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Anacortes, WA

December 3rd, 2018

“Where’s Maple buddy?” Todd asked, dusting himself off a bit more. His black sweatshirt looked all funny with melting snow on the shoulders, but Linus didn’t laugh, he wouldn’t because his sister would say it was rude.

“She’s at work,” Linus said, lowering his eyes, “She went to work at the Windermere Office where she works and makes money and stuff.”

Todd nodded his head as he always did, his thick black hair getting dusted with snow as it was falling again. This winter had come on pretty strong this year, and it snowed all the time it seemed like. Well not all the time, but enough to get on people’s clothes and in their hair.

“Why are you out and about bud?” Todd asked, “I thought Maple said it wasn’t safe.”

Linus lowered his eyes even more, “Because I’m stupid,” he said, “Because I’m stupid dumb, stupid stupid dumb.”

“Linus,” Todd said, his voice warm and yet stern, “Look at me please.”

Linus did as he was asked, but he could only raise his eyes to Todd’s stubbly chin. That was good enough though as Todd started talking again.

“You are not stupid. You get distracted and that’s a little dangerous, but you’re not stupid. Okay?”

Linus nodded, not wanting to say it. Todd wouldn’t make him say it, but he wanted Linus to, he could tell. Todd made him feel like he was smart, but he knew he wasn’t. Maple didn’t make him feel dumb. But then why would he think she threw things at him and got so mad? Because she did get mad, but not at him, nope not at him. She got mad at other people that treated him bad but not at him. Nope, she’d always said she would take care of him.

“So what’s got you out here bud?”

“The bad man took her ring and lost it,” Linus said, looking down again at the snow and ice-covered ground, “He took it and he lost it. I saw him lose it, it dropped on the ground, I saw it.”

“You mean your mother’s ring? The one she gave to Maple?”

Linus nodded, “The bad man took it, he said not to tell, but I didn’t tell, and now Maple will be mad at me if she knows I saw him take it.”

Todd blew out a sigh as he looked away and rolled his eyes. He knew the faintest gesture in Linus’ direction would make him think that he was perturbed with him. In truth, he was now thinking of the ‘bad man’ that Linus was describing. It was Maple’s longstanding ass of a boyfriend, Clinton.

What had he done now?

(to be continued)

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