four long hours had past since I'd left home and I had less then half a mile to go when I decided to rest for a bit and arrange my scattered thoughts. While Wooly ran from tree to tree scouting the area, I leaned against an old oak that blissfully shaded my aching limbs from the sun. “So… what do I do now?” Wooly kept sniffing the tree route. “That’s not the answer I was hoping for”, with a sigh I settled down, making myself comfortable, ready for a long talk with myself. “I guess I got to get a job or something… I’ll show them, I’ll get a job on my own merits, a fun job, something dangerous and exiting. I don’t need them! I’ve got you wooly and that’s all I need.”
“…But who’d hire a 16 year old girl?...it’s so silly!, I mean I’m strong enough and tall enough to do men’s work - God knows I’m more mature then any teenage boy...”
“What do you think Wooly? Could I pass off as a boy?...I’ll take that incessant sniffing as a yes. I could actually do this!” - And with that I got right to the task of making myself into a teenage boy. First thing first, my appearance: As I said I’m pretty tall, 1.72 meters to be exact. I have long brown hair that goes down to my waist, I haven’t cut it since I dropped out of school. my eyes are a pickled green, my skin the color of a nut inside out – that’s the way my dad used to describe me, kind of silly I know, I just love the way he used to see things.
I got out my knife. “I guess the hair’s got to go then…huh... - the blade sliced threw half my hair without even pausing to think of the implications of its actions. I felt like I should be in mourning - my hair looked so sad lying on the ground spread about my feet…”hhhe…well boys are supposed to be dirty right?” I hate being dirty! “Oh well...” and with that I went, more like rolled, down to the stream bubbling near by, and thus by the time I reached the waters edge I was barely recognizable, even to myself. Looking at my reflection in the ebbing blue water at my feet I seemed to be able to pass off as any hard working, self sufficient young lad, well not that young I hoped. I’d try to pass myself off as an eighteen year old come to earn his way in the big city. That shouldn’t arouse too much suspicious attention.
On closer inspection of my appearance in the stream I decided it would be prudent to rap an old T-shirt around my chest to hide the ‘wiggling’ effect when moved around, luckily it was not all that hard to hide - my female attributes weren’t all that pronounced. Finally I looked like a real male born youth. My hair was a mess around my face, no peace longer than my chin. My clothes were as ragged as they come, giant button up plaid work blouse over a long hole filled white shirt, now muddy, and over it all my dads work overalls. This coupled with Timothy’s old sneakers fit the costume perfectly. Now I just had to find a job, so I decided I better get going. I packed up my bag and got back on track, checking every now and then to make sure Wooly wasn’t too self observed that he wouldn’t notice where I was going.
Finally, I hit the town scene, it was spectacular! I’d never been there during the morning rush. The streets were filled with beggars, con-artists and other unlikely folk such as these. Never in my life had I seen such a divers group of persons all together like this. I was quite taken aback at first. An alien shyness crept into my bones but soon enough I loosened up and regained my self-assured manor. I was blatantly gawking at every thing around me, so much so I’m pretty sure I almost knocked a bit more then a few people over. But nothing could ruin the air of excitement that flooded my heart while I walked down those streets, nothing.
After wandering about aimlessly for what seemed like days, but was probably only about an hour or so, I made up my mind to go to the docks in search of employment. It seemed like the best place for it. Since jean was scared silly of the ocean it had always been a secret dream of mine to concur the oceans depth, while jean stands shaking with terror on the shore. It was a handy mental image to have on those blisteringly hot days working along side him on the farm. When I reached the docks, after several wrong turns, I walked straight up to the first fisherman I saw on a small barge close to the shore. I then politely asked him for a job. His first reaction was non-existent; he didn’t even look up from the line he had just cast. I then proceeded to repeat my query about where I could find work in a constantly rising tone so as to make sure he would be able to hear me. Finally when I had reached the peak of my lung capacity he looked up at me. “YEE? yee ain’t even fit frr bate! yee better run along home too yer mommy now.” He growled at me before turning his attention back to his work. I quickly turned away from him, scooped wooly up into my arms and hurried away from all those who had over heard my humiliation. I approached a few more fishermen although I did not do so as politely, or as publicly, again. On the last barge I requested work my weakness and general “lack of fiber”, as they called it, were insulted so vigorously that I couldn’t take it any more, the excitement of that morning was now out of reach, Instead I exploded: ” I have more strength in me then you think! all your brains put together wouldn’t amount to more then a peanut so what do you know” I was breathing hard my eyes fiercely darting from one man to the other, most of whom were too busy bellowing with laughter at my tirade too catch my gaze. But there were a few who took me in a-new with there eyes. One of these men came up to me and put a gentle hand on my shoulder, gently steering me away from the rest of the still chuckling men. “Don’t pay our mindless words no heed, you just go rite on believing in yerself. But for the time bee’en I suggest yee go and get a job somewhere more – appropriate, maybe over at that tavern yonder.” He pointed straight ahead at a rundown-looking place with a big sign above the broken down double doors-‘close to heaven’. “Good luck laddy” and with that he walked away. Although I had no doubt his words were meant to comfort my bruised ego they did no such thing. It was worse then I had ever imagined, no one seemed to think me capable enough, it was just like being back home only here I had no room of my own to shelter me from all the realness that surrounded me.
“I refuse to do as he says that, arrogant idiot! As if he knows what I should do. Telling me to keep believing, how dare he!” I was talking to wooly, who was now sitting on my feet so as to avoid contact with the muddy, water strewn cobble stones. No one had seemed to notice I was talking to my cat; in fact no one seemed to notice me standing there at all. And so I left, with wooly in my arms and my back to the sea, off to explore what else the city had to offer me.
After the sun had set I decided it was time to give up on the search for work. I went back to the docks. After all those hours of searching I found that no one was interested in hiring a “scrawny” ,“pussy footed” ,“sniveling”, “under-aged” and “sullen young lad”. I had done my best to try and keep my spirits up but by the time I had reached the docks I was so down hearted I was going to try and get a job at an inn or tavern like that old seafarer had suggested. I passed the ‘close to heaven’ saloon but did not enter; I wasn’t about to do exactly as I was told. So I kept on walking until I reached the ‘dark belly’ which looked like an eating den. It seemed to be occupied mainly by sailor folk so I decided it might be a good place to start out, let them get to know me, maybe then they would hire me. As I entered my nose was instantly flooded with the smell of booze, old muck and a very strong bodily odor I could only assume to be concentrated sweat. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the eerie darkness inside the big room, which was only punctuated by a few shabby looking lamps on each wall, but when I had adjusted my eyes too were assaulted by the harshness and crudeness that surrounded me. Filthy men and overly perfumed women were strewn all about me. I took a deep breath trying to steady my resolve but all that achieved was reminding me of the degree of filth all around me all over again. I tried to force my way threw the men drinking and cat calling but it was of no use, just as I decided I should just get out of there I felt a puff of hot air on the nape of my neck; I tried to turn around but I wasn’t quick enough.
I tried opening my eyes- either every thing had gone pitch black. Or my eyes had stopped obeying me. I had just enough time to freak out before I heard some one talking in a muffled voice. “What are we going to do with him now?” “I dunno, t’was yer cockamamie idea to knock’em out in the first place!”
“You sure that’s all the money he ad on’im?”
“Aright, aright…just stick’im in that trunk in the back where people can’t see”.
Now I really started panicking again but my body parts still refused to comply with my mind’s commands. After a short journey, on what I assumed to be one of the men’s backs, they settled me carelessly in a box of some sort. Finally I heard a small meow and a ‘thunk’ of a lid closing over me. I felt wooly curl up by my side; I was at least thankful for that much. I still couldn’t believe it! My first day in the city on my own and I’d already been robbed and abducted not to mention all the insults I had weathered threw out the day. My limbs and voice were still on a break so I decided to play the game me and mom used to play when I was sick, so as to take my mind off of my very gloomy situation, I’d close my eyes and imagine my own fairy tail-land. All my sweetest hopes and dreams in one place, then I’d go around seeing the sites. Me and mom would tell each other about our fairy-tail lands as we walked about them, making up funny names for our made up creatures but now I play the game differently; ever since mom died when I’d feel sad or sick I’d try to imagine her made up lands and foolish creature names, she made up the funniest names. Even in the gloomiest of situations remembering manages to put a smile on my face.
Night time again?...wait why am I swaying? I guess I fell asleep…then I remembered the darkness was because I was in a box, but still no recollection came for why I was swaying. It was making me feel a bit queasy. It was either that or something the robbers had slipped me. In any case I was not feeling well at all and my fear was growing by the moment, so all in all my condition was rapidly worsening. At least now I could move again but my voice just wouldn’t work. I tried banging on the inside walls of the box to get some attention drawn to it, but the soand that resounded from it was too muffled for anyone on the outside to notice. Finally I gave up and curled up around wooly, trying to stay calm. It was scaring me that my voice still wasn’t working. Now I was sure they had given me something that had taken the control over my body away from me, I could only hope for it too ware off soon because all the silence was starting to get to me.