Dé Luain, Márta 26, 2007

Whiteclay part 10 A ( Going fractured narrative on your ass)

"Ok ok ok. So Mark. Mark was a rotund man, no cowboy really. Just somewhere verging on a "good ol' boy" but not very mentally collected. At least not very sharp. Just slow and jowling. The quote for the baby thing came after he was talking about his 1yrold niece, and he asked me if I had kids, of which I said I'd none, and he said, oh, well, it can happen at any time, if the Lord wills it. So apparently I would be doing no willing. But I told him I willed it not, I hoped it not. He told me he wished I'd come back around and he would show me around sometime, if ever I'm around to let him know. Et cetera. Then he was dismayed at my confession that we were headed to White Clay, and the rest you know. But, he was a simple, large man who assumed I had a husband and children and was a little taken aback when I said I was so young as to still be in college. The end."

R. Ankenbrand

At about the same time, I was getting my own taste of local culture at the c-store down the street from the hotel. Some of the jowling good ol boys' were sitting at a table with the town cop (I think he really is 'the' town cop, and he gets paid to drink coffee at the Pump n Pantry and maybe arrest a Native for tresspassing every now and then. ) and having an animated discussion about guns. Not the politics of guns mind you, but disccusing their own guns as if they were their children. The cop had an SKS. It has a hell of a kick. Now, I have nothing against guns (Though I keep a chainsaw for self-defense myself) but this sort of country-guy talk has always mystified me. Why it is that guns and cars are more fascinating than clocks or refrigerators is something that Western Nebraska boys like me are just supposed to understand. ("I went to Catholic School for twelve years." "Why arn't you more religious?.....)

It's true that we males can never have enough surrogate phalli, but have some fucking taste about it. I smoke cigarettes. I read really big books. I drink expensive microbrew. I grow my hair long and feel a bit queezy when a portly middle-aged woman trims it with her long, savage, barren antiseptic shears. In short, I satisfy my fixation with more class than you do. So I don't suffer from the steaming fantasy, I mean worst nightmare, of having to pump my lead into some dark intruder who penetrates my door.

So, there's Gordon for you. Women who are unmarried and childless at nineteen are things to be pitied. A conveinence store serves as the town square. The constable is a de-facto welfare hound who speaks openly about his guns with other men. People don't even try to hide their contempt for the Lakota (That was the 'rest' of Becky's conversation with Mark. They make more money than you or me.)

I find Becky's account to be a bit dissapointing. It has none of the arrogance or contempt that makes for great comedy. I took a polite overheard conversation between upstanding members of society and made them out to be jackasses. That takes some talent, if I do say so myself. But Becky, It's as if she actually pities the riff-raff. If only she had lived in outstate Nebraska, then she would see these people for what they are, big fat sacks of nothing; vacant assholes who necrophilize
tradition so they don't have to go through the trouble of forming their own personalities. These people deserve neither pity not courtesy.

So I'd like to take the liberty of reworking her statement into something a bit more truthful.

"Mark nearly ground me under his wheels as he swerved to a stop in his corroded 1981 Ford F150. The smell of Coors Light and gravy oozing out of his pores was overwhelming, even with the stench of the three rotting puppies in the back that he had beaten to death the week before to punish his daughters for backtalk. Mark weighed over 700 pounds and his clothes became covered in fat beer-sweat over the next five minutes as he worked up the energy to talk. He finally asked me why I was walking alone and unveiled like a common harlot, ' Is you trying to emberress your husband?' he asked. When I told him that I didn't have a husband he soiled himself in rage and stopped breathing for a full five minutes. Than he asked me why my father hadn't arranged to have me married to my cousin, as this was the custom in emergencies. When I told him that I was still in college his face froze in shock. He refused to believe that there were places in the world where women are allowed to read. So I spent a good fifteen minutes reading off street signs to prove that this was the case. Mark put his hand on his chins and thought deeply, the smell of his rust-colored persperation was worse than ever. Finally he looked at me and said 'Well, yer gittin up there in years girl. So you musta had at list eighternine kids by now even if you ain't gotta husband. Add that to yer (pants uncontrollably) fancy book lernin and red-devil lovin ways and ( Face takes on color of a plum) holy shit! Yous a witch ain't ya? You headin up to Pine Ridge to drop devil spawn sos the savages can eat em ain't ya?' He than reached his arm out to try to strangle me but it got stuck in the window. As I walked away I could hear Mark weeping while he moaned for Jesus to smite me with a cloud of fire. The end"

Back at the hotel we managed to rouse Dan and Paul out of bed a half-hour before checkout time. We quickly loaded our stuff and also took the Gideon's bible, a local phone book, and of course the bath towels. These were "towels of the oppresors" I reasoned, and redistributing them to the Natives would be a noble act of peaceful Trotskyite rebellion.

Dan parked around the corned to hide, himself, as I walked up to the office and handed the room key to the manager. He had the emotionless accent that one finds in the most isolated parts of the Great Plains and looked at me with obvious contempt as I handed him the key and told him to have a good day. I walked back around to the car and suggested to Dan that we should get out of this town very quickly and that he should wait until Rushville before he got his breakfast.

Off into the wall of tan. Clinton, Rushville, right turn on Nebraska 87.


Anonymous said...

As I've recently relocated to a ranch east of Gordon Nebraska, I'm quite surprised by our differing accounts of the area. Oh well, the world really is a mirror.

A little information about the Hacienda Motel: the FBI took over the motel during the Peltier seidge. The rooms are smoker's hell; normal people can't stand them. The Jefco is open 24 hours until they have no vacancy; more traveled folks usually call in a reservation if only as a distraction from counting tumble weeds. Jefco and Western both have wifi, and you can usually find a hotspot anywhere in the area.

If the local leo pronounced an SKS to have some kick, I hope you laughed out loud. Really, I know this notion is one of many lies er I mean figurative... well nevermind. To be fair, not that you were ever struck by the concept, the local LEOs do a pretty good job of rescuing drunks before they freeze to death, but hey, that's about the same as arresting natives for trespass.

Just so you know, that straight line/goal post stuff is lame. And your account is the most biggoted ignorance I've endured in many months.

Joshua Beran said...

Thank you for your thoughts. I had never received hatemail until now and I was worried that no one but my friends were reading this.

I have never claimed to be a good person, I went to the Pine Ridge/Sheridan county area without the slightest intention of making things better, and I'll be the first to admit that my distaste for cowboys is based largely on personal baggage.

I am, in truth, a rather depraved man, and for this I make no apologies. I continue to think that you and your neighbors are every bit as depraved as I am, just in a far less interesting way.

I'm afraid that I'm going continue to mock your town and culture and proclaim you morally inferior to the worst of the stumbling Whiteclay drunks. You don't have to endure it if you don't want to.

Anonymous said...

Hold up Sparky; you may construe my note to be pity mail, certainly not hate mail. I really question your depravity as you don't exhibit sufficient intellect for depravity. I wonder if this blog is something of a parody, a not so subtle parody. You ridicule the ignorance of your target with crude and uncontrolled diction. Your misuse of the words then and than are what slouths call a clue.
As for your claim to "continue mocking my town and culture," I hadn't noticed your mocking anything but yourself. Must be some double secret mock.