Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Day 43

With an angry flash of buttocks, the dominant male vacated the premises. I recognized the behavior, but not the motivation for it. Only when I reviewed Wilson's notes from the prior expedition did I realize that my failure to make a sufficient show of deference to the alpha had been at fault. After that mistake, my ensuing actions could only be taken by such beings as hostility. This challenged the group's presumptions of authority, making it still more difficult for them to concentrate. A certain young male in particular began to throw hardened feces which he had collected in a pile beneath the waughanut tree. I will admit to any who read this account, as these mahogany missiles rained down, I had some doubts about the integrity of my profession, but these were later assuaged by Samantha's most capable attentions.

Dwelling as they were on the edge of the volcano, there was little need to speculate as to the reasons for their developing a belief in, and corresponding fear of, the "fire spirits" that filled their wanton dreams. Indeed, lacking this motivation, their seasonal dances would probably not have been held at all. I slept close to the old blunderbuss that night, fearing a punitive raid, but when I awoke in the early hours, there was only the quiet rustle of bala-bala leaves, and the ever-present rumble of fire in the volcano's throat.

One young female showed an interest in the abacus I had brought. This was my solution to the calculator issue that had so dogged the last stage of Wilson’s career. Possessing naught in the means of unexpected lights or beeps, the abacus, I had ascertained, might be a means of addressing the problem of waughanut storage during the dry season. This happening had dogged them for time immemorial, this cyclical destruction of many of their finest stock. How I can help but see my own forebears among them, exhibiting in spirit what failings I surely once myself overcame?

My hopes were contravened by appetite, for the creature wished only to make an attempt at eating the contraption. I knew well enough to stay clear, for such unwanted assistance had been the death of many a researcher. Yet when the pitiable one caught a shard of wood in her teeth, I found myself donning Wilson’s old Patroni suit and entering into the camp to assist her. Her bleeding and distress were greatly lamentable. She entered a frantic state. Exposing her gums to the others, she began a ritual I had at times seen before in the case of an injury, whereupon she would make a short rush at another of her tribe, strike at random, then immediately embrace and stroke the affected party. All while the blood continued to flow from her gums. Injuries were many, but a jolly time had by all. Her poor reaction to the wound, and the attack/forgive rampage among her kin, were mimicked to general appreciation by many, even among the juveniles.

My intervention in that case proved to earn me a similar “hug.” If you can call it that. Needless to say, dear reader, I was not crushed, though she certainly could have done. I resolved in any case to not risk another abacus, but to simply transfer a small portion of tomorrow’s gorging repaste of waughanut casings from the leafy midden heap by the smoldering precipice, where they are most commonly kept, to the far side of the clearing by last year’s autumnal husks, where they’ll be rediscovered during the trying times. Dear reader, wish me luck. Though the harsh arithmetics of yearly provisioning may yet be beyond them, they see me contemplating what is now their colossal excess, and when they associate this night with the relief they shall later feel in the dying times of midwinter, they

1 comment:

  1. All while the blood continued to flow from her gums.

    The lass was wracked with scurvy? No citrus nearby?