Tag Archives: Real Things Real People Are Really Doing

Supposing It Happens

What will you do when you become a billionaire? Well, supposing you do. Become a billionaire. You’ve got to think about something while you’re supposed to be working. Of course, the work day is almost over. When you’re finished, you’ll go home to your dream house in the country and your personal Italian chef will prepare for you a gourmet meal. And this time the chef’s name won’t be Boyardee, either.

Well, supposing it happens.

You better decide right now whether you will have a Jacuzzi after dinner, or see a film in your personal movie theatre. Or maybe just lounge around the master bedroom: build a fire, lie in your big bed, look out of the picture window at the mountains. Boy, your river sure is beautiful. Wish I had one of my own.

Supposing I did. I’d go fishing everyday and catch trout. Fly fishing. Who knows what else I’d hook. Yeah, I’d be a fisherman.

Think of all the things you’re going to have when you’re rich. And the travel! Paris, Bermuda, Greece, South America. Me, I’ll be right here, fishing.

You could finally do the things you’ve always wanted to do. And suppose on top of being rich, you were young and sexy as well. With perfect health. Did I mention you are also brilliant? Everyone thinks you are the best.

You have wonderful taste in clothing. Money isn’t everything: you have to know how to spend it. Anyone can throw a billion dollars around. But taste, that’s another matter. And you have je ne sais quoi, which no amount of money can buy either. That’s why members of the opposite sex find you so attractive. Of course, you’re already involved in a passionate and exciting love affair. You and your lover travel the world together and see exotic places. You make love on beaches and buy each other delightful gifts in Rome and Moscow and Rio de Janeiro.

Meanwhile, I’m quite content to be fishing. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve hooked something. I’m just reeling it in.

Most billionaires aren’t cultured; have you ever noticed that? They’re all capitalism, all business. They have no charm, no class. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see someone like you. You’re rich, but you wear it well, if you know what I mean. You know exactly what you want. You make good choices. Your lover is a cultured person too. Has a great singing voice. A sensitive person. Has lots of talent. Athletic and creative. And witty, but not pretentious or condescending. Kind, loving, generous. And a great body, if you don’t mind me saying so.

Wow, that was a quick catch. Amazing how easy it is when you know what bait to use.

Making Love

1. The first thing we need to clarify is the terminology.

Making love is not to be confused with having sex. To make love is, as the phrase suggests, to make. To have sex is, conversely, to have. To have is to possess, and everyone knows that possession and love are nowhere to be found together.

Intercourse, fornication, and copulation are too clinical and pretentious; they lack emotional content and make one feel that you are just showing off your vocabulary. There’s nothing romantic about snobbery.

Sex sounds too Anglo-Saxon, even if it has a Romance etymology. We ought not to confuse the matter by getting obsessed with the facts. The truth is, sex doesn’t sound very nice, no matter how delicately you try to articulate it.

Humping and screwing are demeaning. It grieves us that we have to even mention them. Some people think these terms are cute and funny, but general consensus dictates otherwise. The former term might be appropriate for the sexual activities of dromedaries, but certainly not of homo sapiens, while the latter term is best reserved for specific acts of carpentry.

For brevity’s sake, we will dispense with a thorough technical discussion of: porking, poking, the horizontal bop, bonking, doing the wild thing, makin’ bacon, fooling around, going down and tumbling in the hay. These terms should be avoided. This is not a moral judgement, however – merely a recommendation.

2. When to make love.

The best time to make love is Saturday night between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. The weekdays are problematic because of busy work schedules. No one has time nor energy. Friday night is worst of all because of the cumulative exhaustion of the work-week. Your best plan is to get as much sleep on Friday night as possible. Therefore: go straight to bed. Do not make love.

Saturday morning would be good, except that there are so many things to do. Think of all the bills that have to be paid, the errands that have to be run, the myriad of chores that have been neglected because you were too busy throughout the week to get around to them. When the alarm clock rings, you had best get right out of bed and get to it. Have your partner help. Tell him to think of dusting as fore-play. This will encourage him to be efficient and enthusiastic.

Note: make sure the bills are paid! Nothing causes coitus interruptus and similar sexual disfunction like the stress of financial debt. One gas bill alone could wreck everything.

If you are efficient and organized, you will have enough energy Saturday night for making love. Here are five questions you can ask yourself and your partner to be sure:

-Am I craving sleep continually?
-Am I listening to my inner child?
-Does my partner respect my needs no matter what, or am I being pressured somehow to do something I do not want to do?
-Do I typically fall asleep during lovemaking?
-Am I getting pleasure out of lovemaking, or am I merely fooling myself?

If you have determined that it is prudent to make love, we recommend the following: First, wait until your favorite television program is finished. If you make love during a half-hour block in which a program you do not like is being broadcasted, your mind will not be divided between love making and television watching. A one-half hour block ensures that you will have time to make love and also to finish any chores (such as dish-washing) that have accumulated throughout the day. Second, ensure that the answering machine is on so that you won’t need to answer calls. Resist the impulse to rush to the phone, even if you are experiencing a lull in the activities. Most calls are not urgent and can be followed up immediately after orgasm, if such an event occurs.

3. Let us proceed to the act itself.

We have established the following norms of lovemaking:

-the missionary position, man on top. Creativity leads to perversity, and besides, you work hard all week. Don’t complicate your life needlessly.

-the bedroom. We are told that the French make love throughout the house, and even prefer the bathroom. This seems unhygienic, and not entirely in good taste. We feel the bedroom was made for making love, and making love for the bedroom.

-since foreplay has more or less been merged with Saturday chores, you might as well get right down to business. It’s a busy world, and besides, you’ve been waiting all day. And no one waits all day for anything anymore.

-congratulate yourself and your partner when appropriate. Nothing is more important in today’s atmosphere of global competitiveness than to reward and to encourage excellence.

Learning How

You can learn how:

– to lose twenty pounds
– to have more confidence
– to get a man
– to hold on to him
– to be a beauty queen
– to get into shape
– to be more desirable
– to make better love
– to love him more
– to love him less
– to reduce your stress
– to balance home and children and work
– to be the person you’ve always wanted to be.

It’s easy. Here’s how:

1 1 Sit down with a piece of paper and itemize your priorities; or better yet, use a computer–you’ll find that technology is a powerful tool. 2 Read this thoroughly and practice the helpful advice, using your computer to record your progress.

2 1 Learn the proper uses of medication. There are pills that will help you to lose weight, and pills that will reduce your stress and give you confidence. It is up to you to educate yourself regarding their uses–in consultation with an expert, naturally. 2 Watch television carefully. There will be advertisements directing you to the purchase of technologically-advanced equipment. Be comforted by the knowledge that there is a scientifically advanced product for your particular defect. 3  See your doctor. You may be surprised (and relieved) to find that your womb is the source of the problem. Medical specialists have a great deal of experience with such cases. The treatment is usually quite simple and takes little time to perform. 4 Learn the basic concepts. Co-dependency, dysfunction and hysteria are terms that will apply to you, for all have dysfunctions and fall short of the models of authorities. With the correct terminology at your disposal, you will be more able to seek the appropriate product or procedure as dictated by an expert.

3 1 Use your computer to aid you in the organization of your treatment schedule. Begin a file on your software; you may assign it any name up to eight letters in length, such as “HOLINESS,” “PURITY,” or “BODY.” Be organized: submit yourself to a ritual of daily entries, or you will not find yourself improving. 2 When you are cleansed of an offence such as a weight problem or a personal insufficiency of a sexual nature, count off seven days, after which you must visit an expert, taking an appropriate form of offering such as VISA® or MasterCard®. Keep careful track of your transactions by entering the data on your computer file. 3 Continue to purchase self-help guides such as magazines, books and computer software. The field is always changing as new discoveries alter the quest for female perfectibility. As always, seek an expert for guidance when purchasing a product or service.

4 1 Find a private place in which to work. You ought not to disturb others with your problems. Entries should be made in silence, far away from the important business that is being conducted by others.

Seeing The Light

Part One: He was born in poverty and darkness

He made a few mistakes in the beginning, because he was born in poverty and in darkness. I’ve selected, arranged, itemized and interpreted them for you.

-He fooled around a lot, sexually.

-He drank heavily.

-He used foul language.

Don’t look so discouraged. It gets better: you know that.

-He once shot his brother in the foot during an argument about money. Everyone thought it was an accident, but I know that the bastard meant to do it.

He was a bastard, all right. But he reformed. He’s a decent fellow now: I rather like him.

Part Two: He sees the light

Before we go any further, I ought to produce the relevant facts.

1. He was born 4 October 1939.

2. His father was a housepainter and an alcoholic. His mother made crafts. This accounts for our hero’s artistic propensities. He has become quite a clever writer.

3. His mother often read the Bible to him, although he didn’t get much out of it at first–that is, before he saw the light.

4. He had trouble with women. He married in 1962, but after only sixteen months of marriage his wife left him. That was 18 May 1964 at 3:27 p.m.

The car she left in was orange.

5. He liked Dixieland music, and he played his 78 r.p.m.s loud.

6. He shunned vinegar.

He was a bastard, but he saw the light. Let me tell you about it.

On 6 June 1964, 10:27 p.m., he was sitting in Sam’s diner, a white rectangular building on Queen street. If you go there today you’ll see it, although Sam is dead now and the name has changed. It’s the same place though. The very booth he was sitting in is still there.

Anyway, he was eating a clubhouse sandwich with fries. He had put salt on the fries, but not vinegar. Sam’s had the best clubhouse in those days. The bacon made all of the difference: it was crispy, but not dried out and charcoal-tasting.

He had just finished his dinner when he looked up and saw the headlights approach the front window of the diner. The light was blinding. He thought he was going to fall to his knees. He said to himself, God who are you? He eventually got up out of the booth, onto his feet, blinded. When his sight returned to him a minute later, he looked out of the window.

It was him, all right. You don’t forget a face like that, especially when it’s behind the headlights of an orange car.

Well, to make a long story into a short story, he walked up to the front door and waited for the man to come in. They looked one another in the eye, and our hero said, “Step out back.” So out back they go, and our hero gives the man a damn good beating, like no one in that town has ever been beaten before.

When our hero is done, he goes home, puts on a Dixieland 78 r.p.m., and opens up his Bible. He sees the words, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. He thought of those words, there in the restaurant.

Because he saw the light.

Part Three: A New Man

Yes sir, he was a bastard, that man. But you know the story: with age comes wisdom, understanding and contentment. He’s a new man now. I rather like him.

Did I mention he became quite a clever writer?

Shopping Around

This time I am going to shop around.

I met my last lover at a party. I had had too much to drink. We had a brief and tempestuous affair, which ended horribly after three months. I told myself then, I will never make that mistake again.

Linda was my first lover. She was tall and slender. Her hair fell straight along her back, ending where the spine curves inward to form the base of a smooth concave pocket. Her eyes were dark brown, her skin pale. I remember that her teeth were remarkably uniform, as if they were artificial. I did not know real teeth could be so straight.

I’ve had dozens and dozens of lovers. I remember only a few. I’ve probably embellished them beyond all reality. My memories may be fictions.

Tanya had short hair. She dyed it henna. Her hair was bell-shaped and hugged her head like a snug wig. She used a product that made her legs as smooth as those of a store-front mannequin. She said it was excruciatingly painful and expensive to get her legs that way, but that she felt that it was worth it.

Maggie wore clothing from a local Middle-Eastern bazaar: silks and flowing scarves and Jinn pants. She wore pink foundation and red blush. Her preferred products were: Noxema, Clairol, Seabreeze, Neat, Max Factor.

Brenda was slightly overweight, but disguised it well with bulky sweaters and skirts. She worked primarily in odours: L’air du Temps, Channel and Night Musk. Her shoes were always of the highest quality, even those that she wore when taking the garbage to the curb.

Rachel liked to wear hats. She bought most of her clothing through mail order catalogues. Her favorite colours were hunter green, teal, and royal blue. She said she was a Winter. I met her during her black and white phase. She also had a brief leather phase, during which she wore tight black pants and cowhide vests. She liked to wear earrings that dangle to the shoulder.

All of these women were bad for me. I remember their clothing and the way that they smelled, and specific physical details: the curve of a leg, the flatness of a stomach, the darkness of eyes. What I’m not going to tell you about is the grief and the frustration.

I’ve tried for years to block it out of my mind.

Linda was never happy with anything I ever did. She hated the way I cut my steak, and was determined to reform me.

Tanya ate only vegetables and said it is morally wrong to kill cows. I said I only killed them to stop them. I said, Cows are the most vicious and hateful creatures alive because they prey exclusively on helpless vegetables. I told her that I was thinking about going after other vegetable haters too.

She left me.

Maggie was a singer and sexually voracious. She was also insane. She told me that Janice Joplin once came to her house and complimented her on her musical talent.

Brenda tried to make me feel guilty about every bad thing in the world. She told me I never really loved her, which was true, and that I was leaving her only because she wasn’t thin like a supermodel, which wasn’t. She held me personally responsible for the “chauvinism and cruelty of my gender.”

Rachel was unfaithful and ran off with a neighbour of mine. That was during her Spiegel earth-tone phase.

Relationships are so difficult. It’s woeful. But this time I’m going to shop around.


What I have learned about shopping

Do your research

Find out where the product comes from. Was it produced by a respectable corporation? Or by one that is exploitative? Check into warranties, and see what kind of experiences other people have had with this product. You may discover things of great importance.

Look under the hood

We’re not talking just about cars here. Whatever it is, see how it’s made and how it works. Have a professional come along and help. Kick the tires.

Ask about trial periods

If possible, take the product home for a few days for a trial run. Be explicit that this in no way implies a commitment. There ought to be no obligation to buy.

Compare and save

Don’t take the first thing that comes along, no matter how shiny and fancy it looks. And don’t enter into a bargain until you know all of the facts! Often a salesperson will only tell you what he or she thinks you want to hear. Don’t trust these people.

Take your time. Get the best deal you can.

Get everything in writing

Remember the expression: a verbal agreement is worth the paper it’s written on.

If you do purchase, keep the receipts and accompanying documents in a safe place

You might want to make an exchange at a later date. Perhaps get a refund. You are not personally responsible for defective goods, but be careful: there are no user serviceable parts. It’s also wise to keep the packaging. Often, with the excitement that accompanies a new item, we fail to consider the possibility that we may grow tired of it later. Or it may not work the way we had thought it would. If you have discarded the packaging, you are stuck with your selection.

Consider the costs

Ask yourself, Do I really need this product? Isn’t the aggravation more than I want? And the responsibility?

In today’s throw-away society, most products break down after only a few years. Then you’re stuck with a useless product and the costs of getting rid of it.

Be honest. Why are you considering this purchase? A lot is at stake. Do you think you could live without it?

You’d be surprised. Many people nowadays are.

Playing With Fire

Everyone thinks they know the whole story. The most recent version I heard came to me in Washington, D.C., and goes like this:

He stole the fire from the gods and gave it to men. The gods weren’t too pleased, because they like having all the power to themselves. He was being insubordinate, radical, rebellious. The head god chained him to Caucasus for eternity. Every day an eagle came down from the skies and ate his blackened liver. Every day the liver grew back. That’s how this version ends, with him chained to a rock forever and with the bird coming every day for fresh liver.

There are other versions. Sometimes the bird is a vulture, sometimes a hawk. I heard someone insert a seagull once. That shows you how careless and irresponsible humans can be. Then there are the disagreements about the organ: “was it a liver? I was sure it was a gall bladder.”

The problem is, none of these humans were there. Of course, even if they had been, it wouldn’t make a difference. Human beings can’t be relied upon to get the facts straight. They mess around with everything, like children. They exaggerate, embellish, distort. They lie when it suits them. It’s a miracle they ever agree on anything. Of course, the usually don’t; they usually end up arguing and fighting.

Still, the basic idea is the same no matter who you talk to. Prometheus is the hero. The gods are tyrants, oppressive and cruel.

This however isn’t the case. When you know all of the facts, you’ll be able to make a more accurate judgement. Of course, you’re probably only human, so it won’t be completely accurate. You’ll need some guidance.

What no one has told you is what happened after he stole the fire.

People were fascinated by the new substance. They lost interest in reading and sat for hours and hours every day staring at fire. Their minds were rotting in their heads. Some of our statisticians tell us that the humans spent on average forty-two hours a week fire-watching. The fires gradually became bigger and more violent. People suffered burns from sitting too close. People paid less attention to one another. Families began to fall apart. Family values were undermined.

Someone discovered that you could ignite dehydrated plant leaves with fire and inhale the by-products of the incinerating material. For some reason completely beyond our comprehension, human beings found this pleasurable. You now call this activity “smoking.” It is both unhealthy and immoral, and it instantly became very popular.

The females experimented with fire in their food preparation. Rather than good, reliable meals such as nuts and berries and raw vegetables, they began to cook and eat the flesh of animals, introducing carcinogens into their diet. We feel it is immoral to eat meat.

Arson became rampant. The usefulness of fire in acts of crime was discovered and exploited, with deadly results.

Fire encouraged romantic behaviour, especially–to our alarm–between unmarried human beings. Not only did men engage in sexual activities with women, but there were also abominations committed between members of the same sex.

It’s no coincidence that we speak of the fires of lust. Fire led to immorality, perversity and unwholesomeness. We knew something had to be done. People were incapable of governing themselves; their thinking and behaviour needed to be directed, legislated. Our decision was intended for their benefit.

We believed that the only way to restore godliness was to make an example of this Prometheus, therefore we drafted a bill outlawing the giving of fire to human beings. The bill was retroactive, enabling us to persecute the criminal responsible for the decline of morality.

You should be able to see that our decision was the right one.

Unfortunately, fire had become so popular that we feared that there was to be no return to the days of decency. We felt that our only recourse was through law, and so we began to punish those who undermined Nature.

Recently, there has been blasphemous talk about the irrelevance of the gods, and some actually believe that we no longer exist. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are still active, although our activities are acknowledged less and less by men. We somehow underestimated the ineptitude of the human race, and the harm that men are able to do to themselves. But we are still acting upon the problem, and we are about to redouble our efforts on behalf of the honourable cause.

Fooling Ourselves

You’re fooling yourself.

The first sure indication that you are fooling yourself is that you begin to hide things. Look under your bed. Right now. I’ll wait for you here.

Well? What did you see? Come on, you can tell me. There’s no way it will ever get out. I don’t know your parents or your priest or your milkman.

You don’t have a milkman? See, that just shows you how little I know you. You’re safe with me. You can trust me.

So what did you see? Fear? Guilt? Loathing? Did you see that horrible lie you told to your mother when you were thirteen years old? We both know you were really having sex in the bushes behind the school. And you said you were helping a friend make oatmeal cookies for the annual senior elementary bake-sale. To raise money for charity.

Don’t ask me how I know all of these things. Let’s just say I’m omniscient.

Not quite like God. Well, a bit like God. I don’t have much of a body, either. God and I like to maintain a respectable distance from materiality, except when it suits us to do otherwise.

You think you know what I look like; you think you are following me along pretty good. But you’re fooling yourself. You’re not fooling God though. He sees every hidden thing, just like I do. And he casts judgement on the things that he sees.

But don’t worry. I won’t do that. I am objective. Sometimes I’ll be ironic, but that isn’t a judgement exactly. It’s more like a fun little game. You know, you try and figure out what I really mean. It’s all in the spirit of play.

Are you following along? Good. That wasn’t an ironic statement, by the way. I really do think it’s good that you are following along. I don’t know where I’d be without you. I don’t have much company. Once in a while someone comes along and drops in, usually just for a few minutes. I make some witty conversation, but people are usually in a hurry or tired, so they don’t pay very careful attention. Their eyelids get heavy and their eyes start to close, and by that point I don’t even want to bother. At first I thought it was me, but after a few times through I began to see and to understand more.

Now I am practically an expert in human nature. If you stay with me long enough, you’ll learn something from me, I promise.

You do trust me, don’t you? How often do people make a promise as wonderful as the one I’ve made? Just think of it: I could help you to understand human nature.

-What makes romance so difficult? –Human nature.

-Why do we hurt one another? –Human nature.

-Where is the secret key to social improvement and a perfect society? –Human nature.

-What is the cause of suffering? –Human nature.

I guess what I am saying is that you can have an easy, pain-free romance in a world where people are honest and happy and free. I didn’t say it was going to be easy, though. You have to read a lot of books to get there, and books are expensive. So you’ll need a lot of money. And free time. And patience. If it doesn’t work out right away like you thought it would, keep trying. You’re probably doing something wrong. You’ll figure it out, eventually. The secret is human nature. Once you’ve understood it, everything else falls into place.

I know what you’re saying. You want a perfect world now. You don’t have time to wait.

You’re in luck. I’ve got a deal for you. Not only am I going to tell you that the key to a perfect world is human nature, but I’m going to tell you what human nature is.

Are you ready? Are you sure?

Okay. Here it is then. Human nature.

Shit. I don’t seem to have it on me. I know I wrote it down. It was on a slip of white paper. In my wallet.

I must have hidden it somewhere.

Keeping One Step Ahead



-Like this: say go. Try it.

-Say go.

-Well…that’s basically it.

-And that’s how Indians say “hi”?

-Well, that’s how Mohawks say hi. Other nations have different ways.

Cree say Wace. Ojibwa say Bojoo. Whole bunch of ways.


-No no no. Bo shoe–sort of.

-I don’t get it. Is there some religious significance?

-Well, no. Bojoo is a greeting. Sometimes Ojibwa say Nana-bojoo. And Nana is Nanabush.

-Nanabush? Is he a god?

-No. Not exactly.


-Yeah, only us Mohawks don’t say Nanabush. We say Coyote.


-Yeah. Coyote, Nanabush, Trickster.

-What’s trickster?

-Well, that’s kind of hard to explain, really. Trickster’s lots of things. I guess you could say he likes to change what he is to keep you guessing. You know, stay one step ahead. He’s sort of tricky that way–tricky like a trickster. Likes to break the rules. Play tricks.

-Like a fool? In Shakespeare?

-Yeah, sort of. Sometimes the tricks backfire, and the joke is on Trickster.

-Is he some sort of religious symbol?

-No. That’s not quite it.

-I’d sure like to see an Indian religious ceremony. Maybe go up north during one of those festivals I heard of. I saw one on television once too. You Indians got anything like Christmas? I’d sure like to see it.

-Yeah, I guess you could say we have.

-What’s it like?

-Well, I’ll tell you a little story about it.

First of all, the sacred Indian ceremony begins about three weeks before sohl-stis, which is December 21 on the European calendar. We call this sacred time of the year tahkayaw. You know when the sacred time has arrived because everyone speaks the sacred greeting, eliwehk tahkayaw. I’d translate it into English, but there’s nothing like it in the Whiteman’s tongue. Anyway, when you hear that greeting, you know the sacred time has come.

The first thing Indians do when the sacred time arrives is go on a mysterious quest called shah-ping. It’s sort of a sacred hunting trip. Everyone does it: men, women, children. Well, the small children don’t. Not until they reach the sacred age. The Indians go in the morning, and return in the evening. We don’t discuss the things we find on our quests. We hide them from everyone else’s sight until the time comes to exchange the sacred objects. It’s so important that no one else know what you’ve found, that the Indians cover their objects in a special paper made just for the occasion. When we’ve covered everything up, we hide it all somewhere. You know, in our tipis.

We spend two, maybe three weeks on the shah-ping quest. We don’t quit until we have found a sacred object for each friend and family member and have brought it back home.

We decorate our tipis with sacred glittering objects made of metals and of wood. We eat special foods and drink special beverages. My favorite is called ehk-nogg. This beverage is served cold and sometimes is sprinkled with a powder called nuht-mek. I think the drink has a religious significance, but I’m not sure what it is. Someone once told me, an elder, but I’ve forgotten. Anyway, you can be sure it means something religious.

Everything Indian does.

So. Once we’ve done that, we go on another special quest. This one is really hard to explain: you might not understand it. But anyway, believe it or not, we go out in groups and look for a kris-mus-dree, which is a sacred object full of spirits that grows in the ground. And when we’ve found the right one, we bring it into our tipis and cover it in sacred objects made especially for the purpose. Some people cut down their own kris-mus-dree–in honour of the Creator. I know it sounds weird, but it’s our way.

There’s a bunch of special songs and chants that we sing throughout the sacred time of eliwehk tahkayaw. Many of the songs have religious significance, although about a hundred years ago–maybe more–people began to sing non-traditional Indian chants about a mythical Õkwehõweh…

-…that Trickster guy?

-…yeah. Yeah: you got it. Trickster.

Well, this time Trickster was really in disguise. You know, he likes to change his shape. Sometimes he’s a person, sometimes an animal. Or something else, even. But this time, Trickster showed up in a big red costume. Like a pow-wow fancy dress, sort of. It was made all of leather, with rabbit fur lining on the hood. And he had on a big black…wampum belt. And big black mukluks, too. Get this: he had a long beard. When’s the last time you saw an Indian with a beard? The really incredible thing is that he was carrying a big bag of those sacred objects I was talking about. The sacred chants tell all about it.

So. Trickster sneaks into the tipis while everyone is sleeping. And he gives each family a few of the sacred objects. Then he goes back up north. To Fort Albany, I think. Or Peawanuk.

And in the morning, all the Indians wake up and exchange the sacred objects. They take off the sacred paper and they sit around the sacred kris-mus-dree and they do many other religious things that I’m not allowed to discuss with White people.

But what about you? What kind of Christian ceremonies do White people perform? I heard once about some White pilgrims who spent Christmas day in prayer. And I saw a movie about Christians, too. Saint Paul, Saint John. Other guys names escape me. Saint someone.

That’s like a Chief, right–Saint?

-Well, a bit’s changed since then, actually.

-You don’t say? Gee, that’s too bad, you know.

-Well, maybe. Maybe not.

-Yeah. I guess I know what you mean.

Raising Cain

At first we all said she was crazy.

“Eve, you remember now what God said about curses and thorns and the sweat of the brow. And what about the increased pains and the ‘he will rule over you’ bit?”

It didn’t matter. She wanted to have a baby. Several babies. Personally, I never cared much for Adam. He borrowed my car once, got drunk, and then smashed it up. He’s rude and he talks too loud. He tells disgusting sexist jokes and thinks he’s so funny. He’s never had a job. He grows drugs in his basement, talks big about some invention of his that’s going to make him rich. The dreamer. He takes Eve’s money and uses it to get drunk, then he becomes violent.

-What happened to your face Eve?

-Um. An apple fell from a tree and hit me.

That’s the second time she’s used that one. The first was just before they moved out of her house. She told me the eviction was all because of an apple. When the authorities came around to the house to ask questions, she told them the apple story too. All Adam had to say was, “The woman did it.” And they bought the whole thing. They even wrote it down in their little black book.

Adam isn’t even divorced from his first wife, Lillith. No one knows about her, he keeps it so secret. He has children with the woman, but he never offers any support, financial or otherwise. He just lies around the house during the day, and goes down to the Paradise Club at night. He spends Eve’s money on beer and strippers.

-Why’d you agree to live with him, Eve? Can’t you see he’s no good for you?

-He really isn’t that bad. You have to get to know him. He just has his own way. Besides, I love him.

I tried to talk sense into Eve, but it was no use.

-Why don’t you go back to school? Get a university degree? You could take up a career. You could be a landscape architectural engineer. You like gardens. We could get you some new clothes, a new image. You really are a beautiful woman, Eve. You ought to care for yourself better.

Adam and Eve are still together. No one says she’s crazy any more; everyone has accepted the fact that Eve is going to stay with this man no matter what. But it still grieves me to see the way she treats herself, and the way she allows herself to be treated. I remember the day she came to my house all excited, saying, “I’m gonna have a baby! I’m gonna have that baby!”

-That baby?

-Yeah. The baby I’ve always wanted to have. I’ve always wanted something of my own, something I could love, that would love me.

-That’s great Eve.

-And I’ve got the name picked out, too.