Sugar Mountain High XII

I suppose you know everything until you are confronted with something that reminds you that you actually know very little. I thought I knew Elmo. I don’t mean that I could predict his every move and thought. Rather, I had an understanding of his spirit, to use that old fashioned term. I knew him as a kindred spirit. And even to this day, I am still confident that Elmo could have been one of the greats, of whom it is spoken long after they have lived. Perhaps his actions on that day even defined his greatness.

Let me say that I do not agree… no, that is not the right word. I do not condone what he did. I could not have predicted his actions, but I understood why he did it, after the fact. Elmo had long suffered at the hands of certain people. We, his friends often made fun of him, his afflictions. How could we not? He was extremely funny, with his gait, and his mannerisms. I could not say Elmo was this, or Elmo was that, since we did not have the luxury of comparing him with someone of his ilk. He just stood out from us. So we made fun of him, but we were never rude. At least, I hope we never were.

Other people, on the other hand, went beyond that. They mocked him, they were cruel, they laughed at him, not out of fun, but from malice. We were different: to us he was just a joke. But to those others he was all that was wrong with their world. They hounded him like a dog, if you’ll pardon the expression. They chased him, they kicked him, they spat at him. He could do nothing in return: his limp leg made it impossible for him to chase anyone. And his weak upper limbs would have tickled them rather than hurt them if he could catch them. So he was forced to just let things go by. I don’t know how he managed. We never discussed it with him. It’s not as though we could do anything about it, anyway. That was the way of the world.

So poor old Elmo had to stick it out. Until that fateful day. But perhaps he had planned it all along. Perhaps the introduction of Pedro into our group was all part of his plan. I pondered this as I stood in his room, waiting for the cupboard to swing open completely. There was one boy in particular who taunted Elmo no end. His name was Willie.

So it came as no surprise, although, again, I could not have predicted it, when Willie’s headless corpse was revealed against the back of the cupboard, as the door completed its arc. I knew it was Willie because his head rolled out of the cupboard. It had probably been what caused the door to open.

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