The Contract

The Contract

The six-foot tall waves seemed not to phase the young boy. Unattended, he defied the walls of water with steadfast rigidity, as the waves came roaring across his small body one after another. The infinite army seemed to be no match for this resolute child of five.

“Jimmy,” his mother called worriedly, “get away from the water. You’ll get pulled under. Jimmy . . .”

She began to approach the young boy. Her voice trailed off as she received a tug at the sleeve and stern look from her right. Her husband had the distinct impression that the boy had a peculiar understanding with the sea and that he could handle himself without the doting hands of his mother – despite his young age. The mother sighed resignedly and slumped back into her chair.

“Let the boy be, Marian,” the husband said, “Let him explore and find things out for himself.”

Thus, it was on account of his father that Jimmy now stood, daring the sea to strike him down – as his father looked on proudly and his mother sat nervously, emitting various sounds of disgruntlement. To Jimmy, none of this seemed to matter. His interests lay elsewhere. Amongst the salt water, crabs, and seaweed, adventure was to be found – and he would find it.

His search was surprisingly systematic. He would walk a small distance away from the shore, from whence he would survey his surroundings carefully. After ensuring there was nothing there to interest him, Jimmy would walk parallel to the shore a little, after which time he would walk back towards the shore and continue his search. The pattern of his search was strange to say the least, but to be expected from one so eager to explore.

And then he saw it. A geyser of monumental dimensions created large bubbles in the water about 20 feet from where Jimmy stood. To be truthful, it was not really very large, but to one so small as Jimmy, it seemed to be monstrous. It was not, either, the size of the geyser that attracted little Jimmy, but rather the existence of such a thing in nature. That gas should expel from the depths of water simply riveted the curious boy. Again, however, Jimmy was not afraid, and he immediately began walking towards the geyser.

Like a penguin, Jimmy waddled on. His determination was astounding as he pushed excitedly towards his marine phenomenon. As he lurked closer to the geyser, he noticed that the water was warmer there. He paused momentarily with a smile to enjoy the lukewarm water surrounding his body. It felt nice. Like a comforting blanket lovingly placed about him by his mother, it reassured him for the final 10 feet of his trek. Soon the water was surprisingly hot but Jimmy just clenched his teeth and moved on.

An exuberated giggle escaped Jimmy’s lips as he felt the geyser’s bubbles tickle the soles of his feet. Feathers of air targeted Jimmy’s body, engulfing him in delightful laughter. Jimmy no longer felt the shock of the hot water; he had become accustomed to it. Instead, he stood above the geyser enjoying its generous offerings. The combination of hot water and bubbles stimulated Jimmy’s body, and made him tingle all over in a pleasant way.

After what seemed to be an eternity, Jimmy waddled back to shore, thoroughly pleased with himself. Although his intellectual powers were not developed quite enough to consciously appreciate his adventure, a general feeling of satisfaction overwhelmed Jimmy. With a smile, Jimmy stepped out of the water and walked slowly towards his parents – ready to relate to them stories of the greatest geyser ever seen in the Caspian Sea. And thus he walked along, in a state of complete and utter happiness.

It was this state of bliss that kept Jimmy from hearing his mother’s cry as she saw the trail of crimson Jimmy had left in the sand. This same state of bliss blinded Jimmy from the sight of the horrified onlookers as they witnessed Jimmy’s bloody feet. His ecstasy prevented Jimmy from noticing the many small cuts on his feet and legs. The red marks in the sand, the worried expression on his mother’s face, other mothers frantically calling their children to shore, and the instability of his legs. Strangely, all of this was invisible to Jimmy.

All at once, Jimmy was brought back to Earth, in all senses of the word. Several yards from his mother, Jimmy collapsed under the weight of his own body. Perplexed, Jimmy sat up. It was then that he noticed his feet – bloodily mangled pieces of flesh. With one glance at his heavily injured limbs Jimmy’s gaiety left him. He had been betrayed. The sea had betrayed him. The geyser had tricked him; it had been deceitful.

The contract had been broken.


3 thoughts on “The Contract

  1. Pingback: Old short story « Scio me nihil scire

  2. While this story is good any ol’ time, I think a drunken reading of this makes me particularly appreciative of Jimmy’s mangled legs. I say we road trip to the Old Faithful geyser in Calistoga soon.

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