Mr. Deity 5

“Sir, your four o’clock is here.”
“Ah, the after-school special!”
“Send them in, Ms. Jones-Berger.”
The door opens and the young man enters, stepping to the side and ushering in a small person about the height of a yardstick.
“Sir, allow me to introduce the lovely Honeysuckle Titus.”
The small person steps forward, hands clasped behind her. The pale pink dress wavers in the wind from the giant ceiling fan. The face lifts toward the man behind the mahogany desk.
“Mr. Deity, I have a question,” the small person enunciates carefully.
“Yes, Honeysuckle,” Mr. Deity encourages her.
The young man glances at him as if the tone surprises him.
“When you sent all the invitations to the animals, how come you invited the mosquitoes?”
Mr. Deity’s smile stays suspiciously steady. “Excuse me?”
“It’s okay, Honey,” the young man says quietly behind her. “Tell him what you told me.”
Honeysuckle takes a deep breath and starts over. “You send the invitations to the animals. Two of every kind of animal got to go. But you know how sometimes you don’t invite every person you know? You can’t invite everyone to the party. The house isn’t big enough, and there aren’t enough cupcakes.”
“Go on,” Mr. Deity says when she pauses, obviously waiting for him to agree.
“Well,” Honeysuckle says, standing up straighter and dropping her hands to her sides. “Why did you invite the mosquitoes? Why didn’t you let them stay on the other side?”
“The other side?” Mr. Deity repeats.
“The other side of the door.”
Mr. Deity rubs a hand over his face.
Honeysuckle isn’t done. “Mr. Deity, I don’t see why we need mosquitoes. Why did they have to come along? Wouldn’t the rest of us be happier if the mosquitoes didn’t come along?”
Mr. Deity takes a deep breath, holds it, and lets it out.
The young man steps closer. “She’s talking about–“
“I know what she’s talking about,” Mr. Deity snaps at him.
“Yes, sir.” He steps back.
Honeysuckle tucks her hands under her arms, hugging herself. “Mr. Deity? Can you please explain it to me?”
Mr. Deity shuffles some papers on his desk. “Honeysuckle, you ask some terrific questions.”