With Drawn: Part 28 — Suspicious Activity

Mystic Island Middle SchoolContinued from: With Drawn: Part 27 — Just Wait 

Jacob stood on the scaffolding in the back of the Mystic Island Middle School’s gym. He was working on his mural, adding color and detail to the figures on the wall. The figures on the wall still had only rudimentary faces. Jacob had yet to decide whom the figures should look like. After all, Principal Cooper said that Jacob couldn’t make the figures look like anyone.

Billy Warren and Timothy Thayer walked into the gym. Billy and Tim had the athletic builds and the stylish clothes known to popular jocks.

They were younger versions of Mr. Barney. Jocks tend to be the most popular kids in schools because kids generally have higher opinions of other kids that can run faster or throw a ball farther than other people. Adults tend to base a person’s self-worth on athletic prowess, too, which is why people that can do athletic things generally get paid a lot more than most other people. The smartest kids, on the other hand, like Jacob, tend to get ridiculed and left out of social situations. And again, the same holds true for adults.

Billy and Tim, walking through the gym, suddenly stopped. They regarded Jacob’s mural. Billy whistled and then said, “Whoa. That’s awesome.”

Tim said, “That’s so cool.”

The two boys approached the scaffolding as they continued to admire Jacob’s work. Billy calling up to Jacob, “Dude, this is awesome. You did all this by yourself?”

Jacob said, “Yeah.”

Tim said, “This is like better than that church in France with the big painting on the ceiling. What’s that place called?”

Jacob was confused for a moment, and then he said, “You mean, the Sistine Chapel?”

“Yeah, that.” Tim said.

Billy said to Tim, “The Sistine Chapel is in Rome, you retard.”

Billy then looked at Jacob and scoffed. But, amazingly, Jacob interpreted that Billy’s scoff was not directed at Jacob, but rather, it was directed toward Tim. And for once, it wasn’t Jacob being called a retard.

Jacob dared to make the scoffing expression himself. It felt foreign to him. Jacob and Billy then burst into laughter.

Tim said, “Well, wherever that ceiling thing is, this painting is better than it.”

“Thanks,” Jacob said. He didn’t get to say that word very often.

Billy said to Tim, “All right, let’s get going, we need to find Mr. Barney.” Billy then called up to Jacob, “We’ll see you later, Jacob.”

Jacob said, “Okay. Bye.”

Billy and Tim walked from the scaffolding, Billy saying to Tim, “That painting is awesome.”

Tim saying to Billy, “It really is better than that church.”

Jacob watched the boys leave, a smile slipping onto his face. This expression felt foreign to him, too.

Meanwhile, across town, Dennis was sitting on the couch in the Walsh’s living room. It was midmorning, and all that was on the television were talk shows and infomercials. Dennis flipped through the channels, finding nothing to hold his interest.

The Walsh’s doorbell rang. Dennis groaned and stood from the couch. He wandered over to the front door and opened it to find a woman standing on the front steps. The woman was middle-aged. She had curly, pewter colored hair and she wore a tan pantsuit. Dennis thought she was dressed like some damn Jehovah’s Witness.

Jehovah’s Witness is a religion. The people that follow this religion will often go door-to-door in the hopes of convincing other people to become a Jehovah’s Witness, too. Dennis, on the other hand, was a good old fashioned American Christian, and although Jehovah’s Witness was actually considered a form of Christianity, Dennis thought the religion’s followers were foolish and an imposition for going door-to-door like they do. Other Christians would never go door-to door to proposition people to join their religion in this manner. Throughout history, Christians liked to do their converting on a much larger scale, going village to village or city to city to convert people, and if the people didn’t convert, then the Christians would often kill the people or take their land. The people didn’t consider this form of conversion as much of an imposition as a knock on the door, because the non-converts were either dead or no longer had a door on which to knock.

Dennis said to the woman on the front porch: “Yeah?” He said this in a very rude way, still thinking that the woman was a Jehovah’s Witness, which is to say, he was preparing to slam the door in her face.

But before she got the door slammed in her face, the woman said, “Hello, I’m sorry to bother you, sir. I’m Harriet Berring.”

“Yeah?”

Harriet said, “I’m the real estate agent assigned to sell 42 Savage Street.”

Dennis relaxed his grip on the door that he was about to slam in the woman’s face, and he said, “About time someone tried to unload that dump.”

Harriet smiled quickly and said, “Yes, well, I was wondering if you’ve seen any suspicious activity at that property recently?”

“Suspicious activity?”

Harriet smiled quickly again and said, “Well, any activity, really.”

Dennis said, “Now that you mention it, yeah, I think I do remember seeing a light on in the window over the past few nights. That suspicious enough for you?”

“You’ve seen lights?” Harriet said.

“Yeah. Why? Something wrong?”

Harriet said, “No. It’s just… it’s nothing, really. If you see anything happening over there again, can you please give me a call?” Harriet handed Dennis a business card. She said, “Thank you for your help.” Then she turned and walked down the front steps.

Continued in: With Drawn: Part 29 — Pecking Order 

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