Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dali's Egg ~ 7. Fishing


“Good Lord Gabriel, you look an absolute mess man - we were beginning to think that you’d been taken by the Strippers” Dr Morose was supervising a group of villagers as they replaced the kitchen roof with new palm leaves.
“Stripper – there was only one of them,” said John as Morose stepped back from the hostile look in his eye “One Stripper, and it only takes the weak – I spoke with it." He drew a ragged breath, “The Moon…” he began, unsure of what he’d actually witnessed in the previous night’s furore.
“Ah the old Moon” said Morose, “Fascinating subject, the Moon, most folk take it for granted, but you’ve got to be careful when dealing with our little satellite.” He lit a cigarette from the crumpled pack and inhaled deeply.
“The old Moon seems to have developed a special relationship with the folk on our island; stay out of his way basically, leave him to his little orbit around the mountain; stay away from him and you’ll not have any bother.” Morose smiled in a ‘that’s all there is to say on the matter’ way and made to turn on his heel.
John looked up at the mountain but the Moon was not in view. Something stirred at the outer limits of his memory and he struggled to grasp it, but is slipped between the fingers of his efforts and left him with a faint nausea and a pit of regret in his gut.
“Who strung Geoff up at the lagoon?” he grabbed at Morose’s shoulder.
“Be careful man” Morose grabbed John’s wrist, easily disengaging the clenched fingers and dropping his arm distastefully, then, straightening his shirt, he smiled grimly, “The Judiciary don’t tolerate insurrection.” He brought his face up close to John’s, his voice dropped a decibel, “Don’t tolerate just about anything”. He turned back to the silent workers on the kitchen roof. “If you want to question our Justice System you’d better take it up with Grissom. In the mean time you’d better get down to the river mouth and help Saki and Shangaan out with the fishing”
John stood for a moment, undecided, and after a hard look from Morose; he turned and took the path downriver.
As he passed between the dunes at the end of the path he spotted Saki, standing on the shoreline with a large net. The scarred black man - Shangaan - was wading into the water, waves tugging at his knees.
“Go back, go back, dangerous” a seagull circled Shangaan. He stopped, waves crashing around his waist while more seagulls appeared from the bright sky and noisily circled his body. He took a step forward and the gulls swooped down to peck at his exposed torso. Saki waited until Shangaan was almost lost to view under the flapping birds before swinging her arms out in an arc that sent the spreading net out and over the gulls and over Shangaan. John watched as Shangaan now turned and waded back to the shore, the trapped birds flapping and squawking as they tangled themselves in the fine mesh of the net.
Obviously feeling John’s presence Saki turned in his direction with a smile.
“You are just in time John; help us to get the birds into the basket”
Shangaan had managed to extricate himself from the net and together they started to remove the gulls, wringing their necks deftly before dropping them into the straw basket. John joined in reluctantly:
“I thought we were going fishing?” he said
“There are no fish,” said Shangaan evenly “this is all we have”
“Why did the birds attack you?” clumsily John wrung the neck of a struggling gull.
“They are not attacking him,” said Saki “for some reason they try and protect us from the sea. If you enter the water they will try and chase you back onto the beach. Every day Shangaan volunteers to be the bait – a very painful experience – I tried it only once”
“Why do you keep volunteering?” asked John, turning to Shangaan, the expression on the man’s face was serious, perhaps with concentration.
Shangaan raised his eyes, searching John’s face for sincerity.
“The birds are all we have to eat. The pain helps me to remember.”
“Remember?”
Shangaan hesitated; Saki answered for him “Shangaan wants to remember what came before. He says that eating the meat makes the past memories die.”
While they were talking the boy had appeared from somewhere up the coast, he was covered in red sand. “What do you remember?” he asked, chin pointed in John’s direction, “I can remember a lady with blue hair and a baby who smoked cigars. What can you remember?”
John frowned; probing his memory caused a weight on his chest, a shortness of breath – trees in the rain.
“I remember… eggs… a fried egg.” He said in a whisper that bore a hint of panic. The boy snorted and taking one of the dead gulls from the basket, he began to pluck its feathers.
“You’re all so fucking boring,” he said.
John did not see himself as an old man, he was dismayed to find himself shocked by the boy’s apparent lack of respect for his elders – Adam obviously didn’t see any of them as worthy of respect.
“Adam was the first one here, he’s had to put up with a lot of changes.” said Suki into her chest.
Shangaan grunted in disgust but said nothing; he dropped the last seagull into the basket then turned back toward the crashing waves.
“One more haul should be enough for today.”
John grabbed Saki’s arm as she began to follow Shangaan, he whispered:
“Somebody hung Geoff from a tree last night, why?”
Saki wrenched her arm free and gathered up the net, her brown eyes flashing; she walked to the waters edge.
Adam stood at the basket plucking feathers; he turned his head toward John and whispered
“The Judiciary”








10 comments:

subtorp77 said...

The birds know but like everything else Man does, they are destroyed rather than looked at, as more than just a food source. And to question the Judiciary is to question one's freedoms. For there are none here...

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Pisces Iscariot said...

Subby: they are driven by their resistance to change.

conanima: hahahahahahahahahaha...no

James Higham said...

I don't think I caught the seagull's name.

Pisces Iscariot said...

James: it's not Nelson, no.

subtorp77 said...

Then resistance is futile? I think not( not here, anyway ). I trust John will figure this out...in time.

Tom said...

This is getting better & better...i wonder, have you any idea what roasted gull tastes like? mmmmm....ech!

Pisces Iscariot said...

Subby: maybe he will; or perhaps he is merely an agent of change.

Tom: Tastes like chicken?

James Higham said...

Right.