Now for more of Chapter 4 from The Book of Seasons. Our narrator is attempting to give his readers some clue of Wakdjunkaga’s personality. He is telling anecdotes to illustrate his aged friend’s behavior.
The plot doesn’t really advance much here, as those who read in this last weekend already realize; this chapter is really more of a character sketch.
The Book of Seasons
chapter four, continued
Most of all, and this rankles me deepest somehow, he was a gossip. I often noticed him in grocery stores sucking in the headlines on the scandal sheets as we waited by the checkout counter. Benjamin Backbite would have loathed him as a cheap sensationalist. And he firmly denied, in his laconic way, that this was so, proceeding next to revel in some new bit of scandal.
And I admired him, envied him sometimes, am pleased to call him my friend, and glow to be able to set him down (if I can) on paper for you to read. Although I doubt if anyone else who knew him has truly shared my admiration. Yet.
Yet. How can I say “yet?” He is my whole problem.
A joker. He once, about three weeks after his arrival and only shortly before he left, put a water balloon in place of my pillow. When I laid my head on it, the water erupted, gushing all over the bed and me. He thought it was very funny. The water was very cold.
Moreover he timed his stunt for a night when I had a visitor, with whom I shared an increasingly hesitant relationship. She enjoyed the drenching even less than I did, hard to imagine, and we since went our ways, separately.
He laughed, in friendship and malice, gleefully for five days. And he got mad and morose when I vengefully shot him with a water pistol I’d taken from a troublesome student.
He thought it was especially funny that I could not explain to the girl how it happened that my pillow was full of water. I couldn’t explain him to her. I did believe what he told me about himself, although I may never wholly understand why. I accepted that he had really returned from the twenty-first century, even when I had no inkling of his reasons. Of course, as Wakdjunkaga was overly fond of observing, I am exceedingly gullible.
Perhaps I should have told her; it couldn’t have made the situation worse. At the time, though, I was unable to devise an explanation of how we kept him secretly lodged in the empty room across the hall. Not that she would have listened if I had tried to discuss the rituals and incantations (I feel silly mentioning them now) which prevented that room from being rented, which caused the maid to clean it and then forget that she had. Maybe my silence was wise. Who would have believed the story of the midmorning seduction when Wakdjunkaga lured the maid into my room, worked his charm and somehow got the lock of her domestic hair necessary to work is intended magic? The scene in my room must have been magical enough — he always insisted they both escaped with honor intact, but satisfied.
My dripping girlfriend would never have understood. So I suffered her abuse and her silence and our separation and Wak’s chuckles.
I have a bit of autobiography to reveal in connection with this portion of the never-finished novel, but I think you will have to wait for Monday to find out the juicy details. I’ll let you know then how real people I have known colored the characters and characteristics of the story.
The rest of the novel (as it stands) tomorrow. And I’m still awaiting your feedback on the story…