Thursday, January 21, 2021

Dumber’ a Dead Tree Stump (Part 2 of 2 Parts)

 markwildyr.com, Post #144

 Photo Courtesy of photos-public-domain.com


 In the first part Frankie appeared to lust after his BFF and go find relief with Flatnose. Can this go on forever?

* * * * *

DUMBER’N A DEAD TREE STUMP

I didn’t see Darcel again until after church on Sunday when we walked down to the creek looking for something to do. When we passed the spot where I’d got with Flatnose last Friday, it was like he read my mind.

“You go look up Flatnose after we split the other day?”

“W=why’d you say that?”

“Well, did you.”

I felt my face burning, but I don’t usually lie to Darcel. And when I do, he can always tell. “What if I did?”

“Was it good?”

I was caught on a hook like that imaginary fish. If I admitted how good it was, what in the world would he think of me. If I downplayed it, he’d ask why I did it. Couldn’t risk my best friend in the whole world looking down on me. So I punted and asked, “You tell me.”

He stopped short and looked me in the eye. “Dunno. I never let him do nothing to me.”

My mouth dropped. “Come on. We been talking about Eugene for over a year now.”

You’ve been talking about him. This is the first time I’ve brought him up. And he musta come up in your estimation. You called him Eugene.”

I made a face. “Can’t get nothing by you.”

“So answer my question. Is he any good?”

“Better’n doing it to yourself.”

“That so? I been wondering….”

I waited a beat. “Wondering what?”

“Nothing. If we’re gonna make the three o’clock picture show, we better hurry.”

####

My dad put me to work cleaning out a storage unit he’d rented a couple of years ago to hold junk… mostly man junk, you know, hunting trophies, cartridge loading equipment, fishing rods, a canoe, and the like. His interests had shifted to bowling and golfing, so he was willing to let the other stuff go. I had no interest in fishing and did only a once-in-a-year deer hunt, so he wanted to sell what he could and trash the rest. My task was to proclaim something as sellable or as junkable. I soon got bored with it, so a lot of the sellable stuff probably got labeled as junk.

Anyway, that took two weeks out of my summer during which I saw little of Darcel, but when the Great Man Cave Selloff was over, I looked him up after his shift at Save a Bundle Grocery, where he had a part time job and we headed for the park to toss a football for a while. Tired of that, we ended up doing what we usually did, lying in the grass and talking. Darcel was a great talker. A conversationalist, even. So I let him do most of the talking until he strayed onto a subject that sparked my interest… like flying, for example. I really wanted to learn to fly and had started saving to take lessons last year. I didn’t have a real job, but my dad was an engineer who worked out of an office in our house, and he kept me occupied running errands, making copies, and the like, so I salvaged a few coins every month for the fund.

Eventually, I sat up beside him—I usually managed to do that at least once—and took a gander at my buddy, especially his groin area. He rattled on for a while until he finally said something that snagged my attention.

“Huh?” I sounded dumber’n a dead tree stump.

“I said, you’re gonna go looking for Flatnose, aren’t you?”

I could feel my cheeks and the back of my neck burning “Why’d you say that?”

He stretched lazily. “Every time you give me that look, I know you’re getting horny.”

“W-what look?”

He sat up beside me. “Whenever we’re lying here in the park, you always sit up and start eyeballing me. Gives me the creeps.”

I swallowed hard, trying to get over a dry throat. “I get tired of just lying—”

“Don’t give me that. You want a better look.”

“Why’d you say that?”

“Because you always end up at my crotch.”

“I—”

“Don’t deny it. I got eyes. And then you go look up Flatnose.”

My whole head seemed like it was afire then. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything.

“Lie down,” he suddenly ordered.

“Wh-what?”

“Lie down. It’s my turn to take a look.”

My muscles must have given up on me because before I knew it, I was on my back looking up at a blue sky. His blue eyes started at my head and moved down me like ground penetrating radar. Or more accurately, cloth penetrating radar. I felt like I was stark naked beneath his stare. And, of course, I started reacting.

“Wow. It moved.”

And it moved again, growing and crawling up my belly. And there wasn’t a damned thing I could do about it save for covering it with my hands. They twitched,

“Oh, no,” he said. “Fair’s fair. I didn’t cover myself.”

“But you weren’t—”

“Getting a hard-on? No, but I thought about it.”

He watched for a full minute while I reached maximum effort.

Then he shifted his gaze to look me full in the eye. “You know what I don’t understand?”

I grunted something that even I didn’t understand.

“Why do you think we need Flatnose?”

I swallowed so hard I gulped. “You mean….”

“I mean there’s you, and there’s me. Why do we need somebody in between us.”

“Oh, Jeez, Darcel! Do you mean….” I didn’t seem capable of finishing sentences anymore.

“I mean I know a place a couple of miles up the creek where nobody ever goes. And—”

I scrambled to my feet, probably making my condition apparent to anybody who happened to be looking. “Your car or mine?”

“Mine.”

As we raced for his Chevvy, I couldn’t believe how much time we’d wasted this summer. I really was dumber'n a dead tree stump.

 * * * *

Was he dumber’n a dead stump post or just afraid to make the first move and possibly lose his friend? Some will look at it one way; some with look at it another. You make your own mind up.

 

My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

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

Until next time.

 

Mark

 New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Dumber’ a Dead Tree Stump (Part 1 of 2 Parts)

 

markwildyr.com, Post #143

Photo Courtesy of photos-public-domain.com 


Today, I’d like to return to storytelling. There follows a short (two part) short story that I hope you’ll like.

* * * * *

DUMBER’N A DEAD TREE STUMP

I was on the hunt for Flatnose Kelly. Usually the town queer wasn’t hard to find, unless he was hid off somewhere with one of his tricks. His real name was Eugene, but everyone called him Flatnose because he usually had it tight up against someone’s belly when he did his thing. Dunno what he got outa doing things like that for guys, but I guessed he liked it or else he wouldn’t a done it.

Today, I was kinda hard up because me’n my buddy Darcel had hung around all afternoon, and the sight of him laying flat of his back in the grass at the park wouldn’t get outa my mind. His shirt and pants—shorts actually—had just laid right close to his body outlining things so it didn’t take much imagination to figure out what was beneath them. Course, we’d gone skinny dipping lotsa times, so I knew what everything looked like for real, but every once in a while a sight like that just stirred me up. And that’s why I was looking for Flatnose.

I found him down by the creek holding a fishing line over the water. Don’t think it even mattered to him if he got a bite, much less caught a fish. Flatnose was one strange dude. He was a couple of years older’n me and Darcel, and he was all right in the looks department, but no one claimed him as a buddy because of what he done. To be fair about it, I don’t really know who he did it for. I mean, you heard talk around the high school, but sometimes talk’s just that, talk. I didn’t believe half the guys when the claimed to get to home base with this girl or that gal. Far’s I know, it could be that way with Flatnose too. All I can tell you for sure was that three or four times, he’d sent me to the moon. He always claimed I had a good one, but that was probably just talk. I’d seen just about every guy in school necked as a jaybird in gym class at one time or another, and they all looked about the same. Some longer, some fatter, but let’s face it, a prick is a prick.

“Hullo, Frankie,” he said when I plopped down beside him on the bank. “Where’s Darcel?”

I shrugged. “Off somewhere doing his own thing, I guess. We’re not joined at the hip, you know.”

He looked at me through pale gray eyes and gave a half-smile. “Might as well be. Probably like to be joined a different way, truth be told.”

“Now why’d you say that?”

He shrugged back at me. His cork bobbed in the water, but he paid it no mind. You see Darcel, you know Frankie’s not far behind.”

I poked out my lower lip and nodded. “Yeah, we’re good friends. Buddies.”

“Just not the way you’d like.”

“Why you always talk to me like that?” I demanded, my blood rising.

“See one, you see the other. What else can I think?”

“No wonder you don’t have any friends.”

“Sure I got friends. Got one sitting here right beside me.”

“Crap,” I said and flopped on my back.

Like I hoped he would, he laid a warm hand over me.

“And my friend’s got a friend. A big friend.”

I just kept my mouth shut and let him do what I knew he was gonna do. I kinda jumped when he pulled me out of my stretch pants, but lordy, did my eyes fly open when he put his mouth on me. Wasn’t anything felt much better’n that. Not even bagging a six-point buck during deer season. I just sucked air and let him have at it.

When it was over—all too soon for me—he pulled my stretch pants back in place, but I just lay there, my bones gone soft and my muscles syrupy. After a while, I stretched like I was just getting up in the morning and yawned.

“Thought the Sandman got’cha for a minute,” Flatnose said.

“Nah. But it felt like I was waking up.” I kinda shook my head. Every other time Flatnose had pinged my pong, I couldn’t wait t get outa there. Now I was talking to him. “What do you get outa that?” I asked.

He shrugged—something else he was good at—and thought for a minute before answering. “I dunno. Making you feel good makes me feel good.” He swiped his face with a freckled hand. “You know, for a few minutes there, nobody matters more to you than me. What I’m doing for you, you know. It’s kinda special. And that makes me special.”

He pulled in his line, and I saw there wasn’t a worm on it. That nibbling fish had gotten the whole worm without getting hooked. I thought about that for a minute.

Was I getting the worm, or was I getting hooked?

 * * * *

Frankie seems to have maneuvered the first part of the story okay. He gets excited by his friend and gets his ashes hauled by someone else. What gives?

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

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

 Until next time.

 Mark

 New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Season’s Greetings to One and All

 markwildyr.com, Post #142

Photo Courtesy of all-free-downloads.com



A sincere thank you to all who reached out with sympathy and understanding over Stan Rhine’s recent death. He was a heck of a guy.

 Today, I’m doing an unscheduled posting simply wishing all my readers a very happy and careful holiday season. Regardless of how you celebrate it, the last seven days of December seems to be a special time for everyone.

But during all of our revelry, let’s not forget the victims of COVID-19, the casualties of war, or those who suffer hunger and other diseases, or simply the separation from family and friends. This is a difficult time for billions around the world. Keep them in your prayers and tip a drop of your libation as an offering to those who are no longer with us.

Thank you for another moment of self-indulgence, but this is something I wanted to say to all of you.

 * * * * *

I will not post for New Year’s celebration but will return to my First and Third Monday schedule for the new year. And I’ll have something a little spicier than these last two posts.

 Stay safe and be happy.

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

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

 Until next time.

 

Mark

 New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Mourning the Loss of a Friend and a Colleague

 markwildyr.com, Post #141

 


Please bear with me while I express my personal grief at the loss of a good friend. Indulge me, if you will.

Today, I don’t want to post a story, or cite from a novel, or talk about the wonderful state of New Mexico. I want to tell you about a friend and fellow writer. Dr. J. Stanley Rhine was a retired University of New Mexico professor, whose field was Forensic Anthropology. He spent a good part of his career traveling the western states visiting archaeological sites, examining bones to determine how ancient peoples lived and what they ate. After the notorious riot in the New Mexico State Penitentiary that took place February 2 and 3 in 1980, he was called in to identify some of the thirty-three dead inmates, some of whom were horribly mutilated. I cannot help but believe the experience of viewing “fresh kills” for the purpose of identification was much more traumatic than examining the dry bones of yester-century, but given his intensely laid-back personality, I doubt if it raised his heartbeat an iota. In fact, I could see him become far more animated at discovering something new from a dusty old bone from the 1700s. Not that he wasn’t empathetic—he was—but he viewed things as a scientist.

Stan was a standout in a crowd. Tall and wiry, he stood ramrod straight with a shock of white hair worn in the Mark Twain style and a thick white Samuel Clements mustache and was instantly identifiable. He spoke in a soft, low voice that required close attention to keep from losing what he was saying… and usually when he spoke, what he said was worth understanding and retaining. He wrote in a similar manner, a tight, small, cramped hand that almost required a magnifying glass to read. In fact, he belonged to a luncheon group of writers who completed the meal with a series of round robin stories (where each member adds a sentence or thought and passes the story to the next reader for like treatment), and one of our members sometimes carried just such a glass to read Stan’s contribution. Stan unfailingly added a moment of wit to each such story.

Retired, he maintained an office at UNM where he wrote short stories with clever O. Henry twists. I often told him he spent seven hundred words just to deliver a ten-word surprise. He was a perfect blend of wit and wisdom.

A member of our Wordwrights Writing Group that met for years at the North Domingo Multicultural Center, Stan wrote authoritative articles on Western railroads and published two volumes of his short stories, Talking Dogs, Singing Mice and Other Shaggy Dog Stories and An Omnium Gatherum (both available on Amazon). The titles are a perfect expression of Stan’s complexity.

Part of that complexity is demonstrated by the fact that while he was quite loquacious when speaking of other people and their efforts, few among the group of around forty people or so who attended our Wordwrights class knew little about his personal life, he held those details close. His instructions for his own disposal after death were typical: No funeral, no memorial service, no nothing. But everyone… and I mean everyone liked and respected Stan Rhine.

Tragically, Stan suffered a fall on Wednesday, December 9, which resulted in a skull fracture. Other problems developed, and Stan passed away in the morning hours of Sunday the 13th. According to his wife Sue, he was sedated and in no pain.

He will be missed by all who knew and loved him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sue and his family. Rest in Peace, Stan.

 

A further note. This identical lament is posted in the Don Travis blog as we both knew, respected, and loved Stan.

The usual jumble of links and sources have been deleted, although I’ve retained the motto as it is something San agreed with wholeheartedly.

 * * * * *

Goodbye, Stanley. Dear readers, I’ll be more in a mood to return to my usual type of posts by New Year’s Day. Thanks for indulging me.

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

 

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

 Until next time.

 

Mark

 New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

More of Wastelakapi… Beloved

 

markwildyr.com, Post #140

 


I now have a date for the publication of the 5th book in the Cut Hand Series (actually what I’m now labeling the Strobaw Family Series) called Wastelakapi… Beloved. On Wednesday, January 20, JMS Books will publish the novel. I have had word that I am receiving the return of the rights to the others in the series, and JBS indicates they will republish those, as well.

Obviously, I am somewhat excited by all of this, so I cannot resist giving you a little more of the upcoming book. On November 5, I posted the first part of Chapter 3 of the novel which largely consisted of a conversation between John Strobaw, a half-blood Yanube Indian with the tribal name of Medicine Hair, and his brother-in-law Gideon Haleworthy, a US Army Captain, during which Gideon acknowledges he is aware of the man-love John bore for his mate, Matthew Brandt (Shambling Bear) who died the prior winter at Wounded Knee. After that conversation ended, John warns his friend Winter Bird—who seeks to take Matthew’s place in John’s heart—that Gideon will come to realize Bird shares his proclivities. The conversation did not end well, and the following scene picks up at that point.

* * * * *

Wastelakapi… Beloved

My reaction to what happened in the sweat bath surprised me. I spent the evening hours being touchy about the most common, ordinary things. The stew wasn’t spicy enough. Winter Bird’s amiability touched a nerve.

Rachel Ann saved me by bringing over my two nephews for a visit before bedtime. While I had come to love both boys in the few weeks they’d been on the farm, I struggled to keep from showing favoritism toward Ides. He reminded me of Matthew at that age. I saw the same restless nature in the boy. His would be a warrior’s heart. With whatever trouble that brought.

Prompted by my conversations with Bird in Lakota, Ides expressed interest in learning the language beyond the smattering of words he’d picked up at Teacher’s Mead. He also insisted on an Indian name. Bird immediately took to calling him Istá To or Blue Eyes in Lakota.

Ides reminded me of Matthew physically. Not in his features, which were sharper than my mate’s, but by the shape of the head, by the shoulders that promised to be broad, by the glossy black hair he had started to let grow long. But the boy’s eyes shattered the illusion. The intense blue of a summer sky, they were beautiful yet troublesome. They marked him clearly as someone living in one world but belonging in another. Would either ever fully accept him?

Evenings were the worst time of day for me. I missed the easy companionship Matthew and I had shared then, missed knowing that soon we would be abed where he always demonstrated his physical love so expertly. Tonight, Ides eased my burden by poking at me with questions.

“What was lifelike at Rivers Bend? Were you really a chief?” The child’s eager voice, so full of curiosity and interest, penetrated the miasma that gripped me and brought me to the here and now.

“Life was hard. Never enough to eat. No firewood to fight off the winter winds.”

“Why didn’t you just go to the cold room and get something to eat?” His question was spurious, as I could see that he clearly knew the answer. His queries were a ruse to provoke me into telling him more. Clever.

I answered his question as if it were a serious one. “Because there was no food in the cold room. The crops had failed, and there was no wild game, and the cattle had died from the cold. We thought about eating little boys but decided against it when their mamas started to cry.”

“Awww….”

“Some wanted to eat little girls because they wouldn’t be so tough and stringy.”

“You’re teasing me.”

“Yes, I am. It was a bad time. Many died of cold and hunger and disease.”

His eyes clouded. He understood pain. “But if you were the chief, why didn’t you help them?”

“I was not a chief. I was the village’s headman, which was a little different. And I tried. Uncle Matthew and I both tried. And we were making some headway, too.” I paused. “Until the troubles.”

His facial expression announced he had decided to approach things from another direction. “Did you ever do the Ghost Dance?”

“Occasionally.”

“Did you wear the shirt?”

“I usually wore a shirt.”

“Nooo! I mean the Ghost Shirt.”

I shook my head. “I never believed in a ghost shirt. Nor the dance, either. We could dance until the end of time, but it wouldn’t change things. It just….”

“Go ahead,” Rachel Ann said from the chair where she was repairing some of the children’s clothing. “Tell him. He ought to know.”

I sighed. “It just frightened the whites. Stirred up the army. Made them think we were about to go to war.”

“The army? My dad’s army?”

“Yes, your dad’s army.”

“Well, you did go to war, didn’t you?”

How could I make him see without testing his loyalty to his father? “No. But there was a misunderstanding and some shots got fired. After that, the war broke out.”

“And it got Uncle Matthew killed?”

“Ides!” his mother said.

“That’s all right, Rachel Ann. Yes, that’s when Matthew died. In the middle of the battle.”

“Did you fight? You know, did you shoot anyone?”

I nodded. “To protect myself, I did.”

The boy was lost in his own thoughts for a bit. Then he roused. “I went to war, too, you know?”

I cocked an eyebrow at him. “How so?”

“The boys at the school. They tried to beat me up and told me to go back to the reservation.”

My heart slowed and became heavy. “I didn’t know.”

He straightened his back. “But I showed them. I fought them back. All of them.”

His mother spoke up. “That’s why we went to Teacher’s Mead. The teacher couldn’t or wouldn’t keep her pupils in hand.”

“I thought it was because the wives made you uncomfortable.”

She lifted her head from the needlework. “That, too. It was better to go back home.”

“Sorry. Maybe if Matthew and I hadn’t gone—”

“Hush up. Your being there didn’t make a bit of difference. It was our blood they objected to. The boys and their mothers too.”

My sister gathered her things and prepared to go to her cabin. Gripped by an emotion I did not understand, I stood and embraced Ides. “I love you, son. And I’m proud of you for standing up to them. Always remember that.”

I picked up Gabe and gave him a hug, as well. Brown-haired and brown-eyed, he did not provoke recollections of my beloved, but I felt a stirring of love for this child, as well.

After they left to traipse the fifty yards to the small house, Bird said goodnight and retired to his bedroom, so I washed up and went to mine.

I was fleeing something. Or running toward something without knowing which. Ides, with his looks and his questions, had evoked memories of Shambling Bear–not Matthew, but his Indian incarnation–to the point I would have sworn he was present in my bedchamber. I stripped to my sleeping shift, a simple cotton chenake or loincloth, and fell into bed. But sleep would not come. I closed my eyes and conjured a vivid image of my beloved. Tall, muscled, fit, naked, handsome. I moaned aloud and tore away the apron. I broke into a sweat even though cool night air caressed my bare skin.

Holding desperately to the image imprinted on some portion of my brain, I took myself in hand and pulled back my foreskin. I fingered my slit. A pleasant sensation, but not an erotic one. I stroked my cock and felt it grow. But it never really hardened, and though I flailed myself desperately, I eventually opened my eyes and gave up the effort.

Panting from my feckless exertions, moaning from frustrated passion, I thought of Matthew’s trek on the Western Road and longed to join him on that lonely path. Why I had not done so, made little sense to me. I did not fear death. But perhaps my mother’s Christian influence stayed my hand from actively seeking it.

I released my flagging manhood, threw an arm over my eyes, and gave a great sob as I descended into a hell of recollections. I saw a bloodied chest, heard the rale of a pierced lung, and relived a desperate flight to escape the sound of gunfire and galloping horses and screams. I don’t know how long I tossed on the mattress before falling into a shallow, restless sleep.

 * * * * *

Can John cut himself loose from his vivid, loving remembrances of Matthew and face the future instead of living in the past. Given the rate of change taking place across the Dakotas at this period in time, something now or in the future is apt to force his hand. Hope you’ll read the book.

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

 The following are buy links for CUT HAND:

 DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cut-Hand-Mark-Wildyr-ebook/dp/B073D86RWV

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/book/cut-hand/id1256084273

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/cut-hand-2

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

 Until next time.

 

Mark

 New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Echoes of the Flute

 markwildyr.com, Post #139


Artist: Maria Fanning

As I indicated in my last post, JMS Books has contracted for the publication of Wastelakapi… Beloved, the fifth book in the Cut Hand Series. They have also indicate a willingness to publish the first four should I reclaim the rights to the books. So I have been working on re-editing those books. At the moment, I am working on the third book in the series called Echoes of the Flute. Thought I’d give you a sample of that one this week.

 The following scene takes place in the third chapter of the book. John Strobaw (War Eagle) has been lamenting the absence of his foster brother Matthew Brandt (Bear), when Matthew makes a surprise return and joins John as he swims in the Yanube River. Hope you enjoy the excerpt.

* * * * *

Echoes of the Flute

 “Rode in not half an hour back. After I got through saying hello, Ma told me to go put on some decent clothes.”

Ma didn’t permit breechclouts at the Mead. She considered them uncivilized.

“Rachel Ann told me you’d walked down the river, so I came here instead of putting on pants.”

“You back for good?”

He shrugged. His shoulders had filled out, but the part about being skinny was true. He’d lost weight, but he carried it well. He was leaner but harder. He probably looked more like a man than I did. Was that because of the year he had on me or what he’d been through while he was gone?

“Might stay a while,” he answered. “But who knows when I’ll have a hankering again and move on.”

“Good. One of the coach horses that pulled in Thursday’s still limping. You can doctor him.”

“That wasn’t the only place I was.” Something in his voice made me look at him. “I fought at the Rosebud with Crazy Horse. He’s a great man, Eagle. Never seen a man fight like him. We beat the War Chief Crook at Rosebud Creek.” He spoke as if remembering was reliving. “After riding all night to get there, we fought for six hours. Crazy Horse was everywhere. He talked to me—more than once. Said he was proud of me. We made the Americans turn back at Rosebud so they weren’t there to fight alongside Custer at Greasy Grass eight days later.”

Greasy Grass was what the warriors called Little Bighorn. I kept my tongue in my mouth, afraid of drawing him back from wherever he was.

“I was still with Crazy Horse in the Tongue River Valley in January of this year after what was left of Dull Knife’s band straggled in to join us. The soldiers had snuck up on Dull Knife’s village while everybody was asleep. They killed a lot of Cheyenne. Slit the throats of most of their horses and destroyed their supplies.

“After talking to Dull Knife, Crazy Horse decided to palaver with the Americans. But the Star Chief Miles’s Crow scouts murdered our delegation.” A shiver when through Matthew… Bear. “I was supposed to be one of them, but at the last minute, Crazy Horse said he wanted an older warrior to impress the Americans.”

Matthew looked at me, back in the present now. “Wolf Mountain wasn’t so good for us. Miles had artillery on the high ground and pounded us. When the weather turned bad, Crazy Horse withdrew. After that, some of the warriors started returning to the reservations to get allotments for their families.”

A frown tugged at the corners of his broad mouth. “That’s what the army’s doing now. Pushing the tribes onto reservations and hoping we’ll just lie down and die when we can’t roam free anymore.”

“Is that when you left?”

He shook his head. Leaning against the pressure of the current, Matthew told me he’d stayed with Crazy Horse until May. “Then the Shirt Wearer decided to take what was left of his people to Camp Robinson in Nebraska to surrender. He knew I had a home to go to, so he sent me away.”

“If that’s what the army is doing, it’s good you came back. The Mead’s a safe place for us. A good spirit home.”

He stared at my left earlobe and snorted. “It’s nothing but a little reservation.”

“Don’t look at it like that. We’re free to do whatever we want.”

“It’s better than some of the places they’re putting us. But we’re still Indians. You forget that sometimes, John. One of these days they’ll make you face up to it. Just wait and see.”

His words put an ache in my heart. “Can’t you see the warrior’s road is about gone. All of that’s come to an end.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. Sitting Bull was called to the Sun Dance last year. While he was dancing, he saw things and predicted a great victory. And it happened too. We whipped the whites good at Greasy Grass.”

“Seems to me like you just made them mad. Got them all stirred up. I hear Sitting Bull’s gone to Canada.”

“To regroup. He’ll make medicine and plan things out. He and Crazy Horse will ride again, you’ll see.”

I swallowed hard and tried to think of something to say. What came out surprised even me. “I hear Crazy Horse has a win-tay wife.”

He met my eyes just like a white man. Uncomfortable, I turned away. He was on me instantly, wrestling like we did as kids. His arms gripped me from behind and pressed me to him. I managed to twist around to face him, intending to tumble us into the current. If he wanted horseplay, he’d get it. I froze. His lips were close to mine. His eyes looked deep down inside me.

“I thought about you,” His voice was a scratchy growl in his throat. His Adam’s apple bobbed. “I wondered if I’d live to see you again.”

Then he pressed his lips to mine. I froze, thinking of Timo and what he’d done and how I still didn’t know how to handle it. But now… now, I didn’t want to deny Bear. He was handsome and desirable and young and my friend.

His tongue pushed into my mouth. The heat of his kiss flowed down into my belly and my vitals. His yard rose and pressed between my legs.

Panicked, I shoved him away. “What are you doing?”

“What we both want.”

“You, maybe. But… but not me.”

He grabbed my thickening cock. “That’s not what this says.”

His touch was almost too much for me, but I squirmed from his grasp. “I’m not just a prick, you know. I have a mind and a heart.”

“Yes, but they tell the prick what to do. You want me, Eagle.”

Flummoxed, thoughtless words spewed out of my mouth. “Maybe I’ll give you my cock, but I won’t take yours. I won’t be your win-tay. You just want one because Crazy Horse has one.”

He stared at me for a long moment before wading to the shore where he wrung the water from his long, flowing mane. His manhood stood hard and proud, reaching for the sky, throbbing against his flat belly at times. It was big and strong and straight.

I wished to call back my words.

“So be it,” He reached for his loincloth draped over a tree limb.

I stepped forward, my legs feeling slow and leaden in the current of the river. “Wait!”

“Why? Have you changed your mind?”

I clamped my mouth shut, uncertain of what to say. Passages from Billy Strobaw’s journal raced through my mind.

“I thought not,” he said in Lakota. “Goodbye, brother.”

He turned and strode away, his manly form and easy grace robbing me of my wits. His high, hard buns dimpled as he walked, giving me an erection. I cried out in pain. “If you go, don’t ever come back!”

 * * * * *

Now John’s done it. He’s rejected Matthew’s advances out of panic because he doesn’t yet know his own mind. How will he correct what he immediately recognizes is a huge mistake?

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

The following are buy links for CUT HAND:

DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cut-Hand-Mark-Wildyr-ebook/dp/B073D86RWV

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/book/cut-hand/id1256084273

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/cut-hand-2

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

 Until next time.

 

Mark

 

New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Wastelakapi… Beloved

markwildyr.com, Post #138


 Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest

NEWS FLASH: JMS Books has contracted with me for the publication of Wastelakapi… Beloved. At long last, the fifth book in the Cut Hand Series will be published. Tentative issue date is January, 2021. The publisher has also shown interest in republishing the first four books in the series should I be successful in reclaiming the rights.

Ergo, it’s not surprising that my post this week comes from that manuscript. I guest-posted on Don Travis’ website (dontravis.com) excerpts from the Epilogue, Chapter1, and Chapter 2 on September 24 and October 1, so I’ve selected a scene from the beginning of Chapter 3 for this post. John (Medicine Hair) is talking to his brother-in-law Captain Gideon Haleworthy. Let’s see what happens.

* * * * *

WASTELAKAPI… Beloved

 According to Gideon, a murder trial was about to begin in Federal Court in Sioux Falls up on the Missouri River. The defendant was familiar to me. I had fought at Drexel Mission alongside a Brulé named Tasunka or Sanika-Wakan-Ota and remembered him as a pleasant-faced young man with a somewhat awkward manner. His white man’s name was Plenty Horses.

As Gideon told the story, Plenty Horses had been sent by the government to the Carlisle Boarding School in Pennsylvania for five years. He returned home just in time to witness the Wounded Knee massacre. Ironically, Carlisle was the same school I falsely claimed to have attended to explain away both my obvious education and why no one knew me at Pine Ridge. After the battle at Drexel Mission, I returned home with the body of my beloved while Plenty Horses rode for Stronghold Table in the badlands of Pine Ridge. The Brulé rose after the massacre and repaired to this natural fortress to protect themselves against an attack by the very soldiers who had murdered their kinsmen at Wounded Knee.

On the seventh of January of this year, Lt. Casey rode into the stronghold with two Cheyenne scouts. He claimed to have come to determine if the uprising could be settled peacefully. The chiefs refused to talk to him because they planned to meet with General Nelson Miles on the following day. As Lt. Casey turned his mount to leave, Plenty Horses raised a Winchester hidden in his blanket and fired into the back of the officer’s head. The young Lakota was arrested and taken to Fort Meade near Sturgis, South Dakota to be tried for murder.

Landreth’s question about whether Bird and I acknowledged the “war” was over–asked in such a strident tone–fell neatly into place when Gideon said the Brulé’s pro bono lawyers planned to defend him with the claim the parties were at war. The thinking was that the slaying of one combatant by another was not murder.

With that understanding came another answer. The sheriff’s hostility toward Bear and me, and now Winter Bird, was motivated at least in part by fear. He likely considered Indians as mindless, no-account savages who didn’t have the backbone to stand like a man alone, but who instantly became sly and treacherous when there were two or more of them. He wasn’t singular in that opinion.

This both empowered and alarmed me. I glanced at Bird. He’d paid close attention to Gideon’s telling, but was his grasp of English sufficient to follow my brother-in-law’s rapid Yankee speech? My friend’s eyes let me know he’d followed enough of it. That increased my wariness. When a man knows someone fears him, he may pursue the matter too vigorously. Besides, this raised another question. Did Landreth consider the war over?

Gideon must have missed our reaction to his revelation because he moved on to other things. Timo Bowers, the Yanube City blacksmith, was still going strong although he must be in his sixties by now. Most men would have retired to the grave well before that age, but his profession kept him in better shape than most. During my eighteenth summer, he had been the first man to bring me to ejaculation.

Caleb Brown still ran Brown’s Emporium, established by his uncle, the original Caleb. He remained a steadfast friend during all the troubles. He and Timo and Andre were the reason why it was impossible to hate all white men.

Then Gideon brought my attention back to him. “John, how are you really doing?”

I waved away his question. “I’m functioning. That’s about all I can expect. Matthew… Matthew was a great loss.”

He nodded. A blond curl fell over his forehead, making him look younger than his thirty-two years. We were of an age. “I understand, you know,” he said.

I looked him straight in his blue eyes just like a white man. “You understand what?”

“I understand what your relationship was. And I saw for myself the depth of the feeling… uh, the love you shared. I can’t imagine violence taking Rachel Ann away from me like that.”

The hair on my neck bristled, but I took a breath and relaxed. While Gideon and I did not view things through the same eyes, he was a decent man capable of more understanding than most of his kind. “How long have you known?”

“Quite some time now. You weren’t obvious about your relationship, but I have some insight into the Strobaw family that most people don’t, so I figured it out. I also know the family secret,” he said.

I raised an eyebrow.

“I know you and Rachel Ann and your siblings are half-breeds, not quarter bloods.”

“I wondered when Rachel Ann would share that with you.”

“Only recently, and she revealed the reason for the deception. To make it easier for Cuthan to inherit the Mead. But she never revealed your and Matthew’s secret.”

The European part of my brain prompted me to ask a question. “Do you think less of me now that you know I loved a man?”

He shook his head. “No one who truly knows you could ever think of you as anything but a man. A good man.”

“You realize, of course, that’s what got Otter and James murdered.” I referred to my spiritual grandfather and his mate, retired Major James Morrow.

He hesitated before nodding mutely.

“And the same thing could happen to me.”

“If it does, it won’t be because of me. I respect you too much to decry you to anyone.”

“I wasn’t sure. We’ve crossed swords before,” I reminded him.

“We look at things from different perspectives, that’s true. I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned from that.”

“You gave me my name and my reputation, you know.”

He pursed his lips. “I did?”

“Back in ’83, I repeated what you told me about those unusual sunsets and blue moons and lavender suns caused by the eruption of Krakatoa over on the other side of the world. The tribesmen I was talking to instantly named me Medicine Hair and declared me a shaman.” I laughed with a trace of irony. “I told them I learned those things from the army’s telegraph, but they decided I had medicine, anyway.”

“Be damned. Didn’t know. Hope you don’t blame me for…?”

I held up a hand. “It wasn’t you who sent Matthew and me to Pine Ridge. It was that shóta, that snake, Raven. He’s the one who ambushed an army patrol in my front yard. By the way, I know you came with the rest of the family to rebuild this place. I appreciate that.”

Gideon shrugged. “Wasn’t anything.”

I laughed. A genuine one this time. “I imagine not. You merely had to find time during the middle of an Indian war to come help your Indian in-laws rebuild a farm your own command had burned to the ground.”

He was silent for a long moment. “I was there, you know.”

“Where?”

“Wounded Knee.”

My jaw dropped. Something moved in my belly. Had I fired on Rachel Ann’s husband like those families ripped apart in the American’s Civil War?

“Not at the… uh, battle,” he said. “But they called in reinforcements when some of the tribes rose afterward.”

“There was no battle, Gideon.” My voice turned bitter. Chill bumps rippled my back. “It was a massacre pure and simple. A rifle went off. No one will ever know whose, and the soldiers on the hill opened on us with everything they had. They even shot some of their own troops who’d come down to disarm us.” I paused, but he made no response. “Were you at Drexel Mission, too?”

He shook his head. “We remained at Wounded Knee Creek. I looked for you, John. None of the bodies had been buried by the time we arrived, and I walked the whole area afraid that with the next step, I’d find you or Matthew. I didn’t learn about Matthew until later.”

Rachel Ann interrupted that awkward moment and put both of us to work shifting the furniture in the little house so everything was the way she wanted. Bird had disappeared into the blacksmith shop at some point during my talk with Gideon. I was teaching my Lakota friend the foundry trade and discovered him an apt pupil. He took pride in learning to become a mazkape, as the Lakota called a blacksmith. He did not emerge from the building again until after Gideon had taken his leave for the fort. Doubtless, the sight of that blue uniform bothered him beyond tolerating.

* * * * *

 The stage is now set. We’ll learn more when the book is released this coming January. Thanks for reading.

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

 The following are buy links for CUT HAND:

 DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cut-Hand-Mark-Wildyr-ebook/dp/B073D86RWV

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/book/cut-hand/id1256084273

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/cut-hand-2

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

 Until next time.

 

Mark

 New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.