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.” He tore an orange in half with his little hands and popped the flesh off the skin, then stuck both halves in his mouth before starting to chew hugely on them.“I am always hungry,” he said, “but I am not a slave to my hungers.”“It’s not polite to talk with your mouth full.”“Pardon me,” he said, flashing pieces of orange and sausage and wet sticky crumbs of churro.“She tells me, Soon you will not miss your brother anymore.Can you imagine anything more obscene? Better to tell me, Soon your brother will not be dead any longer.That would be better, easier to believe, and exactly the opposite of that other obscenity.But the dead are dead.That was decided long ago.”“Maybe she means that things will be so nice it just won’t hurt so much anymore, or you won’t think of it so often.”“Am I a whore, to go licking after the first distraction? Are you that sort of whore?”“It’s not polite to say whore, Pickie.Especially at the table.”“Pardon me.I ask no pardon, though, for my fury.Would you pass over the pudding? Thank you.You’re wrong, anyhow.You cannot know the shape of the new world any more than I can.We are both too old.No one knows it now but the infants, and they speak to no one.The knowledge will pass up through the years—maybe Ella Thims will know it soon.It will come so late to you and to me that it will be as good as never.” He concentrated a moment on the pudding.“I hate angels,” he said.“But you eat their food.”“Shall I eat my hand instead?” He ate up the whole of the pudding, then turned back to the churros, and started and completed the eggs, wiping the dish with a pancake and then eating that, too.He ate everything on the table, even drinking down the dregs of Jemma’s cereal milk.“It’s good to be a vegetarian,” he said, when he was finished.“Would you like something else?” she asked him.“It would be easy to make.”“I could eat it,” he said, “but it wouldn’t make any difference.You won’t be hungry anymore.You will forget your brother.Better to say the moon will become an eye, or the sun will burn blue.Nasty, stupid fucking angel!”“Pickie! Apologize right now,” she said, though she hated her too, in her way, and she hardly wanted to be a corrector or a disciplinarian.“I’m sorry,” he said.“I am so sorry, for so many things.I will not say sorry to an angel, though.” He got out of his chair and ran over to her, skibbling like an ordinary six-year-old.“Oh Mama,” he said.“I am too sorry.I know you are not that sort of whore, not one to ever forget your brother.It is the worst sin, just the sort to be encouraged in by an angel.Wasn’t it the reason for the drowning, because too many of them had forgotten their dead brothers, because they all went on like such lives and deaths did not matter? Shame and water upon them.” He sighed, and sobbed, and Jemma was so tempted to stab into his sick little brain with green fire and burn it clean of all the wacky shit infesting it, but she could tell without trying that she would be as harshly rebuked as ever.She petted his warm bald head and murmured, “It’s okay.” This made him laugh.He lifted his head to smile at her, then put his face in her lap again and sang.It took her a little while to make out what he was saying.“Baby, baby, baby,” he sang, over and over, his little hand resting one her belly, Jemma protecting herself with layer after layer of imaginary insanity repellant.“Baby, baby, baby,” and finally, after a hundred or more baby’s, “Baby brother.”It was Kidney who noticed the boat.A week after the Match, on their one-hundred-and-seventy-third day at sea she pointed it out during Jemma’s class.They were playing multi-vector scrabble, a game designed by Josh Swift, who was insufficiently challenged by the regular game, and so went to the angel for help making a board that let you spell words up in every direction into the air, and down below the board, which floated four feet above the ground.They were playing in two teams of four and one of five—Jemma and Pickie and the three youngest children.Jemma’s team had just taken the lead when Pickie built pantarch up from cupola.Kidney’s observation interrupted an argument between Pickie and Josh, who would not believe that there was any such word as pantarch, pantarchy, or pantarchian.“It’s just another iceberg,” said Cindy Flemm, squinting after Kidney’s pointing finger.Four days before they’d seen the first one, a mountain of green ice that passed over the horizon in the early-morning darkness, raising false hopes of an island, and then false alarms of a collision as it drifted steadily toward them, getting huger and huger in the hours after dawn.Just at noon, they passed within five hundred yards of it, and people crowded the roof and the windows to stare up, hoping to see a bear or a penguin.One after another the icebergs came sliding over the horizon in every shape and every size, the smallest not much bigger than a car and the biggest dwarfing the hospital.Within a day they had become a common sight, but they never lost their novelty.Jemma found she could stare at them for hours.Even just one penguin would have been heartening, but she daydreamed of swarms of them pouring over the ice on their bellies, sliding in spirals down to the sea, now green and clear—it was water that cried out for penguins to frolic in it.The incredible abundance of fish should have been enough, she knew, but already people were turning away from the windows and the water and looking to the sky.“I just want a bird, just one,” said Helena Dufresene, one morning on the roof.“It would be such a gift,” she added, and Jemma found herself agreeing, and consoling herself with a fantasy of hidden penguins, secreting themselves on the back side of every iceberg, holding flippers to beaks as they passed the hospital.“Nuh uh,” said Kidney.“It’s a big boat.I can see the smokestack.”“Iceberg,” said Jarvis.“It’s not moving the same,” said Josh.Jemma squinted, too.She could see the boat-shape moving among a herd of hill-sized icebergs, but she wasn’t convinced.“Let’s get back to the game,” she said, but they all ignored her.Josh went to a replicator and politely asked the angel for a pair of binoculars.She gave him an old-fashioned spyglass of polished brass.He raised it to his eye and said, “Hot damn.”“Wait a minute,” Jemma said.“We should make sure before you all go running off and…” But they were already all running off to shout “A boat! A boat!” throughout the hospital.Soon it was just she and Pickie there.He looked through the little telescope and said, “Another angel, Mama.As if we didn’t have enough already.” She asked what he meant, but he sat down to consider the Scrabble board again and handed the glass to Jemma [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]