Written by Elfen Sciuridae
– Two Days Later –
The following day Fernando spent the day in bed, having one of his massive headaches from being exposed to light by Juanita, forcing Rachel to be his gopher for the day to which she did not mind. She would do anything for him. Grandma on the other hand knows when Fernando gets one of his headaches, its best to leave him spend the day passed out and check on his pulse and temperature every once in a while. Being a nurse in the last Rodent War gives her knowledge on battlefield medicine that most hospitals wont know. Jorge on the other hand, storms into Fernando’s room a couple times to yell how Fernando is faking it and is only doing it for attention. This makes Rachel rabid and chases him out the room.
Cathy and Juanita must have been arguing all day or not speaking to each other since neither one had either dropped by or even called.
That night Rachel goes to sleep with her brother, holding him tightly. He gets one of his weird dreams where he is seeing himself as a third person and watching what happens. He stands there with his cane and samurai blade, with Grace and Rosita behind him and Mary several feet away in front of them. Behind her, several rats in gang colours.
“If you don’t want to be my boyfriend, then your only choices are to join the gangs or leave your love ones to a quiet place… and that wont stop me from finding you again!”, Mary tells him.
“Why are you doing this?”, Fernando yells back across the distance.
“Why? You Don’t Remember?”, Mary asks.
“I Don’t Remember Anything!”, Fernando tells her.
“Then let me refresh your memory…”, Mary tells him. “5 years ago… in Ms. Carmen’s Preschool Class- a little black squirrel girl came up to you and shared her crayons with you, and then that grey squirrel bitch took my crayons and took you to the other side of the room!”
“WHAT?!!!”, Fernando yells at her.
“I fell for you that day! For that little beige squirrel boy who did not know English, but who knows, I could have taught you English! BUT NO!!! YOU HAD TO GO FOR ‘MY BILINGUAL BUSHY TAIL’ OVER THERE!!!”, Mary yells. “SO, If I Cant Have You, Nobody Will- GET HIM BOYS! AND KILL HIM! BRING ME BACK HIS DEAD BODY!”
The Rat Gang charge at him with knives, chains, and bats. Fernando charge at them as soon as he heard their running feet, and when hearing they were close enough, swung his sword about in front of him. Two rats get seriously slashed by the blade and drop dead where they stood. The others stand around him as he stands in his defensive stance, waiting for another to come within reach of his blade.
“GET HIM!”, Mary yells. They stand there looking at him. “WHAT DO YOU THINK I PAY YOU FOR!”, Mary yells some more. One rat tries to go for him but freezes in place as the blade goes across his neck and his head falls on the floor. The others run away from the scene. Mary walk up to him, keeping away from his striking distance. “You think you can win this. No you cant. You Can Run Away But You Can Never Win!”, she tells him, raising a gun from her pocket. She shoots and hits Rosita in the chest, killing her. She shifts her aim to Grace who was switching back and forth between Rosita and Mary, unsure what to do. Fernando takes a charging step at Mary but she tells him, “Try it and Grace is next.”
They stay frozen in place for a long while then Mary and Grace fade away, leaving Fernando and Rosita behind. He goes up to her and holds her, he begins to plead and then cry.
Fernando wakes up, sitting up suddenly breathing heavily and in a cold sweat. Rachel wakes up and slowly sits up next to him. He holds out his hands in front of his face, feeling with each other. He looks at them but could not see them.
“…still cant see…”, he says to himself.
“You OK, Fernando?”, Rachel asks. She tries to hold him but finds him all wet from sweat. “Eww… I’ll be back with a towel”, she tells him as she slowly got off the bed.
She returns to the bed with a towel and starts wiping him down “Bad dream?”, she asks.
“I don’t know.”, Fernando answers.
“Must have been a dozy… I have never seen you wake up like this before.”, she tells him. Are you OK? I mean with the headache?”, Rachel asks.
“Still got the headache but I’ll be fine.”, he tells her.
“You sure?”, she asks.
“Yeah. You got something planned?”, he asks.
“Maybe we can go to the school’s pool? Its open for the summer.”, she explains.
“But… I don’t know.”, he begins to say.
“I know. You not able to see is going to be a problem.”, she says disappointed.
Fernando thinks for a moment. “Maybe if there were a others to help me out, I might go.”, he answers.
“Others?”, Rachel asks. “Oh!”, she then responds.
“Lets go back to sleep…”, Fernando says as he goes back to his pillow.
Rachel leans over him and looks him as he tries to go back to sleep. She gives him a kiss on the lips before snuggling up next to him and sleeps faster then he does. They manage a few more hours of sleep as the sun shows itself to call in a new day.
Jorge leaves early after being told off by Grandma about ‘Fernando faking his headache.’ After quick shower and the personal hygiene routine done, Rachel gets dressed before going downstairs for breakfast. Rachel takes breakfast to Fernando after having something for herself first. As he eats she steps out and runs out to Cathy’s house first. The door is immediately answer by the one she wants to see.
“Cathy, want to go swimming today?’, Rachel asks.
“What for?”, Cathy asks in answering.
“I’m trying to get Fernando out the house…”, Rachel tries to explain.
“He can go out on his own.”, Cathy said annoyed.
“You spoke to Juanita about what happened?”, Rachel asks.
“Yeah, and I don’t believe it that she was trying to prove a point to him.”, Cathy says almost angry. “You just don’t start to suck some guy’s dick to prove a point. And besides, Ms Bible Thumper always told me that she would not be doing that until the day she got married. What a HYPOCRAITE!”
“Well… I don’t know what to say, but thanks to her, Fernando is blind for who knows how long.”, Rachel tries to explain.
“How you know he aint faking it?”, Cathy asks.
“His irises are swelled up and his pupils are shut closed.”,, Rachel says. “And according to Fernando, he said to her ‘if you sucked my disk you’d probably bite it off by accident!’ and she went on to prove a point to him!”
Cathy just stares at Rachel with a mean look for a moment before breaking out in laughter. “That virgin bitch!”, Cathy started to say.
“Well, want to go swimming?”, Rachel asks. “I’m going to need help for him, you know.”
“Who else is going?”, Cathy asks.
“You’re the first I asked.”, Rachel explains.
“OK. You go home, and I’ll invite Juanita and those two fox cubs down the block.”, Cathy tells her.
“You want Juanita to go?”, Rachel asks.
“We’re still friends, despite what happens. Besides, I can get my revenge against ’blackie’ at the pool.”, Cathy says with an evil smile. “We meet here at about 10?”
“Fine.”, Rachel says before she starts to walk away. “10 it is.”
Rachel goes home as Cathy gets herself ready and goes over to Juanita’s house. After a bit of fur and tail pulling, Juanita decides to go. Cathy starts to go to the fox’s home, finding Edna, Cynthia and a few other girls getting together by her house. Though they had their day planned out, it was to the same place- a hot day in July at the pool.
Cathy goes back home and starts getting ready.
At Fernando’s home, Rachel helps him get his stuff ready as she puts on a black & grey micro-striped one piece. From far its looks like a very dark grey, almost like carbon fiber. She gets Fernando’s black Speedo, but finds his Jr. Life Guard ID tag from last year’s training class tied to the inside strings. Unable to untie the knot, she rolls up the Speedo into his Black towel. After a few choice words on what’s to happen next, they get ready to go. Rachel gives him his cane, towel and duffel bag, and helps him going out the house.
10o’clock comes and everyone gather in front of Cathy’s house. Fernando waited by the gate as Rachel went into Cathy’s house to get the others. In a couple of minutes, the girls gather at the gate, all look at Fernando. Just to tease him, Cathy waves her hand in front of his face to check his vision. He hates that because the waving fans air into his face, he catches her hand.
“You mind not doing that?”, Fernando tells her.
“How can you catch my hand if you can’t see?”, Cathy asks.
“You do it often enough, I know…” Fernando states sternly.
Rachel takes him by the arm and leads him down the block, with him tapping his cane in front of them. The 4 of them remain unusually quiet as they walked the 1/2 mile (10 blocks) or so the school grounds and to its pool. They look at the pool, finding it full with the neighborhood kids. Rachel finds Edna and calls her. She arrives to the separation area.
“So you finally made it!”, Edna says.
“Yeah. Uhm, could you get your brother and have him help Fernando with finding the boys locker room?”, Rachel explains and asks.
“Why don’t you go in there with him?”, Edna explains in question.
“Is that even allowed in here?”, Rachel asks.
“There are a lot of things you could get away with in here!”, Edna explains.
“So where would I change?”, Rachel asks.
“OH Go Get Your Brother, Will Ya!”, Cathy almost yells.
Edna, startled by Cathy’s demand, run to go get Edward. She brings him back by the wrist.
“Now where are the lockers?” Cathy asks.
Edna explains to them the layout of the school grounds. Fernando puts his paw on Edward’s shoulder. “Just lead…”, Fernando explains. Edward gulps and then goes off to the boy’s locker room with Fernando right behind him at arm’s length.
The girls quickly change since they were already in their bathing suits. Fernando takes a little longer as he tries to get things together. He unravels the towel and finds his Speedo inside, along with his ID.
“Damn it Rachel…”, Fernando says to himself.
“What’s wrong?”, Edward asks.
“She did not take out my pool’s ID card from the strings.”, Fernando explains as he tugs at the strings. “Damn it, they’re stuck.”
“Let me see.”, Edwards says. Fernando hands him his Speedo to give it a try. Edward reads the ID card as he looks at the knot it was tied too. “Jr. Life Guard?” he looks at Fernando, “But… you can’t see.”
“Bright observation there, foxy.”, Fernando says sarcastically.
“But if you cant see…”, Edward started to say.
Fernando snatches the Speedo from Edward’s hands. “I can see if I’m not blinded by light. Thanks to Juanita- I was blinded yesterday and I wont see for at least a week. But I am not going to let such a set back from getting in the way of fun.”, Fernando says as he puts on the Speedo, and flipping the card to the inside of the bathing suit against his hip. From the locker, he takes out a tiny duffel bag from the larger one. He reaches into the tiny black duffel bag and takes out an elastic band that he puts on the stems of the glasses, securing it to his face.
Closing the locker and taking his towel and a tiny duffle bag that could be a girl’s purse, Edward leads the way to where the girls had set up their camp. Along the way, Fernando asks Edward to describe the pool and its dimensions, along for people to watch out for.
“Its an Olympic sized pool, 100 yards long, 25 yards wide, 12 feet deep on one side, 3 feet on the other. The middle is roped off and it is 6ft deep and sharply goes to 12 feet in just a couple of steps. Right now we are walking the long way of the pool to the shallow end.”, Edward explains.
“I assume the noisy side is the shallow end and that is where everyone is at.”, Fernando says.
“And you would be right. Right now the deep end is closed. Not enough lifeguards they say, but I know Mrs. Trousers and her student assistant Lucy are just being mean.”, Edwards adds.
“I see. Hmm… Who’s Lucy, so I can stay out her way.”, Fernando asks.
“You cant miss her. She’s a loud mouth Chipmunk who thinks she owns everything here. If you run into her, she will let you know who she is.”, Edward says. “Here we are.”
“Where’s here?”, Fernando asks.
“Base Camp you moron.”, Cathy almost yells at him.
Fernando puts down his towel on the floor and sits on it. He places his cane by the towel, keeping it fully extended. Edward walks away and dives into the pool.
“What’s with the moron business?”, Fernando asks. “And where’s Rachel?”
“If you don’t know, then maybe we should not be in a relationship.”, Cathy answers.
“Look. I’m sorry. I don’t know how to answer to anything right now.”, Fernando tells her.
“Hmmm. We’ll see how it goes, but right now you’re on probation as far as the two of us goes.”, Cathy stated sternly.
“Juanita was the one who almost ripped my pants off to get at my dick!”, Fernando tries to defend himself.
“Oh sure, blame her. You could have pushed her away, you know.”, Cathy throws back at him.
“I wasn’t thinking.”, Fernando say softly.
“Look, I don’t entirely blame you for what happened. But if you are going to have me as your Alpha Female, I’m going to get jealous of every female you gong to stick your dick into. Just do me the favor and don’t let me find out who you had sex with unless it was with me.”, Cathy explains to him.
“So you’re saying I’m forgiven?”, Fernando asks.
“Forgiven? Hell no! But I understand that you have to establish yourself as the ‘Male Alpha’ in your house and Jorge is constantly challenges you all the time. My sister and I had to claw and fight for every bit of Alpha status our parents threw at us. But you need to keep Mr. Oscar Meyer Weiner in check. OK?”, Cathy answers.
“I’ll do my best.”, Fernando tells her.
Cathy pokes at the bulge in his Speedo, “And I mean keep him in check…”
A chipmunk stands in front of them. “There will none of that here!”, she tells them.
“Who are you…”, Cathy started to day, but Fernando takes her by the neck and covers her mouth with her hand. Though she bites his hand to let her go, he holds her tightly not to.
“Nothing was going on here.”, Fernando says. Blood starts to drip from where Fernando had his hand on Cathy’s mouth.
“Hmmm… You must be new here. I have not seen either one of you around here.”, she says to them, seeing the blood dripping from Cathy’s mouth and Fernando’s hand. She turns to walk away, but turns back to face them, “Watch Yourself Around Me…”, she throws at them. After a few seconds, she disappears into the crowd, picking on some poor soul.
Fernando pushes Cathy away from him, taking his wrist and holding it tightly to try to stop the bleeding. “Damn you, girl! You did not had to bite me so damn hard!”
“You did not have to manhandle me! I could have handled that floozy-‘munk myself!”, Cathy tells him sternly.
“According to Edward, that had to have been Lucy, and Lucy is one of those kids who have too much power than what they can deal with.”, Fernando tries to explain as he goes into the tiny black duffle bag, pulling out some gauze pads. “You’re lucky I take this thing with me.
“I could kick her tail from one end of the pool to the other.”, Cathy almost boasts.
“I bet you could, but we’re not here to declare war on the community. This aint New York City- you know.”, Fernando tells her, wrapping his hand in gauze.
“Damn, I miss New York… 2 days in this god forsaken place and not even one police siren, ambulance siren or even a gun fight! Hell, not even someone screaming for help!”, Cathy says.
“I have not had one fight here, and you know what, Cathy? I like it here! Nice, quiet, peaceful…”, Fernando explains. He takes a sniff of the air. “There are a lot of female squirrels in this area.”
Cathy opens her lunch bag she brought with her, opens a can of soda and pours its contents onto Fernando, bouncing the empty can against his forehead, then walks away. She can be heard yelling, “DAMN YOU!”
Fernando sits there by himself and his thoughts. “OK, I may have deserved that one.”, he says to himself.
Lucy returns to where Fernando and Cathy were, noticing Cathy gone but a mess of soda slowly inching its way to the pool. “HEY!”, she yells at Fernando. “Yeah, you, Mister Cool Shades! You gonna clean up this mess or an I going to have to make it rough for you?!!”
Fernando slowly gets up, taking the cane with his left hand and steps up to her. “Or what are you going to do?”, he said as his anger finally got to his breaking point.
“You know what a Rat Tail is?”, Lucy asks.
“Its when you roll a towel tightly on a diagonal, making a tip on one end you snap like a whip. It stings a lot when it hits you. You know what a Yankee is?” He tells her and then asks.
“A Yankee?”, Lucy asks, getting caught off guard.
Fernando takes a step to her side, grabbing her tail and pulling hard, wrapping it once about his hand and drags her backwards to the pool as she screams every steps of the way. He had counted every step to the edge where he stops and shoves her into the water with a spin. She falls into the water in a failed dive, arms extended over her head, landing flat and hard against the surface of the water with a loud thud. The pool goes dead quiet as all turn to Fernando who was standing by the edge of the pool with his arms crossed. Lucy surfaces, flaying about and yelling. The crowd in the pool cheers. She turns to face him, seeing him put the cane to the edge of the pool. He takes a step backwards, turns about and walks back to the soda-wet towel and sits on it.
“You’re Dead Meat!”, Lucy yells.
Somebody yells back, “GO HOME BULLY!” Everyone went to the edge of the pool where Fernando was, forming a wall in front of him. Lucy looks at them, all of them before she goes underwater and swims away. She climbs out of the pool from the other side and walks into the girls’ locker room.
Juanita, Rachel, Edna and Cynthia all run to Fernando’s side and kneel by him. The others gather behind them.
“That was great!”, Edna says with glee, “No one has been able to stand up to the Lucy until now!”
“That makes you a hero!,” Rachel started to say, and tries to hug him, but soon in holding him she realizes he’s covered in something sticky. “Eww! What happened?”, as she separated from him.
“Cathy and I had an argument, so she decided to soak me with her soda. She left after she did that, then came Lucy to start more shit with me, so I let her have it.”, Fernando explains. He takes his cane and folds it up, tucking it into the waist of his Speedo at the hip where the ID Tag was. “Uhg. I think I’m going in for a swim.”, he says as he slowly got up in a hunched over position.
He started running towards the pool, counting the steps that he took, and diving forward towards the water. But instead of diving in, he glides just inches over the water, dipping his finger into the pool. When he got the 1/2 way point, his finger hits the dividing rope and he pulls it back but continues gliding, before pulling up about 10 feet flipping about and dives into the deep water section. He goes into the bottom of the pool for a moment, trying to figure his orientation. He takes a guess and swims in a straight line.
Meanwhile, Rachel takes a running start and dives outward, taking as much forward moment with her when she hits the water and swims like a torpedo towards Fernando. Fernando manages to find the incline to the shallow part of the pool. Rachel and Fernando meet at the 1/2 way point where the dividing rope was. She takes him by the arm, and booth breach the surface in the shallow side of the dividing rope, She wraps her arms and legs around him.
“Fernando!”, she says with glee as she holds onto him tightly, “You’re no longer sticky!”
“Stop being an octopus!”, Fernando almost yells at her. Everyone else started to go back into the water; Fernando tries to find his way back to the side he came from. With Rachel not willing to release him, he walks slowly through the water until they reach the end of the pool. He places Rachel on the edge despite the protest she was giving, and pushes away from her.
“You mind, I’m going back to my towel.”, he tells her. Taking a side step from her, he grabs the side of the pool and jumps out of the water and stands on the edge with his toes. He takes a step forward while taking out his cane and extending it. Tapping his way to the campsite, he can smell the smell of soda in the area. Seemingly as if he was looking down at it, he moves his towel with his cane. It peeled off the floor with the sound of a gigantic roll of tape being dispensed from the roll. Grabbing it gingerly at one corner, he takes the towel back the pool, dunking it into the water. The soda can be seen coming out of the towel in a black underwater fog that dissipates in the water. He takes the water log towel back to the campsite, and wrings out every drop of water from it. The water cascades onto the floor and takes the soda with it to the nearby drain. He sets the towel back on the floor and sits on it.
He sits there for only one purpose- to dry out. While he sits, he thinks. Then he realizes somebody is missing. “Where’s Juanita?”, he says to himself.
“I have been here all this time.”, Juanita says loud enough to be heard.
“Why are you being so quiet all day?”, Fernando asks. “Then again, why didn’t you help out when that crazed chipmunk came?”
“You don’t need my help. ‘Yankee…’ good one!”, Juanita says with a giggle.
“Yeah…”, Fernando says. “You and Cathy made up?”
“We have a truce.”, Juanita explains. “She wont kill me as long as I don’t get caught doing something physically intimate with you.”
“I see.”, Fernando says.
“ ‘said the blind man to his deaf wife.’ “Juanita added rhetorically.
“No thanks to you.”, Fernando stated to himself.
“What are you trying to say?”, Juanita asks.
“Nothing.”, Fernando says.
“You’re the one who got me in trouble…”, Juanita stated.
“Lets not go there.”, Fernando stated.
“And why not?”, Juanita asks.
“Every time we get together, something happens and one of us gets hurt, usually me.”, Fernando begins to explain. “I like my peace and quiet, Juanita. If things were different, maybe you and I would have been dating instead of Cathy, and maybe just maybe things would be peaceful and quiet between us. Understand what I’m trying to say?”
“Maybe, but if you and I were going out, what happened yesterday would not have happened nor will it ever happen. I’m trying to save myself for when I marry the right guy.”, Juanita stated.
Fernando had to hold himself from laughing. But Juanita notices his reaction.
“What’s so funny?”, Juanita asks.
“The statement you made. ‘The right guy?’ Be for real!”, Fernando started. “7 in every 10 marriages ends in divorce in before 5 years! Another 2 in 10. Thus that proves that there no such thing as the right guy. The same applies to the Right girl, although, once upon a time, I thought things would be ‘Happily ever after…’ .”
“Happily ever after, what happened?”, Juanita asks.
“She died.”, he tells her in a cold tone.
“Oh… you’re talking about the famous Rosita.”, Juanita said.
“Famous?”, Fernando asks.
“Everyone knew her. And everyone knew what happened to her. Thing is, everyone knew you were her boyfriend, but what happened? “, Juanita asks.
“She got sick, she went to the hospital and there she stayed until she died. I never saw her again. That was it.”, Fernando explained.
“But, not to get nosey, what type of relationship you two had?”, Juanita asks.
“A very close and intimate one.”, Fernando answers without giving details. “What time is it?”
Juanita looks at her watch. “About 12:30”, she answers.
“Any concession stands to order food from?”, Fernando asks.
“No. This pool is part of a school.”, Juanita answers. “No hot dog carts or ice cream stands like in New York City.”
“Damn…”, Fernando says to himself.
“Hungry?”, Juanita asks.
“Yeah.”, Fernando answers.
“Well, I remember a corner store about a block away.”, Juanita adds.
“Want to go?”, Fernando asks.
“Can you trust me?”, Juanita asks in return.
“It not like we are going to some place private.”, Fernando stated.
“What about Rachel?”, Juanita asks.
“I’ll take care of Rachel, you take care of Cathy.”, Fernando tells her.
“Meet at locker room entrance?”, Juanita asks.
“Yeah.”, Fernando replies.
They both get up and head into separate directions. Fernando went to the pool and called to Rachel. He explained to her what he was going to do and asked her what she wanted. “A bag of chip and soda… and an ice cream.”, she told him. Fernando told her that he’ll see what he could do and went off on his way to the locker room entrance, tapping his cane in front of him along the way.
He thought he could go wait by the entrance. Juanita had found Cathy and both were going to go with him to the store. They both see him as he waited for them. Within 10 feet, they both call to him. At the same time, a shadowy figure steps out of the locker room entrance. Lucy steps right up to him, rearing her fist behind her. She sends it right into his mid section, quickly followed by a knee to the face as he doubled over. As he fell, she stomps on him a couple of times before running back into the locker room.
– End of Two Days Later –