Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb - In Town & Cattlemen Encounter

[Surprise! I got into a creative mode yesterday and couldn't escape, so in addition to my short story work I added to the novel. The first part in italics I already shared. The new stuff is at the bottom in normal text. Sorry it's not a lot but it rounds out the scene which ended quicker than expected and runs right into the beginning of the next which I think is kind of an interesting conflict brewing.]

Benjamin tried to keep up with Rebecca, but the multitude of people walking in the opposite direction kept bumping into him. Rebecca grasped his his hand and forced him behind her letting her spread the wave of pedestrian traffic which was much more accommodating to the beautiful young woman.

Benjamin tried to resist the embarrassment he felt at being lead a by a woman. Suddenly she made a left hand turn and pulled him into a clothing store.
“We’ve got to find some clothes for you for all occasions.”
Benjamin was overwhelmed with the vast array of textiles that assaulted his eyes. He couldn’t focus on anything and he had a strong urge to run. But Rebecca was still gripping his hand and her calm demeanor helped him to relax somewhat.
He focused his attention on just a single item a rough looking gray thing that smelled of sheep with a dark zig-zag pattern all over the item.
Rebecca asked, “Do you like that sports coat? It’s herringbone. Looks like wool,” she grabbed the coat and examined the label.
“Yep, wool. Want to try it on?”
Benjamin shrugged his shoulders, a gesture he had learned recently that expressed non-commitment in response to a request.
Rebecca held the coat up against his chest, the hanger uncomfortably in his face, “Not bad. I think it should fit. Try it on.”
She removed the hanger, which surprised Benjamin. He had thought the hanger was part of this clothing.
She handed the coat to him. The look of confusion on his face was enough for Rebecca to take back the coat, “Hold out one arm.”
They went through the process of dressing Benjamin with Rebecca’s assistance.
“That fits perfect and you look good in it. Sophisticated.”
“Can I help you?” the nasal voice came from a very thin older lady dressed in a smock the the name of the store embroidered on it.
“I think we are doing fine by ourselves, ma’am.
“Do you have money?” she asked rudely.
Rebecca sighed and pulled a credit card out of her purse and handed it to the clerk. The clerk walked back to the front of the store. Benjamin had stared at the woman wondering if she belonged to the tribe that killed his family.
Rebecca, grabbed his arm, “Don’t worry, Benjamin. We get treated this way often in town. It is our own fault. Or I should say some members of our tribe are at fault for stealing, drinking and causing trouble in town. You learn to accept it.”
The woman returned and handed the card back to Rebecca, not saying a word and left to assist a white woman who had entered the store.
They ran into a logistical problem when it came to pants, but eventually Rebecca got across the message that he needed to put them on in the little rooms with the curtains.
When they sat down for lunch at an outdoor Mexican cafe they had several large bags full of clothes.
“You do understand what I say, right?” Rebecca asked.
Benjamin nodded, then took a bite of his burrito. He enjoyed the many different flavors that human food had. He liked eating just for the sake of tasting, not just to fill his belly.
“Do you remember me from before your spirit walk?”
Benjamin shook his head.
“We… we were friends. Good friends. Maybe more than friends. Do you understand?”
Benjamin shook his head.
“We cared about each other a lot. I don’t really know how to say this. Things have turned out so wrong. So difficult for me to comprehend the changes. When you were gone we mourned your loss. We thought you were taken by a wild animal. Your father never gave up hope. He said you could take down any animal even with your bare hands. But the rest of us were realistic. If you were okay you would have returned like the rest. I didn’t know what to do. I thought we would be together. I never thought about anyone else, even after.”
Benjamin just stared at her watching tears streaking her face.
“And now you are back. I am so happy you are back. But, I don’t know how you feel. I don’t know what you are thinking. You are different in some ways… but I still love you.
“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything.”
Rebecca stood up and ran to the bathroom. Benjamin just watched her go and ate his burrito. He wondered why it was so hard to see. His eyes were filled with unshed tears.


He heard a loud voice behind him on the street, “Do you smell that? What is that God awful smell?”

He heard several men laughing. He turned to look. There were seven of them.
“Oh I see it now. It’s that Injun. I guess they don’t have water on the reservation.”
The man was staring into Benjamin’s eyes, “Do you have scissors? You need to cut that stinkin’ hair too.”
Benjamin sniffed the air. The men all laughed again.
The same man asked, “What’s the matter? Can’t you smell your own stink?”
Benjamin knew these men. Even though he couldn’t smell as well as he used to, he knew their scents. These were the ones.
He stood and faced them returning their angry stare.
“Oh ho, looks like we got an uppity Injun here. You going to start an uprising are you?”
The men all clenched their fists and moved in closer.
Rebecca interrupted the stand-off, “What is going on here?” She yelled, “You men have better things to do than fight with a boy! Go on! Leave us alone!”
The men backed down, opening their fists. The leader turned away and gestured with his hand like there was nothing there worth thinking about and they all walked away.
“What’s the matter with you? Rebecca asked Benjamin, “Do you have a death wish? They would have hurt you bad, maybe even killed you. They are bad men and they love to fight with the people of our tribe.