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Just Stupid

Just Stupid

I hear voices.

I open my eyes.

Everything's blurred.

I close my eyes and open them again. Round shapes against a white sky. But still blurred. And my head hurts.

I feel a hand shaking my shoulder. The two round shapes merge into one and a face appears. It comes in close. I try to make out who it is, but the face does not look familiar to me.

"Andy!" says the face. "Are you okay?"

"Who's Andy?" I say.

"You're Andy," says the face.

"Who are you?" I say.

"You know me!" says the face. I'm Danny. Your best friend. You just got hit in the head. Don't you remember? We were just about to test it, but it went off in your face. I can't believe you don't remember it."

Danny? Jack-in-the-box? My head hurts, that's for sure, but I don't remember getting hit. I don't remember anything about a jack-in-the-box. And I don't remember anyone called Danny.

"I don't know what you're talking about," I say.

"Try sitting up," he says.

"I think I'm going to be sick," I say.

"I'd better get you inside," he says.

He helps me to my feet. The ground is spongy. It's like walking on a mattress.

I looked around me. We're in somebody's backyard. There is a clothesline in the center. It's bent over at a forty-five-degree angle, one of the corners practically sticking into the ground. There's a half burned-down fence running alongside the driveway. In the garage there's a mangled baby carriage that looks like it's been run over by a truck. The whole area looks like it should be cordoned off with yellow tape and declared a disaster area.

"Where am I?" I say.

"In your backyard," says the boy.

"My backyard?" I say.

He sighs.

"Take it easy up the steps," he says. I wobble my way to the top of the porch. The boy opens a sliding glass door and guides me through it. Inside the house, it's dark and cool.

"Mrs. G!" he calls. "Mrs. G! Come quick! Andy's been hurt!"

"Who's Mrs. G?" I say.

"That's your mother," he says. "You must remember your own mother."

"No," I say. "I can't remember anything."

The boy looks around the room. He grabs my arm and leads me over to a shelf full of photographs.

He points to one of a man and a woman.

"That's your mom," he says, pointing to the woman.

"And who's the guy with the big ears?" I say.

"That's your dad," he says. "But you'd better not let him hear you saying he's got big ears. He goes ballistic."

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