Wednesday, December 03, 2008


While the little man bathed in one of Kick’s cereal bowls, Kick retrieved three large bait minnows from a live tank in the shop and brought them back into the kitchen as the little man had directed. Then he fried them in olive oil, lightly salted them, and spilled them out onto a plate. Kick had never cooked minnows before, but he reasoned that it shouldn't be much harder than a normal pan fish. The trouble had been gutting them. The little man made his dismount from the cereal bowl with some difficulty and gingerly made his way over to the fried minnows. As he walked he left tiny little puddles across the kitchen counter. Still naked, he crouched next to the fish and started eating them like a wild animal-ripping and tearing into the meat. Kick would learn later that this was customary for the little people. Pausing for a moment, the little man looked up at Kick and said, “A little privacy.” It was more a command than a request, and Kick resented his tone. He was about to say something, but then he thought better of it.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said, and was about to walk away when the little man demanded imperiously that he wash his clothes in the same cereal bowl he had just bathed in. “Just swish them around a bit,” he ordered. "That should get some of the fishy smell out of 'em."

Kick took the bowl and the strange little clothes and walked to the other side of the kitchen where he did as requested. Dunking the clothes in the tepid soapy water he swished them around with his forefinger, and then removing them one by one he wrung them out and stretched them out on a napkin to dry.

“What’s your name?” Kick asked.

“My parents named me Ilverbottum, but most everybody calls me Ilvie.”

“And your people, what are they called?”

“Widjiwats,” the little man answered between bights.

“Are there many of you?”

The little man looked annoyed, “Kick, we’ll have time for question and answer later. I don’t feel up to it right now. As soon as my clothes are dry I’ll be leaving for a while to seek instructions about what do with you.”

Kick wanted answers to the dozens of questions swirling in his brain like a day's catch in the live-well, but sensed from the man’s demeanor that they would have to wait. “How are the fish?” he asked.

“Excellent! They truly are. From the mouth of a fish to fish in my mouth- what a day!!!”

Kick brought over the little man’s clothes, and laid them neatly next to the half eaten minnow meal. Then he left him to finish his meal in private and puttered around the shop for a while. When he came back all evidence that the little man had been there was gone and he wondered if he had been hallucinating.

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