Part II: Journeys (Chapter 25)


Fire! Fire! Flesh on fire! Ha! Gotcha! I’m a liar, liar, pants on fire. So what? We could burn up, no one else’s here, and you can’t hide from fire. That’s a fact. My mom told me so. See this floor? Wooden, just like that school in Chicago that burned up last week. If I lit a match and dropped it, POOF! Crackle! Crackle!

Ninety-nine dead kids. Fried flesh. Ya see their pictures in the paper? All 99, in rows. All dead. My Dad says some of those Chicago kids were still sitting at their desks, pencils in their hands, deader ‘n doornail.

I’m a cripple, can’t you see that? We’d never get out alive, me a cripple and you a girl. ‘Sides, we’re all locked up in this room. We’d hafta jump out the window. See how far down it is?

At least I’m not a cripple forever. Broke my leg two weeks ago ridin’ my bike. And I can’t wait until I get this cast off. I got a brand-new bike for Christmas, a boy’s bike, not some sissy thing like you have.

I’m glad I’m not a dumb girl.

I’m big and tough, so there. “Here I come to save the day...”

I made my First Communion last year – that’s why I’m here with you and not at Communion practice. At St. Mary’s, we do it in first grade, not second grade like you St. Bony-face babies. I wish I could go back, I hate it here. The nuns are mean, and the floor’s made outta wood, and you don’t got no library. And I don’t like being locked up in this here cloakroom.

I know why you’re here and not at practice. Everyone says you’re too dumb to make your First Communion, you hafta wait ‘til next year.

Third grade. Third grade. Third grade...

And you can’t even borrow and carry yet. Everybody knows how to borrow and carry, you just carry a number over and add it in to the left, and it’s not hard to do. But Kathy Erickson says you’re retarded and...

She heard it from her mom, and her mom heard it from your grandma. Everybody knows it, that’s why we hafta be nice to you and give you more time to come up with the right answers.

Look! Fire behind you!

Just kiddin’...

Liar, liar, pants on fire...


Liar, liar, boys are liars, paint their faces ugly colors. Find my colors, find them now, hide them from the dumb little monsters. Color me happy, color me sad, just color me something, don’t leave me home, all alone...

Color, color, the boys attack, color them blue, color them black, most of all, don’t let them back, far, far away from you. Boys, boys are Iowa dirt. Whistle while you work...

Whistle while you work, Danny’s just a jerk; Danny-lini lost his weenie, now it doesn’t work. Har. Har.

Swirl and swirl and swirl goes my crayon...Drat. My crayon broke. Damn, damn, damn, peel, peel, peel the paper, color, color, color away...

The Blue Family. That’s what I call the people in my drawing. Ha. They have funny heads, don’t they? Just like stop signs.

Oct-ta-gon. Oct-ta-gon. Everyone’s left, and everyone’s gone. Oct-ta-gon. Oct-ta-gon. All day long.

I don’t know why these people have such funny heads, but I do know why they’re blue. The Blue family’s sad because Baby Boy Blue died. He was run over by a big blue truck. Splat, splat, goes his guts, when he spurts, his blood runs blue.

I don’t like circles. They’re too hard to draw, and my circles look like shi...they don’t look right. So if I don’t make circles, I can use a ruler, and my lines are all perfect. Why can’t I use a ruler for circles? Why can’t rulers bend into circles? Circles, circles, circles. All those circles go round and round, round and round, round and round. Octagons go bumpity, bump, bumpity bump, bumpity bump. Octagons go bumpity, bump, bumpity bump, bumpity bump. All day long.

Mama Blue, Daddy Blue, they have so many children they don’t know what to do. Eight little children, all lined up, brush your teeth, brush your teeth, all shined up. If you don’t go to bed and if you don’t go now, I’ll whup your butt ‘til it’s bloody red raw.

The Blues have lots of children. Daddy Blue, Mama Blue, and their eight little steps:

Betty Blue (9)

– Bonny Blue (8)

– Becky Blue (7)

– Bobby Blue (6)

– Benny Blue (5)

– Betsy Blue (4)

– Barby Blue (3)

Baby Boy Blue (Disregard. He died. He was 2.)

I want to be a Blue. I want to be Betty because she’s the oldest, and she gets to boss all the other kids around. Besides, she’s my age. I don’t want older brothers because they’re too mean. The little ones are pesky little creeps, but I can disregard them, because this is my drawing.

I like blue. It’s a pretty color, and you can do all kinds of things with it. You can make it dark, you can make it light, you can give it wings and watch it fly. I have all kinds of blue crayons. Blue is my favorite color. I like dark blue the best. Black and Blue are my friends.

I got a secret, you promise not to tell? I killed Baby Boy Blue, and I killed Benny Blue, and I killed Bobby Blue, deader than dead. I can kill anyone I want ‘cause it’s my family, and I can do anything I want. ‘Sides, I don’t want no more brothers. Now I (Sammy Blue) just got sisters:

– Sammy Blue, 9

– Bonny Blue, 8

– Becky Blue, 7

Bobby Blue, 6

Benny Blue, 5

– Betsy Blue, 4

– Barby Blue, 3

– Ruby Blue, 2

See? I got Ruby back!

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