Carpet bombardments

crashed plane and carpets

Part 1

The carpet bombardments had already been going on for two weeks. Fluffy Persian carpets kept falling from the sky. At the first sounds of the alarm, the locals hid into their houses and the carpets fell into the dust of the empty streets or hit the stone roofs of the houses with soft thudding sounds.

It ended sooner or later; the aeroplanes vanished into the smoke, people left their shelters, gathered the carpets and put them into the storage house. Life continued at its own pace until the next alarm.

The heat was horrible that day; a veil of dust left after the bombardment hung in the air. Miroy was looking for his uncle who went by the nickname Fish Owl or just Fish. The boy found him by the fountain, trying to fish a huge carpet out of it. The carpet became so heavy with water that getting it out was no easy task. Currently, uncle Fish tried to reach it with a stick.

“Ah, Miroy, nephew, dear!” he cheered up as he saw the boy. “Come, help me get this carpet.”

He didn’t need to ask Miroy twice. The boy dived into the fountain right away (the water here was up to his neck) and helped his uncle to grab the carpet by the corner. After much teeth-grinding, swearing, and sweating, uncle Fish had succeeded in removing the carpet from the water. He rolled it up with all the street dust that stuck to it, shouldered it, and headed toward the storage house. He walked in a stride, so Miroy just ran along to keep up.

“Uncle, uncle! Why do they keep throwing carpets at us?” the boy asked in a cheerful voice.
“Heh!” his uncle chuckled. “It’s war, kiddo! And carpet bombardments. That’s it… And it will be like this until we make peace.”
“Let’s make peace, uncle Fish!” suggested Miroy eagerly.
“Well, for starters, it’s not for us to decide, it’s the chief’s business. And then, I’d rather keep fishing their carpets out of our fountains than agree to their terms! They want our oranges, those bastards! Do you want them to eat our oranges?”
“No,” Miroy shook his head. “Uncle, why are we collecting the carpets?”
“Why? To throw them on the bastards’ heads one day, of course…”

(May 30, 2004)

Part 2

The strong wind had returned, raising dust and sand into the air; the storm was imminent. Vella closed the shutters to keep the glass windows safe and the dust away. The kids all hushed up and kept quiet; they knew the storm was no joke.

“I hate storms,” whispered Miroy.
“Me too,” his sister Mira agreed. “Where’s daddy?”
“He couldn’t get home in time,” said Vella, “Don’t worry, someone will let him it. We’re all neighbours.”

The storm lasted for hours. The kids kept quiet. They had always been like this during the time when the sandy winds howled outside but now it was even worse for they worried for their father.

After the storm had settled down, it was time to dig their house out. Vella and the kids took their shovels and got to work. The father returned soon. He came back running, his clothes and hair full of sand, his breath wheezy.

“Aeroplane!” he yelled. “Aeroplane has crashed outside the town!”

The news spread around the town with the speed of a storm. Soon, everyone, kids and adults alike, ran to see the fallen plane with their own eyes.

To their surprise, it was in one piece after what must have been a rather soft landing in the dust and sand freshly laid there by the recent storm.

It was a bombardment aircraft; several rolls of carpets had fallen out of its belly and now stuck out of the sand here and there.

Dozens of curious hands cleared the sand and stones away, opened the cockpit, and pulled the pilot out. The man was safe and sound, just scared half to death; he kept screaming in his alien language every time someone touched him or looked at him closely. The alien language seemed funny, so people had a good laugh that day. Finally, they got bored and returned to their usual routine: rolling up the carpets and carrying them to the storage houses. The pilot they took with them to the town. Miroy and his sister Mira led him by the hands so he wouldn’t be scared.

No one knew what to do with him and no one cared much. The townspeople fed the enemy pilot some orange soup, made a bed for him in one of the storage houses, by the carpet pile, and left him alone. So there he lived since then.

Soon, he got familiar with digging out the underground oranges for his soup, catching fish in the fountains, and hiding in his storage house at the first signals of the air alarm.

Miroy liked the funny man who spoke in an alien language, so he and his sister visited the pilot often. The pilot played with them and showed them the strange things he brought from the outer world. Sometimes he even took them with him when he went to the desert to fix his aeroplane.

“He wants to go home,” said Miroy to Vella once. “We should help him go back.”
“That’s impossible.” Vella shrugged. “His plane will never fly again.

Years passed. The pilot became quite fluent in the local language and even took a local name - Zoran - but remained an alien still. Every evening he sat alone under the cold stars, under the cloudless sky and sang the songs of his land, the songs about returning home. The stars didn’t care.

(November 17, 2003)

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English is not my native language.
If you see an error or a typo, please, tell me. I will fix it.