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Whatever Happened to Mr. Sockforahead?
Joshua Blac

<< 2 >>

"But Dad, it's not me, I swear! The sock is somehow... alive!"

"Snitch!" said Mr. Sockforahead. "I've been in the sea, for your information. Some fat wannabe policeman drove me off the pier. Well, that's not strictly true. I was driving him off the pier, but he got out of the car at the last minute."

"Stop it right now, Billy, and apologise to your sister!"

Billy could practically hear his father's blood boil. He expected steam to start shooting out of his ears.

"Surf's up!" said Mr. Sockforahead, and head-butted Billy's Dad in the privates.

Dad crumpled and crashed to the sand. Billy stood there wide-eyed, unable to believe what he'd just done. Mum looked similarly shocked, but was too busy comforting Fiona to do anything about it.

"Hey," said Mr. Sockforahead, "let's play fugitives!"

"What? No way!"

"What we need is a weapon. A gun or something."

Billy watched his father, angry and hurt, squirming in the sand. Mum was yelling something, but the words wouldn't make themselves clear. He let them wash over his head like the other undesirable noises.

"There are knives and forks in the cooler," he said distantly.

Mr. Sockforahead got to rummaging in the cooler. He tossed all manner of things out of the box, while Billy just stood; wishing it was all just dream.

Mum got up from her beach chair, helped her husband up off the sand, and stormed over. She grabbed Billy by the arm, only to have Mr. Sockforahead brandish a butter-knife at her. With a shriek she backed off, and Billy stared down at the knife in the sock-puppet's mouth.

"Here," said Mr. Sockforahead, thrusting the handle into his free hand. "It's a bit blunt, but fugitives can't be choosers. Maybe we can sharpen it on a rock or something later. Come on."

Before Billy knew it, he was running towards the pavement with his legs under Mr. Sockforahead's control.

"I am sorry, really!" he called back. "I don't know how to stop!"

"That's the spirit, Billy-boy! Make 'em think you're crazy. That way you'll get off scot-free if they catch you."

They reached the sidewalk and ran along it. People stepped hurriedly aside when they saw the knife.

"Where are we going?" he asked, his breath running short.

"On the lam," said Mr. Sockforahead. "That's what all fugitives do."

"I don't think they have lambs at the beach."

"Pfft! What do you know? Leave the heady stuff to me. I've got more brains and I'm a sock, so what does that tell you?"

"Can't we stop for a rest? I'm exhausted."

"It's always something, isn't it?"

Billy stumbled to a halt as his legs were returned to him. He hadn't realised until now just how much they hurt. He leaned against a lamp-post to catch his breath, and stole a look back in the hope that his father might be running after him. It was a double-edged hope, considering the
mood he'd be in. But on the other hand -- so to speak -- if he could convince him that--
"Are you all right, sonny?" said a voice.

Billy turned to see a policeman standing there.

"You oughtn't run with knives, ya know -- even if it is only a bread kn--"

"Oh no, the fuzz!" said Mr. Sockforahead, and before the policeman could react, he stabbed him in the ribs with it and set Billy running again.

Billy was too shocked to speak. He looked back to see the policeman collapse on the sidewalk. There was a spark of hope when at last he saw Dad in the distance.

"You killed him!" he cried.

"Nah. Stupid knife. I told you it was too blunt."

Billy's possessed hand let the knife drop. He flexed his liberated fingers, and tried to keep it together. For the first time he realised he too could be in danger from this maniacal sock: whoever or whatever it may be.

I'd better play along, he thought, before he could worry whether or not Mr. Sockforahead could read minds.

"Uh, seen any lambs yet?" he managed.

"The plan's changed. Now that the fuzz is after us, we have to find someplace high to jump from. Preferably a huge waterfall."

Billy's heart, already racing, stepped it up a notch.

"But there aren't any. Do we really have to--?"

"Do you see what I see?"

Billy looked, and saw a public pool surrounded by chain-link fence. Visible over the top was a five-metre diving board.

"Oh-no," said Billy, as his legs propelled him across the street towards it.

He was momentarily relieved when he saw the turnstile at the entrance. Billy bumped against it as Mr. Sockforahead continued on regardless.

"Ow -- take it easy!"

"What's wrong with this thing?" said Mr. Sockforahead to the startled attendant.
"You have to pay," said the attendant.

"Fuck that," said Mr. Sockforahead, and made Billy crawl beneath it. "Thsppp!"


Billy was on his feet again, and lost among the crowd before anything could be done.

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For more, visit the Author's Web Site at: The Manitou's Lair


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