Manbolo

“She said I had to help out you.”

“This witch woman. This… sorcerer.”

“But not in a bad way, I don’t think,” replies Duncan Avocado.

“But not in a totally good way either,” returns Sam Bee, catching the drift.

“Maybe not. Kind of neutral.”

Sam Bee stared at the fire. “Well, you know what I *really* want to do right now? To explore that gorgeous gorge of yours, where you were born here in this Paradise.”

“Reborn,” Duncan corrected.

“Right. I want to make a day of it. Perhaps several days. Show me what this is all about. You said a lot of work seemed to go into it. Mermaids and such. I’d like to see a Mermaid. I’d like to… well, she told me not to talk like that any more.” Sam crossed his legs.

“About girls… women.”

“Yeah.”

“Well…” Duncan exhales. “You *were* in a war. The ultimate madness and anything goes situation. You had to do what you did to get by.”

“No. I can’t accept that any longer, Duncan A. About the women.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t dwell on it,” his friend advised. They sat in silence for a bit.

“Freed up that damn Southern Bypass for a while, hehe. Almost had them by the *balls*.”

“Not soon enough… sorry.”

“For you, I know. We were working beyond the bamboo planes and cars and ships. We were almost there.”

“They had steel. They had energy.”

“We had the voodoo,” Sam countered. “The plants helped; almost worked. Southern Bypass.” He leaned forward. “I can cite one or, at best, two crucial moments in battles where things could have turned. On a dime, as the old saying says.

“Best not to dwell,” Duncan reiterated.

“I had this man’s head…” Sam stopped here. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t put a bamboo hatchet through a man’s head not 2 feet from his own. They told him to think of them like grapefruits… basketballs perhaps. He lay the hatchet down. He let the man pass. And immediately watched him kill one of his own.

“Come on,” Duncan says, getting up. “It’s afternoon now. You said you wanted to go swimming. Perhaps ride one of those killer sharks.”

“Whales,” Sam edited, making him think of Tessa.

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