Chapter thirty three
-‘Waves of happiness were splashing off her’-
I was living on my nerves, sleeping little and always working, not to think about how they murdered my best friend.
I was damaged, yet desperately happy with Macker as well.
-‘What the hell is that noise?’- I asked, swinging Moonbeam onto my shoulders.
-‘Seagulls’- said Janie grinning -‘A huge flock of gulls, squawking and screaming out to sea.’-
-‘Goway outa that. I hear children.’-
Bernie was waving her arms. Peering into the early morning sun, streaming through a bank of thick sea mist. She’s one of the Soli-Fest organizers, with a megaphone and a computer.
-‘Come on Josie let’s get down the front.’-
There was a fanfare of trumpets. Two rockets shot up, behind the crowd of us waiting on the quays, and exploded out over the harbour.
The strong sun was glaring off the water, We were cheering blindly, as a crackly sound system buzzed into life.
-‘Let’s have a big warm welcome now for the exchange students coming into the dock now.’-
Only about six months late.
Everybody was pointing and peering. And we could make out the prow of a ferryboat. Materializing in slow motion from behind the grain silo.
Then we saw its decks were packed with screaming, laughing and madly waving youths.
The refugees had finally arrived.
We’d all got up in the dark and had been waiting more than a hour for the ship to come in.
Clustering little by little into groups of friends.
Me and Macker and Jerry had come down to welcome back Lucia, who was bringing her two ‘kids’, Paco, aged fifteen, and Luna who was now fourteen. We had never met them.
Plus about seven thousand friends, instead of the seven hundred they had proposed! And more than ‘exchange students’ they were refugees of course. Mostly Latin American, but with groups from many other countries. Previous exchange groups have been a big hit over here.
The Soli-Fest were sending us as many as we could absorb to extricate itself from the racist tangle of European bureaucracy..
Because at that moment immigration was already controlled, or should I say not controlled, by the Federation of Cooperative Pools..
We had no central government here anymore and everything seemed to go better.
Nobody missed the politicians at all. Except maybe banks and corporations, who had already fled. Instigating invasion and lamenting their losses.
What a horrible shame those poor richies finally lost their Scam of enslaving everybody!
With weekly online voting, called ‘Wise-Mass’, we have more democracy than we could ever have wanted. Glossary Wise-Mass
Too much? Okay I’m a little cynical. voting on everything is super popular around here.
All those economists scoffed, but our Wurts market works, while theirs is a global disaster. Now, all the kids are competing at Personal Levels like it was football.
I’m average 6.3 at the last count. I got a bad attitude.
And as for the Invasion! By now everyone is bored waiting, to be invaded by the so-called Peace Intervention Force.(PIF).
That sun off the water was dazzling me.
There was welcoming music. Synthesizing trumpets. A few fireworks going off too soon.
Jimmy and Janie had appeared, from Mart Street Pool. They’re friends of Macker, who I didn’t know before.
Janie is a big tall girl, compared to me, and was nearly eight months pregnant at the time.
Wearing purple denim bands. A beautiful smiling sun on her huge round belly, grinning from ear to ear and drumming her fingers on it, in time to the atrocious music.
Then she invited us to put our ears to her tummy. To listen for a response from her baby boy, they knew it was a boy.
She was egging us on at inventing comical answers. While she guffawed with laughter and Jimmy looked shy and worried.
Janie had a flat already, it was easy to get a place, with so many people moving out of the city. And they had invited two students who they’d come to pick up.
She was explaining how Macker had got her together with Jimmy. Pelting the police with cuddly toys and rubber pigs, and escaping in fancy dress over the rooftops!
They were delighted that Macker had found me for a girlfriend.
After half an hour waiting together on the dock, me and Janie were treating each other like long lost lifelong friends.
And of course I was longing to tell her my new secret, that I was pregnant as well, and that Macker would be the Dad. I slipped my fingers down my own little tummy and listened to Janie’s big smiley one. And the tears were springing to my eyes.
We had decided it was too early to tell everyone.
But every minute it was more difficult to keep my blabbermouth shut.
Janie was obviously ecstatic. Waves of happiness washing off her.
Delighted to show off her smiling sun, and display her big chocolate nipples, squeezed out the windows of her psychedelic spoon-bra.
Hung with thongs in cool Clan Warrior style. Glossary Clan fashions
Made up to match her eyes.
Janie was gorgeously pregnant, just like I imagined I’d like to be in a few months time!
Course if you’d asked me a few weeks earlier I’d have said no way I wanted a kid. I was well known for it. Still and all I had known full well I wasn’t being careful. And neither was Macker, somehow I felt in a good situation to have a child, even after what happened to Maggie..
Kazoo wasn’t chosen exactly, but extremely wanted. and I’d grown to love my little foetus already. She was conceived in such a funny game that we both felt delighted about it. like, .. well I’ll tell about that later.
So I was tempted alright, to tell my new friend Janie, but I must ask Macker first.
Then we were all cheering and squealing as the ferryboat loomed into the dock.
Blasting it’s horn to shock the dead awake, the trumpets and fireworks going off.
Lined with a throng of excited yunkers, jabbering in every language but English.
We waving cardboard signs and they queuing up to get down the gangways with their bags. There was no customs and no immigration. Though they were filming the whole thing, and questioning the odd suspicious character.
And they were filling out those World Passports. What a waste of paper, I mean, they were only valid here, and here you didn’t need a passport.
And there was Lucy at last! Half way down. Frizzy afro hair floating up in the wind. And her son, who was much bigger than her. They had to wait a few minutes while they made the exit safe, waving and pointing at us.
Then Sol was underneath with a trolley. Hopping with glee! We were all pushing closer. Lucy was swinging down their bags and they were jumping off the blocked walkway, one by one, it wasn’t so high.. And others were starting to copy them, causing a happy chaos on the dock.
Duna, her daughter, was afraid to jump down, almost leaping, then clutching back.
She’s a glowing black semi adolescent, her dad is African-American.
In a short skirt and yellow knickers, Sol and Lucy beckoning below.
-‘Jump Duna, now now. Yes. No no.’-
She closed her eyes and just jumped blind. Sol managed to swing-catch her, though she’s bigger than him, and they fell in a heap. Duna turned out to be a gem, by the way.
-‘Thank you thank you for all coming to meet us so early in the morning.’-
Lucia had Moonbeam in her arms already. Kissing and giggling and hugging everyone several times over. Her big kids who we hadn’t met, Paco and Duna and their friends, were doing the same, but much more politely. They thought she was pretty wild as well.
-‘How great how great hello Maxie, Jerry, hello Bernie, Macker Macker, Soledad mi amorcito! Oh Moonie I’ve come to play with YOU! Hi Josie hi Trisha hi Danny hello Damo, que maravilla how marvelous!’-
Then she took me by the shoulders and said in my ear..
-‘Congratulations Maxie darling. When’s the happy birthday?’-
I was flummoxed. How the hell did Lucy know I was pregnant?
-‘Sorry Congrats on your Spanish exam!’- And she kissed my cheek, winking. One hand casually on my tummy.
Later she explained she’d spotted me from the gangplank, crooning over Janie’s belly and just
stroking my own.
Lucia Perez could read my thoughts at fifty meters!
She disappeared again. Janie was squeezing my hand till it hurt. She had definitely heard and understood.
Glancing sideways I caught Bernie’s eye, she just nodded and grinned and nodded again. She’d copped on for sure as well. And since I hadn’t denied it, it was obviously true. And the yunkers?
No no, too busy meeting Duna and Paco, though you never know.
Macker’s sister Tessa just adopted Paco as her willing servant from the word go, like they were always destined to be a couple
-‘Macker come here.’- I shouted, seeing him dart through the crowd. -‘Come here, sure everybody’s guessing I’m pregnant!’-
I was yelling my secret above the din.
He started whooping. Leaped up on one of those giant anchor hooks. Started producing little edible cigars which he was giving out to us.
-‘This cigar is candy!’- said Tessa, sharing it with Paco. -‘Does this mean I’ll be an Aunty?’-
-‘And me! Uncle Danny.’- said my brother. Catching on at last, and I resigned myself to all my ex school-friends from Burndon finding out. And my parents as well.. oof!
-‘Now Ladies and Gentlefellas.’- Macker announced. -‘We are giving this little uh, boy or girl the name Kazoo because both of her parents were..’-
But he broke off, seeing me shaking my head and wagging a finger.
He was almost explaining, to everyone assembled, our embarrassingly erotic fantasies!
-‘Sorry we’re just in love with the name and we hope for a happy pregnancy.’-
-‘Congratulations señora Maxie.‘- said Duna. Lucy’s big black daughter.
Duna gave me a good hug. So then everybody else felt they should follow suit. And every minute somebody else we knew would appear and start congratulating me and so on. I didn’t mind at all, I was laughing too much.
Then Lucy was back and apologizing for letting on and I was saying -‘No no no’-. I was glad it happened.
The crowds were disappearing, like butter in a pan. We hung around a bit longer as Bernie and Sol and Lucita were making sure no one got lost.
-‘We can’t lose even one little one.‘- Lucy said on the way. -‘Their parents would string us up and throw darts at us!’-
The place seemed loudly silent, after the high pitched chatter., Macker had brought over his pony and trap for the bags, and we set off for Little Agnes Street on foot.
It was just starting to rain.
-‘Hey Lucy we’ve got a country cottage now. It’s on some coppice farms we share with the neighbours.’- says Tessa.
-‘Where is Barney? He’s gone back to nature?’- Lucy was disappointed not to see him.
She fancied him all right, but she hadn’t got over her ex.
Barney was away off down the country, leaving Moonbeam quite happily with us, except for her odd tantrums.
He’d gone off again to work on the De-School project called Adventure Way, above
our new coppice patch in the Southern Lapwing Mountains
-‘He grew up near there, it’s a great place called Ice Haven. It has an Adventure Trail.’- I explained.
-‘Is it icy then?’-
-‘No no the opposite. With enormous caves and hot water pools, like. On the other side to Rosana’s Coppice.. ‘-
Macker had invited Duna and Paco up on the cart and now insisted on me getting up with Moonbeam. Because she wanted to drive it. Which meant just holding the reins, with everyone walking behind like a funeral procession.
-‘We’re going to, um, scatter Maggie’s ashes up there, next Sunday. You’re all invited.’- said Jerry.
-‘In a prehistoric burial cave. It’s a good place..’-
-‘Thank you thank you’- said Lucia -‘Of course we are going to come. I was so sad I couldn’t come back for the funeral.’-
- Serial of The Free. Ch 32 Smash the Prison Gates (thefreeonline.wordpress.com)