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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Nine Tailed Wish Chapter 4: The Barbecue

The first thing I noticed was a smell. As we walked through the neighborhood, the smell became stronger. 
"My friend's burgers are the best." Dong-sun said with a smile.
Hana skipped in front of us, and finally stopped at a blue house with a brown roof. The sun was lower  in the sky, making the house look a little intimidating.
It was weird seeing a human's home up close. I had kept a safe distance from them in the past, heeding my mother's warnings and watching the humans come and go from the strange buildings.
This particular building had a tree with small flowers around it, and a swing by the front door. As we walked up the porch steps, Dong-sun rang the door bell and Hana jumped on the swing.
"Coming!" A voice from inside called. "We don't have everything ready yet." 
The door opened to reveal a guy around Dong-Sun's age with a spatula in one hand and the door handle in the other.
"Well hello there." He smiled at me, "Who might you be?"
"Don't start Lee-Hyung." Dong-Sun said. "We thought you might want some help before the Barbecue gets crazy."
"I think I can manage" Lee-Hyung said with a laugh. "But you still haven't introduced me to this lovely girl."
I looked at him strangely. I didn't know that humans found me lovely, or anything for that matter. It was another reminder that humans could see me now.
"Watch out for him." Dong-Sun told me, "He's a bit of a womanizer."
"Is that any way to introduce your friend?" Lee- Hyung said with a frown. "I just know when to appreciate the sight of a pretty girl."
"Like I said," Dong-Sun laughed and led Hana to the door, pushing me in front of him.
"The burgers are out back." Lee-Hyung said as Hana went to the backyard. "Would you like some drinks?"
I wasn't familiar with this situation, and it suddenly dawned on me that I had entered a human's home.  Seeing one from the inside for the first time was a little shocking. My own home was a cave deep in the forest. Mother did have candles, but we slept on animal skins, and we watched the path by our home thouroughly, always worried that someone would threaten to take it. 
The human home was a very different type of burrow. There were windows for one, and a strange fenced in area in the back. While Lee-Hyung brought us glasses of water, he showed me a strange box between a lamp and an armchair.
"You can watch some T.V. while I finish getting everything ready." he said. 
I stared at the box, and waited for something to happen while Dong-Sun went out another door. Eventually I got bored and followed.
"Nothing exciting on?" Lee-Hyung asked me as I walked over to the table and watched Dong-Sun grill the burgers. 
They were made of meat. I was sure of it. But I had never seen meat like this before.
"Have you ever had a hamburger?" Dong-Sun asked me. I shook my head. 
Lee-Hyung set up big bottles of yellow and red around a stack of what appeared to be plates made of paper. I had seen humans eat on plates before, but these were floppy when I picked one up. 
The doorbell rang and Lee-Hyung went to answer it. Hana was blowing bubbles again while twirling in a circle. I watched her giggle, and smiled.
"I was't kidding about Lee-Hyung." Dong-Sun said, sitting beside me, "He really likes to flirt."
"Flirt?" I asked. I wasn't sure I knew what the word meant.
"You mean you didn't notice?" He asked. "That might be a good thing."
As the sun slipped further away from the sky, more humans arrived and soon it was what Dong-Sun called a "party." 
Hana grabbed a hamburger first and I watched her prepare it. I tried to mimick her but I wasn't sure what all the extra stuff was for the meal. 
"These are good with hamburgers." Dong-Sun said as he handed me some thin crunchy potatoes.
I tried them, and he was right. They were surprisingly good with the meat. 
As everybody gathered around the table, Dong-Sun introduced me to a few other humans. One, a girl with a blue dress like mine was named Yu-Na. She talked to me throughout most of the meal, and I smiled and nodded, listening to as much as I could understand.
"I've never seen you around here before." Yu-Na said. 
"I'm new." I said, continuing to pretend I was a normal human. 
I looked over at Hana who was laughing with Dong-Sun and wondered what it was like to live this way. Instead of a burrow, I would have a building. I would prepare food the way humans did and sit outside, watching the sun set.
"Do you know about Dong-Sun?" Yu-Na asked.
I looked at her, unsure of the question. 
"You know that Hana and Dong-Sun live across the street right?" Yu-Na said. "We haven't seen their parents in a while. I think they went on vacation. It's probably difficult for him to take care of Hana huh?'
I watched Hana and Dong-Sun while Lee-Hyung brought a piece of food called cake toward me.
"I thought you should have the first piece." Lee-Hyung said as he handed me the plate and a fork to try the strange food with.
I took a bite, not really liking the taste. It was too sweet, and not made of meat. I hid my disgust with my hand, smiled and said, "Thanks."
As the Barbecue came to a close, Dong-Sun and Hana stayed behind to clean up. I helped clean the tables and pack up the "leftovers". It was another strange thing about humans that I didn't understand. How did they keep their food from going bad the next day?
I watched Lee-Hyung put the packed food in a white box with a giant door. The air was cold when he opened it. 
"Thanks for helping out." Lee-Hyung  said as Hana, Dong-Sun and I stood at the front door. 
"Stay out of trouble."Dong-Sun told him. Hana giggled and ran across the street.
Dong-Sun turned to me. "Do you live around here?"
I nodded.
"I can walk you home."
"Thank you." I told him, "but it's not far from here."
He scratched the back of his head. "Ok then. It was nice meeting you."
"Come again tomorrow!" Hana said as she stood on their front porch. 
"It was nice meeting you too." I said with a smile. I waved as Dong-Sun walked to his house and waited until he shut the door.
Once I was sure he was gone, I raced toward the park and found a nice tree to curl up next to for the night. My first day as a human was over, and with the remaining nine months ahead of me, I was both excited and nervous at the idea of actually becoming a part of the human world.

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