Fault of the Ukulele (500Words, Week 3, Day 2, 1/2/18)
The pile of rocks in front of him had grown over the course of the afternoon, one at a time. For each possibility, he uncovered he added a rock to the pile. The sun was well past the midway point in the sky and he was having to walk further and further to find new rocks to add to the unintentional structure. It had been hours since he found himself alone on the beach and he still hadn’t figured out a solution. He felt his mind quieting as he looked away from the possibility-rocks and out towards the horizon. The water moved in soft ripples, seemingly of its own accord since there wasn’t much of a breeze that day. The clouds hung in small tufts leaving mostly bright blue sky between them. As he turned his head this way and that he could feel the possibilities tumbling around between his ears and he waited for one of them to shift fully into focus and proclaim itself as The Answer. The question, of course, was clear. He’d spent weeks chewing on it with no forward progress. Today was the arbitrary deadline he’d set for himself – he needed to come up with an answer, one way or another. The possibilities didn’t seem to agree.
“hi-YAH! KA-POW! rrrrrrrrAH!” The shouts came out of nowhere and startled him out of his reverie. He turned around and was surprised to see a little boy swinging around a ukulele as if he were slicing apart invisible bad guys. The sight was so improbable that he broke down into a laughing fit that dropped him to his knees.
Through the tears brought on by the unstoppable laughter he could see that the little boy stood frozen mid swing, staring at him. It took him a full five minutes to calm down, and the little boy held his pose the entire time. Feeling weak and drained, he fell into sitting as his breathing slowed. From his position down on the sand, he called out to the little boy and said, “Hey, Frozen Warrior, who’s the bad guy and what did he do?” Asking the question brought back some giggles, though not enough to fully take over.
The little boy broke his pose and approached, carefully, before answering. “I don’t have a bad guy yet. I’m getting ready. I’m practicing.”
The seriousness with which he answered erased Kai’s last tendrils of laughter. He pushed himself up onto his knees and rested on his heels. “Getting ready for what, Frozen Warrior?”
The little boy dropped down to his knees, matching Kai’s position, and whispered, “The Zoo Nami. Are you going to fight, too?”
Kai looked at the little boy and felt the answer he’d been looking for slip into place.
“Michael! What are you doing?” Kai looked up to see a woman fighting her way across the sand towards the little boy. Seeing her broke the spell and Kai pressed himself up to standing before she’d made her way all the way over. The little boy continued to stare at Kai, clearly waiting for his answer.
* All 500Words are fiction. Any resemblance to people or events is strictly coincidental. *