Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Murders aren't for children

Jupiter woke up to the sound of people chittering and shifting feet. She lifted her head from the bench where the grooves had carved lines in her face while she'd been napping. Their individual voices webbed together to make a wall of sound in her periphery. Jupiter blinked and turned towards it. A long, thick, clustered line of people snaked out of Karnival Diner towards her bench.

She got up and tottered around to look at the front window, still rubbing her eyes from sleep.

"FREE WAFFLES- 9am-12pm"

So thats what all the hullabaloo was about.

"Jupiter! Mom it's Jupiter!"

She heard one voice poke out from the wall.

She turned to see where it had come from and saw Moses frantically tugging on what appeared to be his mom's sleeve. She was ignoring him and casually swatting his hand away without pausing in her conversation with another person of similar age standing next to her. Moses glanced back and made eye contact with her. His frustrated expression dissolved into a smile and he gave up on his mom's sleeve and waved. Jupiter lifted her hand in acknowledgement, but made a point to turn away immediately, not wanting to invite an interaction from him at the moment.

Moses didn't notice the subtle dismissal and ran over.

"Hi! I didn't know you were coming!" he said clearly enthused by her surprise appearance.

"I didn't mean to. What's going on?" she asked rather dryly.

"FREE WAFFLES!" screamed Moses and threw his head back and arms into the air as if the waffles were falling from the sky.

"Oh, who-," even Jupiter had a hard time concealing excitement for waffles, but she played it off with a fit of coughing.

"Yea! Want to come have some with me and my parents?" Moses asked and his head bobbed as if by nodding his own head he willed hers to do the same.

"Why not," she said quietly and somewhat to herself.

"YES!" and Moses grabbed her hand and pulled her towards the woman he'd been tugging on.

"I've been waiting for this for weeks! I don't get it, they have so many waffles and they're just giving them away! I would eat them ALL! But I'm happy they are, I mean why complain!" Moses jabbered on as they waited in line, and as they got seated, and as they ordered. Jupiter was more quiet. She had bigger things on her mind and none of the family's conversation seemed relevant. School, friends, the pool, none of it was interesting enough to hold her attention.

But then Moses' dad said something that seemed to send a shock through her fork and she dropped it on the plate with a clatter.

"I heard they caught the culprit from that murder at Winthrop Place a while back. Some old kook probably."

The waffle in Jupiter's mouth suddenly solidified and she found it very difficult to swallow, something like swallowing cotton balls.

"Oh that was horrendous and rather spooky," said Moses' mom with an expression somewhere between concern and disdain. "I don't really think that's a topic for the breakfast table and certainly not around the children."

Jupiter wondered what they would say if they knew her secret. Murders aren't suitable for children, but Jupiter guessed she was never much of a child anyways.