My neck itched, thick, and seemingly full of sand. But when I looked again, no one stood there, so I smiled and bit into the hard cookie. At that moment I heard tiny, suppressed but undoubtedly, the laughter of a little girl. 

I spun my head back toward the corner, but again saw nothing. 

“He was a fool,” Sammy whispered. “How could you trust a man who never finished his meals or his drinks or a book for that matter? And he put the toilet paper roll on so it fed from the bottom! A fool!”

“Like all men he used things and tossed them aside. He figured that as big a mess as we made of this world, nothing could save it,”She paused remembering her young audience. “But he didn’t count on you, did he? He didn’t expect Johnny Caution!”

I grinned. I liked the fear her stories invoked. It tasted much better than the terror of the playground or the F Street bus stop. I found the tone and melody of Sammy’s voice as intriguing as the twists and turns of the yarns she spun. And I liked her superhero name for me:

Johnny Caution! 

It sounded much better than Calvino Johnson. Or Calvin. Or Cal. I glanced again at the corner of the room, but still no one stood there. 

 

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