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. . A Novel by Douglas Christian Schroeder   .


Chapter 1
Ask Chief



Ish tak ha ba

... When they come to the booths she motions for chief to get in first. She sits down next to him and says, Man where did you get those cool threads? It looks like you broke out of a hospital or something. It's a hospital scrub suit isn't it? Chief just nods not used to speaking yet. What does that nod mean? Oh this is rich!!! You broke out of the bug farm!! She lets out a hoop and a loud laugh. What were you in there for, doing a rain dance? Another loud laugh comes out of her as if she couldn't hold it in. Chief looks at her without blinking and says very slowly. I need mushrooms for my religious ceremony. Someone told me you had some. And who might that someone be? Says the woman. By the way my name is Cherry, extending her hand. I am Big Cherry to all my friends and I don't hang around with anybody who isn't my friend so I guess that includes you as well. By the way who was that someone who told you that I could get you some "rooms" and what were you in the bug farm for? Chief haltingly tries to speak but after so many weeks of silence in the hospital it comes out very slow and deliberate. I was in the hospital for refusing to speak. I heard that you had mushrooms by speaking to a tree over there in the woods. Now do you have any or not? Chief was getting nervous. That sounds like the truth to me nobody could make up something like that. It is the funniest thing that I have heard in a long time. She lets out a Janis Joplin cackle. Just then the bartender comes over to the booth. He has two shot glasses filled with yellowish liquid that looked like gasoline. Also on the tray were two mugs of beer. He sets them on the table of the booth and walks away without saying a word. I can't pay for any of this because I have no money and what is that? It looks like horse piss, says chief very slowly. It's mescal and it aint legal here in the states because of the pickled worm in the bottle. I import it special just for my place here. She downs her glass in one swallow and says. This all belongs to me you know. She sweeps the bar with her arms. This sets her grapefruit sized tits to bouncing inside her T-shirt. The COKS on the front is pinned between two mountains of flesh. She drinks half of the mug of beer reaches under her seat, which has kind of a window box arrangement under it and pulls out a plastic bag with about 20 slim quarter sized two toned brown mushrooms in it. Each has a little raised portion in the middle of it. She hands the bag to chief.. He looks at them through the bag and then smiles perhaps for the first time in the last six months and says. I can't pay for these either you know. That's cool, says Cherry, I never sell them to people that talk to trees. She lets out another loud laugh. Let's start now. She reaches under her seat again and pulls out another plastic bag with about the same amount in it. She pulls out five of them and gives them to chief. She takes five out of the bag and puts them in her mouth. Chewing them very thoroughly. She swallows them and then takes a big swallow of beer and belches very loudly. I can't eat them like that, says chief. Why not the Indians in Mexico do it like that all the time. First a shot of Mescal then four or five of these babies and a good pull on a beer. Then we will shot some pool. What do you say big fellow? I bet your pretty good at pool after being locked up over in the funny farm. What say are you game or not? Chief shrugs his shoulders, down the mescal ,makes a face, pops the mushrooms in his mouth and makes another face. He chews them very long and swallows them. He take a long drink of beer and burps just like Cherry and says, lets play! First we got to get you out of those cloths. If a cop comes in here and sees you in that scrub suit, your ass is grass and he is the lawn mower. She says, come on out to my van it's in the back alley. I'll find something out there for you. Come on.
She pulls him out of the both and they walk out of the back door. They go around the corner to the side of the bar. Attached is a car port and under the car port is an old bread van. It is green and white and it looks freshly painted. On the side was painted a mural it said, "Wonder Bed" in blue letters about a foot high. They go around the front of the van opposite the driver. Cherry unlocks the side door, opens it and gets in motioning for chief to do the same.
Inside it looked just the inside of a Bedouin tent with rugs and silky scarves of many colors of the rainbow hanging on the ceiling and the walls. In the front part of the van was the co-pilots seat, behind that a little kitchen. It was set up with a butane stove, a fridge, a small table and a cupboard. Behind that was a bunk bed built in the back of the with two double beds covered with colourful home made quilts. On top of the quilts lay two big fluffy pillows.
Cherry was standing on the bottom bunk rummaging around in a pile of cloths on the top bunk. The back of her skin tight denim shorts showed her ass to full advantage. Here try this on. She throws him a pair of blue and white stripped farmers overhauls. They belonged to my brother. He won't be needing them any more. He got eaten by a bridge abutment going 120 with his Harley hog. Hit it head on. I guess that it was his time because that what happened. He was about your size before they scraped him off of the bridge, she says, throwing him a chequered work shirt. That was his favourite shirt.
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