Humphrey Duncan was a rotten child; he would climb up a ladder and sit upon the tremendous wall that surrounded the vast garden of his house, which towered over the streets below, its windows like eyes, judging those less wealthy than Humphrey’s father. Some japed that the large house was needed in order for the boy to get inside; he was after all a portly lad. Those who did not live in the town or know the boy may have pitied him upon hearing these jeers, but rest assured their worries were set at ease when they passed the wall that bravely held up the lump of a child. Humphrey would spit the seeds and stones of plums and mandarins at passers-by; when they were out of his firing range he would shout and mock them in the cruellest of fashions and no matter whom it was that suffered, complaints went unheeded. Complaints to the boy’s father were waved away carelessly,
“Boys will be boys,” he would say, “Really he’s as cute as a button.” One might try to remember a button one had seen that revelled in the suffering of small animals, but to no avail. With a few notes stuffed into their hands (and a few more if they were the authorities) complainants were bustled out the door. Indeed money fixed many of Humphrey’s problems; his father’s money could fix anything.
It was mid-afternoon about 3 O’clock; Humphrey had been sitting upon the wall all morning, mocking an older boy across the street, who didn’t seem too phased by his taunts. It wasn’t until Humphrey attempted to throw a plum stone at the boy but instead knocked a pigeon out of the air, in mid take-off, that the boy growled. He moved quickly over to the now hobbling pigeon and picked it up before glowering at Humphrey and turning around the corner of the street. Humphrey snickered in delight and spent the rest of his day in a most excellent mood; however, his good temperament ended late that evening when he turned around on his place on the wall to climb down his ladder only to discover a figure standing on the top rung, his face now level with Humphrey’s chest. It was the pigeon boy from earlier that day, Humphrey scowled.
“What are you doing here?” he shouted. He was about to shout something more but he stopped as the boy smiled, the grin slicing across his face like a blade. A pale hand came forward and rested on Humphrey’s chest, and with seemingly just a small amount of pressure, Humphrey rolled backwards over the wall, hitting the street on the other side with a sharp crack, as if someone had just smashed a bad egg.
Humphrey believed his father’s money could fix anything, but it couldn’t fix him.