William Virgil Davis Hugo Gone Missing

Hugo has disappeared and maybe he
has died. It would be hard to know
for sure since there has been no notice
in the paper. But Molly said so and
no one contradicted her, never did,
so it must be so, even though there’s
no evidence that Cal, our cop, knows
about and no body has been found.

We wonder when it will all come out
in the open, even if he killed himself
and nobody told, and didn’t put it in
the paper because it was nobody’s
business, even if we’d all known him
since we were kids together and some
of us thought that he might could kill
somebody someday, even if we never
thought it would be himself he did it
to, although Johnny once told him he
ought to, or he might do it for him
if he didn’t stop staring at his girl
the way he did. Hugo had just changed
his look but Johnny hadn’t noticed,
and Jeanie, that’s Johnny’s wife now,
never did tell him. She always just
smiled and sort of hid her face with
her hand, the way she always had.

When a week went by and there was
nothing more, most of us just quit
worrying about it and thought that
Hugo would turn up and laugh at
all of us the way he often did, had
since he was just a kid. But Carolyn,
who had always lived in the library
and knew all kinds of things, said
she’d find out one way or the other
if it was the last thing she ever did.
That made us think that Carolyn
really did care for Hugo, the way
Margaret and Holly always said,
and always laughed, which always
made Carolyn blush. Hank said
she hid behind her books, always
had. No one paid much attention
to Hank though, never had, not
much between his ears, even his
aunt, who raised him, always said.

In the end Hugo never did come
back—if he had gone away—and
no one ever knew what happened,
or where he went, or if he was dead,
and not just disappeared, and why,
and all the other kinds of things that
others imagined, or made up, and
talked about for years, until most
of us were dead too and didn’t care
about much, one way or the other.

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