Jorak . . . (another beginning draft)

Jorak

 

 

The town has not changed.

Much.

That’s a new store on the corner. Used to be a restaurant.

Wonder if anyone remembers.

 

School is out. The kids walk through the square, some of them running.

Then they see me. Don’t know who I am. The face is familiar. But…

He sits there on the bench like he owns the place. But…

Careful now. Don’t let them know you can read them thinking.

 

“Mister?”

“Yes, daughter?”

“Are you from around here?”

“Yes. But I have been gone for a long time.”

Five hundred years. Don’t tell her that.

She looks right at you. No. Do not touch her mind.

She looks like my niece. She…

The girl looks away. Ten? Eleven? Her face glances toward the town hall, two doors down from the restaurant on… no, the store on the corner, now.

“Amelia?”

“Yes? But… how do you know my name?”

“It’s on your book bag, child.”

“Oh, yes, of course.” The note of disappointment hangs in the air. Did she actually think you might have read her mind? She might be the one. Maybe.

You hold out your hand – your right hand – with a single copper coin between your thumb and index finger.

“Miss Amelia?”

“Yes, Mister?”

“Would you do me a favor? Take this penny to the prefect in the town hall. Please. Tell him I am waiting in the square, here.”

She accepts the coin, nods. “Yes, sir.” Slowly turns away, then runs off quickly.

You reflect on something you did not notice at first. She was alone.

Yes. She might be the one.

Careful now. They might be watching.

 

 

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yesterday afternoon and today in the morning

27 August 2016

69 Summer .  26 Moon .  59 SpaceAge .

 

We went to a funeral today. The woman who would have been my aunt. Who was, in fact, my step-aunt. My mother’s sister-in-law. AND old school friend and roomate for a year at Berkeley, where my aunt met her husband, married him, and dropped out of the university.

Later she went back and got several degrees.

After giving birth to eleven children.

It’s a long story. Part of me wants to tell it, or the small fragments I have heard, and another part says be quiet and listen.

 

 

28 August 2016

70 Summer. 27 Moon. 59 SpaceAge.

The church was lovely. Yesterday. Churches almost always are lovely. It was, and I suppose it still is, a Roman church. Today, a day later, as I continue writing this notice.

Not that much changes overnight. Does it? No. Usually not.

I went there once before, back in the 1980s, when I was studying and the university and fell in with a fascinating art graduate student. Actually I met her because she was the T.A. (teaching assistant, if you must know, is the official title abbreviated) for a very large lecture class I was taking as part of my visual art curriculum. There is another long story. Both the professor and the TA seemed a bit taken with me. Remember, I was older, thirty four or thirty-five that year or another, and I must have stood out from most of the other students who were almost all ten or twelve years younger than I. The professor, a fascinating woman in her fifties or thereabouts – I wish I could remember her name – looked me in the eye one day and said I was very intelligent.

Well, I suppose I am above average. I believe I am. But…

Where was I? Oh yes, going once before to the church were the funeral was held for my aunt. Big family. Children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. As I was saying, I had visited that parish sanctuary once before, thirty years ago, with Cindy Z.

In the slow moving sense of the Roman church, it might have been yesterday. I wonder now if my aunt and uncle were there that day. I suppose I will never know. Just one of those mysteries. They might not have been, I think, because my mother told me at supper, later, that they had suffered a disagreement with the parish and for a while went to mass at another parish, out in Ocean Beach. That was where my uncle’s funeral was. Eight or nine years ago now. We also went to that one.

For many years, I have had a secret admiration for the Roman church, even though I disagree with many of  the basic teachings… I suppose I should just be quiet here, but I cannot. There is so much in our human world that I disagree with, and one .  .   .     .

One learns, often too late in life, to keep one’s mouth shut and listen to the wind blowing wherever it goes. One goes.

A leaf grows, and then withers.

Just like a flower.

 

 

JORAK ——- a few fragments

 

 

 

1.

 

Excuse me, Mister?

Hello.

Um… excuse me, but, you’re not from around here. Are you?

*Smile* – Well, yes I am, actually.

*Scratches head* – Funny. I know everyone in town. Don’t remember you. Are you sure…?

Oh yes. I was born here. But that was a long time ago. I’ve been away for a while. A long while. From long since before you were even born. So no, you don’t know me.

The child would ask me now if I am her great grandfather. But already she has trespassed against the rules and spoken with a stranger. She is supposed to tell her parents or some other adult, but… something made her stop, just to make sure. I had better ask the safe question.

Tell me, young Miss, if the town hostel is still in front of the court house?

Yes, Mister. It is.

Then would you please tell your father I will be there tonight.

Yes, sir. But… how did you know he is the city officer?

Time to lie.

I didn’t know. But… well, you see, I knew thee wouldst tell the right people, and if he weren’t, then he would…

She twitches when I slip into the old vernacular. Smiles at me. And speaks.  –  Oh. Well, good bye, then, Mister. Sorry to bother you.

 

2.

Oh well, I suppose I better sign in. Opening link. Checking. Embroidering psimind interference. Contact. There! What was that? Oh, yes. Well, damn it then, definitely a demonic flicker. They never can resist the hint of flame, can they. No. Well, the worst is now they know I am here. That’s the hell of regulations – signing in lets them know we are after them.

Report #1.

Item: I have arrive. Per regulation reporting same fact.

Item: They, or perhaps only it, are, or is, definitely here.

Item: And thanks to required report, at least one, perhaps more, now know I am here.

Item: These regulations should be amended. Underscore with fact.

End Report #1.

Closing link. Checking. No. No further flickering. Quiet. This time they/she/he/it know(s) better. I might have double-referenced and hinted their postion. Well, maybe, at least, they don’t know mine, either. But word will soon be out. I am, after all, the stranger in town.

 

3.

Mister…

Jorak Relmond.

For what purpose have you come?

I am an anthropologist. Am studying agricultural development and population maintenance.

But it says here you are native to our planet.

Yes. I was.

Were?

Well, it has been a long time, what with traveling around between star systems and all… it has been… almost three hundred years of your time.

And your time? How old are you?

Sixty standard tellurian years.

Oh. That would be… seventy some here.

Yes. I would be seventy-three next moon.

Really? And will you be staying with us that long?

Yes. Well, on this world, at least.

In our settlement?

Until next month, yes, I think so. This was once my home town.

Really? Well, welcome to our planet, Doctor Relmond. I am Marshak Relmond, town recorder. You don’t suppose…?

No. I had no children. But we might be cousins of some sort.

Yes. There are a lot of us Relmonds around these parts. All over the continent, in fact.

Yes.