We wheeled around the corner and then came to a sudden stop. There was a man, a young man sitting in a deck chair by the side of the house. The most important thing we knew was to discover if he was a stranger. That was paramount. Because if he was a stranger then we would have to cycle away as fast as we could.
Now I must admit that our curiosity was piqued. And because of that there was a slight bias in our questions to each other. If there was even the slightest hint that this young man wasn’t a stranger then we would be free to investigate.
“Have you ever seen this man before?” I decided to cut right to the core of the situation.
“Well define seen?”
“Well the Oxford English dictionary defines seen as…”
“No no not all that again. I mean. I mean…”
“What can you mean? Either you’ve seen him or you haven’t. Simple logic there, no gray areas, nice and clear.”
“Well no it isn’t that’s the point. That’s why I started all of this.”
“So what prey is the point then”? I tended to get more fruity in my language when my dander was up.
“Well I haven’t seen him per-say but I have heard talk of him from my Aunt. She was talking about a man very much matching his particulars just yesterday and I would say that she must have been talking about him”.
“How sure are you that this is the same man?” My interest was piqued, we might have a chance.
“Well she was talking in shock about his shoes, and she was telling my cousin (your sister) in no uncertain terms not to trust him because of them”.
“Why shouldn’t you trust these shoes”? I asked, they seemed to me to be perfectly ordinary shoes.
“Well,” my cousin said, “just you look at the lining of the shoes, it’s purple. That, your mother said, was a sign of an insatiable appetite”.
“But he’s not a fat man, he’s pretty slim”.
“Well that’s just what your sister said, but apparently, your mother said it wasn’t that kind of appetite.”
“Well I’m sure I don’t know what she’s talking about”.
“Neither did I, but your sister and your mother started giggling when they said it. I felt it best to clear out”.
We both just stood there looking at this insatiable thin man sitting possibly dead in the deckchair, wondering at things that had been said that we couldn’t understand. And knowing that there were so many unknown unknowns out there that we knew we’d never know. And while we were standing there looking at him, a fly flew down onto his top lip and wandered along and walked right up his filtrum and into one nostril. A second later the chap sneezed and the fly flew out again.
But the sneeze had proved one thing at least this chap was still alive. And so just in case his mysterious appetite involved eating small boys we were off, cycling away into the sunset.