Kaimoana Tales

by Kiwi

The Malloys

Part 5

It was hours later when Big Mike arrived home. Michael was already in bed sleeping, but not for long. Big Mike was alone but making enough noise for half a dozen people. He was singing, loudly and badly, when he came into the sleep-out. He flicked the light on, skidded on the pile of glossy magazines on the floor and collapsed in a heap of yelling profanities.

"Shit! Damm and Fuck it! Who left those fucking books all over the floor?"

Michael sat up groggily and peered at him. "Umm. Well, you did actually."

"Oh, yeah. I did too," he giggled. "Sorry. Did I wake you up?"

"Did you what? You probably woke the bloody dead! Damm, Mike, it's not on. I'm not staying here if you're going to carry on like this."

"Okay, okay. Don't get your tits in a tangle. Sheesh! I said I was sorry."

"Yeah? So am I - sorry I ever came here. I'm not staying in this nut-farm."

"Come on, Brother. Don't be like that. We're not that bad. Well, Tommy is, but the rest of us are okay. Look, I said I was sorry and I am. I was happy and I forgot you were here. It won't happen again."

"Well . . all right then, as long as it doesn't." Michael lay down again.

Big Mike stripped his clothes off, turned out the light and climbed into his own bed. "Where are you going to go anyway? You've got nowhere."

"I'd find something."

"Yeah? Can I come with you?"

"O you bloody can't!" Michael laughed. It was hard to stay mad with this kid. "Have you been drinking?"

"No I haven't! Well, maybe a little bit of Maxie."

"A little bit of Maxie? I don't think I want to know."

"Not telling you anyway."

"Well good! Tommy arrived home before, singing his head off."

"Tommy was singing?"

"Yeah, just like you were."

"Like me? That's a worry. Okay, Brother, sleeping time. G'night and I'll see you in the morning."

"Chances are. G'night, Mike."

"That's Big Mike. Don't forget the Big."

"Yeah, whatever."

Michael knew that he was grumpy, but he wasn't sorry, he was tired. He hadn't got much sleep the night before, trying to sleep under a tree by the road, and he'd walked for bloody hours! He was tired. He drifted off to sleep.

He was woken again in the early hours of the morning. Someone was climbing into his bed!

"What the?"

He struggled upright and looked around. It was still early, the sky outside was not quite gray and Hori, complete with his own pillow, was in bed with him!

"Damm, Hori. What are you doing? You can't sleep in here."

"Ah, leave him." Big Mike rolled over in the other bed. "It's just Hori. Sometimes he likes a warm body to sleep with. Sarah's probably got Paulie in with her."

"Well, are you sure it's all right?"

"Course it is. Just cuddle him and go back to sleep. He usually sleeps with me, looks like I'm not the favourite uncle anymore."

"Okay then. He won't wet the bed will he?"

"You'll be the first to know if he does. No, he won't wet the bed. Go to sleep."

He lay back down again. Hori reached behind him and pulled Michael's arm across himself. He spooned around the warm little body and went back to sleep with a smile on his face.

When he woke again, Hori was kneeling in the bed, closely studying his face. Michael stretched and smiled. "Good morning, Hori," he whispered.

He was rewarded with another big smile. Then Hori leaned forward, kissed him on the lips, slid out of bed and was gone. That felt good. Michael stretched and smiled and looked up at the wooden ceiling that was not that far above him. He looked over at the other bed. Big Mike was lying there grinning at him and he grinned back.

"Hori's a great wee boy. I like him a lot."

"Yeah, he is," Big Mike answered. "He's a great kid and he's got a lot of love to give. Just see you don't touch his dick, Nancy would kill you - seriously."

"Mike! Sorry, Big Mike, there is no way I'd touch a baby's dick. I'm not a sicko."

"Didn't think you were. If I did, you'd already be dead, and I ain't kidding."

"It's not something to joke about, I wouldn't do something like that, but I'm not scared of you anyway."

"Yeah? I gathered that. Okay, you don't need to be, but be aware of who to fear."

"Yeah, I know - Nancy, right?"

"Wrong. Well, Nancy too, but she's mostly all mouth. It's Sarah you mostly don't want to cross. If she gets her rag out - look out!"

"Sarah? I thought Sarah was nice."

"Well she is, and she'd smile nicely while she rips your guts out with her bare hands."

"For real?"

"Oh yes. We'd better get up. Come and I'll show you where the shower is."

They went into the house.

"What are you like at mowing lawns?" Big Mike asked.

"Useless!"

"Dammit. You'd better learn."

They showered, separately of course, and then helped themselves to breakfast in the kitchen. There was no-one else there.

"It's Sunday," Big Mike said. "We're all back-slidden Catholics, but we do like our day of rest."

"Back-slidden?"

"Yeah. Nancy's been warring with the local priest for years. The last straw was when he wanted Sarah to adopt her baby. Stupid old man, then we'd have no Hori."

"Yeah, that wouldn't be good. So, would you normally be in bed on a Sunday?"

"Sometimes, but not today. We've got things to do. How's the feet?"

"Not too bad. As long as I don't have to walk too far they should be okay."

"I think there's an old wheelchair, in the garage somewhere. If we can dig that out, I'll push you in it."

"No way. I'm not sitting in a wheelchair, I'm not a crip."

"No-one said you were. You didn't mind sitting in the trolley yesterday."

"No, but that was different. That was yesterday and the ankle was really hurting. It's better today."

"It won't be if we don't look after it."

"It's my foot, I'll look after it."

"Sheesh! You're more stubborn than I am! Okay, walk then - it's not too far, just downtown."

"What are we going there for?"

"Would you rather mow the lawns? No? I thought not. C'mon Brother, don't you want to see your new town? I want the town to see you. It's not often I've got something to be proud of."

Well! Michael couldn't resist that. They went for a walk downtown.

They walked, slowly, back down to the main street, one block along there and around to the skateboard park behind it. Michael was surely glad to see the bench-seats around the park. He was well ready for a rest.

"Here we are then," Big Mike led the way over. "This is our skatie-park. Way cool, eh? Shame I haven't got a board, but Maxie has so it's all good. Everyone hangs out here anyway. This is where you come to see and be seen."

"Oh, okay then, as long as I can sit down."

"Should've let me get the chair, shouldn't you? With a bit of luck, someone might drive us home. And here comes Maxie. You can look but don't touch."

"Wouldn't think of it."

"Hey, Maxie, how're you? This is the new brother I was telling you about. Michael - Maxie."

"Hey, Maxie. I'm not getting up - feet are sore."

"Yeah, I heard that too, and the name's Max. Only Big Mike calls me Maxie."

"Okay, hey, Max then."

"That's better. What are we going to call you? Little Mike wouldn't work. I guess you'll have to be Bigger Mike."

"Bigger Mike," he laughed. "No, I don't think so. My name is Michael, nothing else."

"Okay, Michael Nothing Else, pleased to meet cha," Max grinned.

"Whatever."

Max sat on one side of him and Big Mike sat on the other, they talked. Michael liked this guy, he was okay, but he soon got tired of being intro'd to more and more people. He never remember all their names. Everyone wanted to know all about him, he was the new kid in town. Big Mike was fussing around, beaming with pride, like he'd made him or something, so he put up with it - for now.

Harri turned up and he was delighted to see a familiar face. She stood back, watching, and then she went and got a girl from over the other side.

"Michael, you ready to go home?"

"Yeah, well ready, Harri."

"Right then. This is my cousin, Fiona. She's got a car, so come with us and we'll take you there."

"Sounds good to me." He got to his feet.

"Hey, wait up!" Big Mike protested. "No hurry, is there?

Harri turned on him. "Shut it, Big Mike. Look at the kid, he's knackered. He should be resting. You've got no business dragging him around town like this."

Michael answered. "It's okay, Harri. Thanks, but I agreed to come out."

"Well you shouldn't have. You need to rest. Want me to get Sarah on to you?"

"Well, no."

"Shut up and do what you're told then. Come on, we're outta here."

"Yeah, okay, thanks. Are you coming, Big Mike?"

"Not yet," he grinned at Max. "No. You go with Harri and Fiona. Maxie and me have got things to do."

"Things to do?"

"Don't ask," said Harri. "Come on, we're gone."

"Right. Bye, Big Mike. Nice to meet, Max."

"Likewise."

The girls took him back to his new home - his new, old, home. Sarah was sitting on the front verandah, nursing the baby and watching him hobble in.

"Look at you! You shouldn't be walking around yet. Sit down here. I'll get some water and you can soak the feet again."

"Thanks. That'll be great." He sat down with a sigh. "But not too hot!"

"It'll be hot enough. Stay there."

She took Paulie inside and he sat alone in the sunshine. Harri and Fiona had already driven away. Hori came out and handed him a teddy-bear, he took it with a smile.

"This your teddy, Hori? Thanks. He's very cool."

Hori smiled that smile. Michael inspected the teddy. It was old, a bit grubby and quite limp - it was badly in need of restuffing. "I think your teddy needs feeding. We'll have to find him some honey."

Sarah returned, with the bowl of water, and stood grinning down at him. "Wow. You're privileged."

"Privileged?"

"Definitely. That's Hori's Pooh Bear you've got there, his most precious possession. Nobody, but nobody, is allowed to touch Pooh."

"I see. Thanks, Hori. I'm very honoured and I'll be careful with him."

Hori smiled and sat down next to him. Michael smiled back and held out the bear, offering it back to him. Hori shook his head, but then he changed his mind, grabbed it off him and cuddled it to his face.

"He does love his teddy," Sarah said. "Probably because its name is Pooh, he thinks that's very funny. Okay, are you going to get those sneakers off or do I have to do it for you?"

"I can do it!" He hurried to remove them before Sarah pulled them off again. She removed the bandage and he sat soaking his feet.

"Where's Big Mike?"

"We left him at the skateboard park. He's with Max Weavers."

"Of course he is. I'll be glad when he's over Max Weavers."

"You don't like him?"

"Not much. Oh, he's all right in his way I suppose. He's got a rotten family, they're snobs and they think they're better than us."

"And they're not?"

"They probably are, but they don't have to tell everybody."

"Definitely not. Wow, is that a Rolls Royce?"

A big black car pulled up in the street outside.

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