Stanley Squantro Part 2 , Boy Detective
by Patrick Coughlin
Everything old is new again when Stanley Squantro comes a’ callin’ to talk to your walls.
On his first day of High School, not knowing a singular one of his schoolmates in the cafeteria at lunchtime he took his brown bag and went to a table in the corner where two other boys sat at opposite ends of the table. Stanley asked if he could sit there and the two boys both said yes and so Stanley sat in the middle, on the side of the table that let him look out the window. It was a beautiful blue and golden and white and green day outside of that window. The two boys it turned out were among the elite, academically speaking, of the school, but by equal contributions from their own unique selves and immediate social culture surrounding them, these fellows did not enjoy “popularity” as we are familiar with the term. As you can surmise, my intelligent Audent, the circumstance was much closer to the opposite, decidely fuzzier end of the stick. Ever observant and quickly deductive, this is the kind of persons whom Stanley Squantro could instinctively identify and would immediately go toward, completely aware of social “status” and completely uncaring of such things. Laufey Londberg was a smallish elfin genius whose decidedly superior smirk and slithery squeaky intonation put off most people, while Rodney Bodkin wore torn jeans, a weathered leather jacket and wore his hair dirty and shaggy and typically carried around with him a distinctive odor speaking to hygienic habits in need of improvement. These, being their immediately apparent qualities, that is to say, how they appear on the surface, acted as walls. Not the same kind of walls that make a room a room, but the kind of wall that separates and defends, but walls never the less, and as we here together know, Stanley squantro can see the faces of walls that no one else can see, and talk to them, and they talk back.
Stan and Rod became buddies outside of school, while odd little Laufey maintained aloofness and apartness away from the cafeteria corner table. When Dad learned the name of Stan’s new friend he said,
-Bodkin! That’s the boy whose sister disappeared two years ago.
Stanley took this in for a moment, as was his way, and said.
-Can you qualify that?
To which Dad responded,
-It was big news around here, I’m surprised you don’t remember.
-That was the summer the kids stayed with PawPaw Squantro, Hon.
-That’s right. Rodney Bodkin? Lives over on Chaldean Avenue? Hello! Earth to Stanley!
Stanley was distracted, thinking about the adventures they had with PawPaw Squantro that summer at his ranch in the mountains. The gold coins, the prospector’s ghost, and the spirit garden.
-Chaldean Avenue. That’s right. Gravel road and everything.
-Well there’s very little to tell. Lily Bodkin was last seen two days after her seventh birthday, walking home from school. No one knows what happened to her. She disappeared.
Little Sister May piped up,
-Maybe Stanley can find her!
-That’s true. I could ask the walls if they saw anything suspicious.
Ma geared up,
-I don’t want you talking to the walls in strange people’s houses!
By this time, the Squantro Family had come to realize that Stanley’s “Wall Talking” was indeed a real phenomenon and no simple uncanny knack. As Dad Squantro’s first act upon this confirmation of circumstance was to take Stanley in the car over to a rich old lady’s mansion, where lived a rich old lady, of course, whom, Dad happened to be aware, was much distressed over the loss of one diamond earring of a set crafted for the Queen of Sweden, inconsolable, even. Dad presented Stanley and rented the boy out for an hour, during which time he naturally found the earring, and she was so happy she gave double the agreed upon price, as she was far more vain than miserly. Given this circumstance, it fell to Ma Squantro to try and keep a lid tight on the strangeness that had come to guest at the Squantro household. It was her unshakable decree, that since Stanley already had a reputation outside of the family as having a knack for finding things, and seeing as how those skills could clearly be of great benefit to him, there was to be no discouraging of this circumstance. It is also known outside of the family, though to a lesser extent, that Stanley is so good at finding things because “he can talk to walls”. This is the bug to squash. Don’t say it, don’t acknowledge when anybody else says it. Stanley Squantro does not talk to walls. Stanley Squantro is simply very good at finding lost things , due to a keen eye. this was the unshakable decree of Ma Squantro.
It’s not that she disapproved of her son’s uniqueness, she encouraged it within certain boundaries, it’s that she recognized that Stanley’s uniqueness was of a sort that would draw an exponentially greater amount of attention than that of their fellow small town suburban citizens looking for missing diamond earrings.
They discussed it at some further length, as the Squantro family will, there at the dinner table, and Ma finally relented,
-If the opportunity presents itself, see if you can find something out. Just be discreet.
Dad exclaimed, and the rest applauded.
Ma brought it all to a halt,
-If you DO find something out, you have to tell us first. We’ll work it out together. Promise?
When we return to the times of Stanley Squantro, Boy Detective, Stanley delves into a mystery that turns maliciously mystical and malevolently mythical when he enters into converse with
The Walls of House Bodkin
Only Here, at Pat Coughlin’s Blog!