Writing is a struggle against silence.
– Carlos Fuentes
Bast takes on perhaps the most difficult interview so far – with his seven-year-old nephew David Bowman. David has become psychologically mute because of a traumatic experience in the pre-quel novel Beyond Blood. David appears in the four linked stories in Beyond the Tripping Point – “Gone Missing,” “Saving Grace,” “Digging Up the Dirt” and “Road Raging.”
Bast: David, let’s play private eye. Let’s pretend I’m the private investigator and I’m interviewing you. I know…
Dana (who has sneaked into the room and interrupts): You are a PI little brother and David knows this.
Bast: Sis, I’m trying to conduct an interview here. Your turn will come next week.
Dana: Okay then. Let’s see what David thinks about this.
Bast: Fine. David, do you want your mother present during this interview.
David shakes his head “no.”
Bast (smiling): Dana, your son has spoken.
Dana: Okay. (shrugs her shoulders and leaves the room).
Bast: Now David, is it okay if we play PI and I ask you questions.
David nods “yes.”
Bast: Good. Now I know you won’t speak, so I’ll keep most questions to “yes” and “no” answers, but here’s a pen and notepad for you to write your answers on.”
David pushes the pen and pad away and shakes his head “no” vigorously. He picks up his box of crayons, dumps the crayons out on the table, and grabs his sketch pad.
Bast (shrugs): Okay. In “Saving Grace” you kept pushing your mother to find the missing Grace. Was that because of what happened to you last year?
David picks up a red crayon and starts drawing a girl’s face. Then he picks up a black crayon and draws a boy’s face. He colours in the hair yellow. Underneath the girl’s face he prints “G” and underneath the boy’s face he draws “?” He hands the picture to Bast.
Bast (pointing to the boy’s face in the picture). “Is this you David?”
David snatches the picture from Bast, then picks up a black crayon and starts scribbling on the paper. He hands it back to Bast.
Bast (looking at the picture). I see you have crossed out the “?” and put in a “D.” Okay, how did you know where to find Grace?
David picks up an orange crayon and starts drawing on another sheet of paper. When finished, he hands it to Bast.
Bast (looking at this picture). This looks like a doll.
David nods “yes.”
Bast: Would this be Grace’s Raggedy Anne doll?
David nods “yes” and starts wriggling in his seat.
Bast: So, the doll helped you?
David nods “yes” and then shakes his head “no.”
Bast: Which is it David – yes or no?
David grabs a purple crayon and starts scribbling on another piece of paper. When finished he throws the paper at Bast.
Bast: Hm. I don’t understand David. All these purple lines and circles. What do they represent? I mean.
David points to his head and moves his mouth as if trying to make a sound.
Bast: Okay, David. Let’s move on. Now in “Gone Missing,” at one point you are riding with your mother in her car and you drive to the dock at Snow Lake. You made a dramatic change here from complete silence. You…
David jumps up and starts moving around the room as if disoriented, then moves up to Bast and starts stomping his foot.
Dana (now back in the room). “That’s enough Bast. I don’t think David wants to play your game anymore, do you David?
David just continues his foot stomping. Dana goes over to him, crouches down to his level and puts her arm around him. David wiggles and tries to push her away, but eventually the feet and hands go still and he puts his head on Dana’s chest. Loud sobs are coming from him. Bast walks over to them and gets down on his knees.
Bast: Sorry David.
David looks up from Dana and over to Bast. And winks.
You can read more about David, Dana, Bast, Great Aunt Doris, Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding and the others in the four linked stories which are part of my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point, (Blue Denim Press, 2012. Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including books reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book go to http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/search/?keywords=Beyond%20the%20Tripping%20Point
or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy.
Next week: Bast interviews his fraternal twin Dana Bowman.
Sharon A. Crawford