Hiya, it’s getting out of hand😳 so here is the first half… I’ll post the final part asap.
The Beast of Bodmin Moor
Epilogue Pt 1
Two weeks later…
Phin could scarce stop from jigging in his seat as he did waiting for Jake to take his place at the mic stand. The Albion was as busy as can be with punters aplenty buzzing about like bees in Phin’s bonnet. He wasn’t wearing one of those, just fluffy earmuffs to do dampening their racket. Splendid they were too, so he was glad his mum had bought them many moons ago, or Phin would’ve found himself plugged. Not in a fun way. By a certain foxy fusspot whose fretting made the muffs far more of a must than the clatter and chatter they were supposed to do drowning out. Ear-stuffer-uppers had sounded way more scratchy than a bit of hub-bub.
Phin didn’t mind the muffs one bit: Jake had refrained from plugging him, and better yet, Mr Fuss-a-lot might be able to do less fretting about Phin and more focusing on his music.
As an added bonus, his trusty muffs were so fabulous they seemed to do calling for a feather boa to wear with them, as befitted such an auspicious occasion. Phin was about to see Jake play in public for the first time ever. He had done lots of listening at home but— A thought interrupted by a smile so creamy it was a wonder Phin’s whiskers hadn’t sprouted. Home. Jake and Phin’s home. Home sweet home. Home is where the heart is. Turns o’phrase that came as thick ‘n’ fast as… oh dear.
Phin did crossing his legs and tugged his jumper down a tad. It was a good job Jake wasn’t standing at the mic stand or Phin might have needed to spring up and do catching it. Oh dear deux. What a t’do. I’m a poet and I didn’t know it. Tra la la boom de yay, my knickers flew away…in tatters yesterday… Crikey, his brain was having such a fizzy fit of the fidgets, Phin could scarce do keeping up. Cue Mutley snicker. It was ’nuff to cause whiplash; as-yellow-as-a-sou’wester-hat whiplash. Where was I?
Ah, that was it…the muffs. He’d been gifted them by his mum when scratchy matters had run amok in Phin’s teens. He’d promised Jake he would do wearing them as a compromise after refusing the pluggers. The muffs were far preferable; Phin was accustomed to them and they also did pressing the sides of his head; a thing that oft helped when his marbles were pinging about too much. It felt…settling, similar to pressing the heels of his hands to his temples when the scratchiness got too much.
Anyhoo, Phin had assured Jake that the muffs were ‘mum approved’, which was surely proof of their pudding. That didn’t sound quite right. Not a lot did while sporting fluffy ear-flaps. Their fabulosity had proved so potent that Jake took one look at them and did blinking a bit when Phin rooted them out to show him.
“I now find myself absurdly relieved by the brandishing of a pair of earmuffs…” Jake did rolling his eyes and sighed with weirdly gusty extravagance. “How long ago did you tell your mum?”
“I didn’t…the paediatrician did. P’raps when I was three?”
“Three!? What the fuck made them so sure? Let alone tell your mum?”
Huh? Has Jake gone doolally? Isn’t that their job?
“Um…I didn’t do listening, which made them think I was deaf. So they did testing and came to the conclusion that I just ignored stuff I didn’t find interesting. And p’raps people too.”
“Tested?” Jake frowned. “Hang on, I’ve lost the plot…what were you tested for?”
“To see if I was deaf, I just told you…before they did deciding on Autism. It does my dad’s head in, but my mum’s always been supportive.”
“Oh gawd…” Jake’s shoulders were quaking when he did what was called a ‘face palm’. The most literal turn of phrase Phin had ever heard in his life. Did that do disqualifying it as one? “What I meant was: how long ago did you come out?”
Come out? Well, dang. Was there a kinktastic sex practice involving muffs Phin had missed in his many hours of research?
“I didn’t. It would have made her do worrying even more…in a Brokeback sort of way. She did very lots of crying when we saw it on telly.”
“Phin…I can’t help but suspect that…it’s a smidge too late to fret about worrying her. Or ‘coming out’.
“She knows?” How!? Had she done finding the box of blue-eyed boys under Phin’s bed? Read his journal? His Kindle? What made Jake so sure?
“Phin, she bought you rainbow earmuffs. I cannot think of another reason on Earth why she might have chosen a pair with an orange stripe. Nope, not even if you’d already okayed rainbows as the exception that proves the rule.”
“I like rainbows…” Phin heard himself say, from very far away. “They do neutralising…”
He trailed off, too befuddled to do remembering the rest of whatever it was. She knows? Why hadn’t she done saying something, anything? Wasn’t she supposed to do sitting Phin down and telling him that it didn’t matter, it made no neverminds and she still loved him?
Or had she? In her own inimitable way? His mum was quite mad, Phin was convinced of it—in the best possible way—but bonkers all the same. Had the muffs been a silence speaks louder than words sort of gift, when Phin himself had kept schtum on the subject? That seemed…probable. She was such a fountain of phrases, she even did spouting them in Latin. Oh.
‘Amor omnibus idem’…Love is the same for all.
Virgil. 70-19 BC. Her favourite font of wisdom.
‘Non omnia possumus omnes’…We can’t all of us do everything.
As she’d done reminding Phin over ’n’ over with so-soft insistence. P’raps when he’d had a bit of a fit of frustration…or done banging his head…or…um, ad infinitum.
Oh dear…he’d done wafting off. Again. Phin couldn’t even do remembering to concentrate on concentrating, of late. His mindset…didn’t. On anything. Else. It was a too much kaleidoscope of colour that never settled for long enough to do focussing on any one thing. Except…
Phin felt a smidge guilty for not minding one bit. He couldn’t do fretting about no sudden shrieks of scarlet. He liked red, but certain shades did setting off alarm bells in his head if they crept up on him while he wasn’t watching. It was also impossible to be bothered that a cloying cloud of khaki hadn’t done suffocating him in its noxious niff…but best of all? Nary a scourge of orange smog had made Phin scratchy with its skunky stink.
Turning foxy may have made all this louder, brighter, stronger, smellier, swifter… more intense, but his brain had only done…shifting gear. It hadn’t split in two, nor did Phin feel ‘different’…or see the world through ‘new’ eyes. He’d just been gifted super-specs. They were even more splendid than his ear-muffs. As was their latter day significance in the scheme of things—duh—and future stuff he could do sharing.
Phin wasn’t sure whether he was wired too wrong to find his foxiness freaky…or if following in Jake’s wake had paved Phin’s streets with gold and lit his way with a glow that made it the most sun-kissed spot on Earth. A happy place that logic seemed to suggest wasn’t all that far from ‘equatorial embarrassment’ but it sure felt a million miles away…