Chapter 14: Two's Company
It's been another year and RJ is still in Iowa going wherever he wants and "obtaining" whatever items from humans he comes across.
He just nabbed some fresh food from a human garbage can somewhere out in the deep forest—the humans obviously use the house as a summer home or base camp for hunting trips—but was running from the pet pit bull dog guarding the yard. To make matters worse, the dog was very fast and persistent.
RJ stops to catch his breath when he hears a "Psst! Up here!" from above in a tree. Not even thinking, RJ climbs up just in time to avoid the dog.
Pit bull: "Yeah that's right, climb up in a tree like a coward, ring-tailed charlatan! But if you come by the house again I'll really mess you up!"
By now RJ has reached a branch and looks up to see an extended paw. He grabs it and sees a female raccoon with light-brown fur on her body except for the white fur on her ventral side, ocean-green eyes, and a red bow in her head. She also seems to be the same age as he is.
RJ: "Thanks. I would've been a doggie treat if you hadn't let me come up here. What's your name?"
Female raccoon: "Luby. What about yours?"
Luby: "What's that stand for?"
RJ: "I…I don't know…"
Luby (confused): "You don't know what your own name is?"
RJ (with an attitude): "No, I don't! Y'know why? Because my good-for-nothing parents abandoned me at the age of two!"
Luby (sympathetically): "Oh my gosh…That's terrible. How could they do such a thing?"
RJ (normal tone): "Beats me…And why do you care? You don't know what it's like living as a drifter."
Luby (crosses her arms): "Actually, I do."
RJ: "Y-You're living as a drifter as well…?"
Luby: "Yeah. Except my parents didn't abandon me, I abandoned them."
RJ: "Why would ya do that?"
Luby (sighs): "I wanted to be free. I didn't want them to tell me how to live my life, them and their so-called 'conformity' really made me steamed. And to add insult to injury they would always say, 'Why can't you be more like your big brother, Earl? He's sooo-oooo perfect! He's well-mannered, listens to us closely without talking back, does what we say without complaining, and is on-time for everything.' I couldn't stand it anymore, so I ran away.
"See this purse?" (Points to a purple purse she has handing on her left shoulder) "I nabbed it from a human and have been collecting some cool items that have helped me live a life alone. And my guess is that your golf bag serves the same purpose, right?"
RJ (amazed at what he's been hearing): "That's…absolutely correct." (Thinking) "I don't believe it…I've met someone who's just like me.
Luby: "Is this the first time you've been around another raccoon? You shouldn't be so surprised, we're all pretty clever."
RJ: "What kinda stuff do you have in there?"
Luby (grinning): "I thought you'd never ask. But let's get somewhere with a little more space. Follow me."
The two teenage raccoons climb down the tree, and RJ can't help but feel a little attracted with Luby as he observes her graceful movements and swiftness, not to mention her appearance and voice sound very attractive too.
RJ thinking: "Whoa now, RJ, don't even think about falling for her. Remember your motto: family of one.
"But does that mean I can't have a friend?"
RJ snaps out of his musing when he reaches the ground. Luby beckons him over to into a gully where she's using a hunting tent for a dwelling. For a human, it's just a tight space to wait for deer in, but for raccoons, it was pretty much a house, causing RJ to whistle in intrigue.
Luby (smiles): "I take it you like my place?"
RJ (nods): "Yeah, it's like so…rad. Do humans ever come by here?"
Luby: "Nope, it's been abandoned ever since I came here five years ago. So lemme show ya what's in my purse."
After unzipping the main pouch she dumps the contents on the floor. She picks up a hand mirror and a brush.
Luby: "This mirror lets me see my pretty self whenever I look into it, and this brush makes grooming easier."
RJ (not impressed): "Mmm yeah, so what?"
Luby: "Oh, so YOU have something that allows you to do the same thing better?"
RJ: "I just don't worry about my appearance as much as a girl does. Do you have anything interesting is what I wanted to know? For example…" (puts his bag down and pulls out his lighter, fishing pole, and Swiss-army knife) "Take these items: (picks up the lighter) perfect for starting a fire." (Picks up the knife) "Perfect for defending yourself, opening canned foods, and whittling. (Picks up fishing pole) "And great for getting fish as well as functioning as a grappling cable."
Luby: "Hah! That's nothing, check this out." (Picks up some firecrackers and smoke balls) "When lit, these things pop so loud and quick that it will even scare a wolf away. And these little smoke balls will cover you in smoke that can be perfect for escaping tough situations."
Now RJ and Luby were desperate to have an "item war," to see whose things were better.
RJ: "Oh yeah? Well since you're the type of raccoon interested in style, how about this…"
RJ pulls out his cat-eye sunglasses and puts them on, causing Luby to laugh.
Luby: "Those are, like, women's sunglasses!"
RJ feels pretty embarrassed, and at the same time admires how Luby has (and knows about) some things he had and didn't have himself.
Luby turns around, grabs something, puts it on, then turns back to face RJ. She has heat-shaped sunglasses on along with a green banker visor.
Luby (slyly): "Dare to compare?"
RJ (sighs): "You win this round, Luby. But how about items for personal entertainment?" (Rummages through his bag and pulls out a ball and paddle) "This has kept me busy whenever I chill out. It never gets old cuz I'm always trying to beat my previous records."
Luby: "Hmm. But do you have anything more…challenging like these?"
Luby picks up a deck of cards in their small box.
RJ: "Wow, you actually have one of those. I've seen humans play with them a lot, but never had a chance to grab a deck of them. What games do your know how to play…? I bet 'cha I could beat you!"
Luby (smiling): "We'll see, RJ…I know slap jack, black jack, poker, and solitaire."
RJ: "What about go fish, presidents, or…"
RJ pauses and remembers how fun it was to be mischievous…then grins.
RJ: "Cowboys and Indians?"
Luby: "How do you play that?"
RJ: "Lemme have the deck and I'll show you."
Luby hands RJ the deck and he takes the cards out and starts shuffling them for a few seconds. When he's done, RJ asks "Who do wanna be: cowboys or Indians?"
Luby thinks quickly and makes her choice. "I'll be cowboys, no wait. I'd be cowgirls."
RJ: Okay, you ready to know how to play?"
Luby (eager): "Yes!"
RJ: "It's really simple. All you have to do is…"
Immediately RJ throws the deck and the cards scatter everywhere.
RJ (while laughing): "Round 'em up, cowgirl! Hah-hah haaa!"
Luby is as shocked as she is irritated.
RJ (in between laughs): "I'm sorry! I just couldn't resist! You should have chosen Indians."
Luby can't help but laugh along while she picks up the cards.
Luby: "I gotta admit, you really got me! Heh-heh heh."
When she' s done putting the deck back together she hands them back to RJ and says, "Now let me be Indians this time."
RJ thinking: "Oh…No way!" (out loud) "Alright. Since the cards are already mixed up we won't have to worry about shuffling them. As I said, being Indians is much better because you don't have to round 'em up. Instead, you just have to…"
In the next instant RJ scatters the card deck again.
RJ: "Track 'em down, Indian!"
This time Luby is only irritated, not humored, whereas RJ is laughing so hard he gets on his back and holds his stomach while kicking his legs in the air.
RJ: "I can't believe you fell for it TWICE!"
Luby playfully slaps his chest and says "Jerk!"
RJ calms down and helps Luby pick up the cards. When they're done, RJ decides to stay with Luby for a few days before moving on.
At night RJ pulls out his Monopoly board game and explains to Luby how to play. When that's done, it is time to decide what piece to use.
RJ goes ahead and reaches for the piece he always likes to be, but is interrupted when he hears a "Ahem!"
He looks up and sees Luby looking at him funny with her arms crossed.
Luby: "Ladies first."
RJ: "Oh, ok."
Luby reaches for the car piece.
RJ: "Whoa! Hold up!"
RJ: "I'm always the car."
Luby: "It's just a piece of metal. You can be the battleship or the iron, or—"
RJ: "I'm sorry, but it's MY board game so even with the rule of 'ladies first' I'm the car; I'm always the car."
Luby thinking (sighs while rolling her eyes): "Boys…" (out loud): "Alright. I'll be the thimble."
As the two play the game RJ really likes how he actually has someone else to play with for a change...Not only that, but some company. Luby also enjoys both the game and the company that she has been missing for so long ever since she ran away.
At one point, RJ tosses the dice too hard and the pieces go across the tent. They search for them and find themselves touching each other's' paw while reaching for the same die, making them feel very awkward.
RJ: "Oops, um sorry."
Luby: "No, it was just an accident."
But in that instant, Luby feels as if there is something between her and RJ…something more than just strangers who found each other a little while ago. She sees him as a friend…or perhaps more than that when time progressed.
However, RJ doesn't share the feeling. He just sees Luby as a person to hang out with for a while; nothing else.
Such views were to have certain consequences in the future.
I have great news for those of you who like reading my fics: I have an easy job that leaves a lot of free time on my hands, meaning I'll update whenever I'm in the mood! That doesn't mean that I'll update frequently, but it won't take as long as it would if I was in college.
And as you might have guessed, "Cowboys and Indians" is a trick card game for 52 card pick up, and ever since one of my friends used it on me during my middle school years, I've had a blast pulling the same trick on my friends and younger relatives (LOL)
See ya next time!