Novels

Moccasins of Another #1

October 19, 2019

Part 1

Moccasins of Another

 © Robert McMurtry

 

Badge of Success

Slipping out of his seat, Sean Michael Casey stood for a moment admiring his exceptional new car glimmering in the sun, a brilliant pale-green metallic paint, custom made in every possible detail. The custom color along with the designer interior was what he demanded; he was not about to settle for one of those ‘off the floor’ models stamped out by some cookie-cutter factory. His order for the car took six months, a long wait but worth the results. In his opinion, BMW was the car to own, performance and looks all in one, eliciting money and power, sitting perfectly still. The electrics and hybrids were for wimps, a fad generated by the ecological do-gooders of society; SUVs still sold with the lies generated by the car industry.

His girlfriend Brandi was crazy about the car, not that it mattered to him. All the women Sean hung out with had a thing for expensive cars; somehow in their mind, a guy’s sexual performance hinged on the kind of vehicle he drove. He used that small advantage because it worked. It might appear like a shallow connection but that’s the way he liked it. You used whatever edge there was along with gimmicks to impress the easily impressed. He knew it was style that made the difference; women paying close attention to every detail, right down to his custom, handmade briefs, if he bothered to wear them. Plenty of losers tried to impress the chicks with cars and money; the majority of them slept alone at night because they had no class or taste.

However, there was a better reason why women flocked to Sean’s doorstep, eager to please. It was the power to give them a shot at the Hollywood dream, mingle with the who’s who, get that big break. That was probably the main reason Sean never slept alone, unless he chose to. He shallow relationships a simple formula; no toothbrush, clothes or underwear were left behind to prompt his memory or suggest any hope of permanent habitation, no cute photos stuffed in a nightstand drawer or stupid love notes with hearts on them. His motto was simple; give them a visitor’s pass and send them home before they start to expect more, less complicating when you played by those rules.

His house in the Southern California hills was posh, exclusive and almost paid for. The previous tenant, some loser, had been in foreclosure, a deal for Sean, who snapped it up like a hungry wolf. The poor jerk had problem with alcoholic, missed a few payments and got the boot. It wasn’t Sean’s problem if the guy lost every cent in the place; one man’s misfortune is another’s gold mine. One good thing about his job, he was never affected by the ups and downs of the erratic economy, which bounced around like a Ping-Pong ball. He sold the human product, the dream of dreams, movie stars. Actors needed to be elevated in public’s eye, since they were only people like anyone else. The best of the best were just as common as any on the street; they had to be promoted like some super-savings on steaks at the market. Step on a common rock and it is nothing but a rock; put it in a box and call it a Pet Rock, and people go crazy over it. Just tell the public what they want to hear and they’ll buy it.

Yeah, it was a different kind of meat market in Hollywood and Sean was the best salesman in the town. He handled the big and little stars with complete anonymity; that safety feature kept from becoming involved personally and emotionally. The way to survival in the business was to keep your failures silent and push your successes to the forefront. When an actor or actress bombed you did not want your name tied to this drowning rat. For all purposes, he had the perfect life until now.

Standing besides his car, reflecting on his good fortune, something gnawed at his gut, an unexpected happening in the wind; a brief encounter earlier in the day produced this uneasy mood. Some longhaired, wrinkled face beggar leaned over the door of his convertible to ask for spare change, common in these neighborhoods. In that part of Hollywood seedy characters like this begged everyone who passed the intersection. Sean was tempted to bust the light and leave the bum in the dust; but a Hollywood cop sat on the opposite corner waiting for an opportunity to ticket some unfortunate guy like Sean.

Yeah, I see you, you over-starched, tin badge vulture. You bastards are just waiting for a chance to nail a guy like me. You probably drive a five-year old Honda, still unpaid for, he thought adjusting his designer sunglasses to prevent eye contact. I know your kind; you’ve got a quota to fill and you love bagging guys in expensive cars. A little envy, huh? Maybe so but not today, buddy!

The beggar appeared to be like a lot of the riff-raff that plagued this part of town, dirty, shoeless and in rags, the unofficial uniform of the down and out. The man’s skin was dark with a pronounced, crooked nose, probably broken more than once. His dark, dull eyes revealed a calm uncommon for desperate street people. The guy reminded Sean of the Indian on the old nickels.

 You can’t feel sorry for those people, Sean thought. They’re lazy, don’t want to work and most of them are boozers or shooting up. I’m glad the cops keep them out of the better areas of Hollywood.

He groaned inwardly remembering times of his youth, growing up in an environment he wanted to forget.

My parents would have taken this son-of-a-bitch home, feed him and send him on his way with a few extra bucks in his pocket. That’s the trouble with all those sixty hippies. I still can’t stand that, liberal, bleeding-heart crap. I love my parents but can’t understand what they get from it.

He brought his attention back to the situation at hand.

I’ll blow this guy off and send him on his way, he said to himself. I hate it when they try to wash my windshield or something. Assholes just end up smearing it, anyway.

It was as if the man read Sean’s thoughts.

“That’s okay, brother; don’t need no money,” said the beggar too calm for Sean’s comfort. “Instead, I’ll give you something you can use; it was in my vision. I saw you there.”

“Vision!” protested Sean. “Hey, get your dirty hands off the car; you can’t possibly have anything I want or need. Why don’t you go beg for booze money somewhere else, buddy. I don’t give money to drunks or druggies.”

“I don’t drink or do drugs,” replied the beggar. “My people done nuff of that. Kinda ruined a bunch of real good folks. My people are allergic to the stuff, ya know.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” snapped Sean. “That’s what you all say.”

The old man continued, after stepping away from the car.

“You ever dream, brother?” he asked, tilting his head to get a better look at Sean. “You gotta have protection from the bad ones, ya know; some dreams that ain’t so good.”

“I never dream, pal,” Sean blurted. “Dreaming is for people, who don’t have a life. I sleep like a baby, every night, not that it’s any of your damn business.”

Sean began to feel uncomfortable with the conversation, the old man not the usual vagrant using some ploy to get cash. The man voiced his words with such conviction it almost made Sean believe he had a point.

“Well, friend,” whispered the beggar. “You will. Cause dreams ain’t always just dreams. Sometimes, dreams is real. I think maybe you gonna have a bad dream, brother, a real bad one, and soon. I can see it in your face, just like it was wrote down in the newspaper. You can’t run away from them, neither; they catch up with ya, them dreams, that is.”

Sean thought of the sixties and seventies when people bought into all sorts of crap; dream analysis, vision quests, soothsayers, voodoo and fortunetellers were things of the past. The only reality to Sean was big numbers in the bank and meaningless sex with one bimbo or another.

“Yeah, right! And I suppose you can tell the future? Who is going to win the Lotto?” growled Sean. “I’ll bet you can’t come up with that one pal. Just get lost; I think you been sniffing gas fumes too long. Find some nice shaded spot and sleep it off. Now, beat it!”

The old man didn’t seem taken aback by Sean’s accusations and protestations.

“Ain’t tired, brother but I’ll pray for ya and give ya this,” the old man mumbled holding something out in his hand for Sean.

He held up a small wooden twig formed in a circle with webbing in the center.

“This dream-catcher catches bad dreams; my people use ‘em all the time. This one’s a good one, too; made by a old woman healer from my people. She gifted it to me afore she died. It done good for me.”

The light changed Sean hitting the accelerator then quickly backing off remembering the cop sitting on the corner. The slight chirp of tires brought the police officer’s eyes level with Sean’s, a suspicious glare. The eyes watched as Sean slowly proceeded through the intersection, well below the posted speed. Sean’s day was not going to be ruined by getting a ticket. He had a late date with Brandi and didn’t want to spoil the mood. A little dinner and some sex was all he needed to finish off his day.

Sean was all too familiar with the American Indian charms and junk; his parents had the crap all over the house when he was growing up, none of it possessing any special powers to him. It never changed a thing in their lives nor would it change anything in his life today. Some derelict on a street corner might believe it but Sean was smart enough to know these trinkets were as believable as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Movin’ On

Brandi wasn’t her real name, of course. She had been Annabelle Sue Krininsky when she arrived on the bus from some no-name town in Iowa. She had big hopes and small breasts; neither would land her the chance acting in any major Hollywood role. She had done a few local plays in Iowa spurred on by her mom, dad and neighbors, who claimed she should act for a living, though several praised her to make her feel good as people sometimes do. A couple of years in junior college, saving up money for the big move and Annabelle was on her way to make her big debut.

She was one of a thousands girls looking for the same break, a cute face, nice figure and amateur lessons in acting. In Hollywood, competition was fierce forcing Brandi to augment her body with numerous plastic surgeries. Her breasts were a perfect augmented C-cup with a slight rise to show off cleavage, her butt lifted, enhanced with silicon and her nose was reshaped to be the perfect nose; the nose had been a major project. All in all, it was doubtful she would ever be able to recoup the expense of the procedures with the small waitress jobs she was being paid for.

Like all the other bimbos looking for success, basically, Sean didn’t give a tinker’s dam about her acting or her career. After years of being a waitress or secretary, some would see the hopelessness of it, go home, get married and have a bunch of kids. It was still too early for Brandi to give up, though it would happen sooner or later. They had met at a cocktail party a month and a half before. She discovered Sean’s influence and was prepared to do whatever was necessary to get an edge in the business. Sean was that possible edge.

If the truth be known, Sean’s longest relationship, if that’s what you could call it, lasted five months; three months was his average. It only lasted five that one time because the woman in question had gone home to her sick mother for a couple months. That didn’t mean he went without; some starlet or wannabe was always willing to shack up for a night. His world was full of women waiting to be discovered, most willing to sleep their way to the top or at least for an opportunity to meet the right people.

Women are like cars, he reflected. Got to trade ‘em in before they start giving you trouble.

Originally, money was not something that came easily to guys like Sean. A lot of the people around him had the advantage of wealthy parents and good career connections. Sean’s parents didn’t have a dime and the only connection they had was a stupid church they donated what little money they possessed. Sean had to work hard and step on a few people to get to where he was now, his road to success littered with the corpses of those who are too weak or lazy.

Poverty was not a condition to be proud of; he refused to let that happen to him. The measure of success was determined by a person’s wealth and status in this world; you maintained status by keeping as much of the money you made, which perpetuated itself once it was invested wisely. For that reason he stopped giving money to his parents when he became successful. They only gave it away to people like that bum on the street with some stupid trinket in exchange. He grew up with these low-life types sponging off of his parents, taking away Sean’s future. He was not going to give another cent to any of them, by proxy or any other way.

Inside his house, he looked out of the picture window at the valley below. It was the usual yellowish haze hanging over the valley in the summer, the attempts to clean the air a joke in his opinion. Politicians made sure the American Dream included plenty of pollution; in fact, it was a good day, today. He could make out some of the streets below as people hustled to get their fair share of whatever was out there. He pitied all those little people with small ambitions and tiny hopes; they’d save for years so they could spend five days in Hawaii; eat casseroles everyday so they could make a down payment on some cheap piece of shit car. The world was filled with this kind of human fodder, etching out a sorry ass existence. He refused to be any part of that scene, not anymore.

Dreams, he thought again. Why does that bother me? The old bum’s gibberish was line of crap, a scam of some sort to get into my pocket. How could I have bought into that? Still, he really rattled me.

He shifted his thoughts, trying to avoid the disquieting feelings about the encounter. He was not about to be some primitive taken in by such foolishness.

“Where the hell is Brandi?” he said out loud. “I told the stupid broad to be here by 7:30. It was her idea to go to this party in the first place, though I doubt it’s going to do her any good. She’s really nothing special. The moviemakers won’t even notice her unless I say something to get their attention. They know how it works; I scratch their back and they scratch mine. I guess it’s going to be the price I have to pay for getting laid tonight.”

Brandi arrived twenty-five minutes late, her excitement bubbling over.

“Sean, I think the producer really liked me,” she babbled. “It’s only a spot in a soap but the writer said he might keep the character in for the season and see how it goes. I play, like, this hatcheck girl in a ritzy club owned by a guy who is a crook. I don’t have to say very much but I do have three lines in the first episode. The producer said he wants to talk it over later tonight at his place. Do you mind if I skip the party? This could be my big break.”

It was almost comical, Brandi spurting all this nonsense about a real part; three lines were not about to get you the staring role as Cleopatra or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She was being set up for the casting couch interview with few prospects beyond a horizontal audition.

“Yeah, go ahead, Brandi. I’m sure the producer will put you in the position he wants.”

Yeah, like on your back with your legs apart, he thought. She is so stupid; I wonder why I bother with her? Maybe it’s time to move on, again, find another replacement. What’s it been, now, two months, three? I’ll have to check out the action at the party for some new talent. There’s always some hot bimbo looking to better her career.”

“You’re terrific, Sean. I’ll call you tomorrow and let you know what he says. Ain’t it something!”

He hated the way she ‘baby talked’ to him when she wanted something. Sean nodded his head unconvincingly, giving Brandi the once over as she walked out the door, probably for the last time. He had to admit that she had a nice ass, even though it was not her real one. He would have a little regret; Brandi was good to have around for things like the Bedroom Olympics; she was an eager player in the sack. And after all, that’s all he really wanted from her, no deep discussions or emotions. Perhaps he should keep her around for a few farewell screws before dumping her.

The party was the usual over-indulgent type of the Hollywood set, the usual actors, actresses, crapulous boozers, druggies and bimbos all in attendance. Max Von Schtupe, a bald-headed director was making time with a cute blonde by the fake fireplace, his hand resting on her buttock. A little later they disappear to the back room for some casting-couch auditions. Max usually scored at these parties as long as his wife was elsewhere, not that it mattered too much to her. If the truth were known, Max’s wife had her own sexual diversions to occupy her idle moments. Between the pool guy and various deliverymen, Beth was never without intimate entertainment. Infidelity was not unexpected in the industry as long as one was careful not to make it too public.

The dreaded Drake Sparrow, a gay screenplay writer with a half dozen mediocre successes, waltzed up to Sean, all smiles.

“Seanie, honey,” he announced in his effeminate manner. “Where have you been hiding, dearie? We’ve missed your cute little tushy in our mix of friends. Haven’t seen you in a couple weeks.”

“Work, Drake,” answered Sean, not wishing to prolong the conversation.

“By the way,” added Drake. “Been counting your silverware? I hear you’re dumping the little tramp, Brandi; not surprised, of course. We all know the girls in your stable turn over quickly. It’s a pity you won’t give us guys a chance. Believe me, the change might do you a little good, sweetie.”

“Right, Drake,” said Sean, angling to escape. “I’ll leave all the guys for you; less competition that way, right? Oh! I see someone I have to talk to. Catch you later.”

A couple of quick weaves and dodges left Drake standing with drink in hand staring at a fake brick wall. Sean made it look like he was doing a little business while mingling with the crowd. Drake was fairly harmless but it was wise not to piss off anyone in the industry lest they stab you in the back sometime in the future. You never knew when you might need their support.

Sean scanned the room checking out the herd, seeking a little of his own diversion. The place was who’s who affair, every out of work actor and actress working the producers for anything new. He spied a few of the women, who had already taken that place of honor for three months or less. Vague recollections did not inspire him to rekindle any of those relationships. It was slim pickings from what he could see, no new talent ready to be plucked.

Tucked into a dark corner he noticed a stunning young woman, one he had never seen before. Her jet-black hair framed her dark skin and darker eyes, an exotic face, yet not so much to distract from her hot body. There was something vaguely familiar about her, though her face was not one that fit the usual actress mold or any in this crowd. There was intelligence behind her deep, brown eyes that suggested a hard sell. Bodywise the woman was not perfect but damn close. If she had been around before Sean would have remembered her.

He meandered toward her trying not to appear too interested, a tactic of long practice, the shark circling its prey before making a strike. He spoke to several people, making jokes along the way; a few handshakes here and there might suggest his indifference to the woman in the corner. He didn’t want her to get the impression he was eager but also didn’t want her to think he wasn’t interested, a game he always won. Desperation was never a good place to negotiate from; that was his forte, negotiating.

The closer he got, the more his interest was piqued, her face more than exotic, high cheekbones, jet black hair and her body nothing to turn your nose up at. Studying her for a while, he needed an edge, an advantage. The game had to play, like he was doing her the favor even speaking to her. So far she was doing better than he. She didn’t seem the least bit interested in him, glancing at him with inattention and staring back at the crowd, an expression detached from those around the room. It was as if he wasn’t even there, or worse, one of the help. After several minutes of ignoring her at close quarters, he decided to break the ice.

“You’re new around here, I take it,” Sean announced. “I know just about everyone; haven’t seen you before. You an actress or what?”

She looked up unimpressed with this lame line, toying with the glass in her hand and rolling her eyes.

 “Or maybe you just came to rub elbows with the rich and famous?” he added with an insincere chuckle. “There are a few high rollers in the crowd; want to meet any of them?”

She looked up into his eyes, her concentration broken. Sean could see her thoughts were somewhere else.

“No, not really,” she answered. “Bernie Hancock brought me along; thought I might like to meet some of these people. Figured I could give my spiel to a couple drunken producers about my project. It would seem none of them are interested in listening, including Bernie, which is not surprising.”

She leaned back against the wall, unable to hide her bored expression.

“So far, I’ve had my ass pinched twice and my breasts fondled, by a guy pretending it was an accident,” she continued. “The only thing these people want to do is get high, drunk or laid. I’m sure that’s why Bernie bothered to bring me along. Guess he figured I would do, if he didn’t score with the local talent. Hell would freeze over before I slept with him, a fact I’m sure he hadn’t taken into consideration.”

She looked left and right, making a silent decision. “I think I’ll grab an uber and get out of here. Bernie is a big boy and probably won’t even notice I’m gone. Besides, I think he’s got one of those stupid blondes lined up for the night; she’s all over him and vice versa.”

She made no attempt to mask the uncomfortable truth of the situation, her bluntness shocking, yet titillating at the same time.

“It’s the way of this business, honey,” Sean replied, trying to sound blasé. “Bernie gets around; a lot of these people do. It’s not so bad; you’d be surprised how many deals are cut behind closed doors.”

“I guess talent and truth don’t seem to matter,” she countered. “And what does this have to do with you; are you the social director, or something?” she said. “Did you come over here to make sure I’m having fun; or are you here to make sure I don’t cross the incorrect social lines? I sure hope you peg me as an easy score.”

“Nope, I’m just one of the shakers and movers in the industry, honey,” he answered.

Her hard edge rattled Sean. “My name’s Sean and my thing is promotion, marketing and advertising for some of these people. I can make or break any of them, given the right circumstances. These people are different than regular people, you know; they like to live on the edge of absurdity. Let’s face it, a little sex for a little fame goes a long way in this town.”

Sean decided a woman who was blunt should be able to take the direct approach.

“In fact, I was sizing you up for a little horizontal entertainment,” he added. “Unless, of course, you are the type that prefer women, can’t help you there. No objection, of course.”

“Of course not,” she returned, looking him over. “I can see you’re used to the shallow, airhead types, who spread their legs for a few promises. Well, don’t let my appearance fool you; I’m not your average push over, Sean. I like a little play, now and then. That only happens when I choose and who I choose; so you can tuck your little friend back into your pants, along with any ideas of getting lucky tonight.”

“Whoa!” exclaimed Sean. “I see the lady has claws and teeth. You have me at a disadvantage but I am intrigued. Maybe I painted the wrong picture of myself. Why don’t we back off a few notches and try to be friendly?”

“Good for you, Sean. A man with a little humility though, I doubt you have much of that. Maybe you can give me a ride home unless there is a prerequisite attached to that. We can get to know each other on the way; then maybe I’ll decide whether you are the lucky man tonight. But don’t get your hopes up; I’ve got you pegged for the love ‘em and leave ‘em type, not my style.”

“Hmm! You’re too sharp for me,” he mocked. The game was afoot, a faint glimmer of hope at the end of the road. “By the way, what’s your name?”

“Little Wolf,” she answered. “It’s the name white people call me since they are uncomfortable using the Indian name. I’m three quarter Lakota Sioux Indian, not a lot of us left. This is a white mans’ world full of closed doors and minds. Fortunately, we Indians are spun from a different thread; you wouldn’t understand. Not many white folks know what it means to have Indian blood. And I’m sure you’re not any different.”

He couldn’t find anything clever to rebut, though he wanted to leave this subject as the winner in this exchange of witticism. He was being put down by a woman, who didn’t have to work at it. In truth, he knew very little about Indians; they wore feathers and caused hell with white people. Indians were people of America’s past, twelve vague pages in his high school history book, where they were described in the past tense. If it hadn’t been for people like his liberal parents, he would know even less about the subject.

Sean thought of his encounter with the Indian beggar, a coincidence he found mildly interesting.

Two Indians in one day is weird, he thought. Must be a fluke.

Little Wolf slipped into the seat of the BMW her shapely legs revealed by the very contemporary non-Indian dress she wore. The dim light of the evening illuminated her face ever so slightly, casting shadows that brought out the beautiful features of her face. Sean did not hold out much hope for any intimacy with this woman but felt a need to give it a try; a little effort for a pretty woman seemed reasonable. It had been a while since he had to work getting a woman to sleep with.

The excitement of the chase, he thought. Hope this one isn’t too much trouble. I do have a reputation to protect.

Little Wolf lived in the valley about a half an hour from where the party was. It was all he could do to keep his eyes on the road, her gorgeous legs upstaging his exclusive BMW interior. With every glimpse he studied her with an anticipation that can drive a man crazy.

Maybe I feel like this because I know I can’t have her, he wondered. Funny how head games makes us crazy. She’s just another woman, no better, no worse than the others. Why am I getting so wound up over her? She’s got ‘bitch’ written all over her, in big capital letters. I don’t need that. But?

He watched her shift in her seat, retrieving something underneath her, turning it in her hand. He couldn’t make out what it was.

“Maybe I was wrong about you, Sean,” she remarked. “You dropped your dream catcher on the seat, don’t want to lose that. I’m surprised to see you have one; you don’t look the type.”

“Oh, that,” he returned. “Some bum……” He stopped in mid-sentence, realizing that the little Indian handicraft might change his luck with this woman. Playing her little game might get him what he wanted, conquest not out of the picture, yet.

“Yeah, I sort of just got that,” he declared. “Some guy gave it to me. Said it would protect me from my dreams or something like that. Not too sure if I need it; I never dream. There’s no time to waste on dreams in my business. These cheap children’s trinkets catch bad dreams? Really! I know the difference between fantasy and reality.”

She didn’t say anything but examined the small dream catcher.

“This is an old one,” she said. “My guess it has big power. Whoever gave this to you saw something serious. Whether you believe it or not this is heavy-duty protection, Sean. The person could be a holy man with vision; they know these sort of things.”

“It was just some old beggar,” scoffed Sean, wishing the dream catcher thing never came up. “Said I will have bad dreams, whatever that meant. But like I said, I never dream. Besides, he was just some drunk trying to get some loose change. He probably found it somewhere or even swiped it.”

“This old beggar,  did he happen to be an Indian?” questioned Little Wolf, turning the object in question over in her hand. “Holy men don’t look like anybody special; they can look like any ordinary person. This man could have been a seer. Happens a lot with my people. Just because someone has the gift, doesn’t make them rich. Most are poor, like most Indians.”

“It was just some guy, Little Wolf; I’m sure he was a nobody,” snapped Sean. “The only thing holy about him was his clothes. Can we just drop it? And by the way, is there another name I can use, instead of Little Wolf?”

“Sure, but I’m not sure you can say it,” she declared. “My real name is Shunkaha chikala in Lakota. That’s too weird for most of you white people.”

“You’re right about one thing!” he agreed, wishing he hadn’t agreed to take her home. There was a distinct chance he could have found some fluff at the party to bed down with.

“I can see my evening turning weird in two different languages. Dreamcatchers, Indians, is more than I bargained. I’ll drop you and be on my way. Okay?”

“I don’t know; I think, maybe you need company tonight,” she responded with genuine concern. “You need serious company by the looks of these signs.”

She paused, watching Sean’s face change. The gleam in his eye suggested something she did not want to encourage.

“Don’t get your jets fired up, Sean. I don’t mean sexual company,” she added.

“Come on, Little Wolf. I don’t believe in that mumbo jumbo crap about bad dreams and shit. Now if you’re looking for a little action, that’s another story. But somehow, I get the feeling that’s not on the menu, tonight. Right?”

She didn’t answer but pointed to a driveway on their right. She indicated that he pull in, small pairs of eyes reflecting in the darkness as his lights flooded the area. Sean was a little shocked when he pulled his BMW into the driveway where Little Wolf lived. The house was nothing more than a one-room cottage, not in the best part of town, either. She never flinched or apologized for her surroundings as he opened her car door to get another look at her shapely legs. She walked to the front door, twisting the unlocked door handle and turned around.

“You coming?” she said. “I’ll flip on a light or two, so you don’t trip over my boxes, the cats and other stuff. Don’t fret; I think you’re pretty safe from the cats. They don’t usually attack rich guys and I’m sure they don’t see you as a rat, though they don’t know the kind of man you are like I do.”

She laughed, tossing her long hair over her shoulder.

“Hey, how about a little slack?” he complained.

“By the way, these aren’t my cats,” she reported. “I’m just feeding them while I’m staying here, part of the deal. Most of them are nice cats; a few are feral. The place belongs to my uncle who is not using it at the moment. He has a thing for cats and it also keeps the mice and rats in control.”

As predicted, the house was one room with a small closet containing a toilet and washbasin. The bed was neatly made and doubled as a couch, a wood table and hot plate the only evidence of cooking facilities. Though modest, it appeared to be very clean. Sean took three steps through the door, narrowly avoiding a cat scurrying to escape.

“Like I said, my uncle owns the place,” continued Little Wolf. “He says the cats remind him of our people. They need a home too; he’s good that way. He bought the place more than thirty years ago, when he left the ‘rez.’ He couldn’t see himself as a ‘rez’ Indian, waiting to die in poverty or alcoholism, decided to come out to California and make some money. He did, and now he wishes he had stayed with his people because of who he has become. Said he lost the spirit of the people, not on the Red Road since he left. Said nagi tanka, Great Spirit punishes him by not listening to his prayers anymore.”

“Why’s that?” muttered Sean. “Being poor isn’t anything to strive for, in my book. It doesn’t require a lot of work or ambition. By the look of it, your uncle didn’t do all that great,” he added taking in the tiny cottage. “My gardener lives better than this.”

“Oh, you mean because of this place?” she asked. “This was his first house. He owns properties all over Southern California now. You’d be surprised exactly how many. My uncle is as bad as the whites and he knows it, owning property is not our way. We believed that no one owned the land, no more than anyone owns the sun or the sky. It was the people from Europe who wanted to own land. My uncle is a good man, though, part of the reason I’m here. He’s not charging me rent in exchange for feeding the cats though I’m sure he’d let me stay here if I said I didn’t want to. He brings cat food every week, has names for all of them, even the feral cats.”

“So, why exactly are you here?” asked Sean. “We never did address that at the party at least not in any detail.”

Little Wolf looked at the floor and then at Sean. He could see the passion in her eyes, a hunger for something intangible. It wasn’t passion for him but for something deeper. She straightened herself speaking in a clear, proud manner.

“Don’t start giving me a bunch of wisecracks, either. I’m trying to tell our story, the real story,” she began. “You know, all about the real American Indians, not the Hollywood version. Hollywood wants to make cowboy and Indian movies, where the Indians win or some bullshit idea about the ‘Noble Savage.’ I can’t stand that. Why can’t they tell the story the way it was, some good and some bad Indians, real people? Our story is about how a lot of greed, prejudice and ego changed our culture. Our story is about the virtues of my people and trust they once had, a past where respect was a part of life. It’s also about the lies and deceptions and the adaptation to a foreign way of life. My people wanted to believe in the peace the whites spoke of, their words and promises, like the wind, blew away. There was a time when Indians thought they could live side by side with the whites, sharing their home with them. The whites always wanted more; they wanted to take the land, own it, keeping everyone out.

Indians weren’t perfect either. There were Indians, who didn’t want peace. But now some have become as greedy as those they fought. Living the old ways implied poverty and humiliation to you white people. Some wanted what the white man had and more, like my uncle. He knows it too. It never makes them happy and puts them out of balance with Mother Earth.”

He groaned inside; Sean had heard all of this rhetoric from his parents, years before. The battle of the red man was lost long before he had been born. There was no reason to think anyone cared today, especially people in the movie industry. Documentaries about the violated treaties did not bring big box office receipts. Any story without explosions or car chases or wild sex was doomed to failure. In his opinion, the Indian rap was long dead and buried.

“You came to the wrong place, honey,” Sean responded. “They don’t call it ‘Tinsel Town” for nothing. And I think the term used now is Native American, not American Indian. The politicos get very nervous if you use the wrong terminology. It might offend the sensitivities of people. You better stuff that in your program.”

“Come on, Sean, the politically correct garbage is supposed to placate us. Anyone born in this country is a Native American. My oldest grandmother told me something before she passed a few years ago. She said her father, mother and grandfather, grandmother were born Indians, the name the whites gave us; she was born an Indian and so were her children and grandchildren. Why should she be anything else because some white people feel guilty about the way we’ve been treated? If you must know we are called, Oyate Kin, the people. But do you think anyone cares?”

“It’s not too late to show the truth,” she continued. “There has to be someone willing to see the necessity for this project, the lost culture, extinct like so many of the animals. I haven’t met every producer in this town yet. This will be a story without something exploding, fighting, burning wagons or naked people having gratuitous sex for the ratings. I don’t need any of that in the film. There was enough violence in the old days without it. I don’t want another warped version of what whites believe we are. Truth, that’s all I ask.”

Sean, noticeably agitated felt the need to leave before she uttered another word. Instead he decided to give her the facts of life regarding the movie industry.

“Oh, for Christ sakes!” he scowled. “Another poor Indian story. I thought we went through all that a few decades ago. People got their fill of ‘Dances With Wolves’, ancient history, honey. God knows my parents were the same bleeding-heart, hippie liberals, who loved that kind of crap. Can you believe they wanted to do the sit-in during the Alcatraz take-over? Luckily, they didn’t have enough money to make the trip to California. So there’s no need to bring me or anyone else down that road again.”

Little Wolf obviously didn’t share his pessimistic view of the idea, the tension becoming thick between them. She wasn’t about to agree nor was Sean going to cave to her dumb ideas. He stuck around only because she was a challenge and there was a remote chance, now getting thinner, that he might get lucky. She was sharp, intelligent, an equal, not the usual bimbo he was used to. He was in foreign territory, when it came to a woman who actually thought and had an opinion. As suspected, she was smart enough not to let his attitude shut her down.

“No, Sean, it’s nothing like that,” she began. “You’ve heard, history is written by the victors. Indians tell a different story, several have written books about it, few white people have read them, which is what this story is supposed to be. It’s supposed to show a way of life that has been lost and forgotten.”

“Maybe I better go, Little Wolf,” said Sean turning, anxious to bring an end to the uncomfortable conversation.

Little Wolf held up a hand, knowing there wasn’t anything she could do to change his mind. However, there was also another consideration she had to address. The dream catcher was a warning to Sean, which she understood very well. The power of the unseen was as real as the heavily worn linoleum on the floor.

“I think you need to stay, at least until morning;” she implored. “The old holy man was right, you know, about the dream catcher. These people know things; it’s not a hoax. That dream catcher was an important gift to protect you.”

Sean didn’t want to give into her on this dream catcher gibberish. There was also the possibility she had an undeclared purpose, a benefit later in the evening. Maybe she had a change of heart about sex, though his gut feeling told him otherwise. It was becoming clear when he tried to smile at her with a sexy expression; he was not going to get lucky tonight. It was time to reclaim some of his dignity.

“Here!” he snapped tossing the dream catcher to her. “You keep this and do what you want with it; I’m heading home. As for your movie idea, I don’t share your enthusiasm for the great, American Indian saga. In this town it has to be sex, car crashes, spies, weirdoes and mass murderers. That’s what I sell; that’s what I promote. The Indian thing is old news, passé.”

He turned toward her, browbeating her with his eyes in defiance. “Maybe we’ll run into each other some other time. Then again, maybe not.”

Before she could object, he was out the door, dodging the collection of cats that scattered underfoot.

The hum of his BMW was reassuring; things in life didn’t require faith in fairytales. His car performed, an act of mechanical genius, not pretend fantasy. He drove towards the foothills and home, his evening unsatisfactory at this point. He hoped Brandi might still be available, as a little consolation prize, unconditional sex usually made him feel better. Gratification without the voodoo bullshit was all he needed.

Save me from preachers and idealists. Little Wolf is one fine looking piece of ass, he thought. But I’m not wading through all that Indian crap to get it. There are plenty of willing chicks out there without that hassle.”

1:57AM and there was still no answer at Brandi’s apartment. She was usually there and would not hesitate to drive over in her shitty car, at his request. He then remembered where she was.

Yeah, just as I thought, he grinned. Mr. Producer is getting seriously, fucked by his new wannabe star; or at least, she thinks she’s going to be a star. Oh well, I can’t blame him or her. That’s how it’s done in this town.

The party had been a complete bomb, nothing to show for his trouble. No female prospects for sex and no reasonable business connections. The only woman, who snagged his notice, hated his guts. Worst of all was the stupid mystical bullshit about bad dreams. In spite of his rational mind, the mumbo jumbo left Sean a little unsettled, though there was no reason to believe the bum handing out trinkets. And it was nothing more than a coincidence, two Indians in one day, too ludicrous to give any serious credence. Ignoring the day and getting sleep was the only way to end his disappointment.

He was beat, anyhow; the party lasted too long and the trip into the valley wasted a lot of time, A good nights sleep necessary for his busy day tomorrow. He had to be on top of his game for this meeting. A little lunch and hustle will sew up his new prospect, which will add another chunk of change to the Sean Casey bankroll.

Lying naked on top of his designer, satin sheets, darkness enveloping Sean. Frankly, he didn’t give a damn about what kind of material the sheets were made of; women found them sensual and sexy. So, he succumbed by providing the satin seduction to escalate conquest. Once his prey was in the bedroom, the fun stuff was sure to follow. It wasn’t about the chase for Sean; it was the end result. It wasn’t just the sheets alone; in his life everything was designer this or that, right down to his sunglasses. Little things like that turned on the chicks. No designer labels of success, you were treated like a leper.

He felt the coolness of the satin sheets against his skin, reminding him of the carnal pleasures associated with them. The list of women sharing his bed was long, not that he remembered any of them. Even the sensual thoughts were tempered by the heat of the evening, his air conditioning on the fritz, not fixable until tomorrow. He dozed off, small beads of sweat rising to the surface of his skin.

The Dream:

To sleep, perchance to dream.

A ray of light began to burn his face; odd, since the sun did not come through his bedroom window in the morning. He felt like he had just fallen asleep, hardly resting at all. How could it be morning already?

Did I sleep in late, he panicked? I better get up and shower. Too many things to do today, I don’t need to be late.

When he opened his eyes, the view was not of his ceiling but that of the blue sky with the hot globe beating down on him, the sun. He rubbed his eyes shading them with his hand, trying to focus. He couldn’t remember much of the night before except going to bed. Now, however, he was outside and by all appearances, not in his house as he should be. Had he missed something during the evening?

Mentally he backtracked in his mind retracing the events of the night before. He couldn’t be anywhere else but at home, in the house. He went right to bed in his room, alone, without company, satin sheets and all. He remembered being miffed by the lack of company he should have had. His present locale was somewhere outdoors and different from the hazy skies of Southern California. Abruptly, he sat up scanning everything within view. Slightly blurry, another man was close at hand babbling something, incomprehensible. The urgency of the man’s words made Sean jump to his feet.

 “Heecha Sapa, we need to leave now before the, mila hanska, long knives, come,” proclaimed the stranger. “The Crow scouts are clever and know some of our tricks. They chase us, now; we must leave soon. We are not safe here. Perhaps we should hide in the hills where we leave no tracks. Even the Crows, our old toka, enemies have difficulty reading the rocks.” The man spat as he finished the word, to indicate his distaste for his pursuers.

Sean shook his head like a wet dog, attempting to change his distorted vision. None of this made any sense to him; nor did it make sense that the man before him was dressed like an Indian. The man’s clothing and attire came right out of the history books, braided hair, bare chest and loincloth. Maybe it was too much talk about Indians the night before.

“What the hell are you talking about?” complained Sean. “Why are you calling me, Heecha Sapa? And most of all, who the hell are you?”

“What would you have me call you? That is your name, is it not? We are friends, since we were small children. Do you not remember?” replied the man, concern etched into his face. “Are you not well? Has the sun made your head lose its thoughts?”

With no further comments, the man scooped up a few things preparing to leave. “We must go, now, quickly, Heecha Sapa.”

Sean began to suspect what was going on. This was either an incredible joke, which he doubted or the first real dream in his adult life. Apparently, it was about Indians, which seemed logical considering the recent events of the past day, amusing to him. Never having dreamt, Sean decided to play along. What other ridiculous things could happen in his imagination?

When I wake up from this one, I’ll have to write it down, he thought. This is too good to forget.

The impending danger seemed to require Sean to react in some way. Along with the other Indian, Sean mounted his horse, riding towards the distant hills. It was all done with the grace of a well, choreographed, ballet.

Damn! I didn’t know I could ride a horse, he marveled. I wonder what else I can do? This dream thing is kind of fun.

Looking down at his himself, Sean noticed some significant changes in his appearance. The hands were not the manicured hands of Sean Michael Casey but hands of a hard working considerably darker man. Unnerving as that might be, it was only a dream. He surveyed the rest of his body, finding similar differences in physique and color. His body was dark all over and very muscular. He was wearing next to nothing and felt the back of the horse rubbing his genitals as he rode along with the other Indian. No designer underwear or shoes were in evidence.

Even though the body was not his body, he felt every flex and twist of sinewy muscle. This was muscle like nothing he had ever experienced in his life. Sure, he went to the gym to keep the tone up but nothing like this.

To his own amazement, he knew where he was going. Fleeing from an unknown enemy was as natural as starting his BMW. He felt like two people in one, one understanding one world and the other familiar with quite a different world.

I wonder if other people dream like this, he contemplated? Maybe I’ve been missing out all these years. I wonder if there are any chicks in this dream. My luck, I’ll wake up before anything good happens.

The uptightness from his new, old, friend did not jive with Sean’s amusement in the bizarre dream. The friend was eager to put distance between them and an enemy Sean was not aware of. He didn’t see anyone chasing them and thought the whole caution thing was ridiculous.

“Quick, Heecha Sapa,” shouted the other man. “We must get into the hills before they catch up with us. We are sure to lose them there.”

“Whatever say, pal,” returned Sean, smiling. “It’s only a dream, buddy. Nobody is going to catch us or kill us. I read about anxiety dreams in college, bunch of crap if you ask me. It’s supposed to come from unfinished emotional garbage in your subconscious.”

He added, “Being an Indian, you wouldn’t know that, of course. People dream because they don’t know how to deal with stuff. I, on the other hand, don’t have any unresolved issues. So this is just some crazy head-trip because I got stiffed last night.”

“These words are strange to me, Heecha Sapa,” reported the man, growing more concerned with his friend’s discourse. “But I will not ask what that must mean, until later. Please, no further talk. The mila hanska are not far behind.”

There was an odd thing about their exchange. He understood all of it, though it wasn’t a language he knew. It sounded like babble with a narration in his head. He supposed dreams were that way. Strangely enough, the other Indian understood him too, even though Sean spoke only English. But who was he to question the meaning of dreams, while he was in the middle of one?

Sean hoped this little episode didn’t mean a trip to a shrink. Lots of Hollywood types spent plenty of dough trying to find out why they hate their mothers or why their father never loved them. Waste of money in Sean’s mind; shrinks were for losers, who never set down their priorities in life. He knew exactly what he wanted and where he was going in life, the real misfits went to shrinks.

The escape had not been completely successful; soldiers and Indian scouts could be seen a short distance behind. The scouts could make out their movements and follow their tracks. The maze was their only hope. The maze was a natural formation of twists and turns in the hills, which contained many dead ends. If a man rode the wrong direction, he might find himself up against a sheer hillside. Experience and cunning were the only way to evade an encroaching enemy. It reminded Sean of a well-directed movie.

They wove right and then left and then straight ahead, until the enemy was confused. As the chase continued, Sean heard the crack of gunfire behind him, different sound from what he’d heard at the movies.

This is an amazing dream. If I could get this on film, I could make some serious money, he thought. Of course, to make it more exciting we’d have to blow something up, possibly one of these hillsides for good measure. That would make the movie perfect.

A whizzing sound near his head elicited a sharp pain to his left shoulder. His muscular, brutish shoulder was leaking blood and hurt like hell. Sean was not prepared for pain in his dream; there shouldn’t be any.

Wait a minute! You’re not supposed to feel pain or anything in dreams, he whined to himself. That’s the rules, I think. You are supposed to pinch yourself to see if you’re awake; I’m sure of it.

He probed the wound with his finger and felt the sting to his touch. A neat line drew across the shoulder, the blood drying quickly at the wound sight.

Ow! There has to be an explanation for all of this. This isn’t exactly a mosquito bite. I hope I wake up soon; I don’t like this part, at all.”

A few more twists and turns in the maze left soldiers and scouts behind. The other Indian led the way, pointing to a place where they should go. Sean’s shoulder still hurt but seemed to be numbed by the fear and exhaustion. His companion was unharmed, quite able to move on without stopping.

His uninjured muscles responded with precision as the two men raced away from their enemies. Thirty minutes later both of them were at the top of a bluff looking down at their pursuers. As planned, the soldiers had ridden down a dead end and had become lost. The officer in charge ignored the scout and chose to follow a dead end route. The soldiers had no respect for their Indian scouts and treated them poorly but the scouts still worked for the “blue coats” out of hatred for an old enemy, the Lakota Sioux.

Sean looked at his arm, now covered with a combination of dried blood and dust. The wound continued to seep but was not actively bleeding. Streaks of dark red dried blood began to flake off in places, making the area look worse than it was. His companion led them off to a place where they could camp in safety.

“Who the hell are you?” demanded Sean looking at his new companion. “This has got to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. Fucking soldiers, Indians and wilderness, what am I doing in this place? I drive a BMW not a horse. I wear a five-thousand dollar Italian suit, not a leather rag between my legs.”

Heecha Sapa, I fear the wound has made you troubled in the head, though I do not think much blood is lost,” answered his companion. “I will attend to it for you but you must rest. The soldiers will soon return once they listen to their scouts. That will not be until the morning. It is becoming too dark for any to track. We are safe as long as we make no fire.”

“Okay if I’m going to go along with this dream, I should at least know your name,” continued Sean.

Hehaka Najin, as it has always been,” answered the Indian. “It is strange to me that you cannot remember. We have grown up together, fought battles. We are only two winters apart in age. Can you not remember?”

Hehaka, whatever, this is all new to me,” grumbled Sean. “This is only a dream, pal. One hell of a dream; I’ll say that for it. You do whatever you want Hehaka whatever. I’m going to wake myself up now; I’ve had enough of cowboys and Indians for one night. By the way, what are you putting on my shoulder?”

“It is only a poultice, Heecha Sapa,” he replied placing the remedy. “Hehaka Najin is not as skilled but this will help draw the poisons from the white’s bullet. We are lucky. It is only a small scratch.”

Small? Scratch, my ass, Sean thought. It hurts even to think about it.

The poultice was cold and clammy; it felt good. The throbbing subsided a little and the angry swelling diminished. Sleep was beginning to overtake Sean; maybe he can manage a better dream or possibly wake up will stop all this foolishness.

The Real World

Noisy sounds began to seep into Sean’s consciousness, sleep trying to shut out its persistence. The noises were cars, people and a jet flying overhead, the roar of the aircraft climbing to its designated altitude. He didn’t move for a few minutes, listening to be sure these were sounds he was familiar with before attempting to open his weary eyes. A lawnmower started up and then a leaf blower. Irritating sounds, yet very reassuring to his ears, a sign that the dream had ended. His eyes opened slowly to see the open beamed ceiling of his bedroom, painted a faint Peach Butter that guaranteed his sexual success with women, according to his gay interior decorator.

What a stupid ass name for a color, he thought. Peach Butter? What would that decorator know about women, anyhow? What a crazy dream that was! That Indian chick must have implanted the idea when I split from her dump last night. Serves me right for putting the move on the wrong babe.

He was very tired but decided not linger in bed for long, too much to do and he was starving. There wasn’t much to eat in the house except a few cans of soup and some organic, whole wheat bread.

Maybe a little racket ball at the Olympic Club and one of their healthy power breakfast drinks afterwards, he considered. That should clear the cobwebs. I can’t be foggy headed today, got big fish to fry, a nice wad of cash.

He rolled to the side of his bed and felt a sharp pain.

“Ow! That hurts,” he said our loud.

A few aches and pains weren’t unusual after a good workout at the gym. But he hadn’t been to the gym in several days. His left shoulder glowed red and angry, a line with dried blood stared back at him.

“Geez! How the hell did this happen?”

Sean looked down at the satin sheets noticing a significant bloodstain over a small portion. Suddenly, the events of his dream came rushing back to him.

“That’s impossible,” he insisted loudly. “That was only a stupid dream. I must have been pretty drunk last night; must have cut my arm on something.”

Talking out loud to no one worried him; he was not accustomed to talking to himself, though there were moments when he had done so, usually an expletive of some sort. One could not be expected to silent when you wacked your head on an open cabinet or stubbed his toe in the dark.

Yeah, that’s it, he thought. That Indian chick and dreamcatcher crap must have done a psyche job on me. What an idiot, I didn’t even score. Well, there’s plenty of good lookin’ fluff out there, waiting for a guy with connections. And Brandi still hasn’t officially split the scene, so there’s a chance of a short rematch with her. I’ll bet she’ll be back in a flash, once the producer introduces her to the hard facts of Hollywood. You gotta know how to play that game. Besides, Brandi is fooling herself to think she’s got any real talent.

Sean had no idea about what to do with the injured shoulder. The best he could manage was a series of small plastic Band-Aids to cover the three-inch long wound. He’d have to find a larger bandage to put on or he’ll bleed all over his designer shirts at his meeting later that day. Curiously, there were bits of grass stuck to the scratch. He must have fallen on somebody’s lawn or something. He didn’t have a lawn on his property only a few outside potted plants and patches of flowers, so it must have happened somewhere else.

Sean was about to leave when his phone rang; he kept an old landline for limited occasions. He debated whether to let the machine pick it up but decided monitor the call first to avoid some of the unwelcome calls, old girlfriends and pesky solicitors and threats from people he’d screwed in the business. Otherwise, his cell phone was used for everything else.

“Sean,” echoed the voice on the machine. “Are you there? It’s Brandi. Please pick up if you’re there, honey. Come on, Sean. I really wanna talk to you. I’m like so bummed out.”

There was a brief pause before she continued.

“Oh, well, I’m sorry I missed the party last night. Leni, the producer didn’t exactly promise me the part, hoping to get a better feel for my new character. I think that’s a good sign, don’t you? He wants me to do some private readings for him. So, I won’t be there tonight, either, honey. I’ll make it up to you later; I promise, really, really.”

A bunch of kissing noises followed the short message, which added to his growing disinterest of Brandi.

“God! I can’t believe how dumb she is,” he sputtered. “Leni only wants to get a better feel of her ass with no promise for a part; everyone in this town knows that routine. But what can I expect? I didn’t snag her for her brains; Leni can have her. She was beginning to bore me, anyhow. Time to find some new talent, one who can say whole sentences, without a script.” He chuckled to himself. “One who can actually read a script.”

Doubt

The Olympic Club was done up like most things in Hollywood hangouts, fake fiberglass pillars made to look like marble dressed the very front of the building. Several statues of Greek Gods and Goddesses decorated the entry, also made of fiberglass stamped with ‘made in China’ at the base. The far wall of the gym area sported an impressive fresco of tumbled down ruins, exposing the stone blocks and blue sky. It was very majestic but only a painting. Behind the wall was a furniture store that sold seconds and the ever popular Lotto tickets.

Sean didn’t have to bother with displaying his membership card; the staff knew him well. Well enough to know he was a lousy tipper and demanded more service than his membership allowed. The gym had a handful of people this morning, working out on various machines; mornings were never crowded. This was the retired crowd with a few young guys thrown in seeking business connections; he knew most of the members one way or another.

He climbed on the stair-stepper to warm up, while sizing-up the people who were there; a cute chick might be hanging around for a connection but not the case today. He needed a racket ball partner; there was always the possibility of a little schmoozing with someone important. If not, there was bound to be someone on the courts waiting for a challenger. He glanced down at his legs, paler in contrast to the legs in his dream. He lifted his arm, a twinge of pain reminding him of the injury to his shoulder. Half laughing, he shrugged, setting the timer on the machine. An older man in his fifties climbed aboard the machine next to Sean.

“Well, well, Sean Michael Casey, in the flesh,” declared the man, initiating a fake Irish accent. “Little early for you, Sean? You looking to kiss someone’s butt this morning?”

“Doctor Bill,” returned Sean, breathing harder. “Jealous? I didn’t know you were keeping tabs on me.” He added with a grin, “I didn’t know you cared. However, you have mistaken me for someone on the wrong side of the butt kissing, my friend. I never put myself in that position; it’s always the other way around. I’m just trying to squeeze in a little exercise before breakfast and an important meeting,” he continued. “Gotta stay sharp for the sharks out there.”

“I thought you were the only predator in that ocean, Sean. I’m not keeping tabs on you but noticed you left that party last night with a good-looking woman. I’m surprised you’re here at all, given the body on that one.”

“You were there?” asked Sean. “I didn’t see you.”

“I’m not surprised. You weren’t exactly looking for old friends; you never are. Besides, since when do you ever notice me? I’m not one of your clients or some cute fluff to chase. I saw you zoom in on that one early in the evening. That dark beauty looked like she had all of your attention. By the way, I noticed you had to make the first move on her; not your style, pal.”

“Eh, she was a dead end,” proclaimed Sean. “She’s just some American Indian or Native American, whatever they call themselves, looking for some sap to produce the ‘real’ story about Indians, more of that bleeding heart, feel guilty white people crap. I’ve seen it all before; I can’t believe I bothered with her. She’ll find some independent producer with long hair and no brains to crank it out for her, put it on the market and a month later it’ll be on video, gathering dust on the shelf. I’m sure she won’t make a dime on the project. Lucky to break even, if she can find the money to do it.”

“You never know, Sean. She might have a good idea with the right kind of promotion behind it. And you’re the man who can sell ice cubes to Eskimos.”

“Yeah, right! All I know, she’s like a lot of these amateur wannabes. The Indian loss and we won, end of story. They don’t have a budget or anyone to finance it, another beggar in Hollywood. Enough of this bullshit, how about a game or two of racket ball Mr. Eskimo or are you in the market for ice cubes? I’ll spot you points; you’re really not much of a challenge.”

“Don’t be a smart-ass,” returned Bill. “The last time we played, I had you panting like a dog on a hot day. You don’t have to spot me points, just try keeping up, pal.”

Both men laughed, exchanging a few more one-line insults, typical for boys and men. These small battles of wit and insults were the things that cemented a friendship. Sean really didn’t have any friends; one cannot afford friends in business, a weakness he never allowed. You might pretend but never get close lest you lose your advantage.

On the court, Sean was put through the paces, as promised, Bill pressing hard. Sean was pushed to the limit due to lack of sleep and Bill, no slouch playing to win. Half way through the second game, Bill stopped holding the ball while inspecting Sean’s blood stained sleeve.

“Hmm!” muttered Bill. “Did that little wild Indian girl scratch you? Your shirt is bloody.”

“It’s nothing,” answered Sean, pulling away. “I musta cut it on something last night, no big deal. I don’t remember doing it, could have happened anywhere.”

“Awful lot of blood. Let me take a look. I am a real doctor, after all,” insisted Bill, tucking his racket under his arm.

The shoulder had saturated the sleeve of the shirt. Bill peeled it back cleaning the shoulder with a clean towel. Ripping off the bandages, his face turned serious.

“You must have pissed the little lady off,” he snorted. “Did your new Indian girlfriend take a shot at you?”

“What?” snapped Sean. “Don’t be stupid; nobody shot at me. What makes you say a dumb thing like that? You’re plastic surgeon; what do you know gunshot wounds? Face lifts, boobs, liposuction and butt jobs hardly qualify you.”

“Come on, Sean I did spend a year in Vietnam as a surgeon towards the end of the war. I was young but I know what a gunshot wound looks like. This one is only a graze but was definitely made by a bullet. You in some sort of trouble? Drugs, money?”

“Geez, Bill!” complained Sean. “You know I’m not into the drug thing, a little booze is my only poison. And money? Ha, that’s never a problem for me. This is just some scratch I got, while I was drunk or something like that. Maybe I caught it on a bush or something.”

The insinuation of a gunshot wound upset Sean. In his dream, he had been shot. ‘Just a scratch,’ he was told. Was it a coincidence or was it time to make reservations at the funny farm? Dreams weren’t real, though he couldn’t account for the nasty scratch.

The rest of the day was spent in a fog, his meeting unfolding like a well-rehearsed play, aggressive and precise, just the way he always did it. The questions and particulars of the deal were handled with smooth, unfaltering finesse; he was a pro. In spite of his glib, quick-witted responses, Sean’s head was somewhere else most of the time.

He replayed his dream over and over trying to find a correlation between his ‘scratch’ and what might have really happened the night before. One drink is all he had at the party; he wasn’t much of a drinker. Being clear headed for his morning meeting was a necessity, liquor dulling the senses, possibly screwing up deals.

The evening ended with meal immersed in Cuban cigar smoke, his clients oblivious to the smoky blue din in the room. He hated cigar smoke but put up with it for the sake of business. It was after midnight when he arrived at his house smelling of cigar smoke. The late hour didn’t bother him, the tidy sum he negotiated worth the time. Sleep, that’s what he wanted. He wanted to shrug off his stupid dream and rest up for the next day’s commerce.

Sean noticed Brandi’s little Toyota parked to the side of the garage when he pulled into the driveway. Constant reminders taught her to never block his garage. His ‘Beemer’ lived in the garaged at all times; weather and the elements were not allowed to taint his perfect car.

Hm! She must have had an early night, he mused. That or the producer got what he wanted from her without wasting a lot of time before dumping her. I’m sure I’ll hear all about it. The tears and crap about the producer being an asshole is her problem; I don’t need that. God, I wish she’d go home.

Sean’s theory regarding the producer had been right. Brandi’s tears were laced with guilt, as she slept with Sean. Being used and dumped did that to women. There was only one way to shut her up. She needed consoling, validation and physical contact. He hated the words she always used. ‘Anything you want, honey. I’ll do it. I’ll make it up to you. Really, I will!’

Amore was a sorry compromise for her screw-up, though Sean didn’t care. He allowed himself this small pleasure, hoping it might take his mind off of the ridiculous dream. Her talent in bed exceeded any talent she may have possessed as an actress, producing in bed instead of acting on stage. It was sex, not love, not that it mattered to either of them. The act was done completely without any emotion or comment, a variety of physical exchange, nothing more.

At this point, it didn’t matter to Sean if Brandi stayed or left. She was one of a long string of babes he’d take to bed and dump when they began to bore him. There were no lies about love from either of them; they knew the game and played it for all it was worth, his connections and her body, a fair exchange.

The sexual encounter was a blur, Brandi doing all the things she promised. He was too exhausted to fully enjoy her attentions, though his lack of enthusiasm didn’t bother her. He was getting an apology, whether he accepted it or not; She, in turn, was getting the validation she needed and a temporary stay of execution.

Sometime during the night she slipped out, a habit of long standing and preferable. The reflection of a neighbor’s security light flickered on and off Sean’s Peach Butter ceiling. It activated for every cat or raccoon that crossed its path defeating the purpose it was intended. Sean had to speak to them about this irritating light; they had a security camera with infrared that did a better job without all the on and off light. But that was a discussion for later, not the wee hours of the morning. Before long, his eyes did not notice the flicker of light as sleep reassigned his consciousness to the void. He slept soundly.

Back Again

A cool breeze raised goose bumps to his skin, the chill stirring him.

Musta got cold overnight, he thought, clinging to sleep.

The smell of smoke, mingled with food cooking drifted into his nostrils, not a bad smell considering his overriding hunger.

Too damn early for grilling he thought, debating whether to get up or not. Probably Herb Nettles and his fat, crazyass wife, what stupid time to barbeque. Smells good, though.

He didn’t want to open his eyes, Brandi’s sexual apology almost screwing him to death. Guilt was the powerful motivation for her amorous sexual marathon, allowing him to exercise and maintain leverage. It gave him something to use for future intimidation, should he decide to keep Brandi on for a few days. It didn’t matter in her case; she was definitely on her way out. That aside, he just wanted to roll over and sleep for a couple more hours, sleep and purge his mind of dreams, Indians, arrogant actors and dumb broads.

Heecha Sapa, We must eat and leave, soon,” pressed a now, vaguely, familiar voice. “This rabbit found his way into my snare and to our fire. He will fill our bellies until we reach the village. We must be quick; our enemies will want to know where the smoke comes from. The Crow and Pawnee are good trackers; I do not fear the blue coats; they are poor trackers and stupid in their ways. We should eat and leave before we are discovered again.”

Reluctantly, Sean opened his eyes, the surroundings the same as they had been at the end of his dream the night before. Open country spread for miles with no houses or roads anywhere nearby.

“You, again?” he moaned. “What’s this, a continuing soap opera dream? Can I at least have a change of scenery? I think a different character would suit me better; a Roman Senator might be a nice change, rich and powerful instead of a piss, poor Indian. Always wanted to wear a toga that wasn’t made out of a bed sheet. Besides, Rome should be nice this time of year.”

Hehaka Najin stared at Sean with concern and puzzlement. He pointed to the small fire with a skinned creature roasting on a stick.

“This is getting ridiculous,” declared Sean, rising. “I’ve got things to do and need my sleep. You’re going to have to go play Indian by yourself, pal. As for those blue coats, they are just part of my imagination, just as you are. No one is chasing us, Crows, soldiers or Attila the Hun, it’s all just a dream and I refuse to buy into it.”

Hehaka Najin looked at his friend, now, troubled more than ever. They should get to the village before this strangeness grew worse. Matters, such as these needed to be handled by healers or holy men.

Heecha Sapa, can you ride? Perhaps the rabbit will taste better when we put distance between our enemies.”

Sean laughed. “Can I ride? Of course I can. I did last night, didn’t I? Why should it be different, now? In fact, I’m a good rider.”

He turned to the roasting rabbit enjoying the smell.

“Hmm! Rabbit on the run, sounds like the title of some bad, third rated movie; I’ve promoted enough of those to know,” muttered Sean. “Maybe I should start writing my own stuff. Can’t be any worse than what they’re cranking out now.”

“Movie?” murmured Hehaka Najin. “Again, you speak words, which I do not understand. Please, let us go, quickly.”

Sean scooped up his belongings, tying them onto his horse. He marveled at the skill with which he did so. It was not skill he had ever displayed before, the Boy Scouts, an organization he had never been a part of. He could barely tie his shoes, let alone any other knots; it was the reason he preferred loafer type shoes. Before mounting his horse, he decided to relieve himself; a full bladder and bouncing horse were not a good combination.

Taking a few strides in one direction, he liberated his male member, surprised at the ease, given the abbreviated, almost non-existent clothing. Another surprise was revealed; innocently, he retrieved something with his hand that gave him pause. It was an uncircumcised penis attached to this foreign body. It was not his.

He released the unfamiliar penis quickly, as if it were a poisonous snake. Homophobic or not, he was not about to handle any guy’s penis other than his own, dream or no dream. However, the urgency still remained; he needed to expel the unwanted fluid pressing on an unforgiving bladder or deal with the discomfort of peeing in his pants.

Wait! I’m not wearing pants, he thought in a panic. What’ll I do?

If he ignored this demand, would he end up peeing on his animal skin attire? Whether ‘Mr. Happy’ was his or not, the uncomfortable sensation insisted on immediate action. Carefully holding the offensive member and pointing it in a direction away from his moccasins, he let nature take its course. Relief was instantaneous and complete as if he had performed this function in reality.

Wow! It feels just like a real leak, he thought. I feel much better.

Instinctively, he shook it.

Oh, god, he thought! What am I doing; and am I doing it to me, or some other guy? I don’t even want to think about it.

The process was taking far too long for his new sidekick, who paced, anxiously.

Heecha Sapa, make your water and let us leave; this is not a time to play. I admire your bravery; you show no fear; this is not bravery but foolishness.”

“Hey pal,” grumbled Sean. “I don’t want to piss in my pants, that’s all.”

“Pants?” said Hehaka Najin. “Why do you continue to make strange talk?”

Sean realized the comment was out of place, considering his arrangement as an Indian. It wasn’t until Sean had mounted his horse that he discovered his personal hygiene, suffering. He also questioned his table manners, eating a rabbit on the run without benefit of a good hand washing afterwards and a rabbit that could use some salt and a few seasonings. His armpits reeked and the other parts of him did not smell much better. A thin layer of smelly oil covered most of his skin, unpleasant to smell but it did manage to keep the mosquitoes off.

I’ll have to manage a better dream, next time, one that smells better.

His previous declaration about not dreaming wasn’t entirely true. Until the age of five he’d dreamt; his dreams never amounted to much. There was the sensation falling or running from something, never any pain, feeling or sensation attached them. His mother told him to pinch himself, if he wanted to find out if he was dreaming. Now the only result from that would be a black and blue mark followed by pain.

The two men zigzagged their way through low rolling hills, eventually opening up into a high plain. They rode in a very wide arch, to avoid being followed to the village. Hehaka Najin was masterful at covering their tracks, doubling back and leaving several false trails. It was time consuming but the only safe way to avoid discovery. Sean was familiar with the techniques but couldn’t remember where he had learned them. That seemed to fall in the same category as his ability to tie knots and ride horses.

At one point he drew his bow and killed another rabbit from his horse. It was strange enough being a primitive equestrian, let alone a marksman with a bow and arrow. Yet the process was automatic, like making the morning coffee. You didn’t think about it; you just did it. Shooting an arrow hardly fell into the category of making coffee. The coffeemaker didn’t dash about while you were in the middle of the process.

They rode toward two mounds rolling out of the flat landscape. Trees and a waterway became apparent as they approached. Their pace slowed, both men fatigued, having to look back every so often to see if anyone followed. Over confidence in one’s ability to escape detection was tempered by the sound diligence of making sure.

The Village

Greetings were exchanged as the men rode to their tipestola, tipi situated near the inner circle of the village. Many faces greeted them, glad for their safe return and pressing questions about their journey. No one paid much attention to Sean’s injury. Warriors came back from battles and hunts with scratches and bruises; it was expected. Yet men did not speak of their pain. Pain and battle were a part of their life, not spoken about unless at waktoglakapi, to tell of one’s victories. It would be rude to be boastful outside of that.

From behind a decorated tipi, a plain woman of undetermined age strode with crossed arms over her ample bosom, a scowl etched on her face. She was heading right for Sean and looked formidable; apparently, she knew him. Her eyes leveled with Sean’s as she began to speak.

Heecha Sapa, do you have no care for your family?” she shrieked. “Are we of such small importance to you? You say you are going hunting and next I hear you are playing with the blue coats. Should we starve while you are gone? My sons would grow weak were it not for the generosity of others. And so, what have you brought for the family to eat, no deer or animal of size? What? All I see is a scrawny rabbit. What will be left for us, once you have filled your belly?”

It was poor form for a woman to address a man in such a way. Hehaka Najin turned away, not to interfere with the personal matters of another family.

“Who are you?” questioned Sean. “Am I supposed to know you?”

“Who am I?” she snapped. “I am your brother’s wife and now your second wife. I’m the one who cooks your food and mends your clothes. Have you been gone so long that you have forgotten this? Just because your first wife is young and pretty does not mean you cannot care for both of your wives.”

“I have a wife?” he stammered. “Uh, I mean wives? How did that happen? I’ve never been married.”

“Pay no attention to his words, Hota Win,” interrupted Hehaka Nagin trying to explain the present situation. “I think he suffers from a fall or possibly a kaga, demon, has entered his head when he was wounded. He makes no sense, sometimes; I’m sure it will pass.”

Hehaka Nagin did not sound as convincing as he wished. It was quite possible Hota Win would be all too willing to unload her wrath on him as well, though it would be terribly out of line.

“How did this happen?” challenged Hota Win. “My poor husband, his brother, killed two winters ago by the wasichu, white men and he does not remember taking me as his wife? What shame! I know he took me as a wife because there was no one else for me. Hopa Winyan Wakan, number one wifehas his eye but he must feed us all. That is all I have to say.”

A few men and women chuckled in the crowd. Women could be difficult at times but it was not good to argue publicly. Sean untied the dead rabbit and tossed it to his newly discovered second wife. She departed with a snort leaving the men to tell their brief encounter to those gathered around them.

A wife, Sean thought? Two wives? I hope the other one is better looking than this one. Ugh! You’d think I’d dream of a foxy babe, not this coarse irritating woman.

Sean looked around; none of the faces were even remotely familiar; they all knew him, however. He must have status with these people the way they make over him. An old woman, head lowered, avoiding eye contact, tended to his wound, redressing it, tying it in place with some sinew. She did not say a word to him but continued to avert her eyes when he looked at her. So far the benefits of having two wives were not obvious to Sean. If Hota Win was anything like his first wife, he might stand a better chance with the soldiers.

I need to find out where I live, he thought. It’s not like they have numbers on these tents. I don’t know where to start; they all look alike to me. Considering this nasty wife, I’m not sure I want to go into the same tipi with witch hazel.

He closed his eyes for a second and decided to let his intuitive sense find the right dwelling. As much as he wanted to believe, intuition was not something he was terribly familiar with. It worked when he was riding back to the village and also when he shot the rabbit, all done without thinking. Maybe his feet will know the way.

He walked around the entire center circle of the camp, his intuition not helping. Since the village was constructed in a circle it was difficult to decide which direction to go. People stared at him with apprehension, his wandering making them wary. Then, as if by fate, he heard a familiar voice. Hota Win had not stopped her rant, which made it easy to find his tipi. Once in the proximity of her voice, he knew which was his and headed for the door flap.

Before he could grasp the edge, the flap flung open. A young woman stood, as if frozen, looking at him. A tear welled up in her eye followed by a slight smile. She was phenomenally beautiful, a delight beyond what he had experienced so far in his ridiculous dream.

Could I be so lucky, he thought? If she’s my first wife things might be looking up.

“I was afraid you would not come back,” said the woman, locking her eyes on his. “Many said the soldiers would kill you if you were caught. But I knew they could not. You are cunning like tokalu, the fox and strong like mato, the bear. Come let us sit for awhile and tell me all.” She edited her eagerness adding, “Unless, of course, you do not wish it.”

“You must be, ah, Hopa Winyan, whatever,” said Sean pleased with the possibilities. “My first wife? Cool!”

Sean sensed something very familiar about this woman, unable to put his finger on it but figured it was just a dream, anyhow. It didn’t matter.

“I fear the time away from us and your wound, has dampened your memory,” she suggested. “We will reacquaint later, if you choose. I am eager to do so.” She bowed her head modestly and added, “Unless you do not desire me.”

“Desire?” questioned Sean. “A babe like you? You can wrinkle my satin sheets any day.”

Hopa Winyan Wankan shot a worried glance at him. His words made no sense to her but she would let it pass.

“Who was that old woman working on my shoulder?” he added. “She hardly looked at me or spoke. Felt funny.”

“It was my mother, silly,” replied Hopa Winyan Wankan. “You know how she tries not to be a burden for you. Just because she lives here doesn’t mean she has to impose. She does not speak much, as you must remember. It is her way; you know that. Something has changed your thinking; I hope it is nothing serious.”

“She lives here, in this tipi?” Sean muttered. “Same tiny tipi, right?”

“Yes, with all the others,” continued Hopa Winyan Wankan. “Nothing has changed.”

“And others?” he added unprepared to share his space with anyone besides his first wife.

“Our whole family lives here, Hota Win’s boys still too young to be away from us,” she answered.

Overwhelmed with his new position as a married man with tons of relatives, Sean decided it was best to limit his conversation for the rest of the evening, everyone uneasy with everything he said. They all sat around a pot of cooking meat; part of it was the rabbit he shot. Other bits of meat consisted of small squirrels and other creatures caught by the boys. Hota Win remained quiet, a relief from her earlier outburst. Few words were spoken in the tipi beyond what was necessary.

He discovered his lodge housed five other people plus himself. He was the only male except for Hota Win’s two boys, who looked to be close to their teens. The boys fidgeted and fussed leaving after the meal for destinations unknown. Sean found the food barely edible, being modestly prepared without benefit of seasonings; gourmet was not a word to be found in this group. Sean ate because he was hungry not because the food was good. Berries, mixed with a mush type substance was also available, better tasting but not very satisfying. When he wakes up, from this dream, he will have to get himself a good breakfast, French roast coffee, eggs, bacon and hash browns sounded about right to him.

The assembled family watched him like a hawk, word spreading fast about his crazy talk. Some thought he could be wakan witkotkoka, crazy in a sacred way. No one said anything about it because crazy can be good or bad. Wakan tanka often spoke through people who acted in a strange and in a contrary way. They would wait and see if it was the case with Heecha sapa. He did not seem to be possessed by a bad kaga, demon, only the memories and strange talk gave all concern.

Hopa Winyan Wakan checked the wounded shoulder, smearing a smelly substance onto it before tying the bandage back in place.

“It is only a scratch, my husband,” she commented. “It will heal quickly if we care for it. You were very lucky to escape the blue coats. I am not surprised. You are a skilled warrior, my husband. It bothers me that these wasichu war on us so much; will it ever stop? Perhaps the wasichu will tire of fighting and leave.”

“Are you kidding?” Sean refuted. “They’re going to kick your….errr, I mean our butts. Face it; there is no future for Indians in this land. They should give up and save everyone from getting killed. I know about history; it’s a done deal, honey.”

Hopa Winyan Wankan appeared bothered by his strange words. The words had no meaning to her and she feared he might be angered if she told him so.

“I’m sorry to provoke you,” she apologized. “It is not a woman’s place to speak of such things. Yet, it is in my heart; so many of our people have died at the hand of the wasichu. Forgive me for speaking of it.”

“Hey, I only know what I read in history books,” answered Sean going along with the dream charade. “You, or I should say we, all end up on some reservation in the end. Every chance the whites get, they screw us out of food and more land. And nothing will change that course. It’s pathetic, I know, but I didn’t write the story, just repeating the facts.”

Hopa Winyan Wakan eyes grew troubled as her husband continued to say crazy things. She could make no sense of it, his behavior changing in some peculiar way. He was not as he had been before, perhaps changed to be a seer or holy man, it had been known to happen. Shethought it best to make him comfortable and not agitate him further. A night’s rest and some coupling would make his mind return by the morning.

Their carnal pleasure had not brought forth any children over the time of their marriage, not for lack of trying. She was sad; she knew her husband felt the same desire to have children. Hopa Winyan Wakan wanted to give her husband many sons. Heecha Sapa watched other men teach their sons skills and the way of the Lakota people. Hehad been a mentor for several of the young boys in the village, none of them his. But their coupling had not been fruitful though it was still enjoyable. She will encourage him to take another wife in time, Hota Win not appealing to his carnal nature. Many women were without husbands because of all the fighting. Perhaps the new wife will bear him children.

Sean had a new immediate problem, however. Bodily functions in the twenty-first century were easily taken care of with modern plumbing, like toilets and such. No such facilities existed in the tipi. Given the time and place, he did not find that surprising, only inconvenient.

He laughed to himself, coining a clever phrase. “No pee-pee in the tipi.” Cute little joke that it was, it didn’t meet his needs for the moment. With a camp this size there had to be some kind of central place for such activities, an outhouse or favorite tree. This next task did not involve the handling of his unfamiliar male member. It was a delicate matter requiring a toilet seat, good light and reading material. He doubted there would be a Wall Street Journal lying around or an Internet connection to scan the web.

“Uh, you, Hopa Winyan Wakan is there a place where I could, uh, you know, because of all this food,” he stammered, pointing to his stomach and buttocks, a form of charades not easily imparted to his immediate family. “Where does a guy go number two around here?”

“Number two?” she repeated, unfamiliar with any numbers. “I do not know what you say.”

This was a time when delicacy had to take a backseat. Gesturing a squatting position, Sean made his need known.

“Where it always is,” she replied. “Have you forgotten? Do you wish me to walk you there?”

“Nope, just point, honey.”

Being in the center of the village might indicate higher status but it was a fair distance for a quick emergency bathroom run. Downwind from the village Sean found a stand of trees where he was able to attend to his pressing engagement with some difficulty. He looked around after taking care of the immediate business.

“No toilet paper it would seem,” he commented much to his distress. “Of course, there’s no toilet paper. I keep forgetting I’m an Indian. But why can’t I have a dream with toilet paper? Toilet paper doesn’t seem like too much to ask for in a dream. Now I remember why I never became a Boy Scout.” He looked around as if there would be a sign in answer to his question. “I suppose they must use these wads of grass by the look of it. Yuck! Gross! No shortage of grass around here. Geez! And this stuff is rough. Ouch!”

The light was fading fast; Sean almost couldn’t find his way back. Along the way many greeted him with a nod and, “Aho!” Failing anything else to say, he nodded back looking as stern as the men who greeted him. There was a familiar camaraderie among them he couldn’t quite grasp. There wasn’t anything to worry about; it was only a dream, after all. None of this was real, a figment of his furtive imagination.

When I wake up, I’m going to have to get a hold of that Indian chick, Little Wolf, he grumbled to himself. I don’t know if she can do anything about this dream thing. She can give me back that stupid dream catcher in case it helps. Then I can crap like a regular person in my own century on my own toilet with real toilet paper. I surely don’t want to come back here; this Indian stuff, sucks.

When Sean returned to his lodge, where all his roommates were there, Hota Win and her boys were bedding down. The older woman peeled off her deerskin dress and slipped under the buffalo, sleeping robe. The thought of this woman being his wife made him, shudder. His Mother-in-law was fast asleep, only her gray hair sticking out from under her sleeping robe. He turned to Hopa Winyan Wakan with a pleasing result, her potential nakedness the only positive thing he’s experienced so far.

Once her wrap was removed, the view had improved considerably. She was beautiful; perfect in fact. She was slender enough without being too skinny, her hips full and bosom nicely formed. Her back looked like a piece of ancient artwork, chiseled in the finest marble, each curve the result of a masters touch. The flickering light of the fire danced on her skin, instilling desire.

Looking over her shoulder she smiled. “Heecha Sapa, would you like me to give you pleasure? It has been many days and I know how you enjoy it. It gives me much pleasure too,” she whispered, tucking under the sleeping robe.

“I am saddened your child has not come from me yet,” she added. “Your seed does not grow in me. Perhaps someone more suitable can give you sons, perhaps my sister, Hota Win, I will understand. She has two sons. She may give you more.”

Wincing, he shook his head at the suggestion. His desire for Hopa Winyan Wakan went beyond the procreation of sons. She had not missed his intense longing for her as he drew her closer.

“You watch me with such desire, my husband. Your eyes gaze at me like those of a man who has never been with me. It is curious and a little frightening since I cannot give you a child.”

“Damn!” he grunted. “I knew there had to be an upside to this dreaming thing. No honey, you’ll do just fine. Let your sister get her beauty sleep. She needs every second.”

Before he could remove the few things he wore his desire became obviously clear. Hota Win took one look and rolled over in a huff, snorting under her breath. “Men! They are such children, so quick for their own pleasure. Why he wishes to waste time on the barren woman is a mystery to me. Pity, he should hunt as well as he couples; we would all be fat through the winter.”

His wife’s old mother was only a couple feet from them, snoring soon after her head met her sleeping robe. Sean felt a little funny in a small room of people and a beautiful woman, awaiting his arrival. There might be some who like this kind of communal thing but it was not his cup of tea. He tried to shut it all out for the pleasures that might be had in his stupid dream.

“Mmm! What’s that smell?” he asked.

“I bathed myself with water and wacanga, sweet grass,” she answered, feeling his body move closer to her. “I know how much you like it. Does it please you?”

“Yes, very much. Very, very much.”

Women tended to submit to sex when he bedded them. This wasn’t the case with Hopa Winyan Wakan. She readily engaged him in such a way that made him feel good about himself. The sad fact, the dream dampened some of his pleasure. The experience was love, an emotion that he never shared with any woman.

Chapter of Doubt

Sean was jolted from his sleep, the ground rumbling beneath him.

Earthquake?

His mind cleared enough to hear the steady growl of a large truck slowly passing the front of his house. Large trucks were not allowed in the neighborhood unless they were making deliveries, a rule of the association he belonged to. He was too tired to check it out but consider making a complaint to the proper offcials.

His room was warm, the Peach Butter paint reminding him where he was. Home. The dream was gone and so was the beautiful woman he had made love to, his mind drifting back to their intimacy. He’d slept with plenty of women, more than would be considered proper in polite society; it was a tool to barter with without all the complications of feelings. The women were pretty much the same, willing to do the act, yet emotionally removed. They slept with him because they wanted something, always some hook, a price for what he wanted. That had been acceptable until now. In the dream his Indian wife made love to him with a devotion never experienced before; it wasn’t an act.

God, I’m losing it, he thought. I’ve really been with a woman for the first time in a dream; how can that be? Maybe Brandi slipped in with her guilt thing trying to make it up to me. I know she doesn’t want to get the boot yet, too many producers to meet and connections to make, not that it will do her any good.

“No time to dwell on a stupid dream,” he said out loud. “ Today, I gotta promote my new bad boy for Moonlight Studios and it’s not going to be easy. If the slime can stay clear of the sleazy hookers for a few months and stay clear of the tabloids, I can make him a star. All the goody-two-shoes out there want him to look like a twenty-five year old virgin. Well, I can’t make him a Mother Teresa but I can make him look better than he really is. I love this business; I sell tons of bullshit and the public buy it.”

The wound on his shoulder looked better than the day before. It was still a little sore but a healthy scab had formed. As he inspected his shoulder he detected a strange aroma coming from his skin. It wasn’t unpleasant, smelled like a sweet tea or something close to that. He knew it wasn’t his after-shave. He sniffed at it several times to be sure.

Brandi must have a new perfume; I kinda like it, he mused. I’ll have to make sure to find out so I can buy it for my next girlfriend.

He was too late to grab a shower, dressing quickly. In a flash he was off to the studio, his BMW humming its way down the winding road, tiny tire squeals, acknowledging the serpentine path. He made a mental note to get a hold of the Indian woman. It probably didn’t matter; she wouldn’t know anything about these dreams. But she was good looking and worth another shot.

With Brandi soon to be history, it was good to have a back up gal. He was piqued by the challenge of this Indian gal with a no nonsense attitude he found enticing if not a little daunting. Most of his women required no work to get what he wanted; a few promises and right connections brought them right to his bed. As good looking as she might be, he didn’t want to waste too much time on the Indian chick. A challenge was fine but there comes a point when a guy needs a warm body in his bed.

The studio guard waved him through and pointed to the offices to the left, near the sound stages. Sean didn’t need the directions but thanked the guard, anyhow. You never know when being nice to a guard will get you in when you’re not supposed to. This company needed him, big time. Moonlight Studios was in a world of financial hurt, three bad films in a row almost bankrupting them. They needed a big one to get them out of the red with a cute hunk of a guy and a fair amount of tits and ass thrown in. The male lead they found; getting the T & A was also easy.

The parking area looked like a car lot for the rich and famous. Rolls Royce, antique, fully restore, Mercedes and other high-end cars were there. His custom “Beamer” fit right in; his future client’s obnoxious, flashy, piece of crap car stood out among all these classic gems. It was one of those custom jobs built in Italy, painted a hideous purple with green trim with a piss-poor engine. To the average man on the street, the car looked impressive. In reality it was a Fiat with a custom fiberglass body and tons of crap glued onto it. Tom Pillings, the owner of this beast had terrible taste in cars, which also extended to women, though his cars were slightly classier.

Sean waltzed into the reception lobby and winked at the woman behind the desk. She stood up, leaned forward and kissed his cheek. Sean reached around and gave her a quick Hollywood hug noting that her outfit was a little more suggestive than usual.

Must be trying to impress our horny rising star Tom Pilling, he thought.

“I love this kind of business reception,” chided Sean. “I’m going to recommend to all the other studios. And I must say, if you looked any sexier, we’d have to take a long lunch together, very long.”

The woman turned her head sideways and held up her left hand, displaying an impressive diamond.

“Nice try, Sean. But this girl already has a guy, a steady one. And I don’t kiss every good looking guy that comes through the door,” countered the receptionist. “Especially that icky creep Tom Pillings. Who knows where his lips have been in the last twenty-four hours? Yuck! I don’t even want to think about it.”

She leaned back giving Sean the once-over. “So, you still with bimbo Brandi? Is she going to be the lucky girl or do I really have a chance? I can return the ring back for the right offer. I may not be as young as some of your bimbos. But what I lack in youth; I make up for with experience; ask my last ex-husband.”

“Sylvia, you know I would have dated you more than a couple times, if it hadn’t been for those kids of yours. You’re hot stuff, but,” he said. “I’m not the dad type. Besides, your kids hated me.”

“They didn’t hate you, Sean,” she answered, tucking an errant curl back in place. “You just wouldn’t let them stand on your leather seats. Other than that, they thought you were fine. As for the ‘hot stuff’ comment, I’ll take that as the only compliment I’ll get today. I guess I’ll keep my ring after all.”

“Ah, yes, Sylvia,” he joked. “It’s just one of those small quirks I have, the seats, that is. I pay big bucks for something; I hate to see it trashed by a set of dirty sneakers. I guess we’ll never know if we were soul mates or not.”

“Soul, ha! You were more like a heel in my book,” Sylvia toyed. “So, are you here to put the chastity belt on our boy Tom? Heavens knows he’s got a reputation that would sour milk inside the cow. I won’t repeat what he suggested to me.”

“I figure we’ll lock him up for a couple months until the publicity breaks,” returned Sean checking his watch. “Being by himself might prove to be a new experience for him. I’m sure he’ll hate it, not my problem.”

“Mmm! I have to say I like that new soap you’re using, smells natural, clean. Not at all like the junk you usually buy,” remarked Sylvia. “Come back and let me get another whiff of it before you go to the meeting. I’d love to find out what it is.”

He did and she kissed his cheek again, tapping his face playfully.

“I know what that is,” she said. “It’s Sweet Grass. They sell it in the novelty/import stores on Rodeo; it’s an Indian thing, I think. Smells great when ya burn it like incense, did that when I was a teenager. Where did you get that soap? I’d love some of that myself.”

Sean’s expression changed, quickly. He sniffed at his arm, again, then remembered where he smelled that before. His face blanched.

“Uh, it’s not soap, I think it could be something Brandi wears,” he lied. “ It’s a girlie thing I guess. Anyhow, I gotta run, meeting’s starting in about five minutes. The fat old guys are all lighting up and I want to get in there before they completely fill the room with smoke.”

Sean was the usual reformed smoker, smoking for a few years in college but soon got on the health kick. Ever since, he couldn’t tolerate cigarette or cigar smoke. Distasteful as it might be, one had to make sacrifices in the business.

Sean walked into a cloud of blue smoke wrinkling his nose at the noxious fumes. Three older men sat around a desk puffing away while the younger, Tom Pillings slouched in an overstuffed leather chair, one leg draped over the arm of the chair sucking on a nasty cigarette. A sexy, young, slinky woman with big breasts sat in front of Tom exposing as much as she could and still be considered clothed. Sean figured this must be the diversion to hold Tom’s attention during the meeting, his attention span equal to that of a three-year-old.

The woman turned out to be the star of their new picture, a cookie-cutter blonde found on every corner in Hollywood. She was long on legs and short on brains; perfect for the sexy, shoot ‘em-up, blow ‘em-up movies Tom usually made. Tom acted like the brave hero in his films, though if the truth were told he was a wimp. Rumor had it, he ran out of his dressing room shaking when he saw a spider in the corner of his trailer. He refused to go back in until someone captured the insect and removed it from the area.

Sean had never met Tom but was well versed on his nefarious exploits with cheap, sleazy women. The harder looking and nastier the woman, the better he liked them. He wasn’t that good looking but women seemed to flock to him like he was some sex god, undoubtedly some animal magnetism. His vile language could only be tolerated by a woman, who was not so picky. Sean hated him, immediately.

The usual greetings were exchanged before they got down to business, the offer of a Cuba cigar turned down. A few stories were shared about vacationing in the Bahamas and the best offshore places to hide money, things like that. It was all a game to impress one another, one that Sean refused to join in. He positioned himself in a chair where the smoke was less imposing waiting for the deal to begin. Tom uttered the first words.

“Hey man, did someone say something about sequestering me, whatever the fuck that means. I don’t get this stayin’ on ice shit to promote your next fuckin’ picture,” complained Tom. “Me and Rodger,” He pulled on his crotch to indicate his privates. “Need to get out and about on a daily basis, bangin’ a few babes every night. If you think I’m going to play your pure white driven snow celibate game, you can fuck yourselves. Some other studio will sign me to their picture in a flash. In fact, my manager said there are a few interested in me, right now.”

He leaned back in his chair staring at his co-star’s breasts, smug and confident no one will have a good comeback.

All the eyes in the room moved toward Sean, who had not flinched at Tom’s crude, tasteless remarks. It was as if King Arthur Court, being the collection of old guys with the knights of the Round Table waiting for his number one dragon hunter, Sean, to crush the naughty, evil Black Knight, Tom Pillings. Sean’s expression was emotionless, a poker player with a pat hand or an extremely strong bluff, no one could tell.

“Tom! May I call you Tom?” began Sean with an air less abrasive than Tom. “You have two basic problems as I see it; you have other problems beyond the two; but those don’t really affect the outcome of this movie, so we don’t need to address all of them. Your first problem is that you are under contract, like it or not. You might recall that when you were scratching your ass to pay the rent a short time ago. That same contract kept you from living on the street or in a homeless shelter slurping vegetable soup at the soup kitchen. You break the contract and all of these, fat, bald-headed guys sitting behind the table will sue your ass for every dime you’ve got. And they’ll get it; I’ll make sure of it.”

Second problem is you’re a lying piece of shit; no other studio will touch you; I’ve done my homework on that one. As for your manager, he dumped you a couple months ago when you tried to screw his wife. You’ve been black balled; you’re the nightmare most studios want to avoid. They want actors with reasonable morals and a mouth that doesn’t utter filth, every other word they speak. They don’t want to be represented by a sexual deviate, who gives hookers a bad name as well as their studios. Let’s face it buddy, the word is out; you’re name is synonymous with a leper and well deserved. Now you consider this studio the only oasis in your degenerate desert, if you get my meaning. You decide to go out on your own and you’ll die of thirst before anyone signs you.”

Sean glanced over to the studio magnates, who were shocked by his bluntness. Sean continued, “Oh, and there is a third problem and this particular one is most important of all.”

Tom sat up shrugging his shoulders uncomfortably. “Yeah, what would that be?” grumbled Tom.

“You’ll fuck up my commission, Tom,” warned Sean. “I can’t have that. They pay me big bucks to promote a slime like you; that’s not going to be easy. Now, I have no great desire to put your little friend Rodger in dry-dock or sever your nocturnal pastime; but if you screw me, it will be the last thing you screw because I’ll have you castrated. And I can guarantee it will be done while you are awake. Comprende?”

A hush fell over the crowd of men, while the young starlet looked around, trying to figure out what it all meant, fidgeting with the hem of her short dress and the very low neckline threatening to dump its contents out. Tom squared his shoulders, sat up, and looked down, into his folded hands as he spoke.

“Ya know, you’re a real asshole, Casey,” he whispered with a smile. “I like you. Okay, I’ll go along with the fuckin’ program. But I’ll need something to kill time with, some videos and books.” He pointed at his co-star, who was paying no attention. “Maybe a few private rehearsals with Miss Buttcakes at my place will help. Zat sound okay with you guys?”

All the men nodded in agreement. The young woman still hadn’t figured out her scheme in all of it.

“Who is this Miss Buttcakes?” she whined. “I thought I had the part. Leni, you promised me!”

Sean pushed a stack of papers in front of Tom and ordered him to sign. A few more signatures from the producer, director and the moneyman were all that was needed. Sean scooped up the contents and left before anyone could bid him farewell, a trail of smoke following behind him as he exited the door.

Sylvia, the receptionist called out to Sean as he left. “If you find out the name of that perfume, let me know. I’d love to get some of it.” She added, “Rain check on that lunch?”

Sean said nothing moving quickly to the parking lot.

Lingering Doubts

Sean could not remember his trip home, the events of the drive a blur in his brain, the dream beginning to get to him. First, he got shot and that appeared real enough, though there could be some other explanation for the nasty scratch. Next he made love to a woman in a dream and her smell was still on him when he woke. That could have been Brandi, which was likely given her tentative situation. Behind everything there had to some logical explanation.

He had to call Brandi as soon as he got home to verify the scratch and perfume issue; that might help the feeling brewing inside his head. Maybe she could shed a little light on the smell left on him that morning, likely hers. Her number was still in the auto dialer; it wouldn’t be there long; of course, he hadn’t officially dumped her yet. Maybe she was wearing perfume like the stuff on his Indian dream wife; that made perfect sense.

“Wife!” he gasped aloud. “I don’t even want to think about it. And I had two wives in the dream; how crazy is that? It’s only a dream, nothing to get my shorts in a bind about.”

He punched in the number for the auto dialer; her phone rang five times before her answering system kicked in. It amazed Sean that she was even smart enough to program the thing.

The message began:

“Hi, this is Brandi. That’s Brandi with an “I” not a “Y”, you know, like at the end of my name and all. I don’t know where my phone is right now so please leave a message cause I could be doing a movie, or something. If it’s you, mom, I’ll call you collect tonight, mom. I’m over my limit. Bye!”

The message ended with Brandi’s usual kissing noises. Sean found that terribly trite and insincere.

He wasn’t sure what to say; asking a seemingly stupid question will only him to her level. He started slowly trying to think of a way to phrase it, make it sound casual.

“Hey, Brandi it was fun last night, I think. Wow! I must have been really out cold. I really enjoyed that new perfume you wore. What was the name of it? I might get you some for your birthday. Anyway, get back to me as soon as you can.”

It sounded lame because they already celebrated her birthday the month before. He hung up and began to formulate part two of his research, the Indian chick. It was pretty dark, when he dropped her off, no streetlights in that crappy neighborhood. He hoped he could find it; those valley neighborhoods all looked the same to him.

Actually, he was a little worried about driving his BWM in those neighborhoods. The “chop shops” in the valley had plenty of operatives skulking around looking for hot looking cars like his. His BMW would be on the top of the list to steal. Even with car alarms and other security devices, one could not ignore the potential. There was one advantage, parking in that jungle of weeds would hide it from the street.

The narrow street was cluttered with garbage cans, old couches and even older cars in serious disrepair. One car sat, upside-down on the lawn, rusting away, the house in the background reflecting the similar negligence. A few unkempt trees and scrubs broke up the monotony of small, unpainted buildings. Ancient oil stains from cars attested to the condition of the vehicles in the parking spaces along the way, the blight of poverty in evidence everywhere.

“This place looks worse in the daytime,” he muttered, searching for anything familiar. 

I must have had too much to drink, he thought. I can’t believe I was thinking of putting the moves on that Indian chick, what’s her name, Little Wolf? I sure as hell don’t need to get tied to some poverty case from the valley.

Sean drove down several streets off of the main one, remembering it was somewhere here that he had turned. He remembered the main drag because a movie had been shot in the area several years before. It was close but not the particular one she lived on. At last he began to notice some familiar signs, a very putrid yellow ’57 Chevy on blocks near the corner, a collectors piece if it wasn’t just junk.

How many ugly piss-yellow ’57 Chevys are there out there, he wondered? I thought those were all gone by now.

This block was different from the others in the area, older, not, tract type homes. About half way down the block he saw the small familiar house, hiding a distance from the street. The two porch supports had wild bird feathers tied to them as decoration. He recalled the broken down porch but couldn’t remember seeing the feathers that night. The hunting cats skulked about, keeping watch on the feathers as they twisted in the light breeze. The house was hidden and fringed by unkempt trees and scrubs. From the street Sean could see a car of unknown vintage tucked to the side of the house, partially obscured by the heavy vegetation. The metal body had rusted beyond recognition, a home for wayward cats and other fur vermin. By the look of the tall weeds the car had been there for a long time.

The driveway made a popping and crunching noise, as Sean’s BMW carefully maneuvered through old engine blocks and transmissions buried deep in the weeds, a small tree sprouting through one broken transmission casing.

The door of the house looked open, a rusty peeling screen door keeping a few of the larger bugs out; smaller bugs flew in and out at will. It reminded him a little of the Ma and Pa Kettle movies many decades before he was born. Noise from the tires alerted the occupant. The screen door swung open with the twanging of an old spring, another reminder of the backwoods design. Little Wolf stepped outside, her hair flowing free, in cut-off jeans and a short sleeve shirt. She did not seem pleased or interested with her visitor, her face not giving away anything.

“So, you couldn’t stop thinking about me, right?” she inquired. “Isn’t that the line you guys use on us dumb women; or even more appropriately, us dumb Indian women? Save your breath; I’ve heard them all, Sean.”

He did not like being on the defensive but there were bigger fish to fry, questions and answers he needed.

“Chill woman; you were on my mind and that’s not a line,” he returned threatened by her lightening wit. “Maybe you can help and maybe not. I got some weird stuff churning in my gut; it’s probably nothing. I’ve been having the craziest dreams, Indian stuff. I’m sure some shrink would love to analyze me and have a good laugh about the hot shot promoter, crazier than a loon.”

“I’m not sure I can help but come on in; it’s a cooler inside,” she said. Pointing to a very broken down over-stuffed chair she added, “Why don’t you slip out of something comfortable and take a chair inside the house. It’s not much, but you know how primitive we Indians are.”

“Come on!” he complained. “I didn’t come to fight. I was just hoping to get some information, a few answers. I’m not putting the moves on you or anything like that.”

“Okay, then,” she relented. “What seems to be up besides your ego?”

He shot her a look of irritation but continued.

“Alright, alright,” she said. “I’ll try to be nice.”

“Good! I know this sounds crazy but in my dream I was an Indian with two wives,” he began. “Hopa Winyan Wakan, my firstwife is gorgeous but doesn’t understand who I really am. We made fantastic love, which surprised the hell out of me. It felt like it really happened to me. Thank God I didn’t fool around with my second wife, Hota Win; she’s a complete bitch. And I got this buddy Hehaka nagin, who told me I had to marry the second wife because she was my dead brother’s wife. I know that can’t be right. Worst of all, I felt pain in my dream. You’re not supposed to feel anything from what I’ve been told. You make any sense of this?”

“Your Lakota isn’t half bad,” she announced, surprised by his story. “You still sound like a white man, though. Maybe you should stay in your dream for a while, learn the whole new language; you might learn a few other things too.”

Little Wolf paced a short distance before turning around. Her serious expression gave her next words credibility.

“Sounds like a dream walk or some kind of vision,” she added “But I can’t figure out why you were chosen. A lot of my people try all their lives to have a vision, a lot of them never do.”
           “You miss my point, Little Wolf. I don’t want to go back anymore. Dream walk, vision or not, I need to stay here in my time, where my life is real. Sure, the one wife is hot stuff; I’ve done a lot worse; but I also know what happens to you guys in the end, if that even matters in this dream. What sense does it make to dream about this crap; why can’t I just dream about good stuff? Why, all of a sudden am I dreaming at all? My normal routine is simple. I sleep, I wake up and I make money, no dreaming; that’s it!”

“It’s a gift, Sean; few get to experience it. But I have never heard of a white man going on a dream walk before; you’re lucky. Our people go on vision quests like that to get meaning and direction in their lives, things they need to know and change about themselves. Wakan tanka must want to teach you something pretty important; maybe that’s the reason why.”

Sean stared at Little Wolf in disbelief. She spoke of this dream walk like it was an everyday thing to her. Maybe she was as crazy as the old bum who gave him the dream catcher. Maybe he was talking to the wrong person and needed someone grounded in reality, not mysticism.

“Want something drink, soda or lemonade?” she asked. “That’s all I have, unless you want water. But I wouldn’t drink the stuff out of this tap; it smells funny. Sorry, I don’t have any liquor.”

Sean took a few steps and sat in a wooden chair that had seen better days; the caning on the seat and back had all but given up.

“Lemonade would be fine, though I could use a healthy shot of scotch right about now,” he answered.

She moved easily in the small room, possessing a grace he had not notice before. A guy tended to miss those pleasant traits when his mind was on getting into her pants. Were it not for his bothersome dreams, he might have enjoyed watching her more. She turned from the sink, drilling her eyes into his.

“This better not be some trick to get you laid,” she warned. “I can tell you, right now, it’s not happening.”

She paused busying herself with glasses and a pitcher of juice. “You know, you’ve got a serious problem and it’s not about your dreams; your life and what you’re doing with it is the big problem.”

Little Wolf crossed her arms preparing for Sean’s resistance to what she was going to say. She looked away for a moment, perhaps reconsidering her rebuke. Instead she faced him prepared to tell the truth, which will likely not be well received.

“My people used to live their lives, half in this world and in the spirit world; some of them still do. They did not see it as a separate world; they were one in the same. They understood reality well enough; hardships and the like were just as real to them as it is to you. The importance of how you lived your life mean more than how important you were as a member of the tribe, something white people don’t understand. There was a standard of virtues each of us had to strive for. Sure, they weren’t all perfect; no one is. When they were troubled and needed help, they asked wakan tanka for a vision. Some would leave for days, seeking a place where they knew the power was. In that hidden world of the spirit, the answers were found. We pass on those virtues to teach our young. Only then, can they be an asset to the tribe; that’s how a tribe survives. Virtues such as generosity, bravery and humility are among a few. ”

Sean was becoming irritated by this lecture from some unrealistic woman but continued to listen.

 “The white man has no tribe, only a collection of individuals, each seeking their own gratification and importance. Of course, there are some who live a more spiritual existence, which is to their credit but not so common among the whites. Everything you do, you do for yourself without out care for another person. Sean, you are the epitome of that lifestyle; this is why there is no word in our language for me or I. It is always we or us.”

“I knew it was a mistake coming here,” he blurted angered by her armchair philosophies. “What does that have to do with my stupid dreams? I didn’t ask for some two-bit, cheap novel, trash answer. Wakan tanka, Great Spirit, God or whatever you call it, doesn’t put money in the bank or buy you a nice car and house. Sean Michael does; and does a damn good job of it.”

“I knew you wouldn’t understand. Your heart is closed, along with your ears,” she persisted. “That so-called bum was probably a holy man; I’m sure of that now. If you had listened to him, maybe he would have given you something good. Giving you a dream catcher was all he had. You couldn’t even accept the gift without questioning the value of it.”

Sean didn’t like being lectured to, especially by a woman. He put up with it because there was still some faint hope she could say something meaningful about his dreams.

“That’s the other thing about your modern culture. You honor people who have many things; you honor people who have money and power. We honor people who give and are humble; the more they give, the more they are honored. It’s the reason most Indians have difficulty living in the white mans’ world. Generosity is not a virtue here. Indians give too freely. We share so no one has less than the other. We give our things away because none of it really belongs to us. It belongs to Mother Earth.”

Sean stood, rolling his eyes at her continuing dissertation, itching to be gone.

“Thanks for the lemonade,” he snapped. “I’ve had that whole lecture about the poor red man from my parents and they still don’t have a pot to pee in after all these years. That’s their choice, not mine. If you didn’t have anything helpful to say about my dreams, you should have said so. I don’t see what this gibberish has to do with any of it.”

Rising, he walked to the screen door; the twang of the spring repeated its song, an irritating reminder of poverty. A fresh line of cat spray ran down both tires of his car, the cats bolting as soon as his foot hit the porch.

Damn Cats, he thought looking back at Little Wolf. What a waste of good horseflesh; good-looking broad like that could snag a rich guy and live it up. She could have her way with him and make her ridiculous movie. Trouble is, he’d go crazy listening to all her Indian crap.”

“Sean,” she called out to him before he backed out of the driveway. “I saved this for you. The old man must have wanted you to have it. Take it.”

She held up the small dream catcher. “Just take it. What can it hurt?”

He took it from her without comment, tossing it on the seat next to him. He was not about to argue with this irrational woman over some stupid trinket. Fiction and fairytales were fine for movies, not for real life.

The flashing light on his old answering machine indicated a message. A part of him didn’t care and a part of him needed to know if it was important. He pressed the button.

“Sean, honey, its Brandi. Sorry I wasn’t home but Leni called me a little later this morning. He said something about getting me some experience with some big names in Hollywood. He said I could help with practice readings for someone really important. Also, he’d pay me for the readings and the lost work at the café. My boss was sweet and said I could take a few days off. And guess who I get to read for? It’s too awesome to say out load, Tom Pillings!”

Sean groaned when he heard the name of his degenerate client.

“I couldn’t believe it when Leni told me,” she squealed after catching her breath.  Tom is so hot! And I guess we’re going to spend time working alone on a script. His lame co-star said she didn’t have time to work with him, so I get the job. Maybe he’ll like me and put me in the part, instead of her. Wish me luck, honey. Won’t see you tonight; I have to read for Tom.”

Sean was about to hang up when the message continued.

 “Oh, and by the way, I wasn’t wearing any perfume last night. It was just little old au natural me. Bye!”

Sean shook his head; she had no idea what a weird guy Tom Pillings was. But did that matter?

“Leni is such a weasel and Brandi is such a dope. And Little Wolf is such a pain in the ass,” he muttered. “Why is all this stuff happening to me? I can’t sleep without dreaming, dumbass dreams about Indians; I’m almost afraid to sleep, now. Maybe I really do need a shrink. That’s the last thing I need to screw up my schedule. On the other hand, I can’t work until I settle this thing.”

Hastily, Sean dialed the home number of his friend, Doctor Bill. Bill could be counted on to be discrete, perhaps recommending a good psychiatrist while keeping his mouth shut. In this business everyone wanted to find your soft underbelly; any sign of weakness and they’d eat you alive. Sean hadn’t climbed to the top of his field because he showed weakness. He wasn’t about to start now.

Quickly he hung up, deciding to call Bill’s cell number a safer way to broach the subject, safer than talking to his office or home phone. Secretaries had a way of listening in and gossiping with others. And Bill’s wife, Brenda, would talk his ear off. She was trying to set him up with the perfect woman to marry; marriage was Brenda’s answer to everything from bad breath to depression.

He recalled Brenda’s last set-up date. The woman had been a gym teacher from the local middle school. During dinner the woman wanted to organize a good physical training program for Sean, claiming men his age didn’t get enough exercise and performed less effectively sexually, because of it. She made no beans about her own intimate capabilities in regards to her top physical condition. However, her busy schedule and lack of a boyfriend prevented her from fulfilling that particular roll. Capable or not, the woman’s muscular legs, well-defined biceps and triceps turned him off. Her physical fitness theory would remain unchallenged.

Bill immediately picked up his cell phone.

“Hey Sean, you ready for a rematch? I’m free tomorrow morning, if you can drag yourself out of bed,” he chided.

“No, not tomorrow, Bill. I’ve got some more important problems to deal with first. In fact, that’s the reason I called you. Just between you and me, I need a name and phone number of someone special.”

“Special? Come on, Sean. I’m not setting you up with anymore women; you have plenty on your doorstep. Besides, it’s unethical in my practice. Brenda is still pissed at you because you wouldn’t go out with Allison, the gym teacher. I can’t blame you; she seemed a little on the brassy side.”

“No, it’s nothing like that; this is serious, Bill. I think I need a shrink. You know, one who can keep his mouth shut and fix the problem without ten years of expensive therapy. I need someone who can be, down and dirty, get the job done. I’m sure I probably won’t need more than a couple visits at the most. You know anyone like that?”

There was a long silence before Bill answered. There was the flipping of pages in the background, possibly an address book.

“Hmm! What’s eating you, Sean; Brandi break your heart or you having a little problem getting it up? You’re still young, so it must be a little problem with performance, right?”

“Geez, no! Yeah, yeah, Brandi is on the way out but that’s not the reason,” proclaimed Sean. “Like all of the others, she is around for laughs, fun and games. Brandi’s a big girl and knows the score. As for your other guess, you’re not even close.”

“This is getting to be intriguing,” replied Bill. “I can’t imagine what it could be. Talking to yourself too much, multiple personalities, cross-dressing?”

 Sean sighed, not wishing to say it. “This is confidential, understand? You’re a doctor and can’t blab this around, right? I need a shrink because of my screwy dreams. I’m starting to dream everytime I go to sleep.”

“Dreams? Nothing wrong with dreaming, Sean. Some in the medical profession think its good therapy; I wouldn’t worry about it.”

“No, these aren’t regular dreams, Bill; they’re weird. Things happen in them that scare the crap out of me; I’m afraid to go to sleep. Since I was a kid, I never dreamt, ever. But it’s not about the dreaming. It’s about what I dream about. I’m wondering if I’m going nuts.”

A long silence ensued. Sean could hear the more shuffling of paper in the background. Bill cleared his throat.

“Well, I do know one guy, who specializes in dream therapy, top of the field, from what I’ve heard. He’s got some pretty impressive clients and very hush-hush about, his patients. Maybe he can square you away. I’ve heard too much work and fretting over money can trip things in your brain; it happens, sometimes. Why I’ve even had some strange dreams myself. There was this one dream where all these little blonde headed people started to…..,”,began Bill, before being cut off.

“Stop! I don’t want to hear about it, Bill. Just give me the number and keep it quiet, please.”

Bill recited the name and number twice to be sure Sean got it.

“You’re kidding?” returned Sean. “Is this his real name?”

 

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