I Wanna Know

Dear Grandma,

I am happy to tell you that we have settled down in our new house. Everything is ok. I was sad when we had to leave you but I’m feeling a little better now cos I have my own room. Ginny just cries and cries all day, I think she misses her boyfriend. I saw them kiss each other on the mouth before we left. Pops would kill her if he knew. I followed ’em round a bit, Ginny and her boyfriend. They wrestled each other in our old barn, I got scared! They had their faces almost glued together and Ginny kept moaning when he put his hand down her skirt. Why did he do that, Grandma, I wanna know?

It’s quiet around here. Momma’s still lookin’ for a school that will take us halfway through the year. I hope they put me in a class where I can find some friends. I miss Robbie and killin’ cats with him. Egad, I miss home. I miss all my buddies. I miss fishin’ in the dirty ol’ river. I wanna catch some trout.

I have a problem, Grandma. I’m too scared to tell Momma & Pops cos they’re gonna laugh at me and tell me I’m a baby even though I’m almost 10. I don’t think they’ll be happy when I tell ’em anyway. I like my room and all, you know. It’s small but I have my own bed and ain’t gonna hear Ginny complaining about me no more. My room’s got a little window just above my bed, it kinda slants upwards the ceiling, you know.

A week ago, someone (or maybe something) spoke to me from under my bed. I got pretty scared at first, but come on, Grandma, I knew better than to be scared if I had my baseball bat with me. So the Thing and I started chattin’, and I grew less afraid. I asked the Thing if it could show me what it looked like, but it said it would “in due course”. What does that mean, Grandma? Does that mean it will?

The Thing told me it had lived in our new house for a long time. Many years ago, a little boy named Tommy slept in my room. But the Thing said Tommy was since long gone. I wanna know, Grandma. Gone how? Gone in what way? The Thing didn’t wanna tell me. It said Tommy was ‘neath the earth. Why is Tommy ‘neath the earth, Grandma, I wanna know?

The Thing knows an awful lot ’bout Momma & Pops. It told me Pops had other kids out of state and that Pops got another woman called Mary. The Thing says Mary is dead and now Pops’ other kids ain’t got food to eat and live on welfare. I don’t believe it. Is that true, Grandma? I wanna know. The Thing called Momma a skank. It said Momma came from a no-gooder kinda family, and that she married Pops because of Ginny. The Thing said you didn’t like Momma too. Is that true, Grandma? I wanna know. I love Momma and if you don’t like her, you gotta let me know, so that I can make you like her.

The Thing says it’ll take me fishin’. Golly! I never thought I’d get to go fishin’ again. Momma told me I had to give up fishin’ for good when we came here cos there ain’t no rivers and stuff, but the Thing says I ain’t need to. I wanna know, Grandma, you think Momma’ll let me go fishin’ even though she says there ain’t no rivers and stuff here? The Thing says it’s got friends in the river, who live in the water and stuff. Ain’t that cool? I wanna meet those things too. Maybe they can give me a pointer or two, I wanna know how to reel in a great big fish and not fall down while I’m at it.

The Thing and me are fast friends now, Grandma. I can’t wait for you to come visit one day, then you can be friends with the Thing too. It ain’t shown me what it looks like yet, but it don’t matter to me cos it’s told me lots of interesting stories, and I know lots ’bout Momma & Pops now too.

When I’m all grown up next year, the Thing said I can live with its friends in the river. Ain’t that cool, Grandma? Can people live in water, Grandma, I wanna know? Maybe you could come live with me too when I move there.

I gotta go now. Momma made mash & beans for dinner, and she been hollerin’ at me for 5 minutes now.