Twenty feet above a river, night inbound, the fish are out for dinner and becoming it. Dinner, breakfast, and lunch. The three friends have been eating fish for a week, but aren’t about to complain, at least not about the fish.
“Fuel’s starting to go bad, you know?” says Jorge. Before The Fall he’d been living in South Africa working as game warden for one of the larger parks. His job had been to make sure the rhinos and poachers never met. Now the rhinos roam free.
“Mm, yep, I know.” Leon’s green and red bobber dips. He reels in a Geelbek. “Whoa yeah, salmon jerky. Huh?” he held it up for Jorge and flashed a smile--say cheese. Besides their occasional words the only sounds were soft groans. Metal shifting, taut ropes, swaying lanterns.
“Nice one.” Jorge smirks. A flock of birds passes by, the same height as their blimp-plane. The last of the sun’s light lances through campfire-colored clouds drifting above the plains and distant mountains.
“You see this?” Leon called to Allen on the other side of the rig. Allen nods, gives Leon a thumbs-up. Leon drops the Geelbek in with the others, then lowers his voice, “He still sour with you, uh?” He digs another worm from the bucket of soil hanging next to him.
“Yeah. He doesn’t like it when I take things from homes with people. He says if the home is empty then it’s fine, but if there’re bodies we shouldn’t touch anything. Says it isn’t right. Disrespectful.”
“Mm,” Leon glances at Allen. “What about this, uh?” he waggles a hand at the B-25 they lashed to a couple blimp envelopes. “Plenty of bodies in that airfield.”
Jorge stuck his pole into its holder and lay back on the netting. “Don’t know.” The skeleton wing creaked with the shift of weight. A bird alighted on the glass nose of the plane. Lost from the passing flock, or a lone wanderer?
“Hey, Allen,” Leon called.
“Oh come on,” Jorge groaned.
“You don’t like us taking stuff from homes with bodies, but that airport had plenty of bodies there when we built this. How’s that work, uh?” Allen pauses. “What?” he asks Jorge, “I want to know how he justifies it.”
“That wasn’t their home…The airport. None of those people lived there. It’s not like they owned this plane. I feel like we’re robbing people when we take from their homes, even if they’re dead.”
“Oh,” Leon nodded, “makes sense.” Then, trying to lighten the tone, “You catch anything?”
“Just a couple of loudmouths that ask a lot of questions,” Allen smirked.
“Hey—wha…Oh,” Jorge grinned, “funny guy.” A few minutes later, to no one in particular, he said, “I wonder who Kate was.”
The blimp-plane creaks as it glides over the river. They pass a tree full of birds taking roost for the night. Below, the river sloshes against the shore. A herd of water buffalo grazes on the far shore.