"This here is Penjami," the Marquis said.
Penjami had on blue overalls and a red bomber’s hat. He was about four feet tall then. He didn’t pay me much attention. He stood in front of the largest puddle in the yard and looked at it with deep, thoughtful eyes.
The old factory building in which The New Anomalist was published is located at the lowest point of the street, and its front yard tends to stay moist even in dry weather. The pavement is uneven, the asphalt cracked. Especially after rain, the yard is covered by a network of slowly drying puddles, to the nuisance of bypassers.
"Hi!" I said.
"Hi," Penjami replied absent-mindedly, still not looking at me. "I wonder where you got that puddle?"
"Hm," I said. It was a novel and unexpected question. I had to think for a minute before answering.
"Where was it again…I think we bought it from that grocery store on the corner," I said.
He lifted his grave gaze from the puddle and seemed to see me for the first time. He wasn’t the slightest bit amused by my answer.
"I think it was on sale," I said.
"Was it? How much did it cost?" he asked. "Do they still have them?"
"Do you want one like that? Are you sure it’s the right size? Not too big or too small?"
He nodded. “It’s neat.”
I looked at the puddle and saw that he was right. It really was a neat puddle, although I’d never been able to look at it that way before. A miraculous looking-glass, fallen from a cloud. The puddle itself lay in the shadow of the factory, but the cloudless autumn day that it partially reflected made it look deep and pure. The bird that flew across the sky also swam in our puddle. There was a small heaven in our yard. I was thankful to Penjami for making me understand the value of the puddle, and I felt embarrassed that I had teased him.
"Actually you can only get puddles from the sky, not the store. You just have to wait for it to rain," I said. "And then, of course, there has to be a suitable place for a puddle."
"Yeah," he said and fell silent. Now his eyes examined the old factory warehouse critically. "Did you build this?" he asked.
"Not, not me," I said. "I just work here. This is an old factory, older than me. Can you believe that?"
"The person who built this building was really smart," he continued.
"What makes you think that?" I asked.
"Because he built it in just the right place."
"How so?" I asked.
"This close to the puddle," little Penjami said.
—Datura, Leena Krohn