Thursday, September 26, 2013
Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 389
"I say, Fern, your dolly has two heads." Matthew gasped.
Punch scowled slightly, catching Matthew's attention.
"Which is perfectly fine," Matthew added quickly.
"Lord Cleaversworth, I am aware that it's strange that Myra has two heads." Fern replied. "We needn't pretend otherwise."
"Oh, well, then..." Matthew nodded awkwardly.
Everyone sat in uncomfortable silence.
Finally Punch spoke up. "I'm hardly one to decide what's strange and what isn't."
Matthew chuckled softly.
"However," Robert interjected. "While none of us here would question why you've added a head to your doll, Fern, others might. Perhaps you should leave Myra here when you leave for school tomorrow."
"Oh, I couldn't." Fern shook her head. "She needs me."
"Fern..." Robert began.
Lennie jumped in. "But, Fern, you know that..." She paused, unsure of what to say.
"She's a doll," Robert said. "She doesn't really need anyone."
"Uncle Punch is a puppet." Fern smiled. "He needs people."
"Uncle Punch isn't really a puppet." Robert retorted, beginning to lose his patience. "He's a man."
"Who thinks he's a puppet." Fern answered.
"I say, Your Grace, do you?" Matthew widened his eyes.
"Uhhhh..." Punch muttered. "Well, I have thought I'm...that is to say, I don't now. I just..." He shook his head. "I...I know I'm a human man. It's simply that...well, bugger. Fern, you know how I am. Uncle Robert and I've explained how I am one man with different persons inside 'im. The one that's best suited to the world is this one, Punch, who...Coo!"
"You need not explain more, dear Punch. Fern knows very well that her argument is moot. She's simply trying to distract us away from the subject of her doll." Robert said gently.
"Uncle Robert, you always know what I'm about." Fern nodded.
"Perhaps it's that you need Myra, Fern." Lennie said. "More so than she needs you."
"Perhaps, Auntie." Fern nodded casually. "Nonetheless, I shan't be leaving her here."
"I understand, Fern, that you've been through an ordeal..." Robert began.
"We all have, Uncle Robert." Fern nodded.
"But, you more so than the rest of us, 'ave seen such terrible things, Fern." Punch said.
"Pain can't be compared." Fern shook her head.
"She's a very well-spoken little thing. Isn't she?" Matthew smiled. "Why can't she take her dolly to school?"
"Matthew..." Lennie sighed.
"I say, but there's no harm in it." Matthew spoke up.
"Yes there is." Robert answered in measured tones. "She can't because it's strange."
"Robert, dear," Punch smiled. "As I said, you and I are hardly two to say what's strange and what ain't."
Robert sighed in defeat. "It's just, Fern, that I'd so hoped you would finally have a chance to have a quiet, comfortable...childhood, for a change. I want you to be able to have some freedom to be a girl, to have friends, to excel in your studies. Showing up at your new school with a two-headed doll will automatically set you apart."
"Having seen my own father fed to Marduk rather already sets me apart, I think." Fern replied.
Again, the room settled into an awkward silence.
"Myra comforts me. I don't think I can leave her here." Fern said finally. "I need her, at night, when I sleep."
"Fern, I simply can't allow it." Robert said firmly.
"Chum, I think I got an idea..." Punch stood up.
Did you miss Chapters 1-388 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 390.