Ricky Talk didn’t speak very much. Words were confusing. They made him want to be smart but only ever feel dumb. He liked some words, like food and sleep and red because they were easy to say and remember. Most words, though, only existed to hurt him. Right now there were lots of words being said and he didn’t know half of them and the other half made no sense even if he did know them. People could say words without thinking, like Boss always did. Right now he was yelling and screaming about the funny looking, happy man on TV. Ricky was happy it wasn’t words made for him because that was scary when Boss yelled at him and all he could do was look scared until Boss would hit him and say ‘Go Away’ in French. Ricky didn’t know why Boss liked French so much but he always spoke it. At that moment he said, “Why the fuck...fucking wallet...sign the fucking track.” It made no sense to Ricky and having so much French didn’t help.
But worse than people who say words without thinking was people who say words with thinking. At least when Boss spoke Ricky could understand his motions: Angry or not Angry. But when Sam spoke he didn’t use any motions. That was worse than French. At least Ricky knew one French word. Sam replied to Boss but Ricky couldn’t understand anything. He heard ‘water wallet’ – which didn’t sound like a very good wallet (maybe that was why Boss was angry) – but that was it. And Boss just said “Fuck!” and stormed around angry.
While the others talked, Talk remembered his French teacher, Myrtle. She had always said nice things to Ricky, not that he understood but she would smile after and that was nice. Her favourite word was Mark because that word made her smile and her least favourite word was Simon which usually encouraged her to begin the French lessons. Ricky knew Mark. He never stopped talking but always smiled when he did. Ricky didn’t know who or what a Simon was, though - probably something very bad.
Ricky stood, as usual, breathing heavily while the two men talked. Sam was sitting and didn’t move much. He waited before talking and then talked for long amounts of time. Boss kept standing up and sitting down and walking and yelling. After a long time of not understand much at all Ricky heard a full sentence and understood it perfectly. This was what made him happy: to understand.
Boss said, “OK! You do it. Talk to water and Brian. Just make him sign!” Ricky was beaming at this point, even though as he tried to remember what he understood it was disappearing. OK you! Do talk and water to make sign!
Boss had stormed off after saying goodbye in French. Sam smiled up at Ricky who smiled back, still enjoying his moment of glory. OK Talk! Do watering sign. Ricky’s smile turned to confusion OK Talk...Was Boss telling me to do something? What is a water sign? For the wallet?
“You happy, Rick?” Sammy spoke, interrupting Ricky’s confusion. Sammy was standing now as Ricky looked down at him confused. Sammy pointed at him and then used his fingers to make a smile shape on his own face. “You. Happy?”
Ricky smiled, relieved, and nodded like a cartoon puppy. “Happy,” he said, jabbing his large finger into his chest.
“Me too,” Sammy said, pointing at his own chest, “Happy.”
Ricky laughed, “Happy!” and pointed Sammy in the chest, pushing him almost airborne back down into his chair. “Sorry.” He said with worry.
Sammy got up laughing and rubbing his chest. “It’s OK.” He continued to rub his chest before saying, “Guess.” Ricky’s eyes lit up. He loved ‘Guess’ it was always exciting. “Soon we talk with Water Wallet.”
He made gestures for each word, the final two involved pointing at the TV screen. Ricky frowned in concentration, staring at the screen. The no hair, happy man...not water wallet...Walter Wallace! Now he remembered! “Happy!” he cried. “Walter. Happy.” In his excitement he tried to think back to when he mistakenly heard water wallet. It all made sense now, though he couldn’t remember what he was trying to make sense of. None of it mattered now. He was excited for so many reasons. This was almost as good as the weird things Sally the cleaner did to him sometimes.
The two men left the penthouse suite and got off the elevator at the next level. Ricky had lived here in citadel Towers ever since Myrtle took him in so many years ago.
At his front door he gave Sammy a hug. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” Sammy said. “To-mor-row.”
Ricky smiled and waved as Sammy walked back to the elevator. “Fuck off, Sammy.”
“Au Revoir, Ricky.”
Notes to the Text