COPYRIGHT 2016 TALKING BOOKSITE DESIGN BY THE YONDERDAY FAMILY

Chico Xavier

Chico Xavier had a special son. His name was Emmanuel. He was no ordinary son born of a woman, but existed as a manifestation of his father’s highest vocation.

It was as if in a dream that the man first found the infant boy, quiet in a clearing arched by jatoba wood, suckling the breast of the jungle. Though unfamiliar with the habits of children, the man was certain this was an unusual circumstance and at his first sight of the child he may have been startled—given what has passed, it is admittedly difficult to imagine that such a condition of surprise could ever be said to befall this particular man—this day, however, happened long ago. As if handling a kitten, the man grasped the boy by his fine black hair and pulled him from the ground. Holding the child just inches from his face, the man squeezed his eyes to carefully inspect the boy, though with the disquieting sensation that the child was studying the man in turn. When the man’s inspection turned to the child’s eyes, shining black like pools in nascent earth, the man felt a deep turn in his stomach, the pain so surprising that his strength momentarily flagged and the babe nearly escaped his grip and fell to the ground. Straightening his back, the man held the boy higher still and spat into his face: “Eh, you bastard! Trying to trick me, are you? Make me sick in the guts? Your grogrota spells will have to be stronger than that!” though the babe did not respond to the man’s charges. The man kept on, certain now that the young boy he held aloft was a spirit of the Yanamamö, if not a shaman in altered form. He twisted the babe in the air, their faces close: “I got you, bichoca, what you do now, eh? I’ll fix you to the tree and you can hang forever. You better give me some medicines or maybe you’ll never get down,” the man’s mind instantly turned to the fortuitous profit of chance. The child remained quiet, and merely let a small puff of gas escape his lips. The man collapsed to the ground and did not wake for two days.

Coming to, the nameless man did not remember the jungle or the boy or anything else for that matter, not even that he had been called the nameless man, the truth being of course that before this encounter he had been called something else entirely. He only knew that the pain he suspected in his guts was not one born of magic but hunger. Standing warily, he searched the surrounding jungle and, as if recollecting events from a long night of drink, he slowly began to envision the boy in the clearing arched by jatoba wood, but only this, all other history remained elusive. He did not remember the name of his mother or father (the nameless man had never known his father), he did not remember the name of his sisters (he had had three), nor did he remember his vocation (thief), place of residence (a pitiful Sao Paulo flat), or his reason to have ventured so deep in the jungle in the first place (to search for illicit medicines). “This Yanamamö shaman stole my memories!” the nameless man said aloud, lost and assured of no way to return home. Realizing his desperation, he moaned into the jungle, “Ey! I will now die here, alone, without a name!” He then began to weep. At the sound of his weeping the sky grew dark and the rain fell hard, yet only long enough, it seemed, to mock his tears. He did his best to escape the brief downpour, to little effect, huddling under a spray of fronds and hugging his chest. Then, as the sky cleared, out of the wood crawled the babe, dry and warm. Seeing the babe, the nameless man fell to his knees in mortification and pleaded: “Please senhor, return my life and I will give you anything you want, drugs, women, I can give you these things, I can give you whatever you want!” The boy this time did not clear his indigestion, but laughed a little child’s clucking laugh. “Your name is Chico Xavier and you are my father,” said the babe. “We will become family now – you will treat me as a son.” Chico Xavier’s face took harsh spasms at the babe’s words, “This can’t be true, senhor, you are a powerful Yanamamö spirit, look at me, you can see I am not like you. How could I be your father?” The babe raised his small fat hand from the jungle floor to silence Chico Xavier and said, “No Chico Xavier, you are indeed my father, but worry not, the time of your provision is done. Now, as always is, I shall provide for you.”

Chico Xavier eventually calmed enough to eat a salad of plantains from a sack that the baby dragged behind him and warm his body beside a fire they built in concert. After eating and warming, they passed another full day in a deep consultation, at the conclusion of which Chico Xavier took a long knife from his belt and slit the child’s throat. He collected the child’s blood in the deep trough of a leaf and began to prepare a porridge whose execution they had devoted some small hour of their discourse, the remaining time spent on matters of far greater concern.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik Wennermark writes prose in Hong Kong. You can find his writing in Guernica Magazine, PANK, The Rumpus and lot's of other places. Follow him on Twitter.

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