By O. Lucio d’Arc
IT IS DOWN to five Doldrummers: Magnum, Silver Boy, Scott Free, Diz and Carole.
And Raphael. Who comes and goes when he wants.
Scott Free is leading a seminar on the murders in the living room, where they have all gathered, with luggage, such as it is.
There is a big question on the table: Who is this Teacher and why is he murdering us?
“Wash your hands before eating? Take a nap every afternoon? When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together? What the fuck …” Scott Free ruminates.
“Sounds like something you’d learn, like, in kindergarten,” said Diz.
Kindergarten? Then it hit Carole. The sayings did sound familiar, from some book she read once, by some Universalist minister – or teacher! whatever – Robert something.
“Go on line, Magnum,” she says, since he is sitting in front of his laptop. “Google kindergarten and Robert and … and I don’t know what else.”
He does. And sure enough, a link comes right up. The book is “All I Really Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum, published back in 1990. In the first couple of pages is the list of 16 things he said you learn in kindergarten and should live your life by.
Our three murder messages are among them, word for word.
They are all horrified. Horrified. ALL CAPS.
THEY CAN’T WAIT to get out of there. Diz calls Uber. Uber is just too, too busy to get there right away.
They break down and call a cab for Carole, Diz and Scott Free. Silver Boy and Magnum call their own ride.
The cab dispatcher sounds like she is 100. They give her the address. Oh, she says, the old Gibson place.
Nobody else knows that name but Carole. From her Dad’s journal.
“What do you know about the pond out back?” Carole asks Diz, as they are all standing on the porch waiting for their rides.
“Have you ever,” I ask Diz, “been in the cellar?”
What’s down there?”
“I’ve been in the cellar lots of times,” says Magnum.
They all look at him. “Why?”
“Z is for zebra,” he says. “In the end there’s always this clock with an ugly face.”
Carole tells them what she has read in her father’s journal.
They go back into the house. The door to the basement, they show Carole, is behind a small table in a hall off the dining room.
“I’m going down,” says Silver Boy, pushing the table aside.
Scott Free grabs his arm: “Don’t.”
“Be hole, be dust, be dream, be wind,
“be night, be dark, be wish, be mind,
“now slip, now slide, now move unseen,
“above, beneath, betwixt, between.”
“What the fuck’s that?” says Diz angrily, grabbing his shirt front and lifting him off the ground.
“Oh, fuck off, twerp” says Diz, letting go of his shirt and shoving him.
They go down. All five of them, Carole thinking, I’m not in California anymore, I’m not in California anymore, I’m not …
Oreste P. D’Arconte, who writes fiction under the name O. Lucio d’Arc, is a retired newspaper publisher and a weekly newspaper columnist. His short stories have appeared in the Murder Inc. trilogy of anthologies and he has had his poetry published in several literary magazines. A resident of Attleboro, Mass., he also wrote a hardback history of the Attleboro YMCA in 2017.
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