A Neighborhood Watch has been issued at the request of citizens residing across the Brunchers’ Quarter and Polygon Lawn in regards to the New Whittlin’ Man who has been seen meandering through residential city streets. While the presence of the local Whittlin’ Man has never been cause for concern, the sheer number of calls, letters, and messenger quails that we’ve received in regards to this man since his appearance two months ago is reason enough for us here at the Watch to issue a statement on the matter.
As you will recall, we recently saw the departure of our last Whittlin’ Man three months ago. He was a model whittler, spending every day of his 30 year presence moseying about town, casually slicing down chunks of wood into charming figures and knick-knacks. Very often he would hand off these finished projects to residents of the different districts and quarters he wandered through. He was revered for his tidiness, collecting the shavings he produced in a burlap sack that was rigged between his wrists. He would end each day by emptying the remains into the east compost pile of Ernie’s Waste Place and Mulchery where they were then, like all the materials at Ernie’s, recycled into notebooks and granola bars.
Additionally, he was always mindful of his blood circle, never letting his blade pose a threat to those around him. Once his time of ascension came, he made his final trek down the sidewalk of Capgras Ave, as all had done before him. Then, upon arriving at the Sandovall House, Mrs. Sandovall welcomed him through the screen door and presented him with the traditional Ascension Day plate of seared salmon and wax beans. Reports claim that he ascended to the next plane of being four days later.
However, his replacement, this New Whittlin’ Man, has raised many concerns which can no longer be simply attributed to the typical bumpiness of transitions in public, semi-reincarnated figures. While comments regarding his appearance do walk a tumultuous line between being observant and judgmental, they are not entirely without merit. Gone are the washed-out denim jacket, brown corduroys, and bearded round face of our previous Whittlin’ Man, replaced now by the young, sharp features, slicked back hair, and long, dark pea coat of this New Whittlin’ Man, who might easily be confused for a tech entrepreneur. Yet, his appearance seems to be the least of our worries.
“I was watching him whittle as he passed by the patio where I was brunching,” Regina Share reported, “and I noticed that he not only let the shavings just fall to the ground, but that after about 10 minutes, they had begun sinking right into the ground!”
This account was consistent with other citizens who have seen the slivers and bits of wood sink gradually and easily into concrete, grass, hardwood, and carpet alike. Efforts to retrieve these shavings have proved fruitless, as wide stretches of ground have been upturned, only to yield no shavings. Even excavations that reached as far as 30 feet beneath the surface were deemed failures as nothing could be found.
These sinking shavings have been found to have no connection to the daily ivy which continues to sprout, spread, die, and recede each day from the side of Susan Jenning’s lemonade stand.
The litter produced by the New Whittlin’ Man is not so unnerving as the effect he has had on his predecessor’s legacy. Families, individuals, and semi-sentient beings across town have all reported strange events unfolding with the items bequeathed unto them by the previous Whittlin’ Man.
“It used to be a little happy frog on a log,” reported local kiddo Liam Cline, “but the log has started to rot away and the frog has begun to speak to me. It’s afraid of something, but won’t say what.”
In another strange, though potentially unconnected story, Kim Ketters, an avid jogger in Polygon Lawn, reported that the tiki she kept on her shelf had inexplicably melted into a strange wooden puddle: liquid yet grainy, and frigid to the touch. Many others report cases of changed expressions on the faces of their whittled items, additional limbs, and odd new features sprouting out of the long-dead wood. Such claims involve both a princess figurine who appeared to grow a mossy beard and another of a pro bowler figure who, over the course of a week, grew what appears to be a 3rd arm out of his chest. The hand of this new arm is reportedly brought up to the figure’s face, with the forefinger pressed upon the lips in a “shushing” gesture.
While the public always needs time to adjust to the new quirks and habits of our public figures as they cycle eternally through office and states of existence, we here at the Watch commend you in the caution and consideration with which you have approached and attempted to welcome the New Whittlin’ Man. Stay vigilant, citizens, and we will keep you up to date on the latest actions and advisories. Until then, remember: the only way to know thy neighbor is to watch them.
This article was written by Kevin Harrington-Bain, whose third and seventh lifetimes were spent as the local Whittlin’ Man. Follow him for more on Twitter @kkevinb