~CRASH!!!!!!~ I bolt upright in bed. Seeing the cause of the noise, I yell. “CHARLIE! For the love of Elphalba what the fuck are you doing? You are going to wake the house not to mention unsettle the dead”.Charlie looks up from the mess on the floor. “I was just trying to see how it works” he said sheepishly. “IT” is the DS that belongs to someone else who at present is sound asleep, but in trying to take it off the charger,he had dumped all her movies to the floor. I get up and come to where he still sits looking perplexed. “Now listen you fucking asscricket. I agreed to help you gain some maturity, but not at the expense of disturbing others. Get your ass up off the damn floor and carefully place all the movies back on the shelf…in alphabetical order(no that isnt how they were originally but this is punishment and what he will do). The look on his face was mutinous but he did as
ordered asked. “Boy, I say, Boy…we are going to have to lay down some ground rules” I told him as he finished. “While I know that light/dark, morning/night means nothing to you..as you have so obviously stated, I and others are human. We sleep in the dark, work, go to school etc in the daytime. Humans need rest, especially children, one of which you almost woke up with your antics. And just for an FYI..disturb her and your manners will not be all you need worry about because you will cease to exist. Leave her shit alone. You did not ask for permission and in this house..its a proper thing. You might want to consider that in your dealings with others as well.” While I was speaking, Charlie sat still, his already pale face becoming even more colorless. “I’m sorry” he mumbled. I nod. “Seeing as how I am awake, get your shit together because I am taking you to someone who will be able to channel all that energy of yours”. Charlie’s face brightened.” What realm are we going to?” he asked excitedly. I sigh. “Charlie..do as you were told or I am going to shove your ass in a bag and drag you through the swamp”. He looked a little nervous but gathered his bag and stood by the door waiting for me. Brin came in to assist me gathering a few items to go with us. At her entrance, Charlie blanched. “Sh-sh-she doesn’t bite does she?” Brin and I both turned to look at him. Brin’s eyes smoldered as if she was thinking seriously of making him a briquet. I put my hands on either side of my head where the beginnings of a massive headache was beginning to form. “Charlie”, I said slowly through clenched teeth. “SHE has a name. It is Brin. She is my confidant, guide, protector and friend.I would remind you that manners are important to me and to others. Protocol demands you remember that. As to the question of whether or not she bites…if she didn’t think you would probably taste like a piece of shit, then yeah she would eat you. Now get your ass in line and let’s go. I swung open the door , walked out with Brin leaving my much brain challenged ward to bring up the rear.It wasn’t long before we came to the swamp. The head of steam I had built up had us moving at a fast clip. Brin I knew could run circles around me, Charlie on the other hand was like a dog on a leash being dragged …yanked whenever he tried to slow. Charlie looked around nervously. I noticed his fear and spoke softly to him. “Charlie, get in the front of the boat, Brin and I will sit behind you. For once, he did as he was told without question and as we traveled, I began to tell him the history of the place around him. “Take that right fork and we travel to Grand’Mere spider”, I say. Go straight and we come to the bridge between this realm and another where friends live I have not seen for some time. I smile as I think of Dag and his family. We go this way to Maman’s. Her cabin sits on the water, where the scent of the spanish moss mingles with the sweet jasmine blowing from another place. The herbs fill your soul with such sweet peace one could not ask for a more special place”.Charlie glanced around at me over his shoulder. “You love it there don’t you? I can hear it in your voice”. I smile. “Oui. I love it more than anywhere I know.”. I continued to speak of legends of the past , of people who helped further a path I walk, of reasons why I still stand even when it would have been safer and saner to walk away. Of my friendship with his benefactor who thinks Charlie has some worth to whomever has asked for him to be trained schooled. Soon we came to the cabin that makes me smile as soon as it is in view. We step into the cabin where once again I am greeted with love and the smell of herbs. “I hoped you would stop by Cher”, says Maman. “I know you have been busy”. I nod and smile. “Forgive my tardiness in not coming sooner”, I tell her. “This is Charlie”, I say motioning him to come forward. He does and stares. I look at him and tell him softly, “this is a test Charlie..think before you speak”. He swallows nervously and says, “Bonjour madame, je suis heureux de faire votre connaissance.”. Maman smiles. “Bienvenue jeune homme. J’espère que vous y trouverez tout ce qu’il faut ici” “I came to see George, Maman. Is he around?” She points through the window where I see him relaxing on a limb. I smile. “I hate to interrupt his revery, but I have something to leave him with”. She laughs. “Come Charlie”, she tells him. “Let me see if we can find you something to do so I can feed marécage sorcière”. I side eye her because labels, endearments have come at me too frequently as of late and its not a thing I am used to hearing. I go to see George who opens one eye and stares at me sardonically. “Laissez-moi deviner, vous avez besoin d’une baby-sitter”. “How do you know these things George?” I ask. He sighs. “It is my job to know”, he says crankily. “Is the job too much for you?” he asks. “Non..but he needs some direction in manners and protocol since he will be dealing with many on other realms, and I have a lot on my plate in the mundane. I kind of need him to have some supervision while I do..the other time I can work with him. I know its a lot to ask of you, but I’m not sure what else to do other than locking him up for his and others protection”. George laughed..for what for him works for a laugh but sounds more like a short bark. He gets up and moves past me. “Well don’t just stand there..let’s go have a look at the young pup you brought for obedience training. You did bring a leash didn’t you?” I laugh and follow him. “I didnt think you needed one”. We come into the cabin to find Maman has Charlie grinding herbs and she is giving him a lesson as to proper technique and what the herb is used for. George and I exchange grins. “Charlie”, I say..”You will be staying here with George and Maman. They will begin your instruction. I expect you to listen for they both know their shit and if you don’t..well, let’s just say…they are damn good at discipline”. Charlie’s eyes grow wide at the sight of George, but to his credit, he refrains from saying what he is thinking although we all can hear it. He merely nods and accepts the decision. Maman shoos him out of her kitchen and tells him to go get acquainted with George. I sit down in the chair and she hands me a mug of her special coffee. I inhale the deep rich aroma and take a sip and lean back in the rocker by the fire. Maman comes behind me to massage my temples with her special oils. I relax and we begin to talk about what is going on with me and mine. Friends, life in general..new roles and then she tells me a bit about Charlie and how he came to be with John. He was from an affluent family, but had no guidance..just left on his own(explains his lack of social skills), and was assaulted by a trusted friend of the family. In his crossing, he asked to be able to “mean something” as his present life lacked that value. I close my eyes and see what was left out of the dossier and feel the range of emotions, anger, remorse, empathy and finally resolve. I will honor his request that he feel like he matters and has value. It was promised to him. It won’t be easy, but then quality never is. I rise and call a farewell to Charlie and George who has an arm around the young man’s shoulder explaining how things would be working. I smile. For all his curmudgeonly ways, he does have a softer side for those who need it. I hug Maman and promise to return soon and then Brin and I leave for our return trip home where we talk out a set lesson plan for our new charge. I return home tired and soon fall into a sound sleep with the last thought of the waking is Brin pulling covers up over my shoulders and settling down beside me. I’ve heard from the others and Charlie is settling in well…its early yet..there are bound to be bumps in the road, but things seem promising. I’d better stock up on more rum just in case.