Fisherman’s Knot Chapter 15
Warnings for panic attacks and dissociation, as well as some mild body horror in the dream sequence.
Their Boots We Buried Below The Tide
“Did you miss me? Admit it, you missed me!”
No. It’s not. He’s not …
“Stanford? Stanford, are you all right?”
It’s just a name. It’s just a nickname for William, consistently in the top five male names in English-speaking countries. He’d looked it up. From Germanic Wilahelm: compound of “will, desire” and “helmet, protection.” The irony of the latter etymology hurts every time he thinks about it, hurts like cracked ribs and blood welling up from his right eye and the stab of betrayal in his heart.
He can’t get away from it so he has to get used to it. It’s just a name. It’s just a name. It’s just—
“Come on, Fordsy! Just one little equation and we can be done with this and move on to the FUN part! Not that watching you scream in agony isn’t fun, but I’ve got things to do! Worlds to conquer! Civilizations to OBLITERATE!”
It’s stupid. He’s stupid. It’s just one syllable. Just three phonemes. What kind of scientist was afraid of phonemes? Voiced bilabial stop. Central high unrounded vowel. Velarized alveolar lateral approximant. See? None of those are frightening. The stop starts off boat and book and biology, the vowel anchors the stressed syllables in Dipper and Fiddleford, and even though that articulation of the approximant is called “dark L” it’s the last phoneme in Mabel and so it’s beautiful, whatever the con-langers say.