Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Devil Likes Lady Bugs

Pissed, I went to my travel case sitting by the couch. I kept my cell phone in it while I slept but it wasn’t there.

“Dam you Clay, or whoever the hell you are. Where’s my phone?”

Clay, still sitting at the table, wore a wicked little grin. I went to my seat and glared at him.

“Okay, okay. It’s up there by the pills. I’ll get it,” said Clay.

Following through, he handed it to me. As I checked for missed messages it powered down from lack of a charge.

“Oopsie. I guess the movie I watched drained it eh Migizi?”

“Clay, did my wife really call or not? And you didn’t take that pill. It’s there on the floor,” I said, pointing to it.


“Which part dammit, the pill or about my wife calling?”

“The pill. Come on man, we had a deal. I didn’t run off. I’m alright. Go ahead and call your wife and see if I’m right.”

I went to the phone on the wall and it was dead, plugged in, but dead so I sat back down in a huff.
“Clay, it’s turned off. I had you paid up for a month so what happened? How could my wife have called with the phone dead?”

“Honest Migizi, she did. I don’t know why it’s off now. You know the Rez. Don’t take much to lose power or services. All it takes is the wind to fart. It will come back on soon as the wires flop back the other way.”

“Why do you keep calling me by my proper name?” I asked. “You aren’t talking like your good ole self Clay. How do I know it’s you?”

“Look brother, I know you are gettin’ frustrated and overwhelmed by all this. I want you to know how much I respect and love ya man. That’s all,” said Clay with as innocent a tone as he could muster.

I spotted movement and watched two Lady Bugs crawl to the top of Clay’s right shoulder from his back. They appeared stuck together, side by side, not from reproduction.
“Clay, you got bugs crawling on your shoulder.”

He put his left pointer finger up to them and they got aboard. Clay put them on the table and introduced them to me, of course.

“This is Pat and Pat. They’re Siamese twins, well kinda. They’re mutants I think. Damned pesticides. Not sure if they are boy and girl, boy and boy, girl and girl. So anyways, I just call ‘em both Pat and got it covered either way.”

“Androgynous, that’s what people are called who don’t want to be labeled according to gender. They can have both male and female traits and behavior,” I said.

“Yah, whatever Migizi. Jeez, they’re just bugs. Anyhoo, seriously, you should get on home and take care of your missus. I’ll take my pills. You need a break from all this. Hell, even my liver feels good lately. Must be the good medicine of friendship and Pow-Wowing.”

Intuition knocked hard on my spirit and held up a red flag when I paid attention to Clay’s cussing.
“Clay, I’m walking to the gas station to use the pay phone. I’ll check in on my wife and decide if I’m staying or going. We text one another every other day. She’s still working you know. She’s always been good about letting you and I have our time.”

Copyright © 2015 Migizi M. New Song. All Rights Reserved.

Faking Clay

My watch beeped and signaled 1 PM. I was unjustifiably wiped. It was something I experienced with sporadic consistency since being a kid so I dismissed it. The doctor said it was my body’s way of telling me I was stressed. Well yes, no kidding.

“What is it with those spirits and bugs?” asked Clay. “There haven’t been any reports of a bee hangin’ around until now. I wonder why that is Migizi?” 

“You, I mean Thorny, said he and the bee were partners at spreading truth that was needed to bring about fruitful growth, like pollen, I supposed. I asked about the meaning of Thorny’s name as you suggested.”

“Yah? What was the answer?”

We reached the house and paused in the driveway. 

“He gave this clever spiel about pointed observations and getting to the point of things. Get it?”

The closed front door burdened me. His favorite Gal wasn’t there. I was still on my own with Clay.

“Hmmm. Interesting,” said Clay. “Come on, let’s go in and take a load off.”

Clay left the door open and a light breeze warmly followed us in. It whispered, “Take a nap.”

“Hey buddy, I need to lie down,” I said. “But, I’m concerned about you and won’t sleep unless I believe your personality and you will stay put.”

Opening the cabinet door, Clay opened the bottle of pills and took one.

“Go for it,” said Clay.

Taking Clay at his word, I stretched out on the couch and closed my eyes. Easing into sleep, intuition tried to get my attention.

Notice something odd about Clay? His typical manner of speaking was a bit different and he used your proper name the entire time after showing him the shell. Don’t you think he seemed a little too normal?”

“Maybe,” I thought and passed out.

Bang. The screen door slamming woke me. I sat up and checked my watch. My nap lasted an hour and left me feeling hungry. The coffee maker was in brew mode, half way through by the sound of its laboring. I didn’t hear or see any signs of Clay and my heart thumped harder. I got up and walked to the kitchen as Clay came in from outside.

“You’re up,” he said. “Hungry? I was about to make some mac and cheese.”

“I could eat but isn’t there some ground baloney left? Let’s just eat that before it goes bad.”

Clay nodded in agreement and we ate a late lunch in bug free silence. Sipping coffee, we looked at each other blankly and it bothered me.

“So what were you doing outside Clay?”

“I hushed up the dog next door. Didn’t want his barkin’ to wake you up. I thought maybe the phone ringin’ would do it but nope, you were gone. Oh, speaking of that, your wife left a message.”

“Really? Wow, never heard the phone or dog,” I said then yawned. “What’d she say?”

“Said she isn’t feelin’ so well and would prefer you come on home and be there for her.”

Something was off about Clay but I couldn’t nail it down.

“I wonder why she didn’t text me on my cell phone,” I said while getting up to look for my phone.

When I did, I looked down at the floor and saw a partially melted pill capsule stuck on the tile near a table leg. Clay had spit the thing out after he faked taking it. Oh joy.

Copyright © 2015 Migizi M. New Song. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Something Sneaky

“Tap, tap, testing. One little, two little, three little…Aay…ha! Come on dancers it’s time,” said the announcer. “Let’s Pow-Wow.”

Squatting down, I showed the shell to Clay. The look remained but a slight smile joined in. Anxiety slithered up my spine as I waited for a response.

Boom, boom, boom. The host drum readied for grand entry and I worried about being able chat over the sound.

“Hey, you look worried. What’s up?” asked Clay.

I sighed. Anxiety slipped down my back to become a belt of tension around my waist.
“Well Clay, I lost you for a while and met Thorny and his side kick. Buddy, can we go back to the house for while? I’m not feeling so good.”

Clay got to his feet and started walking for home and I happily joined him. As grand entry hit full stride the drum echoed for what seemed forever. I imagined it meeting with past sounds of countless celebrations and ceremonies traveling forward to the present moment. 

Listening intently, I heard something else. I detected deep and sorrowful weeping in the spirit realm such as accompanies great loss. I noted the irony of our departure coinciding with grand entry and it saddened me. We were disconnecting not joining our community.

“So Thorny came a visitin’ and brought someone along. Cripes, not another one. I barely got room in my noggin now,” said Clay.

His comment barely budged the melancholy walking next to me. I sensed death sneaking around like it had the day my mother died. I remember it tapping on my bedroom door and waking me before heading to the hospital with my dad. I knew her spirit was gone but her body hadn’t caught up. We got there in time to see my mother took her final seven breaths.

“Migizi, you with me? Boy, I guess you’re feelin’ pretty cruddy to be so quiet, you being the word guy and all.”

“Hunh? Sorry brother. I’m not physically ill. It’s more a spirit thing. I’m sure I’ll snap out of it. Oh, and on the sidekick thing involving Thorny. It isn’t another spirit or persona. It was a honey bee called JuJu.”

Copyright © 2015 Migizi M. New Song. All Rights Reserved.

Poking Holes

Thorny, jabbing me with his insight, stung my spirit. It was true. I failed to honor Clay’s words by so easily forgetting them but I also felt duped by a bait and switch maneuver. The scope of Clay’s disorder and prognosis wasn’t made known until after I arrived. Had it been, I may not have volunteered in the way I did. I was stuck by the situation and Thorny.

Someone tossed plastic ware or wrapping in their fire and toxic smelling smoke stung my lungs.

“Well Thorny,” I said, “I agree with your assessment, however…”

Standing up so I could face Clay, I hoped for a better read on his mental state by what I saw in his eyes.

“And here comes the rationalizing and justification for your actions. Am I right?” asked Thorny. “There you are, looking down at me like you’ve done with Clay so many times.”

“Now come on Clay, that’s not fair. At least let me answer your question. And, I only stood so I could face and acknowledge you better. I meant no disrespect.”

“Okay, go on, but I’m not Clay.”

“Oops, sorry. I’m not making an excuse disguised in justification or whatever. My ‘however’, had you let me finish Thorny, was to say this situation with Clay is hard to understand. I’ve never encountered anything like it.”

Sitting down before Clay, I crossed my ole bony legs and waited for a response. The Pow-Wow announcer clicked his microphone on and it squealed with feedback. Grand entry would be starting within a half hour. Two teen boys walked by with ankle bells jangling. They carried some of their dance regalia toward the camp restrooms and nodded as they passed. They’d be getting dressed to dance.

“So, you aren’t dreading your decision to come down here? You haven’t resented being in hell surrounded by fudgies?” asked Clay.

My heart hop scotched. “What?! Where’d you get such an idea Thorny?”
“Yes or no, that easy.”

“Okay then, yes dammit but how could you know that? I never spoke of it.”

A honey bee appeared, circled my head a few times and landed on Clay’s left shoulder. Hoping it might poke ole Thorny, I said nothing. Maybe the pain would help Clay come back. The look painted itself on Clay’s face and gave me hope.

“Migizi, this is JuJu and she won’t sting me. We’re partners.”

“So you can read my mind? Is that it? Well knock it off. Wait, partners at what?”

Holding out his left hand, the bee flew to it and landed on Clay’s thumb.

“JuJu and I work together in spreading the truth required for growth and fruitfulness. And no, I’m not reading your mind. I know you so well I can accurately guess what you are likely thinking.”

A little girl walked by with a bottle of root beer and JuJu the bee left in pursuit of a sugar fix. Looking really sharp in their men’s traditional outfits, the teen boys passed by again. Taking advantage of the distractions I took a potshot at Thorny and changing the subject.

“Thorny, you aren’t real. You speak of Clay as if he’s someone else. You are the ‘someone else’ Thorny, not Clay.”

“We’ll see. Who among us is real? You ever heard of shape changing or are you too white for that Migizi? Maybe you’re the one who isn’t real.”

That was it. I brought out the shotgun shell talisman. 

Copyright © 2015 Migizi M. New Song. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Mom and son, laughing and moaning, sprinted to the ice machine centered between both bathrooms.  Grabbing some ice, they cooled the post war damage. Though experiencing localized burns of the second degree type, everyone was alright which granted license to our culturally shared sense of morbid humor.

I went in the men’s bathroom to dry up my coffee soaked pants. Thinking I was alone, Clay startled me when he began singing from the stall on the end. He repeated his previously sung tune of “Me and Migizi down at the Pow Wow grounds.”

“Sheesh, you still in here Clay? Gonna get roids from sitting so long.”

The toilet flushed and my brother exited the stall while completing his zip-up. Looking at me in the mirror while washing his hands he had the look going on. No, actually it was the look with a dash of stink eye added. 

“And here you are Migizi, just like Mike claimed was true. We finally meet,” said Clay.

“Well yes, you said you’d catch up but I found you first. You missed a good show. Could have been tragic but nope, turned out okay. It started the kids of that fam…”

“Are you senile?” asked Clay cutting me off.

“Hunh? What? No, I was just…”

“Not interested. We need to talk,” said Clay drying his hands.

It took a minute for clues to slap me in the face. Clay walked out the door and motioned me to follow.
Alongside Clay, I asked, “Who the hell is Mike and who are you?”

“In a minute Migizi. C’mon, let’s talk in my office.”

Clay walked us into the campground to the Cedar tree where Aura left Francis the praying mantis. A little chill wiggled through my spirit when I recognized the significance. Cedar is one of four sacred plants for the Ojibwe. Emerging from a hiding place deep in my being, teachings about things like purification, protection, and healing snuck up on my mind. 

Clay sat down, leaned against the tree’s shaggy bark, and patted the ground next to him.

“Yah okay then, I’ll join you,” I said and parked my still damp ass. “And you are...”

“Thorny is what I go by so call me that.”

I found it easier to endure the new adventure by not facing my brother.

“HMmmm, bet there’s a story with that name if you care to share it Thorny.”

I remembered Clay’s suggestion to inquire.

“Isn’t it obvious? I get to the point while making pointed statements or observations in the most pointed way possible and that, Migizi, is the point of my name.”

Clearing my throat I coughed a little and swallowed hard but couldn’t help but smile at the distinct flavor in the formation of words, the savory taste of my friend Clay’s cleverness.

“Regarding Mike,” said Thorny. “He’s a mutual friend of ours. He favors listening over speaking. We all go to him for the purpose of processing what we think and feel. As I said, he’s a great listener. My other friends, Jovee and Aura, told Mike about meeting you and gave him permission to pass word along. You’ll bump into Mike soon I’m sure.”

My gut tensed up as I asked, “Thorny, you said friend of ours. Were you referring to me?”

“No. I spoke of Clay and the others he told you about. Either you didn’t listen closely when Clay shared the names or you dismissed his words as little more than gibberish.”


Copyright © 2015 Migizi M. New Song. All Rights Reserved.