Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Taking Cover- Stranger Beginnings

Stranger Beginnings

Like all the hot summer days here you either go to a local pond, lake, stream or public swimming pool to escape the blistering sun. If that was not a choice you kept plenty of beer on ice in a bucket that was not too far away from your side. You could spend your late evenings working and sleeping the days away. Growing up in the south you might see the longest extension cord and plug in a clattering fan. I had one sitting over on an old wooden fruit crate, so that at least when I felt the air hit my skin it was like a cool breeze bringing in a very short winter spell. This rag ass town had no luxuries like a pool. There were other things that kept me here for so long.

Each place along the Texas trail seemed the same as the next, but this town was full of history and had plenty of mystery. Spanish Fort, Texas, est: 1753; population 1000. Nearly half of this number is on the local funeral homes waiting list for the only graveyard for about fifty miles outside of town. Guess I was looking for a place to hide out for a while, and this is the kind of place where you might see someone chasing after you, and you can make it out the back door before they can get to you. That is if you are looking for Robert Monroe Casey. I am forty one years old and getting to old to run from my ghosts. I am pretty sure no one else wants me enough to hunt me down. My family heritage is mostly of Irish decent, but I have always been intrigued by Indian history. Spanish Fort has plenty of that in its culture, people and old stories.

You could say I own a piece of this town. Whitney let me rebuild and work in the shop, so he left me everything when he died. The house faces a back street and the garage faces the old highway into town. I use the garage as my business now. I repair motorcycles and what ever else comes down through town.
Locals tell stories about the people that occupied this land back in 1753. The Taovaya Indians settled this territory to escape being put into reservations near the bad lands of the Dakotas. Most of them also had been driven south from lands as far away as Nebraska by the Osage and Comanche who did not want to share hunting grounds such as the white fathers who slowly occupied and pillaged their lands up north. These people during that time gave the Spanish more trouble than anyone by participating in raids but soon found farming as a quiet way of life. The Taovaya people eventually chose the Red River for their final stand before disappearing into the white mans world. Only the French soldiers that passed this way traded with this peaceful tribe; until only a handful remained to have their bloodline still flow.

My mother once told me how she over heard her parents speak of family secrets. Of how they had ties to other Native Americans on both her mother and father. Her father had told her of one grandmother being kidnapped by a mid-west Comanche tribe during a raid and was forced to marry, have children, until she and their offspring were rescued by soldiers. They were all brought back to Texas. You could look right into old photographs and see the eyes and facial structure of that warrior staring straight back at you. As far as her grandmother, she was really French-Indian, or maybe even Creole. Except for the dark complexion in the family photos and funny accents of relatives I met when I was a small.

I consider myself of pure Irish heritage, from both my mother and fathers side in spite of our small native blood mixed in. I feel the strong ties to Ireland canceled out any chance of taking a share or profit in the gambling that goes on in Oklahoma or Louisiana casinos around the Texas borders. My average good looks and husky frame of five feet and eight inches tall, dark blond hair that is straight as a mule’s coat helps me blend in most places I have blended in the past twenty or so years, or at least I have been told by little Maria. She also said my eyes are brown like the Red River that runs through town and my skin is dirty white like the recycled paper she draws on in the back yard. She is a wild little savage and I will introduce you to her later. I keep to myself most of the time but I am not quiet. I have never been married or sure I ever want to be. I guess I just have not met that right person yet.

My attitude about that institution of marriage came from my parents who never divorced. They separated when I was thirteen. My father known as Patrick J. Roberts lives in Texas somewhere close to our old house. I have not spoken with him since I turned twenty one, but kept in touch with my aunt now and then. He was always the strong arm that had a bible in one hand and a two by four in the other. You could say we do not get along. I do not believe in what he preaches, nor ever feel we could see eye to eye on most things. I have not seen them in all these years either, nor have cared to.

My mother, Kathleen Elizabeth Casey, well she took off and left me with my dad and I have not thought much about her. All I remember is the last time I saw her she was packing her old red beat up car. Mom had always been tough until things around here feel apart. She had enough of the life my dad allowed us to live. Nor could she move on from depression resulting from the death of my sister, Diane. My sister died from a heart problem she was born with. My dad let the phone company disconnect our line after mom left and never really cared for the necessities of life. I figured he just did not want mom to ever call again. He was stubborn, cheap, and narcissistic. She was right to leave him all those years ago. Seemed like no one really noticed or seemed to care that I suffered. I considered sister my best friend and she left me in the shit hole we called home. I just hear stories about how big Dallas has grown from truckers that pass through now and then.

Dallas, the big city of Texas is where most of my family still lives. I have heard that it has built up so much they call it a concrete jungle. No farm land or cattle ranches exist within fifty miles of my home town. They all sold out to developers and big cookie cutter mansions starting rising up like corn in the spring. My mom home schooled my sister and I until Diane, my sister was too sick to continue. She knew me and just let me do what I could get through as far as studies went. So when my dad, Joseph was the name he went by, re-enrolled me back into junior high I spent most of my time getting high and skipping classes.

Once I turned seventeen I quit school and took off. I got my diploma on the road, and bought a motorcycle while traveling all over Texas and surrounding states. Taking odd jobs I had enrolled in a course for mechanics. In order for me to attend they needed proof that I attended school and had graduated. I found a local college offered courses for the GED, so after taking the class I took the state test. Once I finished my college and decided to move on. One day I would own my own motorcycle shop and that is pretty much how I settled here in this sleepy town.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Taking Cover- Dream Catcher Part 2

Suddenly, it was three in the morning and Casey found himself wide awake from the most amazing dream. His dog Gun was staring into his face. The dog shook his head and quietly nudged his torso as he lay on the bed. “The dog was letting me know he was restless too”, he thought to himself. Casey began looking about the small room. The brilliant twilight that streamed in from the night sky lit up his entire belongings.

Not needing much space, just a bed, pillow to lay his head, a chair to hang the motorcycle saddle bags, and somewhere to hang a few meager shirts and jeans. All shoes and his boots sit down stairs by the back door. Silvia, who takes care of the house does not allow anyone to wear shoes in the house. Gun seemed even more restless than usual. That darn dog usually only went out during the day and never bothered anyone otherwise. Casey did not want to stop looking out the window at the night sky. This was the reason he chose this room over the bigger ones. The previous owner must have built this room for his daughter or some female they could keep watch over. The view from the back yard was a spectacular part of the design. You had a great view of the night sky. This town lacked modern lighting like a big city. You could see almost every star in the sky. Casey felt as though he was always sleeping outside, like when he used to run the open roads.

The dog and he made their way quietly down the back servant staircase. No one in the house was allowed this access except he and Silvia that lead to a private screened in porch off the back corner of the house. This was an old servant’s entrance and the house was never altered since it had been built.
Little Savage

As I sat on the steps outside I noticed a light came on in the upstairs garage apartment.Casey began to think about doing some much needed work on the staircase leading up to their door. He did not want Maria, the child he called little savage to fall through the railing one day. The door shortly opened and down came the little girl all dressed in her full Indian dress. Silvia, her mother must have gone back to sleep since he saw the light go back out after her daughter reached Gun in the center of the yard.

The original owner, Roger Whitney had put in an old fountain he picked up at a salvage yard. His last wife tried to put in a garden to spruce up the place before she passed away, and had always wanted a beautiful English garden with a fountain. I went a step further and put in a few lights about the yard to help see if you were out after dark. Many of the old pathways were cracking and coming up at the corners. When Casey first arrived he found Whitney would sometimes roam around out here at night drunk. After all he did not want him to fall and break his neck. After Silvia and Maria moved in it helped provide more security for them. You might also see if strangers ever entered the alley and be alarmed if one might try to break in the shop of the downstairs garage. The yard had no fence and as a matter of fact most houses in this town or outskirts ever put up barriers to keep trespassers out.

I quickly noticed Gun and little Savage dancing bizarrely about the flickering light and fountain as if an Indian hunting party had returned, celebrating with a ritual dance around a campfire, and making loud panting noises. Gun was jumping, stopping every now and then, pawing at the grass, and then rolling across and under her in a playful manner. I could swear he was part wolf as his eyes lit up a golden color when he passed through the light. Matter of fact he could have been the wolf in my dream Casey thought to himself. Maria was pointing and covering her mouth and would roll over Gun every now and then. I only heard whimpers from Gun as she bounced right back off his stomach. Little Savage had not spoken since she had come her two years ago, and it was nice to see them play together.

The two began to pull me into their trance. My thoughts went to Silvia and her past. To the day when she showed upon my doorstep with child in tow saying she had heard he needed a care taker. This had come from her aunt Estella who worked at the local tobacco store on the outskirts of town where Casey would stop for cigars on his way home from the bar. She did not care what it paid and just asked if I had a place for her and Maria to live. Silvia had left the town for a short while to attend a junior college in Wichita to train as a nurse. I am not sure who the father is, but I do know by the looks of the bruises about her neck and arms that he was a rough and mean son of bitch. Casey felt sorry for her and let them move in over the garage and she has been running his boarding house ever since. She also works two days a week at a local nursing home and helps out at a local senior center giving flu shots and checking blood pressure for the locals. At some point Silvia had gone to nursing school in a bigger city and returned to this dump of a town.

After hearing a noise my mind began to wander about the shadows of the yard, house and garage area. I caught a glance of a shadow at the corner of the shop near the street. I got up and went to see who and what they wanted. Whom ever it was had disappeared quickly and I turned back to my two warriors. Returning to the center of the yard to join them as the sun was coming up I saw Maria curled up with Gun and they had fallen asleep. The light came on in the garage apartment, so I scooped up the female savage and carried her upstairs. Silvia opened the door and headed over to the house to start breakfast and her morning cleaning. I volunteered to put the girl to bed and told her I was headed into the shop to start early.

As I laid Maria into the bed a notebook of drawings fell into the floor. I bent down to pick them up and noticed that there were drawings of an Indian on what appeared to be a hill top. Drawings of horses running, a wolf, and even a picture of a little girl dancing with a wolf were among them. Curious I decided I would ask Silvia about them later. Casey said out loud, “I can see how she would as a child draw images of herself and Gun could act out such a childish whim. But how could she have known about my dream in such detail”? He returned to the main house and dressed to start work in the shop underneath Silvia’s quarters, and knew Maria would be safe while he was on watch.

Taking Cover- Dream Catcher

A Hard Rain

Something about a hard rain
when it comes down
through trees to the ground
taking cover like people do
just in time and just enough

travels through hair- over noses
lovers embrace- strangers watch
quiet kisses- moments in time

washes over- turns into streams
quenches thirst- starts fires
scattered clouds- here for all time

Something about a hard rain
when it comes down, I cannot complain

- © E, 2008


A valley lay before me at the mouth of large hill in the Wichita Mountains near the Red River. Loudly I heard a proud Indian brave roar at the sky, "I am Kohiaca (Ko-we-a-ka), future chief warrior of the great Taovaya people that have been forced to blend into the Wichita tribes by our white fathers. I am the oldest son in a great line of chiefs and named by our white fathers as Lookout".

This was new land his people roam and their Spanish brother’s called Tejas. A new place was part of the south east regions and covered with lush green grass, tall as summer wheat, but the red man did not like it as much as the lush hunting grounds of the north. Afternoon winds began to blow back and forth across the landscape. Kohiaca was waiting for signs of wild horses running out through the pass that lay before him. The ground would feel like a hundred boulders falling from the hill sides and like thunder in the darkest autumn night.

Sitting still upon a small cliff waiting for a chance to capture a mustang, his right of passage into man hood. All young braves are required to capture one of these horses for his own; tame it, paint it with markings and then be allowed to ride proudly along side there father and brothers on hunting parties and into great battles.

Pressing his ear down to the ground and he knows that they are coming. A great wind rose up and dust began to cloud the opening below his feet. There were many horses and one could even take more if so desired. The more horses a man owned the higher seat among the elders.

This warrior yells out to the grandfathers and all the spirits that had been here before and declared his is ready. Kohiaca ran and jumped from the small cliff and landed in clearing a few feet from where the horses had come out. Catching a glimpse of a three year old stead he began the chase. The pony was small but his bronze color was like that of at rising fire at sunset and he held his face up high like that of a proud warrior. Kohiaca set the pace and ran with them. The young braves feet carried him closer to the bronze male. Soon it occurred to him that the pony was not running with most of the others. He was holding back, but yet still part of the group; as if he was being punished and was not allowed to be closer.

Kohiaca moved in, looked into his eyes and realized that he was soon to become the dominate male and this too was part of his ritual into adulthood. He could hear the horse breathing, see it turn to a misty smoke in the early morning air. The roar of the other horse’s feet on the rocky ground shook the entire pass. Feeling strong and becoming one of them was part of the ritual so he had to stay focused. "I had to take one soon" he thought, "and this would be hard to return to the village in shame". Becoming hesitant Kohiaca caught the glimpse of another pony. As he reached out to grab its mane Kohiaca began to throw himself over the horses back, he lost his balance. Kohiacas body flew over the top and landed onto the cold hard ground. As his body scratched and bleeding he began to roll just barely and only feet away from the hooves of the entire heard. The horses began to turn and head back into the pass. The bronze stead had proved himself and took the lead as they disappeared into the hills.

Out of the corner of Kohiaca eyes he caught a glimpse of a young wolf watching from one of the hill top. He too soon turned and disappeared over the rocks. Once again I found myself alone in this strange place and now knew what had to be done…

This story is about a young man who survives tragedy, leaves home at seventeen, and finds himself in a small town off the Red River in Texas. He will find love, rides a metal horse, and himself on the dusty roads of life... This idea came to me when I wondered what would have happened to my son if I had left when his sister passed away...would he have proved himself like my character in the story, or would he have chosen a different another path...

Grey Sky- Broken Timber


Magina father drove up the long and winding highway past patches of empty forestall spaces. They are noticeably grey from sun exposure and harsh weather of the Pacific North West. All along the river and inlet roads you can see broken timber washed up on the edges of the shore. Timber that has been cut and hauled away by her people for decades. Before the land was taken away by the white man and given their jobs to remove the sacred trees from its ground. She looked up at the mountains and its landscape dotted with green trees. Each curve of the road make it seem like they are pointing over as if women of era’s past long unrevealed skirts bow gracefully to their dancing partners at an all night ball.

She has not spoken a word to her father this whole trip back home. Her mind is searching for words to tell him and her family that she is leaving for New York in less than two weeks. Magina has enrolled in college, with no plans of being involved with the family business. She had read many books on other parts of North America and always dreamed of leaving this dreary life. The forest and rivers of her Chinook people in Washington State, and its endless grey skies. She felt that it was as if she was not even part of the Native American Indian culture here, and as if she was dropped off at the door step of Miller and Aylen Sun Hawk.

Like many young adults her age, she was not sure what life was waiting out there on the shores of the east coast. Magina did know that the only thing that might ever bring her back here would be if New York fell off into the Atlantic, and what are the chances of that happening.

My story takes place in Washington State, and involves Native American culture and life on the Pacific Northwest. It is about a young girls adventures away from her family and the hardships that await us out there...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Ins N Outs of E

Yeah, I have started yet another project...if you have not guessed, I am a Gemini, and can manage many tasks at once...and have to get all my personalities out there at once!

Being of Scotch-Irish decent I can visualize familiar stories of love, mystery, and a few leprechauns hiding in the shadows of long ago, but let's look at me as a loud sort (leprechaun) running about with pots and pans making as much effort to be seen as the green grass itself!

This will represent a more serious side of E...my own material...different subjects...maybe one story at a time...let me think on this one...we Gemini's have a difficult time deciding and that is why we do so many things at once...

I have many stories started and want to see what the public thinks...should I explore publishing them or not...you will tell me!