Last time we saw Jimmy and Sally, Sally had just woken up in the middle of the night and discovered that their extended stay in the Grove of L’il Suicides was nothing but a dream. As it turns out, they didn’t spend a lifetime in the after life. Nor did they eventually return to earth and fall in love. However, their parents were still fed up with what horrible children they were and both Jimmy’s Wizard Uncle and Sally’s Aunt Witch took vows to never bring them back from the dead again.
Jimmy had the same dream Sally did. He too, woke up crying but didn’t call out for comfort. If he did, he was afraid he’d lose the fear he spent years instilling in his mother and second dad. If word got out that he cried over a dream- no matter how terrifying a dream it was- his reputation as coolest kid in town would be tarnished forever. So he sucked it up and chewed on his pillow until he fell back asleep.
Jimmy’s mom knew he was crying, all decent mothers can sense when their children are weeping. She also knew that trying to comfort Jimmy was just as dangerous as trying to bathe him. So she covered her head with a pillow so she couldn’t hear Jimmy’s tears roll down his face and went back to sleep. It’s not that she didn’t care, she just didn’t want to get stabbed again. People can only get stabbed so many times before they run out of patience and mothers are no exception.
Jimmy’s second dad was also crying, but no more so than he usually did. He cried himself to sleep so often, that when he didn’t, Jimmy’s mom had trouble falling asleep. His evening lamentations provided a soothing backdrop of white noise for her, not unlike a fan.
Morning eventually came and the sunlight that filled Jimmy’s bedroom did nothing to brighten his heart or soul. He wasn’t crying anymore but he didn’t feel right. The dream had spooked him something good, and the fear he felt during it carried over into his waking state.
Like Sally, Jimmy didn’t feel much like wearing his leather jacket today. Oddly enough, he also wanted to comb his hair and brush his teeth without being told. He even left his switchblade under his bed instead of hiding it in his book bag in case he needed it to cut someone at school.
He wandered downstairs and found his parents had already left for work. This happened a few times a week and was no cause for concern. He knew how to make his breakfast and walk to school. Usually he has frozen gumballs and a can of soda in the morning but today Jimmy made himself a bowl of his Second Dad’s boring cereal and poured a glass of grape drink.
“Something isn’t right inside of me.” he thought to himself while poking his cereal with his spoon.
Jimmy picked up his glass of grape drink and poured it into his cereal bowl while thinking “Maybe the clouds know something about this dream. I should go talk to them before going to school.”
Here the clever and observant reader might be wondering why Jimmy didn’t consider skipping school to talk to the clouds instead of getting it in before class. This sort of newly instilled sense of responsibility was exactly what was making Jimmy feel so strange.
When Jimmy finished his cereal he placed his dirty dishes in the sink and started to walk towards the door.
“What the damn hell am I doing?” he said to himself. “I never clean up after myself, but after that spooky dream I can’t help it. Why is my hair combed, and who brushed my teeth?” A look came over his face. It wasn’t quite the look of someone who had just had an epiphany but it was a look that was the side effect of some internal realization which was in the process of being made.
Jimmy ran back upstairs and grabbed his cool leather jacket. When he tried to put it on, he couldn’t. It’s not that he forgot how jackets work or that his limbs wouldn’t cooperate, he just couldn’t bring himself to put it on. He just couldn’t.
The same thing happened when he tried to pocket his switchblade.
“This isn’t right”, he thought.”I wonder if Sally had that dream too? If she did, I bet I know what happened.”
Jimmy ran down the steps and out the back door. He stopped to look up at the clouds but they didn’t seem to have anything to say. Sally was waiting for him by the fence.
“Hi, Jimmy. You look different today.”
“So do you.”
“I know. I feel weird too. Did you have a dream last night?” Sally asked.
“Yeah, it was pretty horrible. You were in it. We died and nobody brought us back to life, our coupons didn’t work, and my Grand Dad had to do all kinds of weird stuff.”
“That’s the same dream I had. It was horrible. We…we held hands, Jimmy! We kissed and made babies and they grew up and made MORE babies! It was awful! Just awful.”
“I know, I know.” It was all Jimmy could think to say while his head shook in disgust.
Sally began to sob. The sight of her crying, with her hair combed and teeth clean, stirred something inside of Jimmy. He wanted to hug her and kiss her on the head until she was done. As he was about to put his arm around her shoulder, he looked up at the clouds. They didn’t say anything, but he swore that they looked at him funny. He took their perceived advice and resisted the urge to comfort Sally, instead he scrunched his face in such a way that allowed him to suck the tears that were forming back into his eye-balls and took a deep breath.
After a very tense and stressful five seconds that felt as long as an entire rainy Sunday afternoon Jimmy blurted out “I know! It was rotten. I was polite and you learned things from books that teachers didn’t force you to read. We were trees for damn sake! I can’t believe we both had the same dream and there wasn’t one knife fight.”
” I know,” Sally answered. “It’s weird, isn’t it? Like it wasn’t our dream at all.” She had stopped crying now and was just sniffling a little bit. “I’ve never had a dream without a knife fight.”
Both children stood there, slowly piecing together both dream and non-dream events and transpirings of the past few days.
When they were done they weren’t sad anymore. They were annoyed. Jimmy spat on the ground and Sally kicked the fence.
“Those. Grown. Up. Assholes. Put. The. Whammy. On. Us!” Sally spat out between clenched teeth.
Jimmy picked up right where she left off “Using. Magic. To. Dream Scare. Us. Into. Being. Good.”
Hatred glowed in both their eyes. Bright like the sun and focused like a laser.
When they realized what had happened they got dizzy. Their heads filled with a fog and they felt compelled to walk towards school.
“Resist! It’s just the magic.” Sally cried as her body turned around without her permission and took a few steps towards the driveway.
“Ugh, this sucks ass-tards,” howled Jimmy as he followed Sally.
“I don’t think I can stop, Jimmy! I don’t want to go to school looking like this.”
“Me either! I don’t think we have a choice, shit-damn turd parents. I’m going to cook my mom’s good-danged head off once we break this whammy.”
“Jimmy you’re cursing weird. It’s scary.”
“I know, I can’t make the bad words make sense, it hurts to think them and makes me sick to say them, but that’s who I am. I’m a bad word sayer.”
“What are we going to do about this?”
“I know someone on the way to school who might be able to help.”
So it happened that Jimmy and Sally slowly walked towards school under the influence of a magic spell. Walking under the influence of magic isn’t very fun. There’s a certain horror that comes with realizing someone else is moving your body. It’s one of the darkest and most impolite acts of magic and those who are caught performing it are often dealt with harshly.
Forcing someone to do something is the greatest sin there is on this Earth, and those who are cunning and wise enough to learn and employ magic should know better. Behavior should be changed by example setting, quietly exerting influence, and exposing how poor actions result in poor consequences. It shouldn’t come about by brute force meta-physical manipulation.
Even terrible people like Jimmy and Sally don’t deserve to be forced by invisible beings into performing actions they normally wouldn’t do. The inside of someone’s head is an intimate and private place. Violating this inner sanctuary is amongst the grossest and most disgustingly vile acts that can be committed on a person. When Jimmy and Sally’s parents (and Aunt and Uncle) conspired to cast this whammy on them, they became just as rotten and rude as Jimmy and Sally. They were even worse than them, it could be argued, because their brains were fully grown and they should have been smarter.
They weren’t smarter, though. And that was about to become abundantly clear.