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To Remember Charlie By   By: (1914-2004)

To Remember Charlie By by Roger D. Aycock

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Fantastic Universe March 1954. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

[The history of this materialistic world is highlighted with strange events that scientists and historians, unable to explain logically, have dismissed with such labels as "supernatural," "miracle," etc. But there are those among us whose simple faith can and often does alter the scheme of the universe. Even a little child can do it....]

to remember charlie by

by ... Roger Dee

Just a one eyed dog named Charlie and a crippled boy named Joey but between them they changed the face of the universe ... perhaps.

I nearly stumbled over the kid in the dark before I saw him.

His wheelchair was parked as usual on the tired strip of carpet grass that separated his mother's trailer from the one Doc Shull and I lived in, but it wasn't exactly where I'd learned to expect it when I rolled in at night from the fishing boats. Usually it was nearer the west end of the strip where Joey could look across the crushed shell square of the Twin Palms trailer court and the palmetto flats to the Tampa highway beyond. But this time it was pushed back into the shadows away from the court lights.

The boy wasn't watching the flats tonight, as he usually did. Instead he was lying back in his chair with his face turned to the sky, staring upward with such absorbed intensity that he didn't even know I was there until I spoke.

"Anything wrong, Joey?" I asked.

He said, "No, Roy," without taking his eyes off the sky.

For a minute I had the prickly feeling you get when you are watching a movie and find that you know just what is going to happen next. You're puzzled and a little spooked until you realize that the reason you can predict the action so exactly is because you've seen the same thing happen somewhere else a long time ago. I forgot the feeling when I remembered why the kid wasn't watching the palmetto flats. But I couldn't help wondering why he'd turned to watching the sky instead.

"What're you looking for up there, Joey?" I asked.

He didn't move and from the tone of his voice I got the impression that he only half heard me.

"I'm moving some stars," he said softly.

I gave it up and went on to my own trailer without asking any more fool questions. How can you talk to a kid like that?

Doc Shull wasn't in, but for once I didn't worry about him. I was trying to remember just what it was about my stumbling over Joey's wheelchair that had given me that screwy double exposure feeling of familiarity. I got a can of beer out of the ice box because I think better with something cold in my hand, and by the time I had finished the beer I had my answer.

The business I'd gone through with Joey outside was familiar because it had happened before, about six weeks back when Doc and I first parked our trailer at the Twin Palms court. I'd nearly stumbled over Joey that time too, but he wasn't moving stars then. He was just staring ahead of him, waiting.

He'd been sitting in his wheelchair at the west end of the carpet grass strip, staring out over the palmetto flats toward the highway. He was practically holding his breath, as if he was waiting for somebody special to show up, so absorbed in his watching that he didn't know I was there until I spoke. He reminded me a little of a ventriloquist's dummy with his skinny, knob kneed body, thin face and round, still eyes. Only there wasn't anything comical about him the way there is about a dummy. Maybe that's why I spoke, because he looked so deadly serious.

"Anything wrong, kid?" I asked.

He didn't jump or look up. His voice placed him as a cracker, either south Georgian or native Floridian... Continue reading book >>

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