“I’m worried about him.” Dina said. She was peeking out the window of the cabin at Zas in the backyard sitting on the porch just staring out at the scenery. She turned back around to find Ezza separating herbs he’d gathered that day; he was sorting them into piles and then tying groups of the them together. It made no sense to Dina, but Ezza seemed to have some plan as he went along.
“Ezza! Are you listening to me?” Dina said, her hands going to her hips. Ezza grunted and then looked up from what he was doing.
“Yes, yes I am Love.” Dina continued to stare at him for a moment and sighing Ezza got up and walked up to her. Rubbing his hands up and down her arms he leaned down so his face was close to hers.
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t. Forgive me?” Ezza made a pleading face. Dina giggled and leaned in to kiss his cheek.
“I forgive you, but I am worried bout Zas. He doesn’t seem to be doing well. I talked to Katrina and she doesn’t seem to be doing well either.” Dina said looking back out the window. Ezza let his gaze follow hers. Zas was now standing in front of the water and looking across it. His hands ripping pieces of grass into pieces and then tossing them into the water at his feet.
“He needs you, and I need to be with my sister. I know you wanted to share this place with me, but I think I’m going ok?” Dina gave Ezza a light squeeze and then stepped away. Ezza glanced out at Zas again and then nodded at her.
“When you be leaving?” He asked.
“As soon as the taxi gets here.” She said. She walked over to their room and picked up her bags. Placing them by the front door of the cabin she sat on the couch and waited. Ezza waited until her cab came and then he headed outside to where Zas was standing at the lake.
“Dina just left to go to Katrina.” Ezza said. Zas just nodded and kept throwing grass chunks into the water.
“So, what do you wanna do? We have this place booked for a whole week. It’s only been 3 days.” Ezza finished.
“Nothing, I don’t understand what’s happening anymore, and I don’t feel like doing anything.” Zas said.
“What do you mean?” Ezza asked. He was concerned for his friend, it wasn’t like Zas to get depressed about anything.
“This! This is all backwards! I don’t understand it. She left me, no one leaves me; I leave them. I’m Sezzad, Lover of Unlimited Potential in our Galaxy. We land on this junker planet and Katrina has the audacity to leave me, like I’m some…schlub? There’s something wrong here.” Zas said, his voice and anger rising.
What a egomaniac, Ezza thought. Still at least his friend was still himself. Ezza could feel the worry melting away as the seconds ticked by.
“No, you’re right Ezza. There is something I can do. I can forget about that selfish, man leaving, red headed b-” Zas started saying.
“Whoa! Girlfriends sister!” Ezza said cutting Zas off quickly.
“Right. Red headed woman. I’m throwing a party. I’ll show her what she’s missing. It’s always a party with me. I’ll surround myself with beautiful woman, and handsome men, and I’ll make sure to invite everyone we know except Katrina. That’ll show her.” Zas declared to the water. He looked so proud with his chest puffed out.
“Show her what? That you’re two? Whose going to come all the way out here for a party?” Ezza asked.
“No one!” Zas hollered in a slightly crazed tone and then turned and went dashing back to the cabin. He had calls to make and supplies to get. Ezza stood by the water soaking in the calm that Nature seemed to give. So much for a vacation, Ezza thought.
The day of the party, Zas rushed around putting finishing touches on everything in the cabin. The invites had been sent, and Zas had made it known to Katrina that he was throwing a party, and she wasn’t invited. Not in those terms, but She knew. He wandered back into the kitchen to finish preparing his food. He made homemade hot dogs, and some salads for the sides. As he finished stuffing the hot dog cases he started looking out the windows for Ezza.
Ezza had been gathering bugs and herbs just about everyday for quite awhile. He had a collection of bees and sage going in the one corner of the room. Zas had asked him about it, and all Ezza kept saying was ‘I need to go forward…maybe, not sure yet. Better safe then sorry.’ Zas was a little worried about what he was up to, but knowing Ezza it wouldn’t be life altering. He was sure. Ezza could be weirdly secretive about the strangest things. Sighing, Zas put the hot dogs on a plate and wrapped them before putting them in the fridge. He glanced out the front windows one last time, before heading upstairs to get ready.
Ezza came back to the cabin a little late and filthy. He had been gathering the last of the false morels needed. He had been having a hard time finding them, and the ones he had found today had been in a difficult spot. When he had gone for them, he had tripped and rolled down the hill, effectively coating himself in dirt thick enough that when he landed in the river, the flowing waters couldn’t wash it all away. At least he had a few minutes to spare before he absolutely had to get ready for Zas’s party. He trudged over to the corner and placed the mushrooms next to his pile of sage, and containers of bees. Now everything was set, when they got back, he could brew up the herbal potion and things could move forward.
He was just heading to the bathroom when Zas called out to him.
“Wear something that shows off you’re body. I’m taking photos.”
“Seriously, it’s not enough that you already got word to her, but you’re going ahead with it anyways? Even though she seemed hurt? Why can’t we just have fun?” Ezza asked Zas. Truth be told, he thought this whole party idea was stupid. They could’ve just relaxed and bonded over the few quiet days left; but no, vengeance was here, and Zas was riding it. Ezza just sighed and shook his head at Zas before disappearing into the bathroom to get ready.
Zas was BBQing his hot dogs and grumbling to himself. Ezza played horseshoes with their motley assortment of guests. Franklin the Ranger had shown up and said tough luck to Zas as soon as he saw him. The only other guest to show up was Lydia a.k.a. Nigel, and how he had heard about it, no one was sure. Ezza did have to say though that the blue stripped skirt Lydia had on did flatter his eyes.
“Okay, foods up!” Zas called out placing the cooked dogs on the back deck table. Everyone dropped their horseshoes and went over to grab some chow. As they sat Franklin and Zas started up a conversation about the evils of good looking woman. Ezza sat in silence beside Lydia. Well, almost silence. Lydia would occasionally call him a fine young man and then pitch his cheek. Ezza was okay with it as long as Lydia kept her hands to herself, but he was worried about Nigel’s mental state.
By the end of the night Franklin was staggering home from all the juice he’d consumed, and Ezza had poured Zas into his bed. He had offered to let Lydia stay the night, but Lydia had refused saying her Young Man would look after her until she made it home. Ezza didn’t quite understand who Lydia meant, unless it was Nigel, but then Lydia was Nigel so he couldn’t walk her home. Ezza offered to walk her home, but again Lydia declined saying her Young Man would do it, and then she left. Ezza had mixed feelings about letting her go, and was worried about Nigel being taken advantage of; he’d talk with Zas in the morning once he could think straight.
The next day, Ezza greeted Zas as soon as he stumbled down the stairs. His friend prepared his special ‘after-juice’ breakfast, and then sat and listened to Ezza ramble on about Nigel.
“So if I’m understanding you correctly, and I hope I am because my brain hurts from your voice; Someone is taking advantage of Nigel, whose getting worse, and you want to check on him.” Zas finished his sentence by taking a big gulp of the wretched drink he had made.
“Yeah, so when should we go?” Ezza asked him right away. Zas sighed.
“Could I At least shower first?” Zas asked sarcastically.
“Hell yes!” Ezza said. “You smell, please shower.”
Zas threw his napkin at Ezza’s face, then got up and put his dishes in the sink. He went upstairs for his shower and to pack. By the time he got back downstairs, Ezza had everything else packed away, cleaned and back where it belonged. He was practically dancing by the door like a little kid. Zas shook his head and smiled, At least it didn’t take much to please him.
The boys made it to Nigel’s cabin by sunset. The lights were on in his cabin giving it a warm, glowing effect. It had taken them awhile to get there, other vacationers had wanted know why they were going to the deep woods with all their luggage. After fending their curiousness off, they had snuck into the tunnel and kept watch behind themselves as they travel to Nigel’s clearing.
By the time they reached the cabin and let themselves in both men were exhausted. Nigel looked up in astonishment from his bowl of soup. A few seconds later, a huge spread across his face and he was up and hugging both men in welcome. They spent the night catching up and learning how each other’s lives had been since they had last seen each other.
The next few days seemed to pass in a blur. They went fishing and bug hunting. Ezza seemed extra determined to catch will-o-the-wisps. Sitting at lunch with Nigel one day Zas starting telling him about Ezza’s new collection of things.
“Ah, getting ready to settle is he?” Nigel asked, a small smile appeared at the corners of his lips. He took a sip of his water while Zas stared at him uncomprehendingly.
“What do you mean?” Zas asked. “All this crap he’s collecting has a purpose?”
Nigel’s smile got bigger.
“Did you learn nothing of the Herbalism ways when you were here? Those things he’s collecting have a very important role in a certain potion. Sage, willo’s, bees, and morels you said? That my friend is for making babies. Well not really, shut up Lydia I’m trying to explain! It’s to help your chances on making babies. He’s settling down.” Nigel smiled and then elbowed the air beside him, and told Lydia to be quiet once more.
Zas sat in stunned silence. To help make babies? Ezza what are you thinking!? Zas shook his head. No way could this be happening. They were going home, there was a way, he had found the contacts (hopefully) and it would be a short wait. Nigel patted Zas on the shoulder as he got up and started cleaning their lunch up. Zas sat for a few more moments and then got up, telling Nigel he need time to think, Zas went for a walk around the clearing.
Ezza came back just before sunset. He had had a great haul today. Not only had he scored some fish for dinner, but he had found some beautiful rainbow fish for his aquarium at home. Dina always loved cuddling while looking at the fish when she stayed over. Now she’d have some beautiful ones to look at instead of the ugly river fish Ezza usually kept.
“Nigel, I have some fish, are you home?” Ezza’s called out putting his equipment away. Nigel came out of the bedroom and smiled when he saw Ezza. He walked up and patted him on the shoulders and then looked at what Ezza had brought. Putting the rainbow fish away, he took the rest to the kitchen and began cleaning them.
“Zas isn’t here to cook?” Ezza asked as he watched Nigel.
“No, he had a bit of a shock and took a walk.” Nigel said. He smiled again at Ezza, which Ezza found a bit creepy.
“What happened to Zas?” Ezza asked. Nigel let out a little laugh.
“You did, Baby man. He may not have known what you were up to with all of those things you’ve been gathering, but I do.” Nigel said. Ezza stood and gawped at him for a moment.
“I have to find him to explain. Where did he go Nigel?” Ezza turned for the door.
“A walk, that’s all I know. Dinner will be soon, he won’t let himself starve. Can you cook while I set the table? Lydia’s back is sore today.” Nigel said as Ezza, frustrated, did as he was asked.
By the time Zas got back, dinner was long over and cold. Ezza was on the couch snoring away, and the left overs were in the fridge. As much as he wanted to stomp around and make as much noise to wake Ezza up, he didn’t, couldn’t. Not after what he had found.
Zas carefully reheated the food left for him and grimaced at the taste in his mouth. Yeah, he was going to be cooking all their meals for them from now on. He had just sat at the table and was shoveling another forkful in his mouth when Ezza sat in the chair across from him.
“Yeah, I told him not every spice you own goes into each and every dish, but you know Nigel.” Ezza said nervously as he watched as Zas choked down another bite. Either Zas believed his lie, or he had caught on; either way Zas refused to look at him.
“How was your walk?” Ezza asked hopefully. When Zas didn’t reply right away, he sighed and sat back in his chair.
“Are you really going to do it?” Zas asked in a quiet voice. He pushed a few bits of food around on his plate with his fork while he waited for Ezza’s answer.
“I’m not sure. I’m thinking about it.” Ezza replied after a few moments had passed. Zas just nodded his head at the news. Then he sat back and looked Ezza square in the eye.
“What will you say when the baby comes out purple? Hey! It looks like he’s going to be a huge fan of eggplants?” Zas watched his friend try to keep a straight face.
“You are such an ass. I would tell Dina the truth way before that. She would accept it.” Ezza said. He wanted to smack Zas for his flippant comments.
“Are you one hundred percent sure? She may say that, but the baby may be too much to handle for her. How will you explain it to the neighbors? What if we go home? Will she want to raise an alien child by herself? What if she doesn’t want it and tells you take it with you? Will you be able to raise it by yourself?” Zas fired the questions at Ezza. He felt sympathy for his friend but not enough to drop it.
“Well, I’m absolutely one hundred percent sure. She’d love both me and our child. She ate too much eggplant while pregnant and it permanently stained the baby, I’m not sure how that would work though. I don’t know, I’d think of something. We all go together, she’d love it back home. She’d be popular and loved by all. If she doesn’t want to go with us fine, but I’m sure she won’t just abandon the baby, and on the off chance she does well I’m sure between the two of us, it would grow up half normal. We’ll figure it out. We always do.” Ezza said. He nervously rubbed his fingers as he held eye contact with Zas.
“Right. Wait, did you just say to raise it together?” Zas asked surprised.
“Yeah, you’re my Pairing. Why wouldn’t we raise our children together like family?” Ezza asked.
Zas looked at his friend in wonder. How the heck did come up with that, let alone have the courage to say it?
“You are a fool. A beautifully naive fool. You say these things like they’re no big deal, but you just don’t realize. I can’t stay mad at you dope. Lets raise a baby. I still don’t think it’s a good idea though. Just hold off okay?” Zas leaned across the table and gave Ezza’s hands a light slap.
Ezza grinned and slapped Zas’s hands back.
“Ok, but for now we have to talk about something more serious.” Ezza said, Zas nodded and leaned in a bit more.
“I know, I found something.” Zas whispered. Ezza glanced at the hall leading to the bedroom.
“There are little sparkling lights everywhere here. It’s crazy. I noticed them the night of the party. They’re everywhere, and really thick here.” Ezza said quietly.
“I found a skull” Zas said.
“So? Some animal probably died here.” Ezza said frowning at Zas.
“No Ezza, I found a skull from someone like us.” Zas said. Ezza’s mouth dropped open in shock.
“We need to go.” Zas stated.