Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Ch. 44

Over the next 2 days, Eric worked more than he had ever worked in the fields. And if there was one thing worse than work, it was work without complaining about it afterward. And here no one complained. The drugs were strong. Eric kept working though, and pretending to be happy, and deathly avoiding the one thing that would make him happy unti lthe big day finally came. He excitedly woke up and put on his robe. He showed the supervisor the invitation Gina had given him, and he was grudgingly allowed to head to the temple instead of the fields. A brown robed man came up beside him, and Eric knew who it was.
"Have you found the bliss of the whey?" he asked as he always did.
"The whey is a hard journey," Eric replied. It was a carefully planned code, which allowed Kyle to make sure Eric wasn't drugged without seeming conspicuous. A drugged Eric would only say yes, but Eric's faithful yet negative answer would not attract too much attention if they were being spied on. Kyle went on.
"Do you know what you have to do?" he asked.
"Of course. We all must do our part to find the whey."
"Alas our secret lobster still cannot be found, and we must find him soon"
"Of course," Eric replied
"10 minutes," Kyle whispered, and then he was gone.
There was something very exciting about these short cryptic rendezvous. It was like a movie.
Eric turned now, and did not head for the church. Instead he went toward the gate, where he'd planned to meet Vlad before. He knelt down and feeling very stupid, began to whisper sharply and as loudly as he dared.
"Lobster! Lobster! It's me Eric! I need your help!"
He looked through the gate at the forest and saw nothing.
"Vlad!" he tried. Nothing. He should never have told Kyle they had the lobster. He didn't have him any more then anyone. He was just about to give up and leave when he noticed something purple out of the corner of his eye. A purple crestacean, amidst the leaves of the tree.
"How did you? How?" But he cut off his rambling, scooped up the lobster, and stashed him in his robe.
This accomplished, he headed for the church. He was eager to see Gina again. All of his efforts to see her on the little free time he was given had been futile. She was under heavy protection. He made it in and was admitted after showing the invite, though the guard gave him a distasteful look. He sat down in the third row, close enough to do his part, but hopefully not close enough to be noticed. Yet noticed he was doomed to be, as the only brown-robed farmer amongst this aristocratic lot. He felt a space opening around him as the blue, green, purple, and gold robe-wearers inched away from this dirty laborer. Confined to his isolation and feeling increasingly apprehensive, Eric waited.