June 10th, 2002
It is 2:00 AM and I have finally gotten Poldar to bed. He is in the spare bedroom but he doesn't appear to be sleeping. He appears to be meditating more than anything else. I am going to be dragging today at work if I don't get to sleep soon. I wearily take off my clothes, piling them in the corner and fall into bed. As I drift off to sleep I recall the events of the late afternoon and evening…
As I correlated into the lab I quickly looked around and breathed a sigh of relief as I discerned it was empty of other people. I looked at Poldar and said, "Don't talk or say a word until we are out of the building. Do as I do and don't touch anything." Getting him out of the lab was surprisingly easy, I couldn't help but wonder if getting him back in will be as easy.
As we walked to my Jeep I realized I needed to get him dressed in something a little less conspicuous. I tossed my gear into the back and told him to get in. He seemed reluctant, scared I wonder? After a good five minutes of cajoling I gave up and told him we were just going to drive 300 yards up the street to Sheplers to get him some clothes. He could walk along side so he could see how safe it was. He immediately agreed and I drove the short distance at about 15 mph, surprisingly he kept up, but just barely. Parking the Jeep I opened the door and said, "Poldar, are you ok? You seem to be having problems breathing?" His only reply is a rather murderous look.
"We need to get you some clothes so you can blend in. Ok Poldar?"
He looks up at the garish totem pole and nods.
After Poldar and I enter, Poldar pauses at the entrance and just stares. The store is virtually empty except for a single customer checking out and a few female salespersons. I locate a very attractive blonde, blue-eyed salesperson, nicely tanned, dressed in a red and white plaid shirt tied above her waist, very short denim shorts and cowboy boots. Her nametag, which reads 'Holly', draws ones attention to her ample cleavage. She reminds me a little bit of Daisy from the Dukes of Hazard TV show.
"Good afternoon, can I help you find anything?"
I reply, "Good afternoon Holly, my cousin here is visiting from overseas. He is looking to get a couple of cowboy outfits to wear while he is here and take back home with him as souvenirs. You know, a couple of pair of jeans, shirts, a white cowboy hat and some boots. He is a little shy and I would appreciate it if you help him find everything he needs. You will probably have to measure to get his size." I follow her glance to Poldar and notice her checking him out.
Holly nods and says, "My pleasure, I will take care of everything."
I watch her stalk towards Poldar and smile. I watch as she unsuccessfully tries to relieve Poldar of his weapons. Sighing I approach and say, "It's ok Poldar I will hold your stuff until you are done." Reluctantly he hands his bow, quiver, sword and dagger into my safekeeping. Holly mouths a thank you and leads him off towards the jeans. I take the things and go outside and lock them into the Jeep. I return to the store after retrieving my 20% off coupon from the console. To my surprise I find Holly and two other salespersons giggling outside the fitting room. Curious, I approach and ask what happened, "Is everything going ok Holly?"
Holly struggling to keep a straight face informed me, "It seems your cousin isn't very shy." At my confused look Holly continued, "After picking out some pre-washed 501's I suggested that Mr. Poldar try them on to be sure they fit ok. He nodded and just simply stepped out of his leather pants right in front of me."
I smiled and nodded, but she continued.
"That's not what we are laughing about. Your cousin wasn't wearing any underpants." At which point she and the two other women started giggling again.
Coughing to hide my laugh, "Ah, well I guess not everyone overseas wear underpants like we do here. I see you succeeded in getting him into the fitting room. Thanks. I will just wander around and see if I can find something for myself." Holly nodded and then looking at the other two women started to laugh again.
I wander about the store for about 45 minutes. I didn't find anything for myself but I did find time to register to win a new 2003 Dodge Ram 1500, before I heard Poldar's voice raised in exasperation. Looking across the store I spied him, arms crossed in the boot department. Taking a deep breath I make my way there.
"What seems to be the problem Poldar?"
Poldar seeing me frowns and says, "I dislike all these boots, they are stiff, heavy and uncomfortable."
Holly stands, pulling on her shorts which are ridding up, "I explained to him that after he breaks them in they will feel as good as his Indian moccasins. These are really excellent boots" as she hands me the box.
I notice the price of $500.00 and clear my throat, "Well, I guess we can always comeback if he changes his mind. Besides he can always wear his moccasins and it won't look too bad right?"
Holly nods, "I suppose, but if he really wants to look the part he should get the boots."
I smile tiredly and say, "I'm sure we will be back. So are we all done?"
Holly smiles at Poldar dressed like the best urban cowboy and says, "All except for the belt. I picked this one." Holly proudly displays a thick brown leather belt with a huge silver buckle. Receiving an approving look from Poldar, Holly steps up to him and feeds the belt through the loops. I can't help but notice that her hand strays to Poldar's behind and that Poldar is staring unabashedly down her cleavage.
I use my coupon and put the remainder on my credit card. So much for buying that new reel this month. I thank Holly as she follows us to the door.
"Poldar if you need someone to show you around town while you are here I would be more than happy to if I'm not working." She produces a card, from I don't know where, and hands it to Poldar.
Poldar is about to speak when I interrupt and say, "We really got to be going. Thanks again Holly," and I virtually drag Poldar out of the store. He gets into the Jeep this time without complaint. After I explain the workings of the seat belt we drive to the 10 minutes to my house while listening to NPR. Poldar is gripping the dashboard, his knuckles white.
After arriving at home I take off my shoes, and say "No shoes in the house". I greet the cats and introduce them to Poldar. They ignore him and head to the back door. I follow them and I let them out. I show Poldar the bathroom and make a call to order pizza and soda. As I hung up the phone I could hear a strange splashing coming from the bathroom. Curious I peek past the washer and dryer. The door to the bathroom is open and Poldar washing in the toilet.
Groaning I yell, "Poldar that's the toilet! You know the water closet, privy, the lavatory?" Realizing that I cannot assume he knows anything I begin my lecture. I demonstrate how to flush the toilet, explain about toilet paper, show him the sink, how to adjust the hot and cold water, the use of soap, the towel, the light, and the fan. Leading him upstairs I show him the bathtub and shower. I get him shampoo, washcloths, bath towels, toothpaste and toothbrush. He listens in silence but his expression is dark. I realize my tone is rather harsh and decide I need a break.
"Look why don't you make yourself at home, don't press and buttons or switches that I haven't explained and I will take a quick shower and change." Without waiting for a reply I leave him standing there in the hallway. I quickly shave, shower and change and go back downstairs feeling much refreshed. I find Poldar in the living room staring at my books. Clearing my throat, "Sorry about that, I feel much better now. Is there anything I can help you with?"
Poldar turns around and looks at me, "Are all these books yours?"
Nodding, I reply, "Yes, it is one of my vices. I love to read." Any further conversation is interrupted by the door. It is the pizza. I pay and tip the man and close the door. Looking at Poldar I say, "Dinner is served. I hope you are hungry."
I quickly set out a couple of plates and grab some napkins. I open the box and put two slices on each plate and place a can of coke along side. As an afterthought I open the pantry and pull out a honey bear. I demonstrate how to open a can of coke and then I take a bite of my pizza. It is a supreme, thick crust. I watch as he picks up and smells the pizza and tentatively takes his first bite. Soon he takes another, obviously relishing the taste.
Smiling, I say, "So elves eat meat after all."
Poldar looks at me as if I were simple, "During times of exertion and stress we often eat the flesh of animals. But our diet primarily consists of fruit, vegetables, grains, eggs and fish. Life is precious and should not be squandered."
I listen without replying and then take a sip of my coke. Poldar watches and then follows my example. Coughing he exclaims, "It is burning my throat, what is this liquid?"
I laugh and say, "It is not burning your throat, it is carbonated. It has many, many tiny bubbles in the liquid. The drink is primarily carbonated water and corn syrup. It is an acquired taste."
I finish my first slice except for the end-crust. I apply the some honey and finish the slice. Poldar smiles and nods when he tries the honey on his crust. Despite numerous attempts on my part Polar refused to engage in any further conversation on a multitude of subjects the rest of the meal proceeded in silence. We each ate half the pie.
As I piled the dishes into the sink I said, "So what would you like to do now Poldar?" Receiving no reply I continue, "TV? Sure why not. Follow me to the family room." I demonstrate the use of the TV, stereo, VCR and DVD player. I put it on the History Channel while I check out the TV-guide, nothing. "So Poldar how about we watch a movie?" Receiving no response, "What, you want to watch something historical? OK, no problem, let me see. I know just the thing. How about Akira Kurasawa's Seven Samurai? It's a great flick." Poldar responds with nothing but a dirty look. So I smile and load the DVD. "This movie takes place in Japan about 400 years ago."
Over the next 207 minutes Poldar watches in stony silence. The one time that I caught a reaction was during Kimbei Shimada's recruitment test. The scenes where Katsushiro Okamoto tries to hit prospective Samurai as they come in the door. Poldar actually smiled, when Gorobei Katayama refused to enter. Later when Kikuchiyo, played by the late great Toshiro Mifune did enter and got clobbered Poldar almost laughed but that was it.
The silence after the credits rolled was stifling. I let the cats in and they hugged the baseboards and vanished one downstairs and one upstairs. After about five minutes Polar eventually turned to me and said, "Show me another." I put in Yojimbo and then Sanjuro. I caught myself falling asleep three times before it was over. At this point I convinced him that I needed to go to bed. He didn't say anything, but he did follow me upstairs and I showed him his room. I fell asleep soon after the cats jumped on the bed and fell asleep beside me.
The alarm went off at 6:00 AM, my eyes felt like burnt holes in a blanket and my head was fuzzy. I performed my morning ablutions and headed downstairs. I peeked into Poldar's room and he was right where I left him. He opened his eyes as I peeked in. "If you want some breakfast be downstairs in 10 minutes". Without waiting for a reply I headed down stairs and got the rice cooker going, set out the natto, soya, mustard and put the water to boil for miso soup. I put the TV on CNN while the rice cooked.
Poldar showed up just when the meal was prepared. I told him about the fridge and the pantry and the various things he could prepare if he wanted something to eat while I was at work. He just watched me, intently. Sighing, I finished my breakfast and made myself a couple of onigiri with plums for lunch.
I let the cats out and turned to Poldar, "I got to go to work now. I'll be back a couple of hours before dark. Feel free to watch TV or any of the movies. Please don't go anywhere and please don't answer the phone or the door. Ok?" Once again he just stared at me.
I sigh as I change the channel on the TV to the Disney Channel. "Ta Ta for now."
My day was long and boring, when I returned home I was greeted by the cats and a silent house. Poldar was gone. As was all his possessions.