Saturday, April 26, 2008


(Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly)

This is another excerpt from my novel-in-progress, Ginny Bates, but it's not part of the current narrative. Instead, it's a previously unwritten section from November 1992, when Myra had a poetry book tour accompanied by Chris while Ginny stayed home with the children, still babies. This part begins right after Chris is informed that her father has died, and they abort the book tour in favor of going to Hopiland on Chris's behalf, covered in my post Myra the Writer. It fills in the section between being in Flagstaff and arriving back in Seattle.

If you need background, check the links in the sidebar on the right, fifth item down, to get caught up.

Mid November 1992

They drove first to the Hopi Cultural Center on Second Mesa. Myra let Chris do all the talking. It took a very long time. Eventually Myra walked over to the motel and got them a room for a couple of nights. She carried in their bags and returned to the Cultural Center, where Chris was still in a conversation filled with silences. When she was finally done, the man behind the counter stood to shake Chris's hand.

Back in the car, Myra showed Chris the room key. Chris said "Good, this is a more or less central location and I'd like to give them the business. Okay...If we want to eat anything remotely local, this restaurant here and one other are recommended. But I don't think they are truly where the locals eat, it's all he'd give me as a tourist."

Chris paused, and Myra said "You being Nimipu didn't cut any ice?"

"Not much. My people believe Hopi are the First People, most tribes do, and they know it. Anyhow...Shungopovi and Walipi are both open to outside visitors, but it's just a town with folks going about their lives, and off the road, so strolling in is going to be disruptive. I have to think about whether I want to do it at all, and it's out of the question for you." She didn't wait for Myra's assent. "There are no dances or events right now, aside from PTA and livestock sales, the usual rural community stuff."

Myra felt a mix of disappointment and gladness -- glad that the Pueblo tribes had banded together enough, way back when, to drive out Spanish conquest and missionaries, so they had any kind of life outside utter white control. What would Chris be like, she wondered, if her people had had the same history? Well, for starters, she probably wouldn't know Chris.

"Now, as for artists...I wasn't sure what you wanted to see. Weaving, we should probably go to the Navajo Cultural Center and get recommends for that there. There are two trading posts that aren't total rip-offs, where the locals control the message and the money goes to the artisans, and we can maybe track down folks there. This guy recommended Zuni for turquoise jewelry, although it sounded like he's got an anti-Navajo bias." Chris chuckled. "As for potting -- there's an old woman on First Mesa, near Walipi, who sells stuff out of her house and is, according to him, the best of all. He said to drive up, wait in the car, and let her or someone from her family come outside and wave us in. If they don't, they're not interested in customers at the moment. And he only told me that near the end, after he'd decided I was maybe okay."

"I should pull cash out of a machine somewhere" said Myra.

"Yeah, it's a cash economy" agreed Chris. "Second Mesa towns make coiled baskets and Katsinas, Third Mesa women make another kind of basket, First Mesa is pottery like I saw and also Katsinas. But I don't feel all right about buying a Katsina, or you buying one. It's as stupid and disrespectful as buying a so-called sand painting. And -- he didn't offer the names of any other artists, just the one potter and then the trading posts."

"All right. Trading posts it is. Plus -- is there any place we can get out of the car and walk around?"

"Canyon de Chelly, which is over an hour east of here. It looks like open land but this is tribal ground, I'm not going to trespass" said Chris. "Let's do the posts, see if we get any other leads about artists, and save Canyon de Chelly for tomorrow or the next day."

"Sounds good."

"But right now I'm hungry, and I'd love to see if this restaurant has their spicy mutton stew." Myra followed Chris from the car.

The drives between settlements felt elongated. Chris, usually happy to be quiet, began filling the miles with stories about her growing-up years. Myra soaked this in as much as she did the haunting desert around her: She loved deserts, always had. Chris was purging, and Myra let the current flow through her.

That afternoon they bought gorgeous turquoise and silver bracelets for Sima, Allie, and themselves. Myra picked out other kinds of jewelry for Ginny's family at Chanukah. They took a crash course in pottery styles and techniques from a chatty woman at one trading post, and went back to the motel's restaurant for dinner. After eating, Chris peeled off to walk behind the motel, into the edge of their property, for a while. Myra went in to call Ginny.

(Walipi, First Mesa)

The next day they went to First Mesa and spent two hours, beginning in the crowded kitchen of a very old woman with a number of younger relatives standing guard. After strong coffee, which Myra forced down, they were eventually led back to her studio, a stucco room reached from the outside though attached to the wood-frame house. Here they were allowed to watch as she coiled strips of clay into a breathtakingly beautiful form, smoothed it and lightly scored it in places. The minute they had followed her in, Myra had noticed a small pot on one shelf. Her eye kept returning to it.

When at last the woman offered to sell them an item already fired and glazed, Myra couldn't help but look again at the same pot. The old woman smiled and got creakily to her feet to retrieve it. She let Myra hold it, and Myra felt like it hummed under her fingers.

"Yes" said Myra.

One of the daughters or nieces had appeared in the doorway, and the old woman spoke to her. The younger woman translated: "Is this for you, or a gift?"

"A gift. But it will live in my house, the person I'm giving it to lives with me" said Myra.

"You have a business?" asked the young woman. Myra looked at her, not sure what that meant.

"I'm a writer. I write poetry, mostly. That's my work" she said. The language going back to the old woman was fascinating to Myra's ears.

Chris said quietly "The woman she lives with is a painter. Famous in the white world. That's who the pot is for. I wonder if you could tell us a place to buy paints we could give her, paints ground by hand. That's how she makes her own."

This got translated, and the old woman's dark eyes danced a little. She said a great deal to the young woman, which got passed on a single sentence: "I make my own glazes, according to the way my mother taught me."

Chris nodded and let the silence return. After a minute, the old woman pointed to a cupboard and the young woman opened it, to reveal glass mayonnaise jars of pigment. Myra thought Ginny might have fainted from excitement at the sight. The young woman left for a while and returned with small plastic containers. The old woman scooped out three different pigments using a piece of wood like a tongue depressor, wiping it fastidiously between uses. She snapped each lid shut. She then took an old towel from a stack behind her and wrapped the pot carefully as she spoke to the young woman.

The prices quoted by the young woman made Chris giggle, they were so outrageous. She said to Myra, "Here's where you get to test your bargaining skills."

Myra replied "I'm not bargaining, not for something I mean to give to Ginny." She pulled a roll of bills from her pocket. She counted out the amount. She had $40 left when it was done. The old woman took the money, slid it into a box on the shelf behind her, and gave the pot back to Myra. Chris picked up the paint containers and they took their leave.

In the car, Myra emptied out a book carton and used dirty shirts to create a nest for the pot. Chris said "Well, they sure saw you coming. You said yes to the pot without asking a price, and you all but drooled when you looked in that cupboard. You would have paid less for liquid gold."

"These are treasures, Chris."

"I know, but..."

"It's all right. Where better to spend my money?"

They tried a tiny cafe in Kykotsmovi for dinner. Myra wasn't sure she could have swallowed her vegetable stew if it weren't for the corn mush that accompanied it, cooling down her mucus membranes. Even so, she said "I'd kill for this recipe."

Chris agreed. "Damned tasty."

On the third day, they checked out and headed toward Canyon de Chelly. They stopped in Chinle to make a reservation at the Holiday Inn, fill up on gas and cold drinks, and made a second stop at the visitor's center to take in what the museum had to offer.

Myra drove the winding national park road slowly, because the views down into the canyon were frequent and arresting. They stopped at each overlook, got out and examined the ruins opposite with Myra's binox, not talking much. The expanse of sky and air felt good to Myra's lungs. There was enormity to take in, but she felt like she had the room inside to do so.
(White House Ruins, Canyon de Chelly)

The road dead-ended at Spider Rock overlook. Below and to the right stretched Canyon de Chelly and the nearly-dry river which had cut it. Standing in the middle, between mesas, was Spider Rock, really a pair of spires, the western one of which was a third again as tall as its sister with whom it shared hips. The map said their elevation here was almost 7000 feet, and Myra stayed back from the edge, her fear of heights kicking in. One legend she'd read said that Spider Woman stood on top of this rock and spun the entire material world from it. It looked to her like it could be the origin of earth.

Chris was putting water into her day pack.

"Are you walking down the trail to the bottom?" asked Myra. "That'll be one hell of a climb back."

"I have to go see" said Chris. She hesitated, then said "I'd rather be on my own."

"Okay" said Myra, not feeling rejected but wondering about the safety of a woman being alone. She decided Chris knew what she was doing, more than Myra would. "I may walk down some, but I'll either be on the trail or at the car."

Chris handed her the binoculars. "You'll need these more" she said. She set off eagerly for the trail without another word.

Myra emptied out her own pack and added back some water, her notebook, a reading book, and her camera. She put on her wool cap, slid gloves into her jacket pocket, and locked the car. She was relieved to discover the trail stayed wide and smooth, though necessarily steep. She walked until her blood was pumping nicely and she found a ledge beside the path to sit where she had a clear view of the canyon, as well as Face Rock opposite. The sun would set to her left, in maybe three hours, she thought. She pulled out her binox and studied Face Rock until her eyes got blurry.

She checked the rock wall behind her for critters, found only smooth sandstone, and leaned back, closing her eyes for a while. The ground under her ass and thighs was cold. She put on her gloves and zipped up her jacket. She wondered how Ginny would describe this light: It was beautifully clear, but angled and dilute, she thought. She began thinking of phrases and lines about light, trying to hook it to a metaphor about sanctuary and concealment, which this place had been for longer than anyone could say. She extracted her notebook and a pencil, and began writing slowly, laboriously, because she didn't want to remove a glove. Her letters were big and loopy. But taking her time suited her especially at this moment.

When she was done, she read it through silently, then whispered it under her breath. The problem areas were evident. She felt no rush about fixing it, however. She looked into the canyon for a while, wondering where Chris was. It was astonishing to her that she'd been here an hour and seen no other signs of a human being. Well, except for those ruins across the way. This was a major national park -- but it was a weekday, road access was far from the main highway, real access meant walking a long distance -- not white tourist fare. Fine by her.

(Atop Spider Rock)

She switched her attention back to Spider Rock. The upper layer of the western spire was cream-colored, contrasting with the reds below. On the top was a square boulder, which was currently casting a long shadow because of the setting sun. As she stared, she saw a small motion in the edge of the boulder's shadow. Her long-range vision instantly focused on the motion, and she spent a second or two arguing with what she saw: A person was up there, on top of the spire. Somebody was sitting on the ground, bent over their lap, engaged in some activity involving both hands.

She looked up and down the trail, wanting there to be someone she could point this out to. Her scalp was prickly. How the fuck had they gotten up there? She looked for ropes, found none, but they could be on the other side, out of view. She tried to figure out if it it was a man or a woman. They had black hair, and it looked long, loose, which in this terrain could be either gender. They had on a striped blankety kind of poncho, in muted colors, which came down over their knees because they were sitting. Darkish pants and brownish shoes, she thought. She still couldn't tell what they were doing with their hands.

Maybe it was a thrill-seeking climber now in trouble. She opened her pack, stashed her notebook and pulled out the binox. She had to remove her gloves to adjust the focus. When it suddenly cleared, she gasped, the view was so close. It was a man, and he had a small piece of leather in one hand, a rock in the other. He was flint-knapping, she thought. As she looked at his face, he went still, then turned and looked directly at her. She saw him recognize her as an observer, although that was nuts, he was too far away to see her against this shadowy wall. But he did, the change in his expression was unmistakable. He set down his tools and stood, turning toward her.

Fear flooded her body, frosty and relentless. Once he was upright and squarely facing her, she realized she could see through him, see the distant canyon behind him, a stretch of the river, fuzzy but visible. This wasn't happening, this wasn't real. She couldn't move, could not pull the binoculars away. He raised a hand and made a motion toward her. It was a single soft wave of his hand, the kind you do when you're signaling someone to come over.

That did it. She dropped the binoculars, and the leather strap jerked against the back of her neck as they hit her chest. She stood clumsily, snagged her pack with one arm and started up the trail at as much of a run as she could manage. Her breathing was immediately strained. She hugged the wall side, not just from fear of heights now, but fear of that which was out there, across an expanse of emptiness, watching her. She was too afraid to look and see if he was tracking her. She felt chased, and did manage to glance behind herself several times, down the trail.

By the time she reached the top, she was wheezing desperately, close to passing out from lack of oxygen, but she didn't stop to use her inhaler. She fumbled her keys from her pocket and got the door open. Once inside the car, she locked the doors and looked around her in the pull-out three times. She couldn't see into the canyon from here, and she didn't want to, really. Finally she took a hit of her inhaler, waited ten seconds, and took another. After a couple of minutes, her breathing returned to normal.

She kept her vision focused on the trailhead and the lip of the canyon. Although if it could fly, it could come up behind her, of course -- so once a minute, she did a scan in all directions. She felt numb with cold, and turned on the engine to blast the heater, though she sealed each vent which led to the outside. She was literally nauseated with worry for Chris, who was down there in the coming dusk with that thing loose. Maybe she should go for help -- but no, that would leave Chris even more stranded. She didn't have the courage to get out of the car and go after Chris.

She hated herself for waiting. But it had seen her, beckoned at her. Maybe it wouldn't notice Chris. Maybe she was kidding herself, she was a fucking coward trying to come up with excuses for leaving her friend to -- what? What was it?

Her head began pounding, and her bowels felt loose. There was some ibuprofen in the back, but she wasn't going to get out and walk back to the trunk. Nope. Suddenly the adrenaline jag she'd been on reversed itself, and she felt the plummet. She leaned her head against the headrest but struggled to keep her eyes open. She managed it for about half a minute.

The next thing she knew, something was rapping on the glass right next to her face. She screamed and lunged away from it, not yet remembering what she was supposed to be running from but a part of her brain reminding her instantly that she was in mortal peril. She was soaked in sweat, and the interior of the car was tropical. She felt a muscle burn in her back as she twisted to face the window, whatever horror was out there.

It was a man in a ranger uniform, looking extremely concerned. She slid back slowly toward the door and turned off the engine. In the sudden silence, she heard him say "Are you all right, ma'am?" in a muffled voice. She pushed the window button but nothing happened. A few seconds later, she remembered to turn the key to accessory, and the window came down.

He repeated his question as the cold outside air hit her sweat-slickened face. She wiped her palm across her forehead and said "Yeah. I guess I fell asleep."

"Are you not able to drive?" He seemed to be trying to sniff her breath.

"I'm waiting on a friend who hiked down into the canyon" she said.

"We close at dusk" he said. "How long has be been gone?"

She looked at her watch. "Only a couple of hours. And she knows to be back before dark." Damn, she needed to pee.

He looked doubtful, and she thought he was about to ask her to show ID, get out of the car, something, when Chris appeared at the head of the trail. Chris waved, then looked worried and walked quickly toward them. "You okay, Myra?"

"Yeah, I came back in the car to -- warm up, and I fell asleep with the engine running. This guy came to check on me." Myra was sending silent alarms to Chris with her eyes. Chris introduced herself to the ranger and shook his hand. He decided Myra was not a menace to the National Parks Service and took his leave. Once he was out of earshot, Chris said in a low, urgent voice, "What's up?"

"We gotta get out of here" said Myra. "You drive." She unlocked the door and Chris opened it, then stepped aside so Myra could get out. But Myra began trying to slide over the gear shift and console into the passenger seat. It was a clumsy process, made worse by her full bladder. She pushed herself through it, however; no way was she setting foot out into the open air.

"Get in" she hissed to Chris. "Close the door and roll up the window."

Chris obeyed, though not as rapidly as Myra would have liked. As she buckled her seatbelt, she repeated "What's wrong?"

"Just drive. I need a bathroom, but mostly I need to be out of here" said Myra, taking a scan around the car. Chris turned the engine back on and reacted to the blast of the heater, saying "Shit, Myra, it's already damned hot in here."

"Turn it off, that's fine, but no, don't open the window. Please, Chris."

Chris drove them competently back to the start of the road, where there was a visitor's information station and a set of restrooms. Myra said "You have to come with me. Lock the car and come with." Chris followed her into the bathroom and took the stall next to her. Myra was embarrassed when she had diarrhea after emptying her bladder, but it couldn't be helped. When she heard Chris leave the bathroom, she felt pure panic again. She rushed to get out of the stall and wash so she could get to where Chris was again.

Which was in the car. She sat back into the passenger seat with a heave of relief, locked the door, and said "I smell cigarette smoke. Is that you?"

Chris laughed and said "Yeah, but you got no right to bitch, not with what you smell like. You able to talk now?"

"Please, let's get on the road first."

Chris sighed and said "You got any extra water, I drank all of mine" as she started the car again. Myra reached into her pack and got her water bottle. She saw her notebook but felt aversion to reading the poem she'd written. She also noticed her gloves were missing.

"I left my gloves" she said.

"Where, in the bathroom?" said Chris, braking.

"No, at the -- don't stop, keep going, I'll live without them" said Myra.

"Where are we headed?" asked Chris.

"Go back the way we came in, but then -- I'll check the map." Myra had trouble reading directions to their motel, had to do it out loud for it to make sense and that was only because Chris was repeating it. Once they were on the main road, Myra felt able to turn around in her seat, facing away from the windows, and open the cooler in the back seat for a Coke. She downed three big swallows, and looked at Chris.

"Did somebody attack you?" asked Chris.

"No" said Myra, with a waver in her voice. "You're...not going to believe me."

Chris looked very serious. "I promise I will. I don't remember ever seeing you this gonzo, Myra."

Slowly, checking Chris's face constantly, Myra relayed her experience. Chris began grinning at one point, waiting for the joke, but grew solemn again when Myra told of her flight up the trail.

"You didn't look at him again?" she asked, slightly incredulous. "I would have. Hell, I want to go back right now and see if he's still there, or if he's visible to anyone but you."

"Chris, so help me god -- " said Myra, closing her eyes and clutching the dash.

"It's okay, I'm not turning around, calm down. Wow. That's some sighting, Myra."

"What does it mean, Chris? Who was it?"

"Fuck if I know. Don't take this wrong, but are you positive you didn't fall sleep down there on the trail and maybe dream this?"

"I wish" said Myra fiercely.

"Show me the hand motion he made" said Chris. Myra repeated it, feeling slightly sick to her stomach.

"Yeah, looks like a welcome gesture to me" agreed Chris. "Hot damn." She was not at all afraid, Myra could tell.

"Did you see anything -- out there?" asked Myra.

"No, and I remember looking at the spires when I came back up the trail. But not real detailed, like. I reached the bottom of the canyon and found a little recess behind a big outcropping that was entirely private, washed out by water, I think. It had a great view of the sun starting to go down, the other end of the canyon. I stripped down and did a tobacco smudge, then a corn offering" said Chris.

"You what?" asked Myra. "You mean, naked?"

Chris laughed. "I felt perfectly safe there" she said. "It's interesting that you and I went to opposite ends of the scale in that regard."

Myra had to close her eyes again, the wave of nausea was so intense. "I don't like seeing -- spirits" she said in a new whisper.

"Have you before? Oh, right, in that bakery where you worked for a while, there was a ghost at night, right?"

"And other places" said Myra, not wanting to elaborate. "I don't ask for it, and I -- I hate it."

"Well, I'm not sure we can call this a ghost" said Chris. "We could go to the Navajo Cultural Center tomorrow and ask someone about it, if you're not worried about being maybe called crazy." She laughed again.

"I want to go home" said Myra.

Chris was startled. "You mean, like Seattle? For real?"

"Yes. Our motel in Chinle is paid for, so let's go there for tonight. But I can call and see about reservations for tomorrow out of Flagstaff, once we get there. If that's okay with you."

Chris turned to took at her and said "Yeah. I did what I needed to do. The tobacco cleanse worked as well as any I've ever had."

This time it was Myra who said "Wow." They looked at each for a few seconds until Chris had to focus on the road again.

"Okay if we stop to get something to eat? Pickings will be slim, we should take the first place that's open" said Chris.

"Sure" said Myra, not all hungry.

At the motel, Chris said "Which bed do you want?" Myra set down her bag and said "Next to the wall, there. And -- will you sleep with me? Between me and the door?"

Chris smiled. "Fuck Ginny's rules when there's haunting going on, huh?"

"That's the sum of it." She pulled their open-end tickets from her pack and used the phone to get on a flight for the following afternoon. She then called Ginny. Allie answered; Myra could hear both kids' voices, loud and playful, in the background.

"We're coming home tomorrow" Myra said without preamble.

"Thank you jesus" said Allie. "I'll hand you over to GB and distract the kids while you talk at her."

Ginny was fervent in her gladness. She wrote down all the information and promised to call Sima immediately, saying it would probably be Sima who met them at the airport, given the time of their arrival. Myra didn't want to tell Ginny about the day's events over the phone. She listened to Ginny's update, soaking up the sounds of her kids behind it, and hung up after exchanges of "I love you".

She put on sweats for bed. Chris raised her eyebrows and Myra said "It's not that. I just can't quite get warm, deep inside."

Chris spooned her from behind, putting her her long arm around Myra, and Myra felt a tendril of relaxation begin.

"Wait, I forgot" said Chris. She rolled back to turn off the light. She got something from the bedside table and said to Myra, "Look at me for a sec." She rubbed a sweet-smelling substance on Myra's forehead, between her eyes, and said "That will give you good dreams." She kissed Myra's forehead before Myra returned to spooning, the warmth of Chris's thumb still palpable on her forehead.

Myra remembered sleeping like this with Chris the month they'd lived together, just a couple of months after Chris got out of the nuthouse. Chris wasn't an official roommate, which is why she could only stay a month with Myra and her other housemates. She was still having big adjustment problems: She couldn't take a bath if anyone else was home, she wouldn't eat anything unless she had made it herself or watched it cooked from scratch, and while she wanted Myra to be in contact when they slept, it had to be Chris's arm over Myra, not the other way around. She woke up with nightmares every other night, too. But gradually it got easier for her. After a month she'd gone on to crash with Allie for a month, and after that she was able to find a place with a woman who was profoundly OCD, who was only renting out a room because she couldn't afford the rent on her own. Chris's residual rigidity had worked out well with the OCD, and they lasted a year. By that time, Chris could work full-time and get a place on her own.

Chris interrupted her memories by saying in her ear, "You not asleep yet?"

"No. But I'm okay, thinking about -- other stuff." After a few seconds, Myra said with a passion that embarrassed her, "I love you, Chris."

Chris shook her slightly and said "I know."

"Thank you for this trip."

"Thank you back. Now sleep."

In the morning, as they were repacking their suitcases for the plane, Myra said "What was that stuff you put on my forehead? It worked like a charm."

Chris giggled and held out a small plastic container.

"Lip gloss? Why the fuck did that work?" said Myra.

"Because you thought it would."

Myra eyed her critically. "You do believe I saw what I saw, you don't think it was just my imagination, Kash-Kash?"

Chris held up her hands. "I believe you. I think it's interesting, not spooky, that's all."

The desert looked beautiful again to Myra in the clarity of morning, without any hint of disturbing mystery. She took the first shift of their three-hour trek back to Flagstaff. Once they were on the road, she said "Chris -- do you think my reaction is partly from racism? Like, it was a Native sacred place, so I expected to have something abnormal happen?"

"I dunno. You can answer that better than me" said Chris.

Myra thought her way through it. "Well, I didn't have that kind of reaction to any of the other places we've been, or where I've been before this trip. And I was happy as a clam there in the canyon until -- it appeared. Actually, I was fine until it looked at me, combined with it being see-through. I honestly think I'd have been just as freaked if it had been a white guy. Or a woman, or anything with those particular properties, able to pick up on me looking at it and not being solid."

"Yeah, those are unusual properties" grinned Chris.

After another minute of thought, Myra began "Did I ever tell you about my friend Debbo in Texas? Well, she was an earnest white girl, still in college, and this was right after Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee had come out. So that summer she hops in her Beetle and drives up to South Dakota. She wants to see where it all happened and do some kind of penance. She was into goddess worship, if that helps make sense of it. She has car trouble a few times, and by the time she gets to Pine Ridge Reservation finally, it's past dark. But that doesn't stop her. She starts driving through, with a map she's made from combining some page in the book with a Conoco roadmap. When she gets to the general area where she thinks some major events occurred, there's nothing for quite a stretch. Then she sees what looks like a wooden altar beside the road. It was painted blue, set off to the side, and there's just enough room for her to park beside it. She gets out and looks it over for a sign or symbol. It's just blue wood, but she hasn't seen a lot of stuff marked on the rez anyhow, so she figures the blue paint is enough for those in the know. There's a steep slope behind it, and she climbs up that a few feet, finds space to sit down in the grass, puts her face in her hands and begins praying. Before long, a battered old pickup comes down the two-lane blacktop, and it slows when her Bug comes into the headlights. It passed but then, to her dismay, the truck stops, backs up, and parks behind her car. A middle-aged Lakota man gets out and walks toward her. And in spite of herself, she gets a little scared. She's out on a deserted prairie alone the dark with a strange man. He stopped just far enough away to keep her from getting totally spooked and says hi. Gives her his name. Debbo says hi back, gives her first name. He looks up at the stars for a minute, then asks, 'Your car broke down?' She says 'No.' There's another silence, and she feels obligated to say something, so she adds 'I'm praying.' He stands there for a good minute or two. Then he says in this completely even voice, 'You know this is a produce stand, right?'"

Chris burst into screams of laughter, pounding on her armrest and yelping "No, no!" Myra said "Yep, true story, I swear to god."

Between howls, Chris got out "I bet he's still telling that story to folks". Myra said "You know he must be." Chris kept muttering to herself "produce stand" as she laughed.

© 2008 Maggie Jochild

1 comment:

letsdance said...

Thank you, Maggie. What a wonderful story -- frontwards and backwards.