The Sea Gypsies of Ngoguyon
Kiribourey put the game system away. An-Toan Kim and Boupha-Kannitha put their clothes on their beds. The four of them took showers. They washed and brushed their hair. Kiribourey dressed. The children stayed naked.
Sopheary and Jonathon climbed the ladder to the porch. They entered the house.
Kiribourey had the children go to their computer terminals to learn more English. He helped Jonathon acquire an account with the computer system. Jonathon used it to learn Sarginese.
After supper, Jonathon walked to his room. He did some studying. He wrote some notes on what he had learned so far.
Later, he wondered into the den. The floor was brown carpet surrounding multicolored patterns. Three walls were rock. The fourth wall was plaster made to look like rock. The ceiling was glowing.
Curled up in a chair, still naked, was Quenan. He was reading a blue book. Jonathon walked up to him. He stood beside Quenan. He peered at the book again. The screen was black on white. The black formed rows of bent lines and dots. He rarely saw such writing. He recognized the script as lontara. The script was slightly different than any he had seen before.
Quenan turned his head from the book to Jonathon. Jonathon asked in Sarginese and English mixed, “What is that you’re reading? I’ve only seen such writing a few times. Is that lontara?”
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘lontara’. This is Sarginese. This is how we write,” Quenan said in English and Sarginese mixed, as well.
“What is it about,” Jonathon asked.
“It is a fictional story of the early days of the colony,” Quenan said.
Jonathon looked up from the book. He looked around the room. The walls were lined with shelves. Books, models of boats, ships and other vehicles occupied most of the shelves.
Jonathon spied three sets of trophies. He said, “Who’s trophies are those?”
Quenan laid his book down on the right arm of his chair. He stood up. He said, “I’ll show you.”
They walked over to one set of trophies. The plaque on each one had Sarginese writing on them. Quenan said, “These trophies are mine. I like racing boats. I’ve been doing so since I was eight. I race two types of boats, outrigger and canoe. I plan to race a third, the kayak.”
They walked over to another, smaller set of trophies. Quenan said, “These belong to Boupha. She races an outrigger so far. This is her first year racing. The racing age limit is eight years of age.”
They walked over to the third and largest set. Quenan said, “These are Dad’s. He’s been racing since he was a child. He races motor boats now. Only adults can race them. There’s a national race coming. Boupha, Dad and I are registered as representatives of our island.”
Jonathon said, “I’d like to watch the races. What about An-Toan Kim?”
Quenan said, “He is too young to race. However, he has an interest in racing. So, we have been training him. He has a talent for it, too.”
Jonathon said, “What does your mother think about this?”
Quenan said, “Her only interest in the sport is watching us. She’s proud of our achievements. She does fret about Dad’s racing. Motor boats are dangerous.”
Kiribourey sat at his red wood desk in his home office early in the morning. He was on his computer terminal. He was going over some environmental impact study reports he had received the night before. Occasionally, he would stop to type in his own notes or recommendations.
The weather report gave him pause. He intently studied it. He sent the environmental impact reports to his government office. He shut the terminal down. He exited the office. He hunted for his family and Jonathon.
He found Jonathon first. Jonathon was in his room, on his computer, doing some studying. Beside the computer were other electronic items. Some had writing on their screens. He said, “Jon.”
Jonathon turned his head toward the doorway. He said, “Come in, Kiri.”
Kiribourey walked to Jonathon. He said, “I need your help. A storm is coming. We need to prepare for it.”
“When is it suppose to be here,” Jonathon asked.
“About mid-afternoon,” Kiribourey said.
“Ok,” Jonathon said. He shut down the computer. He turned the devices off. He disconnected the computer. He put it in its case. He put the devices in the case, too. He exited the room with Kiribourey.
They found everybody else in the den. Sopheary sat in a chair. She was reading. She wore a white short sleeve shirt, black pants and point toed shoes.
The children were on their feet. They were playing a holographic game in the middle of the room. They used their voices and body movements to control their avatars. They wore shirts, pants , socks and shoes.
“Sophie, analin,” Kiribourey said. Sopheary looked up from her book. The children paused the game.
Kiribourey continued, “Nia marlositiru angkombat!”
“An, ikaumonenga segang anginake,” Sopheary told An-Toan Kim.
Sopheary put her book away. Quenan saved and shut the game down.
An-Toan Kim and Sopheary got to preparing the house and family6 boat.
Everybody else went outside. The sky was overcast with grey clouds. The wind was blowing from the east. It blew Boupha-Kannitha’s and Quenan’s hair across their faces.
Kiribourey said, “Jon, you’re with me. We will do the sailboat.”
He switched to Sarginese, “Que, Boupha. You two will do the outrigger.”
Kiribourey led Jonathon through the hole with the sailboat. Kiribourey climbed down first.
Quenan and Boupha-Kannitha walked to the west edge. Quenan climbed down first.
Kiribourey and Jonathon came to the sailboat. Jonathon looked down at Kiribourey. Kiribourey looked up. He said, “I’m going to lower a platform. It goes under the boat. There is a post with a clasp on it. When the bow is against the post, I want you to clasp the bow. Then, untie the boat from the piers. You will need to come up after untying it.”
Jonathon nodded. Kiribourey stepped off the ladder onto a walkway. He walked on it to the rocks. He walked up to a control box embedded in the rocks. The box was metal with one button above another. Two feet from it was the platform.