(Rewrite) A peace offering for Deacon comes at a price.
|Recap: Jamie was thrown into thorns by bullies at a local park becasue he refused to give them the name of the person that got them into trouble. Later that night he got into an altercation with his younger stepbrother, Deacon and ended up punching him in the arm. The next day Jamie and his other stepbrother Harvey were given a chore by their stepmother to pickup something from a teacher that lives nearby, whilst walking thier pet dog, Koromaru. We pick up the story shortly after Jamie is returning from the teacher's house. |
-The Peace Offering-
“What’s going on?” said Jamie. A middle aged couple had stopped to talk to Harvey. Koromaru stood close to the boy’s side; suspicious of the adults. “Is everything okay?
“And who may you be, young man?” said a stern-faced female stranger.
“I’m his brother. What’s up?”
“I saw him picking his nose and wiping the snot on his pants.”
“I’m sure he didn’t mean to,”
"His finger just accidently slipped upwards into his nostril, plucked out so snot, and then smeared it onto his leg?” scoffed the large framed male stranger.
“Please don’t take this the wrong way, but we’re forbidden to talk to strangers. Mum’s expecting us home soon, and she’ll like do the haka at us if we’re late,”
“Okay, but when you get home, be sure to tell her what your vulgar brother did,”
"I will, sir. Come along Kurt, you naughty boy."
Jamie gave Harvey a light slap across his upper left arm. He then took the leash back and the three if them made their way back up McKenzie Terrace in silence. Their parents had insisted they never used their real names whilst in the company of any strangers they felt ill at ease with. Jamie's alias was Matthew whilst Deacon insisted on Pepe; a child character from Asterix in Spain.
“Bitch,” grumbled Harvey, once they were out of earshot of the strangers. “You won’t really tell Mum?”
“Of course not, my vulgar bro,” said Jamie.
“Arf,” said Koromaru.
Gathering clouds had blocked most of the sun shine and a warm breeze lingered. Rain was imminent. Jamie quickened his pace. He feared Mrs Moore’s package might get saturated, with severe consequences; for him at least.
“Hey Harvey,” he asked.
“Yeah?” said Harvey. He drew his jacket zip closer to his chin.
“What’s the difference between a cuckoo and a nightingale?”
“Cuckoos live in clocks while nightingales live in a nursery in Florence.”
“I thought Nightingales came from Britain or somewhere, or whatever.”
“Mum says there was a nightingale from Florence in the crying war, but she spent most of her time in some sort of hospital.”
“What was the Crying War?”
“Dunno. Mum says it was sometime in the 1850s. It battle between two opposing town-criers; one Crier would have given the other Crier something to cry about. Anyways, why do ya want to know about stupid nightingales for?”
“Miss Darcy-Brian wants us to read Ode to a Cuckoo, this weekend. Last week we had to read Ode to a Nightingale, bit it was like all in old English. I couldn’t make any sense out of it, even if it’s a
classic, or whatever. ”
“Poetry sucks the kumara, bro.”
The two boys made their way down Pembroke Street and took the next right into Garrison Street. Jamie tightened his grip on Koromaru’s leash as they passed a Siamese cat, sitting on a letterbox.
“We ought to check this out,” said Harvey. He pointed to a double story house on the opposite side side of the street. “They’ve got some sort of garage sale going on.”
“I don’t want to buy any garages right now.” said Jamie. “I just want to get home before it starts raining.”
“They might have something you can give Deacon, as a sort of peace-offering for
“I haven’t got any money on me,”
“I’ve got about fifteen bucks, I’m sure we’ll get something for that.”
“Come on bro, you’ve got nothing to lose. What could possibly go wrong?”
They crossed the road and hastened toward the double story house. Jamie tied Koromaru’s leash to a nearby fence, gave the dog a couple of pats before rejoining his brother among the handful of other bargain hunters. A group of obese women gossiped as they sifting through the boxes to clothing that sat on a long trestle-table. Several anorexic teens studied various knick-knacks and two tall lanky men priced tools.
“I wanna go home mummy,” grizzled a snowy haired child with glazed eyes.”
“We’ll be going soon darling,” said one of the obese women.
“That’s what you said about two centuries ago.”
“Don’t get smart,”
“If you don’t want me getting smart, you shouldn’t make me go to that stupid school.”
“When we get home you’re going straight to your room.”
“But when are we going home?”
Josephine, Jamie’s late biological mother, had once told him, garage sales were largely made up of odds-and-ends bought from other garage-sales, unwanted gifts, and inane souvenirs. In short, they were a means of profiting from unwanted junk, that would otherwise sit in storage and be forgotten. However one person’s junk can sometimes be another person’s valued possession. It was just a matter of making a right valued judgement.
“Check this out,” said Harvey. “Asterix the Gaul, 1961. First one they made.”
“I think he’s already got it.” said Jamie.
“He used to until Koro chewed on it up last month. It’d be the perfect gift. Say its from you and Koro as a sort of combined peace-offering sort of thing.”
“Gives a look,”
Deacon's obsession with Asterix seemed almost legendary among the Radcliffe family. His room had become a shrine to his late-hero Albert Uderzo Apart, with comic books, DVDs and numerous Asterix figurines and maps of ancient Rome, and various battle between the Romans and Gauls. Leaning Latin via Duolingo was still a work-in-progress project for him.
Jamie placed the bag down on the trestle table and started flicking through the comic. Despite the odd stain here and there the comic was in reasonably condition. The pages felt crisp and still had the same smell as a recently purchased book.
“They’re asking ten bucks, which not bad.”
“You reckon they’ll gift wrap it for us?”
“We could always ask, I guess.”
A tall slender man with thick framed glasses stood behind bench desk taking sales and dealing with general enquiries. The two boys stood patiently in line for almost five minutes, whilst one of the obese women haggled over the asking price of pair of a scarlet blouse. Incessant groans and pleads sounded from the resless child, whose mother continued to ignore him.
“And what can we do for you, my friends?” asked the slender man after the woman had stormed off.
“Do you gift-wrap stuff, sir?” asked Jamie.
“Sorry son, but I can put it in a colourful enveope, if that would help,”
“Yes please, that would be great. If it’s not too much trouble.”
“You’re a very polite little boy. I wish I could say the same for my own offspring.
Such potty mouths.”
“I’m sure they’ll grow out of it.”
“Maybe the moon will fall out of the sky.”
“Cool, then we can always do with more cheese.” said Harvey, with a cheeky grin.
The man smiled back and slipped the comic into a bright orange evelope before taking a ten dollar note from Harvey. He handed back a two dollar coin, a discount for good manners. Jamie and Harvey thanked him and untied Koromaru before starting on their way back home.
It took them less than two hundred meters to realize their mistake. They hastened back to where they had left it, but there was no sign of the bag. Panic overwhlmed them boys as they asked if anyone had seen anyone take it, but no one had.
The bag was gone, and so was Catriana’s $1,500 camera.
To be continued