Long story short, the meat was delicious, but a couple orders of magnitude below what we got at the airfield in Chile. Weirdo, in his infinite bluntness, told them, and you could tell their pride was hurt. I didn’t pay too much attention to it all. I had a playmate! Just one month older than me! That’s unlikely enough to be newsworthy. I almost didn’t notice when Stove showed up.
Maybe you don’t know who Stove is. I didn’t at the time he arrived, which must have been past midnight. He’s an old-time friend from Weirdo. He’d hitchhiked all the way almost from the Atlantic to here and he didn’t even look tired.
We wrapped up the plates and went… home… with Stove… They were gonna love that.
He slept on the floor of the room we were using. Just enough space. The kids in the house were all “It’s fine, it’s fine”, but with this side-glance that could mean anything, really. We decided to stay for a bit more, lest they kick us out. Weirdo made more pancakes that nobody ate.
We went to more hot springs! But these ones weren’t at the bottom of a gorge. They were right by the road. So the people had built a spa around it, like Cranky had predicted. It stank! Figuratively, I mean. The ones from Vilarica were much awesomer. And you had to pay a disneylandesque fee to get in. An utter waste of time and money. But with Stove’s good company, it was bearable.
Back at the house, we started getting that the people there didn’t actually dislike us, but that we weirded them out or something. Like, they didn’t have an imaginary labelled drawer to put us in and didn’t have a default behaviour for non-drawerable people so they felt a bit odd. This time we brought them wine and beer, and this time, they accepted to drink it. But you had to really put the glass in their hand. Too bad we left the next day. Stove too. He was going to Chile.