. .
. . A Novel by Douglas Christian Schroeder   .


Chapter 1
Ask Chief



Ish tak ha ba

... Chief slowly starts to undress. He takes off the shirt and then the pants of the hospital scrub suit. He stands there in his boxer shorts. They have OSH printed in bright red letters on the back. Cherry jumps down from the bunk ,takes a look at him and says, My My what a bod! You must have done a lot of exercising in the hospital. Or are you always like that,lean and mean"?, Although I don't know about the mean part. You seem pretty easy going to me. Chief puts on the cloths. Hey! Those fit you just as if they were made for you. There are a pair of moccasins under that bunk there. Here try these socks of mine they should fit you. She throws him a pair of red hunting socks. Chief gets down on his knees and looks under the bottom bunk .In amongst a pile of shoes , he sees a pair of nice soft looking leather moccasins. He pulls them out, sits on the floor ,puts them on and says, Just my size, thanks! Now lets go and play pool!! OK your on, she says heading for the back door of the van.. She turns and says, Don't forget the rooms in the other pants pockets. Chief bends and pulls them out of the pants pocket of the hospital scrub suit and sticks them in the overall pockets and goes out of the door of the van after Cherry.
They round the corner of the bar go in the back door. As they are about to enter Cherry stops in her tracks, pushes Chief back out and grabs him by the arm and says, Come follow me quick! She pulls him around the other side of the bar. There is a wooden stairway that appears to lead to living quarters above. Cherry takes the steps two at a time. Chief is hot on her heals. As Chief enters the apartment he notices that Cherry is already on the phone. She is calling down stairs. She talks in the phone and says, Yah! And how many were there? Uh Huh and did anybody say anything to the cops? . Good I will check with you later. She hangs up the phone and motions for Chief to sit down on the couch. There is no light on in the apartment. She comes over to him ,talking low, she says, Shh don't say anything. There was just a couple of cops downstairs. I saw their backs as I was coming in the back door. They were looking for you all right. No one said a word about you being there. They know better or I would have punched their lights out. Ok here is what we have to do. What's so damn funny? You look like the cat that ate the canary? They are after your ass not mine. Chief was sitting there with a smile as wide as his face. His eyes were as big as saucers. Then she caught it from him and she started to laugh and laugh ,rolling onto the floor and pulling Chief down with her. They stated hugging and laughing. Mescolito's presence was in the room. They were home.
They could have lain on the floor hugging each other like two big bears for seconds, minutes ,hours, or days. Who was keeping track? Just then a sleepy soft voice was heard from the corner of the darkened apartment. Is that you Cherry? What's so funny? Just then a table lamp comes on that was standing on a table next to a leather recliner. Next to the chair stood a seven or eight year old brown girl with two long fuzzy braids hanging down her back. One of the prettiest little girls that Chief had ever seen. He lay there on the floor, still hugging Cherry watching the little girl with a shit eating grin on his face. Cherry then rolls the two of them over so she can seen the girl. Hi, Tree, sorry about the noise. Cherry what are you doing laying there on the floor hugging that big Indian? You have a shit eating grin on your faces…wait a minute. I get it now. You two have been sampling your wares. You two have been into the mushrooms. Cherry how many times have I told you that you should tell me when your are going to see old Mescoleto then I can be awake, aware, conscious and take care of things for you. She was dressing Cherry down like a stepmother to an unwanted child. Then she stops in mid sentence ,gets a big grin on her face and runs to the two of them. She jumps on them and starts to tickle and hug them. They were all three laughing so hard that Chief though that he was going to pee in his pants. He was having the most fun that he had had in years. The room seemed to be alive with colors bouncing off of one another like coloured balloons.
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