Litera Scripta Manet
The Written Word Endures

Written by: Elaine J. (aka Jackaroe)

When young Alexis Rowe was introduced to her neighbor, William Hendry, at the tender age of five years and two months, her initial reaction would not have been considered decent by a knowledgeable mother of today or even of the decade when the presentation first took place. In fact, most people would probably believe that her response was rude, violent and downright unacceptable for a girl of such an age, and indeed, her reply was very much so.

Now, at the prime, plucky age of five years and two months, one would expect for a child to not have the random inclination to let fly a fist at another for no apparent reason. It was expected, however, that violence could very well be a likely outcome if a child were provoked by jeers and taunts. But such was not the case for the joyous first meeting of Miss Rowe and Mr. Hendry. Alexis, after being told the name of the young, auburn-haired, blue-eyed boy and being placed in front of him, took one quick glance at him with her large green eyes, and sent her small, chubby little hand straight onto his nose.

The poor boy didn't even have a chance.

And, as soon as the first fist flew, the second came down just as quickly, and soon young Alexis had her wailing opponent flailing his arms while she sat on his stomach and beat his wet face repeatedly. Her mother, gasping at the spontaneous fight with pure horror, snatched Alexis and kept her fussy daughter in her arms, while the mother of the unfortunate victim came running to her bawling baby.

"I'm so sorry, Patricia," said Alexis' mother apologetically. "She normally wouldn't do such a thing."

"You're telling me," replied William's mother with a slight smirk as she wiped the tears off of her son's face with the ends of her shirt. "William is usually the one punching fists into his brother's faces in the house. But now that we've moved here, perhaps he'll behave better. Do you hear that, William?"

The boy nodded his head and sniffled.

"See?" his mother pointed to a fresh red spot on his cheek. "Those are the kind of marks you leave on your brothers when you hit them. Now you have some."

"Please don't use this as a lesson for your son, Patricia," implored Alexis' mother. "It's my daughter's fault."

"Oh no, Cathy," chuckled Patricia. "Even if it was wrong, it served a lesson on its own. I should be thanking her. Perhaps she can come over when we've settled into our new house."

"Of course, Patricia." The woman beamed a smile and bounced Alexis on her hip.

But the girl had thoughts of her own. She looked at the boy and then at his mother and then frowned.

"You and Will will be good friends soon enough," hoped Patricia brightly. She scooped her son up in her arms and kissed his forehead. Then, as her brow furrowed at a second thought she added, "Well, you'll both be friends as soon as we straighten this little fight out."

The brawl was indeed 'straightened out' and young Alexis and William soon came to understand each other, mostly. Their mothers would often visit each other and bring them along and the two had no choice but to entertain themselves with one another's company. But there was a common trait between them; both were creative machines. Whenever Cathy and Patricia paused in their gossip and chatter, they'd catch wind of the games Alexis and William played, and they would always glance at each other in pleased curiosity. Some days they'd hear of Princess Alexis getting hunted down by a rabid pack of werewolves courteously played by William and his older brothers. On others, they'd get a glimpse of cowboy Will getting kidnapped by desert spirits while roping cattle on his ranch, and on rainy days, they'd watch the life of Professor Rowe solve the mystery of the missing puppet boy named William.

Perhaps the only downside to their hyper-imaginative minds was that they simply could not agree on which ideas of theirs were worth playing. Of course, each would do his or her best to convince the other that his or her idea was better, but they also happened to be quite good at arguing as well (thankfully, without fists), and so on many meetings, the two ended up playing no game at all except for the one so generously dubbed, 'Your idea is stupid!'

By the time they were nine, Lexie and Will had become experts at child games and would often spend any spare time during or out of school to tell their other friends of their adventures. The tales were always action-packed, often complicated, sometimes lengthy and rarely ever romantic, but their friends enjoyed hearing the stories. They loved them so much that one day, William decided that for Show and Tell, he'd present to his class a book about one of his and Lexie's games.

His "book" was hardly a book in appearance, being but two folded sheets of paper stapled together, but the story he wrote was nonetheless enchanting. Soon, everyone in his class wanted to write books to share, and when he told Alexis about his success, she fumed and felt the same random inclination to punch him just as she had when they first met.

"I should have helped," she said grumpily, folding her arms across her chest as she sank in her bus seat. "After all," she humphed, "The game you said in your story was my idea."

"Who cares?" snorted Will, "I wrote the story."

"But if I didn't think up the game, you wouldn't even have a story to write!"

Her reply was just a simple, but silent, mimicry of her angry defense, or rather, jealousy, and such mockery earned dear William a good whack on the head, which knocked his thick, black-rimmed glasses off of his head and onto the floor.

The glasses bounced to the aisle between the bus seats and were jerked to the far front of the vehicle when the bus came to a halt at the designated stop.

"Great, Lex," grunted Will as he got up to leave the bus and to also retrieve his glasses. "I can't find my glasses!"

"You're on your own," remarked Alexis as she got up from her seat and brushed past him as she exited the bus.

And as simple as that, the duo became broken for all eternity.