Mr. Elliott: Johnny, I'm Principal Elliott. We've never spoken before, but I hear you're very gifted. Of course you know Mr. Nolan. I also want you to meet Mrs. Frazier and Mr. Bloom. We would like to talk to you about your drawings.

Johnny: Were my drawings bad?

Mr. Bloom: No, Johnny. They're good, very good. Much better than any 4th grader's work I've seen, if I may say so.

Johnny: Thank you, sir! You are all nice people. But, um, Mr. Nolan, can I go? Everyone else gets to play kickball.

Mr. Bloom: Not yet, Johnny. We have some questions for you. We want you to help us understand where you get your ideas. Now, did your dad... help you? I mean, and you won't get in trouble, did he draw this himself?

Mr. Nolan: Or did he draw the outline, and you colored over what he'd done using a darker ink? Still very impressive.

Mrs. Frazier: Or does he force you to practice drawing at all hours of the night while dangling a knife over your fingers, punishing every imperfection with a swift knick from his blade?

Johnny: My dad is always asleep when I get home. He won't wake up when I poke him. He just snores louder.

Mr. Elliott: Something about this being a child's drawing just seems... indecent. Couldn't the skeleton wear clothes?

Mr. Bloom: Focus, Elliott. Johnny, have you seen this... in real life... with your eyes?

Mr. Nolan: Did you draw it from memory?

Mrs. Frazier: Did you sit in front of a skeleton in a dark, secret dungeon, sketching what you saw with remarkably steady hands despite the rats nibbling at your heels and the acrid stink of death permeating your little nostrils?

Johnny: You're a scary lady.

Mr. Bloom: This drawing... is this a drawing of someone you know? Tell me, Johnny, is this a drawing of your dad?

Mr. Nolan: I haven't seen him at any of the parent-teacher conferences.

Johnny: He is not a skeleton! He has too much skin and stuff.

Mr. Nolan: Well, it's worth a try, because we're not getting anywhere: Are you actually a middle-aged little person with advanced artistic skills posing as a child? If so, I promise we'll arrange for deportation without any criminal charges.

Johnny: I don't know what you mean, Mr. Nolan. I don't know! I just want to go outside. I drawed it with a pencil.


Mrs. Frazier: This second drawing, we need to know if this is a real place. And if it is, can you take us there? Now?

Johnny: I did a drawing.

Mr. Bloom: Yes, you are very good at drawing, Johnny! Can you draw us a map, a map to where this is?

Johnny: I did a drawing.

Mrs. Frazier: I am showing you my bayonet. Will you draw me a map if I say I will fight you with this bayonet?

Mr. Elliott: Dammit, Karen! Can't we ever meet with a child without you dragging that thing out from under the desk? Let's be sensible, here. Act like adults. Do you know what pirates are, Johnny? Are your mommy and daddy pirates?

Johnny: Sharks.

Mr. Nolan: Sharks! OK, I think we're making progress! Tell me, Elliott, as teachers, what kind of memory recovery techniques are we allowed to authorize?

Mr. Elliott: I really don't think that's...

Mrs. Frazier: Professor Bloom, as a man of science, answer me this: Is there any information we could glean by physically opening his skull and running some sort of tests on his brain matter, or would that just be a dead end?

Mr. Elliott: Now hold on...

Johnny: I draw your fate, your inexorable fate.

Mr. Bloom: Quiet, both of you, I'm thinking.

Thanks to Michael Balistreri from Black Snow Comics for the skeleton drawings!

– Andrew "Garbage Day" Miller

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