Monday, March 10, 2008


1:00 am on a night following a day filled with domestic-disillusionment and boredom: Sonny, a Native American man in his early twenties, is about to go to bed, when a knock sounds at the door of his one room shack. He quickly looks at the single bed near the table to see if the knock had disturbed his common-law wife, who lays there sleeping. No movement, so he quietly lifts the short-two-by-four that has been braced against the door and cracks it open. Mist escapes, as warm air meets freezing temperatures, blending with the visitors’ breaths, and then rising to nothing.

“Hey brother, it’s me,” a voice chimes from outside, in a noticeably under toned slur. “Can we come in?”

“Shhhh, Beverly’s sleeping and I’ll never hear the end of it if I wake her up!”

“Awww, come on, it’s cold out here,” says the man as he playfully pushes on the door and laughs. “I see that you got a hot fire in there, aaaaayyy, and we’re cold, aaaaaayyy…! Hey, you’re actin’ too good for us, enit bro? Whasup?”

A female voice drunkenly states from outside the door, “Yeah, Sonny, we’re hungry too, ooks…ha, ha…!”

Several people laughing from outside, both male and female cause Beverly to groan and make a sound with her lips, as if she’s eating a tasty meal.

Alarmed, Sonny visibly winches and glances at the bed again. “Wait, let me get my coat and I’ll be right out, shhh…”

Closing the door, he stands and stares at the bed for a few seconds, checking for any sign of consciousness; satisfied that his wife is still sound asleep, he tip toes to the end of the bed and rummages through a pile of clothing that has apparently been thrown over a wooden bench.

Not finding what he’s searching for, he takes a step and lowers himself to his knees, gazing under the bed. His arm disappears beneath the bed and retrieves a thick, brown, Carhartt coat. He stands up and his eyes once again search for animation on the bed -- all’s quiet on the home-front…

He quietly goes to the door and hangs the coat on the doorknob, then back to the wood heater, where he opens its front. “Shit!” he whispers as he vigorously shakes his hand and shoves a finger into his mouth. Blowing on it, he thinks, “Man, I should have used a glove, damn…!”

Before exiting, Sonny stops and looks over the one room shack, which he and Beverly have shared for the past two years. “She’s forever worrying about this place’s catching on fire…,” he thought. “She’s silly,” he verbalizes out-loud and immediately holds his breath, fearful that she’d heard, as he waits for her to call his name. No sign of movement from the lady on the bed. “Thank God,” he whispers.

Quietly pulling the door shut behind him, Sonny places his finger to his lips and says, “Shhhh, don’t say anything until we’re at least a mile from here; she has ears like a cat…!”

Everyone’s laughing and trying to outdo everyone else with humor as they walk through a snow covered alley. The sky is clear and the stars are bright; the visible streetlights appear to be reflecting straight up and each footstep makes a squeaking, crunching sound. A cloud of fog like mist follows the group, precipitated by their laughter, breathing and verbalizations.

“Where’s the party?” Sonny asks Coyote, his friend and the man who’d knocked on his door.

“Ha, ha…there’s a big one going on over at Leena’s house. We were all over there when your ‘chippie’ offered a fifth of ‘B.V.’ to anyone who’d go get you, geeeeze, ha, ha…you’re quite the ladies man enit? I asked who was man enough to brave the cold with me and, let me see,” doing a 180 while still in motion, he mumbles to himself, “…three, four, five, six…seven, seven of us volunteered and not all were men, my friend; I guess these skanks think they’re men, ha, ha…! We’re all crazy, home boy, too crazy…!”

While turning back around, Coyote slips on a patch of ice and nearly falls.

Laughing, Sonny stops, blows on his hands and asks, “Okay, who’s got a bottle? I know you winos wouldn’t walk three blocks without any minioakie, napioakie, or assockitsee stuffed in your empty pockets…!”

A shivering, high pitched female voice laughs, and says, “Ohhh, I knew you were gonna ask that…! Coyote just told us that you’ve been on-the-wagon for a while and that you wouldn’t drink with us, but I knew that you would! We even betted on it, ha, ha…! Coyote, oh Coyote, yoo-hoo, you owe me ten dollars my friend!”

“We came over dry Sonny,” says Coyote.

“Aw shit and I was just looking forward to some internal warmth, Dog!”

Everyone’s laughing hard and making fun of Sonny for his shallow resolution. Sonny laughs too and the group walks on, shivering, jabbering and jovial.

A male voice from behind asks, “Sonny, I thought that you and your woman were living in The Housing Authority, housing?”

The group laughs without pausing their fast, escape the cold walk and Coyote responds for Sonny, “Shit holms, he can’t get a unit from housing; not after he f----d up the tribal chairman’s son last Indian Days…! Hey Sonny, you kicked his ass good enit, ha, ha…!”

“Gooder,” came from behind, and, “I sure wish it was Indian Days weather now, ohhh, f—k it’s cold, brrrrrrr! Let’s walk faster!”

The reference to housing evoked a feeling of guilt from Sonny’s conscience. He thought of his and his common-law wife’s current circumstances and he immediately began pondering what she’d do when she woke-up, cold, probably lonely, and with him absent... He felt sad, but thought, “That’s alright, I deserve to get away from her once in a while…she always thinks that I shouldn’t leave her side, and now that she’s pregnant, she’s even more of a burden…besides, they said my ‘chippie’s’ there; I wonder which one…?”

“Bang, bang, bang,” and the wooden door, with a piece of plastic held on by duct tape, covering a gaping hole in the window, opens. Loud laughter and voices conjoin the exiting mist as the group enters.

Sonny pauses, assures the correct “sag” and unzips his Carhartt.

They pass through the kitchen, where Sonny notices empty beer cans scattered about the counters and the table, and looks down as his shoe encounters a broken bottle.

A shrill, female voice rises above the drunken pandemonium as he enters the next room. “SONNY! Oh my love, where did you come from? Oh my God, I can’t breathe! EWWWWW…ha, ha…!”

Sonny smiles as he recognizes Janet Kills Fast and all her glory…! “She’s the one I was hoping it would be,” he thought, happily.

Janet, a young lady of about nineteen, tall, voluptuous and beautiful, with an air of sensuality, health and good living about her, physically disengages herself from a fortunate young man and seductively-saunters over to Sonny, throws her arms around his shoulders, and buries her face in his neck, exclaiming, “I’m glad that you came; I really missed you…! Will you be mine tonight, honey, hmmm? I’m lonesome and I need…”

A clamor of scraping chair legs, falling beer cans and chairs, stomping and hollers abruptly-ends her exclamations of affection, as two males rise from their seated positions and begin to fight among the scrambling partiers.

Sonny pulls his date into the kitchen, out of the way of the beginning free-for-all, where, reaching into the refrigerator, he withdraws a beer, pops-the-top and begins to gulp.

He feels his date being yanked from his embrace and drops the can in surprise. Sonny recognizes the man who’d been hugging Janet upon his entrance. The man says to Janet, “Hey, where you goin’? You’re mine!”

She giggles and turns to face him, languidly-tossing her hair, she looks over her shoulder at Sonny. “I should f—k this dude up,” thinks Sonny, and reaches to reclaim his prize.

Simultaneously, a small boy of about 2-3, totters into view and crying, enters the melee occurring in the next room. A female screams for everyone to stop and demands that everyone leave the residence, while she snatches the child up, hugs him, and backs into the kitchen’s entrance, crying and still screaming.

Sonny stops, looks at the child and at the lady, at his prize, and thinks, “This party has gone south,” as he disgustedly turns and walks to the door.

He can hear Janet calling his name, screams, hollers, and a child’s frightened cry, all growing faint as he proceeds into the frosted night…

As he enters his one room hovel, Beverly, a plain, slightly overweight lady of about 22, is consumed with the task of adding more wood to the nearly burned-out fire. She’s cloaked in a quilt from the bed, her hair’s out of order and she’s angry; but Sonny thinks that he’s never been happier to see anyone in his entire life, as he warmly says, “Hi beautiful, get back to bed and I’ll do that...”

She glares at him, sniffs, and asks, “Where have you been? You smell like you’ve been drinking!”

In the morning, Beverly senses a noticeable change in Sonny, as he literally falls over himself, in efforts toward making her comfortable and happy.

She likes it, and she smiles as she feels the baby kick.

-- Calvin Tatsey, © 2008