My entry for Finish the Story Contest
The bedroom was a sealed Fort Knox. An old black fan stood in a corner: the last bulwark of defence against the terrible heat of that day of August. The heat from its engine was exceeding by far the supposed cool that it should have been producing from the movement of the scorching air.
"... I’m going down to the store to help mum."
"Recently, the young dandy is getting his ass busy."
"You could do something too, every now and then," Santiago thought, managing to keep his mouth with a bridle at the very last moment.
"There is an article on the International on how bad news are preferred to positive ones and their effects on society," he chose instead to answer.
But the 15:00 news were now efficiently irrigating the paternal synapses and absorbing his whole focus.
"After 3 months from their first appearance, the research on cumuloids continues by the international expert pool led by Dr. Venters. All the analyses confirm that their molecular composition is not different from that of any other type of cloud: minute particles of condensed water and / or ice crystals. In the meantime, yesterday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the resolution requesting the member states of... "
"Chemtrails were not enough, eh Tiago?"
"I do not know, I try not to look at them. Those faces in the sky might also be harmless but they frighten me," Santiago cut short.
The quasi-dialogue would have certainly not produced anything positive in its prolonging, thought the twelve year old son. On board of his Zanella Motoneta, Santiago darted away from home, heading for the beach.
Down there, among the umbrellas reserved for the guests of the Los Reyes hotel, there were Vicky's deep black eyes waiting for him. Maybe today they could have been alone, maybe there between the waves or under the umbrella, he would have finally told her words that, for long days, had been banging in his head like the ocean’s backwash.
He still thought of those enigmatic clouds, the cumuloids, whose immense faces had formed and flaked in the skies for months now. With no exception, their eyes were covered and they displayed a subtle smile, similar to that of those Greek statues he saw in one of the rare occasions he opened his school books.
"What an idiot." Two rosy dawns light up on Vicky's cheeks to contradict the apparently cynical exclamation.
In front of her, two hearts drawn with a wooden stick on the sand of the shore with their initials inside. Tiago floundering.
A sharp cry pierces the silence. Dazed looks of the two twelve-year-olds jumping first on Vicky's younger sister, then, through the kid’s expression of terror, bouncing on the celestial vault behind them.
A cumuloid, alone, stands out clearly in a fake turquoise sky like the wing of a theatre stage. There is no trace of a kouros smile on the gargantuan cloud, which now seems about to drift on the sea shore. The ivory jaws widens deformed, vomiting a myriad of other faces. Distorted mutations depart ferociously from the obscene atmospheric funnel just to pierce back the smooth nimbus’ face, devouring its ephemeral flesh.
Time slows down around Tiago and Vicky, holding hands together without even realizing it.
"Thanks for coming in today," says the principal. The principal looks at Frankie, who is sitting in the back behind his parents, with disgust because of his fictional story he had written for his school report on clouds. "This piece, which he read in front of the entire class, has the whole sixth grade talking about how they are going to die at the hands of some people flying planes and dropping chemicals on its population. This work is completely insane. I'm going to have to recommend this boy be put on Ritalin to control what he sees and wishes to express openly in public. Never in all my years have I been so ... so ..." she lacks the words to express the hidden thought.
"He worked on this story for weeks. He collected data, went out and took pictures," his mother says. "Here. We brought some of them with us." She places the pictures on the desk and slides them in front of the principle.
"Oh, dear," the principal grabs the mother's hand before she has time to pull it away, "I'm not concerned with what your opinion is. All I want is the truth." Her arms swept the pictures off her desk and into the trash can. She lets go of the mother's hand. "There is no way, nor is there any good reason as to why anyone would want to harm us, the good people who keep this place running. Our food is fine the way it is a..."
The dad cuts her short and says, "Are you fine with having poison sprayed on your food?"
"That is ridiculous. No poison has ever been sprayed on my food."
"What are herbicides and pesticides?"
The principal sits back in her chair attempting to hide the angry outburst she feels coming on. "Look. That is just plain stupid. Now I know where your son gets it from."
"Hold up, Lady," the dad's voice resounds like thunder as he speaks. "You will not be throwing insults at me or my son."
"You are right. I was out of line. Look. This trash," She holds up his paper, "gets an F. He is going to have to do the whole project over. I only want to see the facts or he will fail again; I will personally see that he gets held back. I want non-fiction stories, not some story dealing with "fake" clouds and explicitly glorifying child pornography."
"Have you lost your rabbit ass mind," the mother shouts. Her mind is struggling to understand what the principle is saying. "Are you implying that we would let our child write about something so hideous and then glorify it in a story dealing with clouds you think don't exist?"
"No, no, no. I didn't say that." The principle backtracks on her words. "I'm so sorry. We seem to have a misunderstanding."
Getting up out of his chair, the father points his finger and says, "You are damn right. You know what? Fuck you. Fuck this place, this school, and a big fuck you! I'm taking my kid out of this dump."
The principle stands up in her moment of excitement. "Oh, GOD, yes! I thought I was going to have to put up with that lying piece of shit for years. Take him, you, and your skank out of my office and never return to soil the brains of the children and educators in our school with these filthy lies."
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