A drop of liquid snot had formed on the tip of the little boy’s nose.
“That’s what they invented Kleenexes for gross-o. The box is in the other room,” said Jackie to Davy Shrimp. She managed to catch him right before he wiped it on a grimy sleeve. He stopped, but did not look away from his Nintendo.
Aunt Deborah gave Jackie a disapproving look.
“He’s my cousin, Aunt Deborah,” she responded. “I’m allowed to be mean to him.”
“Jackie dear, you know that isn’t true. He’s much younger than you. You must be patient with him. Why don’t you go fetch him a Kleenex?”
Jackie glared at her aunt and didn’t move.
Davy sighed, paused his game, and uncrossed his legs. He knew what Facial Tissues were invented for. And he also knew that Kleenex was technically a brand name. And that it also flaunted its big ‘K’ on paper towels and diapers among other things.
He grabbed himself a facial tissue, then pocketed a second one after carefully folding it. He did have to be the only one in the extended family with hay fever.
When he returned to the room, Jackie was playing with his Nintendo. Bet you didn’t know that the company that created the brand Kleenex first created a fiber that was used in gas mask filters in World War one. Did you? He thought at her the words he wanted to say. But he knew better than to say anything or complain about her taking his Nintendo.
So he remained silent and went over to the bay window and sat down on the window seat, pulling his legs up under him because they didn’t reach the ground. He leaned against the glass and looked out. The triplets, Sammy, Jeff and Mike were playing a complicated hockey/soccer game they’d invented with their older cousin, Jim. He knew all the rules because he’d watched them play before. He would have liked to go join them, but there were two things stopping him. First, he knew that they would never include him--nobody want’s a little, short-legged sneezy team member. Second, it would not be worth the suffering the grass would cause him.
“Davy!” And Louise’s high, jarring voice broke into his thoughts. “Davyyy!” Her wide, jovial personage entered the room and spotted him. “Phone for you dear. Serious man on the other end.” She handed him the portable and bustled away muttering, “I wonder who it is.”
“I need a favour son,” said the deep, deep voice on the other end.
Davy’s hands tightened on the phone and he quickly stood up and left the room while answering in a calm, quiet voice. “Yes sir. What can I do for you?” He walked quickly up the stairs, not for the first time wishing he could take them two at a time like cousin Jim did.
“Are you alone? And who was that nosy women who answered my call?”
“Yes sir, I’m alone sir,” Davy closed the door and sat down on his bed. “That was my aunt sir, not to worry. Just a small family reunion.”
“Are you engaged then?”
“No. I do not need to be here, Inspector.”
“I’ve never called on you for something big like this before Davy. It’s going to mean a few days away from home. Maybe a few weeks.”
“That will not be a problem sir.”
“Alright. I need an insider, you see. There’s been a murder and everyone close to the deceased is extremely cagy. I can arrange for you to be taken in by a young woman who is our only supporter. You would be the recently orphaned son of her late cousin.”
“Understood sir.” Davy’s heart pounded in his chest with pure excitement.
“It might be dangerous.”
“Of course sir.”
“I’ll come by tomorrow morning at eight to pick you up, if that is alright?”
“We’ll be traveling by train.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Tomorrow, Davy.” Inspector Miles hung up.
Davy folded his legs underneath him and closed his eyes to think. He would have to have a long talk with his grandmother tonight, after all the guests were in bed.
It would not be hard to play orphan. After all, he was one. But he was a lucky one because he had a wonderful grandmother to look after him. A smiled reached his lips from the depths of deep thought.