Amir picks up a bun and takes a bite on it. Then he asks Daniel if he has been able to look for Sten. If he has
found out where Sten is.
Daniel says in a low voice that he has unfortunately not had time for anything Amir hopes and wants.
Although a little, Kim and he started with it earlier today, they keep it secret.
“Yes,” says Amir a little dejectedly.
Kim squeezes in:
“Amir ... I’m happy to help find your old friend, Sten. And how long ago were you last seen now?”
“Sten moved a little after we started in first class. We also had some leisure time at school.”
“Yes, yes,” says Kim.
“But when Sten had moved, the bullies got worse … And when the whole first class had gone, I had to move to my pretend cousins in Gothenburg.”
“But then it turned out well?” Daniel asks.
“Yes, but when I moved back to Skövde, the bullying started again.”
Kim regrets this. And he says as if to comfort:
“So Sten and you haven’t been seen in more than a year and a half now? And Sten has never even met his dad.”
“No ... not once.”
“We need to find Sten, his mother, and father,” says Daniel.
“This will not be the easiest in the world,” says Kim. “But let’s give it a try.”
“Yes, or even more,” says Daniel. “But most difficult will probably be to find Sten’s dad.”
“Yes,” says Kim. “Because we have nothing to go on.”
16 Need to Hurry
The clock is high, and they need to hurry away. They can talk more on the way to the lake.
Amir, who had been so bored and depressed earlier, is now up and happy again in his voice.
Kim thinks Amir is a real sunbeam that spreads light. And he agrees exactly with Daniel’s earlier description of him.
Kim will think of the tickets to the bathing hotel in Frederikshavn. Although he has only two. And they stay there at home in his apartment. They forgot to pick them up.
And Daniel hasn’t asked. He does not want to take this for granted.
17 Offers Amir to Come Along
Kim offers Amir to accompany him to the bathing hotel in Fredrikshamn, in northern Denmark.
“Yes!” says Amir happily.
“There is a swimming pool, a water slide, and a lot of other fun that you can do. And we sleep overnight.”
Amir becomes overjoyed.
Kim shows off his ring to him. Amir thinks it is stylish, and cool with a car tire pattern all around.
“Daniel has one. We will get married later.”
“Congratulations! Do you like each other a lot?”
“Yes, very much,” says Kim.
They hurry to get ready. And they pack their swimwear. Even Amir.
Amir, Ajda, Ajna, Albin Aand Frans, beach
Amir plays with his little siblings as Daniel, he and little Anton did in Karstorpssjön some time ago.
Now we play that we are frogs jumping in the water,” he says.
All three jump around in the water, and there is a lot of splashing.
They switch to crawling around like crocodiles. Then there are the snakes that meander around. They roll around in the water, near the beach.
And now I become a tired seal pup who wants to lie on the beach and cuddle a bit,” says Amir.
“Yes!” says Ajna. “We can dig and build castles.”
They go up on the beach. Amir wants to lie down for a while and sunbathe. Ajda is then with Ajna, and they dig in the sand.
Amir says that he will be there for a little while, when he has finished resting and sunbathing.
Ajda finds it difficult to dig with a bathing ring around her waist. So she asks Amir to hold it while they dig.
But when he has held it for a few minutes, he drops it, and it blows away, into the sea.
Amir reproaches himself, why he did not hold on to it better. He tells Ajda that he should run out into the water and get her bathing ring. But she and that Ajna can stay here and dig in the meantime.
Amir runs into the water. But soon he has to start swimming, because the water just gets deeper and deeper.
But before he has time to get to the bathing ring, the two stupid boys, Albin and Frans, have seen it. And now they swim to it from another direction, more from the jetty.
Amir tries to hurry so that he can get hold of the bathing ring before the boys. But he fails.
“I have it!” says Albin loudly and confidently.
“But it is not yours,” says Amir resignedly. “You must not take things that are not yours.”
“But I take what I want – idiot!”
Albin swims away with the bathing ring. And after he has come a little bit, he throws it away to his little brother.
Amir feels that he cannot take this fight with quarrels with the stupid boys. He also feels a responsibility to his sisters.
He returns to them.
Ajda holds Ajna’s hand, up on the beach, and they look out at Amir, who is now swimming back to them.
13 The Englishman
Amir, Ajda, Ajna, Albin, Frans and Charles, beach
The stupid boys and Amir have not seen that they are observed by several: on the beach, in the water, and on the jetty.
There is also an Englishman, Charles, a ten-year-old boy, who has watched them from the jetty a short distance away. He is large in stature, but slender, has medium blonde, curly hair, and green eyes.
Amir is soon back with his sisters when he hears a boy shouting, but he does not understand in a language.
In English, the boy shouts to the stupid boys that they should stop arguing and give the bathing ring back to the boy, Amir.
“Glöm det!” (Forget it!) shouts Albin, who understands a little of what the Englishman is saying.
“Ja, stick och brinn!” (Yes, get out and burn!) shouts Frans, who easily hangs on to his brother.
“Hello, guys! What’s up with you? You have to be kind.”
“Fuck you!” Albin shouts to the Englishman.
“What did you say? Are you kidding me?”
Now Charles dives into the water and swims away to Frans, who has Ajda’s bathing ring.
Amir registers the boy who dived from the jetty. He swims very fast, and he can crawl too.
Charles swims lightning fast to Frans. But before he arrives, Frans throws the bathing ring to Albin again.
And Albin swims away with it.
Now Charles is aiming for Albin instead.
But soon, before he has time, Albin throws it back to Frans.
He should not have done this, because now Charles is getting really angry. He swims up to Albin, takes a grip with his arm around his neck, and pulls him under the water.
Albin gets scared and panics. He kicks with his legs and strikes with his arms, trying to get free.
Charles takes him to the surface again.
And he says angrily:
“Hey! Do as I say, or I’ll kill you. I do that guaranteed!”
Albin is not very good at English, but he understands so much that he wants to get out of there.
Charles releases him.
And at the same moment, Frans throws the bathing ring at Charles.
Charles tells the boys to stop arguing with people and to try to be a little kind instead.
And now he is swimming ashore with the bathing ring.
14 The Englishman Greets
“Hello! Here you are. My name is Charles Malcolm.”
He takes Amir by the hand and shakes hands with him.
Amir understands nothing. But he greets back. And says:
“Vad coolt! Det du gjorde. Hade Kim och Daniel sett det, då hade dom blivit glada.” (That’s cool! What you did. Had Kim and Daniel seen it, they would have been happy.)
“Please, do you speak English?”
“Va? Jag fattar noll. Kan du inte svenska?” (What? I understand zero. Do you not speak Swedish?)
“Just a little, pal.”
“Yes – kompis.”
Charles gets an idea to ask someone nearby if he can interpret for them.
He sees a woman with a pram some distance away, and walks up to her. She is holding a baby in her arms.
He asks if she speaks English.
And she does. She asks what he has on his heart, what he wants.
He tells her briefly what help he needs. And she gets up, holds the baby in her arms, and goes with him to Amir and his little siblings.
The woman interprets what Charles is saying.
“My name is Charles Malcolm, and I live in Manchester, England. But now I’m with Dad here at the campsite. I arrived last Saturday. My dad owns the restaurant with his wife and her brother. However, dad, or we have a restaurant at home in Manchester too.”
“Ja ha,” (Yeah) says Amir. “Vi har en pizzeria hemma i Skövde. Jag menar min, våran pappa och mamma har en.” (We have a pizzeria at home in Skövde. I mean mine, our dad and mom have one.)
Charles extends his hand to greet him.
Amir retakes his hand and says that his name is Amir, and Hassan in last name. And these two girls are his siblings.
Charles says hello to Ajna and Ajda, and they say hello back.
And he says the boys, who were stupid to him, will not be stupid anymore. He’s going to make sure of that.