Taylight Zone - Anthology Nine
09 - Poster Boy - K.E.
Did you see her?
"No. Did you?"
Yes. There she is again! You couldn't have missed her! She walked right by...
"I don't see anything. Who do you see?"
I don't know...
"You've never met her before?"
I don't think so.
"You've met a lot of girls. Are you positive you never have?"
I dunno. Maybe. Hey! There she goes!
"Did you ever try to talk to her?"
Yeah, but she doesn't listen. I think maybe she has a hearing problem. Literally.
"Do you talk loud enough for her to hear?"
I've yelled before. If she's not deaf, then I don't think she likes me very much. Why else would she not turn around?
"Maybe she's not really there."
Yes, she's really there. Say, where are you?
"I'm up here. You're over there, across the room. Do you see her now?"
No. I think she left for a while.
"Where did she go?"
Maybe to the bathroom. Speaking of bathroom, think I can be excused for a moment?
"Sure, go right ahead."
Clop, clop, clop, sqqquuuuueeeaaaaakkk. Bam! Pssshhhhhh... Glllllffffsssssshhh, sqqqquuuueeeeeaaaaaakk. Bam! Clop, clop, clop.
"Feeling better now?"
Yes. I was right. She was in there.
"And she didn't notice that you were going to the bathroom right there?"
No. I told you I don't think she pays much attention to me. If she does, she's good at hiding it.
"Can you tell me what she looks like?"
It's actually hard to describe her... She's just kinda there mostly. Sometimes I think she's more than one, but I'm pretty sure it's just her.
"A bit blurry?"
"Like a ghost?"
No, not really. More like looking at someone who's underwater.
"So kind of..."
"How do you think you look to her?"
Like air, maybe, since she can't see me. What do you look like?
"Like air, too, I guess. Can you not see me?"
No. Where are you? Across the room? All I see is a lot of white.
"I'm there. I can see you. You're right in front of me hanging on the wall."
What am I doing?
"Smiling. You're with your brothers."
Really? I haven't seen them in ages. How are they?
"Fine, I suppose. I haven't really seen them, either."
Oh. So we're just hanging on your wall? Cool. What color is my shirt?
"Brown with little blue specks on it. Why?"
Oh, nothing. Just seeing if I was guessing right.
"Don't you know your colors?"
I thought it was white. Maybe I'm wrong. I suppose that would make across the room brown with little blue specks, too. Are you brown with little blue specks? Maybe I can't see you because you're camouflaged.
"Because that's just not the color of people."
What makes you suppose you're people? I'm people, and I'm brown with little blue specks. Sorta...
"Well I'm flesh colored."
What is that?
"What color is your arm?"
Brown with little blue specks, only darker.
"Are you sure?"
I guess. My head is feeling a bit woosy. There went that girl again. She was just holding something. I don't know what.
"Taylor, you're not going to fall asleep again are you?"
No. I don't think so, anyhow. Are you?
"No. It's too early to go to sleep. Can you hear the music I'm playing?"
No. I hear someone crying though. Is that you?
What are you playing?
Oh, that's nice. What music am I making?
"Mmmbop. That's a nice song."
"You're welcome. Can you see me dancing?"
No. But there goes that girl again! Dammit. I wish she'd leave. I don't like her.
"I thought you said you'd never talked to her."
I've talked to her, she just never talks back. I don't like her.
"Do you like me?"
Of course. Do you like me?
"Most of the time. I don't like it when you wake me up early, though."
It's not my fault I wake up early. You should go to sleep earlier.
"I go to bed the same time as you."
I guess I run on less sleep. You ought to get more rest.
"I don't have time to rest. Either I'm working, going to school, or talking to you."
Does that bother you?
Would you rather I go?
"No. Just don't wake me up so early."
What's your name again? I'm sorry I'm so forgetful. It's just sometimes I get so confused in here. There never seems to be much change.
Oh, yeah. That's right. I talk to you a lot. I should know that. See, I'm so forgetful. And I'm kinda...sleepy.
"What did you yawn for? Are you going to fall asleep again?"
I'll try not to. Hey, Veronica?
Tell Mom I love her very much.
"Why? Where are you going?"
"How am I supposed to tell your mom you love her? I don't know where she is."
I don't either... Please, Veronica?
"Are you sure you don't know?"
Maybe at home. You do know where that is, right?
"You've only told me a million times. But that doesn't help me any. I live halfway across the United States from there!"
Well then call her. Just tell her...
Do you...know the number?
"Okay. I've got that. I'll tell her you love her."
"Good night, Taylor."
Diana hung up the phone and walked back to the couch. Walker watched her curiously. "Who was it?"
"That was the hospital again," she said, unhappily referring to the phone call. "Taylor started talking to 'Veronica' again, and they wanted to know if it was okay for them to give him some sedatives."
"What did you say?"
"'Yes', of course," Diana replied, feeling a bit weary.
"I wonder who 'Veronica' is..."
"Walker, how can you even ask that? It's obvious it's some little playmate he's conjured up in his mind. I feel so horrible. I mean, why couldn't we have let the boys take a few more breaks, make some more friends?" she asked.
"Isaac and Zachary are just fine," Walker said.
"They never endured as much as Taylor had to. I mean, he was the one who was usually in the center of attention, right?"
"He just gets so worked up when 'Veronica' talks to him," Diana said frustratedly. Tears were coming to her eyes. "It used to be the highlight of his day when he was here. Remember? I can still see him coming down the stairs exclaiming about his new friend. And it just got worse and worse. And the visits now that we take up to see him? She's all he talks about..."
"Shhh," her husband said, wrapping her up in a comforting hug. "Don't think about that."
"I feel like I didn't do something right as a mother," she sobbed.
"You're a great mom, Diana," he consoled.
"I just don't know anymore..."
The phone suddenly rang, causing the couple to start. Diana calmed herself and said, "I'll get it." She walked back to the phone and picked up the receiver. "Hello?"
A timid voice said, "Hello. Umm, is Mrs. Hanson there?"
"This is she. Whom may I ask is calling?" she replied.
"Um, this is Veronica. I'm a friend of Taylor's. I just finished talking with him, and he wanted me to tell you that he loves you very much."