|The Ordinary Moon|
Part 1: Loup
I am a ramshackle man, old and grey and barely holding it together, is what I read on the Naif faces surrounding us.
I’m sitting at a table in the fucking middle of the only cafe in a town where Naifs outnumber everyone else three to one. Three Naifs to one Local or one African or one Ancient. Even when the Ancients are us.
My minders don’t notice the staring. They’re agog in their own way for being lumped with me, a figure from their ancient mythologies.
I do resemble a wolf somewhat.
Or I did when I looked into a window at the jail, at my reflection. I’m long, lean and rangy. I lope no matter how I adjust my pace. My eyes, beetling under my grey man-brow, are wide-spaced and often red-sparking. I dress to cover the fringing on my heels and elbows.
Be on the fucking bus, Esse. I do not want to be a wolf in a shooters’ paradise and my living days gone before the work.
“Fucking Monk,” says Rope. “What does he think we can do with you?”
I call her Rope due to the way she wears her hair. She is our Chief, apparently.
“I’m not here for you to do anything with,” I say. “You’re keeping me company till the bus gets here. Monk said to pretend you are my daughter. You always bring warriors to meet your old father?”
We speak in the ancient, it-is-to-be-hoped generally unknown tongue.
“My-old-father is the laugh,” Rope says. “Bring your accountant, says Monk. This is him, my not so old father.”
“Not a warrior,” says the man firmly.
I see now how he lightly carries his years.
“Our trainees,” the accountant says. “A warrior. A tech. All of us as suggested by himself. Monk’s wish, our command.”
The young people are so riveted I’m not sure they’ll do.
A waiter comes. A Naif. “Five coffees,” she says. “Drink up and out of here. The old fucker is scaring people.” She speaks the english of this region.
Rope hisses. “Must I put start a cafe myself and take your customers?”
The waiter looks confused. I almost laugh, Rope is a lateral thinker.
The techie takes out his mobile and messages people. The warrior fetches willow-back chairs from where they can be got.
I missed the signal for their actions, nor which of the leaders grimaced it.
“Four more coffees,” Rope says, smugly laughing so no Naif will see it.
Oh way oh way, my Esse. Nor can I live out my days without you in them in these new times. Or would I want to.
“Bus ETA in seven minutes,” the techie says.
I rise, shaking off a wait-a-while hand. I’m out of there. “I need her to see me. Why would she alight in this dim place otherwise?”
The warrior joins me in my standing-and-waiting. A youngster, he stares out front as if he is on parade.
My heels still hurt with me upright.
“Hey Blaze,” says a young tenor. “You waiting to travel on the bus?”
A Local, if I’m not mistaken. He has set himself beside the young warrior.
The warrior tips his head to me. “Waiting along of this guest we have. Keeping him company. Stranger in a strange land.”
“You out of school totally then?”
“Times a-coming, our grandpa asks? He’s across the road, not wanting to formalise.”
The warrior looks to me.
For my input? The kid is out of school totally to help deal with the times a-coming? Local Grandpa is across the road not wanting to alert the Naif if the action is still a secret?
I smile a glimmer. “Seems to me the Locals has the ball.” A good feeling warms my belly. “I’m waiting for a garrulous old woman. She’ll tell us.”