Nikita Khrushchev

Posted: September 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

“I’m a Pirate!” yelled Andy, waving a bag of fake gold coins over his head. They were cheap like his plastic eye patch, the strap had been breaking all day. Sarah, Andy’s sister, had reknotted it a dozen times. It wrapped around his head at an imperfect angle. The cord was ready to snap. His sword was a Scott paper towel roll he’d crushed into having a handle. They were supposed to throw waste in the receptacle, and save paper in case it was needed, but she figured his weapon would make perfectly fine garbage after he was done playing with it. An electric light buzzed over their heads.

“Where’s the treasure!” he demanded, jabbing his bent paper sword at the GI Joe who sat at the edge of his cot. “I know you have it Blackbeard,” he shouted. Sarah saw the GI Joe had an actual black beard. It was worn and patchy, but certainly black. “That’s a good nickname,” she said, “for your pirate.” “Thanks” said Andy, smiling smugly. He kept his unpatched eye squinted and lips peeled back in the unmistakable sneer of a Seadog.

“I’m going to make this pirate take me to his treasure, then stab him and push him in the hole.”

Sarah worried her little brother was a psycho, but was impressed he was so good at pretend.

Even here.

“How do you know he’s got treasure?” She asked. She was reading her Bible and taking notes. Their folks were both on the other side of the blanket that divided the room. It was the only room in the bunker. Dad was sitting on the bottom bunk looking at the rotary telephone mounted to the wall. Mom was reading her Bible too.

“He’s got a map!” answered Andy, swashbuckling at the air. He held up the map he’d made on the inside flap of a coloring book. He’d torn it off so it had ragged edges, and the “X” looked outta sight.

“Then why do you need him?” asked his big sister

“Because I can’t read it.” snarled Andy.

“Because you can’t read?” She teased.

“I can too!” Andy yelled.

“No you can’t.”

“Well I can when I’m a Pirate!” he asserted.

She thought he probably could. “You know, most Pirates couldn’t read.”

Andy turned his head crooked. “Why?”

“Because most pirates were 6 years old.” she lied.

Andy’s eyes got wide for a moment before he realized she was kidding.

“Most people just couldn’t read,” she explained. “it wasn’t important.”

Dad looked at the phone.

“And pirates didn’t really make maps.” Sarah said.

“What?” he exclaimed.

“They didn’t. They didn’t bury treasure and stuff, that’s made up.”

“Well then where did they get treasure?”

“They stole it off boats.”

“What did they do with it?” he asked, putting up his GI Hostage and sitting next to his sister.

“Spent it.” she said, “why would you bury something instead of use it?” she asked her little brother. “You work really hard to get something, why hide it on an island you’ll never come back to?”

“But what if you did come back?” Andy asked.

“You couldn’t,” she said. “They’d kill you.”

Andy was confused, and maybe a little angry, but he liked it when Sarah told him stuff. He loved it when Sarah was bored.

He knew the place his dad kept talking about was an island where pirates were from, Sarah showed him that in the Encyclopedia Brittanica they had brought down with them. It was a place that wasn’t America, but was sort of America, and a place nobody owned. Until now he was sure it was full of treasure, and good for fighting, and that’s why war happened there.

Sarah thought about her brother’s idea of treasure, and laughed to herself. She thought about gold and jewels and the whole world trapped underneath a big sheet of glass. She thought about The Bomb, and turned back to her notes.

Andy could read a little, but not whole books. His sister had written down names in her diary. ADAM and EVE were in capital letters, and CAIN and ABEL were beneath them. There were lines and arrows connecting the names, and a big question mark between Cain and his mother. LOT and LOT’S WIFE were halfway down the page. Andy didn’t know that story as well, but he knew everybody died except for Lot and his daughters; and the wife got turned into salt. It always made him feel uncomfortable seasoning anything. Sarah had her family written down at the bottom. There were question marks and arrows, lines were scratched through her Dad’s name.

Their mother got up and grabbed a box of cornflakes from the pack they had in the corner. She always ate them dry, which freaked out both of her kids.

“Did pirates still have hooks for hands?”

“Probably,” Sarah thought, “but they didn’t make people walk the plank.”

“What?” Andy was outraged. “It’s true,” Sarah smiled too big. “It’s just a made up thing, like Paul Bunyan.”

“That’s Bullshit!” Andy yelled,  upturning the game of Stratego he’d lined up for later. The board cartwheeled in the air and armies of scouts and sappers flew across the room.

“Hey!” Dad yelled as he pulled back the divider. He barely fit inside the bunker.

“I’m sorry!” Andy flinched. “Don’t antagonize your brother.” Dad said. The phone rang and everyone turned to the clanging altar. Dad picked up the receiver.

“Nothing?” he said into it. Then, “Well good.” Then, “I guess so.”

He hung up the phone. “That language isn’t okay,” he reprimanded Andy, “and pick up these pieces.”

Dad said something about Khrushchev and mom started crying. Andy knew they were supposed to be happy, but he couldn’t focus. His sister was weird and his parents were sad. He gripped the bag of coins in his hand. He was mad nobody buried treasure. He climbed up towards the living room. Everybody was a liar.

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