Who knew that writers could be so dangerous?
The hunger didn’t block the flow of my brain activity. On the contrary, it switched on my wit, making my neurons work with increased speed, at full power. It seemed strange that Hamilton had promised the post of cook to Martha, who wouldn’t be able to make scrambled eggs even in a conscious state. The extraordinary weakness of Ms. Downhill Tasty couldn’t fool me, too. Unless I was kept in darkness… Was Ms. Downhill Tasty dying? Was she under pressure to leave the Gunung Kinabalu? Or has she found the love of her life on the other end of this planet and decided to leave Hamilton’s clan for good? I doubted it was the last one. On the other hand, you’d think Ms. Downhill Tasty was sincerely fragile, but remembering her remarks about being a master of OKC Marine Combat Knife fighting in the fourth generation, and, in addition to that, her knowledge about different kinds of algae, only increased my suspicion.
I shifted my eyes from the sky to the dim waves of Lethe — the river of sorrow and forgetfulness. As Vergil described it in The Aeneid, “those who drank of it, forgot their former life and were ready for a new one.” Yes, I was ready for a significant change! I had seen the past days’ events as an invitation to do a bit of extra digging into my emotional condition and love life situation. If I wanted to evolve and grow as a person, I needed to change my setting, attitude, belief, and strategy. The raft in the middle of nowhere with four kamikaze-spirits, one drug addict, one unhealthy cook, and one ex-wife wasn’t the best start to rebuilding myself, but as my father often said: ‘Don’t let the rocky road be a sign of ending; you aren’t doomed!’ My Queen Sobekneferu was out there, longing to meet me, dreaming of giving me half of her body, soul, and Kingdom.
I let out a deep sigh of tiredness when I noticed someone’s arms at the far corner – the hand had tried to stop our raft. I shouted to King Hamilton, who had just finished her bedding preparations adapting for a peaceful sleep. Her spicy-hot body bent into an arc, and — whistling and hooting — she threw a spear into the water. Her angry sisters repeated the same operation, but the object continued to cling to the raft.
A strong hand merged into one with a wooden side of the pontoon. Captain Happy made an invisible swing of ‘saving’ motion, and the body of an unknown man, flying over our heads, landed at the feet of a surprised Ms. Downhill Tasty. Without waiting, she fainted. The rest of our group rushed to the enemy, gathering around him in a circle and examining his pale face.
“You are a doctor. Do something,” Hamilton ordered.
“Like what?” I asked.
“Like mouth-to-mouth rescue!”
“Martha… is doing wonderful mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. She was a captain of a Big Mouth Liga in our college. She saved me a couple of times, and that’s why I married her,” I started my explanation, looking around, bewildered, searching for help.
“We don’t need to know your whole life story. Please, help this poor man,” begged Ms. Downhill Tasty, who, after those words, fainted a second time.
While we were fighting about who would save our unexpected catch, Captain Happy bent down and kissed the man. I don’t know why — because of the touch of the jiggling beard or the food resting on Captain’s quivering lips — but the man opened his eyes immediately.
“Where am I?!” he shouted, shielding his mouth from the drunk smile of Mr. Happy, the glowing grin of three sisters-guards, who looked overexcited for that time of the night.
“Who are you? What you are doing here, Mister?” asked Martha, leaning against our guest.
“I don’t know… I remember I was on a train to Nobel Cave with a tourist group. My name is Alex Raphael. I’m a writer.”
“Ha! We don’t need that here,” I chuckled.
King Hamilton hissed at me, holding her finger near her lips, as she was bewitched by the unusual arrival of that writer, who, beyond dispute, hypnotized her with his enthusiastic stare. I felt abandoned. Why didn’t crocodiles eat him?
At that moment, Ms. Downhill Tasty squeezed my arm, asking me to pass on a bowl of warm chicken soup.
“I cooked it while you were unconscious, Alex Raphael,” she smiled.
I frowned and squeaked angrily, “Someday, I’d love to have a meal like that instead of illusory corn crumbs and yucky fish jelly.”
Ms. Downhill Tasty lifted her nose and pretended she didn’t hear anything.
When Alex Raphael got up to his feet, supported by Martha on one side and Captain Happy on the other, a crumpled piece of paper fell out of his swimming shorts. I recognized the lovely smile in the shadows of the night.
“My Margaret! Where did you get this picture, Alex?” I cried.
“At the station between Oscar and Grammy. Somebody glued it to the toilet paper roll in the WC room.”
“You are lying!”
I grabbed the writer by the hair and dragged him to the golden pole in the middle section of the raft. Seven thrilled figures formed a boxing ring around our two crawling bodies. At first, we tested each other with the help of jabs and jumps. Then, I landed a good blow on the man’s ribs, following up with a hook to his jaw, watching how the English writer astutely pulled his head back. A stupid mistake, mate! I thought. The audience grew restless, somewhat catcalling. To them, nothing seemed to be happening — we were still alive.
Third-round bell. Still nothing… I sat on the Captain’s stool, tasting blood in my mouth, touching a cut inside of my cheek. Martha was already in the corner, massaging my sore shoulders. Her irritated voice washed over me like a comforting shower, but I couldn’t process a word of what she said.
“It’s over! Go to your beds! An equal score, 4:4.” Hamilton announced to the thirsty for blood crowd.
To my surprise, all congratulations, gifts, hugs, and even a mature after-feast with Martha, for some reason went to the writer, as a recognition of his latest achievements in the field of Gunung Kinabalu’s literature and sports. I trembled, eaten by frustration and jealousy — what if Alex Raphael became Hamilton’s favorite? Or a new doctor? Or even worse – a new King?
“Always make a show, don’t waste your words,” Alex whispered, slapping me on the back.
“Just keep on showing, Alex Raphael, keep on showing,” I muttered. Then I picked a copper spoon from the floor and bit it in, growling through my teeth, “Let me warn you, Mister Writer, sometimes showing all the details can spoil the end result of the story.”
He pretended to think for a moment, “Can’t wait to see that ending, Bullet. Let’s hope it turns out well for you…”
P.S. Alexander Raphael is blogging on alexraphael.wordpress.com
You can find his latest book here – Amazon – Always Never, Rarely Sometimes
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