Part 33

Things fall apart; quite often, and usually with some physical or financial or more often emotional cost, and a terrible time follows, and yeah, so what, you shut down or you fix them or you make something new. And in my experience, it comes in any combination of all three.

The first thing that happened when I woke up was someone hugged me, but my head being as it was, I could not tell who. The next was that I threw up, promptly.

I heard a rasping chuckle and pictured Graham, until I realized it was coming from me. Yes, bodily functions are so grossly amusing to me, at all times.

There was a buzz of conversation and as fresh nausea and lightheadedness pretended to be an old friend come to visit, people filtered into the… wherever I was.

Três (it had to have been Três) bounced by my bed as my sight readjusted. I felt terribly itchy. She was speaking fairly fast, and in what was surely English, which unfortunately was not parsing for me.

Someone put their hands all about me, checking bandages, dressings, pushing at tender spots, staring into my pupils. It was an older woman, dressed in shorts and an oversized t-shirt from what had to be an American bar-be-cue join with a stylized pink pig’s head on white proclaiming in faded letters ‘You’ll Swear Your Mouth Died And Went To Heaven’.

She also appeared to be the nut-brown shade of what I assumed was a tribal local, which made the simple, open-sided hut we were in (plus mosquito netting) make more sense. It did not look like anywhere we had been before.

I figured it out! Três practically squealed. I swear I did, it’s the only way that makes sense!

A heavy tread from the steps outside made me sit up, a little anxious as the BBQ woman attended me, clicking at her cheek as I made it difficult.

Kid, said Graham as he entered, there’s no real words for how you manage to to outdo yourself at being a mess. But at least you’re alive.

I smiled (which increased the itching something fierce), coughed, and mangled an exclamation at the man being here and unharmed. I started a barrage of questions, but he waved his hand over them all.

Later, he said. Our girl here is right, she’s turned shit into something resembling gold. At least as far as I can tell. She can walk you through it.

My mouth worked open and closed, not as dry as I would have figured. Três fetched a notebook from a corner, grabbed a wicker chair near the bed, turned it sideways, and began.

I know where they were planning on going, she grinned.