Poor Jacques thought he might have survived if he hadn’t fallen into the river. Once that happened even those bark stripped twigs didn’t help.
“What’s in these?” He flung his last one onto the shore, not even aware he was polluting. Obviously out here there was no punishment.
“Aspirin,” Spotted Eagle answered. Then he knew. Jacques laughed. Aspirin was an antiquated pain-killer. There were wondrous new pills that worked so much better.
Then he saw the fish and he forgot his pain. Fish were a monitored species. They were allowed only in lakes designated for food. But there was no way humans could go into or use water for drinking when fish swam in it. Sometimes Jacques wondered if fish were meat, just like animals, but he didn’t dare ask. You did not question the authorities. It made life less chaotic. Now it didn’t matter. He was drinking water that fish swam in.
He leaned over, trying to get a better look at these creatures alive. And that was when he fell in and discovered another fascinating discovery. His government issued suit – did not work like they said it did. Dirty river water flowed inside, touching his flesh. The suit ballooned out and he sank like a rock. He supposed he should thank Spotted Eagle for saving him but he was angry and so scared he thought he might die right on the spot.
The suit didn’t work! Did they know? He couldn’t recall anyone ever falling into the river. The fences and signs of warning kept people back from the water. Then it didn’t matter. There was no one to help him. He was downright sick, throwing up – most his insides, the mechanism only doctors understood – that kept him alive. He ached and could barely move. His little strength was not available. He just laid there like a limp rag.
But there was no room in the canoe. Everyone kept shoving him away and he was bouncing like a ball, unable to stop them or sit up. Finally, swearing a blue streak, Spotted Eagle pulled to the shore.
“Never gonna get to the Big Waters this way Jacques. We gotta strengthen you up some I see. You gotta get out of that silly suit and into some warm clothes. Gotta get some exercise going and toughen you up too.”
There were times in the next few weeks Jacques wished he could just die. But their Medicine Man, who turned out to be Little Wolverine, kept jumping, dancing and screeching around his bed. And once he no longer felt like dying – Spotted Eagle’s harsh words and threats kept him running and climbing and jumping and lifting – until he felt a little strength inside. When he refused to eat their poisonous food – they shoved it down his throat, squeezing his cheeks so he would swallow. The confusion was astronomical.
How could he possibly still be alive? It was then, his thoughts started wondering if everything he’d been taught to believe was true.
To be cont’d… in a later blog.