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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: January 9, 2020      Views: 95
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Chapter 6 of the book Punchinello
Canadian Tuxedo - (Cody's Character Begins To Be Developed)
"Punchinello Chapter Six" by Brett Matthew West


Headed for the basement door, Beth prodded herself, "I have laundry to put away. So, I'll let you three chitchat."


Without so much as a wink, a blink, or even the slightest nod, Stuart Lozenski tarried behind. At least, that was the name sewed on the front of his green-striped work shirt. The extension cord tightly affixed around Stuart's neck and the faucet ensured the custodian of the Astatula Elementary School remained in place. No, Stuart Lozenski wasn't going anywhere.

Slumped over the sink, with trepidation etched on his face, Stuart's eyes bugged out. The spout crammed down the back of his throat, the scalding hot water spigot ran open throttled. Punchinello was well pleased with his classic and inventive hole-in-one. The ghoul knew Stuart's discovery would be a tremendous jolt to whatever unfortunate galoot unearthed him.

Cheerily, the kehua closed the door, flipped a key in the air, and caught it. Overweight, with kyphosis and thin strands of grey hair, he repeated this action over and over as he goose-stepped away from the janitorial closet; a push broom in his other hand. How he loved disguises. They fit him well.

Many dreamy times he had fantasized about this scenario. Twice before he'd played it out in all its shining glory. Sean Peterson, in Tacoma, Washington, a sprite full of vim and aspirations, had been the first matriculated student he'd snatched off a school campus. Trey Miller, in Bangor, Maine, lagged close behind. There had been other opportunities, and now his new target, a charismatic buttercup in Room 117, was a mere moment away.

The old man scratched his head and shoved a pile of dustbunnies into the far corner with his broom. Elation rumbled him to the core. His one-way ticket to Hell purchased a long time ago, the image of the dead did not trouble him. He planned an illustrious body count until that season arrived.

Punchinello listened to the chatter of the students in the classroom. Nobody came or went. Streaks of fluorescent light shafted down the hallway and reflected off the walls. This accomplishment was going to be inconceivable.

Brooding, Cody stared out the window. He recalled a conversation from that morning with his guidance counselor in which he stated, "Smelling the roses is hard."

Theresa Anderson-Silva, a pert twenty-something, replied, "But, doesn't the achievement force you to appreciate the world around you more?"

Complaining, Cody answered her, "Remaining in the moment is even harder."

Cody did not hear his teacher address the class. Instead, he extended his finger towards a jay that perched on the windowsill. The songbird hopped up on his outstretched pinkie.

In a hushed tone, Cody said, "All blue like you are little birdie, you remind me of a Canadian tuxedo."

The jay chirped back at him as if to thank Cody for his compliment.

Mrs. Alvarez called for attention, "Okay class, settle down. Now, can anyone tell us how summer vacation came to be?"

Quickly, three students raised their hands.

Tommy Martin blurted out, "If it's about history, Bowtie can. Bowtie knows everything."

The class nerd and teacher's pet, Marshall Andretti sat on the opposite side of the room from Tommy Martin.

Maria Stapleton asked, "Marshall, how come you always wear a red bowtie? Don't you have any other colors?"

Marshall did not respond to Maria's teasing. A chorus of giggles erupted around the room. Mesmerized, Cody contemplated out the window on the discussion he'd had with his counselor.

Theresa Anderson-Silva suggested, "Allow the sights, sounds, and smells of objects to prevent your thoughts from redirecting to your past."

Cody wondered, "How do I do that?"

Theresa Anderson-Silva responded, "Here's an easy way. Keep a penny in your shoe to remind you to remain in the moment."

Cody scoffed, "A penny in my shoe?"

Theresa Anderson-Silva reiterated, "Yes, Cody, a penny in your shoe."

Though he wore no Argyles on his feet, that was how a brand new, shiny doubloon found its home in Cody's right sneaker.

"Another thing you can do is participate in what interests you without allowing your time to be consumed by anyone else," Miss Anderson-Silva had advised him.

Cody accomplished that all the time.

Mrs. Alvarez noticed Cody stared out the window. She wanted to know, "Earth to Cody, are you with us?"

In a sing-song voice, Marla Stapleton stated, "Naw, he's lost in space a-g-a-I-n."

Bowtie tattled, "Mrs. Alvarez, you promised if you caught Cody not paying attention one more time you were going to give him a detention."

As only a passel of excited youngsters can do, a chorus bellowed, "De - ten - tion! De- ten - tion! De - ten - tion! De - ten - tion!"

Much to her class's dismay, Mrs. Alvarez let their desire pass.

Cody ignored them all. He heard Theresa Anderson-Silva's words, "For self-preservation, Cody, surround yourself with the defense shield that's kept you alive your whole life."

Except for his best friend Matt Cochran, Cody's classmates were not aware of his past in Palo Pinto. That's a topic he had not discussed with any of them. He did not hear Mrs. Alvarez explain to the class how summer vacation from school originated.

Mrs. Alvarez informed her pupils, "Summer break came about because of necessity. In the settlement of the mostly agricultural United States of the 1700s, when our country was being formed, children were needed at home to help plant crops."

Cody's mind drifted over to a squirrel he observed scurry down the trunk of an oak tree near the playground in pursuit of a fallen acorn. Once more, he heard his counselor's voice.

Theresa Anderson-Silva, "I know you're well versed in reading people's body language, that you notice the actions of others, and can quickly ascertain their underlying intentions."

The mental, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse doled out to him on a daily basis by his father, Earl Anthony Schroder, taught Cody small surprises produced unwanted flashbacks. Whatever angered people the most, whatever made them sad, and whatever hurt them the most, Earl Anthony Schroder gleefully spent his time doing.

Cody never forget the day Earl Anthony Schroder told him, "Too bad for you, pissant, it rounds me out."

A brown delivery truck rolled down Cassandra Boulevard, pulled into the school's parking lot, and stopped at the front door. Cody wondered who received the packages? He thought maybe they were the teacup roses the school planned to plant around the outside of the building over summer break.

Cody told his blue jay friend, "I love the aroma of roses. Yellow ones are my favorite."

Not only did Cody think roses smelled good, they helped him learn to see the details in other gadgets. A skill that served him well. The ringing school bell returned Cody from his daydream. Astatula Elementary spewed into a frenzied detonation of ecstatic children racing for the big yellow buses that would whisk them back home. Cody stalled to be the last student out of the room.

Cody's final thought to his departing jay friend before he grabbed his bookbag and left the room was, "Summer is my second favorite time of the year. The day Earl Anthony Schroder died is my most favorite day of all."

The golden ticket in hand, Punchinello remained hidden in the shadow of the far corner of the hallway...biding the fortuitous circumstance.

The book continues with Punchinello Chapter Seven. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
This is Evan, by Lilibug6, selected to complement all my Cody Schroder stories.

So, thanks Lilibug6, for the use of your remarkable picture that provides Cody such an easily recognizable face on FanStory.
Pays one point and 2 member cents. Artwork by Lilibug6 at

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