Thursday, January 23, 2020

Huntinghawk and Wolverine (Part 1 of a 5-Part Story), Post #105
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Several of you have asked for more of Curt Huntinghawk’s story, so I’ll give you the second story I wrote about him and his adventures. Remember, you asked for it.

During this five-part series, I will post a segment weekly, returning to my usual first and third Thursday postings when the story is complete.

Here we go with the story of Huntinghawk and Wolverine. The first installment is rather long, so hang in there. I hope you enjoy.


          The raw, cruel beauty of the Lower Sonoran Desert failed to work its usual magic as a cold anger seeped into Curt Huntinghawk’s guts. He abruptly obscured the footprint made by his own boots. Grover Whitedeer, his best friend and fellow tracker, appeared at his side.
          “Found another one, huh?” The young Indian knew this was serious business to his friend, but he couldn’t keep the teasing out of his voice.
          “Fucking Wolverine! He’s playing with us.”
          “Wasn’t playing when he shot you two months back,” Grove observed, turning serious.
          Huntinghawk and Whitedeer were two of the Rezagados Colorados, a small band of Indian trackers hired by the Border Patrol to help run down drug runners bringing marijuana and cocaine across the Mexican border some six miles to the south. It was a matter of pride to the twenty or so Native American trackers that they were responsible for seventy percent of the drugs confiscated in this area.
          But they hadn’t caught Wolverine, as Hawk called the elusive traficante, who was named El Espectro or Phantom by the others. Two months ago, Hawk had gotten close and received a crease in his forehead from a high powered rifle for his troubles. As he lay unconscious, the smuggler had stripped him naked and left him to die in the Sonoran furnace. Now the Wolverine was wearing Hawk’s boots when he made his runs.
           A chance encounter by a young Mexican illegal lost in the desert had probably saved both their lives. The boy, Ramon Aquila, and Hawk had become lovers until the pressure of living as an illegal in the midst of the people responsible for deporting them had driven the boy north to find his brother in Colorado. The kid had opened Hawk’s eyes to the vague longings he’d sometimes experienced, but he left a hell of a hole in Hawk’s heart when he left.
          Hawk studied the horizon carefully while Grove looked about some more. “Got another one,” the smaller Indian called. “Kinda old, though. How old was your track?”
         “Five, six hours.”
         “Yeah, that’s about right. Doesn’t look like you’re going to get shot this time out.”
         “Dammit, Grove!” Hawk snarled before turning away and stalking off to where they had left their four-by-four. He was seated in the cab, baking in the heat, by the time Grove crawled in and kicked over the motor. Hawk knew he wasn’t acting rationally. Hell, the guys kidded one another all the time, and getting shot by your quarry was just too good to let go easily. It appealed to the Indian sense of humor shared by the group, even if they were from tribes scattered all across the country.
         “Sorry,” Hawk said. “Guess the scar on the outside of my forehead’s healed, but the one on the inside hasn’t.”
         “Better work on it, bro. This one’s gonna haunt you for a long time,” Grove said.
          Hawk was a northern plains, and Grove was a southern woodland. They were both different from the other Rezagados, built more like range bulls, leaner and meaner. The local Indians tended to be shorter and heavier and more placid by nature. Hawk carried a hundred-eighty pounds and stood an even six feet while Grove came in twenty pounds under and two inches shorter. Still, Hawk would think twice before getting in a knock-down-drag-out with his friend. They’d backed one another up too often in bars for the bigger man to underestimate his companion.
          “Hey, man!” Grove said as they bounced across a faint track in the desert. “Let’s go across the border tonight and buy a couple of gals.” His suggestion brough his narrow, handsome features alive.
          “Naw. Gonna hang at home tonight.”
          “Shit, Hawk. We haven’t gone catting since you got shot. You sure he didn’t shoot something besides your head?”
          Hawk grinned. “Naw. It’s still there.”
          “Then come on! Let’s get some poontang!”
          “Man, you are from the south, aren’t you?”
          “Poontang’s a good word. Means the same here as it does back home.”
          “Well, my poon done got tanged,” Hawk made a joke out of it. In truth, he wanted to be with Grove this evening. Hell, if he was honest about it, he was attracted to the handsome shit! But he wasn’t ready to turn to women again …not after Ramon. Not yet, anyway. Was he afraid to get with a woman again? There’d been plenty of them in the past, but none since he found what he had with Ramon. That didn’t make any sense. He had his mouth opened to accept the offer when Grove spoke again.
          “Okay, then, how ‘bout we go to the Blue Mesa?” The Blue Mesa was a rowdy bar on the edge of town frequented by Indians.
          “You’re on. I could stand a brew or two.”
          “You got it!”
          But the day wasn’t done yet. Grove slammed on the brakes when he spotted footprints crossing the dusty ruts. Boots. Fresh. Two people. Neither of them was the Wolverine. The two Indians reached for the 30-30 rifles they weren’t authorized to carry and took off at a lope. An hour later, two specks grew into two men loaded with packs. The mules didn’t even bother to look behind them until the two Rezagados drew within twenty yards.
          The two drug-runners weren’t inclined to defend their cargo, they tried running instead, but were easy pickings. The Rezagados were not granted police powers, but most people were not aware of that fact. If the traficantes had resisted, they’d have had to back off and call for sworn officers, but when the men surrendered, he and Grove hiked them back to the truck and drove them to the Border Patrol. It was a good haul. Ten pounds of raw cocaine and a hundred of marijuana.

           Celebrating that night at the Mesa, they swigged beer to replenish the moisture they’d lost… or so they told themselves. Grove got a good buzz quickly; Hawk took longer. He sat on his side of the table as frantic activity swirled around him and watched his friend. Grove was as handsome as Ramon had been. To be honest, probably more handsome because there was more of a man in his looks. Ramon had been as pretty as a budding woman; Grove was man-handsome. Smooth cheeks free of facial hair. Big, lash-fringed brown eyes and a firm chin with a stubborn look about it. Shit! Grove was pretty too.
          The girls who stopped by confirmed his opinion. They descended on the two men in droves. Hawk played the game, but without real interest. Grove played it enthusiastically. About one a.m., Grove came off the dance floor with his arm around a girl.
           “Hey, man, we gonna head out. You fixed up for the night?”
          “Think so. See you Monday. Don’t get bombed, you hear?” Damn. Grove was better looking than the girl, and she was downright pretty.
          It took some doing, but he made it out of the bar without a woman in tow. Halfway home, he was getting so blue he figured he’d made a mistake. Closing was in half an hour, so he decided to stop by a small bar at the edge of town. Might not be any women left unclaimed except for some two o’clock gal, but that’s probably all he deserved.
          The Branding Iron was still pretty crowded, and half of them were Indians. Unfortunately, three-quarters of them were males, and at first glance he didn’t find a stray woman in the joint. About thirty seconds later, he lost all interest.
          Hawk didn’t consciously check out boots, but ever since Wolverine had stolen his, he sort of made a sweep of the floor in every bar he entered. Two tables to the left, one brown, calfskin work boot with a distinctive red bird emblazoned on the sole caught his eye.

Hawk’s found his boots. Does that mean he’s found Wolverine, as well? If so what kind of sparks will fly between these two macho men? Next week, we might find out.

For those of you who have not already done so, please order  Cut Hand and Johnny Two-Guns from Dreamspinner Press. I’d like to convince them to publish the rest of the Cut Hand Series, including the unpublished manuscript Wastelakapi… Beloved, It’ll take some help from readers to get Dreamspinner interested.

My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:
Website and blog:
Twitter: @markwildyr

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And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

Until next time.


New posts at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday.

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