An Important First

“Whatcha you doing?” asked Li of his one-time shipmate.

“Finding soap,” said Bon.

“Uh, soap?” Li’s voice cracked in surprise. “Whatcha need soap for?”

Talis said I smell bad. Need bath.”

“Well, I wouldn’t say you smell. But when you’re not around, I don’t retch as often. Now that I think about it, makes sense to me.” Li had a moment of inspiration. “Want to go down to the river? I can help.” Bon nodded.

Once Bon and Li made it to the river’s edge, Bon took off his boots, and bugs flying nearby fell dead. Li’s gag reflex kicked in and he backed up a bit. “Whoa, you got some strange feet.”

Bon shrugged, then dipped a toe carefully in the water. He shuddered, then held out a hand, “Soap?”

“Uh, oh, yeah, ok. I’m pretty sure you can just keep this one if you want. It’s almost brand new.” Li took the slightly used bar and tossed it to Bon.

Bon reached down and started to rub the bar over his toes, then dip them in the water. After a couple minutes watching, Li spoke up. “Uh, you’ve never done this before, have you?” Bon shrugged.

“Well, a bath works best if you actually take off your clothes, and then get into the water. Once you’re all wet, then you use the bar of soap to wash the dirt and grime off. Try it.”

Bon gave Li a long look, then looked around in concern. “My clothes. Don’t touch.”

“Yeah, I don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about there. No one’s touching those on purpose. But Bon, taking a bath doesn’t really do any good if you just put the same old clothes on again. Clothes need to have a bath, too. That’s what we call laundry.”

“Want me to go get you a change of clothes?” Li offered.

“No other clothes.”

“Ah, I wondered about that. Well, how about I go get a blanket for you, and we can get your clothes laundered. Won’t take but a bit… maybe.” Li hesitated as he looked at the state of Bon’s clothes.

Bon shrugged apprehensively. “I like these.”

“Oh, you’ll get them back, and they’ll be as close to new as possible, just less smelly,” Li offered
with a smile.

And with that, Bon took his first bath and his clothes were laundered for the first time.

An Important First

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