The boy and the girl were inside. Outside it drizzled an unending fall of dead cloud. They both shivered. Their ball sat motionless in the middle of the room. Not waiting, not sleeping. Maybe dead. The boy looked at the girl.
Not much to do.
They sat and watched the grey splatting outside their window.
She frowned and it creased her face until it might have been a smile but then the shadows faded and there was only that frown.
They both heard it, who first, didn't matter. It was a bump. They jumped.
And then they saw him. Tall, a grin ringed with sharpened canines and a clownish hat, bent in the middle, or sagging, or broken.
Sitting around? He said.
The girl shrugged, the boy just stared.
I know some tricks. Might be worth your time.
They both stared back now. The girl's frown deepened.
She won't mind.
The fish swam to the edge of his bowl, made bubbles like the last sighs of a dry corpse.
That cat must leave. You don't want to play. And he shouldn't be here. Not when your mother is out.
The cat flicked at his hat, the brim jounced a nodding bobbing yes to whatever he was going to say. Chicken?
These are on the up and up. Nothing bad about them. Watch. Up up up, fish.
He grabbed at the bowl, and fish could do nothing, only squirm. Don't drop me.
I don't aim to.