Duncan watched as the fat little disk that had so shaped his life bounded up and down in front of him. He stared at it intently, almost hypnotized by its motion -- so regular, he thought, so precise, so easily controlled. He flicked his wrist in a thoughtless motion and the flattened sphere obeyed his command, knowing what he wanted without him speaking.
God, I love that, Duncan thought.
It hadn't always been as easy as it was now, sitting here. They had taunted him back when he had cared, called him meaningless things that had seemed tremendously cruel at the time. Worst of all, they made fun of it. The disk, the one thing he loved.
DUN-CAN, DUN-CAN, THE YO-YO MAN! DUN-CAN, DUN-CAN, THE YO-YO MAN!
The yo-yo sped up and down a little faster as he remembered, his motions became a little more intense. He never had to look at the yo- yo while he used it, but now he stared intently into the distance, his jaw-line hardening, his eyes no longer those of a nine-year-old.
He didn't blame his parents. He loved them more than he would have normally -- they gave him this friend on a string when he was only two years old. He had taken to it immediately, quickly becoming an expert in the yo-yo parlor tricks of the early eighties.
He had taken it to his first day of school, clutching the smallish plastic disk instead of his mothers skirt and soon the older kids began to lay into him.
HEY, DUN-CAN THE YO-YO MAN! PEOPLE WHO CARRY YO-YOS WET THE BED!
YEAH, DUN-CAN! WASSA MATTER? YOU WET THE BED?
HA HA HA HA!
He tried to ignore them. He tried to find friends with common interests, friends he could relate to, but nobody at school seemed to be interested in yo-yos. He told his parents about the big kids making fun of him, but they didn't understand. They wanted to take his yo-yo away! They said that if that was the only thing causing the trouble he should stop taking it to school.
They didn't understand. His yo-yo was the only thing that kept him happy, kept him safe. He loved his yo-yo, and his yo-yo loved him, he was sure of it.
He was getting better, too. He had moved past everyone he had seen on TV and was now inventing tricks of his own. His beloved yo-yo would whiz around, up and down, back and forth at speeds where he could no longer follow it with his eye. But he knew where it was at all times -- he and the yo-yo were one, connected by twine.
One day, during recess, he was in a corner of the playground, casually using his yo-yo, when he was approached by the group of bigger kids who found endless fun in mocking his love.
HEY, HEY, DUN-CAN. HOW'S THE OLD YO-YO? LOOKS PRETTY GOOD TO ME.
CAN I HAVE IT?
Duncan froze, the yo-yo spun up its string and he closed his fist quickly around it. No, he thought. No, no, no . . .
YEAH, IT LOOKS MIGHTY GOOD.
MAYBE I'LL JUST TAKE IT.
No! Duncan's wrist flipped up and the yo-yo shot out from his open palm. It hit the big kid in the stomach and he looked as if he'd been hit with a fist. The kid doubled over as the yo-yo swung back towards Duncan. He whipped it behind him, over him and down, in a high, graceful arc, into the back of the kid's head. There was a soft crack.
The kid was on the ground. He could have been sleeping, but there was a yo-yo embedded in the base of his skull.
The other kids scattered away from Duncan as he flicked his wrist and forced the yo-yo up its string into his palm. He smiled.
The yo-yo rolled steadily up and down its string as he wandered away.
He was sitting on the curb now, slowly rubbing the blood off his yo-yo. He could hear sirens in the distance and he supposed soon they would find him and want to take him away. He knew what he had done was a bad thing, but just letting that kid take his yo-yo would have been worse.
He supposed they might try to hurt him, but Duncan wasn't really worried.
His yo-yo would protect him.
Greg Knauss (email@example.com) is a computer programmer and the creator of An Entirely Other Day. He's also a frequent contributor to TeeVee.
InterText stories written by Greg Knauss: "The Talisman" (v1n1), "Schrödinger's Monkey" (v1n1), "New Orleans Wins the War" (v1n2), "The Explosion That Killed Ben Lippincott" (v1n2), "The Damnation of Richard Gillman" (v1n3), "Novalight" (v4n3).
InterText Copyright © 1991-1999 Jason Snell. This story may only be distributed as part of the collected whole of Volume 1, Number 1 of InterText. This story Copyright © 1991 Greg Knauss.