Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Great Bang Disease (Assignment--"Point of View Narrative", Advanced Composition, April 10, 1963)

The Great Bang Disease
(Assignment--"Point of View Narrative", Advanced Composition, April 10, 1963)

It is rather comfortable after all, this team work, not at all as I thought it would be.  Gave a body a sense of order, of security, of oneness with the group. "You silly goose!  To be frightened of something like that--why you know everyone does it," my aunt said to me before we left and now I see what she meant.  My aunt lost her husband quite completely one day last fall with the Great Bang Disease; that is, the disease so common to our race, which is invariably characterized by one of us suddenly giving a great start and dropping dead; immediately afterwards there is always a "bang" sound, sometimes near, sometimes far and muffled, from which we get the title "the Great Bang Disease."  But I'm digressing.  It so happens that the disease strikes always in this present situation, and that's why I was just saying that the orderly manner in which the whole affair is carried out makes one feel much safer than if it were otherwise.  My aunt knows of such things too, and though she was very bitter at her loss (she's never remarried) the fortitude with which she has faced her personal tragedy has helped strengthen the morals of her flock of followers.  At least, so everyone says. Still, you can be perfectly healthy one minute and the next.....

I guess I get more tired than I should, and after all that's not really being thoughtful especially when you realize everyone is in the same boat.  Maybe things wouldn't seem so bad if only there were someone to talk to.  But they're all so intense with their new positions.  I suppose one should feel very important and grown-up on his very first mission.  Well, what's so great about it anyway? 'Doesn't everyone do it?'  But my aunt says I should stop being so sarcastic and she's a leader, and has been, moreover, for years.  It's in the family, you know.  I guess I feel sort of left out, maybe.  I mean, just a few days ago it seems, those very fellows over there were standing around (me included, of course) as we always did watching the girls kind of flutter by.  "Hey, get a load of this chick", we'd say to each other in a true masculine brotherhood.  Generally if the chick heard us, she'd get her feathers ruffled and her dander up, and we'd have to calm her all down again.  I guess it's continually being called "chicks" they don't like.  What fun!  But look at those stuffed pigeons now--you'd think they'd never known anything else but this going, going, going!!  Responsibility? I could croak! Well, I guess that is what my aunt would say if she had any time to talk to me now. Stick-to-it-tiveness.  Responsibility. Yes, she'd say that.  But she could say it so I'd be fired up--I mean ready to fly! "Birds of a feather flock together."  She's always saying that--I mean to say we're one of a kind I like to think.

Speaking of responsibility, that reminds me.  I suppose soon I'll have to break down and become properly acquainted with Cousin Jake.  After all, my ignorance is astonishing (my aunt's very words) and Cousin Jake is the head navigator, and navigating is in the family... He may be kind of skinny (also never quite bright enough to catch himself a wife the relatives could approve of) but he knows the sun and always gets us there straight as the crow flies.  Least ways, everyone says so.

Oh I hope my aunt doesn't get it in her head to make me practice leading today.  I mean it seems so lime-lighting, so status-seeking, so down-right stage-frightening to get out there in front of everybody...

I'll say I'm feather-brained and wouldn't know how.

I'll say I feel a Great Bang attack coming on.

I'll say--I'm afraid.


Two figures moved out of the blind.  One, the smaller of the two, ran toward a fallen feathered body still quivering in the dawn light.
"Grandpa!  I got him!  Isn't he just the biggest goose you've ever seen?"
"He's a young one.  See him lagging back behind the others?  I think that's the one, wasn't it? Well, son, you've done it, we'd better start...."
"What boy? Oh. Yes, I do believe he's the very biggest goose I ever have seen.  Now, come on, pick him up.  Your father's waiting for us."

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