Sunday, November 15, 2009

NaNoWriMo'09, Words 9462-10,146

Roci was one of the big boys now. He grew into a position of power on the playground, with authority to direct games, enforce rules and arbitrate disputes. In the workforce, he was promoted to the coveted position of lawn mower.

He saw the cat very infrequently now. Sometimes, when walking the mower along the grass border, Roci would see a flash of blue-grey out of the corner of his eye, and would feel a memory tickle. But the job would hold his attention—and he would keep on walking and pushing, and go indoors when the job was done.

On the playground, Roci learned that little kids could be very trying to his new maturity. He found they could be very hard to reason with—sometimes he thought they must have very small brains.

Roci made a unilateral rules decision near the very beginning of one early morning game. A small boy decided he didn't like Roci's call, somehow, and began to shriek at him incoherently. His unintelligible argument then devolved, logically, into a refrain of, "You're stupid! You're so stupid! You're so stupid!"

Roci took the disrespect for as long as he thought he could; then closed his fist, cocked his elbow back and released a hard punch full into the smaller boy's face. The boy hit the ground, and Roci looked suddenly and guiltily towards the tall grass.

Roci took the hard whipping from Muri, without a word, and then went looking in the tall grass for the cat. When Roci found him, the cat turned slowly around and showed his back to Roci.

I'm sorry, Roci told the cat. I'm sorry. Muri whipped me really bad; and Muri doesn't even usually whip people. I got punished really good.

The cat did not turn around.

He was acting really dumb, said Roci. He was acting really really dumb.

You're dumb, said the cat.

Roci sat down, behind the cat. He desperately wanted to explain himself to the cat. Something had been building in him for months—it had been growing in him and scaring him and he had to tell the cat about it, now.

Roci was verbally advanced—had anyone cared about talent in slaves, they might have called him verbally gifted. For the purpose of telling the cat about himself, Roci gathered all his words and began to align select ones with his formerly confused thoughts and feelings.

Violence, Roci told the cat—it's like a shadow covering the whole world in my stories, now; it fills the whole world here. Someone is always getting hurt—every day, out here; and every time, in my head. I can't ever stop thinking about it, any more. And a great dark nothing grows in me, and I feel like I have to put something big and strong there or the empty will swallow me . . .

The cat turned around.

It is hard, he confirmed to Roci, to control how you feel; it is hard not to think about bad things that are so big. But you can always control what you do, Roci; and then you will always control who you are. I expect you to not hurt others, Roci. I want you to be good. I will have to leave if you are not good.


Because you will no longer want me. You will mock me. You will think I am stupid. You will be angry at me and hate me because you will hate everything. You will have set yourself against the good in the world and will see all of it as your enemy, including me. It will be hard to find happiness after that—you might never find it after that. But if you are good it will sometimes find you. It will surprise you at times—like a star glinting suddenly out of a deeply clouded sky. And that is what I want for you, Roci. I want you to always be ready to see light.

I love you, Roci told the cat.

I love you too, said the cat.

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