Haven Page 9


“That’s sad.” I wanted to think that my dad would have loved me no matter what my sexual orientation was, but maybe you could never know how someone would react until you actually came out to them.


“Yeah. Sucks. But it’s stupid, because I think a lot of people who knew Trip suspected it about him and would have been really supportive if he’d just trusted us with his secret.”


“But if he wasn’t even admitting it to himself, how could he admit it to you guys?”


“True. But I think based on how he’s acted around Peter that he’s not in denial anymore. At least not totally.”


We reached the door and he pulled it open for me.


“Don’t be so sure about that,” I said. “He sure seemed to be wrestling with the issue the way he dealt with Peter.”


“Maybe he’ll get a second chance to make it right,” said Rob, looking over at Peter and his gaggle of followers.


“I hope so,” I said, going over to the alcove where Fohi was still resting.


He was still lying down, but decidedly less gray around the mouth. His lips actually had color in them today.


Paci sat next to Yokci, both of them watching, but saying nothing. I just glanced at them once and focused on Fohi again. My brain kept telling me to look at Paci, to stare at him and try and figure out what was going through his head, but I ignored the compulsion. I’d already caused enough problems paying him too much attention.


“Hey, Little Bee. How’s it hangin’?” I asked, sitting down next to him.


“I’m not sure. Why don’t you check and see?” He opened his eyes and grinned at me weakly.


“Ew, no thanks.”


That seemed to wake him up. “Ew? You’re saying ew about my man-junk. Geez, way to shoot a guy down. Talk about shrinkage.”


I laughed. “No offense, Bee. Just not in the mood to see the old twig and berries right now, shrunken or otherwise.”


“That’s alright,” he said. “I’m saving myself anyway.”


“Dude, you’re such a girl,” said Rob, sitting down next to his friend’s head.


Fohi angled himself to look up at Rob. “Shut the hell up, dick. Just because I’ve got plans for my future that don’t include screwing around with any old girl, doesn’t mean I’m a chick. It means I’m intelligent.”


“Yeah. Intelligent. That’s you, man. You hungry?”


“Yeah. But I have food already on the way.” He smiled smugly at his friend, just as Winky was walking into the alcove.


“Here you go, Fohi. Room service at your service.”


Winky probably had no idea that she was sending Fohi’s heart into a flutter, but there was no mistaking the expression on his face; he had total goo-goo eyes for her. It was too bad that she seemed to be staring more at Rob than anyone else.


“Thanks, Winky. That’s really nice of you. You’re always looking out for me like that.” Fohi struggled to sit up.


Rob helped him by pushing on his back, not looking at Winky at all. It seemed almost deliberate how he stared at anything but her.


“No big deal,” she responded. “We need to get you better so you can kick some canner butt later.”


“You said it. I got demolitions to set up and traps to put together. I gotta get off my ass asap.” He grabbed a hunk of bread off the plate and bit into it, chewing like a cow.


“You’re not going anywhere or doing any of that crap for at least a week or two,” said Rob.


“Says who? You?” Crumbs were flying out of Fohi’s mouth. “You’re not the boss of me, Rob. You’re not even the boss of this kitten.” Fohi shifted the sleepy ball of fur from his lap to his shoulder where the little guy managed to curl back up and fall asleep with his claws digging into Fohi’s shirt.


“You still aren’t going. Try it and I’ll bash you over the head with a shovel.”


I lifted my eyebrows at that. Rob was seriously worried about his friend. He might actually have been serious about knocking his friend unconscious.


“Ha. You could try, but then you’d better wear a cup the rest of your life. I hold a grudge you know.” Fohi gnawed off another hunk of stale bread.


Rob laughed. “Bullshit. You couldn’t hold a grudge if your life depended on it.”


“Go to hell, Rob. You don’t know me as well as you think you do.” Fohi looked at Winky. “So, you come around here often?”


She snorted. “Not if I can help it. You want anything else?”


“As a matter of fact …”


Rob punched him hard in the back. “Nah, he’s good.”


Winky walked away, shaking her head and smiling.


I glanced up in time to see a ghost of a smile on Paci’s face. He looked at me and I turned back to Fohi, avoiding his gaze.


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“What the hell?!” shouted Fohi, wincing when his outburst caused the kitten to claw his shoulder in fright. “Ow, little kitty cat, ease up on the skin removal, will ya?” He pulled her off his shirt and set her down on the ground. “Go away, Fuzzybeans. Scat. I’m busy.”


She picked her way across his blanket to his plate and helped herself to part of his breakfast, completely ignoring his dismissal. Her litter mate was sound asleep on a spare corner of the sleeping spot, not interested so much in the close and personal style of cuddling her sister was doing with Fohi, apparently.


Fohi frowned at her for a second before turning his ire back on Rob. “What they hell’d you punch me for, assbag? I’m friggin injured in case you hadn’t noticed. And I’m trying to eat. You raised in a barn, or what?”


Rob stood. “Just shut up for five minutes, would ya?” He walked away without saying another word, heading to the breakfast buffet.


“What the heck’s wrong with him, anyway? What’d I say?” Fohi looked from me to Yokci to Paci, trying to find answers.


I shrugged. I had a feeling there was some kind of girlfriend drama going on here, but I sure didn’t want to be the one to stir up that hornet’s nest. “I have no idea. Maybe he’s jealous of your broad shoulders.” It wasn’t a very elegant suck-up, but it was the best I could come up with on such short notice.


Fohi got a huge grin on his face. “You think so? You’re probably right.” He sat up straighter and puffed up his chest a little. “My ma always said I had broad shoulders. Like a swimmer, she said.”


“Yeah. Like a swimmer,” I agreed. Like a tadpole, more like it.


“Chicks dig broad shoulders,” he said, trying to nudge the kitten away. She just batted at his fingers and ate more food. “Come on, little Fuzzybeans. I need to eat too, you know.”


“Fuzzybeans? Is that her name?”


“How the heck do I know? She’s not my cat.”


“What about that one? What’s it’s name?”


“I call her Freak, but I don’t know. She’s not my cat either.”


I laughed. The kitten known as Fuzzybeans was climbing back into his lap to lick her paws and wipe her face. “I’m not so sure about that one. I think she’s selected you as her pet.”


Fohi smiled as he patted her on the head. “Yeah. All the pussies like me, what can I say.” He leaned over and grabbed the other one too, putting her in his lap with the other one.


I gagged on my own spit.


Yokci barked out a laugh and then turned away so we couldn’t see his face. Paci laughed silently, head down.


“And on that note, I’ll be leaving,” I said, standing to go get my breakfast.


“Take Fuzzybeans with you, would ya? She’s eating all my food.”


“Hell no,” I said. “She’s your cat now.”


***


I joined Peter and his minions in the place he’d set up as City Manager central in front section of the lobby. He’d found paper and pens and had been busy writing out lists of things to accomplish, inventories of all our supplies, and plans showing the layout of the prison.


“Whoa,” I said, picking up one that looked like a blueprint or something, showing the section I knew housed the kitchen and our impromptu crematorium. “This is good. Who did this? The detail is amazing.”


“You can thank Bianca for this little jewel,” he said, taking it gingerly from my hands. “I’ll just put that back where it belongs if you don’t mind. Don’t want anything to happen to it, do we?”


“I had a shower in the rain yesterday, you know. I don’t smell anymore.” I checked my pits just to be sure and then smiled.


“Yes, but it only takes one drop of sweat to smear the ink, you know. I just wish I had some plastic sheet protectors.” He frowned, looking out the windows into the distance. If I didn’t know any better I’d think he was planning a pilgrimage to Office Depot.


“I think you’d better give up on whatever little fantasy you have cooking in your bean right now. You’ll just have to keep everyone away from all your little lists and drawings. Maybe put them behind glass or something.” I was attracted again by the detail in Bianca’s drawing. “What’s that right there?” I was pointing to a section that showed something with hashmarks going through it.


“It’s a shower facility. We’re not sure what we’ll use it for. Someone suggested we find a way to pump rainwater from a roof cistern into the pipes, but I’m not sure if we’ll have the engineering knowhow to do that or not. We’re also kind of missing the cistern part of the plan.”


I nodded my head, impressed someone would even dream of doing it. “Maybe not today or next week, but how about next year? I’ll bet we could find what we need out there somewhere, and probably not that far from here.”


“Anything’s possible. All I know is, we’re here to stay, and we’re going to find a way to make things work. There’s no reason why we can’t have some of the comforts we used to have. Showers are a must if we’re going to keep disease and illness to a minimum.”


“I agree. So what’s Bianca’s deal? How’d she get so awesome at this?”


“She took a bunch of drafting classes in school. She wanted to be an architect. Her mom was one I guess.”


“Sweet. Maybe with this group and anyone who joins us we can have every career field represented. It’ll be like in the olden days when kids did whatever their parents did.”


“Not every job needs to exist now, but the ones that matter in this world could, like engineering and making things and farming,” said Peter. “I wanted to talk to you about the library.”


I frowned. “What library?”


“Well, first of all our library.” He pointed to another map, to a square that looked like it was probably a large room of some sort. “Here’s where we’re putting all the books - in the former prison library, which was pretty crappy, actually. You and I brought the most, but some of the other kids had some too. We’ve all agreed to make them available to the community. All except for George’s journal of course.”


I nodded. “Of course. That’s exclusively mine and yours. No one else’s.”


“Understood. And as for the library’s future, we’d like to see about going to some local libraries and book stores and moving their books over here.”


“All of them?” Peter was going a little nuts now. With books being so heavy and bulky, I couldn’t imagine how we’d move them over long distances without putting ourselves at huge risk.


“Sure. Almost all of them, anyway. Technical stuff, fiction novels, encyclopedias. If we’re going to rebuild, we’ll need that knowledge. I think one of the best places we can go is the university bookstores. I heard from Bianca that the University of Miami has a monster one.”

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