The Jews of Aotearoa, a Short Story

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Oy.

What’s up cuz?

I had to breath out for a second.

Kua mate au, cuz.

Silence.

Hahaha you’re such a dick my cousin. Now shaddup, drink the shot, grab your inu and get over here to look after your uncle. He’s playing up.

My head bobbled as I lifted the weird pink drink that sat in this very small glass and smashed it back. Fucken doctor had just called to say that I only had weeks to live. The cancer was about to tap me out. Today was the happiest day of my life as all of our whanau had come together for a beautiful wedding and now, only I knew that this would be my last night onit. There I go again. Making everything revolve around me. Oy.

Uncle Junior stood and motioned to me and some of the other nefs. Boys, do the karakia.

We all had been raised in the progressive church of the upraised hand, each of us learning the teachings and traditions of our grandfathers grandfathers. As the oldest, I went first.

“….e Tu i te ao kore, i waenganui i te kore, i raro i te kore, e Tu te huatahi, e Tu te huarua, e Tu te huatoru, karangaranga ki te haa o te Kore…e Tu – tihei mauri ora.”

31336-pcLike the bird who cries to make sure that Tawhirimatea hears her call, carrying her feathered family upon the winds of a gentle southerly breeze, here we were waking up an ancient atua to once more protect us, guide us, imbue us. For we are Ringatu, I am a Ihareira, a son of Rua, a Grandson of Te Kooti, a servant of the archangel Gabriel. We are the Jews of Aotearoa.

And here I was, giving my own poroporoake and acutely aware that perhaps I was only one who understood the true sadness behind my prayer.

My part finished as we continued with prayers handed to us for over 10 generations.

Once we had all completed, Uncle Trigger recited our whakapapa, which was deep as it was wide. Since the first stone turned in Aotearoa, my people have been here. As guardians of the ancestral Earth Father, we could link genealogy direct to the tuatara, the rivers, the trees, the mountain itself. He was the first of our kind, the Maunga, blessed by the union of Mother Sky, a wonderous black maiden sent from outter space. We are Tuhoe.

Vroom. Sounds like the brothers are here.

E te Matua, said Reverend Tame finally, let us be thankful for this exceptional day under your gaze, witnessed in the House of our Lord, our saviour Jesus Christ. Amine.

Aue, I hate it when these old Christian buggars give praise to Jesus the rat. What has he done for us lately? Turns up late, no shoes, talking about peace as they nail his arse to the cross and here we are in the middle of Waimana giving this false prophet praise. Hell. No.

Amine.

D’oh. I said it.

Ok must be time for beersies.

Kia ora bro. Looks like you’ve seen a ghost, laughed brother Miha. If only he knew. Chur my cuz. Welcome home, good to see you and nice to hear about your pregnancy, as I patted his baby-sized puku. Hongi.

It was a long hongi too. I knew that I was trying to steal his breath so that my life could stretch a little bit longer. My cuz didn’t know. He just thought I was happy to see him. Hug.

Kia ora cuzzie, said his hoa rangatira Hinepu. She was gorgeous and looked just like our ancestral sky mother. Radiant. Hongi. Now give me a kiss you egg. I’m glad she didn’t see me start to cry. She would’ve given me the bash.

More of our biker whanau parked up and joined in with the hakari and party. Grab a plate said mum. Get them a drink boy said dad. Move over cuzzies, this one needs space for two, laughed uncle Dave. Always ready with the one liners, that one.

As the night moved deeper into the dark, I sat on the log around the fire, listening to the bro Jo sing his pain. Gees, this fulla could sing. Earlier today, he had performed Uncle Stevie Wonders song Lately and brought the house down. Literally, the roof caved in as he hit the top note. It was a standing ovation, though more from having to miss falling debris. All the same, I swear that when he sang, the angels stopped and sat to listen.

Chur my bro Jo said as he put his guitar down next to me and took a seat. Chur chur. We clinked Codie’s and both just looked into the fire.
Man today was cool ey bro.
Yea bro.
Was lovely to watch 2 good people join together ey bro.
Yea bro.
Funny that they had 5 kids first, and then they got married.
I giggled and took a swig.
Probably wanted to give her a test drive to see if everything worked before making a bid ey cuz.
At that I spat my drink into the fire.
Jo laughed and laughed as he smacked his huge bear paw on my back. Stop it cuz, you’re wasting the booze. That’s called alcohol abuse in my whanau.

Good one cuz.
We both looked back into the fire.

Suddenly I could feel a warm heat surging through my chest and up into my throat. My heart was now about to start talking.
My bro, I got a phone call from the quack just then and he said that the matemate is back.
Jo closed his eyes and put down his bottle.
I had to talk quickly or I would tell no one. I mean, who really wants to hear that you’re about to die. It’s a real party killer.
He said I have weeks, but I’ve been I so much pain lately, I think it’s only days.

Jo’s eyes were still closed.
I looked back into the fire.

My bro. We could all see that, Jo said.
I froze.

In all honesty my bro. That’s the reason we’re having this wedding now and not during Matariki. You know our cuz is into the Maori New Years buzz and it was her wish to send a wairua kiss to her papa when the star portal opened. But your olds brought us together in the pakeha New Years and told us that the doctor had told them the full story, cos he knew you wouldn’t…

(Note to self: fire that nark of a doctor).

…and so we moved the wedding to today.

Now I closed my eyes.

Why else do you think you were allowed to speak first?
I thought it was because I was the most handsome cuz, I muttered.
Not because you’ve got the biggest balls, joked Jo.
You’re just saying that because you have small hands. We both laughed.

So now what cuz, I asked Jo.

My bro, no one knows the future but we all know today. Right now is what matters cos sometimes that’s all we have left. I opened my eyes and could see Jo looking straight at me. Let’s just have a good time and when life’s alarm goes off, I will send you on your 30 day journey back to our old people.

I then saw his face turn white.

Bro, did you see that?
See what?
That, right next to you. 5 glowing figures all sitting next to you, all smiling.
Dafuk? Bro, no more beersies for you.
The bro Jo closed his eyes again and then quickly re-opened them.
Bro it was like in Star Wars, when Obi Wan, Yoda and Anakin all turned up in the end for Luke. That’s what I just seen, he said.
Now you’re freekin’ me out bro.

I peered my nervous eyes over, hoping that he was just pulling my leg and then would poke me in the cheek as I stared back at him.
Nothing there.
Chill up both our spines.
We sculled our drinks quick as.

We then looked back to the now dark space, then back to the fire, then back to the space, then back at each other.

Must be time for another inu cuz.
Must be, as we both got up fast and turned to go inside for a refill.

I headed to the light of the room in the distance, but as I walked faster the light seemed to get further and further away. Wtf. My legs moved quicker and quicker but the light was now getting smaller and smaller.

Fuck ya Jo, stop moving the house I joked, looking over my left shoulder to now notice that he was not there. No one was there. My eyes darted forward and the room was gone too. Oh no. It was time already.

And I hadn’t even had my last fry up to absorb the alcohol. I hope my atua don’t mind beer breath. Nanny, koro, I am coming Home to the Promised Land. Sorry I’m not wearing clean underwear but I’m sure you’ll understand.

Amine.

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