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the journey begins

Allie Swenson was sitting on the porch gulping from a fifth of Jack Dani
el's as angry as she had ever been. She professed to be oh so spiritual but when t
hings got tough for her the first thing she headed for was the bottle.A sarcastic
thought, "Yeah, that's where the answers are," almost flew past Micky's lips bu
t he held it in.
"Someday you will get what's coming to you," she said, spitting words li
ke venom from the fangs of the deadliest of serpents. "Someday, someone will do
to you what you have done to me. I can only pray I'm there to see it; to see you
come apart."
Micky Foster paid no attention to her vitreous remarks as he passed her
carrying the last of his belongings to the van he had recently purchased; an ear
ly model Ford Econoline he had picked up cheap. The guy he bought it from had in
stalled a turtle top and a fresh coat of paint but otherwise it was a basic van.
Nothing fancy; it was functional.
"Bastard, she hissed as he passed her again.
Micky chuffed and shook his head. He hadn't brought much into this relat
ionship three years ago and he was taking less with him as he left. Some clothes
, a few books, gifts that had been given to him over the years. Things that were
important to him that she would burn if he left them.
For three years he had daydreamed about this day. The day when he would
be free from her constant harping. The time for talking had long since passed an
d conversation had become pointless. Everything that needed to be said had been.

Allie, rage contorting her face, snarled, I fucking hate you. Everything
I did for you. Everything I gave you.
Another long pull on the whiskey bottle.
My friends were right. I never should have gotten involved with you. You
son of a bitch.
Micky paused and causally leaned against the timbers of the old log cabi
n as she continued to rant. Looking at her, seeing her contempt for him, her voi
ce sent spasms coursing through his stomach and the thought crossing his mind wa
s, "What the hell was I thinking getting involved with her?"
Doing so had seemed like a good idea at the time and the only answer he
had to his self inquisition was loneliness. A need to be with someone; a need fo
r a feminine touch. What a huge mistake THAT turned out to be. Three years later
and Micky was questioning his sanity.
Walking to his newly acquired van and leaning against it Micky fired up
a cigarette and allowed his mind to drift back. Over the years through the chain
of events that led him up to that moment.
Starting at around 15 years of age he drank, snorted and smoked anything
and everything he could get his hands on. Curious behavior as he detested the t
aste of alcohol and absolutely abhorred the hangovers. But hanging out in bars h
ad provided him company; somewhere he could go where he didn't have to be alone
all the time.
Micky's emotional train wreck of behavior began with his first relations
hip, a young girl he met while attending Junior High School. Young and immature
he emulated his way through what he thought was the correct behavior as depicted
in television programs. They dated into High School, which he quit in the 10th
grade, then promptly joined the Navy. He attempted to maintain their romance alt
hough it was obviously doomed to failure. She, being smart enough to realize her
High School crush would provide a dismal future for her at best, dumped his sor
ry ass. Moving on she married and had children. Her husband gave her a good life
, a life she never would have had with Micky.
At 22 years of age Micky tried marriage for the first time. Unconsciousl
y rebounding from the devastating loss of his first girlfriend he married the fi
rst girl who said yes. Three years into that debacle Micky discovered his wife w
as pregnant - from the guy next door. When he told her he was filing for divorce
she immediately ran to the nearest creek where she attempted to drown herself.
As the creek was barely knee deep all she accomplished was making herself look e
ven more ridiculous and Micky returned to a life of carousing and cavorting with
anyone who was willing. He didn't care who he hurt or how many hearts he broke.
His only interest was self serving and at the buffet table of life, as a young
man in his twenties, he returned time and again to refill his plate.
Continuing on with his self destructive behavior Micky made yet another
gargantuan mistake. Meeting a beautiful Nordic blonde in a local bar, five foot
nine with long, strawberry blonde hair to her waist, cat green eyes and the most
amazing set of legs he had ever seen, after several weeks of intense mind numbi
ng sex, Micky moved in with her. Within months she became pregnant. Wanting to d
o what he thought was the honorable thing at the time he stayed with her and att
empted to build a relationship. For three more years, because of his son, Micky
tried desperately to make it work, going so far as returning her to her hometown
in southwestern Pennsylvania and starting a life there. Thinking she would be h
appier in familiar surroundings and around her family he soon discovered he had
made a bad decision worse. They realized they couldn't stand each other and her
parents, who had no use for him, incessantly reminded their daughter he was noth
ing more than a drunken lout who would never be able to provide the most meager
of security for her and their son.
They separated and Micky moved to a small town several miles away while
attempting to maintain a cordial friendship with her. Not owning a vehicle at th
e time each weekend he would walk the 30 some miles to visit with her and his so
n. Of course their physical relationship continued and sure enough she became pr
egnant...again. Eventually the mother of his children had enough of his behavior
and seeking some security she left Pennsylvania and returned to the South. She
met and married yet another total loser and wound up making her own life a livin
g hell.
A few years after she left Micky tried several times to get to know his
children. He would drive the thirteen hours to first the shores of North Carolin
a then the deep south of rural Alabama to meet them and to spend a few days with
them.His efforts were futile as their mother detested him. As far as she was con
cerned Micky was nothing more than a pile of excrement that had somehow learned
how to walk and talk.
Sure, she would tell their children, God made everything. Your father was G
ods bowel movement.
By then she was obese, her teeth green from lack of any oral hygiene and
she had cut her hair into a horrendous bob above her ears. It embarrassed Micky
when he had to admit he had children with her; that anyone would know he had se
x with her. After thousands of dollars and numerous court appearances Micky fina
lly conceded and let his children grow up without him. His thought was that when
they became adults if they wanted to know him he would be there.
What made things worse, as if they weren't bad enough already, was by th
en Micky was involved with yet another woman. He had met her at a local country
& western dance hall. She was extremely reserved when it came to sex and Micky b
elieved it was because she didn't want to be seen as promiscuous. Her chaste beh
avior appealed to him and he was willing to wait and after a few years of dating
they married. Once again Micky was only fooling himself and making life miserab
le for everyone involved. Unfortunately for Micky, not realizing until it was to
o late; her lack of sexual desire had nothing to do with promiscuity. She was fr
igid and eight years into that nightmare of a marriage with the Ice Princess fro
m Hell Micky bailed.
His first marriage had been to a woman who couldn't keep her legs closed
. His second marriage was to a woman dynamite couldn't get her legs apart and in
between he fathered two children. Micky was a piece of work...and not a good pi
ece either. He decided he needed to get his act together and try to figure out a
few things.
Micky had been on his own providing for himself since he was 13 years ol
d. He lived in state sponsored foster homes but those in charge of his care show
ed little to no interest. Their home was somewhere he showered, slept and ate an
d he rarely if ever interacted with any of them. The one thing Micky did know ab
out himself was that he was a mix blood, Native American and white, but he knew
absolutely nothing of his First Nations heritage and at 36 years old, just befor
e his second marriage wound up in the toilet, he began to get involved with Firs
t Nations culture. Not because he wanted to but because he wasn't given a choice
.
Through dreams and visions his Ancestors came to visit saying, Play time
is over, Grandson. We hope you have had a good time. We didn't put you here, giv
e you that body, so you could spend your life chasing women and being a drunken
bastard.
Within weeks of that vision he lost his home and found himself living i
n a tent in a prayer camp. To escape the pain of loneliness he immersed himself
in learning about his heritage, traveling occasionally, meeting many others like
himself. His search for answers eventually led him to Tennessee where he found
himself swimming in tradition but at best he was playing with it, nudging around
the edges. He attended ceremonies, gatherings, socials and powwows and was intr
oduced to many traditional leaders, both men and women. He spent many nights ove
r countless fires with Elders and those recognized as individuals with a connect
ion to the Spirit world.
By then Micky was at the tail end of a life of drinking and debauchery a
nd a few years later he met Allie. They met casually, for them at a gathering of
the local urban confused. They flirted with each other and one thing had led to
another.A few months after meeting her they moved in together. It was the same m
istake he had made over and over again, the same routine he played out as though
his life were a scratched old vinyl record. He would meet someone, usually noth
ing more than one night or maybe a few months. Soon the embers of lust would fad
e and whomever he was with would begin to repulse him. Out the door she would go
making room for her replacement.
Micky's previous involvement in the protection of First Nations rights a
nd protests for grave desecration's was what had attracted her to him in the fir
st place. Allie introduced Micky to the group she was involved in, another colle
ction of urban mix bloods who couldn't trace their blood but were absolutely con
vinced they were Native. They were the typical assortment of make believe Cherok
ees and Le Nape although most were obviously of European descent and none of the
m could grasp the concept that being white with Native blood was one thing but b
eing Native with white blood was another. The idea went over their heads; in one
ear and right out the other.
Every woman among them insisted they were either a Clan Mother or sub-Cl
an Mother and every man a Chief or sub-Chief. None of them had ever attended any
ceremony with the slightest authenticity but their lack of experience didn't st
op them from making things up as they went along.Typically they lumped together c
eremonial practices from several different Nations, dressed in the most ridiculo
us of garb and declared themselves Indians. Self proclaimed, their band of merry m
orons traveled among the local school districts teaching their amalgamated lunac
y to children.
Their group began in the early sixties when a couple of guys from the ac
tual Le Nape Nation traveled about the northeast of America visiting their tradi
tional ancestral homelands. They would meet with locals in the small towns, usua
lly hippies and wannabe Indians and for $50.00 they sold tribal identification c
ards to those confused fools.The fools believed the cards were real and the card
was all they needed to be a real Indian. The guys who sold them the fake tribal
cards laughed their way back to Oklahoma where they continue to tell that story
forty years later. Over open fires with copious amounts of beer they regale each
other with their latest forays off the rez and the idiot bliss bunnies they fle
eced.
The hippies however grew up and grew old, all the while convinced they w
ere full-fledged tribal members. Insisted on it. Those who didn't know any bette
r believed them so society wound up with a group of people who never were teachi
ng others who would never be something none of them knew a damn thing about. Som
etimes Allie or her friends would come to Micky and ask him about this or that w
ith reference to Native culture. When his answers didn't immediately reflect the
ir already preconceived assumptions he was labeled a know it all or a super Indian.
Micky often wondered if they already had the answers what the hell were they ask
ing him for?
While he was hanging out at one of their weekend follies an incident occ
urred that stuck with Micky because it was so highly disturbing. An older man in
his sixties walked over to speak with him. Moments into their conversation the
older man was bowing before him. Had actually dropped to the ground on his hands
and knees with his forehead pressed against Mickys shoes, bowing! Micky, thoroug
hly embarrassed, quickly helped the older man to his feet.
Dude! Really? Cmon man. What are you doing?
You have no idea who you are, do you? the man asked, and then said, Im Grand
father Redbird. I'm considered a seer by some and you are not who you appear to
be.
More than taken aback Micky stared at him.
Really? Then just who the hell am I?
By then he was extremely annoyed with the older man but wanting to maint
ain some semblance of respect he let him go on.
Uninvited, Redbird continued, You asked to come here and to live on this
plane of existence. You were once a very powerful Spirit Being. You requested fr
om Creator that you be allowed to assume human form. At one time, long before th
is existence, you sat beside the Creator as his most powerful warrior. Out of lo
ve you came here. Love for us, love for all that had been created. Granted permi
ssion you made only one request. That life be as difficult for you as possible.
I did, huh? Well, I would love to go back to that me and punch him in the
face.
Laughing, Redbird walked away, his voice trailing off, One day, he said, yo
u will see.
Freaking weirdo," Micky thought, but he kept that incident private.
Not for one second did he believe the old mans ramblings and he certainly
wasn't going to share it with anyone.He could imagine peoples reactions were he t
o tell them he was a Spirit Being who assumed human form. THAT would get him a t
icket to the funny farm, quick. And provide credibility to the chosen few who we
re convinced of their self made delusions.
While hanging out with Allies group of friends, in a matter of months Mi
cky figured out what was going on with their accumulation of twisted sisters and
befuddled brothers and when he did he was immediately asked to leave. They didn
't want him letting the cat out of the bag. Allie stayed with them, having bough
t into their bullshit long ago and a long standing member of their clique. Even
after Micky tried to explain to her it was all made up in their minds she refuse
d to believe it. They just had to be real.
Her refusal to accept the truth was based more in self preservation than
anything else because Allie was as fake as they were. She claimed a Shawnee her
itage although it was hard to prove with her blonde hair and blue eyes; her almo
st translucent skin and her blatantly obvious Scandinavian features. Micky figur
ed it was easier to let her go on with her delusions. Except the more deluded sh
e became the more adamant her claims grew. Her friends were the real Indians and
Micky was the fake.
What little information they had was garnered from books and movies or f
rom self titled medicine people. Basically white folks with native heritage six or
seven generations removed who didn't know anymore than she did. Each and every
one of them studied and quoted from Ted Andrews Animal Speak as though it were a bi
blical text while they persistently attempted to drape the robes of shamanism ar
ound Micky, something he adamantly refused. Referencing that book, the paid in f
ull members of their love and light brigade convinced themselves the pan-spiritu
ality presented was indicative of every Native Nation. Not for one second were t
hey able to comprehend that within each Nation, each clan, band and even altar,
its all different. To one set of individuals the spider, rabbit, fox or raven may
mean one thing and to another would mean something else entirely.
With this mindset they knew exactly how he was supposed to behave and th
ey knew exactly how he was supposed to conduct himself. When he refused to confo
rm to their expectations of how he should be they initiated an assault on his ch
aracter.They labeled Micky a fraud, inundated each other with his supposed preten
se and spread their accusations far and wide. Which was made even more hilarious
and absurd when, upon consideration, the fools couldn't tell the difference bet
ween a buzzard and a chicken feather.
Adding to the melee and confusion Allie was a man-hater. Oh she liked th
e sex, loved it. Couldn't get enough. But she hated men.Years before she met Mick
y she had lived with a man who beat her and treated her like furniture. Somehow
summoning the necessary courage and strength she broke away from that abusive re
lationship but once she did that strength turned bitter and vile. As far as she
was concerned every man on the planet was culpable for her pain and subsequently
every man must pay.
Micky soon became the target of her vehement rage. Her abuse was verbal
and emotional; biting words of sarcasm and emasculation although she never raise
d a hand to Micky. Something about him told her it she did get physical she woul
d wind up on her ass and everyone who knew them knew their relationship was dest
ined to fail. Everyone that is except Allie. She was convinced Micky was her sou
l mate and they would be together forever.
In between berating Micky she would instruct him on everything he needed
to know on how to be a real Indian according to her. She was adamant they must
all be matriarchal yet neither she nor any of the fools she ran with had the sli
ghtest understanding of the emotional price a matriarchal society pays. In their
deluded minds matriarchal meant subservient and all men must bow before them. M
icky didn't play that game very well.
A year into living with her Micky was looking for a way out except he wa
s unemployed. He was screwed and once again he had done it to himself. Not total
ly but the living situation was certainly his fault.
It wasn't that Micky was lazy or that he didn't want to work. Micky was
born with a birth defect, a genetic condition where his lower spine hadn't devel
oped correctly and as he aged his condition worsened. By the time Micky was 40 y
ears old he was done. His back went out completely and walking became a daily ch
ore. Less than 10 percent of the country suffers from his particular birth defec
t and 8 percent of those that do are elderly. There was no money to be made in d
eveloping a remedy which was all the excuse the American health care system need
ed to not devise a correction. Those like Micky suffered and their only recourse
for the pain was medication.
Living with Allie, Micky applied for disability and as with every govern
ment system he was looking at a long waiting period. Doctors visits, checkups an
d hearings to prove he wasn't trying to pull a fast one. Myelograms, x-rays and
MRIs. A never ending battery of tests and procedures that took three years to com
plete.In those three years Micky depended on Allie for everything which she insur
ed he never forgot. It didn't matter she was the one who insisted he come live w
ith her when he couldn't work anymore. It also didn't matter she insisted it was
okay that he couldn't work.
Ill take care of everything, she had said.
In retrospect what she wanted was a rug. Someone she could step on, wipe
her feet on and who wouldn't do anything about it. Someone she could abuse as s
he had been abused.
Allies friends weren't helping the situation either. Mickys birth defect w
asn't something they could see like one arm shorter than the other or a missing
body part and they assured Allie he was lying. They constantly whispered to her
about how he was making it all up in his mind and they never missed an opportuni
ty to tell her, Hes just lazy and using you.
For three long, torturous years Micky lived with her insanity. When his
disability case was finally settled and he received his pension he immediately b
ought her a car. He also paid off all her bills and filled her cupboards and ref
rigerator. No longer was he chained to her porch with no other options. It was t
ime to get serious, time to figure out, finally, who and what he was.
Several weeks prior he had sat outside beside the hyacinth bushes on a b
lanket where he loaded his canupa and prayed. In the middle of those prayers he s
aid, Creator, hear me, your Grandson. In this humble way I come before you with t
his canupa. I offer myself to you to serve you and all the Relatives in any way y
ou see fit. I give to you my life.
Not for one second did he understand what he had done.
Dragging himself back to the present and crushing out his cigarette Mick
y stowed his few belongings in the van and turned to walk back onto the porch. I
t wasn't necessary for him to be a total ass; get in the drivers seat and go. One
last, well, see ya, and he would be gone.
Why? Allie asked. What do you think is out there? What do you think you wil
l find you cant find here? This is where you need to be.If there's anything you ne
ed to know, if you are supposed to know, it will come to you. You dont have to tr
y to find it. If you are supposed to have it, whatever it is, it will find you.
Micky didn't say a word. It was the same argument he had been listening
to for weeks after he told her he was leaving. According to her any spiritual kn
owledge he needed would float to him over an ethereal fog if he waited long enou
gh. As though spiritual understanding would eventually wash over him. There was
nothing he needed to do to earn it. No tests of character or trials of endurance
. Sit, be patient, read all the books everyone else had read, see all the movies
. Then somehow he would suddenly become.
You havent even asked the Clan Mothers if you can leave. You know you are
supposed to seek our permission before you do anything.
Micky cocked his head sideways, lifting one eyebrow. As if any of these
women could lay claim to the title of Clan Mother. None of them had any tribal a
ffiliation other than what they made up in their minds.
After another long pull on the bottle of Jack and Allie growled, Fine. Fu
cking leave, then. You aint worth a shit. Fuck you. You are never welcome back he
re. If you leave dont turn around. I dont ever want to see your fucking face again
. Just wait until I tell everyone what you did. You think there is something out
there? Something you cant get here with me and our tribe? Go fuck yourself. Find
a whore and shack up with her. Screw her over like you did to me.
Enough was enough.
Look, you and that collection of pixie dust sniffing, crystal rubbing wac
k-a-loons arent a tribe. You never have been and you never will be. None of you a
re Clan Mothers. None of you are Medicine men. Not one of you idiots knows what
the fuck you are talking about. Im leaving. Gone. You dipshits stay here and play
Indian. Bring to life to your imaginations and play out everything you have see
n in the movies. Everything you like to entertain each other with.I have had more
than enough of your insanity. Im fed up with you telling me everything I need to
know to be a real Indian. All of you can kiss my ass.
Turning from her Micky walked off the porch, climbed into his van and he
aded down the driveway. Looking in the rear-view mirror he could see Allie stand
ing on the porch with one hand wrapped tightly around her comforting bottle of J
ack Daniel's. The other hand flipping him her middle finger.
See ya, Micky said, the words floating out the window as he drove away.