“What are you doing?” I shrieked. “Put me down!”
But the moment the words tore through my lips, I thought maybe I’d spoken too soon. I seriously doubted I would’ve been able to stand on solid ground right then, now that my stomach was in my throat and my head was spinning.
I’d never gotten the chance to fly on an airplane, before there weren’t any planes left in the sky, but God sure had a funny way of reminding me to be careful what I wished for.
With the way I was positioned over Captain Caveman and too terrified to close my eyes, his butt was the only thing I could see, if I didn’t want to watch our inevitable fall to our deaths.
But at least Jesus had blessed himself with a really nice butt.
He even had a cute little birthmark on his holiest of cheeks.
Did it make me a bad Christian for noticing?
However it was the last in a long list of things I didn’t want to think about right now. But at least my not-so-God-like musings kept my mind off of the fact that we were flying through the treetops.
And because I didn’t see any wings sprouting from his back – I’d be getting thumped pretty good right about now if he had them – I chanced a peek around his side and saw that he was using the plethora of long thick vines that hung down from the jungle ceiling to swing us from one tree to the next.
And clenching my hands in fright, I could feel they weren’t empty and looked down to see they had filled themselves with his cheeks, when I’d chanced my peek.
He felt so real.
Forgive me Lord, but I couldn’t help but noticing.
And I’d lost not only my mind, but I’d lost track of where we’d been, which meant I didn’t know where we were when he finally decided to bring our flight on Jesus Airways in for a landing.
A hard one.
My head slapped against his back when his feet landed on the ground and without thinking, I smacked his ass in retaliation, just as he pulled me off and put me on the ground.
“Ass!” I yelled out, unsure if I was calling him one or naming the best part of him.
That I’d touched so far.
If he really wasn’t real, then my imagination sure was mean.
But I refused to put into context just what was so mean about it.
And as if to prove it, no sooner had my hand dropped down, still stinging from where I’d smacked him, when he reciprocated by smacking my ass!
And while it had surprised me, that wasn’t the only sensation running through me.
I really was a bad Christian.
But before I could yell at him – or tell him to do it again – he started walking away and only then did I see something else I hadn’t expected.
You’d think finding a naked mute Jesus giant would have prepared me to expect the unexpected by now.
But it hadn’t, because my jaw dropped open seeing the wreckage of a small jet-like airplane he was walking towards. And he kept glancing back every few steps until he finally stopped and waited, for me apparently. But curiosity got the better of me, so I cautiously started moving towards him, which got his feet moving again.
Me and my damn wonky instincts.
I couldn’t tell the age of the plane, but it certainly wasn’t World War II era or anything. I’m sure it was even considered swanky in its heyday.
Whenever in the hell that was.
And while Einstein equations were well out of my grasp, I could at least do basic math and I gasped out loud – saying my thoughts out loud – just as it dawned on me, “Is this how you got here?”
Was he the lone survivor of a plane crash?
Barely making out the twisted metal underneath the vines that had grown over the top of it, it was a wonder he’d survived at all.
Especially if it had been bad enough to knock his clothes right off of him.
But given the amount of time it would have taken for that much foliage to have grown over the plane, I guessed he had to have been there for years.
Had he spent them all alone?
Looking at him objectively – as much as one could when staring at a naked mute Jesus giant – I would guess he couldn’t have been any older than Jason.
So just how long had he been there?
Had there been other survivors?
If so, where were they now?
Suddenly my life at sea didn’t seem so bad.
At least I’d had my family with me for most of it.
But he was playing his cards really close to his naked mute Jesus giant chest, so it wasn’t like I could ask him the million and one questions running through my mind.
But then another question jumped into the mix.
Maybe he was deaf?
Since he had his back to me, I decided to play at being a little Einstein myself by performing my own scientific experiment and snuck up behind him, and then screamed as loud as I could.
And the results came back instantly, telling me he could hear.
I knew it when he jumped a mile into the air.
And given the tiny shriek he let out, I was consoled by the knowledge I wasn’t the only little girl on the island.
He whipped around and stared at me, both in a panic and accusatorily, so I cemented my bad Christian status by snickering out, “I didn’t think you would be a soprano.”
Not when he had the body of a baritone.
I knew it for sure when I snickered again, thinking he shouldn’t mind since he obviously worshipped the Banana Gods.
For obvious reasons.
But I really shouldn’t be thinking those things about Jesus.
For obvious reasons.
So I flinched, doubting he was about to make the sign of the cross on my forehead, when his hand came up and touched my face. I wasn’t sure what he was doing at first, but I didn’t feel threatened, so much as confused when he ran his rough fingertips across my mouth.
And I stilled completely when his lips parted and a throaty chuckle came out of them.
It was the first sound I’d heard him make, but it didn’t sound right.
Like he’d thought it was funny too that he worshipped the Banana Gods.
It sounded forced.
Like he was mimicking the sound I’d made.
Well, I already had a seagull shaped feathered telepathic German Sheppard…
So why not add a naked no longer mute Jesus giant parrot to the mix?
Maybe between the two of them, if they got together and teamed up, I could get something that was actually useful.
Like a chocolate cake.
But before I could change their names to Betty and Crocker, I decided to see if he could mimic any other sounds. So I slowly reached up and took his hand in my own, bringing it down from my face to put his palm on my chest, and stared back at him, sounding out, “Soo-kie.”
He looked like he was concentrating on the way my mouth and tongue worked, so I said it again, more slowly that time, and smiled when he repeated my name back to me.
“Very good!” I grinned, feeling ridiculously proud the naked Jesus giant who had essentially kidnapped me, was no longer mute.
Clearly, I had no self-preservation instincts whatsoever.
But perhaps my self-assessment had been too rash because when both his eyes and both hands came down to grope at my boobs, I smacked them away and yelled, “No! Not good!”
But it was a lie.
And yet another item on my overflowing list of things that made me a bad Christian.
And the telling of the lie wasn’t it.
“No!” he yelled back, but again I only got the feeling he was mimicking me, so I didn’t bother yelling back.
But I was definitely a bad enough Christian to teach him the lyrics of Mariah Carrey’s, ‘Dreamlover’ if he got the hang of this talking thing down. It had been the number one song on the charts right before everything had fallen apart and the only song I remembered all of the lyrics to.
Much to Jason’s dismay.
And perhaps sensing he had a karaoke night in his future, he didn’t wait for me to say anything else and grabbed my hand to pull me along with him. But it wasn’t until he pulled some of the vines apart that I could see the opening and willingly followed behind him, as he climbed into what was left of the plane.
It was probably the length of a city bus, but the floor of the plane was split open like a cracked egg, with the nose and tail jutting at an upwards angle. A little bit of light managed to get through the dirty windows, so I could see some of the inside and I startled when my eyes landed on the cockpit.
And the two skeletons still strapped into their seats.
Both were aged to the point there was essentially nothing left but bones, but I could guess their genders based on their clothes and what was left of their hair.
A male and a female.
I could also guess what killed them given the gaping crack in the female’s skull and the metal rod poking straight through the male’s chest.
“Were they your parents?” I whispered, but not really expecting an answer.
So my head whipped around in surprise when I heard him trying to sound something out.
“She was your mommy?” I guessed out loud. My heart broke for him in that moment, thinking he must have been really young, if he’d still been calling her ‘mommy’, so I sounded it out again more slowly and said, “Mah mee.”
He stared at me, looking both confused and in concentration, before he shook his head and grabbed my hand. Putting it on his chest, he tried again and said, “Mmaaahhnkeee.”
“Monkey?” I asked, with my eyes going wide, thinking I’d understood.
And then they widened even more, but in fear that time, as I asked, “There are monkeys on this island?”
But why wouldn’t there be?
This was Banana Paradise!
I hadn’t seen or heard anything that would make me think there were monkeys around, but then I hadn’t really seen or heard him until he’d wanted me to.
But instead of looking fearful, he only looked back at me in recognition, as he slowly sounded out, “Muhnkee.”
And he followed it with a small smile on his lips, when he seemed to nod as he repeated it again and pressed my hand into his chest essentially saying, “Monkey.”
“You’re the monkey?”
His parents had named him Monkey?
And I thought Sookie was bad.
But doubting that was the case, I decided to think about that later and looked around, taking in as much as I could before we lost the light. Living the life of a scavenger for eight years, when my eyes landed on the luggage I could see towards the back end of the plane, I moved passed him to reach for it, hoping there would be something we could use.
And then I paused for a moment, realizing I’d just thought in terms of ‘we’.
It had been a while since I’d done that.
And I really hoped this all wasn’t just some elaborate dream and my Dreamlover would come back and bite me in the ass.
But pulling open the first suitcase I reached, I doubted even my imagination could be so cruel, when I pulled the first of many outfits out.
All of them meant for a little boy no older than five.