The Search Engine Corliss is sitting with her American history book on a wed, at noon, and sees a couple come in and sit near her. She watches as it seems the girl’s sitting thru this yng man’s attempts at charming her. This guy a blonde, wh. boy, whom sported a pretty boy look. Corliss imagines being ok with sleeping with him, but chooses to loathe him, instead.
Corliss is aware of her surface judging, but has a Lord Byron excuse to reason it out. Corliss hopes they say something original for her to eavesdrop on. Oddly, the yng man quotes Auden, which doesn’t help his chances of getting the yng lady in bed. Corliss decides to go over and ask the guy directly, this deciding the yng lady to bow out, Corliss glad she’d chosen not to allow this yng man to shape her mind.
The yng man invites her to sit, but she declines in preference to learn about the poem he quoted, he eventually admitting he’d only read an article regarding the quote, Corliss afterward ditching him. She had gone to h.s. in Spokane, WA and during these yrs, she becomes adept at getting wh. people to help her educate herself with their curriculum sharing. She sees WA State Uni. library like her “Sherwood Forest”, she adored books so much, she desired being buried with paperbacks. When locating an Auden collection, she looses another book by a Spokane Indian she’d never heard of, and she considered herself a fairly knowledgeable authority, due to her ancestral knowledge of her country and people, and yet hadn’t heard of this guy, Harlan Atwater.
The poem Corliss reads of his, gives her the impression of being clunky, and funny, the impressions having her wonder. She goes to check out both books and learns from the librarian it’d been unread since 1972. Once Corliss inquires closer as to how common this is, the librarian shares an optimistic # of 60-70%, but it more like 90%. As she goes on to share with Corliss how common this is in most large libraries, even sharing the # their library had, Corliss is overwhelmed by the amt of neglected books.
As she walks out, she feels as tho she’d rescued Atwater from the library and a fellow Spokane Indian Corliss is lucky to live in a single apt as a 19 yr old, with luck, fam, and scholarships. She also knew if she rented with another Indian, it’d soon be their extended fam staying, as well, and only apologies in lieu of rent. Meanwhile, Indians had to put up with the paperwork dump of gov’t documents to confuse the matter. Most Indians were fearful of isolation, but after Corliss’ childhood with 2 Indian parents, 7 sibs, and cuzins, with the odd stranger thrown in periodically, solitude was Corliss’ bread and buttah.
Due to Corliss’ love of books over humans, she kept stacks in her home, books being more interesting than many humans combined, sometimes. She also can’t abide the sappy romanticism many wh. people have toward Indians. Corliss also has fair reasoning when it comes to benefitting from wh. people’s charity by believing stereotypes of Indian beliefs and attributing them to her, if George Dubya can do it, than why not her, on an obviously much smaller scale? She knew 1 day people’s ideas about Indians would be sobered, but she doesn’t have to dwell on it, now.
After taking the bus home, Corliss’ giddy to read it, 45 poems waiting, she also wondering how this author could’ve escaped her with her large love of poetry her parents not getting it. She can’t defend reading wh. male poets, and probably enjoyed poetry because everyone didn’t, and these wh. authors still felt love, loss, etc. She doesn’t feel like she belonged with her fam, her pop loving, but a “stranger” to her, Corliss’ curiosity piqued to learn more about Atwater, so she calls her mom, whom’d bipolar episodes, they starting with the traditional catchup, and her mom reminding how proud they all are of her. Corliss usually benefitted from her ma’s exaggerated stories of her educational accomplishments, she wary of them.
After a meandering short chat, Corliss learns her ma, the unofficial historian of Spokane Indians, hadn’t heard of the book or man. She next takes her ma’s advice and checks the internet, having to go to the campus comp lab. She is poor after all, she having to sweet talk a comp free despite all being reserved, she quickly searching and failing to discover Atwater, emailing some known authors and no one having heard of him. She goes so far as to get a 2nd cousin to check gov’t records for him, but still gets no mention, making her suspicious.
After a couple wks research, Corliss discovers an article giving her some tidbits of his life, and whereabouts. It contains an interview with Harlan regarding his style, and his training starting with a wh. teacher with wh. poets and continued with him researching and seeking black, Indian, and Chicano poets, the “revolutionaries”. Harlan goes on to say how he wishes for his poems to give a glimpse into Indian life, and his ideas coming from the thought of whether the elders’d approve his writing. Harlan shares his sense of humor having come from his g/moth, he having bittersweet funny moments caught in his poems.
The interviewer has him consider whether he felt “radical”, he talking of whether believing poetry being able to “save the world”, than yes. He ends by sharing a story from his shaman g/fath, he foretelling how Indians’d known the exact date wh. men’d come and shit on their rug, they also knew sometime “soon”, they’d have more room. Corliss lucks out and discovers another periodical, and it contains a physical # and addy, she surprised it actually still worked, but her short chat not yielding many answers. Corliss travels to Seattle by bus, the furthest she’s ever been from home, she reminded of Odysseus, which devolves into how much of a prick he was, and vain, but what saves him as a hero, is his epic biographer.
Corliss then considers how everyone is probably their own Odysseus, and Homer, every life an epic journey. She spots a homeless man with impeccably blue eyes, she offering him a meal if he’d share where the addy she had was, he offering to tell her anyway, so she offering out of kindness, like he was. After he eats, Corliss asks how he’d become homeless, he sharing how he’d been a prof, and eventually ended up shouting in the quad for respect. 1 of his students comes up and hugs him after he’d been ignored for 27 hrs, he starts breaking down bawling, and doesn’t stop for 2 wks, eventually selling his house, and spending his savings, and now homeless.
Corliss thanks him for sharing, gets the directions, buys him another meal and leaves, locating the addy, and spending time at the other McD’s considering how to approach Atwater. After a couple more D. Cokes and an apple pie, she goes and knocks on his door, and what she’s greeted by certainly isn’t an Indian version of Harrison Ford, instead she gets a darker skinned Indian, short, and old, maybe older than the 50-60 yrs she imagined. Corliss starts crying for his failing image, but the old man gets why after she explains, offerring to meet her at a bookstore within view. When Corliss walks over to wait inside, she responds sharply to the 80 yr old owner, whom takes her explanation and apology with grace, even offerring privacy by turning her hearing aids off when Harlan arrived.
When Harlan comes in, Corliss is pleased with his efforts to clean himself up, he offerring to share his story. He confesses he’s only a Spokane Indian by blood, he actually raised by a wh. fam in Seattle. So, on 1 level, he’s faking being Indian in not having lived the reservation life. So when he gets semi-popular in poetry, he isn’t opposed since wh. people think they’re Indian, and he’s a good faker, so he fell into the stereotype he’d created, and the people around him believed he’d truly experienced this.
Harlan dives into the night he’d performed at a book store, and brought 25 copies of his new poetry book to sell, thinking this is a modest #, and he’d landed the perfect spot to perform, after which succeeds to sell all his copies, then waits to see the new girl perform. When she’s done, he watches 3 other guys get rejected before giving his props, she recognizing him, and returning his compliments. Harlan gets to see Star Girl nekkid in her bed, the 2 only reading poetry til she chats of how tough his life must be as an Indian, he playing up the living-on-the-rez shtick. He tells how his whole fam’d died in a house fire, 2 sis’s and his parents, 1 of whom’d chucked him as a baby out a window and fireman finding him sleeping in a tree.
Harlan’s sad story doesn’t the trick, she ready to play, but the way she’s playing being to take his pain out on her through their fun, this not turning him on, but laugh. After, he excuses it to being afraid, regardless of whether it’s true, he then abruptly runs out, and goes home, collects the remainder of his books, and goes to a bar which supports his need to speak his poems, even buying him drinks as he gives away the books people offer to buy, he inscribing them, eventually blacking out, and waking in the alley in the morning. He pukes on a pile of his inscribed books, then tires to salvage them, til he sees down the street more piles of his abandoned books, so he drops them, and returns home to his parents. He doesn’t writes a poem again after this night, he also confessing to Corliss how writing poems made him feel like it showed his ordinariness, which he thought himself higher than, but seeing them made it un-ignorable.
Harlan also admits how his parents’d truly saved him, he still living with them, and being ill the reason he couldn’t let her in, he caring for them, now. He also locates his birth ma, she a crack-head in L.A., he confiding how he felt glad to see her like this, since he felt blessed by how he was raised, she asking him what his real name is, but he smiling and walking out. Corliss sits for awhile after until placing Harlan’s book face-out on a shelf, and leaves to go home, as well.
Lawyer’s League intro’s the narrator, Richard late as he describes being half African American, and Spokane Indian, his parents a footballer, and ballerina majors so feeling himself a “graceful monster”. He also plays footy for awhile, also having decent academics, Richard transfers to his parents school, and gets a BA in PoliSci. He gets into the career in politics working for a gov’r, and fronting an org which’s supposed to win over Indians, since most rightly feel all politicians including the Indian one’s are corrupt. Richard has the goal to eventually work in the Wh. House, but now is planning to be senator and enjoys the IDlessness of being a lobbyist.
Richard’s at a dinner party with 2 married couples with different political parties, and a single dem whom shows she’s interested in his flirt as he becomes snarky against opposing party marriages being liars. Richard starts to vibe with Teresa, but upon having a wonderful time with her, he notes people wouldn’t accept their marriage, politically, black native, and blonde, blue-eyed wh. woman. So, they remain acquaintances til she leaves the business to go to Paris. A couple wks after she’d left, Steve, whom works in the attorney general’s office, invites him to a friendly game of pick up hoops, he truly not wishing to mix with Steve’s crowd, proving to’ve been aggro wh. bois working out their issues on court, but after much peer pressure, Richard agrees and plays with some foos he remembers, as well as a huge, new wh. boy public attorney with an attitude.
After the fat, baby boy has a fit because Richard’d made a dunk, and they didn’t regard dunks as countable, Richard plays by his rules, and big baby screams he’d make a dunk when he’d shot it right, Richard this time not backing down despite knowing he’s a guest, but foo’d challenged him, so Richard provides more shit for him to eat. When he finally makes “Big” Baby “Bill” cry again, he resorts to declaring they don’t play “your” kind of hoops, so etiquette-filled are racists of today. It escalates to where Steve is apologizing before Richard leaves, but Big Bill takes 1 last racist dig, and Rich puts him on his 3 inch’s taller ass. Despite the obv. lawsuit which follows, Rich’s record does now contain his charges, he explaining the not-so-clear version to the press and anger management course to follow, to promote patience in front of racists asking for more than the bodychecks they instigate and perpetrate.
In the end, Rich takes on lasting damage to the hand he’d punched Big Baby Bill with, which hurts him every day and permanently damaged his range of motion (so making it ok, ofc to treat a marginalized group to privileged standards, research marginalized groups, and therapy regarding them, there’s too much regarding lack of compassion and justice to deem suitable, since it’d be turned into a rant rather than review).
Can I Get a Witness? A woman is waiting for her check to come back after eating at an Int’l “GoodFood” restau. She’s 50 with 2 teen boys and a large hubby of a man, as her mind wanders from missing when she was closer to God, to snapping back to where the waiter could be. It’s busy there for the lunch hr, Seattle sunny for once, and people taking on pale and beige hues to the skin for lack of UV rays. She wonders if she’ll get fired from her job as a para-para legal for being late again.
As the woman stands to look for the waiter, a small man with a big coat walks into the retaur. shouting in a foreign language and detonates a bomb. 3 people outside die by the explosion, 2 during the ride to the hospital, 37 injured. Inside the retau., 23 people are killed, 14 die in the 1st 24 hrs, 41 people surviving and 13 suffering terrible injury, which requires much time in the hospital, and rehab. The suicide bomber is born in Seattle, Syrian Americ. with Muslim pop, and Catholic ma, in school for his PHD, and is engaged to a fellow PHD student, and after a yr’s investigation, found no affiliation to terrorist activity from him. He votes dem, but had a repub. bestie, giving to charities for Palestinian and Israeli causes, the investigators sign it off as another mystery or the most calculated, evenly psychotic, lonely nut ever known to serial.
The woman’s seen how happy he’d been before setting it off though, she smiling with him, blacking out and waking under a pile of dead, she saving herself. She wasn’t seriously injured, bruised and bloody she walks out to people screaming and dying. She watches the scene like the reporters coming around with cameras. A man in his 40s asks her if she’s ok repeatedly, she feeling a bit crazy, and lying about being in the building.
When he asks where she’d like to go, she says away from the building, she later suggesting his place, since she doesn’t want to go home. They go to his apt a couple blocks away, and he gets her some water. They have an emotional roller coaster of an exchange, before she has a seizure, he attempts to call the police, but only gets busy signal. He tries every local emergency option til checking the local Dominoes, getting the only worker on the line, and eventually convincing the teen to spend time making pizza, since there’ll be a bunch of hungry people coming, despite it being dead rt now.
When he gets off the phone, she’d been staring at him, knowing she’d seized, and as she thinks how indifferent her fam’d become to the point of not arguing how late she started serving dinner, eventually making it to 11pm with no acknowledgement, she next hears the man for her to stay awake in case she’s concussed. It’s told how he couldn’t help telling jokes even during necessary moments since his ex-wife’d given him a chance to talk straight and he still answered with a joke. A couple yrs later and he’s now dealing with this woman on his floor, he feeling the karma, and possibility to handle this differently than his knee-jerk comedy. He shares with the woman of his ex’s nickname for him of, Mr Funny, and he asks her to tell him about why she hated her fam, she returning with where he’d been on 9/11.
Mr Funny’s answer is smart, saying it’d been the day he lost his v, but then saying he’d been at work, a computer game dev, whom’d been working on a terrorist 1st person-shooter changed to cop-shooting terrorist game, they taking out the bit with the WTC before putting it on market. Soon though, the woman brings him to a dark devolvement to the idea about the people who died in 9/11 in the towers, he wondering if God is teaching him when to ignore someone and take them to hospital. The woman convinces him to allow her to get these thoughts out though, and shares how her hubby and kids’d really ridden hard the grief train, she confused what with being Indian and her hubby planting shit tons of flags everywhere about their home. Her hubby’d been a champ powwow fancy dancer, but was a grunting geezer, now.
The woman’s hubby’d convinced their twins to join the marines when they graduated h.s. She considers how her hubby has antlers from the twins and his hunting trips, and flags, struck by the irony of an Indian fighting for the colonizers, then considering how ditzy people were when out of nowhere, people crashed planes into buildings. She states how there truly isn’t any innocent people, like holy books spout, all are sinners. She then shares how she actually knew 1 man in the WTC is raping his daugh. and how happy he must’ve been the day of as his little boy and girl are broken and at school. When the ma hears of the towers , she’s celebrating, for how her hubby beat her or treated her in general, the kids keeping calm til getting home, and celebrating with their ma, but then waiting for a wk til realizing he’s truly gone.
He doesn’t wish for her to continue, but does like being needed as she states she had to get this out. She shares how she’d hoped she’d get the chance to get hit with a terrorist attack, since she’d take the opp to start her life fresh. After she lets loose with a spew of terrible other possible horrible scenarios of the kinds of people lost in the WTC, he carries her out of his apt, and thru the streets til she has him let her go, kisses him, and walks unsteadily away.
Do Not Go Gentle (Ron Francell of the Chicago Sun-Times claims this sex predator is funnier than Louise Erdritch, opinions?) “Mr. Grief” hadn’t bothered the hubby narrating or his wife, til their infant son died 3x after suffocating from SIDS. The 2 of them scared Mr. Grief away multiple times as they sit with their son, his wife 25 and’d the strength of g/ma’s already. The key to being able to beat up Mr. Grief is to know when not to punish people. Hubby gives example of this when he thinks mistakenly of seeing Mr. Grief behind his hubby’s eyes so screams horrible names at her directly in her face, and later falls asleep on the toilet and is scared Mr. Grief’ll kill him in this funny, embarrassing position, when 2 men walk in and chat of a sad woman.
They chat of how slovenly she looked and should’ve tried to look good for when their kids woke from their illness and see her not reflecting her sadness, esp since her kid isn’t terminal like these 2 dads, so like, get over your fat, sweatpants-wearing self! At 1st this incites him enough to move out of his self-pity and make himself known to the 2 hurting men. When he does, he milks out washing and drying his hands as a means to shame them for their ugliness, but also can understand their sentiment from sharing the pain perspective. After, he plans to buy his son some toys and check out a new store, but is shocked to see it’s a sex toy shop, so browses despite not thinking he’d truly by something.
Then, the narrator turns a corner and sees a vibrator titled: Chocolate Thunder, hearing in his head the 2001 Space Odyssey intro music. He quickly buys, and returns to the hospital with it. He whips out the 15 inch wand of brown magic out, and switches it on, praying with it around his baby, shocking the room at 1st, but soon laughing, and praying around the other babies, his humor spreading to many of the fams. Then his wife uses it as her drumstick, and sings a duet which echoed even better with Chocolate Thunder’s asst.
Narrator’s wife prays over their son with Chocolate Thunder over the wk, and thankfully, their son, now named Abraham couldn’t resist opening his eyes to smile at them, with or without the help of Chocolate Thunder. The parents hang Chocolate Thunder over the baby’s crib now, the 2 wondering how they’d explain this crazy world to him when he’s older to wonder himself.
Flight Patterns – William’s woken by his alarm radio at 5am, he idly thinking how he liked knowing random trivia as well as tribal knowledge. He eventually goes into his morning stretches, sleeping on the couch so as to not disturb hubby and daugh. Then, Alexie gives his dream scenario of his hubby insistent he stay rather than go do his salesman job, and offerring sexual favors as compromise. When he resists, she takes 1 more demanding stance before miraculously knocking back out, which he envies her ability to do.
William also acknowledging whilst feminist, did like his wife degrading herself for him sexually, as well as objectifying her in public or otherwise, since he was attracted to her body as well as her mind. He next sees his androgynous kindergartener, and she cries as he leaves, he also assuming she did what her mama’s blessed with and fell asleep already, since he couldn’t hear her anymore. He’d also adopted her fear of terrorists, but isn’t afraid his plane’d get hijacked. As he waits outside and fantasizes of having the loose life of an on the road salesman having 1 night stands, to recognizing the sexism unless women’d the same opp to be reckless with their fam, and then when the cab arrives, (feels like pretend) debates staying instead, before going.
On the ride the cabbie starts to chat, which Will isn’t into, but intrigue pulls him with aversion due to learning of the Ethiopian man’s life, fam, and careers, and whether to believe him, which he calls, but takes lightly as they chat of how Sept 11’s changed people’s views regarding their dark skin, the cabbie guessing Will’s Jewish. When the topic jokingly turns to how a hippie’d attempt to stop a terrorist by chucking a Birkenstock at him or offerring pot, the cabbie admits perhaps if everyone smoked, we’d have world peace. Fekadu next shares his story when Will politely accepts listening, despite not wanting to engage, still. Will learns why he’s no longer welcome in Ethiopia being caused by defecting as a pilot for their over 40 yr reigning emperor, and knew he’d likely never see his sons or wife and mama again.
Fekadu also couldn’t help his fam due to the emperor being overthrown by a coup a yr after he left, and he can’t trust those who’d taken over wouldn’t see him as a coward for not holding out or angry he’d worked for the emperor’s army. By the time he reaches the airline curb, he’s moved enough to tip the man enough to send to his fam, then rushes to find a pay ph. to check in with hubby.
The Life and Times of Estelle Walks Above – Summer 1976, Narrator relates seeing Seattle’s change to wh. tech ideals for society, his Aunt Bettina noting how all the comments about his eyelashes could turn him gay. Narrator knew he isn’t even at 13, since having constant fantasies of girls and women. He admired and absorbed his ma’s knowledge, she going to uni, and her being smart making it tougher on the res. His pop’d left them early, and whilst playing along to hate him as much as his ma, he misses him.
Narrator’s ma is mostly good at parenting, but did forget and has yet to remember forgetting his 9th b/day, he also recognizing she’d always driven him to school, took him to baseball games and poetry readings, folk concerts and ballets. Unfortunately, she also made a scene regularly, like becoming overly distraught when 2 ballerinas knock into each other, and his ma is adamant the 1 will be fired for knocking into the prima ballerina, and regret it for life. She also tries to be his best buddy when she fails a parent quiz from a mag, so also gives wkly sex advice. When she’d gotten into progressive, becoming whole woman programs, though, 13 yr old Narrator could’ve done without it.
The Narrator ends up learning teen girls thought of sex as often as boys, which made the looking back upon his teen yrs quite a different experience than those who say, if only I knew then, what I know now. (Some of these characters begrudgingly state or must somehow include the verbiage to support equality for all genders, but narrowed to females.) He continues on how this extends to his lack of closeness to his culture, and doesn’t think of it unless a wh. person brings it up. His ma would lie to her wh. buddies of her last name, Walks Above, her true name Miller, but changing it when leaving the rez for Seattle. A downside to Estelle’s popularity with her wh. buddies for being Indian is how he’d often get ignored in preference of the needy bitches.
This summer Narrator’s feeling neglected and starved for paternal attn, but got females and providing them manual labor for free, instead. She also shares her views on wh. libs and Leonard Peltier being innocent, but a couple Indians did probably kill the 2 cops, and all this trouble coming from picking up a gun to start with, but Leonard Peltier should be released, and the 2 Indians found. (Some of those characters thoughts and scenes feel like they’re from real life…) Estelle also gives a list of how to keep his sex life going having much to do with household tasks. He shares how Estelle’d not been in love or making any since the Narrator’s birth, she preferring “open books” to “closed men”.
As Estelle’s driving them home after finally locating their car, they following a happy blonde, tall woman in a wh. dress and period blood on the back of her dress, and not noticing. Despite planning and panicking to inform her, an old woman drives recklessly to provide a jacket and wrap around her waist before running back, driving away. Estelle and son are crying and she slaps the boy a few times to calm him, the 2 hugging it out, and he admitting the 2 continue and always shall treat each other this way til death, loving and failing each other, til crying and burning the church in grief for the other.
Do You Know Where I Am? Narrator and Sharon are steady in Seattle college, and bond over being Indigenous and Catholic, so start a relationship which lasts 3 yrs so far. Narrator’s pop dies of cancer when he’s born, and his ma wants him to have an understanding of his heritage, so sends him to see his pop’s parents for half the summer, not feeling like he’d learned anything tribal from rez life other than reading detective novels, and garage sales. Narrator prefers Seattle life despite adoring his g/parents and the sedate life. He’d been schoolmates with Bill Gates, his ma a lawyer, so able to send him private.
Sharon’s parents are both architects and helped build a few of the larger skyscrapers downtown. So, Narrator and Sharon are the assimilated prince and princess of Indians. The day before their graduation they walk near 1 of their fave spots near a creek Narrator climbing after what sounds like a hurt cat for Sharon’s high opinion rather than the “dumb ass cat”. When he succeeds, he next hopes she’ll be fine allowing the half starved animal go free, but she thinks it’d been owned.
Narrator thinks about how smart she is once recollecting a missing cat in an ad, she able to spout Shakespeare by heart, he proud by making her monosyllabic and grunt at home from their recreation… Sharon goes off with the cat in search of the paper, and by the time Narrator’s holding the cat as she dumpster-dives in search of the paper, he gaslights her by saying she probably hadn’t seen it, despite her eidetic memory, and they should drop the cat at the pound. When she locates the paper, and calls the #, she sprints off with the cat as Narrator follows, he claiming to have heard the cat crying when the owners wish to hear how they’d located him. He also takes credit for calling, and remembering the ad, he telling Sharon afterward he needed to feel adored by these strangers, she stating the facts of lying to them all, and ditching him, the 2 graduating separately as he lies to his ma where she is, then saying she’d gone on an Apache month long retreat.
A day later, Narrator confesses being scared he’d lost Sharon for good for being a brag, not knowing if he’d proven this repeatedly or only the once. The next day, Sharon comes and speaks with him of marrying a liar, and how she tells the lost cat story a lot, they having 4 kids who’ve grown, and had kids, now. Sharon never offers forgiveness nor does he ask, the meaning of the now public joke changing and lightening with time. Sharon confesses to an affair lasting 3x of sleeping with the man, and allowing 3 questions to be fair to the liar, their other secrets from each other “normal” stuff like, hidden porn, or diets not adhered to, but her blatant confession rightfully hurting his feels, she ending with not ever expecting to speak of it again.
Narrator also was confused by her deal, and crying whilst saying it. He goes to a point of anger where he surprises himself by feeling like he wanted to punch his wife in the gut, then pacing and memorizing how she physically looks, before becoming ecstatically relieved to learn “she’d only slept with a wh. man”, feeling he’s good enough of an Indian man for his Indian wife… (Ain’t he a 1, tho?) After, he asks what she’d done with him, she not saying the words, so through pointing, shows him which makes him laugh, making her laugh, and they sit together again, before their kids come home and they do normal fam stuff til the kids are in bed, after which, deciding to remain married (under “normal” circumstances, minus knowing Alexie is a sexual assaulter, and conditioner, this scenario can almost be believable). 2 yrs after, they’re doing better with all the grueling work they put in, their kids grew up well, and he pinpointed the issues of Americans earning less than their parents, like they had; this should resound LOUDER than it seems to be…
By the time Sharon’s 66, they’ve got 6 grandkids, and she’s now on chemo, and on her deathbed, she says again how he’s a liar (their kids leaving them along after their own g/byes), he saying it’s only once, and he hadn’t again after, she asking if it’s true, and he stating yes. (E-YES)
What You Pawn I Will Redeem – At noon, a homeless Indian Narrator seriously keeps how he becomes homeless secret, since white peeps crazy for gossip. He next details flunking out of college, working more menial jobs, marrying 3x to accumulate 3 kids, then goes crazy asocial, but not “serial killer”. He’s been homeless for 6 yrs now, and he feels the most accomplished he’s ever been as a homeless man, knowing the best free food, and being proud of being trustworthy enough to some businesses to being allowed to use cleaner, employee bathrooms. He’s banded with 2 other homie Indians, Junior making him jelly because he looks “Before Columbus” and Narrator looks “After Columbus”, he knowing when handling wh. peeps, it’s best to stay quiet.
1 lunch, the 3 head for a 7/11, and Narrator notices a pawn shop he’s not seen before, which’s 99.9% uncommon on top of this, he’s almost certain it had on display his g/ma’s powwow regalia, which’d been stolen 50 yrs ago, and he’d only seen in pics, but this 1 had his fam colors and the feathers looking too similar. The 3 enter the shop to be greeted by an old white guy. Narrator states his claim, and the old man asks if he can prove it, which Narrator knew if he could find his fam’s flaw they purposely sew into their regalia, he could convince the man. When they locate it, the man considers his options despite knowing the moral thing’d be to return it, but he spent a grand on it, and wanted at least $999, so he doesn’t lose out.
So, Narrator makes him a compromise to give him 24 hours to make up the difference to 25 bucks he donates to getting the grand. The 3 leave, get 3 bots at 7/11, and by morning, Rose of Sharon’d returned to the rez to live with her sis, as Jr slept with either his own or someone else’s vomit on him. Narrator goes to the wharf where he listens to and cries for awhile with the Aleut, Alaskan Indians who got stuck going broke in Indian bars, and are now waiting, going on 11 yrs for their boat to come back and ferry them home. After, he goes back to check on Jr, taking his half ciggy, then deciding to try and get the cash by stopping at the Real Change office.
This multi-helpful org also sells papers to anyone and they keep the profit from their sales, the boss asking why Narrator needed the strange amt requested. Big Boss compromises by giving him 50 papers for free, but Narrator only sells 5 and buys cheeseburgers, he ending up throwing up, since he’s alchie, so hopes he ate enough to not die. (“His face with covered with”) tattoos, his g/ma bonding with the Maori soldier whom’d lost his legs and hadn’t met an American Indian before. After taking the last buck and change off the still sleeping Jr, he goes to the Korean market and gets 2 lottery tix for a buck each, and a cigar, he coming in, and always telling the Korean daugh. inside on reg he loved her, he allowed to do this by her, since agreeing she’d not allow even dreaming of sleeping with her.
Outside, he smokes his cigar, and after tries the tix, and winning a free ticket, which’s a winner of a bill, so he gives a 20 to the Korean girl for Indian tradition, and when going back to Jr, finds him gone, and learns later he’d hitched to OR where he dies of exposure in an alley behind a Hilton. Narrator next goes to a 20 yr old adopted Indian bar, Big Heart’s. He treats the 8 women and 7 guys to 6 shots each with his 80 bux, then sits with a couple after the woman’d called the amount of shots he’d be buying with his cash when he’d mentioned it. The man admits to being 2 Spirit, and able to charm straight guys into sleeping with him, but Narrator goes after Irene, she playing along, and he blacking out to them both being gone, and he being broke.
By closing time, Narrator’s asking for a beating and gets 1 from the bartender, he waking and walking with a broken nose at a warehouse. When he’s forced awake again, it’s by a friendly cop he knew whom gives him a ride, and marvels how Narrator could be joking after being found passed out on the railroad tracks, he admitting to only knowing 2 funny tribes, Jews and Indians, so genocide must be the funny-maker. (Maybe…) After sharing the story of how his g/fath. died and why he needs the cash, the cop gives him 30 bucks and stops peer pressuring him to go into the 24 hr detox. Narrator then goes back to sit with the Aleut on the dock as they sing his requested ceremonial songs as he thinks of how he wished for his g/ma to be alive.
After they finish, Narrator treats them to breakies at a cheap diner known to serve homeless people. After, Narrator walks to the pawn shop hearing later the Aleuts’d vanished into the water at the dock, either drowning or walking North. The pawn shop isn’t where he thought, but he does locate it, and when the old man whom now looks younger hears how much he made, and working hard for it, the man gives him his g/ma’s regalia for free. Narrator steps outside with it, puts it on and stops traffic as he dances with, and as his g/moth.
Whatever Happened To Frank Snake Church? So, Frank, 39 has a tumble down a slope on Mt. Rainier, a Spokane Indian, and had a smoke problem. Frank’s heart arrhythmia calms, and he assesses not being too hurt, except for a cut needing stitches as he slowly crawls back up the 20 or 30 yd drop he’s tumbled. He gingerly stands, and walks but soon gets a jolt making him think he’d suffered a heart attack. Then, he gets 3 lightning strike jolts hit him and throw him back, he thinking he’s going to die with pizza shit in his pants, when he sees his dead pop, which helps him accept this vision.
Frank’s mission is now to restore his pop, Harrison’s dignity before being found, so hoped to make it to his truck and drive, rather than radio in, like a proper protocol of a ranger. He also feels his pop’s spirit is waiting for him despite not believing in the after life, and wants to send him off right. As he drives he works on a tastefully jokey eulogy, and reminisces how he and his pop’d go to whatever basketball game for the passion of the teams regardless of pro or not. Frank knew he’d come up with a properly drafted and written eulogy, as he speeds through the city of Seattle, now to race to the front door after parking on the lawn, and to see his pop fine, and eating Grape Nuts, Frank sharing his vision, and his pop making a joke.
A yr later, Frank’s pop does have a heart attack at the market, Frank not quite feeling it’s proper to say he’d predicted it, what with the time, and place he’d passed. At the funeral, Frank’s grief makes him lose his ability to speak, and then only announce loving his pop, everyone giving sympathy, and his ma’s aunt Margaret kissing him hard on the mouth, and constructively criticizing him by not having mentioned his pop playing basketball, being short, and slow, unlike Frank, whom’s 6’6, and pro for a bit before giving it up after his ma’s death. He goes home alone after the funeral, and doesn’t think he’ll grieve when it comes at him hard. He then has a round of howling with grief, sleeping, and waking, repeating this a few times.
Then Frank goes into his pop’s closet and finds a basketballs, he deciding he’d reclaim it, running to the park, and taking his 1st dribble shop after 22 yrs. He misses his 1st shot horribly, and a wk later, he quits his job as forest ranger. Frank’d made 10s of Ks through saving, so could survive without a job for awhile. So, his new plan is to work out, play basketball, and build strength.
Frank finds a personal trainer and interviews him to learn his dedication, the 2 bonding pretty well, so Russell the trainer estimating a yr to be attempted to get Frank where he wants to be good at basketball again. He loses weight, and gives all the old furniture, knick knacks, and clothes, buying simple replacements, and keeping all 3k books, building bookshelves for them on the walls, and reading 1 per day. Frank tends to train til he hurts himself, Russell having to turn him away sometimes for 3 wks to heal, and when he’s away from Russell he goes all over the city to play with every kind of person. 1 black guy called Double-O plays against him, and Frank just barely wins, making a legendary dunk, impressing even his opponent.
Frank then reminisces on how KFC chx smell reminds him of his ma, so he’d auto remember his pop, thinking of when they’d gotten chx and brought a basketball to picnic at a park. Frank as a boy is emotional, but could stick up for himself at school. After eating he asks his pop to play some hoops, but he makes him beg, then says his ma’d play with him, Frank not 1st believing them when they say she used to play basketball, but is soon convinced, despite she not playing or showing her skills to him before. After proving her skill to her 11 yr old with practicing and making more and more shots than misses, she hopes the world doesn’t crush the sentimentality out of Frank, whom’s easily in tears.
This is 1 of Frank’s best best memories with his parents, since they played at the park well into night. The anniv. of Frank’s pop’s death it’s raining, so the park he goes to is empty except for Preacher, an older black man, and retired railroad engineer, whom always came to dunk balls. The 2 play HORSE as Preacher talks shit, Frank losing and getting schooled on his denial at wanting to be good as his younger self. Frank’s resolve breaks from Preacher’s shit-talking, and so witnesses Frank’s descent into mad sadness.
Frank runs off still laughing manically and doesn’t leave home for a couple wks, Russell b&eing through his window, and Frank scaring him when he states his illegal doings. He calls for help for him as the 2 laugh about not being attracted to each other despite Russell’s gayness. A yr and nearly a half later, Frank’s fat and alive, and hoping to enroll in community college. Frank’s therapist had suggested it, he rather returning to his job as a forest ranger.
The college admin recognizes cold feet and offers to walk Frank to the N.A. admin office, so he doesn’t feel as overwhelmed. When they get there and the young lady intros and leaves the 2, she gives Frank a kiss on the cheek, which sentimentalizes the moment and makes him break down, the Indian admin, Stephanie comforting him. 3 wks later, he speaks with the college coach, getting the chance to show his skills with the current dream team he’d built. Frank gives the point guard a run for his money before hurting his knee badly, saying goodbye to his parents, and agreeing he’d be ok.
It’s well-written, poetic in nature, but after learning how freely Alexie disrespects women by attempted conditioning, and hoping his celebrity’ll get him laid like a rock star, I can definitely hear the perv dark shadow Alexie presents as shared and accepted as normal perversity shared between genders, and women actually liking being exploited by the men they love, which makes it alright. It’s 1 fascinating view into the mind of a marginalized perv, at least. I’d read more, but only from the library or borrowed… I’ll support the non-sexist indigenous authors, thanks!