Adventure in Longwood Day 03byemap©
I wake with the sky, Dan barely even moves as I sit up, debating on waking him or not I decide to just get up. I get my clothes on then go through the bath to check on Chun. I find her and Amanda asleep on the bed, wanting vittles I poke Amanda. I poke her again when she does not move, this time she rolls over and curls up under the covers. I pull the sheet off her feet and rub at her she twitches and starts to giggle.
Chun sits up looking at me with her face covered in black and blue. She grins then helps me tickle Amanda she starts to roll around on the bed then falls off. I sit on the bed laughing with Chun as Amanda sits up giving us a look.
"I swear you two are awake to early. Chun are you feeling good enough?"
"I don't know if I can work I look terrible, I can however eat come on Amanda up and cooking."
"Maybe Sally can be talked into letting you collect the money and she can fill in for you." I say as Amanda gets up.
"Might work, I'm thinking hash browns with eggs and bacon, work for you two?"
We both smile at Amanda she smiles back then leans in to kiss Chun. She gets up finds her dress and shoes and is out the door. Chun gives me a hug and leans on me.
"I have to thank you for Dan, if it was not for him I'm not sure when he would have stopped. I also have to thank you for letting Amanda clean you, I never would have tried and found out I like letting her. If I can not be beat today I'll try returning the favor."
"I don't think that will be a problem avoiding. I hope you are happy with her you likely won't get work for a few days looking like that. Most men would not wish to with you to not make it worse or something, they are strange the round eyes."
"I know we congregate together to avoid the ones who think chinamen are simply targets to be beat on, greater numbers to drive them off. We hear about you injuns and are glad to be not you. I took this job because we are struggling and I can't find a husband, it pays well all things considered."
"Not as well as the brothel, though I admit to liking it here, no time limit so you can be satisfied on the customer. I would have more there, simply because five dollars for half an hour is a lot for many. They come in and do me fast to finish in time leaves me wanting another."
"Oh I never thought of that would mean more money coming in. I don't think I could stand it either of course from a money standpoint I like it."
"I had arguments with the owner a few times over it, even going so far as to asking for an hour to be six or seven dollars for me. She stuck to it, told me she couldn't alter it for just me it's all or none. I think she was afraid I would only have three or four men a day, I was her biggest sale. Let's go wake Dan up and go for some vittles, I want to run to the store before I say the book today."
Chun follows me into my room Dan is still asleep, well playing at it. I send Chun to him with a wink. She goes grinning then shrieks when Dan grabs her, he gives me a dirty look apologizing to Chun. Once we have him dressed we go down the stairs and sit at a table. Amanda comes out after we knock on the table groans and goes back into the kitchen. Ishmael appears from behind the bar, goes into the kitchen for a moment then comes and sits with us.
"I swear you injuns get up early. How are you feeling this morning Chun?"
"Better than I look that's for sure. Going to talk to Sally see if she can take over my room for a little while. None of us think I'll get men looking like this."
"I would course I know you and I know your family needs the money. Maybe Sally will give you your cut anyway." Ishmael says before looking at Amanda as she comes in with the tray laden.
"I am making chili tonight I had to cut good sized chunks of the bacon off."
I look at the bacon on the plate it is a little thin across. Picking up a piece it tastes fine, everyone else does the same as Amanda goes into the back for the milk. She comes back with glasses of milk and a bottle of red stuff I have to look at it for a moment before I realize it is ketchup.
"Amanda, do you have salt hidden in your pocket?" Everyone else is pouring ketchup on the hash browns.
Amanda gets up with a sigh then goes into the kitchen again, she returns with a salt shaker.
"Janet, do you ever cook?" Chun is asking this, wondering why she asked and not Amanda I open my mouth.
"Well when we go tracking, I didn't learn much of our cooking, when I was taken from my mother I was still just helping. I learned enough to cook a coney I can take apart a deer. I learned coffee, Dan prefers to do it himself for some reason and I do fine with eggs."
"Janet's coffee tastes odd, I send her to hunt for the evening vittles before we continue on and make coffee myself."
"He sends me because I find them fast, coneys especially they are sometimes right in the camp with us almost."
"There was the rattlesnake and coney stew you made, that was a weird morning. I was just sitting there telling her to go find some meat when she pulls out her revolver and points it at me. I roll to the side she shoots a snake coming toward me, it was a cooler morning and it wanted warm I guess then shoots a rabbit just sitting there a little farther along."
"You got a snakeskin band on your hat out of it, I got moccasins out of that coney and a second the next day."
"What happened to the snakeskin band?" Amanda asks, Dan has changed hats since the band didn't survive the needing for a new hat.
"Died with the hat I had at the time, Janet is a little quick to alert people of our presence. Got my hat shot a few times."
"It is proper to alert them of your presence and meet on the field of battle."
"Is that why the Apache fire into the air or put an arrow into something sure to draw attention before they do most attacks?" Ishmael asks pushing his plate away.
"Yes, Apache are not as diligent with alerting there are times when it is not proper to do so, attacking another tribe for wives. Apache do not seem to always alert when all they want is food and tools. I think I shall see if the store is open yet."
Dan comes with me, the same two older woman tip their hats to Dan and continue past wondering why he is with a dirty Apache. Dan turns to speak with them I grab his hand and keep us going.
"Use their own religion against them, I learned this one long ago, let who is without sin cast the first stone. I learned from three of the priests who would visit with me in Kansas City to not abide by that is a sin. They have sinned twice now perhaps they will be pulled into your hell. Perhaps they will meet with Coyote, either way it is not worth the bullets or time."
"Janet sometimes I wonder at you, you are at times a cussing revolver shooting dynamo of death, other times you seem like a proper round eye woman."
"I come from two worlds, I started in mine get dragged into yours then travel back and forth with you. At times I think Coyote has me by the tail."
We reach the store, trying the door we find it is unlocked so in we go then I groan.
"I left my coin in the dresser."
"No you didn't I took it out while I waited for you it's in my pouch. I think you have some in your pocket there was not that much that I got." I feel in my pocket to find he is right, four dollars.
"What did you do with what I made in Kansas City?"
"I had to spend some of it, finding the right place to take us was hard and the tracking made us less. Would have been better money in it if you had not tried to kill that captain, would have gotten us federal bounties."
"Would you like any help or do you want to keep talking like I'm not here?" I have to giggle I had been leafing through the catalogue while we talked.
"We are after silk sheets she wants a dark red camisole, a bow with arrows, was there anything else you wanted?"
"I'd like to see the bow honestly, no offense, but round eyes are not reliable when it comes to things of hunting."
"None taken, Apache are not reliable on most things so I suppose it evens out. Let's see, sheets first, do you have a color in mind? I have let me see four colors, pink, red, blue, and black. The blue is dark so it's rather like having two black sheets to order."
"Do you have a sample of the pink?" Dan groans at this, he doesn't like pink I tease him on it as often as possible.
"No I'm sorry, they sent us samples and they got lost in transit. I am told it is a nice light pink if it helps."
"No that is fine, is the red dark or just red?"
"Just red I believe, we have the black it is very nice, wife won't let me get us the blue until the black is worn out, been three years."
"Well then I will take the blue let you get a look at it."
He smiles at me and makes a note on the paper in his hands before turning the pages again and putting it before me with camisoles.
"Dan you are going to be paying aren't you?"
"Yes how many are you thinking?"
"A few, I think I'd like to have two different colors, there is a dark red and a dark blue in here. Chun also could use a nicer camisole I think she sends all of her money to her family. The white like the one she has."
"If you are going to buy for Chun might I suggest the green, she has come in looking at these and always sighs about the green."
"Yes that sounds just fine, now the bow, and do you have knives in here? I might wish some more throwing."
"Not sure on throwing but knives yes, here let's do the bow first."
I look over the bows, some are small and not good, some are very big. I am happy to find one very like the ones the men in my tribe used before I was held prisoner. I point it out to the man behind the counter he looks and makes a note.
"I am actually not supposed to let you order that, standing order to not let an injun order bows. In your case I think not even worrying about it is best, you're not from a reservation and I don't think the cavalry will say anything. I'm not even sure why there is an order usually they try and barter with things and never worth enough to get a bow. Say some of them don't know English, can you speak with Apaches?"
"I never feel right doing it but yes I might be able to, if they know Spanish. I refused to learn Apache, he didn't press the issue I think I scared him."
"Janet you scare everyone, can we order more arrows with the bow?" I hit Dan for saying that.
"Hmmm yes can order an extra fifty for oh makes it two dollars. Easier on my end, and I suppose yours. Now knives let us see, ah here we go."
I look over the knives, I have to gasp at one it is bigger than my big knife.
"Ah yes the Bowie it is a new design for it, I am thinking of ordering one as a sample of sorts."
"I'll take one, and give me three of those down here, they are throw able, the one I have is getting on the old side now. You know it occurs to me I should order some ammo, wouldn't want to deplete the sheriff supplies."
"We have ammo in the store, wife runs to the town south of us about once a week. How many boxes would you like?"
"Oh I got two with the Winchester so give me two more, with the one I have makes five should be plenty for a while. Dan that reminds I haven't looked, are my pistols the same as the Winchester?"
"They are if you took the short one, I handled the ordering of the guns and the short Winchester specifically asked for uses pistol ammo, the longer rifles have a longer bullet." I look at the man behind the counter, then Dan, he nods.
"Well I guess I should try them both out. So how much is Dan paying and when do you see the Apache?"
"Let's see with all of these and the two boxes of ammo you are looking at sixteen dollars. As for Apache I think they are coming in right now, they do this sometimes, take off at night and arrive in the morning."
I turn to look, they are indeed coming in now, I trade greetings with the leader then he speaks to me in Apache, I shake my head and speak to him in mine, he steps back. Dan whispers at me to be nice, I stomp on his foot then start speaking to him in Spanish. The leader calms down and speaks back we trade pleasantries then move on to why they are here. I have to look at Dan for this one.
"He says they are coming to order two bows, have permission."
"Well ask if he has it in writing, I have the orders from the cavalry they say to never listen to have permission unless they have a document." I have to groan at this.
I turn back to the leader and relay that information, he pulls a document out of his belt. Handing it over to Dan he reads it hands it back and nods. The man behind the counter asks how they wish to pay, relaying that gets a smile and four dollars. I relay the number of arrows that come with and cost to add more arrows. They agree to the hundred arrows per bow, I pass over the coins while the man behind the counter is busy making notes. I have to laugh when I ask how they got the coins, Dan nudges me.
"I asked how they got the coins apparently a few of them have learned how to play poker and won it from the soldiers. They are buying the bows to allow some hunting and augment what they get from the government, so far they are getting good meat overall."
The leader asks me why I am dressed like I am I relay my history to him. He spits on the ground in contempt pledging as much assistance as they can offer. I thank him, he salutes Dan when they leave.
"We have help from the Apache they have had tribes moved into this reservation because of what I experienced. I am not sure how much help they can be they will make good scouts at least."
"Any help is good help, why did he wave his hand at me?" I have to look at Dan and groan.
"He did not wave he saluted you as a superb warrior. I may have fudged a little, said you were mine."
"Well close, your mine as much as you can be considered anyone's."
"Dan sometimes you are a round eye through and through. In our languages there is mine and not mine, me saying I'm yours would have confused him."
"Thank you for your help, I don't think I'll get any more in today. If I do I'll have someone yell for you."
We leave the store making way for a passing couple then walk toward the saloon. A small boy no more than say six summers runs over and looks up at me curiously.
"Are you an Apache Injun?"
"No I am Cherokee."
"What's the difference?" I smile at him, not many ask that one.
"We speak a different language, the Apache respect us generally fear, it depends on the situation. We do not often take a trophy from our opponent like the Apache. We also always alert our opponent we are coming except when raiding for wives, I do not do that one of course."
"What if the wife already has a husband?" I have to look at Dan this kid has a mind on his head.
"Women with a man are not taken, there are signs left out, wife raids are more for fun than fight. It keeps the tribe from turning in on itself, why we used to roam the land so much, different tribes nearby to spread us out."
"Thank you I gotta go." He runs off across the dirt to a woman who is looking at us.
Dan and I wave to her as we move on for the saloon she gives us a half hearted wave back. Almost at the entrance of the saloon Dan stops and takes my arm.
"What if it is a wife raid on a not Cherokee tribe?"
"Depends, some tribes are friendly some are not."
"What if it is not?"
"Dan sometimes you are bothersome, if the tribe is not friendly and there is a wife raid to happen the warriors go and make war, any woman is fair game then."
I press past Dan and go into the saloon, he follows after a moment. Father Darren comes over and puts the book in my hands.
"I was just about to start saying the book when we heard you two talking. Sally likes you saying it better."
"Sally are you going to trade with Chun?" I ask as I get closer to her.
"Yes you are right she will not get much men for at least a week, she is going to take the coin and I'll use her room."
Happy that all is good for everyone I climb up on the bar again and say the book. I manage to get through two more chapters working on number three when my son comes in. Amanda is coming out with a tray of sandwiches at the same time. I hop down from the bar hand the book to Father Darren then go stand next to my son.
"I'm not interested, you're attractive enough I'm just going to find a woman to marry."
"I wanted to ask how much your father told you of your past and people." He turns and looks at me then.
"My father and mother are dead from an uprising." His eyes get hard when I laugh.
"That's amusing McCalbane is your father he only passed me out to his men after I gave birth to you. Told me you died and wouldn't let me see you again, I learned to shoot and got away from him, took several of his men in the process. The uprising wasn't, he wasn't feeding our tribe they went to try and get food from the town they called in the cavalry and almost wiped us out."
He pulls his gun and points it at me there is a gasp from the whores. Dan pulls his own until I wave him down.
"I'm supposed to believe the word of some whore over the man that has raised me, taught me to shoot."
"Kept you separate from the rest, do any of his men speak with you? Your not fast or sure enough to be feared. Tell me has he warned you about speaking with a Cherokee? The black and blue gal over there is because of him, he was caught cheating at poker last night so sent a man to beat one of us as a message. I have tossed down a challenge, we are waiting to see if he takes it up or slinks away."
He stares at me, I stare back for I don't know how long before he puts the gun away.
"Well supposing I ask for some proof, do you have any of that?"
"Dan do you still have the cavalry report that captain gave us after you got me to stop killing him?"
"Yes hang on." Dan goes up the stairs to the last room.
He comes back after a good while making me wonder where exactly it had been. Dan hands it over, my son looks at it then sits on the bar stool next to him.
"This is different than he told me. Said he lost a number of good men in the uprisings initial attack on his ranch, my mother died trying to talk them down. Shot dead with stolen rifles as he put it."
"He tells lots of lies, told my mother he wanted me learned to read and count to help him with his books. Told me I was special to him, I believed him at first, after a while of being under a man when you are to young and left alone otherwise teaches different. You were the bright spot of my life I sang to you as you fed, I doted over you. You were my world until he took you away, said you died of nature had babes in his house instead of one. I was allowed in sometimes before then, his wife as he explained it to me was fearful of my people. After he said you died, I was not allowed in to his house, I spent the next two weeks chained to a bed only let off to use the outhouse otherwise I was under one of his men. It broke me a little I need men in my bed now, I am still Cherokee feared and respected."
"That is horrible, how do you know I am your son?" There is a general consensus on the horrible part, everyone but Dan did not know.
"A mother always knows her child. Because your name is Chad, I named you that at his request. He let me have you for three months, a month after his wife gave birth you died and they tried to break me." He stiffens and looks at me.
"I don't know if I believe you. I have to say nobody in town knows my name, you knowing it speaks on your side. You are right on his men the only one that does speak to me is Chad. He comes and sits watch with me some I sit at the edge of the property and watch for Apache. I order a book two a month, not the one you were saying when I came in, and read while the sun is up, I only watch at night."
"I think he is feared, the only reason to send him off alone like that is to make the rest think of him as a master of the revolver. Watching for Apache is not that bad of an idea either." Dan says putting a hand on my shoulder making me jump.