Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Walter Wallace - Chapter 53

Ricky Talk sat in the Myrtle T. Boardroom way high up in the Citadel tower. He sat hunched over in a chair that looked made for kindergarteners in comparison to his massive frame. The irony that his mental capacity was more suited to a kindergarten environment was very much lost on him. He was with a group of men but recognised only a few.

There was Brian Smith who always told you to wait after he said his name. He reminded Ricky of a snail without its shell. Ricky didn’t like Brian. There was Mark sitting slumped in his chair and looking down at his hands. Ricky stared at Mark with childlike discovery. He realised that he would sit like that when he did something wrong or if he got in trouble and Sam yelled at him. Had Sammy yelled at Mark? Ricky liked Mark and wanted to ask him if he was OK but Sammy had said no talking. There was Boss. He looked angry. Ricky was scared of Boss and didn’t want to look at him for too long or Boss might yell at him. Had Boss yelled at Mark? There was Sammy. Sammy was talking. He always talked. He walked and talked and pointed at computer pictures on the wall and talked. Ricky never understood much but it was fun to watch. Ricky loved Sammy.

He didn’t really have any clue what Sammy was saying – it was always like that – but he imagined it was something brave and inspiring. He saw Sammy as the hero in the movie, the one who kept everybody safe. And because of that Ricky felt it was his duty to keep Sammy safe. No matter what. Ricky may not be smart or clever or talk well like Sammy but he was big and strong and the only way he knew how to use his strength was to use it for Sammy. Because if Sammy was gone the world would no longer have a hero.

A picture of Walter Wallace appeared on the screen behind Sammy. Ricky smiled. He liked Walter Wallace as well. Walter was a hero like Sammy. He made people happy in his world and protected them from evil. In one episode he saw Walter drag a beautiful lady out of a burning train station. Ricky met Walter once. It was exciting but also confusing. Back then he thought he was real but Sammy said he was signing paper to be on TV. Ricky guessed it was for a movie, which made him sad. But also he liked that in movies nobody died, so he wouldn’t need to protect Walter from bad guys and exploding trains. In real life there were bad guys and sometimes good guys died.

That’s why he had to be careful. There were bad guys that Sammy protected the world from but what if they killed him. Boss was a bad guy, but he was also the boss. He had killed people before. He had told Ricky to kill people before. Ricky assumed they must be real bad guys who deserved to die, but he still felt bad when he killed them. Maybe he was a bad guy. What if doing the work of a bad guy meant you were a bad guy? But if Sammy was the hero and Ricky was the bad guy then how could they be friends?

It made Ricky sad to think of that. Boss was bad. Smith was bad. Sammy was good and Ricky was good. He saw another photo of Walter Wallace on the screen as Smith spoke. There was dollar signs and lots of numbers next to him. Walter Wallace was good too. He could even make Smith smile – and not the scary looking smile.

Boss spoke to Smith. Said something about losing blue. Smith spoke back. Then others in the room spoke. Then Smith kept talking with pictures of things changing on the wall behind him. It was very boring. He was almost falling asleep. He looked down the table and noticed that Mark was almost asleep as well. He had his head in his hands and wasn’t moving much. Ricky decided to copy him. He rested his own head in his enormous hands and instantly felt like sleeping but then Sammy jabbed him in the side to wake him up. Ricky was startled, bumping the table with his knee and causing it to shift a few inches away from him. All the men in the room turned and looked in his direction. Except Mark who continued sleeping, and Sammy who continued his attentive focus on Smith’s picture show.

“Sorry,” Ricky mumbled shyly.

Smith kept talking for a bit and Ricky tried his best not to sleep. Then Sammy got up to talk again. He had more pictures and this time there were hospitals and beds that Ricky had seen before but couldn’t remember where. Maybe in a dream. Dreams were fun and confusing. He could never remember his dreams so how could remember those beds. Maybe they weren’t a dream. But then he could see them again. Only they weren’t on a picture show and Sammy wasn’t talking. He was lying in the bed, asleep. And Smith was there and Boss and Walter were there in beds as well. The pretty lady from Walter’s movie was there too. All asleep. Mark was there. He was further down in a bed asleep. But not lying down. He still had his head in his hands, shaking a little. He stopped moving suddenly, then he looked up at Ricky’s face. He had something in his mouth, something shiny. He-

Ricky woke up in the boardroom. Everyone was gone. Sammy sat at his side.

“Sleep well?” he asked, smiling kindly. He stood up and signalled for Ricky to follow and they left the room together.

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