Ever since I have been out of that dirt the strangest things seem to catch my attention. We were traveling down Dauphin Street, once again headed into the Mobile Arts District, and for the first time I noticed what I thought was a little round, yellow and blue castle sitting on the side of the road. The further along the road we went, the more of them I saw and I begged Arly to pull over so I could get a closer look at them.
At first, she tried to tell me they were just fire hydrants, but I didn't buy that story at all. For one thing, there was no fire anywhere in sight, and for two, back in the day fire hydrants used to be all brown and ugly, almost like metal splinters sticking half way out of the ground, and these fantastic things were way too beautiful than that, not to mention their tops were the same color as my cheeks, so I had to check them out.
Reluctantly, Arly pulled over and as I climbed out of the car, I realized they were a lot larger than I was and they didn't appear to be a castle at all. Instead, they were hard, and had rounded ridges with strange little knobs here and there. I thought for a minute and looked at Arly all embarrassed because I knew she was right, they must be fire hydrants, I just couldn't get over how bright and colorful they were compared to the ones that I remembered from many years ago.
She let me climb up on top, to touch the blue hat connected to the yellow post like thingy, and for a minute or two I felt like I had climbed a mountain. Unexpectedly, I got a bit carried away, lost my balance, and before I knew it I was heading head first toward the sidewalk. Arly caught me just in time, but not before my pride got a little squashed and I felt like a bafoon for being so careless. Arly just grinned at me and told me that curiosity was just a part of life and that if she had been buried for almost 41 years and was found, she would find just about everything she saw pretty fascinating too.
That seemed to stick with me the rest of the day, the almost falling and cracking my pitiful, bald head part, and a quote from Ben Franklin popped into my head that I must have heard somewhere before: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I can't recall where I had heard that, or how often, but is stuck in my head like an annoying song lyric playing over and over, and after a while I just wanted it to stop. Problem was, I think I needed to hear it over and over because somehow it reminded me of a clue about Angel Face.
As the day grew longer and we seemed to finally be heading home I closed my eyes and tried to picture who I had heard that from. All I could recall was an image of an elderly man with a nose that seemed to have a tangerine looking thing on the end of it, a grotty, white mustache, and tobacco spit stained teeth. That, along with a contagious laugh that I think Angel Face used to love hearing was all I could see inside my mind, but it made me realize that possibly she had someone that made her laugh a lot in her life, and that was one memory I didn't mind having pop in and out of my head.
Arly didn't seem to notice the note I slipped in her purse, at least if she did, she didn't let on to me. So, later that evening, just before going to bed, I scribbled the name 'E.L. Chinaberry' on the side of the empty toilet paper roll in the bathroom. One thing I knew for sure about human folk, they spend a lot of time going in and out of the bathroom, so I figured I couldn't miss with this one. Before I nodded off I kept hearing that old man repeat that quote, and for a minute, I could hear Angel Face laughing at him. Not a bad way to end my day after all.