Tuesday, October 6, 2015

They Were Dolphins, Chapter 6, part II

When they got home, the harangue continued in the living room, the kitchen, and the bedroom. The boy sat frozen on the couch, unsure how to escape. He still wore the sling and was told he couldn’t play outside for several days. But listening to the argument was frightening and he wanted to leave.

The Korean finally stood up for himself and demanded answers to some question that seemed important. The boy didn’t know what the Korean was referring to about “trust” and being a “tramp”. The boy knew that the Tramp was a cocker spaniel, but didn’t know how it related to the argument. His mother seemed fearful about this last line of questioning and she threatened the Korean over the terms.

The argument had reached a fevered pitch on both sides. The boy got off the couch and hid under the table in the living room. From below the table, he could see the legs of the adults, alternately facing, spinning, and sparring each other. His mother turned finally to go to the kitchen and the Korean, who had been pacing back and forth, decided that yes, yes, it was time for violence.

The Korean executed a Tae Kwon Do kick to his mother’s back and watched her fall to the ground in front of him. Her head had twisted so her face looked to the sky and her arms formed chicken-like wings at her side. She collapsed on the ground and the Korean moved forward.

The boy darted out without thinking and extracted his vampire bark blade. He held it above his head in defiance. The Korean looked at the “blade” and slapped the boy’s hand so hard he lost sensation. The bark flew across the room and the boy stood defenceless in front of the Korean beast, who snorted and twitched. His fists worked through the air, trying to lock onto a target.

Finally, the Korean left and slammed the screen door. The boy turned to the heap on the floor and tried to find her arms. He gently pulled at her to get her up, but she was inconsolable. She lay on the floor crying as if she wanted to stay there forever. The boy ran to his room and wracked his brain to find something that could help.

His mother liked books, perhaps he could give her a copy of Secret Under the Sea, featuring a boy and dolphin on the cover. It was his most treasured possession, but he would be willing to give it to his mother. He needed to wrap it, though.

He opened the roll-cover on his desk and found the homework from a while ago. He shoved it aside and took a piece of paper out from a stack of blank sheets. He searched for a pencil and opened the top drawer. He found a fuzzy bed of grey-green mould growing on a white and black bed of squishy material. That was what happens to sandwiches and milk, he noted.

He found a pencil in another drawer and thought of what to write.

i luve you mom

He wrapped the book awkwardly with the sheet of paper that didn’t quite cover the paperback and took it to the living room. He was triumphant with his success. His mother sat on the couch holding a large glass tumbler of brown liquid. Her legs were folded under her. Her head bobbed up and down as if it were unsure of where it should hang.

The boy offered his gift to her and she took it and read the writing. She wept silently and hid her face behind her arms. The boy cried too, suddenly realising he hadn’t been crying yet. He leaned over the couch to hug her and she gripped his neck so hard he almost yelped. Her hot breath and sloppy snot landed on his shoulder.

He pulled away involuntarily and asked if she was okay. She shook her head and finished off her drink in one big gulp. She waved the boy away and he retreated outside. He sat on a branch of the plumeria tree waiting for something to happen. He tried not to cry, but couldn’t stop. He cried until he was aware he was crying, and he was aware that the crying wasn’t genuine anymore.

A convertible car with the top down drove up and parked in the driveway The lady with the seeds came up and waved at the boy. She came up to him and tried to smile at him. She said his mother had called. She asked if his mother were okay. The boy nodded but his hitching chest and wet face belied the motion.

She nodded with compassion and reached out to pat his shoulder. He instinctively pulled back because he knew his shoulder with the sling would hurt. She noticed the sling and switched hands to pat his other shoulder. He was grateful for the gesture.

The went inside for a few minutes then came back out. She breezily told the boy to come with her. They were going to have a fun time together. The boy was hesitant but something about the woman was comforting and confident. He nodded and walked to the car. She opened the passenger door and he sat down. This was the first time he had ridden in a convertible and was excited to look around and feel the wind on his face.

His mood lightened considerably as the woman drove deep into the back of the valley. The roads narrowed until the car could barely get by the cars parked on either side. Eventually, the pavement stopped and the car drove along a bumpy and muddy road. The lady pulled over under a canopy of trees where the path ended.

They got out and the lady told the boy they were going to a special place. But the boy couldn’t tell anyone where they were going, she told him. It was a secret place they could hang out and be safe with friends. The boy liked being safe, so he agreed. She instructed him that they would hike for a bit. He was not to step on any plants or break any branches, for they didn’t want to have anyone follow them. The boy nodded. The lady impressed upon him the fact that this was secret and safe and no one should find out. He nodded again.

The boy assured her that dolphins know how to keep secrets. In fact, even when they go eee eee eeek eeek, nobody knows what they are saying. The lady agreed without seeming to understand.

They hiked up the side of a mountain path for a while before they turned uphill where the climb became quite steep and there was no path. The boy’s arm hurt but he couldn’t move it because the sling restricted him. He stepped on some ferns and the woman chastised him for breaking the plants. She rearranged the leaves to make it less obvious that it had been broken and led him by his good hand to help him up the steep incline.

They came through some trees to a clearing with a ramshackle hut made out of spare pieces of wood and tin. All around the hut, there were various old pieces of rusting metal and wood piles. In the middle of this mishmash of stuff was a white bathtub and the boy immediately went to it. Unfortunately, it was filled with black sludge and mud.

The woman told the boy to play for a while and he agreed. He had never been this far back in the valley, nor this high up the mountain, so he was intrigued by the area. The woman disappeared inside the hut. The boy busied himself investigating the trees and detritus in the yard.

He forgot about his surroundings for a few hours and self-medicated on some lychee (litchi chinensis) and carob (ceratonia siliqua) trees he found nearby. He decided this place would be great to come visit and play, if he could remember how to get here.

After ingesting the fruit, a large pressure developed in his bowels and pushed against his bottom. He searched for a spot to defecate and decided the best place was the bathtub in front of the shack. The boy sat on the edge of the tub with his bottom hanging over the tub and dropped a huge pooh into the tub. The stench was incredible and the boy was immediately ashamed of the disgusting mess.

He hoped and prayed that no one would notice his poop but the smell was unmistakable and spread out over a large area. He tried some magical incantations and made special wishes with his fingers crossed. Nothing hid the smell or made the pooh go away. The boy decided there was no such thing as magic. There was only poop on the tub that everyone could smell and see.

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