When Despina and Mickey return to Ye Olde Watering Hole,Brad's table is occupied by strangers, and Paul Peter is back in his accustomed spot against the far wall. Seeing no other vacancy, Despina and Mickey head over to join him. As is his custom, the sheriff sits with his back to the wall, Despina beside him.
Not long after they arrive, the tall Indian re-enters. The sheriff immediately notices how strongly attracted Despina is. He's used to this reaction, but finds it disconcerting in her, nonetheless. The towering blue-eyed Indian and his black-eyed brother are legendary magnets for females wherever they go.
"Who is he?"
"All night long, you have been assuming that unlikely people were him, and now, when he finally does show up, you don't recognize him."
"He's my BOSS?" Her eyes widen. "Quick, tell me all his obnoxious habits." She reaches over and touches the tips of her fingers to his hand as it rests around the water glass. She looks down, avoiding the Sheriff's eyes, which flash in warning.
Oh, I've made him angry.
Swollowing nervousyl, the sheriff tries to rise to the occasion. "Well, he has produced an incredible amount of children... He and his brother are truly the 'father' of their tribe."
"But surely that is in response to a tribal ritual, not a true failing. Can't you think of something more, well, personal?" she begs.
"He's a rotten hunter."
"Hunter? That's all? I don't need someone to be a good hunter! This is terrible! That's the worst you can think of? Whatever am I going to do?"
"I can't work for this man."
"What nonsense. I didn't tell you anything that was bad enough to make you decide that!"
"You don't understand. I was already half in love with the man who wrote to me, just from the sensitive, caring things he put in his letters. His tremendous intelligence showed through his eloquent words. And now, just LOOK at him! That kind of beauty ought to be illegal. With his first touch, I was TOAST!"
"Touch? When did he TOUCH you?"
"During the 'range war', before Paul Peter so rudely interrupted."
"If you were 'toast', I think I approve of his actions. I can't believe this. He never comes to town. He vowed..."
"What? A vow? What kind of a vow?"
"That's not my story to tell. Don't take it so hard. You're really overreacting. You won't see that much of him."
"Are you trying to tell me the connection I feel to him is a figment of my imagination?"
"Yes. Of course it is. You're building this up all out of proportion. You can't fall in love with a guy through his letters, for Pete's sake!"
Rattled, Despina cries overly loudly, "Oh, how do you know about Pete? Are you psychic? I didn't even tell my MOTHER about him!"
"Shhhuuush. You are involving too many people in this. Nobody named Pete has a connection to you that I know anything about. That's just an expression..." Rolling his eyes, he pauses, then gets back on track. "What attracted you to the letters?"
"Well, at first, when they were in English,..."
"Cuwrote to you in English?"
"Why does that sound so incredible to you? You act as if you don't believe it."
"Cu's vow..." The sheriff cuts off, realizing that he can't talk about it again without getting her curiosity up even higher. "Cu'sletters were in English?"
"Well, the first few were. Then he said I would have to promise to use only Spanish, not English. That letter was in Spanish, as were all the rest that followed."
"Didn't you notice a difference?"
"Sure. English and Spanish are related, but not identical..."
Her eyes widen, "You?"
"Just the English ones..."
"The ones I started to fall in love with. What do I do now?"
"You teach. You owe it to him to go to work Monday morning. He can't replace you now. School has already started for the older kids. Those youngsters need to be in school, too."
"Then he's not bi-lingual?"
"Uh, that's not a topic I care to tackle."
"You sure make that vow sound mysterious."
The Indian, who had been standing in the doorway, scanning each part of the dark room in minute detail, has spotted her and been working his way toward her through the press of people stopping him to chat.
None of them are White,she notes silently.
Suddenly, he looms impossibly large before her.
"Es tiempo. Vamos a ir a la reservación, con su permiso."
He almost looks jealous.
Last updated 2/3/02.