People are strange, Adam thought. He had awakened in the late afternoon, when Moe had returned, pushing her shopping cart on its squeaky wheels.
“Got you some water,” she’d said, reaching into the cart. “Found a couple a’ milk jugs in a dumpster. Went ahead an’ filled ’em up. Figure we’ll need ’em, seein’ how much you drink.”
She’d set the plastic jugs on the ground. “Wasn’t able to score no grub, though. I was askin’ for money down near the grocery store but the coppers came an’ run me off ‘fore I could get any. I was gonna buy us some peanut butter an’ a loaf a’ bread.”
Then Moe had sat down with a groan. “Lord, my dogs is barkin’,” she’d said, and looked at Adam. “Sorry ’bout the food.” She’d smiled, patting her stomach. “Guess it ain’t gonna hurt either one a’ us to miss a meal here an’ there.”
Adam only watched her.
“There’s a Chinese restaurant down a few blocks from here,” she’d said, now staring straight ahead. “They sometimes throw out some good stuff. But they’re closed on Mondays.”
Adam had leaned forward. With his palm he wiped at the ground, brushed away gravel and some cigarette butts.
“What you doin’?”
With the tip of his finger, his claw, Adam had scratched in the dirt as Moe leaned over, looking.
WHEN DARK I GET FOOD
Moe had just stared at him. “How you figure on doin’ that?”
Adam wiped away the word, began again.
“Good way to get yourself shot,” Moe had said. “What you aimin’ on huntin’, anyways? I ain’t eatin’ no puppy dogs. I ain’t that hungry. Don’t reckon I ever been that hungry. No puppy dogs, no sir.”
Adam had just nodded.
“An’ no people! Lord, I just thought a’ that! You liable to bring back God knows what. People be the easiest to catch. But you can’t do that, you hear? No people!”
“You understand what I’m sayin’, don’t you? You know you can’t go ’round killin’ people?”
After a moment, he’d written in the dirt again.
But Moe had stared back at him.
“You don’t get it at all, do you? You’ll do as I ask, I reckon; you won’t kill nobody ’cause I told you not to, but you don’t understand it, do you? Why it’s not right to kill people?” She had looked sad, shook her head. “You don’t get it at all.”
*No. I do not understand.*
Adam still had much to learn about Humans, their psychology. He knew people found the idea of eating their own kind repugnant, yet they displayed no hesitation in killing each other. Nor did Adam understand why Moe, or anyone, would object to his killing a Human. Joseph, back in Africa, had spoken of this again and again. “You must never kill a human being,” he had said. It made no sense to Adam. One man could kill another for no reason at all, but Adam could not kill a man for food if he was hungry? No sense.
Yes, they were strange, these Humans.