Koalzenca

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     Kenzicel did not know how his mother expected him to deal with this outsider, his uncle, Ralph. He talked like an outsider, ate like an outsider, dressed like an outsider, and walked like an outsider, even his name was like an outsiders. His mother wanted him to bond with another male since his father, Kwichoktu, was gone hunting all the time. Kenzicel only did it for his mother though. Ralph had lived with Kenzicel and his family for long enough to know how to act. He was only now, after a year and a half, beginning to get tan. It was like even his genes rebelled against normalcy. The only thing Kenzicel liked about his uncle was that he could play the thing he called a Gee tar, it sounded very nice to his ears that were only attuned to tribal drums and flutes. His uncle had been in something he called a band, that sounded an awful lot like the kwabuts,  the tribe's main drummers and flute players for festivities, or meetings. Everyone had either a flute or a drum, unless you were uncle Ralph and had a guitar, and everyone played any tune he or she wanted. Uncle Ralph, since he had been in a band, would teach Kenzicel to play funny tunes, like his favorite, "twinkle twinkle little star" even though it reminded Kenzicel of a star in no way whatsoever.
     "Zeke, come over here for a minute, I want to show you something." That was uncle Ralph. He was always showing Kenzicel, who he called Zeke, something.
     "Yes uncle?" Kenzicel walked to Ralph, somewhat cautiously, last time the thing his uncle showed him, something called a rub a band, had snapped, and caught him in the mouth. Ralph laughed.
     "This one won't hurt you, Zeke, I promise." He smiled, waiting for "Zeke" to come closer. Kenzicel advanced slightly faster.
      "Uncle, you already showed me this. It is called an uk, right?" Kenzicel said, inquisitively.
      "No no," Ralph said laughing, "It's a book, and this one is different. It has pictures."
Kenzicel frowned. He remembered the am'ra, that flashed like lightning and blinded him temporarily. He thought perhaps his mother wouldn't mind if he abandoned Ralph for today, just today, Kenzicel thought to himself, sma'alu won't mind if I really needed a break, just today. Sma'alu was his mother, he loved her but didn't really know why she punished him like this, making him stay inside, with Ralph. Why can't I go hunting with father?  Kenzicel asked himself, frowning. I'm twelve now, derikan is hunting with his father right now, and he's twelve. Derikan was the leader of their town. His father had asked all the young men to come, and he had begged and begged his mother, since his father was out, but she would not let him. Maybe she doesn't want to spend time with uncle either. He nodded in satisfaction. That was it. He grinned, this meant that his mother understood. He would just slip out when Ralph wasn't looking.
     "Zeke?"
     "Coming uncle." He crossed the room with long sure steps.
     "Come sit down." Kenzicel sat. It might be harder this way, but I can do it. He puffed himself up a little. He was going to deal with this like a man. That would show his mother.
     "Look at this, see? This book is called "Garfield", he's a cat, and this is his owner..." Kenzicel looked at the book uninterestedly. But then he looked back at it. That was a cat? Cats here were sleek and big. Cats there were fat and small! He laughed.
     "Your "Merica", was a funny place. What happened to the cats there?" Ralph laughed.
       "What happened to the cats here?" They both laughed. Sma'alu came in.
     "Oh good! You two are getting along." Kenzicel looked at his mother pleadingly.
     "Yes! Me and Zeke are getting along well." Ralph said, and mussed Kenzicels hair.      "Aren't we Zeke?" Kenzicel glanced at Ralph then back at his mother.
     "Yea." He said, halfheartedly. Sma'alu frowned.
     "Go get us some more tree thread. I want to make you more shoes, those look old." Sma'alu said, still frowning.
     "Yes mother." He lifted the door-flap. Outside he could see all his friends houses, the pulleys dangling from the trees. He wished he could go roam the jungle with them right now, or hunt.
     "Kel!" A shout rang out above the usual chatter startling Kenzicel from his mood. And there was his best friend, Kelenca. He and Kenzicel were said to be brothers soon, because everyone expected Kenzicel to grow up and marry Kelenca's sister Kylinka, who was a year and two months younger than both Kenzicel and Kelenca. She came out of their house and Kenzicel frowned and looked away. He liked her okay, but didn't want to marry her, she was just a friend. He would like to be brothers with Kelenca though, but he wouldn't marry anyone just so he could be related to someone related to them. He thought that was cheap.
      "Yea lenca?"
     "Do you want to come play shou with me and the other guys?" Shou was their version of rugby.
     "I can't, my mother is making me stay inside with Ralph." Kenzicel made a face.
     "Ooh, tough, glad my parents don't have a long lost 'Merican brother!" Kenzicel scoffed.
      "Tell me about it. Listen, I'll come as soon as I can, let me ask my mother."
      "Okay, see you."
      "See you." This had become a very common exchange for them. Lately Kenzicel could not escape his house, and it drove him crazy. He came to the string tree their family used and plucked a lot of nice long strands. Ralph is ruining my fun, I bet if he weren't here mother would let me hunt, and she definitely would let me play with my friends. Kenzicel thought, grumpily. It's not fair, she almost never puts up with him and puts it on me. He can do things by himself. Kenzicel came through their door still frowning. Then he sniffed the air and ran into the kitchen.
      "Ah ah ah, no. Out. You are not having any of this until you clean up, sit down, and calm down!" Sma'alu was now waving a wooden spatula at him. He sighed, and smiled at her.
      "Yes mother." Then he left to go "clean up, sit down," and "calm down." He skipped down the hall, she was cooking his favorite. Druve stew, with a side of potato cakes. Druve is deer and dove, and whatever seasonings you want. My favorite! Kenzicel thought happily. He put the tree strings on his mother's shelf and headed to the wash room. A wash room this high, now that I think about it is really ingenious. He was right, they lived 20 stories up in the trees. It was really interesting how they got water. The treetop canopy was really thick, so it kind of created a shield from rain for them. Someone, a long time ago, had a really great idea to patch the canopy up and make it a huge bowl. It rained a lot, since it was a rainforest, but you might think that it would be too heavy, and that their "roof" would sag, or start leaking. Well, the people used so much water that it was almost always empty every single time, and so every family had a big huge storage pot outside their house that could easily provide them with water for weeks. Then if that ever ran out, they would go down to the river. But overall, the roof water was great. When it did get too full during the rainy season, it would start raining a bit over the town and someone would let the vent flap over the river loose until it stopped raining on the town. Seamless. Unless it broke, which would just mean a couple wet families and a nice repair job. Pretty nice. It was never too dark like you might think, somehow the leaves are thick enough to let light it, but keep water out. It was great. Nice and bright. Kenzicel washed up and sat down at their table, a huge tree stump that stood on its sturdy branch legs. Kenzicel loved their table, other familes had to piece their table together from different trees, but Kenzicels father was smart, and cut up the old fallen tree by the river and had the trunk made into a table for his family, and the leaders family. Derikan's family was the only one with a table like Kenzicels, but even theirs was a little different. Theirs had carvings all over it. Kenzicel really liked his plain old un-carved table. He often told this to his family, but they thought he was just being nice. If I was just being nice, I would say that it is more magnificent than the picture gallery! The picture gallery was something that Ralph added to their town that everyone liked. It told stories of the great land 'Merica through pictures of how they lived their everyday life. It was really nice. Kenzicel secretly thought that living in the trees was better than living in smelly low houses. Much better. His mother walked in and set the pot of Druve stew on the table, and swiftly returned with a large plate of potato cakes. It was smelled so good... Stephen woke with a start. What a weird dream, he lived in some high rise apartments in the middle of NYC. How strange. He sniffed the air, searching for the smell of Druve, but only found bacon and pancakes. He sat up. Bacon?

 

 

~Afterward~
Stephen went on to discover the great town of Koalzenca where they lived in trees 20 stories above the earth. There he met a 28 year old Kenzicel, his wife Kylinka, whom he loved very much, and their brother Kelenca, and Kenzicels uncle Ralph. Stephen stayed there for a year, then took Kenzicel and his wife and brother to see "Merica", where they all lived for 3 years, traveling across the states.






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