Chapter 7: the toy of the devil
Mrs. James of course had to fess up after the last interrogation. The scandal she had nightmares about for weeks was real. She couldn’t believe how terribly wrong this had all gone. For what? For the love of hip hop. She didn’t know what had possessed her for so long… what made her keep such a dark secret for so little a reward? All she could think about for days was how her life was ruined. She didn’t touch the oven for a week after the incident. She finally made it back into the kitchen, but all her macaroons and macaronis came out burnt with her rage. She finally decided she had to get even. This was all Danny Dominici’s fault. If he had kept his freckled nose out of her yard then none of this would have happened. She plotted and schemed and plotted and schemed to find a way to get back. Nothing I could say would ever do any good now. She could barely eat, let alone bake because of her horrible terrible anger. Finally, she had a brilliant idea. The next time they went into town, she slipped away again and went into the toy store…
Danny had a weird feeling like something or someone was watching him. Preacher James hadn’t come to talk to his parents at home yet, but he had seen them talking at church the day before. As he refilled the dog’s food bowl, he saw something unusual on the ground by the house. He walked over and picked it up. It was a plastic toy… it looked like some kind of monster, with the head of an octopus and the body of a kitten. Danny couldn’t figure out what it could be. He turned it over and over in his hands- lost in thought. After a few minutes, he heard a voice behind him: “Mister Dominici, Pokey-Moo is the toy of the devil.” “What?” Danny asked, startled. He turned around to see Preacher James standing there. “I was willing to accept your explanation for why you didn’t turn over the device at the first, but now I find you in the act of occult rituals? You had better come inside while I talk with your parents.” Danny tried to explain, but he again couldn’t get out anything more intelligent than when he got caught carrying Jezebel’s bed to the lake.
Danny’s father had been expecting Preacher James, and was waiting in the sitting room. “Mr. Dominici, I have a hard time believing that these things could go on for this long completely unnoticed.” “What ‘things’ do you mean? Is there more than what we already know about? And, with all due respect, I might mention that we are all more than capable of missing things of this nature.” Said Mr. Dominici. Preacher James was taken a bit off guard by this statement, but quickly responded, “Mr. Dominici, I will admit that we all can let things go unnoticed, but my wife has never dabbled in the occult.” Mr. Dominici quickly asked, “Would you please tell what this is all about?” “Danny, would you bring forward the object in question?” Preacher James asked Danny. He slowly came forward and held up the toy to the preacher. “Are you aware what this is, Mr. Dominici?” “No, I haven’t seen it before. I don’t know that it looks occult, per se, though it is definitely strange.” “It is a Pokey Moo toy. Widely known by the modern world to be an occult idol. There’s no telling what evil might result when combining this hip hop nonsense with pagan rituals like this. I should correct myself: I said there is no telling, but I believe that young Danny here can tell quite easily, should he choose to. Couldn’t you, Danny?” Danny’s eyes grew wide with terror. He didn’t have the first clue what was going on, he didn’t know what the object was, and he didn’t know where it came from. “I.. I… I found it on the ground beside the porch.” He finally stammered. “Yes, we know you’re good at finding things.” Said the preacher. “You’ve ‘found’ one quite expensive device of this sort, and now you ‘find’ one even more devilish object at your very own house. Mister Dominici, you should be aware that repeat offenses of this magnitude require severe punishment. The only sentence worthy of lying and idolatry is to be expelled from the community.”
Mrs. James now returned to a slight, remote form of normalcy. She was now capable of cooking again, though at times her macaronis came out as macaroons. She was ecstatic over Danny’s apparently imminent expulsion. That whale had proved to be more of a shark, but she had tamed it well enough to be somewhat at peace with it. She baked the hours away with a nervous ecstasy that neared euphoria, but it never quite reached that point. Every time she got close to it, the whale shark in her heart seemed to get stuck in a valve and cause it to skip a beat or two whenever she remembered the scandal that loomed over her. The horrid scandal was the talk of the area. Even in the nearby towns the word was spreading about the preacher and his wife’s dark secret. If there had been tabloids in the Amish community, they would have been buzzing. As it was, the group of somewhat respectable ladies that Mrs. James had been a regular accomplice of were waging war with that whale shark like a swarm of piranhas.
They say that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and Jacob was still feeling the effects of the recoil of that whale shark as it jumped out of his whirl pooling head onto Mrs. James. He had to regularly ice his ankle, his hand, his knee, his head, his lip, his ear, and his elbow to keep the swelling down. You see, for a twelve year old to be knocked off a porch by a grown woman in a fit of rage typically is not a pleasant experience. He wasn’t sure how he felt about his revenge. Of course, he was probably too numb to feel much of anything (except for a terrific headache). Jacob’s head still swam, despite being devoid of any apparent whales or piranhas. He felt avenged to a point, but past that point he felt horribly bad in a strangely not good kind of way. He hadn’t expected Danny to be kicked out of the town. He found a kind of cold comfort in the fact that he thought himself avenged. Danny hadn’t cared about him. Danny never understood him. No one really understood him, he was just so different.
Back in Danny’s head, there were no whales. There were no sharks. There were no piranhas, no barracudas, there were no trout. If you’re wondering what WAS in Danny’s head, he had several bicuspids, a jawbone; he had a sinus cavity, a brain, two eyes, and a uvula. Of course, the fact is that most people have bicuspids, most have a jawbone, sinus cavities; a few have brains, and everyone- EVERYONE has a uvula. While many of the contents of Danny’s specific cranium are at least somewhat common, what I would like us to look at is the apparent black hole that sucked all feeling into it- never to return. Danny was about as numb as Jacob at that specific moment, though for a totally different reason. While the reason was in a way directly linked to the cause of Jacob’s numbness, the fact remains that it was a different reason. Danny was almost to the point of despair. He had no idea what he would do after he left home. Why should he feel hopeless, though? The thought occurred to him one day while he was doing a stylish jig on his bed to ward off the grumpy sad sack syndrome that had possessed him since he heard his sentence. “Why should I feel helpless?” the thought filled some of the void that the black hole had created in his otherwise normal head. “I can chase my dream!” this thought overwhelmed the black hole, until it burst forth into the verbal form of “oooooOOOOOooooOOOOOHHHH WWWEEEEEHEHEHEHHEEEEEHHHEEEEE!!!!!!!” While it may seem unusual for such a feeling to be expressed in this way, that’s the way I wrote the book, so don’t complain. You may also find it unusual for Danny to express such an apparently wide array of emotions. To this, again, I say “Don’t complain, Nimrod. You’re a mighty hunter, not a philosophicalist.” Anyway, the void and vacuum of his head was filled with hope and happiness. You could even say his hope reached the level that you could dare to call it “audacious”. The audacity of this hope drove Danny’s mind to think of completely new possibilities. He could chase his dream! He could become the rap music mogul he had dreamed of being his whole life! Of course, he hadn’t dreamed of being a rap music mogul for more than a few months, but that’s beside the point.
Danny’s expulsion from the community was set to occur on May 4th. He almost looked forward to that day, even though he was still afraid of it. He wasn’t sure how he would make it on his own. While he was babysitting Jacob’s cousins one day, he thought to ask Joseph, “Joseph,” he asked, “what will I do when I leave? You’ve always seemed to know more than you let on.” Joseph for a moment smiled his mysterious smile, and replied, “Well, you know how all this came about. The world has been in harmony until now. The feet wore the socks, so to speak, and the socks wore the shoes. Now everything has changed. You found a shiny gadget in the grass and then PPLLLLPPPPPPTTTT!!!! The socks ate the feet; the shoes ate the socks.”