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You are cordially invited to an afternoon reading from Glenn's fictional memoir"
3-6 PM on Sunday, February 23, 2014
New Roads School
Spielberg/Capshaw Building
3131 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
One Block West of Centinela
Ample parking
Finger food and fizzy water.


“What are you looking at,” Gramma said, suddenly standing
beside me, still holding Oskee’s hand.
“There’s a doe … it’s like she talked to me.”
“You can see her?” Gramma looked at me with amazement.
“Yeah, well, she’s gone now …” I blinked. Where did she go?
“That hedgerow is a guardian. Those bindweeds are no accident.
It’s protecting some kind of dark power. She beckoned you, didn’t
she?” Gramma motioned toward where the deer had been.
I nodded “yes.”
“What’s behind the hedge, it’s not from Good Mind. Tell him,” she
said to Nick.
“Blacktail Deer are a Dark Spirit lure. Don’t ever follow them
when they beckon,” Nick said matter-of-fact.
“Don’t go there, you hear me?” Gramma got real stern and
looked hard at me. “It’s Hungry’s place. Fat Face could take you away
if you go there!”
A shiver bolted through me at that. “Fat Face” was always
mentioned when the talk was about the dead and dying.
But that very night I dreamt I was in the thicket, the old
hedgerow; but it wasn’t winter; it was an Indian summer day in deep
autumn. I was crunching Sweetgum leaves and the perfume of them
was like the perfume Miss Elman wore.
There was no sound. The fragrant floor mat mulched silently
beneath my feet. No hush sprung from the rushing water in Little
Ghost Creek; witching insects flicked about but made no hum or buzz;
no birds sang. The honeysuckle vines closed silently into a wall behind
I knew I was dreaming, but it was so real, especially when a cold
wave shadowed through me, planting fear in my stomach and ragging
dread on my palms. All of the sudden, I was on my knees, limp and
weak with fright, my hands and arms cowering, my throat choked
Something or someone with ethereal texture, which or who, with
a paddle - it felt like a paddle, or a turtle shell rattle - struck me hard
four times across my shoulder blades.
I pitched forward flat out and into quicksand.
Hands and forearms were swallowed by the muck, but my chin
felt a crusty edge.
I curled my spine upwards, head back, chin high, and slowly,
slowly wormed my arms side to side to create an air pocket in the
quicksand, as if I knew to do that; to bend back, my eyes straining to
see those air pockets while my feet grabbed a toehold on a tree root.
The instant there was an air pocket I would yank my arms out…
… and wham, something or someone paddle-slammed my
shoulders again. This time I knew it was the flat side of a turtle rattle.
I heard that rattle.
My chin hit wet mud. I yanked my head up, and the muck
beneath pooled water and then sucked it down. My arms were in to my
shoulders. It was too wet, there was never going to be an air pocket, I
was being sucked in headfirst.
The wallow milked at my arms like a Suckerfish gulping air. My
chest just touched the cracking crust on the edge. A sheering slivering
cry of panic at last escaped my throat.
I heard a sound, a voice, ask, “Now”?
I turned my head to the right towards the south, my left ear an
inch from the wet silt. In the bark shadows of a Slippery Elm was the
fat face of an Old Woman, hunched in the flow of the trunk, a mask of
the tree, observing me with hawk nose, snipe ears and owl eyes.
Now! She called, low and soft. Do you want to die now?
Was she giving me a choice?
Now? Again low and soft.
NO, I said. Not now.
My whole body seized. I kick-bounced upwards, left the ground,
twisting right and left at the same time. There was a popping sound of
air pockets in the quag. Someone, something pulled my feet.
I was suddenly inside my shirt. My head was inside my collar, my
arms inside the long sleeves of my flannel shirt. I wriggled backwards,
hips and ribs snaking, the quicksand grabbing my shirt. Released, I got
to my feet. The shirt spread-eagle sank into the hungry muck.
Air belched from a catch below the surface. A blow by of wind hit
me full force in the chest. I staggered backwards, tripped on a root,
… and woke up in a death fearing sweat on the cold floor of
Nick’s bedroom. My back stung as though it had been slapped. I was
“You all right?” Nick asked.
“Ah! I… I had a nightmare.”
“You woke me up. You were sayin’ ‘help me, help me’.”
“Yeah, yeah, sorry, it was scary. It was so real. I thought I was
gonna die.”
“Good thing you woke up, huh? So, now, go back to sleep. We
got things to do tomorrow, getting’ ready for midwinter dance.”!

The following Saturday when Nick, Oskee and I came in from the
barn after feeding the horses and chickens, Gramma Minnie was
standing at the sideboard, singing softly, kneading dried chokecherries
into raw back straps from a deer.
“Can I help?” I asked, curious.
“You don’t know the song.”
I walked away wondering, “what is that all about?” so she said:
“The song prays that ‘we all live to see the green grass again.’
It’s for the midwinter festival at the Long House. Haksot offers this
pemmican during the Thanksgiving Prayer. Once it was an eight-day
ceremony, but now only the main dance, and the Thanksgiving Prayer
are done at the Long House. Dream-guessing we do here. The peach
stone gambling game and the white dog sacrifice are outlawed.”
“Can I go?” I asked, hoping
“No, you have to be Onodowaga. You will likely be here, though,
when the False Faces bring new coals from the Long House and drive
the winter spirits and all the illness out of the house.”
“That’s good. I like that part,” said Nick. “These men, they wear
these masks they cut from trees. They crawl in on all fours, and if we
don’t get on all fours too, they slap our backs with turtle rattles until
we do. We’re s’pose to be humble while they crawl all over the house,
cleaning it with the turtle rattles. Everyone except Oskee, cause he’s
humble already, but he gets down anyway.”
“T-T- Turtle rattles?” I stammered.
“Big ones, snappers, big as a dinner plate, all beaded and the
“What’s the dream-guessing game?”
“It’s not a game.” Gramma said. “Earth People believe dreams
are real. Between the longest night and mid-winter night we
remember our dreams. Mid-winter night is what Clay People call
Groundhog Day…” (At that thought she sadly shook her head.)
“During dream-guessing we tell our dreams. Elders interpret a
dream’s meaning, ‘guess,’ we call it, which helps us in the coming year.
We believe if we sit on our dreams, don’t tell them, we will go mad,
crazy. I’m a dream guesser. So is Haksot.”
“Can I be here for that?”
“It’s not until the last day. I think you’ll be home by then.”
I sat back on a chair, disappointed.
“So,” she said with a sideways glance. “Tell me your dream.”
“I had a dream I was inside the hedgerow thicket where you told
me not to go, you know? It was fall and I was crunching sweetgum
leaves and all of a sudden turtle rattles slapped my back and I fell in
quicksand. An old woman was there in a tree.”
Color sapped from Gramma’s face. She dropped the meat and
grabbed one of the stave chairs, then abruptly sat down.
“Oh my,” she said. “She gave you a choice, didn’t she?”
I nodded yes and gulped.
“To live or die?”
I gulped again.
“Oh my, oh my. Now you owe her. Now… we all owe her.”
“Owe her what?” I asked.


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