and wasn’t ashamed after finishing it. Now I am just disappointed that I didn’t have enough technical skills to make the story better. I’ve done some editing, but it’s essentially a lost cause. It was written more than a decade ago, back when I apparently had an aversion to consistently putting periods at the end of sentences. It’s poorly written, but I think my heart was in the right place.
Disclaimer (for the one person who may come across this and actually read it): The pedophile vibe is stronger with this story than I remember. The story was heavily inspired by J.D. Salinger’s story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” and that’s the feel I was going for, disturbing but also darkly beautiful.
By Ron Cypress
It was close to noon when an old, rusted blue car pulled into the parking lot of Westward Park. Sitting in the driver’s seat was a man wearing shades. His stare seemed to glance across the park. No one seemed to notice the man’s arrival, and more than likely no one would take notice of his exit from the park.
Throughout the park dozens of kids ran around while grown ups struggled to keep at their pace. Two kids were standing on one swing at the same time. A teenage boy hung upside down from one of the monkey bars. One mother was scolding her young son for hitting another child with a plastic baseball bat.
The man in the blue car watched the park scene from his car. He had watched for about ten minutes when the special little girl caught his eye. She was wearing a nice, baby blue dress and had two little ribbons in her hair to match. It didn’t take the man in the car long to realize that this was his girl; his special girl.
He sat up in his seat to get a better look at the little girl and her situation. In about a minute he was able to locate the supervisor for the young child. She was only a couple of feet away, and the young girl was soon at her side. The little girl was pointing towards the swings and grabbing the woman’s hand to drag her in the desired direction. The man in the car relaxed back in his seat. He had spotted his target and all he could do was wait for his opportunity to move forward with his mission. He watched as the woman and the little girl headed over to the swings. The little girl got sat on a swing and laughed while the woman pushed her. She swung for about ten minutes before she stopped and hopped off.
As soon as she left the swing, the little girl was running around aimlessly. The woman was too tired to try and keep up. The man watched her call to the little girl a couple of times before giving up and slowly retreating towards the benches where a couple of other worn-out adults were sitting. The man’s attention went back and forth between the little girl who had headed towards one of the slides and the woman who was slowly taking her attention away from the girl. When she reached a bench, the woman plopped down next to a man who seemed to be dedicating all his attention to the book in front of him.
The man in the car knew his opportunity had arrived. He quickly hopped out of the car and started to head in the direction of the little girl. She was standing alone under a tree. As the man got closer to her, he could see that she was talking to the tree. He glanced around nervously to see how many people were paying attention to him or the little girl.
He finally reached her and tapped her on the shoulder. She quickly turned around to see who was asking for her attention.
“Oh!” she exclaimed. “I’m done with the tree.”
She began to head back towards the other kids. The man gently grabbed her by the arm to stop her from going.
“Wait a minute,” he said “Don’t I know you?”
The little girl looked up at the man.
“I don’t know,” she said, almost whispering. “Do you know my name?”
“Your name? Hmmm, I don’t believe so. Why don’t you tell me?”
The little girl began to shake a little and tried to lightly pull her arm away from the stranger who was holding on to her.
“I can’t tell you my name because I’m not allowed to.”
“Do you know your name?”
The little girl nodded her head.
“Then you can tell me.”
She shook her head. The man reached for his sunglasses and pulled them off so he could look the little girl directly in the eyes.
“Come on,” he said smiling “Tell me. I promise not to tell anyone else.”
Staring into the man’s eyes, the little girl slowly let her name come out of her mouth.
“My name is Ashley”
The man’s smile got wider.
“You know, I thought that your name might be Ashley. Something deep inside of me knew that was your name. I bet I could have guessed it within three tries.”
The man let go of Ashley’s arm and stood straight up.
“Well, Ashley, did you know that today is your special day? Did you know that?”
Ashley shook her head.
“You didn’t. Are you serious? No one told you?”
She shook her head again.
“It’s not my birthday.” she informed him. “That’s not until about a hundred days from now.”
“No, it’s not your birthday. But it’s still your special day. You get to be the queen for the day. I can’t believe no one told you about this.”
Ashley shook her head once more.
“Nobody told me I was queen today. I’ve never been queen before. Not even at home.”
A smile was slowly working its way onto her face as the thought of being queen rested into her mind.
“Queen Ashley,” the man said. “That sounds really nice. So what does the queen want to do right now? I bet she wants to go somewhere better than this dull and boring park.”
Ashley rapidly nodded her head.
“I really wanted to go swimming, but mommy won’t take me. She said she doesn’t like the water pool.”
Ashley frowned and the man quickly frowned his face to show his sympathy for her situation.
“I bet if mommy knew you were the queen today she would have taken you.”
“I don’t think she would have. Mommy really doesn’t like the water pool. She only takes me on very special days.”
“Well, we can go to the water pool.”
Ashley’s face lit up after hearing this news.
“Can we? Can we go today?”
“We can go right now if you want to. Today is your special day. We can do whatever you want to do.”
The man took Ashley’s hand into his own. She looked up at him with a smile on her face.
“Is mommy coming with us?”
“No, mommy doesn’t like the water pool. Besides, she will just ruin your special day if she comes along with us.”
Ashley didn’t question this and went along with the man.
As they began walking, the man glanced around the park. He had completely lost track of his surrounding while talking to the little girl. No one showed any signs of being concerned about what was going on between him and the little girl. The woman who was supposed to be watching the girl wasn’t paying attention to the two leaving the area.
When they got to the car the man opened the passenger door for Ashley and helped her inside. He looked around the park to make sure that no one was watching to them. After confirming his anonymity he pulled off and drove out of the park.
“Well, Ashley, I believe we’re going to have to get you a something to wear in the water pool.”
“I have a suit in my room. I can get it.”
“Yeah…but I was planning to take you to the store to get you a brand new one. A special one. Wouldn’t that be nice? A special suit for a special girl.
“Hey, would you like to drive, Ms. Ashley?”
“Sure. Here, come sit in my lap.”
Ashley hopped out of her seat and into the man’s lap.
“Now put your hands on the wheel.”
Ashley put at the bottom of the wheel.
“See now you’re driving!”
“This is fun! I don’t want to crash, though. Crashes hurt people.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure that nothing happens. I’ve got you.”
“Look! A dog!”
“I see it”
“I like dogs but mommy doesn’t so I can’t have a real one.”
“You can’t have a real one? How sad”
“I have an invisible one though. Only I can see him. His name is Blue.”
“His fur is blue?”
“Where is Blue at now?”
“I don’t know. Probably playing with some of his friends. He will come to me when I want him.”
“Are his friends blue also”
“I can’t see his friends. I can only see him.”
“Does Blue know how to do tricks?”
“Can he fetch a bone?”
“If he wants to.”
“Do you think he would fetch a bone if I threw it?”
“I can’t wait to throw him one.”
By the time they arrived at a shopping center, dark clouds were forming in the sky.
“Miss Ashley, I believe it’s going to rain on your special day.”
“Oh no, that means no water pool. I can’t be there when it rains. No one can be there.”
“I tell you what, to make it up to you we can go to the toy store and you can get any toy that you want.”
Her eyes light up.
He held her hand as they made their way through the parking lot and to the toy store. Inside, there was a pretty good size crowd; they were mostly children and women.
“Do you know what you want Ashley?”
They walked around the store for ten minutes before Ashley found the doll that she wanted.
“I want this one.”
“Yeah, she whistles”
“It says here that she can whistle for two hours straight. That’s a lot of whistling. Are you sure that’s what you want?”
She nodded. The man grabbed the box with the doll in it and slid it under his arm.
“Can we get something for Blue also?”
“I don’t know. He can pick it. He was just here, but now he’s gone.”
“He was here in the store?”
“I didn’t know that.”
“You can’t see him.”
“Okay. Where is he?”
“I don’t know. I am going to find him, though.”
She went running off down the nearest aisle before the man could say anything.
“Blue! Blue! Come here boy!”
The man started to swiftly walk behind her as she ran down the aisle. When she reached the end of it she quickly darted over towards the next aisle and out of the man’s sight. By the time he caught up to her, she was sitting down in the middle of an aisle that was a few over from where she had started running.
“I found him.”
“That’s good. Where is he?”
“Okay. Are you guys ready to go?”
She nodded and got to her feet.
“Did you find anything for Blue?”
“No. I think he just wants food.”
“Well, I doubt they have what he likes to eat here.”
She giggled and shook her head.
After the man bought the doll, they headed back to the car.
The next place he took her was a small restaurant called Rayne’s Pizza. There the man ordered a large cheese pizza. While they waited for their food he began to question his new friend.
“Have you ever been here before, Miss Ashley?”
“Your mommy never took you here before?”
She shook her head.
“Does she ever take to restaurants to eat?”
Ashley looked as if she were thinking and then sighed. “Sometimes.”
“What about your dad? Where is he at?”
“I don’t have a daddy. He went away a long, long time ago.”
“Really? So you’ve never met your daddy?”
She shook her head.
“So it’s just you and your mommy?”
She nodded. “Sometimes Mr. Dan lives with us. He’s mommy’s friend.”
“Oh….Do you like Mr. Dan?”
She shrugged. “Blue doesn’t like him. One time he kicked Blue. Really, really hard. Blue started crying and so did I.”
“Why did he kick him?”
“Cause Blue and I were playing and making lots of noise. Mr. Dan didn’t like that so he kicked Blue. Mommy didn’t do anything when I told her. I was really angry that time.”
“Has Mr. Dan done anything else to Blue?”
“No, Blue doesn’t come around when Mr. Dan is there. He doesn’t like him. I bet when Blue gets bigger and stronger he will get Mr. Dan.
“Do you think your daddy would have treated Blue better than Mr. Dan?”
She nodded. “I think my daddy was the nicest guy in the whole world.”
“Did your mom tell you he was?”
She shook her head. “No. I just know that he was.”
A waiter brought out their food to them. The man put two slices on a plate for Ashley. He told her to wait a few minutes so that the pizza could cool down. After exactly two minutes passed, Ashley was allowed to eat. The man watched as she stuff the pizza into her mouth.
“Is the pizza good?”
“Is it the best you’ve ever had?”
“Not sure. Aren’t you going to eat?”
“I’m not that hungry.”
“I remember when me and my dad use to eat at restaurants together. It didn’t happen often, but it was great when it did.”
“Where is your daddy?”
The man looked down at the table. “He’s gone now.”
“Far, far away.”
The man noticed that Ashley was picking cheese off her pizza and dropping it to the floor.
“Why are you dropping cheese on the floor?”
“Because Blue is down there, and he likes the cheese.”
After Ashley was done eating they went out to the parking lot where a bald-headed man wearing sunglasses greeted them.
“Is this her?” the bald-headed man asked.
“Yeah.” The man who owned the blue car knelt down so that he was eye to eye with Ashley. “Ms. Ashley, this man here is going to take you home now. I’ve enjoyed the time we spent together and hope we can do it again real soon.”
“I am going home to Mommy now?”
“Let me get your doll for you.” The man went into his back seat and grabbed Whistling Wendy. He handed it to Ashley. “I want you to think of me every time you play with this doll. Just in case I don’t ever see you again.”
“I hope I see you again”
“So do I.”
“Blue wants to see you again also. He’s licking your shoe right now. That means he likes you.”
The man who owned the blue car smiled. “I like him too.”
Ashley left with the bald man and the man who owned the blue car was left in the parking lot. The man sat in his blue car for a while and stared out the window. He was solemn, but suddenly a grin appeared on his face.
“Blue,” he whispered.