Everyone in Whispering Harbor knew that Jeremy Mankin wasn’t fishing with the sharpest hook.
“I heard him mumbling the strangest things,” Judith Matchbox said after finding Jeremy in her vegetable patch. “When I caught him, he was covered in dirt and going on about some damned magical creature. That boy better replace my carrots.”
“He chases things that don’t exist,” the girls in his classes would gossip. “Nobody likes him.” Their words reached the ladies at the salons where it was discussed alongside the latest news.
But it was Frank Toastmaster’s account that the town considered gospel. “Don’t blame the boy,” he once whispered at a Rotary meeting. “Blame the mother.”
Mrs. Mankin wasn’t one for enduring insults. She got Jeremy a job packing groceries at the local market, and then ran over Frank Toastmaster’s mailbox with her car.