humbing over the dull yellow pages of Lolita the words begin toblur as the story continues about the justification of pedophiliathrough the life Humbert Humbert. Motes of dust flicker into a straybeam of sunlight in the dark room. It’s an intense strain on the eyestrying to read in such limited visibility; Reading is totally out ofthe question, rest is what’s needed – a little more darkness. Turningthe familiar corners down the hallway a shadow crept by the doorframe. Somebody was in my bedroom.
Slowing down to a few quiet shifts I took note of a brasscandlestick holder just across from the door ahead. Quickly, I glancearound the open door and a wave of confusion sets in. The old lookersmust be playing tricks because, for some reason, my friend Walter Kerinis standing in front of the mirror wearing the 2007 Homecoming Kingsash and crown. He turns and looks for a sign of approval with teethbared into a nervous grin and thumbs raised. The light crashingthrough the window is briefly blinding and masks some of the finerdetails to this already strange situation. The mess of green, blue,and white separate and all becomes clear. Sweat glistens on Walter’sbrow, neck, and chest outlining every twinge of a tendon and movementof muscle. A single bead ran slowly down his tilted chin; The wholeframe shaking in a fine vibration waiting for some reassurance. I juststood in the doorway with eyes pacing from one object to another tryingto hold on to what little sanity remained in this bizarre turn ofevents.
“Well?” Well? Is that all he has to say?
“Well? – How does it look?” His eager eyes starved of the reaction he so very desired.
As we stared at each other my eyes opened from a weary, confusedsquint and a feeling of anger caused on to lower and twitch with therealization that Walter broke into my house, opened the dustycellophane bag and put on my crown and sash while I was too distractedby reading to notice any of this. “Damn you, Lolita.”
“Wait – what?” Not quite the answer he was looking for but Walterwas in no position to argue. Shrugging his shoulders and turning backto the mirror he began to adjust the large, obnoxious hat to anotherangle. One more bead of sweat rolled down past his left eye which wasquickly sneaking looks to anticipate my next move.
“Nothing, forget about it.” Losing focus, my vision moved past thewhite lump on the pale skin and went to the sponge-painted greenwalls. Just pick a spot, find a random design and get lost for a fewmoments in the two-tone chaos. I relaxed a bit and snapped back toreality. “Walter… what are you doing?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” His eyes widened. “I’m seeing how the crown fits.”
“Yes, I see that. So… why exactly did you break into my house andput on my crown? I mean, couldn’t you just have called? I would havelet you wear it.”
“Your crown?” Walter was slowly gaining a maniacal look on his face. “This isn’t your crown; This is my crown.”
Now, obviously Walter was a little delusional because in October of2007 I won the title of Homecoming King. Why else would the crown bein the very cellophane bag that now lay deflated in a lump of shinyplastic on my bed? “Are… are you high? You helped to make posters forthe campaign, you voted for me! Take a look at yourself, that is notyour crown.”
He turned back and slowly looked into the mirror analyzing what hesaw. Starting from the bottom, his eyes strayed up his torso and readthe sash, “Homecoming King 2007.” He looks straight into the mirrorthen rolls his sight back so that his sockets were mostly whites withsmall broken capillaries. “Well, this sash certainly says that I’m theKing and I am wearing the crown… so I guess it’s official.” Anothergrin cracked across his face but not the same as earlier – no, thissmile did not seek approval. Walter believed in his mind that he wasright and no one was going to tell him any differently.
“Walter, get out of my house.” I had a full grasp on the candlestickand brought it in front of me. He turned quickly and charged themeager nine feet to try for a tackle. As he lowered his head the crownslipped off and exposed a prime target. Bringing down the brass ontothe other crown let an explosion of crimson fall to the floor. Leavingthe room I go to the kitchen to use the phone.
“Mr. Kerin, it happened again.”
BY: SAM WEINBLUM