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Mrs. Peabody and the Curious Sweater
“What you got in your pocket four eyes, is it my lunch money?” “I only got 50 cents today and my Mom said I have to get milk!” little Frank Bishop insisted to Bart Mulroney, the biggest and meanest kid at the North Park Elementary School. “Well, I don’t see your Mom anywhere. All I see is my fist and that’s what you’ll be seeing if you don’t give me what you got.” Once again little Frankie handed over his lunch money and would have to go without yet another day.
Frankie lived with is Mom in a small apartment just behind the laundry where his Mom
stitched and washed the wears and tears of the folks in their little town. Since his Daddy had not come back from the business trip 2 years before, they had to scrape out a living the best they could. Frankie’s Mom’s name was Isabel and she had a hard enough time trying to do all the work at the little laundry herself without having to deal with her mean old Boss as well. He would make her work 2 hours extra everyday then say he wouldn’t pay her for it because she was just making up for how slow she was. Things were tuff for Isbell and Frankie but they were happy to have each other. Nowhere could you find a more generous mother then what Isabel was to Frankie. Many nights she had gone hungry so Frankie could have his fill. She didn’t care though, Frankie was the most important accomplishment she had and she was going to make sure he would grow up big and strong.
Frankie was doing ok for a little guy. He was shorter than the other kids his age. He had freckles on his nose and had worn glasses since he could remember. This made him very popular with all the other kids at school. Hey little four eyes, Freaky Frankie or Freckle Head the kids would call out when he would walk by. He was a nice boy and kind of shy but this did not save him from the heckling each day. “Frankie, don’t worry” his mother would tell him. “The other children are just unhappy.” “But Mom, why do they have to take it out on me?” Frankie asked. “I don’t know, honey, I think that children want to feel that they can be powerful and not weak. By seeking out those that they feel won’t be a threat, they can try out there fantasies of being powerful. You know that most times if you will confront the children who are doing this with a bold stance, you will take away that feeling and they will not bother you anymore.” his Mom suggested. “I do realize you aren’t very tall and I know it is hard but I will support you. If you are having trouble with the kids at school, you just tell me their names and I will talk to they're mother’s.”
Frankie considered this but he also considered what the other kids would do to him when they were all alone at school. He had been beaten up before and the kids would just lie and say he was a liar. No, he was just going to have to pay his lunch money and lay low until he got a little bigger and could take care of himself someday.
“There he is, get him!” Marnie called out to the other two girls. “He went down that alley, go around the other way and we’ll trap him.” Marnie was another bully little Frankie had to contend with on a regular basis. She and her two friends would chase him down and do mean things like make him eat dirt or give him an Indian burn on his head. There was no end to the names they had for him and none of them were Frankie. He was a boy with plenty of villains in his life. There was Bart, Marnie and her two friends Debbie and Patricia, Danny the son of the local Butcher and then there was Ricky. Ricky was the worst of all because his Father was Ben Stamps, his mother’s Boss. Ricky Stamps wasn’t in elementary school, he was in middle school and he would be there when Frankie came around the corner by his house everyday. “Hey Kid, where do you think you’re going?” Ricky would say, “Not without paying your debt to society your not.” Ricky would make him do things that were not very nice. He would say, “I want you to go up to Mrs. Hinkle’s door and ring the door bell and run.” Mrs. Hinkle was an Elderly woman who had to put a great deal of effort into getting to her front door. Other times he would have a couple of eggs in his hand and Frankie would have to throw them at Mr. Hadley’s new Cadillac. If Frankie refused to serve Ricky’s mean spirited endeavors, Ricky would tell his Dad that he saw Frankie’s mom take money out of the till or other things that would only make things worse for his poor mother. It seemed Frankie was destined to be harassed and bullied for sometime to come, he would just have to make the best of it.
“Frankie, is that you?” asked his mother when she heard the front door slam. When she got no response she went to Frankie’s room. When she opened the door she couldn’t see him but she could hear a soft whimpering coming from behind the closet door. After a brief look around, she opened the closet door where she found him on the floor, crying.
“Frankie, what is?” his mother said now very worried. “Nothing Mom” Frankie replied.
“Oh, I see, you just like the solitude of your closet.” “Yes Mom, it is quiet and I can think about my homework.” Frankie said in a sad tone. “Frankie, you know I love you and if something’s wrong you can tell me” Frankie thought about what Ricky had said that day.
“You’re gonna go into that store over there and steal me a candy bar or else.” “No way I’m gonna steal nothing for you” Frankie said trying to stand up for himself as best he could. “Well if you don’t I’m gonna make sure your Mom gets fired. I’m gonna put blue dye in the laundry vat and that will take care of her.”
The last thing Frankie wanted was to be responsible for his Mom getting fired so he went in the liquor store and when no one was looking, grabbed the big size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and stuck them under his shirt. But Mr. Hanson, the store owner, had been watching in the mirror on the wall and stopped him on the way out. “Hey stop there” he yelled out. “Come over here now, what you got under your shirt there.” Frankie slowly lifted his shirt and revealed the chocolate loot. “Aren’t you Frankie Bishop, Isabel’s son? Yes it is, my my, what do you think you are doing, aren’t you a little young for a life of crime?” “Frankie only stared at him, ashamed for what he had done but not able to tell of the true circumstances behind his crime spree. “Well, I’ll let you off this time but if you come in here again you better be with your Mom or I will call the police and let them deal with you. Now get out of here.” “With that Frankie ran off towards his home. He could see Ricky sitting on the fence with a dissatisfied look on his face. So Frankie ran home, sure that the worst was soon to come once Ricky did his vengeful deed.
“No Mom, I’m alright, I….I just fell and hurt my knee and I didn’t want you to see me cry.” he told his Mother. “Well, you know you can come to me.” she said. If only he could.
Frankie was running as swiftly as he could down Patterson St. up Birmingham, left on Chapman ducking behind cars and into alleys when he could. Mernie and her posse were hot on his tale and they were in a bad mood. Whatever the circumstances that affected their day, they were now out to pass on a few of the sour persimmons to little Frankie.
Frankie was as tired as he could be from all the running. He was amazed by how much stamina he had these days, maybe he should try out for track and field when and if he ever made it to middle school. He ran passed an old truck and dove into the bushes scraping his hands and knees in the process. He wasn’t sure where he was and hoped that when the terrible trio had given up, he would be able to find his way home. “Home,” he thought, “What terrible things did Ricky have in store for him and his Mom.” He didn’t want to think about that right now, one disaster at a time.
“I can tell you there ain’t much to interest a little boy such as yourself in them bushes.” said a voice behind him. Frankie was frozen, what or who now would be wanting to torment him. He turned and saw an old lady sitting on the porch of the house who’s bushes he had so rudely invaded. “Oh, I’m sorry Ma’am,” Frankie said, “I was just trying to find my dog and I thought he may have run in there.” “Well fancy that.” The old woman replied. “Must be a fast critter since I didn’t see no mutts tromping in my yard, only little boys."
“Yes Ma’am.” Frankie said solemnly. Frankie noticed the long dark dress the old lady was wearing as well as the large hooped earrings and flowery scarf covering her black and gray streaked hair. She looked a bit like the pictures he had seen of an old gypsy. “Well something must bring ye tresspassin into an old ladies yard.” “Uh, no Ma’am.” “Hmm,” the old lady replied, “So I guess that horde of wild vermin that was runnin down the street were chasing the same dog?” Frankie, deciding he had enough story telling for the day said, “No Ma’am, they was aimin to get me I guess.” “Oh, so you be a fetchin young lad and the girls be runnin after ya in packs? I see things have changed since I was a girl.”
“Uh, no Ma’am, they're aimin to give me a wedgy.” “A Wedgy! I don’t know what that is but it sounds kinda painful.” “Yes Ma’am” Frankie replied. “Now what you been up to ta cause them girls to want to wedgy you?” “Mrs. Farmer’s kitten Ma’am.” Slightly puzzled the old lady asked, “So they don’t like cats?” “No Ma’am, I was comin home from school and I saw them throwing rocks at Mrs. Farmers kitten. I picked up the cat and ran it up to the house and put it inside the screen, they been after me ever since.” “Oh, I see, and have you told your mother about all this?” “No ma’am.” “Oh, so you be likin the attention I take it?” “No Ma’am” “Goodness boy, your mighty polite for such a daredevil as you must be.” “Yes Ma’am”. “Ok boy, my names not Ma’am, you can call me Mrs. Peabody.” “Yes Ma’am.” “Yes Mrs. Peabody.” she replied.
Mrs. Peabody had lived in the old house on Chapman Rd. since she was born. That had been over 97 years ago. Few had ever seen Mrs. Peabody around the town and few even knew she existed. Most of those from her time were long dead and she didn’t get out but twice a year when she would travel to the market and spend huge sums of money stocking up on what she needed. Even sitting on her front porch was extremely rare and he had happened by on one of those occasions. There had been rumors about an evil witch that lived in their little town but those were all dismissed and this didn’t look much like a witch, more like a gypsy.
“So boy,” asked Mrs. Peabody, “Why don’t you tell me why you been runnin from all the folks in town, but you ain’t let nobody know who can help ya?” Frankie was surprised by this. How would this stranger have any idea of what his life was like. But he didn’t care right now. He suddenly felt he couldn’t hold it inside any longer and just had to let it out.
So he proceeded to tell Mrs. Peabody the whole miserable tale.
“I see,” said Mrs. Peabody sorrowfully as she saw the tears rolling down Frankie’s face. “It sounds like you been acting more than a boy, you been acting a man.” This thought had never crossed Frankie’s mind before. He was little Frankie, barely 4 feet tall, how could he be a man? “That’s right son, it takes a big heart to stand that kind of goins on and protectin your Mother like your doin is out right the act of man, not a boy.”
Now for as long as Frankie could remember, nothing had made such an impression on him as the thought that he was more grown up inside than any of the bullies who had height on him. “Really Ma…I mean Mrs. Peabody? Frankie inquired. “Just as sure as the crows fly straight to the cornfields.” Mrs. Peabody replied.
“You know son, it takes heart to make it in this world and when that’s not enough it takes something a little extra special.” “Yes, Ma’am, more lunch money.” Mrs. Peabody laughed, “No son, it takes something special, something you can’t find at the local market place. It takes something made just for the occasion. As a matter of fact I think I may have something for such an occasion just in the door there if you’ll be so kind as to wait a moment.” “Sure Mrs. Peabody” Frankie said.
Mrs. Peabody slowly got out of her chair and made her way into the house. He hadn’t realized how old the woman really was until she stood up all hunched over with what looked like a small hump on her back. He didn’t think he had ever known people that got that old.
When Mrs. Peabody returned, she was carrying what seemed to be a small sweater. It wasn’t a very attractive looking garment and he was hoping that this wasn’t what all the suspense was about.
“Here you are boy, just your size I recon.” “Uh, Ma’am, what is it?” “What does it look like boy, a penguin? It’s a sweater.” Frankie looked at the curious garment. It was plain in pattern and looked like it was knitted with every color of yarn on the planet. Great, now the kids would have one more reason to pick on him at school. “Uh, thanks Ma’am” Frankie said now a little disappointed that his life wasn’t going to be changing for the better anytime soon. “Now don’t you worry boy, you just wear that sweater where ever you go and you will stay good and warm, you’ll feel better with each passing day. You’ve my word on that.” Frankie took the sweater which did seem to be just his size. He figured he might as well take it since she had been kind to him. Maybe he would wear it. Maybe it would make him feel better. It was worth a try. So off Frankie ran, sweater in tow trying to make it home before his Mom got worried, she was always worried.
As Frankie opened the door to his little apartment, he could hear what sounded like sobs coming from within. “Mom.” he cried out, suddenly remembering the incident with Ricky. He found his Mom sitting at the little white dining table in the kitchenette. She was sobbing uncontrollably with black streaked tears running down her face, reworking her morning make-up.
“What’s the matter Mommy?” Frankie asked as if he didn’t already know. His Mom did not answer him, it was too painful, how could she tell him she had lost her job, the only thing she had left to give little Frankie. Everything seemed lost, destined for something unknown and unwanted. She had no words to give him, only sobs that seemed to keep coming with no real end in sight.
“Mommy, I know what happened.” Frankie admitted realizing the hopelessness of trying to protect his Mom any further. He might actually be responsible, if only he had been more careful when he was doing his dirty deed, maybe this could have been avoided.
“It’s my fault Mom.” Frankie said as he broke out in uncontrollable tears, tears too long in coming. “It’s all my fault!” This admission seemed to break the spell of despair Isabel had been in. She looked at Frankie, what a little man, trying to take the burden of her incompetence on to his little shoulders, he wasn’t so little after all she thought.
“Don’t blame yourself Frankie. It’s not your fault. I was responsible for accidentally putting the dye in the laundry vat. But its ok, we will make it somehow.” She went over and grabbed him into her arms and held him close where they both had a good long cry together.
The next morning Frankie’s Mom got him ready for school and packed him a modest peanut butter sandwich and apple lunch. “Oh, what’s this Frankie?” she asked noticing the curious sweater he had brought home. “Nothing Mom.” Frankie replied thinking nothing of what happened the night before, now lost amongst the current misfortunes.
“I don’t remember buying this for you at the thrift store, and very odd, I’ve never seen a material quite like it at the laundry. Where did you get it?” He thought about it for a second then he remembered. “Mrs. Peabody Mom,” he said “I got it from Mrs. Peabody last night.” Now that was interesting, she somehow knew that name. She wasn’t exactly sure how but it stuck in the back of her mind like a dream you couldn’t quite remember.
Perhaps it was something from her childhood, something she thought she should remember, something that might be important.
“Well, it’s a bit curious looking but it looks comfortable, lets put it on and have a look.”
She slipped the multi-colored garment on to his little shoulders and turned him a round for a look. It wasn’t too bad, it seemed to fit him well, quite well in fact. It made him look, actually she wasn’t sure what it was but it somehow made him look, she guessed strong was the only word that came to her. For such a little skinny guy, he seemed almost muscular as she turned him from front to back. She put her hands on his shoulders, my goodness she thought as she felt what seemed to be knotted muscles the size of lemons running from his neck to his shoulders. She turned him around and pulled
the sweater off his shoulders revealing the tiniest set of shoulders she could remember seeing on a boy his age. The sweater was no thicker than a few wisps of yarn. When she put the sweater back on, it was clear that her imagination was getting the best of her. Little Frankie Bishop she mused, she would have to go out and secure herself a new job fast if she wanted to see him grow up big and strong. It’s clear that her imagination was just in a hurry, teasing her with a glimpse of the growing boy. She handed him his lunch and kissed his cheek. “Be a good boy Frankie.” “I will Mom” he replied. “Love you!” “Love you too!”
Today was not going to be a good day, Frankie thought as he approached the corner. Today he had all the terrorist bullies mad at him. He was sure to get beat up 4 or 5 times and that was just before lunch. At least he would be warm, the sweater seemed to be quite comfortable. Actually it was quite comforting, something about it seemed to make him feel a little more safe. This must be what the old woman meant, it seemed to make him feel better, it was just what he needed. He would have to go back and thank her for making his day a little better.
“What you got in your pocket four eyes?” he heard as he came around the side of the school building. Great, it would have to be Bart Mulroney to start out his day of unhappy events. “Where’s my lunch money pip squeak?” Bart demanded. “I don’t have any money today” Frankie replied knowing this wasn’t going to be good. “C’mon toad breath, you got 5 seconds to give me my money or you’ll be eating your lunch early today and it will taste just like my fist.” “Really Bart, I don’t have any money today, my Mom lost her job and we don’t have any money.” Frankie explained hoping there was an ounce of decency hiding somewhere in that monster of a kid. But it became clear that there was not, he was going to be having lunch early and it wasn’t going to taste very good at all.
“Ok, little creepo, get ready for your breakfast” Bart said as he threw a right hook to the side of little Frankie’s face. Frankie closed his eyes and cringed back, bringing his hands up to try to soften the blow the best he could. There was a jolt, and he shook a bit, and he waited for a second, but no blow came. Puzzled, he opened his eyes to find the face of mean old Bart a foot away from his face with a look of bewilderment plastered across it.
He saw that he had a hold of Bart’s wrist and had apparently stopped the blow in progress.
He was now holding onto his wrist, squeezing it and it seemed to be having an affect on Bart. As he squeezed, he could see Bart’s face turning red and a look of what appeared to be extreme pain growing quickly. As he looked he also noticed that something was wrong with his arm. It seemed to be swelling, it was swelling into two, no three times the size. Then he heard something that sounded like a baseball bat cracking in half as Bart screamed out in pain. He had just snapped Bart’s wrist in two, and he did it with little effort. He let go of Bart’s wrist and ran off down the walkway, puzzled and a little scared yet somehow mystified, amazed, excited and feeling really good.
As he sat in the classroom, looking at his arm which didn’t seem to look any different than it always did, he pondered what had happened. How was it possible that he could have had that much strength? What had this curious looking sweater done to him?
Something was different and it filled him with something he had never felt before, confidence. But what if it was an accident, what if it was a one time deal. Would Bart be coming for revenge and take it out in blood? Suddenly he wasn’t feeling so good anymore.
When the bell rang sounding the end of class, Frankie could barely think as he thought about the terrible beatings he had seemed sure would be coming soon and the possibilities of what secrets this curious sweater may hold. He had not the boldness or the courage to trust he would be able to repeat the amazing show of strength he had experienced earlier, yet he knew he had to face his tormentors whether he wanted to or not. So, sucking in his little stomach and pulling his sweater full around him, he stepped out of the classroom, what would come would come.
As he came around the corner of the cafeteria he heard his name being called. “Frank Bishop, come her right away!” It was Mr. Baggins the school principle. Now he’d had it for sure. Maybe they would take him to jail or even take his Mom to jail for his terrible deed. “Come with me right now!” Mr. Baggins demanded in a stern deep voice.
He walked just in front of Mr. Baggins as he was escorted into the principles office for what was sure to be the worst scolding of his life. He sat down in the little chair that faced the big oak desk. Mr. Baggins sat down in his high backed chair behind the desk and stared at him with a look of what was either distaste or anger, he wasn’t sure which.
After a gut wrenching minute or two of silence, Mr. Baggins surprised him practically out of his socks when he broke in to a loud deep chortle of a laugh. “My goodness,” Mr. Baggins chimed, “You, break Bart Mulroney’s arm with one hand, son, you don’t look like you could snap a twig with one hand. "Do you have any information about what happened to Bart? He says you had something to do with it.” “A… Well Sir… A….” Frankie murmured, “I really don’t know what he is talking about. I guess he’ll have a little trouble trying to punch me in the face for a while but that’s fine with me. I guess he should be more careful when he is playing.” Mr. Baggins eyed him for a minute then said, “Hmm… I guess your right, he does seem to be a bit rough, maybe he’ll learn a valuable lesson from all this.” Mr. Baggins didn’t know what to make of what Frankie had said but just the same he knew Bart had something coming to him for the way he treated others. “Yes, son, I believe he may learn a valuable lesson from this somehow. You be careful now, wouldn’t want any playground accidents happening to you, if you get my meaning. If anybody, like Bart, gives you any trouble, you come tell me right away, Ok?” “Yes sir Mr. Baggins” Frankie replied now relieved to hear he wouldn’t be sleeping in a cell tonight. “Now go on home Son.” “Thanks Sir” Frankie replied running out the door of the little office.
Wow, what a feeling, one of his Nemesis was now reduced to a crying cripple, well he deserved what he got, Frankie thought. But Bart wasn’t his only Nemesis, he still had Marnie and the clan as well as Ricky to contend with. At least he hadn’t seen Danny, the Butcher’s son for a while now. Maybe he was in trouble for some cruel deed, and was serving his time locked in the basement? That was fine with him whatever the reason, he had enough trouble for now. How long before he would have to contend with the next maniacal menaces he wondered? Not long it turned out because coming down the street were Marnie and her clan. “Oh no,” he said to himself. Not only were Marnie and her two sidekicks coming down the street towards him, she had acquired three more accomplices and they were all carrying things, more like long blunt objects. He turned and ran as fast as he could. He ran like the wind, completely aware that he was being chased by six girls the size of buildings, or was it three now, where had the others gone?
As he looked back trying to figure out where all of the pack members were, he ran straight into Marnie who was standing in front of him. He bounced off her like a rubber ball hitting a Grand Oak. Now he was flat on his back with six members of the “Kill Frankie Club” looming over him, slapping their sticks and clubs in their hands.
“So, you think you can run away when I tell you to do something? You don’t think there would be punishment for trying to make me look stupid?" Marnie said with a look of shear hatred in her eyes. “What do you think I ought to do with you?” “Let’s give him a wedgy.” Patricia offered. “No, lets make him eat a mud pie.” said another of the group.
“No, I got bigger plans for you.” replied Marnie. “What we gonnna do to him?” asked Becky, one of the new members. “We’re gonna take him over to the 5th street bridge and drop him into the river to see if he can swim.” Marnie said with a look of satisfaction.
All the other girls looked at Marnie with a little surprise. “But he could drown!” Debbie exclaimed, “Ya, what if he gets hurt?” Patricia asked. “Isn’t that the point? We’re gonna teach this kid a lesson real good. If any of you all’s wants to challenge me, best do it right now.” The other girls just looked at her. “Let’s go wimp.” She reached down and grabbed Frankie by the hair, pulling him up onto his feet. “Owe!!” Frankie yelled. “Shut up dirt bag or I’ll clock you with this stick, got it?” Marnie said now intent on doing something she might later regret, but that was later.
Isabel had been on the phone all morning trying to find someone in town who might be willing to let her come down for an interview. There weren’t many places of employment in the small town as most would commute to the next town that was full of industry and factories. She had been fortunate to have a job just at the corner. She didn’t own a car and didn’t even have a driver’s license. Working at the market or the Barber’s or the little book shop were most of her choices and those jobs were filled with lifers, not much chance of a job opening unless someone died. She was on the phone when she heard a knock at the door. “Is that you Frankie?" She asked from inside the door. “No, it’s Mr. Stamps.” replied the voice. “I want to talk to you about your job.” Oh thank god, she thought, there might be hope after all. She opened the door and stood there, surprised a bit, not understanding why the deception. “Ricky, what are you doing here?” she asked. Suddenly Ricky burst in tackling Isabel and landing her flat on her back. She struck the wood floor so hard it knocked her instantly unconscious. Ricky got back up and looked at her a moment, his fantasies were about to meet reality, he was going to have some fun. He got up, closed and locked the door, then turned and said, “Time for a little pay back Frankie boy.”
What had happened, Frankie thought, why hadn’t his sweater helped him out of this jam?
He supposed that perhaps he only got one shot at whatever unforeseen phenomenon had saved him from his last sure beating. I guess who ever bewitched the curios garment, they hadn’t foreseen anyone with his unfortunate lot in life, too much for even a magic sweater to handle. It was too bad for him for sure since Marnie now had him up and over the rail, dangling him 30 feet above the cold river. “No, help me!” he screamed. There was no one around for at least a mile so his plea's went unheard. “C’mon Marnie, quit jokin, this isn’t funny any more.” Patricia said now ashamed and frightened for little Frankie. “Shut up!” Marnie said, “You guys are in this as much as I am and if any of you ever says a word, I will do the same to you, get me?” “I’m not part of this.” Debbie said turning and running away. “Me neither.” “Or me.” “I’m gone.” Patricia said being the last of the clan to depart. “I’m not through with you, you’re all gonna hear from me real soon.” Marnie yelled back at them. “But first I’m gonna take care of you, she said turning her attention to the little shrimp of a kid she had been so effortlessly dangling over the edge of the bridge. “Please, I beg you!” cried Frankie, in sort of a dream state that occurs when the end is near, a sort of emergency disassociation your mind takes as a stance for impending doom. “Plead all you want brat, I never liked you, with your scrawny legs, and freckled face and four eyes. You think your better than me? You think you can turn me down when I ask you to play?” “But that was nasty play, I’m not allowed to do that, my Mom told me….” “When I’m around I’m in charge, now your gonna see what little brats who try to make me look like a fool get. You ready?” Frankie did not answer, he was looking out in a hopeless daydream, not feeling much like anything, or was he? Suddenly he felt something strange happening. He felt as though he were light as a feather. Was he falling to his demise, with nothing but the cold wet river awaiting him? No, He was still hanging there. But he felt as though his arms had suddenly grown 10 times stronger in just a second. “Bye fool.” Marnie said as she let go of his hands. She let go, but he wasn’t falling, he had a hold of her hands. She tried to wriggle her hands free from his grip but it was quickly becoming like iron. His small hands had suddenly grown so powerful, that they were like vices, clamping down. She tried to scream but the pain was too much for her mind to process any other thought. Frankie let go with one hand, then swung around and started to climb up her arms, each grasp, a grip of steel. Up her arms he crawled, snapping bones as he went. When he reached her face, he did not stop. His grip snapped her jaw then cheek then sub-orbital. He was back over the railing now, Marnie was lying there motionless, the iron grip of his little hands having cracked her skull, killing her instantly. He looked at her body and thought about what had happened. He knew this was bad but what choice did he have? His destiny had been a cold watery grave and now he was standing victorious over his tormentor, only one thing to do, he thought. He reached down and with one hand picked up the 150 pound body and threw her 10 feet into the air, over the bridge and into her grave of choice. Good bye to Marnie Stone.
As Isabel slowly opened her eyes, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She was gagged and tied to the posts of her bed with all her cloths removed and Ricky standing over her. He was looking at her but he wasn’t really seeing her. He was in a sort of vegetative state and was rocking back and forth ever so slightly. After a minute or so, his eyes lost they're glaze and he was seeing her again. Whatever was wrong with Ricky Stamps it wasn’t good, wouldn’t be good for many in the future the way things were playing out. She tried to scream to him to think about what he was doing, to reconsider before it was too late. Ricky was not himself now, he wasn’t in touch with any reality that might have reasoned with him, he was on a mission, nothing and no one could stop him.
He went over to her bed, in his hand was a butcher knife he had found in the kitchen. He looked at her naked body, desire and lust raging, knowing soon they would be fully satisfied. He ran the edge of the knife across her breast as he wondered what it would be like cutting up a beautiful woman like her, much more exciting he expected than when he chopped up Danny Parker, the Butcher’s son, this was going to be much better.
He began to remove his cloths, she could see he was very interested in what he was doing and was starting to realize the hopelessness of the situation. What would become of poor little Frankie? Would he meet his end at the hands of this blossoming serial killer?
Such despair came over her as the rest of her family’s life played out in her mind, what a tragedy.
Ricky was on top of her now, he had penetrated her and was quickly reaching climax, spelling what would soon be the end of her life. As he looked into her face and thrust what was to be his final surge, his eyes suddenly grew distorted, as if in some kind of great pain. The next second he was off her, off and coming into hard contact with the ceiling. His head hit so hard it broke right through the tiles. His body hit the floor for a second then he found himself in the bathroom, he wasn’t sure how he got there but was sure it was not through the door. He screamed out as he realized there were multiple broken bones registering in his brain. He looked at the doorway to the little bathroom. Standing there was little Frankie Bishop, but he wasn’t so little, though he still had tiny legs, his Torso and arms had grown into muscular hulks rivaled by only the most dedicated of body builders, and he was wearing one peculiar looking sweater.
“What are you doing? Leave me alone.” Ricky pleaded. “Time for that ended when you hurt my Mom. You owe me a lot but you owe my Mom even more.” “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Ricky pleaded. “Please let me go.” “Can’t do that Ricky, you’ve hurt too many people and my Mom lost her job. Now you are going to kill her and me? Sounds like you got something coming to you and tonight you’re going to get it.” With that Frankie walked over to Ricky and placed a hand on Ricky's knee. Looking straight into his eyes he squeezed causing the knee to explode like a ruptured water balloon. Ricky screamed out in agony as he realized he had probably just passed the pain threshold he had been responsible for on at least two others in his lifetime. He would never walk again, and the way things were going, he would probably never breath again after too long. Frankie placed his hand on Ricky’s other knee and started to squeeze, then, he paused. “Do you want to live Ricky?”
“Yes, yes please!” Ricky moaned. “Ok, then there’s something you will need to do. You have some things to make up for and you can either take your medicine or you won’t be needing any after tonight.” “Anything, what, what do you want me to do?”
Frankie and his Mom sat on the couch each in the others clutch. The Ambulance was wheeling Ricky out of the room on a stretcher as Ricky’s dad conveyed the whole story to the police. Ricky had traded the truth for his life. He had told his dad about the incident at the laundry, what he had or had almost done at the Bishops, and what he had done to Danny and 6 year old Tina. His life as he knew it was over and he would spend the rest of it in institutions. Mr. Stamps apologized to Mrs. Bishop and offered her back her job but at double the salary and with some additional help. Frankie never put the curious sweater on again.
Frankie lived a good life and no one ever bothered him again. The sweater remained tucked away for 87 years in the closet of his modest house. That was until the day he heard a noise outside his front porch. Through the window he saw what must have been the scrawniest kid he had ever seen, crouching behind his garbage cans, well almost the scrawniest. He opened the door just as a group of what must have been ten dark skinned boys with red bandanas around their heads ran past his house, all looking for something or someone. “Looking for your dog?” Mr. Bishop asked. “Uh, yes sir” replied the boy. “I thought so.” said old Mr. Bishop. I think I have something that may help you find it, if you’ll trust an old man.”