THIRTEEN ‑ ALMOST FAMOUS

 

 

Gideon drove slowly through the falling snow. He tried to breath in the world around him and had to force himself to concentrate on the arcane business of staying on the road. Each farm, every white‑topped fence and tree filled him with a new wonder. The sun broke through at mid‑morning and sat on the edge of a smooth line of clouds, casting a brilliant light on the softly cushioned earth.

     As he drove farther west on Interstate 80, headed toward Denver, a few large flakes once again began drifting down in front of the van, and he encouraged them to fall. Gideon's mind was clear for the first time in months, now that he'd had time to himself to think things out. He began to consider what he was doing as fun.

     The storm built until he was driving through a wall of white, like a sheet of paper with no way to tell where the road stopped and the roadside began. There was no sky and no horizon and Gideon drove with his face to the windshield, searching madly for signs to show he was still on the highway.

     He was driving at less than 20 miles an hour when he saw the faint flashing of an electric sign at an exit just ahead. He could only make out one word, but that word was enough. It said EAT.

     Gideon headed down the ramp, made a guess as to where the parking lot was, and turned in. The van bounced violently as the right front tire struck the curb, followed closely by the rear wheel. When it lurched to a stop, it was parked in front of the little cafe.

     "Not bad," Gideon congratulated himself. He slid back the door and hopped to the ground, closed the door and ran toward the glass door of the cafe. He pushed it open and twisted inside, looking around at the empty room before choosing a table along the front wall.

     CREDIT MAKES ENEMIES, a paper sign above the counter confided, SO LET'S BE FRIENDS.

     "What can I get for you?" asked a soft voice at Gideon's side, startling him. He glanced up from the simple menu and saw an angel of a girl, probably not sixteen years old. Black hair fell in millions of curls across her shoulders, and her eyes were dark and filled with an innocence that unsettled Gideon. Deep in his mind he wished her luck.

     "Sir?" the girl asked nervously as he stared. She stood straight, with an easy grace. Her uniform was clean and fresh, red trim on white with Charlotte sewn in off‑red above the lace pocket.

     "I'm sorry," Gideon mumbled. "'Guess all the snow went to my head."

     The girl smiled and accepted the lie, but she knew why he was staring at her. Everyone told her she looked like an angel. Gideon ordered breakfast and, when the girl stepped into the kitchen, he got to his feet and wandered around restlessly. He watched the near blizzard while listening to the slow growl of traffic that passed on the interstate.

     A newspaper, scattered across one of the small Formica tabletops, caught his eye, and he walked to it. He pushed aside the want ads marked with pencil lines, ignored the sports section and pulled the front page to the top. It occurred to him that he could scan current events and use his travel time to come up with a few usable speeches to satisfy not only a crowd of student radicals, but his new bosses as well.

     The stark headline described a major offensive in Vietnam with accompanying photographs. Below this, in an article on a bloody demonstration at a concert south of Denver, Gideon saw his name in print for the first time. It was only a small notation, but he was overwhelmed. The journalist, in an attempt to explain the two deaths and many injuries at the mountaintop concert, tried making a comparison:

        "This kind of violent reaction to police intervention," the writer said, "has become popular since the Democratic National Convention in Chicago brought out a new breed of agitator. The reckless        anger of the Chicago Seven and the dangerous antics of cult heroes like Gideon Holley make these kinds of demonstrations inevitable."

     Cult hero. Gideon read the paragraph over and over again, fascinated by the idea that people knew who he was, horrified by the idea of being thought dangerous. He hoped his Uncle John hadn't read anything like it back home.

     The young girl brought a tray of food to Gideon's table and he took the front page with him, reading as he ate. He leafed through the pages to see if there were any photographs of him inside and felt foolish when he saw none.     

     He looked toward the kitchen and met a set of cold, green eyes staring at him from behind the counter. The green eyes were trapped in a face that resembled Charlotte's, but was three times as old. They were stuck like mountain climbers in an avalanche of flesh.

 

     Gideon rose from the table and let out a contented grunt, smiled at the fat woman and walked toward the counter. He dug into the pockets of his jeans. "That was a great breakfast."

     "Yeah," she said, punching at the cash register. Gideon glanced past her to the kitchen and saw young Charlotte standing just inside the doorway, mocking the old woman's gestures and giggling. She noticed Gideon, blushed, and stepped back into the darkness behind the door.

     Gideon smiled again at the woman as she handed him his change. She tried out the feel of a new smile herself but it failed her, so she let it go.

     "Eight‑twenty's your change, sir," she said. "Thank you, and hurry back."

     He slipped into his coat and pushed open the door, catching his breath as the cold air raced past him into the cafe. He stepped into the van, cranked the engine, backed out cautiously and drove once again out onto the great, white highway.

 

Moranne wasn't too concerned about losing Gideon. He had copies of Gideon's schedule and programs, and would soon have copies of all his receipts as well. Moranne wasn't afraid of losing him, but he was afraid he'd miss seeing and studying everyone Gideon came in contact with along the way. He thought there was a possibility that Gideon was using the Radical Speakers Bureau as a front, traveling around setting up an organized, violent revolution.

     As Gideon was paying for his breakfast at the cafe, Inspector Moranne was signing a travel voucher of his own. "If Pillhauser wants Holley's head on a platter," Moranne told his men, "then, he'll have to pay for it."

     He handed over a government check to Stanley Greenhouse, owner and proprietor of Greenhouse Winnebago Sales and Rentals. The inspector had just leased a Winnebago deluxe camper, complete with hookups for water and lights. It had a stove, refrigerator, three separate beds, a shower and a commode. It also had gas heat. The three men were very pleased with their newly acquired luxuries.

     They found Gideon again late that evening in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His van was parked in the wide parking area beside the Howard Johnnson's Motor Lodge, just off the interstate. Moranne checked with the night clerk and found Gideon was staying in room 212. When he returned to the Winnebago, Moranne kicked a small, but noticeable, dent in the left front fender.

 

 

     Gideon took a long, hot shower, then soaked for an hour in a tub of water. Later, he turned on the television and found an old Bogart film on one of the channels. He had bought a thin science fiction novel in the lobby downstairs. The title was Revolt on Jupiter, by Colin Rogue. Gideon lay back on the bed and read the book, watching the television each time his eyes roamed to the top of a page. He fell asleep with the finished paperback lying face down on his chest and an Indian staring at him through a hissing test pattern.  By noon the next day he was outside Sante fe, New Mexico, heading steadily south toward Albuquerque.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I said how weird it was that we kept crossing each other's path in the most unlikely places, and this was no exception. I had been at the riot south of Denver. The article I wrote there from the demonstrators' point of view was the first piece of work I ever did that wound up in print. I traded the account, raw as it was, to a small underground newspaper for a full meal and a place to sleep.

     The next morning I stood on an entrance ramp to Interstate 25 South for several hours in a bitter wind before catching a ride with a beautiful Italian woman from Saddle Brook, New Jersey. Her name was Esther Scianablo, and she had driven her new Mercedes 450SL across the country. Now, she was getting close to her destination ‑ Sante fe, New Mexico.

     Esther owned a small shop in New York City that handled Indian jewelry and curios. She was mad about Indians. Esther confessed she had two motives for coming to Sante fe. Her business motive was to bid on several quantities of turquoise, and finished belts. Her other motive for driving all this way was, as she said, to be screwed to death by an Indian.

     Esther wasn't interested in blacks or Puerto Ricans or Chinese, she said, because they were as well off as anybody. She was only second‑generation American, so her family couldn't have had anything to do with massacring Indians, raping squaws or stealing land. At the time this type of activity was all the rage in America, her ancestors were living in Italy, making olive oil and babies.

     I asked her why she felt such a love for Indians.

     "Because they've suffered," she said. Esther wanted scores of Indians to lie on her belly so she could make them whole. I told her my grandmother was full‑blooded Cherokee, but she wasn't aroused.

     Esther let me out of her Mercedes in Old Sante Fe, and I spent three hours trying to find the interstate again. It ended on one side of Sante Fe and began again on the other. Inside the city itself, there were no noticeable signs to guide me back to it. There were only a few teasing hints.

     I was only two hundred yards from the street leading to the interstate when I saw Gideon's blue van pass by, headed south. I felt badly about it, not only because I needed a ride, but because I would've liked the chance to talk to Gideon and ask what was going on. He was getting very popular in radical circles. I dropped my packs and my guitar and waved my arms, but he didn't see me. I picked up my belongings and walked to the ramp, watching for traffic coming out of Sante Fe.

 

 

 

 

FOURTEEN ‑ ALBEQUERQUE

 

 

Gideon dipped the nose of his van into the congested parking lot, his eyes searching for an empty parking place as his hands twisted the steering wheel, trying to avoid running over the swarming mass of communal freaks whose inner hallucinations had leaked out onto their clothing like multi‑colored lava, burying faded jeans and ginghams under a tide of patches, slogans and bright needlepoint. Over these bright colors spread a subtle, earthy stain of dust, grease and urine.

     Their glances darted into the cab of the van like field mice, their faces overflowing with smiles and warmth and dilated pupils as their bare feet bounced across the icy pavement with an emotion they, unlike the faces, could not hide. They waved at Gideon as they passed in their little parade, hair free‑flowing in a still life explosion.

     "Come to the mountains, brother," one of the freaks shouted, "and you'll be free!"

     "Yes!" a young girl, probably not over fifteen, said ecstatically. Gideon watched her beautiful face and thought of Charlotte back at the diner. She would probably wind up here. "You'll find God in the mountains!"

     "I thought I told him to stay home," Gideon said.

     "What?" the young girl paused, her head cocked to one side like a puppy.

     "Nothing," Gideon said, shaking his head as she skipped away to join the others. He eased ahead and searched up and down the rows of cars for an empty spot to park, finally finding one. He stood on shaky legs as he locked the van, making it more difficult for his belongings to become community property. He stomped his pants legs down over his boots, and slipped the keys into his pocket.

     "Fuck socialism," he said, fingering the keys.

     Gideon moved stiff‑legged across the parking lot, bending his long frame around to work out the driving cramps. He walked up to the side of a big, brown building, and passed a sign that pointed a black arrow at a basement entrance.

     KUNM, Campus radio, the sign said.

     Gideon turned and followed the arrow down a set of dirty steps into the basement, ducking his head as a quick wind tossed sand in his face. He stepped inside and walked along a dark corridor lighted by black lights and intricate Da‑Glo posters. A young girl, leaning against the wall, smiled at him. Her teeth shone like light bulbs under the black lights.

     "May I help you?" she asked.

     "Yeah," Gideon answered. "How do I get to the programs office?"

     "Which one?" she looked at him closely.

     "Well...," Gideon hesitated, unsure of whom he was supposed to see. "I'm from the Radical Speakers Bureau, and ‑"

     "You're Gideon Holley?" she interrupted.

     "Yes," he said, wondering how she knew who he was.

     "Well, fuck me," she said as an exclamation, not an invitation. "Biff just sent me over there to see when you were supposed to arrive."

     "Biff?"

     "Yeah," she pointed to a tiny window full of light, shining like a beacon at the end of the hall, "Biff. Benjamin Franklin Todd, KUNM's most popular disc jockey."

     "He's in?"

     "Yeah, come with me." The girl turned her back to Gideon and led him down the hall.

     "My name's Dora," she called out, not looking back. "I'm the program director." She disappeared through the door, then came back out a minute later and held it open.

     "Come on in," Dora said.

     Gideon walked into the small cubicle and almost fell to the floor when he saw the poster that had been taped to the wall above the console. It was a frightening photograph. In it, an angry young man, his face painted with streaks of blood, was being ushered past a crowd of screaming, tattered young people by a half‑dozen stone-faced policemen. Under the photograph, black gothic letters proclaimed, GIDEON HOLLEY, NEW ORLEANS, 1969.

     Below this, in smaller print, it said, 'Gideon Holley to Visit Radical Indian Caucus Saturday, November 15.'

     The angry young man in the grainy photograph was Gideon Holley. Gideon was shocked.

     "Hey, are you okay?" a voice swam around him. Dora touched his arm, her eyes full of concern as he shook his head and looked down at her.

     "That's me," he said, pointing up at the photograph.

     "Yeah," she said dreamily. "Great picture."

     Gideon looked around him at the crowded room, alphabetized record boxes overflowing with albums, and more records scattered on the floor. Thirty or forty more were spread in disarray on the counter top between two turntables, one spinning and one still. A boom microphone hung from a spring arm above a face almost completely hidden by thick, curly hair, blacker than night. A round nose sat like a rock on moss, and two dark pools of eyes flashed in the clearing above.

     "Hi, there!" said the face as a hand flew toward Gideon from below the counter. He shook the hand.

     "Hello."

     "I'm Biff Todd," the face became a person. This person pulled back and stared at Gideon, fingers tugging at his beard. "So, you're Gideon."

     "That's me."

     "Pleased to meet you, brother."

     Gideon winced. "My notes said to come here first."

     "Yeah," Biff Todd said. "They're having a meeting over at the programs office, and they're expecting you." He waved toward Dora. "Why don't you take Gideon over there?"

     "Fine," she said. "Fine."

     The music faded, and Biff raised his hand again, this time for silence. He turned nimbly and dropped the arm of the second turntable down gently on another record, gave the turntable a practiced half‑spin backward and turned a knob on the console.

     "That was Janis Joplin with A Piece of My Heart," Biff crooned into the microphone. "Now, what do you say we listen to a few cuts from Steve Miller's new album?" As soon as the music started he twisted the internal volume control to low.

     "Take him over to programs and introduce him," Biff said to Dora, then tossed a smile to Gideon. "I'll get the word out that you're here." He turned around on the stool and clamped the headphones down over his ears as his fingers searched through a box of records.

 

 

The moment Gideon and Dora walked around the side of the building, they were struck by a volley of laughter and music. Gideon stared into a swirling wall of sand mixed with light snowflakes and saw an ocean of students flowing in and out of the union. Three longhaired students with long, silky beards, sat on the edge of a small patio and made sweet music with a guitar, a banjo, and a flute.

     Before they were halfway across the square, headed toward a group of low, pink adobe structures united by a series of walls and rock gardens, someone shouted his name.

     "Gideon!" the name was said with excitement. "Hey, it's Gideon!" He looked around and saw several students shouting and waving at him. He felt light headed again.

     "How do they know me?" he asked, genuinely confused.

     "God," Dora said, "everyone knows you."

 

                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

 

FIFTEEN ‑ THE WHITE SAVIOR

                                                                                     

 

"This is Gideon Holley," Dora announced, one hand lightly touching the small of his back as she waved the other in a wide arc over the seated circle of young Indians. "Gideon, these guys are the inner core of the Radical Indian Caucus."

     The young Indians stood and Gideon nodded uneasily at them. They followed suit.

     "Well," Dora said, "I'll get back to the station and let you get started." She backed smoothly to the door and was gone.

 

     "Welcome to Albuquerque," one of the Indians stepped forward and shook Gideon's hand formally. "I'm George Two Throws. George Cly to most whites."

     George acted like a businessman greeting an auditor, and it made Gideon nervous. Up until this second, he thought he could pull it off; but now, in the moment of truth, his will failed him.

     "One question," Gideon said.

     "Shoot."

     "Who the hell invited me here?" He looked them over, surprised by his own bluntness, but too embarrassed to continue. "I'm sorry, but I don't know a fucking thing about Indians." They glanced at each other, puzzled expressions dancing across their dark, serious faces.

     "We thought you were gonna be our white savior," one of the other Indians said. "You don't know nothing?"

     "It's worse than that," Gideon went on, unable to stop himself from telling the truth. "Until I met a girl last month at college, I thought Custer was one of the good guys!"

     George chuckled, squinting at Gideon out of the corners of his eyes. "Are you serious?"

     "Yes," Gideon felt like a fool. "Yes, I'm serious. In the last few weeks they've tried to turn me into Che Guevara, but inside," he tapped his chest, "I'm still Ozzie and Harriet."

     The group of Indians seemed to relax a little as Gideon tramped around in a circle, his breath whooshing in and out as he tried desperately to gain control of himself.

     "I'm sorry," he said again. "All the way here I've been making up speeches, and trying to learn what's going on; but I don't know shit."

     "Yeah?" George said.

     "Yeah. I tried to tell them I didn't know anything, but nobody listened to me."

     "Well, see?" George grinned. "There's one thing we have in common already."

     "What's that?"

     "Nobody listens to us, either."

     Gideon watched their faces, endured the silence. "I have a feeling I'm not going to be in the speech‑making business long."

     "Oh, I don't know," a tall, round shouldered man leaning on the back wall said, "that was a pretty good one right there." The others laughed.

     Everyone stared at Gideon. George walked to the door and locked it, silently pulling curtains together over the windows. Gideon eyed the others with a growing fear. Not one of them moved.

     George leaned down out of Gideon's sight and nodded at the others. As he stood, he held something up toward him. Almost too scared to look, Gideon let his gaze drop to the object in George's hand. It was a can of Schlitz.

     "Gideon," the Indian said, "I think we're gonna get along just fine."

     Gideon took the beer from George and opened it, relaxing as he watched the slow smiles building on the faces in the group. They came forward and introduced themselves, shaking his hand until it throbbed.

     "By the way," an Indian named Ernesto said, "you were invited here by Russ Benedict, a white guy over at the Radical Students Association."

     "What's he like?"

     "He's a fucking clown," George leaned into the conversation. He slapped Gideon's arm and pointed to the floor. "Have a seat."

     He folded his large body down onto the bare concrete floor and slapped the space beside him. Gideon sat cross legged and finished off his beer. Someone handed him another one. Before darkness fell they were all rip‑roaring drunk. On top of that, someone began passing around zeppelin sized joints and soon the air was thick as wool in the bitter‑ sweet smoke.

     Toward the end of the evening, an older man named Harry crawled across the room to where Gideon was sprawled, a beer on his chest and a rolled‑up throw rug under his head. Harry was a muscular giant, and his black eyes were deep and thoughtful. "My name is Gaagii," he said, "but you can call me Harry."

     "Okay," Gideon said, hoping to make it through the night.

     "You know," Harry belched as he lay down beside Gideon, "our biggest problem ain't the shit the government feeds us." He pointed a finger big as a car axle at Gideon. "Hell, man, you can develop a taste for shit. Our biggest problem is that no one'll leave us alone."

     He crumpled his empty beer can and reached into the pocket of his denim jacket for another. "The only time they leave us alone is when one of our kids gets sick, or when we start talking about human rights."

     Gideon could think of nothing to say.

     "The one thing," Harry pointed the finger skyward, "that is prob'ly the main thing driving Induns crazy is the God damned Indun Tours."

     "The what?" Gideon asked, curious as to why a bunch of Indians taking tours would be a factor in driving them crazy. He wondered where the government made them go as he sipped the beer.

     "The Indian Tours!" Harry shouted, obviously angry just from thinking about it. "A bunch of white assed tourists ‑" he paused, chuckled.

     "Do you know that our ancestors, when they saw their first white man, called him "white‑ass?" Harry asked, and Gideon shook his head drunkenly. "They've always pretended we were saying 'white eyes.' It sounds so much more respectable."

     He shook his head, too, and grinned at Gideon. "Where was I?" he said. "Oh, yeah. A bunch of white‑assed tourists come to where we live every day ‑ busloads of them! And they walk around taking pictures asking us when the rain dance is gonna be, and how come we don't keep our kids clean." His anger was building.

     "Gideon," he said, "we ain't got a damned thing out there but dirt and things we scrounged out of junk yards, and the fucking tourists steal us blind." He lay back and belched again.

     "I don't know how you take it," Gideon said. "I mean, I never even gave it a thought before now. I'm just like the rest, though, I guess."

     "You think so?"

     "Well, yeah," Gideon struggled to a sitting position. "Didn't somebody call me the White Savior? Your Great White Brother, sent here to lead you out of the darkness, right?"

       "Right," George said from across the now subdued room. "Only you at least spared us a long night of the we're‑all‑brothers‑of‑the‑revolution shit we usually get. You ain't half bad."

     "Prob'ly less than half," Harry said, and they laughed.

     "No, Gideon," George said, "We ain't holding it against you. We ain't brothers, but that don't mean we ain't riding in the same boat."

     "Yeah," Gideon said, laughing while trying not to laugh. "I have to admit, though, when Harry said that thing about Indian Tours, all I could think of was busloads of Indians with cameras and tour books."

     The room got quieter still.

     "What did you say?" Harry sat up beside him. Gideon hoped he hadn't said something out of place. He repeated his vision to Harry, as the others listened.

     "Gideon," George Two Throws began laughing, "you're a genius."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIXTEEN ‑ THE INDIAN TOURS

 

 

It was a perfect Sunday afternoon. The sky was ocean blue and decorated tastefully with patches of high, billowing clouds. Under this perfect Sunday sky lay the perfect layout of Legend Estates.

     Legend Estates was upper‑middle class and boasted of it, shouted it with every sculptured hedge and every landscaped rock garden. Thick, green grass covered the malt‑ brown earth. The grass was clipped and healthy. The houses of Legend Estates were spacious, and modernly ornate. Two lawn mowers created an out of sync pattern of sound waves that droned sleepily through the neighborhood.

     Ron Lash, a middle aged public relations man, lay in his hammock and watched a football game on his tiny Sony television. The hefty linebacker for the Washington Redskins was two inches tall. The entire football team looked like it weighed only ounces, but Ron didn't mind. He had one hundred and fifty dollars riding on this team and they were winning. They were the favored team of Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America.

     Ron Lash had lived in Legend Estates for three years, and he loved his home. He was the first one to notice the old school bus that swung up onto the winding road to Legend Estates, and he was vaguely curious as to what it was doing in this part of town.

 

 

Chester Peterback and his wife, Veronica, were leaning over the smoking barbeque grill, eyes watering as they whispered.

     "Four seventy‑five for this god damned steak and I gotta give it to a sonofabitch I don't even like?" Chester hissed.

     "Chester ‑" Veronica looked worried.

     "God damned Bradley didn't even say he was coming!"

     "Oh, pooh," she said to Chester. Veronica always said that when he got mad. It was her way of soothing him. 'Besides,' she said to herself, 'Tim Bradley's the Second Junior Executive Vice‑President of Robard's Phosphates.' Chester was only a salesman.

    'But, he's a good salesman,' she reminded herself. She backed away from the cloud of smoke, holding a platter full of four dollar and seventy‑five cent steak in her right hand. On her apron was printed the word SLAVE.

     Chester's apron said MASTER.

     Veronica had just reached for the salad bowl when she noticed an old bus rattling its way up the street. On the side of the bus was a hand‑painted canvas sign that announced: INDIAN TOURS.

     "Chester?" Veronica tugged at her husband's arm, causing him to drop the plastic pepper shaker onto the hot grill.

     "God damn it, Ronnie!" Chester said.

 

 

As the bus hissed to a stop the neighborhood came alive. Heads turned, mowers stopped mowing, curtains were pulled back and windows were stared through. In the secure world of Legend Estates, the old school bus wouldn't have been more out of place if it had been a flying saucer, filled to the brim with little green men. When the doors to the old bus wheezed open, what emerged was even more frightening to the happy folks at Legend Estates. The intruders were big, red men. And women. And children. They swarmed out of the bus like ants at a picnic, pouring across the landscaped lawns and rock gardens, pausing every few seconds to snap photographs with an old Brownie, or a pocket instamatic.

     "What the fuck?" Chester said.

     "Chester!" Veronica let her fingers flutter over her mouth, tasting the sound of the word.

     "It's fuckin' Indians!" Chester screamed now, watching the dark faces spreading across the lawn. Some were headed in his direction.

 

 

Gideon sat behind the wheel of the old school bus, his foot on the brake as the engine idled in neutral. He looked out from under the bill of the oversized driver's cap that kept flopping down over his eyes. He was laughing at the first wave of Indian tourists that had begun spreading out across the lawns when George Two Throws stopped beside him.

     "Here goes nothing," George said, slapping Gideon on the shoulder. Gideon remembered saying the same thing the day he left the campgrounds.

 

 

Chester Peterback smiled as he watched Tim Bradley crawl under the redwood picnic table, scuffing his grey polo shirt in the process. "I won't be a coward!" Chester shouted at him, at the world. He stepped in front of Veronica and held a barbeque fork out like a lance.

     "They're going to rape me, Chester!" Veronica cried against his back. Her eyes were wide.

     "Shut up, Ronnie!" Chester said.

 

 

A tension spread to the outer fringes of the red tide of tourists. People ran, cursed and screamed to their hearts' content. Paranoid fantasies flourished. It was somewhat like a group encounter session, though no one noticed the therapeutic worth of it, at the time.

 

 

Calvin Cooder climbed over the side of his swimming pool to see why there was so much noise in the neighborhood.  He opened the wooden gate attached to a tall fence surrounding his pool and stared outside, paralyzed in fright. His wife, Laura, walked up behind him, her wet, bare feet making loud slapping noises on the clay tiles.

     "What is it, Cal?" she asked.

     "Jesus!" Calvin answered.

     "Jesus?" Laura's mouth dropped open as she imagined the second coming right there in Legend Estates. She looked past Calvin to see a tall, muscular Indian holding a tiny instamatic camera up to his face.

     "Smile," the indian said, and snapped their picture.

     "Jesus!" Calvin repeated himself, slamming the gate shut and locking it.

     "What is it, Daddy?" his two young daughters were hopping up and down. "What is it, Daddy?"

     Cal looked at his twins, their white‑blond hair falling in straight, wet strands across tanned shoulders, the dripping ends almost touching the mere suggestions of breasts that hid behind matching bikini tops.

     "Good God, Laura," his breathing was ragged, "take the children inside and lock the doors!" As he watched his wife and children hurry across the patio to the french doors, Calvin searched the pool area frantically for a weapon. He chose a long‑handled pool rake.

 

 

"Did you make that yourself?" Hank Cly said to Chester Peterback, pointing to the long barbeque fork in Chester's hand. Chester's eyes became glassy.

     "Aaaah!" he said, swinging at Hank with the fork. Hank pulled the fork from Chester's hand and punched him in the eye.

     "Owee!" Chester cried out, falling backward as he grabbed at his face. He stumbled over Veronica, and they fell to the ground.

 

 

Gideon watched with a sick feeling as he sat in the bus. He thought it was going to be funny, and maybe even enlightening. He heard a fluttering of wings and looked up to see a magpie land on the hood. He couldn't believe his eyes. He knew without proof that it was the same bird he'd seen the morning he left Macalester. The same bird he'd seen later the same day. He just didn't know why.

     "It is odd," he said to himself. He leaned his head out the bus window and looked at the bird.

     "Are you following me around?" Gideon asked the magpie, grateful no one was around to hear him.

     "Tweedle?" the bird responded.

     "What are you?"

     "Tweedle," the bird said as it flew away.

 

 

A free‑for‑all was taking place on Ron Lash's lawn. He and his brother‑in‑law were busily wrestling with two young Indians while others seemed to be randomly fighting around them. Ron's television was lying on its side in the grass. A two inch half‑back was running straight up toward the sky while others chased him with apparent ease.

 

The screaming wail of sirens filled the still, Sunday air as swarms of police cars swung skillfully into the main road of Legend Estates. Uniformed policemen poured across the lawns, hacking very selectively at heads and backs as they ran.

     Gideon watched helplessly from the bus window as the white residents cheered. The cavalry had arrived in the nick of time.

 

 

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