Summertime, Part 1

Day 62. 64 pages, 30,172 words.


Bane of my existence.

Okay, the actual bane of my existence is obviously Oblivio the Great Unmaker. Or possibly Professor Erasrix of the Darker University’s Faculty of Sweet Nothingness. Or Yusef Null, the Mad Negator of Applecross. Public transport should probably be on the list too. Alright, if I have a top ten banes of my existence, summer might just make it in there. I have a lot of banes, even before you start counting the smaller and more personal ones like Slurps Gobminster, the noodle gnome who lives in our kitchen and extracts the essence of noodleness from your noodles if you turn your back on them to pour a glass of coke for a few too many seconds, leaving you with a bowl of lukewarm flavourless … flavourless pasta.

Anyway, summer sure does suck and it puts me in a bad mood unless I get plenty of valuable relaxation time. Which is difficult when you live with…

Alright fine, I’m going to bump down everyone except maybe Oblivio and Darker U. Creepy is the bane of my existence.

“Come on, Hatboy. It’s just a bit of warm.”

“That’s rich,” I said, admittedly waspish, “coming from the super sidekick who still has a heater on in his room.”

“Well, that’s my point exactly,” Creepy replied reasonably. “How hot can it be, if I’m still freezing half the time?”

“You’re freezing half the time because you’re a lizard.”

“Am not.”

“You are,” I levelled a finger at him. “You’re a chameleon that learned to change your shape and size instead of learning how to change colour, that’s why you wear so much green. Also you somehow eat snacks without moving, and your eyes do that thing when we have the television on and you don’t want to admit to liking the movie we’re watching,” I went on, then brought my thesis to an end with the blistering conclusion, “and the very fact that you even bothered to say ‘am not’ instead of just ignoring what was clearly annoyance-fuelled hyperbole is perhaps the most damning evidence of all. Who even denies being a lizard?”

Creepy considered my accusation. “Even I have to admit all the pieces fit on this one.”

“I thought so.”

“But look, it’s not like we don’t go through this every year. Summer is horrible, that’s why we sleep through as much of the day as possible and snooze for the rest. Even Yool, the noxiously buff Christmas tree who has been here the whole time, has gotten used to it. We stay indoors and don’t move from the fan arc, and just wait for it all to blow over. If we have to go out-”

“That’s the problem, Creepy.”

Creepy frowned. “You had to go out?”

It’s not blowing over. It’s been summer for…” I looked at my watch, “…almost eight months now.”

“Perfectly normal.”

“No it isn’t,” I growled, and raised the jam jar I was holding. I brandished it with a dry, listless rattle. “I found a patch of this just outside the house.”

“Is that-?” Creepy’s frown deepened. “It looks like…”

I nodded grimly, and lowered the little jar of bleached, powdery sand and the crust of hardpan I’d pried from our dead front lawn. “I thought it was just an anthill, but nope.”

“That’s not actually possible though…”

“Tell it to the jar. I’ve seen what happens when the story ends and the summer goes on forever,” I told him wearily. “I’ve seen it, I’ve walked it, and I have no urge to see it happen here.”

Creepy continued to stare at the jar of Wasteland I’d unaccountably found in our garden. “What do we do, Hatboy?” he asked in an uncharacteristically sombre tone.

“About this?” I sighed and put the jar down on the snack table. “I have no idea. Why do you think I’m complaining about the heat?”

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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