t agreed upon the timing or intonation in advance, which is something I feel is very important to any group cheer or chant.
I scowled at Seymour for a good minute or so, letting him know through facial expression just how disappointed and upset I was at him. I wasn’t sure this did the trick, but it was all I could muster before the little boy spoke up yet again.
“Mister Flint, we come from Tawlanok, and we heard that you are looking to find it. We just want to get home, and currently, you are our best hope of that.”
“How do you figure? I have no leads, and I don’t even know where to start looking. I couldn’t even find the mall in the lousy town.” I had a point. A good one at that. “The only things I have found lately was a spoon and a dead body, and I merely tripped over both.” Blind luck, some might call it.
“Blind luck,” said Seymour.
Blind. That was also a pun. Because I can’t see very well.
“That was a good one,” I told him. I have to give credit where credit is due, and right then it was due to Seymour. As much as he annoyed me, the man had decent timing for puns.
“Well then, children,” I didn’t yet know their names, and I wasn’t about to ask because I didn’t exactly care. “As I am already on the search for your home, and I do seem to be decent at stumbling quite literally onto things lately, I suppose I will continue to look for your home, seeing as how I was already doing just that. But just so you know, if I hadn’t already been looking, I certainly wouldn’t agree to this. You see, I’m not exactly keen on doing things that I’m not already doing. That’s just not how I do things… or don’t do things…”
I had begun to confuse myself, so I trailed off and stopped talking altogether.
TO BE CONTINUED...