Arnold – W. Hatterson

“Take a seat, please.”

The old lady obliged and set her purse on her lap. Her guards flanked her, while she smiled sweetly at Jon Henry.

Jon sat down as well, and set his hands, fingers interlaced, on the table before them. He eyed the guards before him uneasily. Bodyguards always made him nervous. “Mrs. Spike I—” She held up a palm, still smiling, and pulled out a pencil. It had no markings what so ever, and was sharpened.

She dropped the blue pencil at the center of the table, and spun it. Jon watched as it sped up, spinning at a point, not moving, and as it slowed down, then came to a halt, the sharpened point pointing at the Mrs. Spike. “Please, call me Georgina, and do forgive the interruption, but I think it is fair that fate decides who shall speak first. I believe you were going to ask me to tell my bodyguards to leave?” He smiled nervously, then was about to say, Yes, when she interrupted him again. “Am afraid I cannot help you with that. For what if as they left, I was stabbed by this very pencil!” Her eyes widened, and her smile broadened. The guards glared at Jon, who was chuckling at this. Oh she truly is as loony as they say. He thought. Loony Georgie. “Mrs. Spike, I assure you that—” She stopped him again with an upraised palm. “Let me stop you there, Mr. Henry, for I do not want to take your assurance of my safety. I hardly know you! No, no, I prefer these fellas.” She gestured at the two bulky men flanking her. “I prefer their presence to your assurance! And do call me Georgina, or perhaps it is too long a syllable, very well then, Loony, shall be better.” She winked at the word “Loony”. “I understand there’s a song about me? Me being Loony? Yes I recall!” She burst into singing at a kid sing-song voice.

“Loony Georgie! She eats from a sieve! Loony Georgie! In Ghosts she believes! Loony Georgie! She cooks Spaghetti on her head! Loony Georgie! She bathes on a bed!”

She stopped with a sigh, and her guards chuckled and clapped. “Of course that isn’t the original song, but it is as true as the original!” Jon could only stare, brow raised. “You bathe on your bed?” he asked, not quite sure if she was joking. “Well of course dear! Don’t you?” Jon blinked. “No.” “Oh it is quite fun! Harold and I used to do it all the time! But that is not important. What is important is the fact that I need you, sir. Yes. Loony needs you! I would like to go on an adventure! And I need a sidekick!” Jon blinked again. Did she not know where she was? “Ma’am—” She cut him off again, he was getting annoyed, with an upraised palm. “Let me stop you there, Mr. Henry. Or shall I call you by your real name? Arnold.” Jon’s heart missed a beat. His eyes widened slightly, and his lips twitched. The old lady was smiling at him, and waiting. Waiting for him to deny it? Or to accept it? He was spending too much time thinking! If he wanted to sell the lie, he had to talk now. He raised a brow, almost casually, but it was a nervous act. How did she know? No one knew. He looked nothing like Arnold. Nothing. He had a full proof backstory. No gaps, no nothing! No suspicious parts! Nothing! It was fool proof!

But not Loony Proof.

“I have no idea what you are talking about, ma’am.” She chuckled. “Arnie, Arnie, Arnie! Don’t lie to me!” “Not a lie, Mrs. Spike, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She burst into her sing-song voice again.

“Loony Georgie! She sees ghosts everywhere! Loony Georgie! She thinks she was there!

I don’t recall what they meant by that, but. . .

Loony Georgie! Smarter than a horse! Loony Georgie! She tried to kill A bus! Loony Georgie! She saw Arnold the Killer in her can!”

She clapped her hands and laughed till she cried. Then winked at a confused Jon. “Ma’am I think you’re confusing—”

“Oh Quit the denial.” She said sharply. Her calm, relaxed face now set and stern. Her eyes hard, bore into him. This shocked Jon, who didn’t believe this face matched the cheery woman who had been insulting herself with a smile. “I am a patient woman, however, I hate it when I’m being patient with someone, and they take it for granted. Patience is not the same as ignorant, or stupid. I may be Loony, Arnold, but I am not daft!” She rose to her feet swiftly. Jon didn’t believe an old woman could ever move so fast. She pulled out a folder from her purse, and flung It to the table.

Jon eyed it, then eyed her. “What is it?”

“Oh pick up the bloody folder.” Jon eyed her for a moment, then picked it up, and opened it. His jaw dropped.

“Do you wish to deny your identity, now, Mr. Arnold Tychene?” The folder only contained one sheet of A5 paper. And that was all it needed. For the document fit perfectly into it. He set his eyes to her face. It was soft, sweet, gentle, kind. She smiled at his shock at the folder before him. He was sweating now. He gulped. “What can I do for you, Ma’am?”


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