Exiles

Exiles by Cary Groner

Book: Exiles by Cary Groner Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cary Groner
ladies.”
    Alex thought about it, then looked at her father and grinned. “It’s obvious, it’s perfect,” she said. “Wayne Lee.”
    Oh, yeah, Peter thought—
this
is going to fly. “Are you forgetting she’s a girl?”
    “It’s not like she’ll know.”
    Peter did his best to think of the possible advantages of naming a little nanny goat after the giant meth-head biker who’d run off with his wife, but he couldn’t come up with any. While he was pondering, the decision was made for him.
    “Come on, Wayne Lee,” said Alex, rubbing the goat’s neck. “Let’s feed you some nice rotten cabbage from the compost bin.” Wayne Lee smiled up at her with what seemed marvelous ungulate gratitude.
    Well, Peter realized, they
would
be feeding her a ton of garbage that would ordinarily have gone to compost and helped stink up the yard. And of course from a psychological point of view, it offered Alex the chance to literally domesticate one of the great demon-fears of her childhood.
    The whole idea was actually pretty twisted, which was what finally won him over.
    |   |   |
    The next day Peter came into the yard and found Alex and Wayne Lee facing each other.
    “You trying to prove you’re more stubborn than a goat?” Peter asked. “I could have told you that.”
    Alex had planted her feet and was leaning in, pushing on Wayne Lee’s forehead; Wayne Lee was pushing back. It was goat versus goat, and no one was budging. Devi was lounging in the sun in a T-shirt and shorts, reading a Bollywood fan magazine. Peter asked her how long this had been going on; she checked her watch.
    “Thirty-five minutes,” she said.
    “You seriously think you’ll outlast her, Alex?”
    “I guess we’ll see.”
    “Butting is what goats do for a
living
, honey. She’s a professional; she’s an athlete. She has a contract with Nike, and they’re going to brand a little swoosh on her flank.”
    “Nobody is gonna brand my little baby Wayne Lee, are they, baby darling?” Alex said, making goo-goo noises. Wayne Lee stood unmoved, pushing back and smiling her little goat smile.
    “Drill her on some vocab, at least, Devi. She needs it for the clinic. I want to hear body parts.”
    “Head,” said Devi.
    “Tauuko,”
replied Alex.
    “Nose, lips, hair.”
    “Nak, othaa, kapaal.”
    Peter was on his way inside.
    “Legs, feet, fingers, hand, stomach.”
    “Khuttaa, paitala, aula, haath, peta.”
    When he was safely out of sight and almost out of earshot he was pretty sure he heard, “Clit, pussy, tits, cunt,” then Alex collapsing in laughter.
    |   |   |
    He was confused about too many things. There was the situation with Alex and Devi. There was the situation with Mina. There was the question of whether he could really do any good in Nepal, for his patients or his daughter or anyone else. He wanted another grown-up to talk to about it all, and he didn’t know who that person might be.
    Lama Padma had expressed an interest in Western science and had asked Peter to write him about it. It occurred to him that the lama might be able to shed a little light on his own problems, and that the correspondence could be a way to open that door.
    But although he was glad for the old man’s informality and good humor, he didn’t know how honest he could be about his own views without offending him. Nor, for that matter, was he sure how candid he could be about the personal issues; for one thing, Devi would be translating the letters.
    Even so, it was an intriguing opportunity. If the lama was annoyed, he figured, they didn’t have to continue.
    Dear Lama Padma,
    I’m glad you wanted to correspond, though I have to preface this by saying that I’m often too frank for people’s liking. I guess I’ll just apologize in advance, because I don’t often have a very good feel for when I’m stepping over the line.
    Regarding your desire to examine science in the context of Buddhist thought, I might as well tell you I don’t have

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