"Paaaaaatzuuuuuu

"Paaaaaatzuuuuuu!!" a woman's voice yelled up the stairs, "time to get uuup!"

Sunlight streamed through the dusty blue curtains of Patzu's small room. The room had a small desk and chair, bed, and shelves full of various things. Dusty model airplanes sat on one shelf and pictures of a floating city were hanging on the walls. A framed picture of the boy's father sat on the bed stand, which held several books and a small lamp.

"Shit," Patzu groaned as he opened a bleary eye towards the glowing face of the alarm clock. Patzu scrambled out of bed, his bedcovers twisted all over his body. He quickly took a shower and changed into his work clothes: a grungy and patched pair of brown pants and a baggy white shirt. He attempted to comb his hair and put on his favorite brown hat.

Patzu slid down the railway and was met by Lucy, his little "sister". They weren't really related, but were as close as siblings.

"Hi, Patzu! Mom's making bacon n eggs. You better hurry," Lucy looked up at him with wide, innocent blue eyes. She had turned eight not too long ago and had received a new red dress as a present. She tied her long brown hair into pigtails with bright red ribbons to match her dress.

"See ya later, Luce," Patzu skidded past her and patted her head as he went by.

Patzu shoveled down his breakfast, bits of egg flying everywhere.

"Now remember Patzu, don't stay too late working on that plane. Tonight's the town festival!" his "mom", Kim, said.

"Oh don't worry, mom. I'm looking forward to it!" Patzu said a hasty goodbye before bursting out the door.

"Aaahh…" Patzu took a deep breath of air as he stood on the hill overlooking his "dad" Jack's mine. He quickly went down the ladder that led to the machinery below.

"Mornin', Patzu. Sleep in?" Jack smiled at Patzu's sheepish expression.

"Sorry, dad. I couldn't get to sleep last night…" Patzu explained, pulling on his leather work gloves.

"I see. Excited for the festival?" Jack looked out the corner of his eye at him.

"Uh…yeah! Of course. This year I'll for sure win the watermelon-eating contest and win that money!" Patzu said cheerfully.

"You got some mean competition, though- I hear that Finster boy wins every year. That kid's as fat as a baby whale," Jack chuckled.

"Yeah, he is. But he can't win forever. He'll underestimate me. I wonder who's all coming tonight," Patzu said, almost to himself.

"Who's all comin'? Well anybody who's a somebody! The whole town shows up, unless they're on their death bed o'course. Why- you wantin' someone to come?" Jack asked, raising his eyebrow.

"Ah…n-no. Just wonderin'. Say, d'we have an overnight crew coming?" Patzu asked.

"Yeah, should be coming any minute. In fact, man that crank. I gotta oil that wheel," Jack said.

After work Patzu ran to his "old house"- the one he lived in as a kid before Jack and Kim adopted him. The house was still in good condition, and he still cared for his white birds every day. Patzu also kept his plane in the lower level room. He had stopped working on it for four years after the Laputa adventure, thinking he'd never use it. This past year, however, he needed something to do, and it wouldn't hurt to have a plane on hand. Besides, it'd be fun to fly in it after he was finished.

"Yep, a few more hours'll do it," Patzu said to himself, inspecting the plane. It was made of wood and an engine from a junkyard. The engine worked well, and Patzu's carpentry was remarkable. All that needed to be done was a bit more work on the wing and a paint job. It was a two-seater, the cushions and windows from an old car. He had never told any of his friends about the plane except Sheeta. He wondered if she even remembered it.

Patzu awoke from his musings and glanced at his watch. He had two hours until the festival. He tinkered around with the wing a little bit and then raced back home, not before feeding his happily chirping birds.

Patzu ran upstairs and took a quick shower, washing his hair. He changed into the only decent looking outfit he owned: a pair of black pants and a collared button-up green shirt. He put on his dark brown shoes and looked in the mirror. The shoes didn't really match, but he'd be in the dark most of the time anyway. He combed his thick brown hair and thought he looked pretty good. For good measure, he put on his silver cross necklace and tucked it underneath the shirt. Patzu was 18 now, and had come of age. That meant he could drink now- an exciting privilege. He wondered if he'd see Sheeta tonight and if she'd talk to him.

"Maybe I should just go up and talk to her," Patzu muttered to himself. After the Laputa journey, the two were very close, always hanging out together. They had picnics together, raced up and down the grassy hills, caused mischief in the town, and went camping outside. Then, when Sheeta went off to school and moved in with he new family (The Stevenses, a nice wealthy elderly couple), their friendship slowly drifted apart. He really missed Sheeta, even if he didn't admit it to himself. Patzu couldn't go to school all the time, because his family was so poor. He had to work almost every day and go to school every couple weeks, and catch up in the summer. He was a smart kid, and still learned lots. He could handle the school and work schedule but he hardly ever saw Sheeta. Their eyes met in passing, and he swore her mouth curled up in a little smile once. That thought gave him hope, and he smiled to himself. This was the last summer he had to work for Jack, and then he was free. He planned on maybe going to a nearby school- he didn't know what he wanted to do yet. Something that involved building things, that's all he knew. He also liked writing, though he never told anyone that or shared any of his stories or poems. In fact, he had written about his adventures to Laputa. No one knew of that adventure except him, Sheeta, and the pirates.

Patzu glanced at his watch and trudged downstairs. Lucy, Jack, and Kim were already waiting there, in their best clothes.

"Ready, son?" Jack said, and they all made their way towards the festival in the center of the town.