A flashback of Jamie's former life
|Recap: After an unsuccessful escape form the people who are keeping him against his will, Jamie was bought back and banished for the night to a squalid fortified lockup in the basement, colloquially known as “The Badroom”. Later the next day Pedro (a tyrannical bully) allowed him back into the house. As a direct consequence of what they consider a betrayal of their trust his clothes are confiscated (all except his pyjamas, socks and underwear) to dissuade him from future attempts to flee his captivity.
Throughout the day he gets into more and more trouble but finds a little peace when Pedro allows him to watch television with him. Jamie falls asleep and dreams of an incident detailing his attempts to make amends with his estranged stepmother after breaking her camera.
Jamie was awoken by Pedro’s partner, Delilah. A siren was sounding and panic ensued. Pedro changed channels and tunes into a CTV camera that was trained on the driveway, where two people approached on foot. Delilah scurried him back down to the basement and he was ushered back into the Badroom.
STEPSON ON A BEACH
Nine and a half months earlier
“The ship came into the harbour with a cargo full of ems,” said Jamie's youngest stepbrother, Deacon.
“Maggots,” suggested Jamie.
“Arf,” added Koromaru; the Radcliffe’s Siberian Husky Labrador Retriever, amidst the hampers, blankets and toys etc in the back of the station wagon.
“Martians? They’re ain’t on board, they’re in flying saucers.”
“Could of crash landed on the ship.”
“Then the ship would sink.”
“Not if it landed in the ship’s swimming pool.”
“They’d be all drownded cuz Mars ain’t got no water for Martins to bother learning to swim.”
“Okay then, maybe may they landed on the ship, over powered the captain, set their phases to kill and forced the rest of the crew to take them a shore.”
“Cargo captains are trained to kick alien butt. It just wouldn’t happen.”
“Arf,” said Koromaru
“Stop it!” scolded Catarina. “That’s twice Jamie; and once for you, Deacon. If you can’t play something without squabbling then don’t play anything at all.”
Jamie folded his arms close to his chest and stared out the window, mimicking his stepmother’s warning under his breath. Green vegetation and intermittent vehicles flashed by. A motorbike overtook them and the rider yelled some sort of abuse then roared into the distance.
The cloud covering that had obscured the sun for most of the trip had dissipated, and even with the car air-conditioning circulating, he had resorted to removing his bugs-bunny hoodie and footwear to keep cool. His sweat soaked Roadrunner undershirt and Radcool Graffiti shorts clung as if glued to his body, whilst his exposed lower arms and legs had taken on a slight reddish hue.
"Matchbox cars," said Deacon.
“Forget it. I don't wanba play that stupid game anymore,” pouted Jamie.
“Cool. I win, you lose. A ship came in to harbour with a cargo full of losers…ow! Mummy, Jamie punched my arm and it hurt. I think he broke it, or something, or whatever.”
“That’s three times Jamie,” affirmed Catarina “No ice cream on the way back.”
“Ha-ha, Jamie got punished,” teased Deacon.
“And twice for you, Deacon.”
“Arf-arf” asserted Koromaru, and even Catarina could not help but laugh.
Clouds obscured the late afternoon sun as Jamie and Deacon raced down the beach, with Koromaru bounding alongside them. Squawking seagulls circled above, a radio sounded from behind, and here and there were crudely constructed sandcastles.
The two boys charged into the crashing waves. They came to an abrupt halt and winced when the cold sea water smote their bare feet, but Koromaru continued on; splashing about and barking with glee. The waves receded, drew hard against their ankles then struck them again.
“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” chanted Jamie; jumping seconds before the next wave reached him, then splashing down again.
“SpongeBob SquarePants!” answered Deacon.
“Assordent and yellow and Poor-us is he”
“Arf-arf-a-arf...arf-arf!” said Koromaru “Arf!”
“Plunge time, Jamie,” said Deacon, wading forward.
A strong southerly breeze picked up and buffeted Jamie’s short chestnut hair. He paused indecisively for a few seconds then followed after his stepbrother, jumping over each wave in turn.
“Arf-arf-arf” said Koromaru.
“Koromaru says that’s deep enough,” alleged Jamie. The tide was already above his knees.
Jamie crouched and dug his heels deep into the sandy bottom, then braced himself for impact. A large wave crashed against his unclad chest. Salt water sprayed up onto his face and in his mouth. He stumbled slightly but managed to keep his balance.
The two boys kicked water at one another for a brief period and then started roughhoused amid the waves, while Koromaru bounded around them; supervising their mischief. Jamie lost his footing as Deacon tripped him, and fell butt first into the tide. His head submerged All went quiet, except for a low muffled roar. Panic ensued and he struggled back out of the water, and as he did so his swimming trunks were hauled down passed his knees.
“Hey everyone, come and look at Jamie’s giant peach!” cried Deacon.
“That’s not funny,” he retorted, quickly pulling them back up, and then thumping his stepbrother’s upper left arm hard.
“Ow! You hit my army, big mistake.”
Jamie watched on while Deacon splashed his way back passed the shore line and onto the beach. The boy searched around for a short time, then picked up a long thin length of driftwood and charged back.
“Help me, Koromaru,” cried Jamie. “Quick, protect me from that insane warrior!”
Koromaru raced in front of Jamie and barricaded him seconds before Deacon re-entered the sea. He barked several times then bounded forward and bit into the driftwood, splintered debris showered in all directions.
“Stop it, both of you!” yelled Catarina.
The boys abruptly ceased their fray, occasioning Koromaru to snatch the driftwood out of Deacon’s hand and race back onto the beach. Jamie gazed sheepishly at his stepmother and felt apprehensive. Not that she was in the habit of spanking him or any of his stepsiblings; it was merely an instinctive reflex, begotten from the abuse he had sustained from his late biological father.
“Jamie started it!” asserted Deacon, folding his arms tightly against his chest.
“Did not,” retorted Jamie. "Deacon started: he it pulled down my trunks and laughed at me.”
“Jamie pulled them down himself cuz…cuz…um…cuz he wanted to go poo-poos on a mermaid.”
“That’s three Jamie, no ice cream for you either.”
“Awwwww mummy, that’s not fair!”
“Ha ha, Deacon got punished.”
“Arf Arf” said Koromaru bounding about in the sand.
“I want you two to come back now…lunch is ready.”
“Okay Mum. I’ll race ya, Deacon; last one back’s a pair of stinky socks.”
“I spy with my little eye something with Oh” said Jamie, sitting lying toward the far corner of the large dark green and red tartan rug.
“Ocean,” suggested his eldest stepbrother, Travis.
“Oranges?” said his stepsister Melissa.
“Nah…Deacon scoffed them all up the greedy pig.”
“Better to be pig than a peach,” countered Deacon.
Jamie motioned to give him another shoulder thump, but thought better of it.
“Onion?” said his Harvey.
“No, not onions.”
“Arangutan!” said Deacon excitedly, pointing up to the clouds.
“That’s a great answer. I can see it too. Sorry, it’s not orangutan. Besides that would start with Em for Melissa…ow! Mum, Melissa slapped me...and it really hurt.”
“Good for her.” retorted Catarina. “Now apologise to your sister.”
“Sorry Mel…you’re not really a monkey.”
“Old people,” said Jamie’s stepfather Alexander, trying to defuse tensions and get the game back on track.
“What exactly are you implying, Alex?” probed Caterina.
“The elderly couple, dear; walking along the beach,”
“Good save Dad,” said Jamie, rubbing his smarting left thigh. “What about you Mum…it’s all up to you now.”
“I’m not sure but I’d hasten a guess that it’s something obscure.”
“Couldn’t make it too easy,”
“And it definitely starts with Oh?”
“That it does…um…and if you don’t guess right I don’t be punished, aye Mum,”
“Tell your tummy not to fret Jamie; you’ll get your ice cream. I'm not the one to renege on a promise.”
“Something beginning with Oh, Mum,”
“Well I can’t see any otters or octopi, and we didn’t pack any olive oil, but there is a photo of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in the newspaper we wrapped the cups up with.”
“You were very close.”
“Okay sweetie, you can have your ice cream. Now tell us what it is.”
“You were right about the newspaper. At the bottom of the page is an advert for ice cream…one of the flavours is Oreo cheese cake with cookies.”
“You’re a right little scallywag sometimes,” laughed Alexander ruffling Jamie’s still moist hair.
“And a proper little conman to boot,” added Catarina.
“Yeah, let’s all boot his bum?” enticed Deacon with a cheeky grin.
“That’s four and counting Deacon,” warned Catarina “Take care, I’d hate you to miss out on tonight's Pavlova pudding.”
-To be continued-