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Authors: James Kahn

The Goonies (17 page)

BOOK: The Goonies
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“Anyway, there used to be an older son, too, but he got killed in Vietnam years ago. But then one day they heard the front
gate creak open, and a mailman with this package showed up at the door, and it was from the older son, the dead one—see, the
army had just found his personal junk, it was lost in a warehouse or somethin' for fifteen years, so they just sent it. Typical

“So, anyway, this package came, and they opened it, and it had, you know, his dogtags and some pictures and some medals and
his clothes and letters and stuff, but it also had this one sealed envelope addressed to them, and it was taped to a box,
all wrapped up and about the size of a telephone.

“They opened the letter, and it had a lot of personal stuff—made 'em cry, 'cause they remembered him all over again now—but
it also said he got this special gift for 'em
from an old Chinese wizard, and it would grant 'em three wishes if they just held it while they made the wishes.

“So they opened the box. And inside they found the paw of a monkey.”

“Mouth, you jerk, are you gonna tell ‘The Monkey's Paw?’” said Stef.

“Hey, gimme a break, I listened to your story, now you listen to mine. C'mon, you might get into it.”

“I don't
get into it.”

We were all pretty into it already, though—starin' real quiet at him, with the fog rollin' over our feet in the dark, getting
wrapped up in his ghost story.

“So, anyway,” said Mouth, talkin' softer now, “the father wanted to put the paw away with the rest of the son's junk, but
the mother said, ‘Wait a minute, now, this thing was his last gift to us, maybe we should use it,’ and the father said, ‘No,
it's bad luck to try to take things from the dead,’ and the mother said, ‘Geez, it couldn't hurt, and they sure could use
the money,’ and the father said, ‘Yeah, but greed only gets people in trouble, and they'll get by just fine,’ and the mother
said, 'Well, they don't need to be greedy, they could just ask for a
money, just what they needed to make their back payments and fix the roof and help their son get his own place. ‘Just ten
thousand dollars,’ she said. ‘That's all we'll ask for is ten thousand bucks.’

“Well, the father didn't like it, but he said okay, so he held the monkey's paw in his hand and said, ‘Please give us just
ten thousand dollars.’ Then all at once he yelped and dropped the paw. ‘It moved in my hand,’ he said.

“Well, nothin' else happened. They looked around, waited a minute—nothin'. The father just laughed, though, and said, ‘Oh,
well, we still got each other.’ So they went to bed.

“Next day the father and son went off to work, out the creaky front gate to the factory. But that afternoon at three, they
didn't come home. Couple hours passed, and she started to worry… and then all of a sudden, creeeeak, the front gate, and the
father came staggerin' in, cryin' and gnashin', and two guys from the factory were with him, and the mother said, ‘Oh, my
God, what happened?’

“And one of the factory guys tells her he's real sorry, but her son Alex fell into one of the machines at work and was killed.

“She screamed and said she didn't believe it, and she wanted to see her son. But they said no, that wasn't advisable, 'cause
he'd been mangled beyond recognition and parts cut off and stuff.”

“Eeuww, gross,” said Andy.

“Sshh. Go on,” said Brand.

Mouth went on. “And then the factory guy put his arm on the mother's shoulder and said it wasn't much consolation, but her
son had a life insurance policy with the factory, and the guy had a check here for her for ten thousand dollars.”

“Wow,” whispered Andy.

“So she screamed and tore at her hair and stuff, and her husband finally quieted her down, and the other guys left. The mother
and father sat there at the kitchen table for hours, just lettin' it get darker as night came on. And night did come on—kinds
cold and black and foggy. Just like this.

“And the mother finally couldn't stand it no more, so she grabbed the monkey's paw, and the father said, ‘No!’ but before
he could do anything, she said, ‘Bring him back. Bring my son back to me!’

“The father grabbed the paw away, but it squirmed out of his hand and fell back on the table. Anyway, it was too
late. She'd said it. So they just sat there at the table as the fog curled all around the house, and it got colder and darker,
and an hour passed, and all of a sudden… they heard it. Kind of a scraping sound, and then a thump.
Wshhh, thup. Wssshhh, thup. Wssshh, thup.
Like that.

“Kinda the sound a body might make if it was missin' a leg and an arm, draggin' itself along the ground, inch by inch.

Wsshhh, thup.
They heard it comin' closer, along the front walk. The windows were all open, but it was too foggy to see anything, foggy
and dark, and they were so scared, they couldn't move, anyway, and all they could do was hear.
Wsshhh, thup. Wsshhh, thup.

“It went all the way along the front of the house, and it got to the place where they knew the front gate was… and there was
a long pause. The sound stopped, it was totally silent in the thick, black fog… and then they heard it. Creeeeeeeeak. The
front gate was opening, slowly opening… and then a loud
, like somethin' fell hard through the gate.

“Then it got all quiet again. They didn't move a muscle, they just sat there starin' at the night, and then all at once… it
started again.
Wsshhh, thup. Wsshhh, thup.
Much louder now. Closer. Comin' down the path to the front door.

“The mother started whimperin' now, and they were both starin' at the door, and they could hear the thing comin' closer—
wsshhh, thup
—and it was at the door, and suddenly… there was a knock.”

Mouth knocked three times on one of the wooden logs of the raft.

“‘Go away,’ whispered the father. But the mother stood up. ‘Alex,’ she cried. ‘My baby.’”

Mouth knocked three more times on the wood.

“And the mother started walking to the front door. ‘No,’ the father whispered, but she ran to the door now. And just as she
flung it open, the father grabbed the monkey's paw and said, ‘Make him go away forever. Let us never see him again!’ And the
paw twitched.

“And the mother, threw the door open. And there was nothin' there. Only the fog, creepin' in over the doorsill and over her
feet. And into her heart.”

We all sat there starin' at him, but he didn't say any more. Just sat there starin' back at us, like he was darin' us to disbelieve
his story.

Andy clung to Brand for reassurance. “Oh, Brand, that was so scary.”

He wrapped his arms around her. “It was just a story,” he said. But the fog was starting to come higher on us, and it was
pretty damn chilly.

“You satisfied now, Big Mouth?” said Stef. “You got everyone scared real good?”

“It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it, baby,” said Mouth.

I gotta admit, it
take our minds off our own worries, for just a little while.

“I feel safer with you here,” I heard Andy whisper to Brand. “Nothing much scares you.”

Brand was quiet a minute, and then he said, “Something does scare me. Small spaces scare me.”

I was kinda shocked to hear him say it, but I was glad he did, partly because it was big of him to admit it, and it made me
like him better for copping to one of his weaknesses. And partly because it made
feel not so bad about blabbing to Andy about him freakin' out in the elevator.

“Elevators scare me,” he kept on talkin', “and closets scare me, and even cars scare me a little. I think that's why I screwed
up gettin' my driver's license.”

“Excuses, excuses,” said Mouth.

“Shut up, Mouth,” I told him. I wanted to hear what Brand had to say.

“I know why they scare me, though,” he said. “It's because when I was six, I accidentally locked myself in an old refrigerator
in the basement. I knew I wasn't supposed to go near it, but I went, anyway, and then I couldn't get out. So I was afraid
to call for help, 'cause I knew I'd get in trouble, so I just sat in there—in this totally black, tiny, closed-in space, and
it seemed like it was gettin' smaller and smaller and smaller, until I couldn't stand it anymore, and I started kickin' and
yellin', and Mom heard me and got me right away. And you know what? She spanked me for playin' with the thing. Here I was
half-chokin' to death, and she rattles my ass for it.

“So ever since then, I don't know, small spaces just kind of get me. Make me feel… I don't know, like I did when I was six.
Real scared.”

The fog was all around us now, from here to the ceiling and in all directions. We could see each other barely, if we stood
close together. And I'm here to tell you, we stood close together.

“Well, it was brave of you to tell us,” said Andy. “Me, I'm scared of just about everything. Scared of my father, scared of
the nuns, scared of getting bad grades, scared of being lonely, scared of getting hurt. And I'm really scared of dying. I
mean, not just because of all the things I'd miss out here and how sad that would be, and unfair—the thing is, what's

“I mean, is there a heaven? God? What does he look like? Will he be angry with me? Probably so. Probably send me to hell,
if there is one, 'cause of all the bad things I've thought and done.

“So then I get scared of what hell's like. Is it painful
eternally? Is it flaming, do you have to swim in molten lava? Or is it icy cold and you have to sit on icebergs, shivering
forever, and your skin sticks to the ice and pulls off in little bits when you try to stand up?

“I mean, what's the story?”

“It's cold, I think,” said Stef. “Cold and dark. Like this.”

The fog swirled around in a brief wind, then settled again.

“No, this is what limbo is,” said Andy, “and this is what I'm
scared of. Just floating, in the middle of nowhere, the middle of nothing, in a kind of thick darkness, waiting forever,
and it never ends.…”

“And you hear things,” said Stef, “but you can't see 'em.…”

I heard something, but I couldn't see it. “Sshh,” I said.

Everyone got quiet.

I heard it again. A voice. Whispered, through the fog.

And then the mists blew around again, and for a second there was an opening in the soup, and I saw, just thirty feet away,
the Fratellis, floating on a smaller raft, in a slow current, wavin' a flashlight around.

Then the fog closed up again, and they disappeared. Only the hazy glow of their flashlight remained, and then it got dimmer
and faded away.

I suddenly felt like totally exhausted. I mean, I had no idea how long we'd been in these caves, but all the tension was startin'
to wear me down, and this brush with the Fratellis and then being saved by these weird currents… it was like sleep was just
beggin' me to fold.

I didn't wanna, but it was tough holdin' out. It's not like there was much I could do, anyway, right? I mean, we were becalmed.
I thought of all the stories of becalmed ships I'd
ever read or heard, to see if I could remember anything that might be useful.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
I had to learn that in seventh-grade English.
was becalmed 'cause he killed an albatross, but we hadn't done anything like that, so I didn't think that would apply. Unless
breaking Mom's statue of David counted, but I didn't think so.

Moby Dick?
They were becalmed 'cause Ahab was crazy and wanted revenge on the White Whale. But we didn't want revenge on anybody, so
scratch that one.

The Sargasso Sea, the Doldrums, nothing gave me any clues. Maybe if I just nodded off for a few minutes, something would come
to me in a dream. I noticed that Data had already taken that plunge—he was asleep, in a fitful kind of sleep, leaning against
Stef, hangin' tight on to her sweater.

And Stef was kinda dozin', too.

Brand looked wide-awake, peerin' into the fog. Mouth and Andy, too. So they could wake me if somethin' heavy started happenin'.

So I curled on my side with my head on the logs, lookin' straight out at water level. That's when I noticed we were movin'
again. Not fast, but there was a definite wash past the raft now, and even a little breeze on my face.

I just stayed where I was. Maybe my sleepiness was causing this motion somehow. Maybe if I woke myself up, it would stop.
I let myself doze, sort of in and out. The raft seemed to pick up speed.

Maybe I should go all the way, really crash and dream. Maybe a dream could really speed us outta here. But then I'd miss all
the fun, and I didn't wanna do that. So I forced myself to stay awake, sort of half-drowsing, watchin' the water splash gently
by the log my head was resting on. The captain's log, I thought—and I'm the dream-captain
of this raft. I think I was so tired, I was startin' to hallucinate.

Or maybe not. The fog cleared after awhile, and it turned out the cavern had finally narrowed to where we could see the walls,
so now we were on this like wide, steady-movin' river that twisted back and forth through these tall, fantastic tunnels.

The walls glowed with phosphorescent algae or sparkled with rock formations, or the ceilings hung with stalactites, or light
mists swirled like ghosts here and there over the face of the water, or plankton shimmered just below the river's surface,
like they were electrical sparks, or like the river itself was alive and the dots of light were its nerve cells, or shafts
of moonlight sometimes pierced cracks in the ceiling, like spotlights on special crystal configurations.…

I didn't move during all of this. Just lay there, dozing, tryin' to stay awake while I slept, so I could see it all in all
its wonder and still make it keep happening with the power of my sleep—keep the raft movin'.

It sounds pretty flaky now, I know, but that's what I was thinkin' back then.

And then, lazin' along the river like that, it made me think of Huckleberry Finn driftin' down the Mississippi, havin' adventures
and gettin' into trouble and escapin' trouble and helpin' his friends and learnin' a thing or two now and then… and I suddenly
realized, Huckleberry Finn was one of the first Goonies.

BOOK: The Goonies
12.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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