• Kevin Douglas

Frankie (pt. 1)

The first installment of a short story

Frankie can't find his friends anywhere. He thought he left them in the upstairs pantry, but no luck there. He searched the whole house, under every cupboard, cabinet and sink.

Frankie's friends are four little finger puppets you might find in your Halloween candy, or at a Dave & Buster's gift shop. One is a purple alien with antennas for mind-reading. He is Frankie's least favorite, because he always knows what's on Frankie's mind, and Frankie hates not being able to lie. Sometimes he leaves Purple in the sock drawer because he just can't handle the stress of having him around.

Another friend is an orange slime-guy with tiny arms reaching out in front of him. Orange can be a little overbearing, always trying to take Frankie's snacks or grab at his shirt collar. But Orange is a softie, and when Frankie needs a hug, he knows who he can turn to.

Green is kind of a wise guy. He's got one big eye and a single tooth in the middle of his mouth. Mom says he looks kind of like Tom Cruise, which makes Frankie laugh even though he doesn't know who that is. Green likes to poke fun at Frankie's big ears, but he's nice about it, unlike the kids at school. Frankie knows he has big ears — he looks at them every day — but when Green brings them up, it's always some fun new twist. "I bet you're a great student," Green tells Frankie. "You hear all the little details the other kids miss." Sometimes Green goes a little too far, like last week when he told Frankie he could flap his ears and fly away like Dumbo. It was just a misunderstanding, though. Frankie thought Green was telling him to leave, as if he didn't want Frankie around anymore. But Green wanted to go wherever Frankie flew off to, and he knew he wasn't enjoying his classes. He thought they could all use a little getaway together.

Frankie's last friend is Blue, who's just the best. He's got little dragon wings, a fuzzy head of hair, and googly eyes. Blue doesn't say much, but he always cracks Frankie up. He'll pop in with a perfectly timed "what'd I miss?" when Green is acting all goofy, or when Purple brings up something awkward he just mind-read about Frankie. Blue could be a little shy around the others, but sometimes Frankie would leave his other friends in the pantry and have a one-on-one with Blue. He was the most trustworthy and least gossipy of his friends, and he could always keep a secret. Like that one time Frankie accidentally knocked his mom's laptop on the ground and the "k" key fell out of the keyboard. Granted, Purple was mind-reading later that day and called him out for it, but there were those blissful few hours where it was just Frankie and Blue's little secret. If Frankie had to admit it, he would say Blue was his best friend.

Today, Frankie left for school after a lovely morning hanging out with his friends. He swears when he left, he put them back in the pantry in their special spot: behind the spam cans his mom never cooks. When he got back from school, he went straight for the spam so he could talk about his day. But when he moved the cans, Purple, Orange, Green and Blue were nowhere to be found.

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